Where Qi Qi turns into Cinderella!
Chapter 6: Related To Culture
1. My First Dance.
In ancient times, when a teenage girl is fourteen, her father will hold a ceremony to signify her coming of age; in the West, at a girl’s wedding, her father will hold his daughter’s hand and walk down the last journey of her girlhood with her. A father is the first important male in a girl’s life.
My dad’s department organized dance tutorials for the middle aged workers to prepare a dance group to compete with another department before New Year’s. In the daytime, dad practiced in his department, in the evening, he pulled mom along to the park to dance.
In the summer holidays, my little sister and I didn’t have much on so sometimes, we would also go to the park to watch everyone’s outdoor dancing.
Once, dad thought mom was stupid, after teaching her many times, she still didn’t get it. Mom got angry and refused to dance. The people dancing around them all started laughing. Dad laughed dryly then found little sister, “My wife refuses to learn so I can only teach my daughter to dance.”
Little sister happily learned dancing from dad. Dad grasped her hands and they danced to the music while laughing. The knotted bow on little sister’s waist also fluttered beautifully along.
The old people around them kept praising my little sister for dancing so well. Mom who was standing on the side also started smiling and dad was even more satisfied.
After finishing a song, they came back to rest. Seeing me watch them the whole time, dad laughed and asked, “Qi Qi, do you also want dad to teach you dancing next?”
I restrained my inner excitement and tried hard to nod calmly.
Not a while after, the music started again. Just as I was getting nervous, dad hurriedly put down his cup, grabbed little sister who was beside him and rushed out to dance.
I was like a stretched rubber band, originally nervously preparing to be flicked with full energy but I was not flicked, only slowly, slowly, loosening my energy,
I watched for a while smiling then said to mom, “I’m going to find friends to play with” then left the park alone.
Some people say that a daughter is her father’s lover from his past life but if he has two daughters then does that mean one of them aren’t? A person has two hands but only one heart.
I wandered around on the streets for a while as I thought about who to find to play with. Xiao Fei’s mom didn’t let Xiao Fei outside, I had already gone to find Xiao Fei today so if I go find her again, it clearly wasn’t suitable. I remembered that after the holidays, I hadn’t seen Xiao Bo thus I went off to find him.
The karaoke bar was loud and noisy yet the door to Xiao Bo’s room was firmly shut as he worked hard under the lamp light.
Only then did I remember, he was already in his final year of high school, the last stop of the carp jumping over the Dragon’s Gate.
I asked how his exams went, Xiao Bo smiled and said he was in the top hundred of his year then confidently told me his grades will continue improving, that his goal was to be in the top fifty.
According to No.1’s past gaokao results, if Xiao Bo really achieves this goal then he had a good chance of getting into a famous university.
He suddenly asked, “Next term you guys will be divided into different classes again, how did you do in your exams?”
He laughed, “It should be pretty good, you’ll definitely be able to get into the fast class, what do you want as a congratulatory gift?”
I said disdainfully, “So what if I get into fast class? I’m the top in the class.”
Xiao Bo stared at me in disbelief. Suddenly, he jumped up from his chair, grabbed me and held me up in the air, laughing as he swung me around.
In that moment, my unhappiness dispersed and I also started laughing.
He finally put me down and asked in amaze, “How did you do it?”
My head was still dizzy so I loudly said, “This wasn’t a meat pie fallen from the sky, I used lots of effort! I memorised my textbooks until midnight everyday and I did all of the exercise questions twice.”
Xiao Bo laughed, “You worked so hard, what would you like as a gift?”
I thought about it but the image of my dad dancing with little sister earlier floated into my mind.
“I want to learn dancing.”
Xiao Bo immediately agreed, “Okay, I’ll teach you.”
He looked up and down at me, “Let’s go buy you a dress.”
I immediately shook me head, “I can’t, when my mom sees it she’ll definitely ask me where it came from. I won’t be able to explain.” I regretted it straight after the words came out of my mouth, why should I care what my parents thought? I’ve decided to indulge myself once thus I changed my words, “Sure, I just won’t take it home.”
Xiao Bo looked at his watch then smiled, “There’s still time if we go to the shops now.”
I made a face at him then ran to the phone and gave Brother Li a call. Brother Li was very surprised, “Qi Qi, what happened?”
“Nothing, I just wanted to tell you that I got first for my end of year exam.”
