In the summer, there was plenty of rain in the south. On the third evening when he didn’t go out to release the geese due to the weather, Yi Hui and his younger sister moved a small bench and sat under the porch with their heads down to browse Weibo.
Seeing that Yi Hui was replying to the comments one by one, Jiang Yimang, as an experienced person, persuaded him: “Oh, it’s not a big deal anyway, don’t reply to every comment. If you have nothing to do, go to some forums and take a look at the big events of the nation.”
Yi Hui obeyed and went there but didn’t see any major national events. When he looked up, he saw a hot search “Zhou Jinheng is suspected of ordering a ring and planning to get married.”
Jiang Yimang leaned over to look at it accidentally or intentionally and exclaimed in an exaggerated manner: “Wow, the ring must be super beautiful!”
Yi Hui didn’t click in to read it. He slid his finger on the interface to scroll down. While browsing, he asked, “Your idol is getting married. Shouldn’t you be sad?”
“Huh? What am I to be sad about?” Jiang Yimang put her hand over her heart with a yearning expression, “I am a career fan, and if he is happy in his personal life, I will also be happy… I am still waiting to be a bridesmaid!”
Since that headline came into view, Yi Hui’s thoughts were stuck like a rusty machine, and after absentmindedly going through the popular blogs, he sat alone on the porch for half an hour.
After becoming smarter, the first truth he understood was that the world had never been fair and you don’t always get rewarded when investing in something. Those things that he hadn’t been able to get in his life, there would always be someone who could obtain them all with no effort.
Raindrops pounded on the roof and slid down the brick-red tiles. The water evaporated by the summer heat turned into a mist in the air. It was no longer warm when it penetrated the flesh through the pores.
Yi Hui shuddered and wrapped himself in his tight-fitting coat.
No wonder he always felt cold, no matter how hot the weather was.
Light rain turned into heavy rain, and heavy rain was accompanied by strong winds.
In the afternoon of the next day, the town authorities announced a red alert. A typhoon caused by a tropical cyclone approached the peaceful town at a speed of nearly forty meters per second.
Yi Hui had never experienced this unique climate of the southern coastal area firsthand. While curiously checking the information on his mobile phone, he helped his mother to reinforce the doors and windows.
The house where the Jiang family lived was built in the 1980s. After decades of wind and rain, it still stood as upright as ever. It was reasonable to expect that it was sturdy enough to withstand the test, but this time the typhoon would not just pass by nor sweep its tail. The weather station predicted its path would go directly through the town and its power should not be underestimated.
Aunt Qiu next door, whose family lived in the town for generations, was also uncharacteristically vigilant. After arranging her own house, she helped the Jiang family, and even Dr. Liu, who was far away in the city, called to remind Yi Hui to pay attention to safety.
Everyone worked together and every piece of window glass upstairs and downstairs was criss-crossed with tape.
After that, Yi Hui remembered the pot of iron jasmine he took care of and moved it with a few pots of other flowers from the yard into the house. When Aunt Qiu saw it, she took the trouble to remind again: “Personal safety is more important than anything. Xiao Hui, if you hear something, don’t run out. The wind is strong enough to blow you away.”
When Yi Hui heard this, he began to worry about his geese again. If people could be blown away, wouldn’t the geese be blown away too?
He rushed to Aunt Qiu’s house in the heavy rain and helped Uncle Qiu to heighten and strengthen the fence and tied a rope to each goose’s legs. On the way back, the wind became stronger and an umbrella couldn’t be used anymore. Yi Hui was propelled by the wind and almost hit a telephone pole. He took a shower when he got home without taking a look at his mobile phone. When he returned to his room, he saw a full screen of new messages, all from Dora-Hum-Hum.
Yi Hui replied hurriedly: I’m here. I went to eat and take a bath just now. It is raining so hard outside. How can I go out? [Doraemon smile]
Dora-Hum-Hum didn’t believe it: Really didn’t go out?
Yi Hui sat down on the bed, wrapped himself in the quilt and whispered in a guilty voice: “Actually, I was out but just for a while, don’t be so fierce…”
The two had known each other for so long; in addition to being able to judge Dora-Hum-Hum’s emotional state reading between the lines, Yi Hui also gradually mastered the skill to calm the other party down.
