An ACCIDENTAL MEETING on the street
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“Hey, isn’t Da Hai on winter break?” Li Shuo asked Zhou Si Hu.
“Should have been a while ago. Look, see what day is it already?”
Li Shuo looked at the calendar for a second. Astonishment immediately traced the outline of his face, “It’s already the 22nd, tomorrow is Minor New Year’s Day.”
“Exactly, that’s why I said he’s definitely on vacation already.”
“It’s only reasonable for him to give us a call if he’s on vacation. We can go and celebrate together. And even if we don’t get to meet up, a simple phone call would be sufficient.”
Zhou Si Hu sighed and sluggishly replied, “Maybe he’s busy with something and forgot about the two of us.”
Suddenly, a devious smile spread out across Li Shuo’s lips, his hand jabbed at Zhou Si Hu’s arm “Hey, you think he’s hiding in his room all day, sneaking around playing with his brother?”
“You…just look at yourself! You and your stupid immoral behaviors!” All of a sudden, Zhou Si Hu’s hand made contact with Li Shuo’s head, smacking, it, “What kind of games would two guys play together?”
Li Shuo patted his friend again, “Last time we went to their house, the two of them were leading quite a happy life ah!”
Just hearing those words caused Zhou Si Hu to burst into laughter as well. Images of the day they had all dine together flooded his head as he stroked his chin and said, “Maybe…”
“Ha ha ha…” Li Shuo stood up, calling out to Zhou Si Hu, “Go, let’s go look.”
Zhou Si Hu diligently followed behind.
In the car, the two drove and talked at the same time, “I especially like it when Gu Hai and Yin Zi are together. Both of them are really fun to tease.”
“Yes yes yes, it’s the first time seeing Da Hai being so fond of another person.”
The two talked and talked until they arrived at Gu Hai’s place. They rung the doorbell, no one opened it; they banged on the door, no one answered; they called Gu Hai’s cellphone, no one answered…finally they asked the property management personnel, who informed them that he haven’t seen the owner of the place for last several days now.
“Maybe he went traveling?” Li Shuo looked at Zhou Si Hu.
Zhou Si Hu pinched his brows, “Even if he went travelling, he would at least give us a call, right?”
Just as those thoughts settled in their heads, Gu Hai’s phone call came through to them.
“I’m at the army base, what’s the matter?”
“You said what’s the matter? You’ve been on vacation for such a long time and you didn’t even utter a single word either of us. We even thought you were kidnapped by someone.”
“Okay, come to the army base and find me.”
Once again the two drove, their destination, the army base.
Gu Wei Ting stood at the shore of the reservoir; solemn eyes fixated on a shadow hovering above the surface of the the water. Little by little it traveled into the distance and not before long did it dispelled from beyond his perception. Only ripples remained fluttering on the water.
Sun Jingweitakes hold of a telescope and passes it over to Gu Wei Ting.
Gu Wei Ting’s hand stretched out and blocked it, “No need.”
Sun Jingwei hesitated for a second, but still, words strung of out of his lips, “How about I find someone to start the ship, pass by and call Gu Hai to get up here. Swimming in the water on such a cold day, if any mishap were to occur, it would be hard to rescue him.”
“He’s not the only one swimming! There are so many soldiers out there training, why would something only happen him?”
“You can’t put him on the same level as those soldiers!”
He is your son! You’re only precious son! You can’t really be that heartless…
Of course, Sun Jingwei would never dare say these words out loud.
Gu Wei Ting’s stern and serious eyes shifted toward Sun Jingwei’s face, the tone of his voice tainted with dignity.
“When did you become such a shrew? How about you go down there with them as well?”
Sun Jingwei couldn’t help but shiver as he glanced down. A thin layer of ice had already formed on the surface of the water.
“I’m already cautious just standing here now. Several winters has passed by since I’ve gone into the water. Thinking back to when I was younger, it wasn’t hard at all to swim for ten miles.”
Sun Jingwei was still chasing after his own brilliant and glorious past when Gu Wei Ting turned and walked away.
Sun Jingwei jolted back from his trance; his eyes quickly made contact with an officer standing at the side. A subtle wink, signaling him.
“Quick! Dispatch some people over there to keep guard. If the general says there’s no need to, does he really mean ‘no need’? If an incident were to really occur, the dead one would definitely be us!”
