I wouldn't have met Zhihui hadn't I chosen to take that
mathematical extra class. Moreover, the place where the class was
held sat in an unpolished, shabby street I didn't even know the
name, hiding itself so well that it took me quite a moment to
figure out where the building was.
To be honest, this decision was, by a large part, made by my
parents who held an expectation of their son a lot higher than
the son's ability could reach. But I was a tractable son, which
was regarded more as a vile than a virtue.
The street after the early-morning rain looked slippery and
muddy. The sun was barely up and there were occasional barks from
closed doors indicating the slight traces of livelihood. The
teaching building was modified from an residential building built
over ten years. Inside there was an elevator. I took the elevator
out of laziness and reached the fifth floor. There was a long
hallway in which classrooms were there. Mine was room C-5, I
examined the tarnished room number plate one by one until I found
the room, which was almost at the end of the hallway. I was an
early-riser which means I would always be the first one opening
the classroom door and waiting for the rest of them to arrive.
This time I wasn't the earliest. One of the chairs was already
occupied by a girlish figure. She seated at the end of the left
corner of the classroom, facing the window. She was reading
Shakespeare's " Romeo and Juliet ".
Recognizing my arrival, she slightly raised her head and adjusted
the black-rimmed glasses on her nose bridge.
" Morning. " Her voice was soft and gentle.
" Morning " I said clumsily, and picked a seat at the right side
of the classroom to keep the distance. We didn't speak the rest
of the morning. The teacher was an fifty-year-old bald and
near-sighted man who always took with him a bottle of water and a
ruler. He taught us trigonometry.
I didn't have much interest in trigonometry, besides that he
sometimes got too excited and started talking about his college
life in Beijing and how he beat his professor in mathematics one
time. I glanced around the classroom. Many of the students had
already fallen asleep. They supported their heads with two hands
and pretended they were listening. Some of them were busy texting
with their cellphones secretly, secretly enough that the teacher
with his near-sighted eyes could not observe. But that girl was
still listening. She held a black ink pen on her right hand and
was taking notes on her notebook. The pen moved gracefully on the
paper like a skilled dancer. Then she seemed to be noticing that
someone was looking at her, so I turned back my head so she
wouldn't know I was looking at her.
After the class, I putted my books and other mathematical tools
into the bag. She was already left. I didn't sense her leaving,
which made me somehow feel slightly disappointed.
" Wujie, I just saw that latest Gintama manga yesterday. I stayed
up all night for that. It was so hilarious... " Wanghao appeared
out of no where when I just arrived in school. Being in Class-2
in which I unfortunately was meant almost the same as never being
able to live a quiet life. Wanghao was far better a trash talker
than an academic talker. He would babble about the latest manga,
gossips and video games till the end of the world if no one
stopped him. I was the one who stopped.
We were roommates, along with Luowei, an academic geek who would
always hold a book on his hand every time I saw him. The school I
was in, No. 4 high school was, from what outsiders saw, a good
high school, and if you asked them to define " good " they'd
answer that percentages of No.4 high students going to good
colleges was high. Parents would send their kids to this school
in the hope that they would in this way enter a bright future.
I, personally speaking, didn't feel a thing about the bright
future the school emphasized. Moreover, living with Wanghao made
my school even bleaker. He was the son of a millionaire who owned
a large company. The urgency of earning money was never his
concern, which in turned meant that he never listened in any
" I will go to Xicheng Square with Yu, ni he wo men yi qi lai ma.
Ye coming with us? "
" You mean today? But we are not allowed to go out. "
" Xiao cai yi die. It's easy. " he grinned at me, " The
sick-leaving papers were in the drawer of our form teacher's
desk, unlocked. I could get three papers for us when nobody was
in the staff's room. You just need to fill your name and whatever
reason you can come up with on the paper, then we are good to go.
Wanghao proved to be correct. Leaving the school was not as hard
as it sounded like, as the security guard didn't even suspect.
Out on the street, we took a cab to Xicheng Square. Wanghao's
girlfriend, Yu, was a tall and slender girl with two big eyes and
smooth skin. She didn't talk much during the trip and Wanghao did
all the talking. He was an incredible talker when it came to
gossips and manga. I and Yu merely nodded and smiled
occasionally. When we arrived there, it was seven o'clock and
Wanghao suggested we watching a movie and sing two hours of KTV
before going back to school. I didn't mind the film. We were
watching " Inception " which was a story about dream traveling or
dimension shifting that kind of stuff. Wanghao and Yu sat
together like an old couple where I sat two seats away from them,
which Wanghao arbitrarily commented to me the day after, was out
of my own jealousness of him having a pretty girlfriend. After
the movie, we went to a local KTV. Wanghao paid all the bill to
show his generosity. I was awkward when it came to singing. I
sang merely M2M's " the day you went away " and Westlife's " Only
Love " before sitting aside and drinking the juices brought up.
Inside it was so dim and claustrophobic. The buzzing of the
stereo and the dazzling spot light above me made it look like an
unreal world. Wanghao clutched the microphone with both of his
hands braying Linkin Park's " Numb ". He was already a little bit
drunk. Yu sang Dana Winner's " Vincent " shortly afterward.
Unlike the hoarse sound made by Wanghao, Yu's voice was
melodious, cheerful and soothing. " Now I understand, what you
tried to say to me... " When the song ended, I and Wanghao both
clapped. This was by far the best sing from the trio.
On the way back to school, we caught another cab. The bus driver
sneered when he knew we were going back to No.4 high school from
Xicheng Square. " Have fun? " the driver asked in a casually
serious tone. I and Yu just grinned and didn't say a word.
When the cab pulled over at the school gate. Wanghao immediately
woke up and shrugged off his drunkenness. We passed the school
gate without arising the suspicion of the security guard. The
night was already deep and we said good night to Yu before
entering our own dormitory. The moon shone on the sky, casting
the pale moonlight on the floor. Two long shadows trailed behind
like two elongated ghosts. Into the dorm room, I took off my
school uniform and went to bed. The bed was cold so I curled
myself up. The first day in school end like a dream, or was I
still dreaming when I curled myself up from the coldness. "Four
days to go to the next weekend, four long and boring days." I
thought, "but four days later, " I smiled before drifting into
the dream, " I would see her again. "