After Tang Wenxi’s repeated persuasion, Yi Hui decided to stay in the capital for one more day.
Yang Chengxuan came and left in a hurry. When he saw Tang Wenxi, he said hello and left, telling him meaningfully to remember to lock the door. Tang Wenxi was confused and asked Yi Hui what happened.
Yi Hui wished he could ask directly what the relationship between the two of them was. But thinking of the evasive and reluctant manner in which Tang Wenxi mentioned Yang Chengxuan before, he gave up and only said, “I wore your clothes and he treated me as you.”
Tang Wenxi was shocked: “He didn’t do anything to you, did he?”
Yi Hui asked rhetorically: “What do you think he did to me?”
Tang Wenxi scratched his ears and his head. Silent and hesitating, his face turned red little by little.
Yi Hui had a guess in his heart and didn’t want to embarrass him, so he pushed him into the house: “Didn’t you say that Auntie cut the fruit? Let’s go, let’s go in and eat quickly.”
The next day, the two went to the amusement park together.
Originally, Tang Wenxi first announced that he wanted to go, saying that the amusement park had recently been renovated and a new park area had been opened. The high praise for the new rides on the Internet filled him with unprecedented expectations and enthusiasm.
He wanted to go before but could never find a companion. His classmates and friends around him either laughed at him for being childish or said they were busy. He mentioned it at the dinner table and his parents said that he’d better off spending time at home doing his homework. Yi Hui was the only one who showed the same yearning expression as him.
The two hit it off immediately. They got up early that day, each equipped with a backpack and a sun hat, and took the first bus to the amusement park in the suburbs.
When they arrived right in time for the opening, the carousel at the entrance had just started working and there were very few people. The two of them took a ride three times, happily holding up their mobile phones to take pictures of each other.
“I think you like taking pictures, don’t you?” Climbing down from the wooden horse after the end of the last lap, Tang Wenxi immediately began to flip through the photo album to sift for better-looking ones. “Why did you block your face in the Arts Association that day? You were receiving an award, it doesn’t happen all that often.”
Yi Hui was taken aback for a moment and then said, “It’s different. There were strangers there. It’s a different matter if you are taking pictures of me.”
Tang Wenxi was very satisfied with this answer and excitedly pulled him to the roller coaster: “Let’s go to the roller coaster, and this royal photographer will take a special amusement park photo session for you!”
Of course, he didn’t take one; mobile phones were not allowed on roller coasters.
It was indeed impossible to film as the two of them sat up in their places happily and climbed down with pale faces. Yi Hui, who was in a slightly better condition, helped Tang Wenxi and asked him how he felt. Tang Wenxi reluctantly squeezed out a smile, shook his head to indicate that he was okay, turned his head and vomited into the trash can.
Five minutes later, Yi Hui handed Tang Wenxi a paper towel soaked in water to wipe his mouth and said worriedly: “Why don’t we go back?”
Tang Wenxi was still holding the trash can but waved his hand and resolutely said no.
“Why try to be brave if you can’t ride roller coasters?” Yi Hui looked at his pitiful tearful look and didn’t know if he should laugh. “Before going up, who said he was the roller coaster king as a kid and when the equipment broke he was okay hanging upside down?”
Tang Wenxi waved his hand weakly: “I am getting older. Ten years ago, I could sit through eight trips without taking a break.”
Yi Hui was deeply skeptical: “Eight trips? It took us more than an hour to line up.”
“Anyway, at least five times if not eight.” Tang Wenxi finished trying to look cool, wiped his mouth, straightened up, feeling fine again. “Time waits for no one, let’s go, hurry up and ride the next one. I have to cure your phobia of flying today!”
In fact, playing exciting rides felt completely different from flying. Yi Hui did not want to spoil his fun, so he let him make the arrangements.
After experiencing the baptism of a series of adrenaline-pumping rides such as a roller coaster, a pendulum and a jumping machine, Tang Wenxi finally regained the mood of ten years ago. After eating something casually at the park restaurant at noon, he took Yi Hui to the Shoot the Chute and lined up there.
The endless line continued from the outside to the cave of the artificial rockery. Tang Wenxi pointed to the screaming people swooping down from the height outside: “That’s it! I loved riding it the most when I was a kid, especially in the summer. Hey, have you ever tried it?”
Yi Hui looked in the direction he pointed: “No, I have only been here once.”
“Once? Then you should have ridden it too, it’s a classic.”
Yi Hui pursed his lips and smiled: “I came in a hurry that time so I only tried one ride and left.”
Tang Wenxi immediately patted his chest and said that he wanted to make him feel the true charm of this ride. Then, when everyone bought disposable raincoats, the two of them sat unarmed and defenceless. It was an unforgettably fast and cool experience, with water splashing all over their faces as the boat went down.
When they got off the boat at the station, the two of them pointed to each other’s wretched appearance soaked in water and laughed so much that they couldn’t stop even when they walked outside.
