Shanghai Jiamu 2

Since that time, Xu Jiamu and I have been chatting more and more frequently and the content is not limited to reading anymore. When I saw a strangely shaped cloud, I would take a picture and share it with him, and he would send me pictures of what he and his classmates were eating.

His image became more specific in my heart every day. I know that he only got into No.4 High School because of a careless mistake, I know that he loves literature but hates the exam-oriented education. I know that he hates a boy in his class because his vulgar language made a lot of girls in his class uncomfortable. I know he has a happy family, a fairly well-off family, and that his parents love each other.

I think he’s a really nice person.

It was also the happiest time for me. Even my classmates said that I had the most smiles on my face ever since they knew me.

But maybe because we were separated by a screen or because the communication only by text has its restrictions, even though I thought of him as my confidant, I always feel that there was a wall between us.

Until that day.

That day when I got home, I saw my mother sitting on the sofa with messy hair and red eyes, staring in the direction of the balcony, and my father sitting with his collars opened, smoking a cigarette in silence.

There was broken shards of porcelain all over the floor, no need to ask, it was another quarrel.

This is something I am used to; I don’t feel any emotion except annoyance at this point. I went into my bedroom and closed the door without a word.

The quarrel started again the moment I shut my door. In fact, I shouldn’t be sad anymore. I’ve been through it countless times, right? I just need to stop them from killing each other, and yell out “That’s enough!” before they start using their hands. That’s it.

It’s just that when I turned on my phone, I saw that Xu Jiamu posted something in his friends’ circle. It was a photo of him and his parents.

In the photo, Xu Jiamu was standing behind his parents and his parents were holding hands smiling affectionately at each other.

At that moment, I suddenly felt miserable.

My tears fell uncontrollably, and I had a sudden urge to call Xu Jiamu. I wanted to ask him, how did you do it, how did you make your parents get along peacefully, and how did you live so happily.

I thought so and did so.

On the other end of the phone was his clear voice, with some doubts and surprise, “Little school tyrant?”

I didn’t speak, because I didn’t know what to say. My hand had pressed the button faster than my brain. What was I doing? Am I asking for help from someone I’ve only met once? I immediately hang up the phone.

I hugged my knees and wept silently. Sometimes I would selfishly think, let them fight, fight until one of them couldn’t hold back. But I can’t, that’s my mom and dad, and I don’t want to lose either of them.

The voice call tone of WeChat rang, it was Xu Jiamu. I pressed reject, it rang again, pressed reject, it rings again.

I didn’t have his patience to keep doing this so I blew my nose and answered the phone.

“You finally accepted the call.”

“Why did you call me?”

“…Hey, talk.”

“…Did something happen to you?”

“Little school tyrant if you don’t speak up, I’m calling the police.”

I finally said, “No, don’t call the police, I’m fine.”

There was silence on the other end of the phone for a few seconds, “…Are you crying?”

His tone became much gentler, “What’s wrong? Did anyone piss you off?”

It was obviously a very common sentence but my emotions suddenly collapsed and I cried out loud. With my voice hoarse from crying, I told him, “Xu Jiamu, I envy you so much.”

Xu Jiamu must have been stunned. He must have never encountered a girl cry in front of him like this. Even over the phone, his tone was a little helpless. “You, what happened to you? Envy me? What do I have for you to envy? I’m not a good student like you. Even my parents still have to take care of me because I didn’t study hard.”

I cried even more when I heard this. I wish my parents would rather use the time they spent quarrelling to supervise my studies. Even if they would scold me, I would be happy.

Before I could speak, there was the sound of things shattering in the living room, followed by a heated argument.

It was too loud. Xu Jiamu must have heard it. I felt a little ashamed, the most difficult thing to talk about was my family. I covered the receiver, but it was still too late.

I especially don’t want him to know, I want him to only remember the good side of me.

“Is your mom and dad arguing?”

I don’t speak, the silence was my answer.

“…are they using their hands?”

“Not yet.” That means there is a possibility of things getting physical.

“Listen to me little school tyrant.” His voice was trembling under the pretense of calmness, probably because he had never experienced such a thing since he was a child. He was clearly flustered but he still comforted the pitiful me who was reaching out to him for help.

“I remember you said you had an older brother, right. You call him now and tell him to come back, and you keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t start using their hands.”

In fact, I have already used the method he said, but my parents’ constant arguments have also casted a great shadow on my brother. The first thing he did after looking for a job was to rent a house and move out. It was useless to ask for his help, he does love me and loves this family very much but he really didn’t want to take care of these things anymore.

I might as well not bother him.

But hearing Xu Jiamu say this, I still felt a great sense of comfort. I told him I would do that and hung up the phone.

He was still worried, and told me to call him back after it was over, and said that if this kind of thing happens again, I can call him. He sent a lot of WeChat messages in a row; I scrolled down and read them one by one.

With a “bang”, it should be that my father couldn’t stand it anymore and went out first. That’s good, now I don’t need to shout anything.

I was lying on the bed, staring at the ceiling, tears streaming down from the corners of my eyes, which I wiped away.

Xu Jiamu, why are you so nice? Are you this nice to everyone?

After that time, my relationship with Xu Jiamu was better than ever. I knew what he felt for me was sympathy, but I don’t care. I only thought, what a delightful feeling it is for people with negative emotions to have someone who can give you positive energy, comfort you, understand you and share your feelings with you.

I told him about my family situation. I said that I admired him that time because he had a very happy family. He told me that he understood the influence a family can have on someone, but he also believed that some people, with their firm beliefs, can get rid of these bad influences and become a good person.

He said he believed I was such a person.

That was the first time someone told me, they believed in me and believed that I would be a good person.

We were students after all, and we didn’t have much time to chat during the week. With the exams approaching, most of our time was spent studying separately, and there was less and less contact.

My parents were still arguing every day, but I am no longer entangled in this matter as before. I became concerned about my own well-being. When they were arguing, I would close the door, wear my earphones and turn up the volume. I would read a book or chat with Xu Jiamu during those periods, the first few times, Xu Jiamu would still worry and call me to say some comforting words. Later, he also got used to it and just continue chatting with me or accompany me in silence. It was not good that I turned the volume up so high. After a long time, I always feel that I have a problem with my hearing. I can’t hear the voice of others clearly. I have to ask what they were saying a few more times. This problem continues to this day.

Fortunately though, Xu Jiamu’s vibrant and melodious voice always came through my earphone clearly without any problems…


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