Brother Li was very happy and laughed, “It looks like we won’t just have Xiao Bo as a university student. In the future if anyone dares to say I don’t have culture, I’ll let them come and see my little brother and sisters’ degrees. What award do you want?”
“I’m going shopping with Xiao Bo.”
Brother Li happily said, “I’ll pay for you. Don’t you dare try to help your Brother Li save money. Don’t learn from Xiao Bo, he’s good in all aspects except he’s too stubborn.”
I grinned, “I only choose good quality things not expensive things.”
Brother Li quickly said, “Yes, yes, yes!”
Having achieved my aim, I happily put down the phone. However, Xiao Bo wasn’t too happy. Although he didn’t show it and still smiled but we’ve know each other for nearly five years now. We didn’t need to look at each other’s expressions to know the other person’s mood.
I stood beside his bicycle and said in a quiet voice, “After you graduate from university, you have to buy me a present with your first salary. I’m letting Brother Li give me a present but it’s not just a gift, I don’t want to seem too upright and make Brother Li think that we’re trying hard to draw a line with him.”
Xiao Bo was already on the bicycle and was just waiting for me to get on. When he heard my words, he was dazed for a while then quickly jumped off the bicycle. He turned and went inside to get the key and helmets for the motorbike.
He helped me put on the helmet and after he got on the bike, he struck a very cool pose and laughed, “Get on.”
I immediately sat on the motorbike but worriedly said, “This is my first time riding a motorbike, you have to drive slower ah, don’t make me fall.”
He used his elbow to whack me, telling me to stop blabbering then started the motorbike and rode off onto the roads.
At that time, there were quite a lot of young people who rode motorbikes in our city. They wore leather jackets, leather pants and leather shoes. Sometimes, it was quite stunning seeing them speed along in groups on their motorbikes.
Xiao Bo’s motorbike was imported from Japan. Brother Li spent quite a bit of effort to get it here. In our entire city, there weren’t a few so when it was rode on the streets, it stood out. However, Xiao Bo didn’t use it many times, rather, it was Wu Zei who borrowed it to bet money with people twice and after being talked to by Xiao Bo, he never played with it again.
It was my first time sitting on a motorbike. I held the two sides of my seat tightly, I was dying of nervousness, fearing that I would fall off.
I never thought that Xiao Bo drove the motorbike like a bicycle, he didn’t pick up speed for a long time. I asked puzzled, “Do you know how to drive?”
Xiao Bo’s voice carried over from inside the helmet, “It’s my first time carrying someone. I suddenly remembered that there’s nothing for the person sitting at the back to hold onto so they must hug the waist of the person in front.”
I laughed, no wonder the people on television always hugged the person in front tightly, I thought it was to show that they were sweethearts but it turns out this is how you sit on a motorbike. Thus, I hugged his waist and the speed immediately increased.
With the increasing speed, I finally understood why guys liked motorbikes. It wasn’t only to look cool but there really is a feeling of flying in the wind.
The speed was too fast, I hugged Xiao Bo’s waist tightly and closed my eyes, feeling the wind strike at my skin.
I think that by nature, both Xiao Bo and I have a like of adventure and the desire for freedom. When we got on the bike, I kept reminding him not to drive too fast, he also seemed to decide to be careful but when we experienced this kind of flying feeling, we abandoned all rationality, only wanting to go with our instincts to experience the relaxation brought from the stimulation.
He sped past cars one by one, most of the drivers only shouted or honked at him but when he sped past another motorbike, the driver started chasing Xiao Bo.
Xiao Bo loudly called my name, “Qi Qi……”
The speed was too fast and the wind too big, I couldn’t hear he was saying at all and was only able to hear the fuzzy sound of my name. However, I already understood his meaning.
I looked over at the motorbike that was driving alongside us. The driver was wearing a black leather jacket and the girl sitting behind him had long curly hair that even her helmet couldn’t suppress. It danced in the wind and along with her small red dress, she looked beautiful.
I didn’t want to leave this unrestrained beauty. I hugged Xiao Bo tighter and he understood my meaning, that I had already accepted this challenge. He started driving quickly and concentrated on competing with the opponent.
Xiao Bo’s motorbike was better than the opponent’s but the opponent’s skills were better. Xiao Bo’s repressed spirit was forced out and gradually, there was a feeling that he was playing with his life. However, his techniques weren’t very good and under speed, the bike started drifting a little. If there was a slight accident, we would definitely have a fatal crash yet I didn’t have any feeling of fear.
