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One meeting

In the spring, my writing was at an impasse, I couldn’t get deeper into the hearts of the characters, and the story was just a superficial sequence. There were seven or eight short stories lying in my computer that had been written to death, and I knew very well that I was doing nothing. One day near the end of spring, I met with Yang Hua. After that meeting, I seemed to have entered a different level. Before the summer was over, the seven or eight short stories had already made progress, and two of them were even written smoothly, as if someone had held my hand and written those words.

What I mean is not that Yang Hua taught me to write, but that my meeting with her made me think of things and people that had happened a long time ago, and those people were also known to me a long time ago, but the meeting with Yang Hua prompted me to change my state of mind to look at and ponder again, and I made new discoveries.

She sent me a WeChat to meet: Let’s meet at the transfer restaurant next to the No. 1 restaurant on the campus of New North University on the weekend, and reminisce about the youthful days when we were studying.

At the time, I was drifting around with nothing to do, but I didn’t want to go either, thinking it would be a waste of time. When I was studying at Shinbei University at my own expense, Yang Hua and I were in the same class. She and I were quite close, she was the literature committee member and I was the study committee member. After graduation, our classmates were busy looking for jobs, earning money, falling in love, buying houses and getting married. For several years we had little contact.

Occasionally you can hear a little bit of news about her from classmates. The last time she and I met was three years ago, when a classmate returned from the south to visit his family and greeted his classmates in New Taipei City. At that time I had just resigned from the newspaper to work for the magazine, I was late for dinner and left early because of something.

Soon she sent another message: Old classmate, long time no see, I want to tell you about me, this spring is all coming to an end, we should meet.

I read from her message some reminiscence of the past. Yeah, we’re all getting old. At that time, most of the students who came to study in the self-financing college class at Shinbei University were failed students in the college entrance examination. Ten years have passed, and we are all entering middle age.

I never hated a period of my life as much as I did when I was a student at SHNU and hated myself back then. However, when I walked onto the campus that afternoon, I saw that many places had changed, and I actually missed the campus I remembered. The location of the campus gate had changed, the plants on the roadside were not the same, the fence that served as the courtyard wall had been replaced, and the library, dormitory and academic buildings were all there, but they were still the same, but they were all a bit old. I began to miss that time.

Yang Hua was sitting by the window, holding a cup of American coffee, looking out of the window in a daze. I walked up to her, pretending to admire and adore her, and said in a slightly exaggerated manner: “Beauty, can I sit across from you?

She turned her head and smiled uncomfortably.

She is very beautiful, fair skin, bright eyes, and my memory of some different. Not only skin, now she is much more upright, even sitting can be seen, that is not simply the result of thinning, the mental state is also different from the original. Black and white fashion dress, hair cut short, dyed maroon, all over the body is sharp and fresh.

You’re in great shape, I said to her.

So are you, she said. When I didn’t react, she said, “You’ve always been in great shape, and you were the object of my envy back then.

Back then, I was the one who was enthusiastic and confident among my classmates. At that time I was nineteen years old, I did not like to pile up with my classmates, nor did I like to participate in the activities organized by the class, I loved to read books and talk about movies, poetry and paintings. Yang Hua did not like to talk and always seemed to be listening to me talk eloquently. She is one year younger than me, did not get into college, the family has some money, do not want her to work too early, let her read this self-financing clerical class. She then round face, a little baby fat, look cute, simple, of course, sometimes look a little stupid meaning.

We talked about our recent situation. I am not very satisfied with my current situation, almost do not send friends. She said she couldn’t see what you were up to, and I made a big, ambiguous statement. I don’t want people to know that I’m not doing well, my self-esteem can’t stand the sympathy of others, I used to be so high-minded and idealistic.

Yang Hua didn’t notice my little thoughts, she was full of desire to tell. She talked about her nine-year-old daughter, starting with the little girl’s heartbreaking tears when she first went to kindergarten and ending with the quirks of a now somewhat precocious adolescence. Then she talked about her husband, who works as a lecturer in an insurance company, and the kind of insight and contentment in life’s little moments when he talks to her. I always found the atmosphere a bit odd when she talked about the little bits and pieces with her husband, and kept my head down and drank my water. She didn’t care about my reaction at all and continued with her voice. I had to look up and smile a little to show that I was still listening.

I called the waiter and ordered shredded fish and pork, braised fish pieces and rice, a dish we both liked back then.

Later she also mentioned her job as a department manager at Unicom, those fresh college graduates who can’t do anything and have such high self-esteem that they can’t even talk properly.

I sat across from her and listened to her story, and slowly I found it interesting, enriching my imagination and understanding of others. The details she rambled on about were life, I guess, a life different from mine.

An hour and a half passed, and during her vivid narrative, she occasionally complained that her children were disobedient, her husband worked hard, and she was not understood by her subordinates, and I gradually heard a little bit of bragging.

