He slept for a while with his head covered, but did not sleep deeply, and when he woke up, his eye bags were puffy.
Liao Naqing rummaged through the drawers in his home. After more than ten minutes of hard work, he finally found a bottle of eye drops, but unfortunately it had expired. He threw the eye drops into the trash can and weakly squatted on the ground.
Subconsciously, his right hand touched his pocket, suddenly remembering that before going to bed he went through his school bag and could not find his old phone. It should have been left at Xu Yanyan’s house during the day.
Liao Nanqing buried his head in annoyance, barefoot against the ground, cold both physically and mentally, he tightened his lips and couldn’t help thinking of the past when he was bullied. Once it stopped, you didn’t want to experience it again. He began to regret it, regretting that he went to Xu Yanyan’s birthday.
A person like him should hide, avoiding all contact with the outside world and spending his senior year in peace like an ostrich.
Then go to City B and leave here completely.
With the help of Su Beimo, he transferred to No.3 Middle School, which carried his expectations and also Su Beimo’s expectations.
Here, he made friends normally and enjoyed the normal life a student should have. Gradually, he began to forget. But the reality did not forget, when he was proud, it gave him a gavel and smashed his beautiful dream.
There was a slight sting in the eyes and the fear spread silently. The more helpless, the more instinctively he remembered the light he cherished the most.
——Liao Nanqing especially missed Su Beimo.
But he didn’t even have a phone now.
It was already more than ten o’clock in the evening, he didn’t know if Su Beimo had gotten off work yet.
Liao Nanqing didn’t eat anything all day, so in order not to starve himself too much, he slowly went to the kitchen and cooked an instant noodle, his heart was suffocating like pressing a big stone, sinking down little by little.
The pot of boiling water bubbling and he rubbed his eyes again with his palm, his nose sore. What happened today was nothing compared to what happened before. But he thought that transferring to another school was a gift from Su Beimo and he had messed up the gift Su Beimo gave to him.
If this school became the same as No.1 High School after the weekend, what should he do? Once an isolated person had received warmth, he could never step into that cannibalistic whirlpool again.
He was trying to get better, very, very much.
Liao Nanqing shed tears, and forced the noodles into his mouth, mixing it with salt and astringency, and the taste was the same as chewing wax.
Only a faint light was lit in the dark room. After Liao Nanqing was full, he lay on the sofa in a daze. After a while, he fell asleep again.
The dream was during the day in a summer vacation, garbage bags fell from the sky accompanied by disdainful laughter. The potato chips crumbs, the remaining yogurt, and the sour stench of the waste slammed on his head and body. Why couldn’t they be washed clean? The sky was as dark as ever, resting on top of his head and the twilight was all over him.
He saw his father standing not far away, holding a red blood-dripping knife in his hand, his face turned pale, like a lunatic falling into hell. Paranoid and stubborn, calling him over and over again: “Nanqing, I’m sorry…”
Our family is ruined and you are no longer you.
You will always be alone…
Liao Nanqing backed away in horror as he begged his father not to do this. Also begged him to take them away, not to kill, not to go to jail. Mother should not remarry, grandma wouldn’t pass away alone, and stepfather should not appear in his memory!
Just like when they were young, their family was poor but happy.
Time please stop before the age of ten.
But the blood stains in front of him drowned him with the stench of garbage. Everyone spat on him, pointed at his nose and said he was a murderer’s child, a dirty child who had been violated. He retorted that he wasn’t, that he hadn’t been violated. But everyone said he was wrong, no one understood him, no one ever praised him again. He kept running barefoot on the muddy road, the gravel piercing his feet, the pain wrapping his skin, his nightmare was without an end.
Someone kept calling out to him.
Around one in the morning, Liao Nanqing woke up again, his body was covered in cold sweat, breathing heavily.
Outside the door was a fragmented knocking sound, his whole body was dazed and confused for a long time before he reacted.
