26th –【Little crying bag】
Trigger Warning: Attempted self-harm
This time, Chu Yu only bit a small hole into his skin, but it was a bit deep. After loosening his bite, it took a while before it healed completely.
He saw Chu Yu, wrapped in a thin black coat one size larger, sitting on the heavy-duty motorcycle with his head hanging down.
Lu Shi pulled his collar up and raised his eyebrows. “Is this you reflecting?”
“I just… couldn’t hold back.”
The moment Chu Yu had released the handlebar, it was awfully irritable inside his body. He obviously didn’t have much strength from head to toe, and his fingertips were still shaking with excitement. The desire to suck blood had rushed forth and he couldn’t suppress it. When he’d bit down, he hadn’t restrained himself as he used to.
Chu Yu quickly promised, “Next time I’ll definitely be gentler!”
Before changing into the jacket and even during the daytime, Chu Yu had been nervous; he was worried that Lu Shi would show him a cold face. But now, he wasn’t the least bit afraid, so much so that he even stretched out his hand to tug at the hem of Lu Shi’s clothes while tilting his head upwards to emphasize, “Really!”
Lu Shi put his left hand into his pocket while his right hand drew Chu Yu’s soaked bangs backwards, fully exposing his eyebrows. He lowered his head, leaned in, looked straight into Chu Yu’s eyes, and asked in a low voice, “Still feeling sad?”
This was extremely invasive in a sense and a powerful action, but Chu Yu didn’t dislike it at all when Lu Shi did it.
“I’m not sad anymore.”
Chu Yu lowered his eyes, his fingers unconsciously fiddling with the metal zipper of Lu Shi’s jacket. “I was just momentarily… unable to accept it.”
Compared to when they were inside Lu Shi’s bedroom, his tone was calm.
“Everyone around me believes that my mother spoils me immensely and buys me whatever I want. To make me happy at school, she even spent money to buy it. Moreover, she isn’t as strict and demanding towards me like she is to my siblings. They all thought this way and also instilled this idea in me.”
“So, I too used to think this was really the case.”
“Even her indifference towards me, I tried to attribute it to her busy work. But where could there be so much busyness? She just doesn’t care, or better yet, she’s ignoring me.”
Lu Shi listened quietly.
Chu Yu wrapped his body with the jacket he was wearing.
This clothing was from Lu Shi. It was a size larger and smelled a bit like him.
“My mother went to my brother and my sister’s elementary, junior high, and university graduation ceremonies. At my graduation ceremonies, the one who occupied the seat was always Aunt Lan.”
“I was scared before, so I deceived myself. But now that I think about it again, what is there to be afraid of? But I must admit—”
His hand holding Lu Shi’s zipper tightened. He paused for a long time before speaking softly, “I must admit that she doesn’t love me.”
Having uttered it, it seemed that it wasn’t as uncomfortable as he had imagined.
“My mother has the typical ruler, occupying-the-leading-position, thinking. That is, she’ll only invest her attention and energy in capable and useful people. As for me, it’s probably only because of our blood relationship that she’s providing me with the best living environment and gives me endless money. She also built me a glass greenhouse in which she can obediently make me stay so I don’t give her any trouble. You see, even her requirement for me is just to be healthy, happy, and safe so I wouldn’t worry her.”
Chu Yu’s mind gradually became clear, though his sentences didn’t have any order as he continued.
“As a child, my mother treated me like how she treated my brother and sister. She invited many teachers for me and every course was filled. I’m lazy, I’m not particularly smart nor self-disciplined, and I like to sleep in and play. When I got older, my mother simply never asked me to have a tutor, go to class, or get good grades ever again.”
The corners of his mouth curved and showed an arc devoid of a smile. “Looking back now, my mother probably felt that there was no hope for me at the time, so she just gave up on me.”
“En.” Chu Yu raised his eyes and opened them wide. “I’m not crying, truly. Look if you don’t believe me.”
There was no pity in Lu Shi’s eyes, nor any other unnecessary emotion. He just asked, “Want some comfort?”
“What comfort do you want?”
Chu Yu couldn’t think of anything for a moment and just suggested tentatively, “…A hug?”
Before Chu Yu could react, Lu Shi took action.
He leaned forward, opened his arms, and hugged Chu Yu who was sitting on the heavy-duty motorcycle, wrapped in a large black jacket.
With arms folded to himself, Chu Yu fell into Lu Shi’s embrace.
A fraction of the clean smell of a familiar laundry detergent lingered at the tip of his nose.
Chu Yu froze and didn’t dare move. It took a good while for him to relax and place his chin on Lu Shi’s shoulder.
“Am I… that useless?”
On the way back, Lu Shi drove at a very slow speed.
The night wind was very light.
Chu Yu leaned against Lu Shi’s back and was quiet for a long time before he suddenly asked, “If, I’m just saying if, I really rank in the top 220 in the grade, or even the top 120, or the top 20, would my mother… Would she spare me a glance?”
“Want to try?”
“Yeah, I want to try.”
The heavy-duty motorcycle rushed through a tunnel with a deep rumble of its engine. It was in the wee hours of the night and there were no other vehicles. Yellowish-orange light fell on top of the tunnel, akin to the chopped up light of the setting sun.