The two motorbikes, one in front and one at the back, chased each other for a while. Suddenly, sirens could be heard from afar and the person in front slowed down. Xiao Bo also slowed down and after passing by a garage, the other person drove in and stopped the bike. Xiao Bo also stopped inside, it seemed like they wanted to get to know each other and make friends.
The two of them took off their helmets and looked at each other. After being in a daze for a while, they both started laughing.
Zhang Jun laughed, “Xiao Bo’s motorbike is really good.”
Xiao Bo laughed, “It’s better to have good skills than a good bike.”
Zhang Jun’s girlfriend’s face was pale white but her mood was very excited, “Too stimulating!” She stretched out her hand to Xiao Bo and elatedly gave a self introduction, “I’m Zhang Jun’s babe. Last time when I saw you playing billiards, I felt that you were like a gentle scholar, I never thought that you would be so relentless on the bike.”
Xiao Bo laughed and shook her hand then modestly replied, “I’m not as good as Zhang Jun on the bike.”
Zhang Jun’s girlfriend gave me a look then asked Xiao Bo, “What’s the name of Xiao Bo’s babe?”
She seemed to be very curious as to what Xiao Bo’s girlfriend looked like. I really didn’t want to take off my helmet but I didn’t want them to think I was unusual so I could only take off my helmet and nod, faking a smile. The girl didn’t cover up her disappointment at all. She probably didn’t think that it was actually an average girl wearing glasses with her hair in brushed up in a ponytail.
Xiao Bo smiled, “She’s called Luo Qi Qi. She’s not my girlfriend, she’s a friend.”
The girl’s expression seemed to be saying, thank god it’s not! She enthusiastically suggested, “There are lots of pretty girls in our department, I’ll recommend one to Xiao Bo brother, you’ll definitely be satisfied. What kind of girl does Xiao Bo brother like?”
Xiao Bo was dazed, he probably never expected Zhang Jun’s new girlfriend to be so different to his old one. Zhang Jun put his arm around her waist and pulled her into his arms. He flicked at her nose teasingly, “Don’t mind other people, there are lots of beautiful girls if Xiao Bo brother wants them.”
I closed my eyes to sleep thinking, call me after you’ve finished your chat.
Xiao Bo said, “We still have some things to do, let’s chat another day.”
I happily opened my eyes immediately, it’s still Xiao Bo who knows my mind.
He helped me put on the helmet and carefully adjusted the straps then asked me quietly, “Are you tired?”
I shook my head. Only after he helped me with my helmet did he put on his own.
After the motorbike started driving, I looked at the rear view mirror. I could still see that pretty red dress, the girl had her hands wrapped around his arms and her body tightly against his.
I leaned my head lightly against Xiao Bo’s back. Xiao Bo wanted to speed up but I pulled at his shirt and he slowed down again. I was scared that when that kind of flying in the wind bewitches my senses again, I might really let go.
There was half an hour until the mall closed. Xiao Bo was worried we wouldn’t have enough time but I decided very quickly. I picked a red dress with white polka dots and a big bow at the waist. I didn’t think over my decision but inside, I think I understand why I chose it. There are some things that don’t require Dr Sigmund Frend’s psychoanalysis to understand. Red, because of Zhang Jun’s girlfriend; the bow, because of little sister.
I did a twirl in front of Xiao Bo and the dress opened like a flower blooming.
“Is it okay?”
Xiao Bo nodded and exclaimed, “Qi Qi has really grown up.”
I refuted, “I never thought I was small before.”
He looked at my feet and said, “We should get you a pair of shoes too.”
I was very excited, “I want high heels.”
He laughed, “You’ve never worn high heels before right? Can you walk in them? If you fall, I’m not going to be responsible.”
I glared at him, he laughed and ignored me.
I chose a white pair of high heeled sandals and put them on clumsily. In the moment that I stood up, I suddenly felt like I was a woman.
I don’t know if every girl’s transformation to a woman starts from a pair of high heels because after we wear them, we no longer walk in large strides or climb trees. We must walk slowly like a woman, and without knowing, we become feminine and delicate.
The next day, I asked for leave from mom and dad. I told them that it was a classmate’s birthday celebration that night and I wanted to play later. Mom and dad immediately agreed. I was top in the class for my exams so in my parents’ minds, a top in the class student definitely wouldn’t do anything bad.