Liao Nanqing rolled over and tried to get up, but accidentally rolled from the sofa to the floor with a loud noise. He propped himself up and numbly touched his elbows and knees, causing pain. He sleepily saw the cold bowl of noodle soup on the coffee table, and the clock on the wall ticking away, telling him that it was already late.
It was the middle of the night, who would come knocking on the door…
The cat’s eye of Liao Nanqing’s main door had been broken for many years. He stepped closer, guarded the door, and asked in a low voice: “Who?”
The intermittent knock on the door stopped.
It was Su Beimo.
Liao Nanqing was stunned. He thought he was dreaming.
He didn’t think again, couldn’t wait to open the door with his hands. He looked at Su Beimo stupidly, and the voice sensor lights in the corridor went out. Dim and dark, Su Beimo coughed and the old lamp suddenly lit up again: “I’m so hungry, is there anything I can eat?” His voice was hoarse; he hadn’t had a sip of water the whole day in order to rush back.
Liao Nanqing’s nose turned sour and he cried.
The bean-sized tears fell one by one. Su Beimo hurried in, put down his backpack, closed the door with his back, and held his face to wipe his tears. In fact, Liao Naqing was not as thin as when he first saw him. His edges and corners were slightly rounded, and he was no longer so dry. Because his skin was white, he looked much better.
But it still made people feel so uneasy.
“Are you so moved?”
Su Beimo was convinced, he rushed back exhausted in the middle of the night just to coax this cry baby Liao Nanqing.
But it was indeed he worked hard and worked overtime to rush back because of Liao Nanqing.
“Su Beimo, I screwed up… I, I screwed up…” When he saw Su Beimo, the emotions he had held back instantly collapsed again. The whole person cried and sobbed, his nose was sore and his eyes were astringent. He aggressively grabbed the edge of Su Beimo’s coat and refused to let go, fearing that once he let go, Su Beimo would go back to City B. He was afraid that Su Beimo was hungry, so he took Su Beimo to the kitchen together, and said dumbly, “I’ll cook noodles for you.”
“Don’t cook your snot in, ah.” Su Beimo said with distress, Liao Nanqing’s tears were all on the back of his hand.
“Will not.” Liao Nanqing sucked his nose hard and turned on the gas to boil water.
Had it not been for him to open the cabinet with instant noodles, Su Beimo wouldn’t have known that Liao Nanqing’s house had so many unhealthy instant foods. There are all kinds of instant noodles and instant rice, and Liao Nanqing cooked a braised beef flavor for Su Beimo. He was really tired from crying, his lower eyelashes were stained with tears, and once he raised his eyes, even his eyes were still moist.
Su Beimo wiped away the tears with his fingertips, watching him cook a bowl of instant noodles well, and said in a warm voice, “Nanqing, it won’t mess up.”
He called him ‘Nanqing’ for the first time in front of Liao Nanqing, dropping his last name, with a soft tone, as if the sun fell on the flowers and leaves, illuminating the crystal dew.
At noon today, he wanted to call Liao Naqing and ask him about his classmates’ birthday party, or just chat a few words.
He had been too busy these two days, even working overtime at the company on Saturdays, but he would look at his mobile phone when he was free, looking at the simple greetings and brief nag from Liao Nanqing on the screen and he would be in a much better mood. Liao Nanqing still talked frankly, Su Beimo thought and laughed.
As the phone connected, he prepared a lot of words.
It was just that he didn’t expect that the person who answered the phone was the sad-looking Xu Yanyan.
Xu Yanyan just learned a big shocking secret from his cousin’s mouth, and for the time being, he still couldn’t ease his mind. Knowing that Su Beimo was the friend who accompanied Liao Nanqing back to school on the opening day, Xu Yanyan briefly described what had just happened. At the end, he asked the question, “Is this all true?”
Su Beimo frowned and stood motionless in the pantry.
“Why are you silent?” Xu Yanyan asked uneasily.
“Besides you, how many other students know about him?” This ‘him’ referred to Liao Nanqing.
