I finished eating the spicy soup and returned to the bedroom to give Cheng Jia Yang a phone call.
He didn’t call me, so I called him. It wasn’t a big deal.
Cheng Jia Yang
At the end of the program, I was getting ready to leave.
Wen Xiao Hua came over to find me, “Thank you, the program was very exciting.”
“Do you have time to go out for tea together?”
“When would suit you?”
“Huh?” I looked at her. Her face covered in heavy makeup, her eyes like dark pools.
“What ‘huh’? I was making plans with you.”
She spoke so straightforwardly that I was almost unable to deflect her question. Fortunately, the phone rang at that moment and I said, “Sorry, let me take this phone call.”
The result wasn’t too effective since the phone was almost out of battery.
The director called, “Jia Yang, Yao family’s child is sick. Tomorrow, you will go to France in place of him to visit the Mayor of Strasbourg. Prepare a little bit now.”
“Is there no room for discussion?”
“Military orders, 10 o’clock flight tomorrow morning.”
I still had more to discuss, but the screen already turned black.
Wen Xiao Hua looked at me, “What happened?”
“Urgent task. Leaving tomorrow. Sorry.”
Wen Xiao Hua shook her head. “It’s no problem. Your complexion doesn’t look good. Take care of yourself.”
Whenever women say this, it warms a person on the inside. I shook her hand and said “Thank you, I’ll see you when I return.”
I didn’t know on which corner of the world Mother and Father were at, and Jia Ming was also away from home. I packed my suitcases and replaced the battery in my phone. The wallpaper was Fei’s photo.
I haven’t seen her in over half a month. Earlier during the program, I remembered our brief trip to Dalian. As I answered, I wondered whether or not she would also reminisce the trip when she watches the program.
She never called me. But I didn’t worry because I would call her instead. I dialed her number but the auto voicemail sounded through.
The user you dialed has turned off his/her phone.
While sitting on the plane, I couldn’t remember some things no matter how hard I tried to recall them. Why did I take her back to school that weekend? Why did I get mad at her?
Loneliness and longtime memories make people feel as if they are floating. I had slept for a while, and when I opened my eyes I felt a sense of longing.
I brought my phone to the repair shop and the boss said, “Miss, it would be much better to buy a new one.”
“Can’t it be repaired?”
“The nail has rusted.”
I was quite upset. I received bad grades and to top that off, I also had no money. Which god have I bothered?
That day I gave Cheng Jia Yang a call, his phone was turned off. It was probably out of battery, so I took a stroll on the balcony and waited a while to call him again. I flipped open the phone, pressed the power button and dialed his number using just one hand, thinking that my actions were suave. After a second however, my phone slipped from my hand and dropped to the ground below the balcony.
Bo Bo studied it for a while and said, “This is the only way.”
“Change your phone.”
“Saying that is equal to not saying anything at all.”
“Let me finish talking. Change your phone number. That’s the most basic solution.”
“Is it useful?”
“My previous exam was political economy, and I also lost my gold necklace. After I changed my phone number, I passed the make-up test and found the gold necklace in one of my boots.”
I didn’t know whether to believe it or not, but I had to buy a new phone for sure. I chose a white one; one that was not too expensive, but also not that cheap. It was small and had a very vibrant display. I also changed my phone number to one that contains several 8s and 9s for good luck. I sent texts and gave phone calls in order to notify people of my new phone number.
I asked Wu Xiao Ping, “Do you know where Cheng Jia Yang went? He never picks up when I call.”
“If you don’t even know, how would I possibly know? Probably on a business trip. He’s experienced so he could be anywhere in the world right now.””
“He didn’t change his phone number right?”
“Either way, I only have his original one.”
I was slightly worried, but continued on living my daily life.
The day turned cold quite rapidly and the city finally had its first snow. I was taking my English exam.
I had not seen Cheng Jia Yang for a month now.
It was winter break again and like usual, I planned to first take a part-time job here and then go home when the New Year approached.
There was a European student who was a heavy smoker. After classes, she would continue to smoke and smoke. She used Chinese to say, “How can I describe it? It’s kind of like eating an apple.”
Finally, I asked her for one. I boldly inhaled the smoke into my lungs, choking and coughing at the feeling. She patted my back and said, “Aiya, look at you trying to be brave.”
I laughed, “Who did you learn these phrases from?”
“It’s a piece of cake.”
“Let me try again.”
And through this way, I was able to learn how to smoke.
I came out of the library that night, pulling my clothes tighter around my cold body as I started to return to my room. I sang an old song to myself, “Unfortunately, the heart is too anxious, so anxious and connected that there are no gaps…”
Someone in the darkness called my name, “Fei.”
Who would call my name? I turned my head to face him. It was Cheng Jia Yang standing next to his car, although I couldn’t see his face.
“I just returned from France. You changed your phone?”
I nodded, “I called you a few times.”
“I had to leave in a hurry. When I got there, there were too many things to do so I didn’t have time to contact you.”
“…Ah. I also had my final exams. I didn’t do so well on the extensive test I took this afternoon.”
When we were talking, we maintained the original distance without moving even a step towards each other.
“Is there anything else?” I asked. “I’m going back to my room.”
I regretted what I said straight afterwards. But once the harsh words came out of my mouth, there was no taking them back.
Ever since I had known him, how has Jia Yang treated me? On the trip back from our vacation until now, I had given him this kind of harsh attitude. Is there anyone else like me with no conscience?
At this point, my words were clumsy, my heart felt revengeful. In terms of principles, I am not a good person; I upset people when I’m annoyed.
“Nothing. I’m leaving.”
He turned around, reached out and opened the car door. I quickly walked over and hugged him from behind. He put his hands on top of mine, his palms were very hot. I turned him around and touched his forehead and cheeks.
“How come you have a fever?”
“No wonder I feel cold.”
“What happened to you?” I patted his shoulder.
“Don’t take advantage of the vulnerable.”
My mouth was suddenly covered by his, our tongues entangling. I almost couldn’t breathe. I pushed him aside, “Do you want to infect me?”
“I only have a fever, not yet at the infectious stage.”
Our foreheads touched and I could feel his hot breath.
“There isn’t anyone to take care of me, jiejie (affectionate term for an older female friend).”
I touched his face, “Let’s go back.”
“I really do have a fever, my eyes are sore.”
My fingers were moist.
We went into the small room inside of the house. In his cotton pajamas, Jia Yang half lay and half sat on the bed, eating the brown sugar boiled eggs I had made him.
“Does it taste good?”
“Ah, it’s good.” He replied, but he suddenly raised his head, “I feel like something isn’t right.”
I looked at him. Because he had a fever, his red face looked very cute.
“Are you sure this is something people with fevers eat?”
“Something like this.”
“Isn’t this a dish for pregnant women?”
He did have a bit of common sense. Now that I have thought about it, my mother had made this dish and given it to the neighbor’s daughter after she had given birth.
“No, how could I make such a dumb mistake?” I said while laughing.
“Oh.” He believed me, and then ate until the bowl was empty.
Jia Yang was sweating. I tucked him in properly on the bed.
He grabbed my hand, “Fei……”
“What are you doing?”
Cheng Jia Yang
Leaving without reason and disappearing for so long without even calling her once, then returning exhausted and letting her take care of me…
Is there anyone else like me with no conscience?
I held her hand, wanting to apologize. Not being able to say it out loud, I told myself: In the future, you need to be better to her.
“What are you doing? Muttering under your breath.” She stroked my hair.
“Look through my suitcase. I brought you Paris III’s new translation textbooks.”
“Oh yeah!” She quickly ran out.
This was her simple happiness.