Dad even specially said, “There’s time for playing and there’s time for studying. In the summer holidays, you can play freely; after school starts again, you have to work hard for the entrance exams.”
Under Xiao Bo’s orders, I went to ‘Across The Water’ to look for him.
After I got to the dance hall, I discovered that business was bad. I felt puzzled for a moment then immediately understood. As parents and teachers often came to the dance hall, I was afraid of bumping into familiar people and definitely wouldn’t agree to learn dancing in the big hall. Perhaps I would randomly choose a secluded corner. I never expected Brother Li put in so much effort and actually closed the business for the night.
After I saw Xiao Bo specially changed in a black suit, I realized that it wasn’t just Brother Li who was putting in effort. I suddenly became nervous. Xiao Bo laughed, “Your clothes and shoes are in Brother Li’s office. I’ll wait for you outside.”
Brother Li also laughed, “Qi Qi’s growing up.”
Although Wu Zei controlled his stinky mouth, he continuously winked at me and laughed.
I became embarrassed by their laughter and yelled, “If you guys keep laughing, I’m not going to dance anymore.”
I walked into his office pouting, the dress and shoes were on the sofa. I changed into the dress and put on the shoes then stood in front of the mirror looking at myself. I remembered the beautiful girl next to Zhang Jun and sighed dejectedly, after all, a monkey wearing robes can’t change into a prince.
Suddenly I heard someone knock at the door.
“Who is it?”
“The boss told to me come and help you with your hair.”
I opened the door, the woman standing by the door carried a big plastic box.
I let her in, she asked me, “What kind of hairstyle would you like?”
“I don’t know, any.”
She carefully looked at me then smiled and let me sit then started to brush my hair. After being fiddled with for half an hour, just as I was losing my patience, she smiled, “It’s done, have a look. If you’re not satisfied, I’ll change it.”
I walked in front of the mirror and put my glasses on. The girl in the mirror had black hair arranged into a bun, a smooth forehead and a long neck. In my black hair was a fake white mogolia flower that matched with the shoes Xiao Bo chose for me.
The woman stood behind me smiling then softly said, “I have some fake pearl jewelry hair, if you don’t mind, you’ll look prettier with them on.”
I was already conquered by her skilled hands and happily said, “I don’t mind.”
She took out a pair of dangling pearl earrings and helped me put them on. After carefully looking at me, she took them off again, “You look so clean, so clean that any other decorations are unnecessary, this is fine.”
I didn’t understand what her clean meant and said, “Then I won’t wear them.”
She started packing up her things, “Originally I thought I would have to help you put on makeup so I brought a bunch of things but now I discovered it’s all unnecessary.”
I said, “Thank you.”
She laughed, “No need to thank me, thank yourself. Being young is so good, your eyes are sparkling, your skin is smooth and supple, a flower is enough. You don’t need anything else.”
I walked out, she chased behind me and asked, “Are you very nearsighted?”
“Three hundred degrees.”
“Can you see clearly without your glasses?”
“Mhm, I can walk fine but there will be some problems with recognizing people.”
She took off my glasses, “Then that’s enough.”
The lights in the dance hall were originally dim and without glasses, the world in front of me became hazy, everything seemed to be behind a fog. I suddenly felt very nervous, a person’s instinctual fear towards the unknown.
I took tiny steps forward in my high heels and seemed to see a person’s silhouette but I couldn’t distinguish who it was. Suddenly, a person stood in front of me but they didn’t speak.
I was completely uneasy and started regretting letting that sister take away my glasses when I heard Brother Li’s laughter, “Heavens! Did I see the wrong person? Is this Qi Qi?”
Only then did I confirm the person in front of my was Xiao Bo. I immediately hurried forward and stretched my hand out to him. He grasped me hand and I was at ease again. No matter how dim the world was, as long as he was by my side, he would look clearly for me.
I was embarrassed, “The sister who helped me with my hair took my glasses. I can’t see too clearly.”
“That’s fine, I’ll be with you.”
He took me towards the dance floor. I was so nervous my hands were full of sweat. He said, “We’ll start with the easiest, the slow four.”
“Is it hard? You know my small brain is very stupid.”
“As long as you can walk, you can dance.”
The music started, it was a jazz number. He held my waist and lightly guided my steps.