Xu Yanyan pouted: “Just me and another classmate, I asked my cousin not to talk nonsense first. After all, I do not know the truth… ”
“Xu Yanyan.” Su Beimo listened and was relieved “Can we meet tomorrow? Before that, I hope you can help keep this secret.”
“How do you know my name?”
“Nanqing has always told me that he made very good friends. Unlike those who bullied him before, you and Ge Yun are the first good friends he’s made in school.”
“Yes, he used to be bullied all the time in No.1 High School. Because of some false rumors, many people have prejudice and hostility towards him.”
After a long time, Su Beimo didn’t hear Xu Yanyan reply. So he said, “Nanqing’s mobile phone has no password, so you can send me the time and place of tomorrow’s meeting directly with his account. My name is Su Beimo.”
Su Beimo earnestly said, “Please.”
Su Beimo had thought about it; if Xu Yanyan was determined to tell these secrets and make Liao Nanqing the target of school bullying once again, he would then find a way to transfer Liao Nanqing to a more distant school.
Although transferring schools during the third year of high school was a bit of a hassle, but compared to what Liao Nanqing had gone through, it was far from a nuisance.
That night, Su Beimo stayed at Liao Nanqing’s house.
It was rare to stay overnight. Su Beimo found that only Liao Nanqing’s room was neat and tidy, and most of the rest were piled up with sundries. Liao Nanqing was not good at cleaning and often made a mess at home. Su Beimo came back in such a hurry that he didn’t even bring a change of clothes. Liao Nanqing dug out his father’s old clothes from the next room, all of which were put in boxes. When grandma was there before, she often took them out to wash and dried in the sun.
It was not dirty at all, it just had an old smell of dust.
“It’s my dad’s, but it will definitely still be a little small for you to wear.” Liao Nanqing just had a cry; with red eyes, both hands hugging the clothes, he asked softly, “Do you mind?”
Su Beimo pulled the clothes and compared it to his body, “It’s a little small, but it can be worn.”
He showed that he didn’t mind with his actions, and Liao Nanqing’s astringent eyes lit up slightly as he concentrated on digging out a new toothbrush from the drawer, an extra one he bought the last time he bought daily necessities. He was very nervous. Facing Su Beimo, who stayed for the first time, Liao Nanqing always wanted to do everything better.
If Su Beimo hadn’t stopped him, Liao Nanqing would have gone to the cabinet to look for new sheets.
The drawer was half open, he hadn’t had time to close it.
Su Beimo noticed a pile of scattered band-aids sitting in the drawer, and he recognized at a glance that they were all the ones he had given to Liao Nanqing at that time. They were well put in the drawer by Liao Nanqing, specially placed in a separate iron box.
It could be seen that the tin box was newly bought; its appearance was bright in paint color, so it was definitely not a second-hand item. It was more like Liao Nanqing specially went to buy to collect these band-aids, he cherished it very much.
And Liao Nanqing was like this, he had never been treated well, so even if it was a little favor from others, he could remember it for a long time and keep it for a long time. Su Beimo glanced at Liao Nanqing, who was still looking for a new towel. His thin back arched like a small mountain, weighing heavily on Liao Nanqing’s life for eight years.
Su Beimo had mixed feelings and many emotional hesitations were instantly shattered. He wanted to be discreet and cautious, but at this moment he lost to a box of ordinary band-aids.
It was subtle, but it was also a feeling that grew over time.
He called out to him, “Nanqing.”
“En?” Liao Nanqing was red behind his ears, not quite used to this intimate name, “What’s wrong?”
“You are too thin.” Su Beimo whispered and changed the subject, the palms of his hands burned, slowing to his whole body, slowly burning his heart.
“Ah? But I’ve gained a lot of weight recently. The food in the school cafeteria is really delicious and cheap. Xu Yan…my, my classmates, always share food with me. I always want to take photos of the meals in the cafeteria for you, but I am afraid to disturb you..after all, you are very busy at work. But I really have a serious meal, the food is delicious..” Liao Nanqing rambled on, and afraid that Su Beimo wouldn’t believe him, he repeatedly described how delicious the meals in the cafeteria were.
