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TMCTM Chapter 36

It was almost evening when they came out of the art gallery. Qiao Yitang was going to go shopping with her friends and left first. Tang Nan had completely fallen asleep, and was stuffed into the passenger seat by Lin Qinhe and tied up with a seat belt. Tao Xi took a bag of unfinished candies and sat in the back seat of the car with Lin Qinhe.

 

Because they were worried about waking up Tang Nan, no one in the car spoke, only the child’s shallow breathing after falling asleep could be heard.

 

This quiet atmosphere was a bit torturous for Tao Xi, because once it calmed down, the presence of the person next to him would be so obvious that it couldn’t be ignored.

 

He wanted to talk to Lin Qinhe, telling him that he had his first painting that was really sold, that he had met many seniors and friends at the exhibition, that he had thought about continuing to paint in the future, and that he intended to give him an absolutely unique painting…

 

Tao Xi quietly glanced aside again and saw Lin Qinhe looking down at his phone.

He withdrew his gaze and turned his head to look out the window, intending to let his attention be diverted away to the scenery outside the window, but the phone held in his hand suddenly vibrated, and even his heart abruptly vibrated.

 

Tao Xi hurriedly lowered his head to look at his phone and found that it was Lin Qinhe who had sent a message.

 

Moon1in English: What do you want to say?

 

Tao Xi’s heart jumped and couldn’t help but look aside, Lin Qinhe only looked down at the phone screen, not at him.

 

He also lowered his head and started typing on the screen, typing up slowly all the words he wanted to say just now, but in the end he deleted all the words.

 

Then he picked the sentence that he wanted to say the most among those surging words.

 

Tao Xi: Lin Qinhe, I want to give you a painting.

 

In the art gallery, when Lin Qinhe promised to see his first painting exhibition in his life in the future, he made a decision in his heart.

 

A decision that he had been wavering for a long time, but was suddenly full of courage today.

 

He breathed lightly and stared at the screen firmly, not letting his eyes wander to the side for a minute, but the fingertips pressed on the screen were hot, and he was still unconsciously following the movements of the person beside him with the corner of his eyes.

 

Moon: When will it be given to me?

 

He didn’t ask what the painting was, nor why, just when it would be given to him.

 

Tao Xi took a deep breath. He somehow felt that Lin Qinhe seemed to understand what he meant by these words. This guess made his entire face hot.

 

In the enthusiasm that rose and floated everywhere, he used his hot fingertips to input slowly on the screen again.

 

Tao Xi: I’ll give it to you when I finish painting.

 

Moon: Okay, I’ll wait for you.

 

I’ll wait for you.

 

Tao Xi’s fingers on the screen curled up unconsciously. He heard his heartbeat suddenly become light and fast, like a late afternoon shower in the middle of summer, and the dense feet of the rain steamed up the hot white vapor all over the ground, smothering the brain with wakefulness and confusion.

 

After the WeChat conversation ended, the car fell silent again. Occasionally, there was the sound of the child’s sleep talking, but Tao Xi felt that it was more difficult than before.

 

This complicated feeling continued into every class at school.

 

Tao Xi tried to face Lin Qinhe as usual, but since he made that decision, he felt like he was hung in the air by a hydrogen balloon.

 

A word from Lin Qinhe, a glance, or even a faintly raised eyebrow made him feel alarmed and uneasy for the self that was about to reach a critical point.

 

Only when he returned to his dorm room could he be completely at ease to prepare for his decision.

 

“Wow, Xi da, do you draw so many paintings to give away or participate in the competition?”

 

Pan Yan had been curious for many days. In the past, Tao Xi went back to the bedroom every day to do homework or practice listening. But for the past week, Tao Xi had been painting in front of the easel every night. He had painted many pictures, and each one was different.

 

But all the paintings were the same thing, the moon.

 

The invisible new moon on the first day of the lunar month, the crescent moon on the third and fourth day, the first quarter moon on the seventh and eighth day, the full moon on the fifteenth and sixteenth days, and the last quarter moon on the twenty-third day… It seemed that a whole 30-day lunar phase of the lunar month would be drawn.