For example, now he obviously could perceive that the other party wanted to question him first and then lecture him a bit, so his soft words not only served to avoid being taught a lesson by someone younger than himself but also as a kind of comfort.
Dora-Hum-Hum first sent a string of emoticons and then said: Forget it. The weather is bad outside, so stay at home and don’t go out. If you are afraid, send me a message and I will keep you company.
Yi Hui was touched by the words “I will keep you company”, and said, “Didn’t you just come home from a business trip? You’re tired, it’s dark, go to bed, I’m not afraid.”
Even though he said that, it was inevitable to feel tense.
In awe with nature and out of an unspeakable curiosity, Yi Hui stayed awake until late at night. When the wind was strongest, he listened to its roar with his own ears and watched with his own eyes the ruination the typhoon brought as it passed outside the window, feeling the insignificance of human beings in the face of nature.
The small lamp hanging outside the courtyard was blown around, and in the end, it couldn’t stand the tossing and smashed to the ground. The last source of light disappeared, and Yi Hui, who was lying by the window, shivered. Then he immediately laid down and pulled the quilt up to the tip of his nose, forcing himself to fall asleep.
However, long after his usual time to sleep, Yi Hui was still full of energy, all his senses sharp. The click of the window being blown by the wind resounded with his heartbeat, and various images of natural disasters from the TV took turns in his mind. He felt that if he died again, it would definitely be of scaring himself to death.
The mobile phone next to the pillow suddenly vibrated. Yi Hui took it under the quilt to look at it. It was Dora-Hum-Hum: It’s a bit windy now. Hold your Doraemon in your arms, close your eyes, and it will be over in a while.
Yi Hui felt embarrassed to be seen through, but his fear dissipated a bit: “I’m not, I’m not afraid… By the way, how do you know that I have a Doraemon doll?”
Dora-Hum-Hum: Because I am Doraemon’s brother.
Yi Hui burst out with a chuckle: “No wonder you’re so amazing, you know everything.”
The doll was given to him by Jiang Yimang two days ago, and Yi Hui was holding it to sleep these days. After sweeping up the plush doll placed by the bed into his arms, Yi Hui changed his position and laid on his side with his back to the window, and sent a voice message: “Then do you know why they give names to typhoons?”
Dora-Hum-Hum: The name is a code name, to make it easy to distinguish.
“But our names are given by our parents when we are born, and they all contain different meanings and expectations.” Yi Hui raised his hand and wrote the word “Hui” in the air with his finger, “Being given a name makes all the difference.”
Dora-Hum-Hum: Like Xiao Hui Xia?
Yi Hui laughed again: “Don’t call me that, it feels weird.”
Dora-Hum-Hum: What should I call you?
Yi Hui held the phone and thought for a while, then held down the voice button and solemnly said, “Call me HuiHui.”
It was Hui that shone with light, not Hui that was grey as ash.
Since they mentioned their parents, the two of them started chatting about mother-related topics that they had hardly discussed before.
Yi Hui even guessed: “Hum-Hum’s mother must have been very beautiful, right?”
Dora-Hum-Hum: How do you know?
Yi Hui said, “I have seen your photos, the two pictures. From your hand shape and outline, one can see that you are a handsome guy. A handsome guy’s mother must also be a beauty!”
Dora-Hum-Hum seemed to be persuaded by this logic: You’re amazing. [praise]
Yi Hui was proud and regretful: “Alas, I didn’t see you when I went to S City last time and I lost an opportunity to see a handsome guy with my own eyes.”
Dora-Hum-Hum: Is handsomeness your criterion for choosing a partner?
“No, it’s just the matter of being pleasing to the eye.” Yi Hui said seriously, “My mother told me not to choose a very good-looking person. Good-looking people are prone to promiscuity. I have a friend who recently got a boyfriend, looked elegant, but in fact, philandering to death.”
Dora-Hum-Hum: …not necessarily.
“Yes, not necessarily.” Yi Hui changed his position again, lying on his back on the bed, looking at the mottled ceiling above his head, “I’ve seen a particularly good-looking one who was also particularly dedicated.”
It was a pity that he was not dedicated to me.
