I know that a lot of you are curious to what happens to Xiao Bo next and not a lot happens in this part of the chapter so I’ve summarised the not so important stuff in this part to jump to Xiao Bo’s scene.
2. Memory that will last forever.
There are some moments which you will realise are deeply engraved in your memory only after it has passed. Many years later, at night, when you suddenly remember it, you will lightly smile. Those people have already rowed away in the river of time, disappeared without a trace. In your heart however, they have crossed past the warmth of the river of time and will never disappear.
Xiao Bo’s incident makes Luo Qi Qi quieten down. She stops being rebelliousness and stubborn and starts to study hard. They also have the arts festival but as someone from the skit is sick, Qi Qi is called on to play one of the characters as substitute. The skit which was written by Song Chen with contributions from everyone in the class, is wacky and funny. It’s met with much welcome and laughter from the audience. However, when it becomes time for Qi Qi and Guan He to sing, Qi Qi becomes increasingly nervous, especially when she thinks about Zhang Jun sitting in the audience watching her. She loses her voice and Class (7) starts whistling and making a ruckus when suddenly, Zhang Jun stands up and shouts, “What are you making a noise for? If you don’t want to listen then get out!” Which makes them quieten down immediately. They restart the song and Qi Qi sings it all. Afterwards, they didn’t receive any awards for their song, probably the first time that Guan He has lost in a performance but their class wins second for the skit.
In my memory, that was the arts festival with the most laughter. No matter if they were teachers or students, even the stern headmaster was laughing.
We were also laughing the whole time. After the award giving was over, it was already ten at night but no one wanted to go home. We shouted for Song Chen to treat us. Song Chen received wages so in our eyes, he was a tycoon and everyone often extorted him for money.
Song Chen waved his hand, “No problem, let’s go eat malatang.”
Everyone cheered in agreement and we walked out as a group with the wave of people leaving, not forgetting to insult each other and joke around while we walked.
Our group was the brightest scene in the people in the sea of people.
When we walked out the school door, just as we were about to turn left, I suddenly caught a glimpse of a familiar figure standing under the dim street light on the street. I immediately threw off Guan He’s hand and ran to the other side of the road.
Xiao Bo smiled at me, his hands in his pockets.
I didn’t think much, I was only excited so I immediately rushed towards him and hugged him asking, “Why didn’t you call out to me?”
A whistle came over from the school gates, I angrily shouted back, “What are you whistling for!” Then immediately asked, “When did you come back? Is everything fine now?”
He smiled and replied, “I came back today afternoon.”
I was extremely happy, “Can you still make it for gaokao? But you’ve wasted too much time, how about next year. You can revise for another year and get into a better school.”
Guan He, Song Chen, Li Shan……They all walked over, standing far away on a side. Song Chen shouted, “Luo Qi Qi, are you coming to eat malatang?”
I hesitated, not saying anything. Guan He shouted, “Qi Qi.”
Xiao Bo pushed me, “Quickly go, they’re all waiting for you.”
I could only walk towards Guan He, Song Chen and the other. The group of people laughed around, walking towards the night market, discussing which shop’s malatang tasted better.”
As I walked, I kept turning back, watching as Xiao Bo turned around, his hands in the pockets of his pants, walking with his head lowered.
Under the light, his shadow looked long.
I suddenly stopped walking and said to Guan He, “I’m really sorry, I can’t eat malatang with you guys tonight. I still have some things to do.”
Song Chen and the others started shouting, “Too impudent, you’re going back on your word.”
Li Shan gently said, “Let’s all go together or else we’ll be leaving you out. It’s nearly time for our high school entrance exam, every opportunity to gather is another chance we’ll be losing.”
Guan He also tried to persuade me, “Qi Qi, you put in so much effort tonight, how can we celebrate without you?”
I didn’t mind the other people and only smiled apologetically at Guan He before turning around and running to chase after Xiao Bo. When I nearly reached him, I jumped onto him and put my hands around his neck, “Treat me to lamb skewers.”
Xiao Bo gazed at me, smiling, “Aren’t you going to eat malatang?”
“I like eating lamb skewers more.”
Later, I kept thinking, perhaps that night, Xiao Bo discovered that although we’ve known each other for nearly six years and we thought we were family, actually, we weren’t from the same world. He saw me happily bickering and joking around with my classmates, showing a normal middle school student’s youth and vitality and felt proud and happy so although he clearly came to find me, he didn’t call out to me. He let me pass by in front of him and walk towards a world that was different to his.