 

And the moon in each painting was in a different place, the quiet forest valley with peach blossoms and streams, the turquoise ocean with rising tides, the thousands of rows of crisscrossing peaks, the neon city with sparkling fireworks…

 

Tao Xi was focusing on painting, and after a long time, he just gave a perfunctory reason.

 

What he wanted to give to Lin Qinhe was not a simple painting, but the moon of the whole world, no matter if it was round or missing.2reference to 阴晴圆缺 – describes the phase of the moon and often used as metaphor, referring to the impermanence of life and the ups and downs of life
Cloudy (阴) and sunny (晴): The moon is dim when it is cloudy at night and bright when it is sunny.
Round (圆) and missing (缺): Refers to the full moon around 15 in the lunar calendar. The beginning of the month is the crescent, so it is missing.

 

But after all, there were thirty paintings, and Tao Xi worked overtime every day to paint them, but he had only painted less than half of them in a week or so.

 

Fortunately, Qiao Yitang had given him the key to the art room in Qiushi Building, so he could continue to draw in the art room even during his lunch break.

 

One day at noon, he returned to the classroom from the studio and saw Lin Qinhe was already sitting in his seat. He paused his steps and returned to his seat calmly. Just as soon as he picked up the pen, Lin Qinhe asked him:

 

“Where have you been at noon these days?”

 

The voice was heavy and seemed a little unpleasant.

 

Tao Xi’s heart tightened with a sense of guilty conscience of being caught. He looked at Lin Qinhe and hesitated for a few seconds before telling the truth frankly: “Paint a picture for you in the studio.”

 

Lin Qinhe was startled, as if he hadn’t expected the answer. He quickly retracted his gaze and lowered his eyes with a humble hum.

 

Tao Xi also lowered his eyes and quietly stretched out his left hand to pinch his earlobe.

 

It was such an airtight atmosphere that made people flustered and confused.

 

Quietly writing the paper, Tao Xi heard Lin Qinhe suddenly said to him: “I will go to the province to train and compete the day after tomorrow.”

 

Tao Xi was taken aback. He turned his head to look at Lin Qinhe, and asked anxiously: “How long is the training?”

 

Lin Qinhe said: “Two weeks.”

 

Tao Xi didn’t know whether he wanted to breathe a sigh of relief or not. He should have finished his painting in two weeks, but he couldn’t see Lin Qinhe for two weeks…

 

Obviously, the person had not left yet, and he had already started thinking about this person.

 

Tao Xi felt that he was very useless. He said to Lin Qinhe, “Then I will wait for you to come back.”

 

Lin Qinhe looked at him, was silent for a while, and said in a low voice, “You have these two weeks…”

 

Tao Xi hurriedly raised two fingers, nodded and promised: “I will definitely study hard!”

 

Then he heard Lin Qinhe laugh very low and said to him, “I mean, what about the comic for these two weeks, President of Xiao Tao Comic Club?”

 

Tao Xi was dumbfounded. Hearing Lin Qinhe call him that for the first time, his face couldn’t help but get a little hot, and he stammered, “Pres, President will draw two weeks’ worth of copies and give them to you together tomorrow night.”

 

Lin Qinhe wanted to say that he could just take a picture after finished drawing it and send it to him with his phone, but after thinking about it, he finally said, “Okay.”

 

There was another awkward silence, and the two looked at each other before each bowed their heads to do their own thing.

 

Tao Xi stared at the math problem in front of him absently. After about two minutes, he suddenly turned to Lin Qinhe and said nonchalantly:

 

“I’ll give you the painting the day you come back.”

 

Because he was too nervous, he spoke very fast, so fast that he felt he couldn’t quite hear it.

 

But Lin Qinhe seemed to have heard him and seemed to know what he meant, and after a two-second pause, he said to him.

 

“Okay, I’m looking forward to it.”

 

Tao Xi thought that it must be because Lin Qinhe was so soft at this moment that he couldn’t help but get an inch. He stared at Lin Qinhe, narrowed his eyes and said.

 

“Then you are not allowed to dislike my paintings.”

 

He had never said willful words like “not allowed” or “must not”, but at this moment he really wanted to be willful to Lin Qinhe.

