Qi Qianze first met Fu An in elementary school.
Put like this, they really could almost be considered childhood sweethearts1Lit. green plum and bamboo horse, a Chinese saying originating from Li Bai’s poem 长干行, referring to a couple who grew up innocently playing games together.
When he was young, Fu An was very pale and thin. He had good genes, so his bone structure was very distinct. He had never experienced the phase when facial features were soft, and always was the most good-looking student in class. Later, in fifth or sixth grade when everyone grew like weeds, he became even thinner. He didn’t like smiling, didn’t like group activities, spoke rudely, and seemed very caustic. He was rather unlikeable.
If other people didn’t like him, there was no problem, it was mutual. Fu An liked them even less.
But it was not alright if Qi Qianze didn’t like him. Qi Qianze was one of the few people that could catch Fu An’s eye.
It was very interesting to recall.
Fu An didn’t like being social, didn’t like being popular, didn’t like being in the limelight….. he had many people and things that he didn’t deign to look at, didn’t like. He lived very detachedly. Qi Qianze was the opposite. When he was little he was simple and shy, and reacted rather slowly. He was always quiet and well-behaved, the type that didn’t attract attention, with such a low presence that he lacked any attributes that would even slightly annoy people.
Fu An firmly believed that lacking annoying attributes was the most likeable attribute. Qi Qianze was a rarity in his life, someone who would be liked by him.
Really, to tell the truth, the biggest reason was that Qi Qianze had no friends. If Fu An liked him, played with him, then Qi Qianze would have one friend– Fu An.
One, is the foremost one.
This made little Fu An’s heart race.
Fu An was proud, poison-tongued, and selfish.
Ever since he tangled himself up with Qi Qianze, people would pay even less attention to Qi Qianze, and when Qi Qianze had no friends, Fu An would like him even more…… this became a dead knot.
To Fu An, this was a virtuous circle2Positive feedback loop.
They went straight from elementary school to middle school. Most of their classmates recognized them, and there was no one who didn’t know of Fu An’s “infamy.” Qi Qianze simply was never able to meet people, and even if he did Fu An would use various strategies to drive them away.
So, of course, Qi Qianze hated Fu An.
But loneliness is difficult for children to bear, and moreover, after a long time together, Qi Qianze felt that Fu An was just a kid – there wasn’t a wrong that couldn’t be forgiven. He would always end up talking to him. Every word spoken counted as a victory for Fu An. After a long time, Qi Qianze inevitably submitted and became Fu An’s “private property.”
He both loved and hated Fu An.
Qi Qianze spent all of middle school trying to untangle this knot, but was defeated.
He still remembers many years ago, when they were admitted into the same university, what Fu An said to him at the school’s tree-lined boulevard.
“Qi Qianze, you can’t get rid of me.”
He said this with a tone of evil delight, and a smile full of happy cheer.
“You see, what is it that you want? You need my life and yours to be separate. But that is impossible, we’ve known each other for twelve years already.”
His voice was very soft, as if he was speaking sweet words of love, yet it was evil-intentioned mockery: “For twelve years you couldn’t get rid of me, do you know why?”
Qi Qianze knew. It was because he always felt that Fu An wasn’t so bad that he deserved to be completely cut off.
“Qi Qianze, if you want to get rid of me, there are only two ways. One,” Fu An extended one finger and waved it at him. “You don’t be soft-hearted towards me.”
Fu An was open to coaxing but not coercion3Lit. Ate soft but not hard food. If Qi Qianze had been a stubborn, bad-tempered rock in the beginning, then Fu An wouldn’t have pestered him.
But now it was too late for that.
“Two,” Fu An tilted his head and looked through his eyelashes, as if he was posing for a picture. When he showed it, the peace-sign became charming. “I don’t like you anymore.”
The sunlight that day was so bright it burned the eyes.
Fu An said these words.
At that time, Qi Qianze stood dumbly for a long time. For the first time, he felt that the light was very bright, so bright that it brought tears to people’s eyes.
“The first strategy has a ten to twenty percent probability of success, the second one has a hundred percent.” Fu An smiled, bright and charming. The trees’ dappled shadows fell on his face, as if painting a portrait.
This Fu An then spoke sweet-sounding, pleasing words: “But, the probability of it happening is 0 percent.”
“That is––– im, poss, i, ble. Qi Qianze, do you understand?”