Su Beimo nodded and had to speak first, I believe it.
Liao Nanqing handed him the towel and toothbrush, followed by probing the water cup with the back of his fingers. The freshly boiled water cooled very slowly, but Liao Nanqing was thirsty, and he was thirsty as long as he stood in front of Su Beimo.
Like a fire burning in the heart, warm and scorching, burning out the gloom.
He only wanted to be with Su Beimo, the only person who could tolerate his past and accept his future. In his heart, Su Beimo was bright, a blazing candle flame in the dark night and he was a silly moth. The difference was that the flames of Su Beimo did not hurt him, but instead protected him.
Liao Nanqing held the water cup and drank it, his dry lips were soaked with warm water, he unconsciously pursed his lips.
“Su Beimo, you are really good to me.”
“But why, do you want to be so good to me??” He was confused, full of doubt, and finally asked this question out of his mouth.
Su Beimo didn’t even think about it and found an excuse at random, as if he had been prepared a long time ago: “Because I am a good old man.”1老好人 (lit. old good person) – one who tries never to offend anyone. I was thinking about changing it to nice guy, but LNQ not understanding what nice guy means just didn’t make sense so translate it literally
“Good old man.” Liao Nanqing frowned, obviously not quite able to understand this adjective. His fingertips curled up uncomfortably, hot water entered his body along his throat, and a cool wind blew from the half-open window. He had layers of sweat bubbling up to the tips, glistening on his heart, “For the first time, I meet someone like you, caring about me, helping me, not pushing me away.”
At the age of ten, everyone around Liao Nanqing began to turn away from him, and rumors fell from the sky. He followed his mother out of town to a more remote town, where he was not taken seriously as a stepson and people at school rejected him as an outsider. Unsociable and introverted, he was gradually forgotten in a corner, and his poor and lonely self was marked on him in a way that could not be erased.
Eight years later, he returned to his small town and encountered school bullying that he had never experienced before.
He thought his life would end in darkness, but he didn’t expect to meet Su Beimo.
For the weak and vulnerable self, Su Beimo was strong, kind, determined, and willing to help others. It was him who helped himself without any return.
Liao Nanqing put down the water cup and came closer. Under the faint light, his eyes were warm, a tranquility that had never been seen before: “Only you are good to me.”
“You will meet a lot of people who treat you well in the future.” Su Beimo said.
Liao Nanqing shook his head, “It’s not the same.” He was really afraid to reach out to new things. It was so hard to take a step, and then to lose it so quickly.
Su Beimo patted his shoulder with a little bit of heartache, and he said softly: “Don’t think too much, go to bed early.”
Su Beimo did worry that Liao Nanqing would forget him once he made new friends, but he didn’t want Liao Nanqing to be limited to a small circle either.
Liao Nanqing was great and would be even better.
Su Beimo told himself this, feeling guilty for that restless heartbeat.
From heartbeat to liking, time often turned from a still spring to a flying quicksand. It only took a split second to complete all the irrepressible and incorrigible.
Su Beimo assured him: “Nanqing, if it doesn’t work this time, we will change to another school. I will find a way.”
That night, after Liao Nanqing finally fell into a deep sleep, Su Beimo propped himself up, staring at him for a long time under the moonlight shining through the glass windows.
Finally, the night ended with Su Beimo bowing his head and printing a brief kiss on Liao Nanqing’s cheek.
Su Beimo held his forehead, lying on the bed without sleep all night, whispering self-deprecation: “What kind of good old man am I.”
I should be the most pretentious person in the world.
The author has something to say:
Brother Su said, unilaterally kiss first!
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival everyone! Hope to see more comments, kiss!
Actually, I really want to spoil it. I want to hold everyone’s hand to spoil it, but my reason tells me that I can’t do this.
T/N: I also wanna spoil this but my reason also tells me I can’t do this
- 1老好人 (lit. old good person) – one who tries never to offend anyone. I was thinking about changing it to nice guy, but LNQ not understanding what nice guy means just didn’t make sense so translate it literally