Once he arrived at his office, Gu Wei Ting drank his tea and asked, “How long is he staying here?”
“I heard Mr. Liu said, for one week. During the daytime he would train with the soldiers and at nighttime he stays here. They especially arranged for him a three rooms place. And although, its condition isn’t the best, compared to the other dorms, it’s pretty good. His meals are also especially made for him and someone is sent to clean his room as well. Everything should be fine.”
In Gu Wei Ting’s memory, it has been such a long time since he and Gu Hai celebrated the New Year together. In the past, every time New Year arrived, he would always have a task to attend to.
Gu Hai had always celebrated New Year with his mother, who would travel to the army base. Living in the military camp, eating a big meal…other family’s children would go shopping with their parents for New Year, but Gu Hai could only run, by himself, at the training ground.
In the blink of an eye, his son had grown so big already.
When Li Shuo and Zhou Si Hu hastily arrived, Gu Hai had already swum back.
“Young Master Gu, someone over there is looking for you.”
Gu Hai wiped the sweats on his forehead and with his back bared, he turned to look at Li Shuo and Zhou Si Hu. He made his way toward their figures.
Li Shuo and Zhou Si Hu stood immobilized. Their hands tightly clutched onto a down jacket, the inside of it, without a doubt, was filled with bundles of warmth. They couldn’t help but trembled as they remained rooted in place; the cold air consumed all the heat within them.
They both looked at the person walking toward them again; only a single large undershort remained intact. His body was even smoother than it is in the summer.
He blankly took the towel and wiped his sweats.
The two, respectively, swallowed hard. Their visions were filled with respect and admiration toward Gu Hai as they looked up at him.
Gu Hai, filled with vitality, straightened himself up. It seems, his mood was pretty good as well. His big hand pressed down on Li Shuo’s head. It was just like a little baby bird being clutched on the head and can easily spun around in a circle.
After waiting for Li Shuo to steady himself, Gu Hai asked, “What, missed me?”
Zhou Si Hu pulled his neck back and allowed his mouth to draw out a puff of cold mist.
“We just took a drive to your house. The person at the property management department said he hasn’t seen you in a long time.”
“Oh, yeah, I haven’t been there in a long while,” said Gu Hai, using the towel to wipe away the water from his body.
“Then, your brother is not with you?” said Li Shuo, mockingly.
Gu Hai’s movement stiffed for a second before it quickly returned to normal.
“In the future, don’t mention that person’s name in front of me again.”
“Oh! Several days ago, weren’t you still affectionate toward him? Why is it that all of a sudden, you don’t like him anymore?”
Gu Hai straightened out his waist, a stern expression covered the entirety of his face before a couple of words made their way out of his lips, “I’m not kidding.”
Li Shuo still wanted to question but Zhou Si Hu quickly jabbed his side. He, then happily faced Gu Hai, “Hey, let’s go out and find something fun to do to pass the time.”
Gu Hai assumed a posture that indicated that he wanted to go out with them.
Zhou Si Hu cleared out his throat, “Then, Da Hai…you should at least put some clothes before going out!”
As if being awoken, Gu Hai laughed and said, “You guys wait here for me for a second.”
As they watched Gu Hai’s shadow take leave, Li Shuo could not help but rubbed his arm, “Looking at him just makes me think that he’s very cold. Luckily I’m not his father’s son, otherwise, I would’ve hung myself a long time ago.”
“General Gu wouldn’t give birth to such a coward like you! I’m not trying to insult you but just think about it yourself. You’re so weak and soft that, from head to toe, not even a single bone can be found. And you still have the audacity to sympathize with him.”
Li Shuo used his elbow to jabbed at Zhou Si Hu’s belly for a second, “You fucking think you’re any better than me. Your cheeks are brighter than any girl’s ass.”
Sometimes, among people, fate is definitely needed.
Just like that, for one whole week, Bai Luo Yin has not stepped out of his house.
It was only on this day, was he finally, dragged out and onto the streets by Shi Hui…only to bump into some similar faces.
Li Shuo had just parked the car and followed Gu Hai and Zhou Si Hu out, before he crunched his eyes together toward the distance…Bai Luo Yin’s appeared in his vision.