“Qi Qianze, there’s no way for me to not like you, just like there’s no way for you to not eat sashimi.”
Qi Qianze recalled that when he said this, Fu An was very sincere, more than at any other moment, than when doing any other thing.
But what use was that?
Seven years later, at this moment.
Qi Qianze was able to recall their encounter that day, able to recall the corner of Fu An’s shirt waving in the wind, able to recall Fu An’s smiling face, able to recall the way Fu An declared love, but over and over, could never remember their years of love. It was already too long ago. The past was like a needle at his heart – fresh blood would well with any movement. Qi Qianze didn’t dare to reminisce.
As he felt the ice-cold hand on his face, he peered through a pool of tears at the blurred silhouette of that long-lost youth, and thought, Fu An’s sincerity was all fake, it was to trick people, to mislead him.
He grabbed that hand as if to do something, but didn’t, only taking Fu An’s wrist and tugging it downwards, away from his cheek, then very quickly let go.
The movement was extremely quick, without even half a degree of warmth, even resembling a resentful rejection.
He covered his own eyes and wiped at the tears.
The irritation from the wasabi had already passed, he didn’t need a doctor.
Someone handed him a napkin, Qi Qianze took it with a quiet “thanks”, then lowered his head and wiped a few times.
Fu An took his hand back, standing to the side and observing with cold eyes.
“Ze-ge, is it better now?”
“You’re okay, right? Tell us if you’re uncomfortable.”
“Do you want to go to the bathroom to wash a bit?”
After Fu An didn’t say anything, the classmates’ voices surged and rushed into Qi Qianze’s ears.
“It’s alright, I’ll go to the bathroom.”
Qi Qianze quickly smiled gratefully. With a lowered gaze, the subject of which was unclear, he parted the people blocking the way and headed outside.
He didn’t dare to look up, fearing that Fu An wouldn’t even give him a glance after the long separation.
He feared that the corner of his mouth would just tilt upwards, a mocking expression.
Qi Qianze cupped some water from under the faucet. After rinsing his face, he used his cold hands to cover his eyes and slowly let out a long breath.
In this world, there is one type of person, that is the most detestable.
Footsteps approached and stopped at the doorway. Qi Qianze didn’t move and waited a moment. That person also didn’t move, as if they were standing in the doorway and quietly watching him.
It was Fu An.
Qi Qianze thought. He turned to look, and of course, it was him.
The corner of Fu An’s mouth tilted up. It wasn’t a mocking expression, but there was a weight in his eyes, as if something was suppressed in their depths. There was no trace of a smile: “Qi Qianze, I really didn’t want to see you.”
This wasn’t the attitude most annoying to Qi Qianze, but it wasn’t far off, with the same warped, frigid personality.
“No worries, it’s the same for me,” Qi Qianze’s voice was still a bit nasal, and towards his long-sought person said revealingly critical words, “I also didn’t think I would meet you here.”
Fu An stared at him with a dark expression: “Is that so?”
You also didn’t want to see me.
Qi Qianze couldn’t answer. It wouldn’t be faithful to his true feelings.
He simply didn’t answer, turning his face away, taking out a paper towel to wipe the water.
In this world there are many detestable, despicable people.
For Qi Qianze this was Fu An.
He’d clearly said those kinds of words, clearly confessed, clearly kissed, clearly…
Qi Qianze couldn’t speak. His eyes were still red – before it was because of wasabi, but now it was because of Fu An.
Fu An was a bad thing. He thought.
Said what the probability is zero, said what you can’t get rid of me, said what I can’t not like you just like you can’t not eat sashimi?
The truth was, Qi Qianze remained loyal to sashimi, but Fu An seduced then abandoned Qi Qianze.
Fu An replies, with a mouth that lies4Lit. Fu An’s mouth, a deceitful ghost but it rhymes in Chinese so I tried to keep that.
Fu An bad!
We still update every day at 12 noon. （I can keep track!)
Thanks very much! Heart to heart!
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- 1Lit. green plum and bamboo horse, a Chinese saying originating from Li Bai’s poem 长干行, referring to a couple who grew up innocently playing games together
- 2Positive feedback loop
- 3Lit. Ate soft but not hard food
- 4Lit. Fu An’s mouth, a deceitful ghost but it rhymes in Chinese so I tried to keep that
- 5On gongzicp, you can buy “fish food” or other related “treats” to donate. Please support the author!