Chu Yu grasped Lu Shi’s clothes. His line of sight fell onto the dazzling street lamps as he stated, unknown whether to Lu Shi or himself, “I’m probably still unwilling, unwilling to be given up on so easily.”
“I’ll help you.”
Lu Shi parked the motorcycle on the side of the road, propped his long legs on the ground, and turned to look at Chu Yu.
“But no matter what the result is, you’re not allowed to cry.”
Chu Yu was jabbed by this sentence, causing his fur to explode again. “I’m not a crying bag crybaby1Lit tl: crying bag ghost who loves to cry! How could it be so easy to cry?”
Lu Shi chuckled then sat up straight. “Hold me tightly, Little Crying Bag. We’re going back to the school.”
First, they returned the motorcycle, called a taxi, then climbed over the wall and returned to the school.
Walking to the door of the dormitory, Chu Yu suddenly remembered something. “Wait for me!”
He strode two steps, opened a seam with his bedroom door through which he squeezed in, and then closed the door with a ‘bang’, not giving Lu Shi a chance to peek inside.
There was a bout of rustling inside the room and soon, Chu Yu opened the door again.
He was holding two bottles of blood tonic liquid medicine in his hand.
He inserted the straw and handed it to Lu Shi, vexedly saying, “Quick quick quick, drink one more bottle. It’s my fault for not controlling myself! What if you have anemia!”
Lu Shi indolently stretched out his hand to hold Chu Yu’s, and bowed his head to drink two mouthfuls. He then commented, “Tastes strange.”
“You need to drink it even if it tastes weird. I already asked the chef in the cafeteria to boil some black-boned chicken soup. I’ll put it in a thermos cup tomorrow and give it to you.”
After saying a few more words, Chu Yu yawned. “So sleepy, I’m going to sleep, see you tomorrow.”
Back in his dorm room, Chu Yu quickly took a shower, dressed in his pajamas, and fell on the soft bed.
He experienced excessive excitement from the drive so now his weak and feeble limbs had been completely overwhelmed.
He closed his eyes and was about to go to sleep when he faintly smelled a slightly familiar scent. He stood up and saw the thin black jacket still beside the bed. Only then did he remember that it hadn’t been returned to Lu Shi.
After sitting for a while, Chu Yu inexplicably took the jacket over and placed it next to his pillow.
Lying down again, Chu Yu clutched an inch of the clothing and slept peacefully.
On the other side of the wall.
After taking a shower, Lu Shi sat down in front of his desk without drying his wet hair.
The papers spread out on the table weren’t finished yet, so he grabbed a pencil and started answering the questions.
The white light of the desk lamp illuminated only a small area in front of him and behind him was entirely dark.
His phone vibrated.
Lu Shi glanced at it to see a number he was familiar with.
He didn’t answer and continued solving problems, letting the phone vibrate over and over.
Only after writing the last answer down in the blank space under the question did Lu Shi press the answer button.
“Lu Shi, were you planning on not answering my, your dad’s call? Where’s your manners?! Your upbringing?! Do you really think I have that much time to waste on you time and time again?”
Lu Shi just took a shower and wasn’t wearing his black wristband or watch, exposing his slim wrists.
He spun the pencil nimbly in his left hand. There was nothing in his dark black eyes, and his voice was insipid as he said, “I was working on questions, the phone was turned off and on silent.”
Lu Shaochu’s mood stabilized a little bit. “You’re still working on questions this late in the night, is studying hard?”
“It’s not hard.”
“We told you to study in A city but you didn’t want to and insisted on running to such a distant place, now you reap what you sow2Lit tl: the one who eats the suffering is still you!”
Lu Shaochu repeated an old saying then carried on, “Your mother misses you very much, and your grandfather also mentioned you several times. When are you coming back?”
“I’m busy, I don’t plan on returning for the time being.”
“Lu Shi!” Lu Shaochu’s voice suddenly rose, his anger unrestrained. “Busy busy busy, you do the calculations yourself, how long haven’t you been home, huh? One year and a half! At the New Year’s dinner last year, everyone was asking why you weren’t present. How do you expect me to answer that? Where do you put your mother’s face?! Have your wings grown so stiff that you won’t come back after flying out? Huh!”
Lu Shi stayed silent while listening to Lu Shaochu’s scolding.
There were no fluctuations in his expression.
Lu Shaochu calmed down again. “Lu Shi, your mother has been having headaches recently. The family doctor has checked several times and it isn’t good. I’m not home so I can’t take care of her. She’s raised you until you’re this big, if you have a conscience, just return and have a look. She’ll be very happy to see you.”
Lu Shi coldly replied, “I guess you don’t want to hear me repeat what I just said.”
Lu Shaochu didn’t speak for several seconds.
“I’ve deposited three hundred thousand in your card, just tell me if you have no money.”
Spitting out a breath, Lu Shaochu finished giving sweets only to chide and threaten again. “I treated you as a youth in a rebellious period, but I’m telling you Lu Shi, I’ve taught you very little. You must have a limit in everything. Me being here with you is taking tenths of my patience, and you’re well aware of this. Exceeding beyond the line has consequences, and you know clearly what they are!”