She just kept talking and didn’t eat much. I ate a third of the shredded pork with fish. The dishes are still the same, and the taste is almost unchanged, but I no longer eat that I liked at first. I drank lemon water, watched her still talking enthusiastically, and secretly wondered if I was too sensitive. Maybe she didn’t mean to show off, let alone demonstrate, but maybe she just needed recognition, the approval and blessing of her old classmates, especially me.

When I was in school, we got along well, I would recommend the books and movies I had read to Yang Hua, and I would ask her to go to the painting exhibition with me. I went to every exhibition in the school library and the Academic Exchange Hall, whether it was a Chinese painting exhibition or an oil painting exhibition, and even saw two modern art exhibitions, which I didn’t understand, but still enjoyed going to. Later I thought, maybe it was because I didn’t understand it that I liked it.

There were also some special experiences between us. In her junior year, Yang Hua found out that Lin Jianwei was in love with another person, and a beautiful counselor was talking about getting married. She was in a lot of pain. I accompanied her to drink and get drunk, saying that there is no grass at the end of the earth. Perhaps with my encouragement, she said a lot of bad things about Lin Jianwei. In her description, a stingy, calculating, selfish Lin Jianwei vividly presented in various details. I said, “Yeah, so it’s no big deal to leave him. I accompanied her through the most difficult days.

People say that the secretarial profession has a wide range of employment, not only as a clerk, but also as a teacher. I do not like this profession, I think the secretary is a job to wait on people. At that time I advised Yang Hua to learn something else, let her find their own interests, in the above with some time and energy, the future will not be passive, you can live the life you like. At that time I thought highly of myself and felt that I was different from others, especially from the group of chattering girls in my class. Yang Hua often organized activities for my classmates, singing today and dancing tomorrow, but I made excuses and excused myself. At that time, I did not follow the path my father had planned for me, I wanted to live my life the way I wanted to, I wanted to prove that I could live a good life doing what I liked.

I think at that time, deep inside her, she did not realize what she wanted. It seemed to me that she was not in a good state, she did not have an idea of what to do, and she muddled through her life. I witnessed her chaotic life and encouraged her to leave Lin Jianwei. After graduation, not only did I have little contact with her, I also had little contact with other students. I didn’t work as a clerk, nor as a teacher. In the years after I graduated, I changed several jobs in this strange city, but each job didn’t last long, so last year I simply quit my job and rented a house in the suburbs, reading and writing, busy with the life I wanted.

She never mentioned to me the later things, such as how Lin Jianwei and Yang Liu Mei married, how divorced, these may not know, maybe know, but who really cares about these? As for how she and Lin Jianwei got together, she didn’t say, and I didn’t ask. I always felt a little awkward when she talked about her husband and children when she talked about the minutiae of her life now.

At that time, Lin Jianwei was twenty-eight years old, tall and handsome, graduated from Xinbei University and stayed on as a teacher for a few years, serving as our class teacher. His home was in the family area of the north campus, while our classrooms and dormitories were in the south campus, and the two campuses were only separated by a road. He is the class teacher, and live close to the classroom, often in the evening study time to come around the classroom. It was said that his parents were leaders of the Communications Administration.

Just a few days before our graduation, Lin Jianwei was criticized by the school for falling in love with a student, but I heard that he was not expelled because of his parents’ relationship. At that time I also gave Yang Hua said, fortunately you and he broke up, this chaffed heart carrot does not know how many girls have an affair with.

Recently I often think of you, remembering the years of study in the new North University, after a long narrative, she said to me slowly. I looked at her, didn’t say anything, and pondered her words. The words seemed like they should be full of emotion, but at the moment she was speaking in an unusually flat tone, and looking at her as usual, I couldn’t tell whether the memories brought her pleasure or discomfort. I can’t resist my curiosity after all.

Your husband Lin Jianwei ……

The first thing you need to do is to get a good idea of what you are getting into.

When he was about to graduate, he was given that demerit ……

I know. She laughed.

I am a bit baffled, how can she laugh out of it, the letter of denunciation is about her and Lin Jianwei ah.

Perhaps it is insight into my mind, the letter of denunciation was written by me, she said.

I looked at her in amazement, this woman, a complete stranger at the moment, not the Yang Hua I know.

For revenge? After all, your own reputation will be damaged then. I did not hide my surprise and disbelief.

Give Lin Jianwei a little lesson, but also for my plan.

Your plan?

Yes, I want to marry Lin Jianwei, but he is already getting married. It’s a big deal to fall in love with your own student, so consider it a wedding present for him.

How can you conclude that he will get a divorce? I was in awe of this woman’s heart.

It’s worth the effort and thought to get the life you want. She looked at me with a bit of smugness and ridicule. Isn’t that what you taught me in the beginning? My family is stable, my husband loves me, my daughter is cute, and I have a decent job. Now I’m just living the life I want, thanks to you. She smiled when she said this.

Back then I was teaching her to find what she was interested in and to fight to live the life she wanted, but she obviously misinterpreted my intention. I realized that I had underestimated her in the past and had educated her in a self-righteous manner, believing her to be loyal, foolish and foolishly naive.