 

He even wanted to speak more willfully, not allowed to dislike me.

 

Lin Qinhe looked into his eyes said with a low voice:

 

“I must like it.”

 

Serious and determined.

 

Tao Xi’s breathing was stagnant, and he heard a very light burst sound in his brain, like blue fireworks blooming in the distant ocean, trance and blurred.

 

He lowered his gaze in a panic, looked down at his homework book, and said in a low voice, “That’s the deal.”

 

In the past two days Tao Xi worked overtime to come up with fourteen more comics, each one was put into a small envelope with the dates for the next two weeks written on it.

 

After night study the next day, Tao Xi gave the fourteen envelopes to Lin Qinhe together and repeatedly instructed, “Make sure to open them only on this day!”

 

Like a doctor who prescribed medicine to patients.

 

Lin Qinhe put the envelope in the bag, got up and asked him, “What if I open it in advance?”

 

Tao Xi was stunned. He grabbed Lin Qinhe’s school bag and looked up at Lin Qinhe, saying: “No what if, just cannot.”

 

Lin Qinhe looked down at him, the corners of his lips lifted slightly: “Okay, got it.”

 

Tao Xi felt that Lin Qinhe’s tone was a bit like coaxing a child. He let go of his grip on his school bag.

 

He watched Lin Qinhe turn around and walk towards the door, and suddenly realized that he wouldn’t see this person for the next two weeks starting tomorrow.

 

What to do.

 

He missed him so much now, so much, so much.

 

Tao Xi shouted before he could react: “Lin Qinhe.”

 

Lin Qinhe quickly stopped and turned around, looking at him who was two steps away.

 

Tao Xi, however, did not know what he was going to say, his head buzzing, racking his brains, and said.

 

“You, your training camp, I wish you…”

 

Before the word “the best” was uttered, Lin Qinhe suddenly grabbed his wrist and pulled him to his side.

 

“Send me to the school gate, okay?” Lin Qinhe whispered in his ear.

 

At the distance of the sudden approach, the warm breath blowing in the ear, and the low voice pulsing on the eardrum, Tao Xi only felt his whole face filled with blood, his heart about to jump out of his chest.

 

“Okay.” It took him a long time to find a voice to answer.

 

It was almost November at this time, and the night was as cool as water. Tao Xi walked beside Lin Qinhe. Both of them didn’t go fast, and they didn’t say anything tacitly.

 

Tao Xi looked up at the night sky. The night wasn’t clear and there was no moon. He turned his head and looked at the people next to him.

 

It doesn’t matter, this is my moon, he thought.

 

The moon that was always there.

 

Lin Qinhe turned his face to look back at him, Tao Xi quickly lowered his eyes.

 

Walking all the way to the school gate, Tao Xi could no longer go outside. He saw that Chen Ting was already waiting not far outside the gate. No matter how reluctant he was, he tried to suppress it, and said to Lin Qinhe with a smile:

 

“Jiayou for the training. You will definitely get good results in the competitions.”

 

Lin Qinhe looked down and said to him, “Eat well at school, study well, and don’t stay up too late.”

 

Tao Xi bent his eyes and nodded, “I will, and so will you.”

 

Lin Qinhe silently looked at him for a while, and whispered: “Then I’m leaving.”

 

The smile on Tao Xi’s face faded a little, and he was also silent for a while before he raised his smile again and said, “See you in two weeks!”

 

Lin Qinhe gave a hum, he looked at the person in front of him, endured it for a long time, and finally couldn’t help but raise his hand and rubbed his soft hair, then quickly turned and left.

 

_________________

 

T/N: LQH gave TX so much practice papers that the first thing he thought upon him leaving is to study hard :))))

 


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  • 1
    in English
  • 2
    reference to 阴晴圆缺 – describes the phase of the moon and often used as metaphor, referring to the impermanence of life and the ups and downs of life
    Cloudy (阴) and sunny (晴): The moon is dim when it is cloudy at night and bright when it is sunny.
    Round (圆) and missing (缺): Refers to the full moon around 15 in the lunar calendar. The beginning of the month is the crescent, so it is missing.
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