I saw Xu Jiamu again in the second semester of my second year of junior high, he was with the same seniors who came with him last time, but this time they didn’t enter our class and only chatted with the teacher downstairs.
He sent me a WeChat message saying we could meet up. He would have a meal first and then wait for me under the willow tree at the school.
I thought it was unfortunate that he came during this time. I had just finished my exam and because I was too stressed about it before, I stayed up late every day and had an irregular diet. So I gained weight, developed acne, and lost my hair. I didn’t care about it much at first but when I peeked at him from the door of the office, I saw that he was taller and looked even better than before.
Instantaneous inferiority loomed over my heart; it was different from the usual feeling my good-looking friends gave me. Inferiority was still what I was feeling, but he made me feel even more embarrassed. I would rather we just chat and talk on WeChat. At least his impression of me would still be that “little school tyrant”; the little chubby girl with a not so good family who shares his interests and is a little cute.
After school, I lay on the window sill and watched his classmates leave the school. I went downstairs after making sure all of them had left and went home quickly. I was a little sad and hated myself a little bit. I obviously wanted to see him so much, but I didn’t even have the courage to when I had the chance.
Is it difficult to learn to dress up yourself? Why do I always refuse when my best friends asked me to exercise together?
I regret it, really regret it.
I walked down the road in a daze, and felt that the person in front of me looked a little familiar. He was wearing a white shirt and black trousers, carrying a backpack, and was fooling around with the boy next to him, it was Xu Jiamu.
I stopped subconsciously and fell a few steps behind him. At least for now, I don’t want him to see me like this, in addition to low self-esteem, I’m also afraid that he will be laughed at by his friends when they find out he was friends with an ugly junior like me.
They were going to the bus station, and I followed him from afar across the stream of people. I even felt that the gap between us was actually an insurmountable gap.
I knew I should stop following him when we passed the bus station, but I felt sad. I feel that if I missed this chance, I will regret it for a long time. So, I secretly took out my mobile phone and pretended to take a selfie. Only one of my eyes was caught in the picture and his back was completely blurred, but I was very happy because at least this way, it could be considered that I had “met” him.
When I got home, I told him that I didn’t bring my mobile phone, and apologized about not seeing his WeChat.
He said it didn’t matter, he didn’t wait long, and he left when I didn’t reply to him.
Xu Jiamu, you are always like this, very polite and gentle, which makes me even more sad.
I was in a low mood, I didn’t mention the fact that I had seen him, and went offline after just a few words.
It was also from that day that I started exercising and seriously learned how to dress myself up. I thought I had already missed a meeting, I must not miss the next one if I had a chance.
Xu Jiamu, you didn’t know, you used to be my motivation to become a better person.
The winter vacation was the time I chatted with Xu Jiamu the most. I felt that he seemed to be really idle. He was either out or on the way to go out every day.
Utopia: “Uncle Tie Niu, you seem to be really idle.”
Huangfu Tie Niu: “?”
Utopia: “How is it that you’re a senior in high school and still have time to go out every day.”
Huangfu Tie Niu: “Little sister Cuihua, I’m just doing my title as a rich second-generation justice by doing nothing every day.”
I’m speechless, how could someone say that with a straight face. But since he was the one who said it, I didn’t find it annoying at all.
Why do I call him Uncle Tie Niu? It was because I read a few dog-blooded novels a while back and complained to him that the male protagonists in those books all have ridiculous grand-sounding surnames like Huangfu, Ye, Si, Mo, and the female protagonists have the surnames Shen, Su, Mo or something.
yee: “This is easy to solve, just add an old-fashioned name to those surnames.”
yee: “…Mo Cuihua?”
Utopia: “Hahahahahahaha, Huangfu Tie Niu.”
Later, these two names inexplicably became the nicknames we gave each other. Although we would fight every time we called each other like this, I was very happy. This is a secret name that only the two of us can call each other.
And it sounds really like the names of the hero and the heroine in a novel.
I don’t chat with Xu Jiamu every day. After all, we also have our own lives but we are very good book-lover friends. If we see a book we like, we would share it with each other without exception. My literary knowledge also increased rapidly. To be honest, I think it is a very lucky thing to meet someone like him in this day and age, someone who was willing to talk with you about topics like Shakespeare and Borges rather than TikTok.
The Spring Festival is the busiest time in my family every year. My father has many brothers and sisters. He is the eldest brother in his family so everyone spends the New Year in my house. I often feel that my parents are born actors, no matter how hysterical they were the night before, in front of outsiders, they can always pretend to be loving.
Xu Jiamu still hasn’t responded to the message I sent this morning. I think maybe he also has a lot of relatives in his house, so he might not have the time to check my message. I was also having a good time. My elder cousin pulled me to play mahjong with my other cousins and after playing a few rounds, I also pushed Xu Jiamu to the back of my mind.
I didn’t have time to look at my phone until after dinner in the evening. Xu Jiamu replied to the message a few hours ago, I didn’t see it because I was talking to my relatives at the time.
Huangfu Tie Niu: “Every year it’s like losing my memory, I don’t know a single relative.”
Utopia: “I guess they must have hugged and pinched you hard when you were a kid.”
Huangfu Tie Niu: “God, Has Cuihua become a little witch?”
Utopia: “Isn’t that how all relatives act around the world?”
After a casual chat, we were called away by our respective relatives. My cousin took me to watch the fireworks with great interest. My house is on a higher floor, and the viewing angle of the fireworks is not the same as usual. It was strangely breathtaking to see the fireworks exploding under your feet.
I looked down from my balcony, the golden fireworks exploded one by one, dazzling my eyes. The whole city was lit up with the lights from thousands of homes. On the tall building in the distance hanged a banner with large golden characters written on a festive red background: Happy New Year to the people of the whole country!
A thought crossed my mind, I recorded the whole scene with my phone.
I want to share it with Xu Jiamu.
Such beautiful scenery, I want to watch it with him.
But I got a surprised when I opened my WeChat.
Huangfu Tie Niu: “[Video]”
Huangfu Tie Niu: “Cuihua, I’m inviting you to watch the fireworks.”
Huangfu Tie Niu: “Happy New Year, wishing for a harmonious family feels a little hypocritical so I’ll just wish for your happiness.”
When I clicked on the video, I saw Xu Jiamu wearing a thick black down jacket with two sparklers dangling in his hands. He looked stupid, but his eyes were very bright.
I have never felt this way in the past, my eyes are warm, and my heart is also warm.
Utopia: “So are you, Uncle Tie Niu.”
Utopia: “Happy New Year!”
Happy New Year, Xu Jiamu, you wouldn’t know, the sparklers in your hands were the best fireworks I have ever seen in my life.
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