The two chatted for more than half an hour, until Yi Hui gradually forgot his fear, squinted his eyes and began to doze off: “Why are you still awake… Are you also afraid of typhoons?”
Dora-Hum-Hum: The typhoon did not reach S City.
Yi Hui lifted the corners of his mouth in a smile: “Aren’t you still scared? You can’t sleep so late.”
Dora-Hum-Hum sent another string of emoticons and said: I’m afraid you won’t be able to sleep.
Yi Hui held the doll in his arms, rubbed it and said in a deep voice: “Besides being beautiful, Hum-Hum’s mother must have also been very gentle.”
The other party couldn’t understand this logic, so he took the initiative to explain: “Hum-Hum is very gentle. You’re so gentle to me, you must be even better to your boyfriend… You are so kind, how could he be willing to go?”
Dora-Hum-Hum was silent for a long time, and only when Yi Hui was about to fall asleep did he reply: I used to treat him badly.
Yi Hui yawned and muttered, “Then treat him well from now on, take him home and treat him well.”
Dora-Hum-Hum: If it were you, would you be willing to go home with me?
There was a typhoon and heavy rain outside, but Yi Hui was drowned in a gentle net woven by a man named Dora-Hum-Hum. He seemed to be in a state between dreaming and being awake, and an emotion similar to envy appeared in his heart.
“Yes,” he let go of that unforgettable pain for the time being and fantasized from the perspective of an outsider, “I think so…”
Who doesn’t want to live in their own home and be accompanied by their sweetheart like this?
Even at the last moment of his life, he was still thinking that if that man opened the door and came in now, he would immediately forget the cold, the wind and the rain he had suffered and go home with him.
It was a pity that the door didn’t open in the end. The cold penetrated into his bones right through to his bone marrow, and nothing could warm him up anymore.
The typhoon came and went quickly. When he woke up the next morning, the sky was clear and the few clouds that refused to disperse tried to block the sun but couldn’t stop the light shining through.
Last month, the town built an asphalt road that ran through the town. Some of the newly planted saplings on the sides of the road were uprooted by the wind. Yi Hui took a shovel and replanted the crooked saplings, accompanied by his neighbours.
A large area of Aunt Qiu’s fence was also blown down. Yi Hui went to help after planting the trees. He rode to the hardware store in the center of the town to buy some tools. Along the way, he learned how to build a bamboo fence and what materials were needed.
Jiang Xuemei recently wanted to set up a plot of land in the yard to grow vegetables, so after Aunt Qiu’s house was repaired, Yi Hui hurried to the south of the town non-stop. Under the instructions of passers-by, he found a vendor selling bamboo, negotiated the price according to the size and made an appointment to pick up the goods tomorrow.
Yi Hui planned to learn to do it by himself, saving money and learning one more craft. At night, he told Dora-Hum-Hum about it. The other party’s focus was completely opposite to his: Using bamboo to make it? Will you use a knife? Is it safe?
“I’m not a kid.” Yi Hui said with confidence, “Besides, I also asked for some help, so there will be no problem.”
Dora-Hum-Hum: Good luck HuiHui!
Yi Hui, who hadn’t heard anyone call him by this name for a long time, felt his face turn hot and said courteously: “Good luck to Hum-Hum too!”
In order to pick up the bamboo as soon as possible, Yi Hui went to bed very early tonight. Unexpectedly, the bamboo seller was so enthusiastic that he took the initiative to deliver the bamboo early the next morning.
The price discussed yesterday did not include labour fees. Yi Hui had planned to ask Uncle Qiu to do him a favour. Who knew that the seller not only delivered the goods to the door, but also brought a full set of tools and offered to help him fix the fence before leaving.
Yi Hui was very grateful. After thanking him, he tearfully posted on Weibo that “there are still many good people in the world”. He hurriedly got on his bicycle and went out, preparing to buy two iced watermelons for the bamboo selling couple to relieve the heat.
There were not many fruits for sale early in the morning, and it took some time to pick watermelons. When he got home, the sun was already high. Yi Hui walked through the back door bringing the bucket with him. As soon as he stepped into the yard, he vaguely heard the bamboo seller and his wife talking.
“Hurry up and do the job, and then leave. Yesterday the price was high, but we can’t really let him pay.”