The phone call ended and Lu Shi threw his phone onto the desk with a ‘clang’.
Lu Shi sat motionless for a while before taking out a piece of white paper and carefully writing with his pencil, stroke by stroke.
“…When first seen, the peach blossoms were as if dyed with rouge, making myself believe the spring, south of the Yangtze River, came early. There are several branches adorned with disorderly flowers drifting upon the ground, swept nevermore… Eyes scour the distance, into the pavilion far-removed where there is no one and no letter to come. Only fear exists, of another lover and that our union has long been forgotten.”3Find the normie version and the whole poem below~
At the end, he wrote the name of the poem,《Xijiang’s Slow Moon》.4The title can also be translated as “The West of Yangtze River’s Slow Months”
With too much force, the flexed knuckles blanched and the tip of the pencil shook slightly. The handwriting sank into the paper.
His gaze fell onto the pencil tip that was worn down by the paper. Lu Shi opened the drawer, took out the pencil sharpener from it, and sharpened the pencil.
Wood shavings and lead dust scattered upon the pure white paper, covering the last three characters of the poem and dirtying the paper’s surface.
The blade was sharp.
Lu Shi’s sharpening movements suddenly stopped.
The sharpener moved down until the blade finally hovered over his left wrist.
There were several deep and shallow scars on the cold white skin, eye-catching and unsightly.
Thinking of the blade piercing his skin, the scene of blood overflowing, and the sobering pain, Lu Shi’s eyes became focused.
The tip of the blade was pressed down, the skin caved in and a tingling sensation arose.
But this time, Lu Shi didn’t force the tip of the blade deeper.
He threw the pencil sharpener away and closed the drawer.
Under the lamp, Lu Shi stared at the blue-green blood vessels beneath the skin of his wrist—
His blood couldn’t be wasted.
If there was no blood to drink, that little crying bag would cry.
The author has something to say: Rather than a sharpened pencil’s shavings, here’s my heart in the shape of loving you~
Note: Everyone don’t imitate Lu-Ge ah ah ah ah it really hurts! Don’t try! Do not learn to drive without a license if you’re a minor!!
Extras: Poem written from memory by Lu-Ge – 《Xijiang’s Slow Moon · Delicate Willow Shrouded with Mist》 Song Dynasty, Anonymous
I asked help from a native to translate this because it was that hard. I don’t even know if it’s accurate because my Chinese friend told me that it’s super rare (and I also added some things here and there). Anyhow, she translated what she could get from it.
Normie version credits to my native Chinese friend:
Thin willows shrouded with mist, reflecting light on whitewashed walls, its graceful silk threads hanging down.
At the beginning of the year, it’s a bit warm and windy, the backyard terrace and pond were adorned.
When I first saw it, the peach blossoms were as if they were dyed red by rouge, so I needed to believe that the spring, south of the Yangtze River, came earlier.
There are many branches, and the messy dying flowers fall on the ground without being swept.
I hate the hindrances, there is no news on the appointment date.
Hearing several sounds of great sorrow, I am moved with blame and worry.
Looking into the distance, as far as the end of the world, no one or letter, news came.
I am very worried that he already has another lover, or that he has given his feelings to others, and that his agreement with me has been forgotten.
Poetic version credits to Sammy:
Mist shrouded delicate willows, refracting light on whitewashed walls, graceful silk threads hanging down.
A somewhat warm and windy start of the year, and a decorated patio and pond.
When first seen, the peach blossoms were as if dyed with rouge, making myself believe the spring, south of the Yangtze River, came early.
There are several branches adorned with disorderly flowers drifting upon the ground, swept nevermore.
Hateful obstructions, the appointment date is still unheard of.
Hearing immense forlorn noises, I am moved with blame and worry.
Eyes scour the distance, into the pavilion far-removed where there is no one and no letter to come.
Only fear exists, of another lover and that our union has long been forgotten.
Xena's own comment sectionThe title says 西江 The west of Yangtze river or Xijiang while in the body of the poem the river mentioned is 江南 Jiangnan or South of the Yangtze river. Which must mean (if I’m right) that the person narrating the poem is in the west while her lover is in the south. Now, idk what to infer from that, is that an indication that she’s a concubine or something? A hidden lover? But nevermind that, having read to ¾ of the novel, I can say that Lu Shi writing this has something to do with his family. It will be revealed later on and we will talk about this poem then in further detail (let’s hope my comprehension skills are top shape by then hahaha). Feel free to comment your theories or reactions to the poem, avoid writing spoilers tho~ I mean you can but restraint, I say, restraint!
Btw, y’all expect less to non-existent staff shenanigans, its the busiest weeks of the semester, most of us are feeling dead inside. Yeah, I’m going to put AFRH on hold first, hope I don’t take a break with this too. Goodluck on exams everyone!
- 1Lit tl: crying bag ghost who loves to cry
- 2Lit tl: the one who eats the suffering is still you
- 3Find the normie version and the whole poem below~
- 4The title can also be translated as “The West of Yangtze River’s Slow Months”