Although the steps were different, it was definitely a game of repeatedly stepping forwards and backwards. I laughed, “It doesn’t seem hard!”
Xiao Bo also laughed, “I said earlier, it’s not hard.”
I didn’t know at the time that the male was the soul of partner dances. The male takes the lead and it is up to him to decide the rhythm and pace. If the male is a good dancer, the female will have it easy. I was very lucky, I had a good dance partner for the very first dance in my life.
After the song ended, Xiao Bo smiled, “It becomes formal from now.”
The enchantress stepped onto the stage in a red flowery cheongsam. She first laughed before speaking, “Qi Qi’s likes are so weird, I’m frying and selling on the spot* but I’m not good at singing this. However, this it a token to you from us all.”
*[Means applying freshly learnt knowledge.]
This was really a huge surprise, I was deeply in love with a time period from before. In the past, when I watched Zhou Xuan and Hu Die’s videotapes, I had sighed, “What is luxury and dissipation? This is luxury and dissipation! What is tortuous romance? This is tortuous romance!”
I never thought Xiao Bo remembered, it was even more unexpected that Enchantress, who loved pop music, would specially go and learn it for me.
The sound of the music started, Enchantress lightly swayed and started singing with tenderness.
In the soft music and hazy lights, it seemed like we had brought back the old Shanghai.
I danced with Xiao Bo while lightly singing along with the music.
After the Enchantress finished singing, she walked onto the dance floor. Wu Zei held her hand and they started dancing with us.
‘In the Mood for Love’, ‘Evening Primrose’……the songs played continuously one by one. I danced until I was full of sweat. We seemed to be wearing red dancing shoes* and would never stop.
*[The fairy tale ‘The Red Shoes’ where the girl was forced to keep dancing in her red shoes]
Although there are many disappointments in this world, although life is riddled with countless wounds, it is still filled with happiness and hope. Xiao Fei has already pulled herself together and Xiao Bo will definitely be able to get into university. In the future, I can choose to go to the same school as Xiao Bo and also the same university as Xiao Fei. After university, after Enchantress and Wu Zei get married, we can dance like tonight everyday.
Wu Zei and Xiao Bo exchanged glances. Wu Zei held Enchantress’ hand as they walked off the dance floor, Enchantress laughed, “You guys continue, we’re going to rest for a bit.”
I asked, “How many old songs did Brother Li prepare exactly?”
Xiao Bo laughed, “As long as you keep dancing, the songs will keep playing.”
“After this song, let’s stop dancing. I’m tired.”
Xiao Bo held my hand as we walked off the dance floor, I was still humming the tune.
On the sofa were the silhouettes of many people. I couldn’t see who was who clearly and only heard a voice ask, “Qi Qi, are you happy?”
It was Brother Li. I sang in reply, “I love this vast dim light of the night, I love this nightingale’s song, I love even more this dream that’s like a flower, hugging the sweet scent of the night.”
Brother Li burst out laughing.
Xiao Bo pulled me down to sit. I leaned against him and still hummed softly.
Brother Li said to the person sitting beside him, “We’re giving little sister a celebration. We’ve made Little Six see a laughing stock.”
The tune in my mouth cut off. Xiao Bo was very sensitive, he was immediately aware and patted my back, expressing that I was fine.
Little Six said, “No wonder Brother Li wouldn’t let us brothers come in and play today.”
Little Six’s tone was different to in the past, it seemed like the words ‘Brother Li’ weren’t called as frivolously as before.
Brother Li laughed, “I’m truly sorry, how about this, in the remaining time, you can play however you like.” A person took out a bottle of alcohol and Brother Li handed it to Little Six, “This bottle of alcohol was brought back from Europe by Wang Yong. I’ve been saving it all this time. Since it’s Little Six’s birthday today and everyone is happy, let’s drink it together. Today everyone is happy, you’re all happy, we’re all happy, let’s all celebrate happily.”
Little Six vaguely said, “Brother Li and Director Wang’s son are very close huh, we’ll have to borrow Brother Li’s reputation for people like us to be able to drink a cup of Wang’s son’s wine.”
Brother Li continued to laugh, “Everyone is friends, all friends.” He waved his hand to let someone come and open the bottle. “No matter if it’s drinking or dancing, do as you please.”