When I thought about the reason she wanted to meet me here, I suddenly understood the significance to her of the trivialities of life she had just rambled to me about. There must be some other events that she didn’t tell, but which may have played a decisive role. Facing her angular face, I suddenly didn’t know what to say and asked in passing, “Where is the teacher who taught us contemporary literature, Li Jianming?

He died last year of lung cancer, which was already advanced when he was discovered, and it took less than six months from the time he was examined to his death.

Oh, he loved smoking so much, such a result is also expected.

Well, he could not quit smoking, just like he could not quit beautiful women. Yang Hua said, and laughed.

Beautiful women?

You have not heard ah, he was disciplined by the school for molesting girls, almost expelled from public service.

Is that so?

Yes, when we were in school, a sister went to the Registrar’s Office to sue him.

Oh, he’s such a person?

Every time we went to edit the school newspaper and hand in the manuscript, he always looked at the girls’ breasts with a straight look, which was really embarrassing.

Back then, Yang Hua didn’t seem to discuss these things with me. Also, is he such a person? I got into a trance. The Mr. Li Jianming I remembered was not at all the way Yang Hua tells it now. Li Jianming taught us contemporary literature, and he loved poetry and wrote some poems himself. He often said in class, “Let’s read a poem, Shu Ting’s “To the Oak Tree” or Bei Dao’s “Answer”. Well, let’s say Gu Cheng’s poem. Usually at this time, he does not look at us below the podium, immersed in the verses: How I wish, there is a doorway / morning, the sun shines on the grass / we stand / hold their doors and windows / the door is low, but the sun is bright / the grass is bearing its seeds / the wind is shaking its leaves …… the bell rang, he had not yet recited the last two lines The classroom bell rang, and before he could recite the last two sentences, some of the students had gotten up and headed out of the classroom. He didn’t care, completely immersed in the poetry he had created. After reciting the last two lines, he picked up the lesson plan on the podium and muttered, “You kids, when will you understand the beauty of poetry?

Yang Hua, Lin Jianwei, Li Jianming, Wang Huihui, and those who were once ignored by me, all took on new images and meanings in my mind, and they became the protagonists of the event, with their meticulous thinking and decisive action ……

That day, and Yang Hua said goodbye, I came out of Xinbei University, walked up Xinbei Road, walked past the Friendship Shopping Center, until I reached the West Bridge, stood on the bridge and looked down at the Hexi Road, thinking about the people I just saw along the way: a young mother, holding a four or five-year-old girl walking in front of me; a young man with thick glasses, carrying a black computer bag, gingerly overtook me and walked quickly to the front of the crowd There was also a fat middle-aged woman with a dark yellow face and a drooping mouth, clutching a cloth bag of indistinct color, cautiously brushing against me …… I saw these people, and those I did not see, now in my mind are full of mystery, as if they are full of unknown power and wisdom They all have some kind of mysterious metaphor. I think of things from the past that seem to have taken on a new meaning across time.

I thought of something: the month I was nearing graduation, I wanted to do an internship at Tianfeng Literary Magazine, and the teacher who taught us, Tao Jianhua, was a writer, and I wanted him to write a letter of recommendation for me. I gave him the idea when he came to class on Wednesday morning, and he agreed with me and told me to meet him in his office in the afternoon. When I went to the Chinese Department building in the afternoon, I met him at the entrance of the elevator on the first floor, carrying some thick magazines back to his office. I went up to help him get the magazine, but he said politely that he couldn’t let girls carry heavy things, but handed me the magazine with both hands. When I took the magazine, his hand caught my hand under the magazine, I was surprised, my arm shook subconsciously, and the magazine fell to the ground. At that moment the elevator door opened, he bent down to pick up the magazine, the teacher pressed the elevator button, and then he went into the elevator while laughing and said it seems really can not let girls take heavy things ah. I was shocked, angry and annoyed, and followed him into the elevator with my head down and my face red.

The elevator stopped on the fourth floor, and the third door on the right was his office, where a female teacher was sitting by the window reading a book. The letter of recommendation was on his desk, and he took it to the department head’s office next door to get it stamped, while I stood in front of his desk and waited. In less than ten minutes he came back, and when he saw me standing, he told me to sit down and drink some water before leaving. I said no need. When he gave me the letter of recommendation, he shook my hand firmly. I heard him say: the editorial director Wang is my classmate, go to the internship, write more and send more, they are short of people there, and strive to stay after the internship.

Later, I thought about this many times and asked myself why I did not protest loudly at that time, just because I wanted to go to the magazine internship, just because I already knew that Director Wang was his classmate, I let a man hold my hand?

At the end of the internship, the magazine’s leadership did intend to retain me, but I did not stay at the magazine. I went to a citizen’s newspaper as a reporter, every day out sweeping the streets to find news, busy.

I didn’t tell anyone about it. I didn’t say it back then because I was ashamed, and I didn’t say it when I was having dinner and chatting with Yang Hua because I didn’t think about it at the time. I actually forgot.

How forgetful people are, at first perhaps selectively forget, over time, they really forget.

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