Tang Wenxi wiped Yi Hui’s face with a tissue, smiling and telling him not to let his cold get worse. Yi Hui took the tissue, wiped his face himself, then followed Tang Wenxi. He heard Tang Wenxi shout unexpectedly: “Wow, it’s finally bright!”
It was already half dark and the carousel in the distance was lit up with colorful lights. Yi Hui raised his head, and the ferris wheel in front of him was also switching on the lighting equipment. The lights lit up one after another along the huge inner circle, and then warm yellow lights flickered on top of each cabin in the outer circle. The dreamy, dazzling scene blended with the quiet dusk and the distant setting sun.
“What are you staring at?”
Yi Hui’s wandering thoughts were interrupted by Tang Wenxi. He shook his head and said, “It’s nothing.”
Tang Wenxi didn’t get tired after playing for the whole day: “Let’s go, let’s go and try the new ride first. You can sit on the ferris wheel anywhere.”
Before leaving, Yi Hui turned his head and glanced at the huge disc bathed in the waning sun again. Watching it rotate slowly, he wondered if the people sitting on it felt as he had felt at that time, full of infinite longing for the future.
If you think about it carefully, it’s not that he hadn’t had a good time.
In preparation for the wedding, Yi Hui frequently traveled between S City and the capital. Yi Hui saw this ferris wheel several times on the way to the airport.
He wanted to ride it and begged his elder brother and sister-in-law to take him there. His sister-in-law was about to agree but was brushed off by his brother’s light-hearted words, “Let Zhou Jinheng take you there”.
Yi Hui knew that his fiance was very busy and didn’t dare mention it. Unexpectedly, after stepping out of the church that afternoon, Zhou Jinheng suddenly took off his sunglasses, looked at him and asked, “Want to ride the ferris wheel?”
Yi Hui nodded dumbly.
Zhou Jinheng stepped forward to open the car door and motioned to him to go up: “What are you waiting for? Let’s go.”
Even if he knew that it was suggested by his brother, Yi Hui was still very excited. Along the way, he tried to peek at Zhou Jinheng’s expression. He was afraid that if he didn’t like it being too far away, he might be unhappy and say he wouldn’t go.
It wasn’t until he bought a ticket to enter the park and stood in the line at the foot of the ferris wheel that Yi Hui calmed down, feeling that Zhou Jinheng should not be able to run away.
It was a weekend and there were a lot of people in the line. When the lights switched on, there was a commotion in the crowd. The people behind wanted to squeeze to the front to see and pushed Yi Hui, who was also looking up. He fell forward and almost toppled over. Zhou Jinheng, who was beside him, quickly hugged his waist, so he didn’t fall.
“Look at your feet… aren’t you a grown-up?”
Although Zhou Jinheng frowned and his tone was not nice, Yi Hui classified this sentence as one of concern and blushed a little.
When they got in the cabin, Yi Hui’s heart started beating faster and faster as they gradually climbed higher. Zhou Jinheng lowered his eyes and saw him clutch his clothes nervously. “Afraid of heights and still come to ride it?” he said with a sneer.
Yi Hui felt embarrassed, lowered his head and didn’t say anything. Then he heard a rustling sound and the voice suddenly was right next to his ear: “Okay, don’t be afraid. If you are afraid, close your eyes and count. Count to one hundred, and you will be there when you open your eyes.”
Zhou Jinheng actually moved from the opposite side to sit beside him.
Yi Hui closed his eyes obediently, but instead of counting silently, he was hiding the throbbing feeling inside. He remembered a book describing that when love came, there would be “a little deer stomping”. (1) He felt that it was not a little deer he carried in his heart but Doraemon rolling all over the floor.
As a result, they arrived back at the station before he could count to ten. Zhou Jinheng went down first and strode ahead. Yi Hui called out to him with a bit of courage that had not yet faded: “I, I just made a wish for you.”
Perhaps because of the successful completion of the task, Zhou Jinheng was in a good mood at the moment. He slowed down, turned his head and asked with interest, “Oh? What wish?”
Yi Hui’s face was almost burning when he looked at him: “I hope… I hope that every wish of yours can be fulfilled.”
Zhou Jinheng was taken aback for a moment. When Yi Hui thought that he was going to be ridiculed for his stupid wish and planned to take back this sentence, embarrassed, Zhou Jinheng really laughed.
Laughing was laughing, but there was no contempt or mockery.
He raised his hand to touch the top of Yi Hui’s head and realized that Yi Hui was older than himself. He withdrew his hand but the corners of his lips were still hooked upward: “Then… thank you.”
On the way to the airport, passing by the amusement park and looking at the ferris wheel in the distance through the car window, Zhou Jinheng suddenly remembered that Yi Hui still knew how to be aggrieved at that time and still retained some awkward temper.
Later, at some point of time, he changed. He became quiet and fearful, afraid to text himself more than two lines for fear that he wouldn’t be happy reading it or wouldn’t answer his calls afterwards.