The meaning behind Brother Li’s words were already expressed very clearly but Little Six clearly didn’t appreciated it. He suddenly pointed at me, “I want to invite this little sister to have a dance with me.”
Xiao Bo had been leaning forward slightly. After hearing Little Six’s words, he suddenly burst out into laughter, laughing while he leaned back onto the sofa lazily. He calmly said, “Tonight she’s my dance partner, she’s not allowed to dance with anyone else.”
Little Six laughed and asked Brother Li, “Brother Li’s words just then no longer count?”
Brother Li apologized, “Little Six, I’m truly sorry, my brother hasn’t studied well, he is thoughtless and talks with no manners. Please forgive him Little Six!”
Little Six started to chuckle, “Okay, Brother Li is full of power and courage as expected. Let’s wait and see!” He stood up to leave. The person serving the wine was holding a plate with the wine, Little Six casually swung his hand and the plate flipped over and all the wine smashed to the floor.
In the sound of falling glass, Little Six angrily left with his people. Only at this moment did I see Zhang Jun was also there. He didn’t speak a word the entire time so I didn’t know he was with them.
Someone came over to clean up the glass. Brother Li waved his hand, telling them to come and clean up later.
I know that these things had nothing to do with me, Little Six sincerely wanted to pick faults but Brother Li had already decided not to back down. I was only there at the right time and became their excuse. However, I still should apologize, “Brother Li, sorry.”
Brother Li unhappily sighed, “If you feel sorry then my ‘Li’ is spelled backwards. You not jumping up just then and smashing the wine on him is already giving me lots of face.”
Wu Zei, Enchantress, Xiao Bo and I all laughed. Brother Li sighed, “This Little Six is too greedy. He was going to turn hostile sooner or later. Even though we are no longer afraid of him, this is still very troublesome.”
Xiao Bo smiled, “The government does a crackdown every few years. Counting the years, it should be soon. Last time when we drank with Wang Yong, didn’t he say that the official documents are already out?”
Brother Li laughed out loud, “Then we don’t have to worry.” As he spoke, he stood up, wanting to leave.
Wu Zei worriedly said, “Big brother, speak clearly, how exactly are we going to deal with Little Six?”
“I still need to go and see Wang Jie, I’ll explain to you later. Tonight belongs to Qi Qi. Don’t let Little Six ruin your mood. You guys should continue playing however you want to play.”
Wu Zei and Enchantress went back to dance. Xiao Bo asked me, “Do you still want to dance?”
I asked, “Am I pretty tonight?”
He nodded, “Pretty!”
I hesitantly wanted to ask, “Between Zhang Jun’s girlfriend and I, who is prettier”, but I didn’t even need to think to know what the answer was. Xiao Bo would definitely say me, it wasn’t worth being a reference standard.
I wearily said, “I don’t want to dance anymore.”
Xiao Bo asked, “DO you want to go get changed?”
I touched my dress and reluctantly said, “I’ll wear it for a while more.”
Xiao Bo laughed. I swung my fist over, “What is there to laugh at? Can’t I be conceited for a while?”
“Let’s go out for a walk.”
He pushed me out the dance hall. The two of us strolled along the sidewalk. I felt that the world tonight was different to usual and after walking for a few steps, I finally realized what was wrong and worriedly said, “My glasses.”
“I won’t lose you, we can come back and get it later.”
I could only follow him and continue looking at the flowers through the fog.
We chatted while we walked, if someone heard our conversation, they would definitely faint, he was actually asking for study advice from me and I told him how I studied proudly and frankly.
Actually, I didn’t know what I was talking about because no one has ever asked me about my study experiences. I only told him about how I understood the essence of each subject. Not only was it different from what the teacher taught, some of my learning methods ran against their ways. However, Xiao Bo listened with particular focus.
Xiao Bo smiled, “Qi Qi, you made me a bit surprised. I think you should put Qing Hua and Peking University as your aims.”
I lightly said, “I’ll either go to the same school as you or the same school as Xiao Fei. It’s best if the three of us could go to a similar school. I’m afraid of being alone, I hope I have used up all the loneliness in my life on my childhood years.”
It was the first time Xiao Bo asked, “Don’t you have a little sister? Why aren’t you close with her? After my dad died, sometime my mom would lose control of her emotions and cry while smashing things. I would hide under the bed and often think how good it would be if I had siblings, at least there would be someone else and we could rely on each other.”