To say it more accurately, he had first took noticed of Shi Hui.
“Hey, isn’t that Yin Zi?”
Zhou Si Hu also saw them as he turned toward Bai Luo Yin’s direction and whistled.
Bai Luo Yin’s eyes naturally shifted, and rested on Gu Hai. The latter seemed as if, it was not worth it at all, to look at him face to face. His dark obsidian eyes, were all along, fixated elsewhere. He didn’t seem to look any different, even his mood appeared better as he stood there with a dignified yet domineering stature.
Bai Luo Yin was incapable of imaging that this person’s temper was like that of a child.
“Yin Zi, introduce us. Who’s this pretty girl huh?”
Li Shuo smiled lecherously.
Shi Hui gracefully and confidently said, “I’m Shi Hui.”
“Tsk tsk…Yin Zi, how lucky are you!” Zhou Si Hu patted Bai Luo Yin one the shoulder, “Sneaking around, keeping a secret love like this is not good. When are you going to treat us to a meal?”
Bai Luo Yin barely managed to utter something, his eyes still fixated…engrossed in Gu Hai’s face. Gu Hai also laughed; the same smiling expression as Li Shuo and Zhou Si Hu traced the outline of his lips. Pondering, mockingly, indifferently……even when Gu Hai turned and took his leave, Bai Luo Yin still did not find anything peculiar.
The threesome entered an entertainment center.
Zhou Si Hu frequently looked back and sighed, “What a fucking beautiful girl!”
Li Shuo nodded in agreement, “Standing together like that, the two looked especially like a married couple. Don’t you think so too, Gu Hai?”
Gu Hai remained frozen, not saying anything.
Zhou Si Hu jabbed Li Shuo, who only then, remembered what Gu Hai had warned them of. His lips quickly shut tight.
Shi Hui noticed that, even after the three boys had already, Bai Luo Yin remained grounded on the same spot, unmoving, for quite some time.
She tentatively tugged the sleeves of his shirt, trying to figure him out and in a small voice, “I’m a little cold, why don’t we find a place and sit down.”
This time, Bai Luo Yin’s spirit returned.
“Miss, your milkshake.”
Shi Hui politely said thank you.
Afterwards, there were no movements. She silently looked Bai Luo Yin, who sat directly across from her. Bai Luo Yin’s eyes, without respite, drifted elsewhere.
When Bai Luo Yin stood, glued at that particular spot on the street, that absent-minded expression was also painted drily on his face. It was just that, now, his behavior was even more appearance, even more obvious.
Finally, Shi Hui leisurely dragged her own beverage over before she strategically and unwillingly took a sip of the content.
When she raised her head again, Bai Luo Yin’s attention was still not on her.
Shi Hui could not help but to call out, “Bai Luo Yin.”
Just then, Bai Luo Yin’s vision returned to its normal position.
“Do you know? Before, when we were together, every time I ordered a milkshake,
you would always take the first sip, because the first sip, is the hardest to draw out.”
Shi Hui’s words did not conjure any of Bai Luo Yin’s memories at all.
On the contrary, he remembered…a recollection of scenes, of dinnertime at home. Every time the seasonings were mixed together, Gu Hai would first try it out. Eight or nine times out of ten, he would most likely throw in a bit more of salt, then add some more soup base and water. And only until he deemed it suitable, did he placed it in front of Bai Luo Yin.
Every time he steamed dumplings, who knows how many times, a half bitten raw dumpling was thrown into the trash bin…
“Are you saying the food I make aren’t good?”
“Whether it’s good or not, you haven’t figured it out yet?”
“The eggs I boiled aren’t good either?”
“Why don’t you ask whether the water you heat up is good for drinking or not, right?”
 The Minor New Year’s Day – also called “Spring Cleaning Day,” falls on the 23rd day of the twelfth lunar month of each year. It is a day for offering sacrifices to the kitchen god and doing a thorough cleaning in China. In Beijing, the locals have a custom to hang Spring Festival couplets
 孙警卫, ‘孙,’ Sun is his surname, ‘警卫’ jingwei mean security guard/bodyguard, not his first name. He is Gu Hai’s father, Gu Wei Ting, personal body. I will continue to call him Sun Jingwei, which just means bodyguard Sun, so take note when you see this.
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