“Do you only see money in your eyes? You’ve already negotiated a job, and then you made a promise to someone else with a turn of your head. You have to keep it a secret. I’ll see how you can explain it to him later.”
“Isn’t it easy, just say that you’re in a good mood today and will do it for free. Who wouldn’t be happy to receive free things?”
“Also… Speaking of which, that man is really strange. I have never heard such a request.”
“Hey, whatever, people do good deeds without leaving a name. Anyway, we got the money.”
Halfway through the conversation, they found that Yi Hui came in through the back door. The two of them immediately closed their mouths, their expressions dodgy. They pushed each other and buried their heads in their work.
Before noon, the bamboo fence was finished.
The couple that had been busy for a long time didn’t even stay to eat a bite of watermelon. They said that they had to rush to the next house, so they hurriedly left driving an electric three-wheel scooter.
After sending them away, Yi Hui returned to the yard and stared at the newly enclosed fence for a long time. Recalling the strange things that he had ignored before, he felt the belated doubts in his heart intensify.
Although the residents of the town were generally simple and enthusiastic, were they so selfless and so good that they would help him, disregarding their own interests?
In the afternoon, when Jiang Yimang came back from school, Yi Hui followed her to her room. He originally planned to ask if she had noticed anything weird recently, but she had agreed to go to the movies with a classmate and didn’t have time to listen to him. She put down her school bag and went out again: “Brother, I’m going out to buy drinks. I’m not coming back for dinner tonight, remember to tell Mom.”
Saying that, she shook her ponytail and slipped away.
Yi Hui had no other choice but to wait for another day to ask. Walking to the door, he heard Jiang Yimang’s mobile phone issue a low battery alert. He thought it was not safe for a young girl to go out at night with no battery on her mobile phone, so he went back and picked up the mobile phone to plug it in and charge it.
He finally found the charger on the messy desk and the phone vibrated the moment he plugged it in. He thought it was the vibration feedback for charging, but when he glanced at the screen inadvertently, there was a new message coming in.
Brother-in-law: I sent a new package. It’s mosquito repellent. A bottle for you and a bottle for your brother. Remind him to take it when he goes out to draw.
It was a simple line of words but Yi Hui couldn’t understand anything in it, from the signature to the content. He had no intention of snooping on his sister’s privacy. It was just that he didn’t figure it out before the screen darkened. He subconsciously touched it with his thumb and it was automatically unlocked.
It happened to be stuck in the chat screen, the familiar Weibo private chat.
The moment he saw the familiar Dora-Hum-Hum avatar, the troubles that had bothered Yi Hui all day met a sharp knife that cut through the mess and finally solved everything.
It was just that he was not sure yet. With the idea of confirming it, Yi Hui clicked on the avatar, his hand shaking. The person chatting with Jiang Yimang was indeed named Dora-Hum-Hum. “Brother-in-law” was the name Jiang Yimang gave him.
The most recent conversation took place last night.
– The things you send ah, to be honest, I have a feeling that I’m lying to my brother every time …… the brewing cycle of this surprise is too long, I cannot hold it in anymore!
-Wait a little, now is not the time.
-Can I ask a question?
-What did you do to my brother before that you don’t even dare to reveal your identity? It’s just that my brother is stupid and doesn’t suspect anything at all, if it were someone else …………
Yi Hui didn’t read the next messages. He couldn’t keep looking at them anymore.
For at least half a minute, his brain was blank, as if his soul had left his body. He had forgotten to breathe; there was nothing but a shrill buzzing sound in his ears.
When he recovered a little bit and regained some consciousness, the word ”lie” seemed to be copied infinitely, connecting into a long, terrifying mantra that bound his hands and feet mercilessly, trapping him in a narrow space closed on all sides.
Yi Hui was dizzy. Blackness floating in front of his eyes, heaven and earth turning dark like at the time of the typhoon.
No, it was a hundred times more cruel than the typhoon. Everything it passed by was razed to the ground, leaving nothing alive.
He thought that by changing his body and identity, he could get rid of the past and start over.
But he forgot how stupid he was. In his previous life, he was deceived to death because of a false “like”. In this life, he thought he was reborn, but in fact, he was still played with by others.
Walking forward, he actually walked back to the world that that man had woven with lies again.
It was also possible that he had never walked out.