Xiao Bo’s voice was very calm and I couldn’t hear any other meaning behind it. I stood and held his arm then raised my head and asked, “Why are you close with me?”
He looked at me, smiling and used his hands to help me rearrange the crooked flower in my hair. Just as he was about to speak, a familiar voice called out from across the street, “Xiao Bo brother.”
I frowned, how come I bumped into her wherever I went? Evil spirits really do linger!
Xiao Bo smiled, “I’m consulting Qi Qi for study advice.”
She laughed, thinking that he was joking with her.
“We’re going off to sing. It’s boring without lots of people. I wanted Zhang Jun to find a few friends but he found it troublesome, Xiao Bo, come along with us!” She then looked at me and exclaimed, “Luo Qi Qi, you are really pretty tonight, where did you buy the dress from?”
My vanity was greatly satisfied. I couldn’t resist looking at Zhang Jun’s expression but I couldn’t see clearly at all.
Xiao Bo politely refused, “I still have other things on tonight, let’s all go and play next time.”
Zhang Jun immediately said, “Then next time.” And pulled his girlfriend away.
His girlfriend still turned around, “Xiao Bo brother, let’s play together next time, I have sisters to introduce to you.”
After she left did I realize, how was she praising me? She was only praising my dress.
Xiao Bo eyed his watch, “It’s nearly ten, let’s go back and get changed then I’ll send you home.”
I was surprised, “You really have other things on tonight?”
“We’ve officially fallen out with Little Six. I’m worried about the karaoke bar so I want to go back and take a look and also warn Wu Zei to be more alert.”
I shook my head,”Do you know how Zhu Ge Liang* died? He died of tiredness! You can’t worry about things that you have no control over. If even Zhu Ge Liang can’t do it then how can us mortals?”
[Chancellor of Shu Han during Three Kingdoms.]
Xiao Bo pushed me back laughing.
After I changed back, I told him that I could go back by myself and didn’t need him to send me back.
Seeing that I still had time, I rode my bicycle to the side of the river. I pushed my bicycle to a patch of grass then I flipped over to the bottom of the bridge. I sat by the rocks listening to the sound of the water gushing.
In the dark, there were only an occasional passerby. I quietly hid in the darkness of the night and felt very at ease. I was someone who easily thought too much but by the water side, listening to the water flow by, I didn’t need to think about anything. I forgot about the time and when I was alert again, a long time had already passed. I feel like that kind of mental state was kind of like a Buddhist meditating but I’ve never meditated before so I don’t know if it really is similar or not.
I had sat in the dark for a long time. Just as I was ready to go home, I heard the sound of slow footsteps in the quiet night as it gradually approach and finally stop on the bridge.
A person was leaning on the bridgehead smoking, it was actually Zhang Jun. The surprised me didn’t dare to move. My figure became one with the rocks on the side of the river but he only gaze out at the river lost in thought so he didn’t notice the slightest bit that there was a person sitting below.
After he finished a cigarette, he lighted another one. He smoked while throwing stones down the bridge. The stones weren’t big but I was sitting by the river and occasionally, a stone would land near me, splashing my face in water droplets.
I completely didn’t understand, why was this person throwing stones here in the middle of the night? Did he not go sing at all or had he already finished singing?
No one could give me an answer, there was only the stones falling one by one. He threw them for an hour before there were no more left. He had also finished half a packet of cigarettes.
He leaned back against the bridge and smoked for a while then threw the cigarette butt into the river, turned and left. I climbed back up completely soaked and pushed my bicycle back home.
My mom and dad were of course very angry at me coming home late. However, after I got top, it seemed like I received an amnesty for everything. They didn’t say anything, only telling me that I wasn’t allowed to play so late in the future.
I quickly went to wash up and sleep.
That night, I dreamed I walked to Zhang Jun’s side wearing a dress and high heels. However, he still ignored me and only looked at that familiar beautiful girl smiling. They danced non stop on the dance floor, one dance after another. I ran some hurt but there was no one home. Mom and dad left with little sister. I burst out crying loudly.
Wow this took much longer than I expected so hopefully it is still Sunday when you read it haha.
I actually cut a section off (because it was getting too draggy and I’m a bit pressed for time sorry!) where Qi Qi tells Xiao Bo all about how she studies and she offers to get him in touch with Chen Jing who is smarter than her and may be of more use but he declines because he understands what Qi Qi is trying to explain.