Back at home in S City, Zhou Jinheng first poured water on the flowers and then went to the kitchen to get some food for dinner.
Before he left last time, he hired a housekeeper. Her main task every day was to take care of the pot of snowflakes, clean a little and leave some food in the fridge so the house remained the same even if he hadn’t returned for many days.
He was about to go to the filming site soon, and Zhou Jinheng, who took the time to rush back today, had a task.
First he took a piece of paper and drew the floor plans of the two rooms up to scale; then used a tape measure to measure the length, width and height of the bookshelves and the painting board and set the general placement in relation to the window. After that Zhou Jinheng rolled up his sleeves and began to move the things in the studio to the sunrise room upstairs.
Yi Hui didn’t have many painting tools and he neatly packed them, so he could place them in the same order. Slightly more troublesome was the cabinet where the drafts were stored. It was difficult to move it alone. Zhou Jinheng wrapped the eight corners of the cabinet with anti-collision sponges, half lifted and half pushed it and moved it outside.
Moving it to the corridor was fairly easy. In the doorway, the foot of the cabinet tripped over the raised threshold and the cabinet fell obliquely to the side. Zhou Jinheng didn’t have time to reach out and hold it. Fortunately, the door frame was blocking it, so it didn’t overturn to the ground.
The cabinet had no doors and a stack of drafts slipped from the upper shelf.
After straightening the cabinet, Zhou Jinheng picked up the drafts scattered all over the place, only to find that he was painted on all of them.
He was sitting, standing, smiling, frowning, drinking coffee leisurely, falling asleep with his eyes closed; there were even sketches of him walking the red carpet to win awards and even hand-drawn portraits of every character he had played.
Zhou Jinheng knew that Yi Hui could paint and occasionally jokingly called him a “painter”, but only recently did he know that he painted so well.
Smooth lines, bright and just the right colours; Zhou Jinheng knew a lot about painting because of Fang Yuqing and Yang Chengxuan. As critical as he was, he had to admit that these works were excellent. In addition to the skillful brushwork, what was even more precious was the deep affection contained in the paintings.
There was a Doraemon-patterned zipper bag sandwiched in the middle of the drawing paper. When he held it in his hand, Zhou Jinheng remembered the Doraemon sticker on the phone and couldn’t help but smile, thinking that he might be able to find other Doraemon-related products hidden everywhere in the house.
He opened the zipper, took out a plain handkerchief, spread it out and saw two small words embroidered with very thin thread in the lower right corner – thank you.
Zhou Jinheng really couldn’t remember what he had done to be thanked. He looked at the handkerchief again and stroked it carefully with his fingers. Finally, when he touched the pattern on the edge, the memory that faded with the wind was brought back by the wind that levelled the land.
The sunny studio in the afternoon, the windows that can be easily pushed open from the outside, the rustle of the pencils moving against the drawing paper, and someone sitting in the corner of the back row with tears on his face while painting the bright spring flowers outside the window.
It turned out that their first meeting was not really their first meeting. He forgot it totally but for Yi Hui it was unforgettable.
How could Yi Hui not be aggrieved? He was wronged and saddened every moment. He was sad that Zhou Jinheng had forgotten their first encounter, sad that Zhou Jinheng had forgotten their previous agreement, sad at Zhou Jinheng borrowing someone else’s handkerchief to give him and then turning away and forgetting that he had been so kind to him, pulling him into a net of false tenderness and joy and leaving him alone in the cold abyss.
Zhou Jinheng began to question himself uncontrollably——
Why have you never cared before?
How could you turn a blind eye for three years?
How could you be willing?
In the past, Yi Hui used to lie on the side of the bed many times and said to him, who pretended to be asleep, in a very small voice: “You have to remember where we met for the first time. When you remember, can you… give HuiHui a hug?”
He had passed over twenty years into his life and he had never regretted his actions, his pride and recklessness. Even when everyone said his choices were wrong, even when he hit his head and was bleeding, he never regretted it.
Zhou Jinheng slowly raised his arms and spread them as if in a hug.
There was nothing but silent air in his empty arms. His fingers felt cold as if to remind him that no one would stand there waiting for him and no one would rush into his arms.
Deep affection was useless, and even more useless was belated affection.
He regretted it, regretted not being nice to Yi Hui, regretted not hugging him before he was disheartened, regretted not holding his hand as he murmured so many times on the side of the bed, regretted not agreeing to all the little requests he had whispered in his ear and patiently repeating “I love you too” when his eyes widened in disbelief.
For the first time in his life, Zhou Jinheng felt a sense of despair, as if he was trapped in a winter with only darkness, snow and wind, and no daylight.
But in this dire situation, he pulled the corners of his mouth and smiled, stiff as if unaware of pain, chewing the word that was originally unfamiliar to him.
But what was the use of regretting now?
No one would paint on the painting board that was moved to the sunlight and no one would respond to his late feelings.
- figuratively, feeling restless because of fear or strong emotions