Through the flower garden, Bai Lu and Jiang Ru left the neighborhood.
At 10:30, the Sixth Middle School’s gate was already closed, compared to Jiang Ru’s break up thoughts, Bai Lu has to think more about how to explain to the security guard and hostess aunt when they return later.
“Here it is.” Jiang Ru said.
They were standing at a crossroads, the light was still red. Across the road was a row of roadside stalls and snack bars, and at the turn was a large, dark iron gate.
The Sixth High school and the vocational high school were only two blocks apart, but the scene and atmosphere were completely different.
At this time of the night, there were very few pedestrians in front of the Sixth High School, and only the senior dormitory building was lit up for the college entrance examination candidates to study. But the entrance of the vocational high school was as lively as a food court.
Once ten o’clock passed, a row of barbecue stalls were set up on the road.
The students of the high school were the main customers of these small restaurants. Bai Lu had been studying in the Sixth High School for more than two years and knew a little about this neighboring school. The service art vocational high school was also a boarding school, but there was no access control, or even if there was, the set up was in vain.
This was a busy time of the year, all the stores were filled with young-faced high school students.
No one here was honestly wearing school uniforms. Their button of the shirt were open, revealing their chest and bosom, or tied around the waist. At the corner of barbecue stalls two young couples were hugging each other. They are trying to feed each other.
The green light came, but Jiang Ru did not took a step.
Bai Lu looked at her strangely and found that her face was tinged with red and her lips were tightly closed.
She was nervous.
Bai Lu said, “Do you have his phone number? Should I call him to come out.”
Jiang Ru nodded, “Yes but……”
Bai Lu: “Do you want to call him?”
Jiang Ru gripped the strap of her school bag, lowered her head, and fondled her school uniform skirt with her other hand.
“It’s better if I go look for him, I know where he is.” Jiang Ru said.
Bai Lu: “Where is he?”
Jiang Ru raised her hand and pointed across the road. Bai Lu followed and looked over, it was a fast food restaurant.
“He’s usually there at this time of day.” Jiang Ru said, “eating with friends ……” her face became more red. Bai Lu pulled her hand, it was icy cold.
“You don’t have to be so nervous.” Bai Lu said.
Jiang Ru’s hand gripped them a little tighter, as if to draw strength from Bai Lu.
Bai Lu: “Do you still want to go?”
“Yes.” Jiang Ru gritted her teeth, ” I have to go.”
After waiting for another traffic light, Jiang Ru took a deep breath and walked across the road.
She touched her hair several times along the way, and pursed her lips. Bai Lu really did not know how to comfort her.
The store was open. Jiang Ru pointed a dozen of meter away and said to Bai Lu, “Wait for me there.”
Bai Lu said, “It’s better if I accompany you.”
Jiang Ru shook her head with a hesitant look on her face, “You …… wouldn’t like that group.”
Bai Lu: “Do you like it?”
Jiang Ru shook her head again and whispered, “I don’t like it either …… but I like him.”
Jiang Ru took a deep breath and turned her head toward the fast food restaurant.
Bai Lu looked up, the store is called “Coco fast food”, the sign was not lit up like other stores so she couldn’t see it from far at night.
Jiang Ru went in the front, behind her Bai Lu silently followed, they stopped at the entrance of the store.
Jiang Ru again took a deep breath before opening the door of the store and entering.
The store was surprisingly quiet.
Perhaps it had to do with the fact that an unexpected guest had gone in.
“What did you come here for?” A girl asked.
“I did not come looking for you ……,” Jiang Ru’s voice sounded even lighter than it had just been.
“Shut up!” The girl didn’t seem to think Jiang Ru could offend her, so her voice suddenly became louder, “Who are you looking for?”
Jiang Ru’s voice trembled.
“Xu Hui ……”
Bai Lu leaned at the door of the fast food restaurant, waiting for a long time but did not hear anything. She inadvertently lowered her head, only to find that the door was dirty, not wiped for a long time.
Bai Lu took a half step back, and a voice came from the store.
“Looking for me for what?”
Bai Lu took a step and slowly stood firm again.
A boy of seventeen or eighteen was stitting there with his friends, his voice still carried a slight youthfulness.
Maybe he was tired, or maybe it was not exciting, his voice was vaguely subdued and sounded annoyed.
Jiang Ru: “Can you come out with me for a moment?”
The girl laughed, “Interesting, who are you calling?”
Jiang Ru held a breath, “Anyway, I did not call you.”
The girl slapped the table, “You say that again?” Pointedly at Jiang Ru and muttered, “Deadbeat thing.”
Bai Lu rubbed her feet on the ground, a fallen dead leaf was trampled by oncoming pedestrians.
Jiang Ru: “Who are you talking about, you’re the one ……”
“You try saying another fucking bullshit sentence!”
A few boys next to her were vaguely laughing.
“All right.” Xu Hui interrupted the girl and said to Jiang Ru, “Why did you come to see me?”
How strange, both the teenage boy and girls obviously asked the same thing.
Why did you came to see me.
Jiang Ru was very cooperative and replied, “I have something to say to you.”
The girl interjected, “If you have something to say, say it here.”
Jiang Ru took a deep breath and said, “Xu Hui, are you coming out with me?”
Her tone sounded calm, with the unique dignity of a good student, but in such circumstances, this vague reserve and pride seemed fragile and embarrassing.
The girl was enraged by the indefinable feeling.
The more direct you are at a young age, the more you hurt other people.
Jiang Ru was about to cry out, “What did you say? Why are you cursing me?”
The girl looked innocent, “Am I wrong ah?”
Jiang Ru: “Say it again.”
The girl gave a snort, and said word by word with a provocating tone, “Ugly! Bitch!”
Jiang Ru stomped her foot, “Xu Hui!”
“Okay.” The boy seemed like a starry-eyed emperor, who just watched the group of ministers quarreled, and finally he presided over the big picture. “Stop it, Little Ye, don’t go too far.”
“Hmph.” The girl named Xiaoye snorted coldly and gave the boy enough face and stopped speaking.
Jiang Ru seemed to have hope again, “Xu Hui.”
After a moment of silence, Xu Hui said in a low voice, “What’s up? You can say it here.”
In public, this kind of conversation simply killed Jiang Ru. As if all the way coming here was for naught.
“Can you come out for a moment?”
Xu Hui did not speak.
Xiaoye muttered on the side, “…… really not convinced.”
Jiang Ru did not care about Xiaoye, strong face, said, “Then let’s break up.”
Xiaoye: “Pfft.” Then covered her mouth, but did not laugh louder.
Xu Hui did not laugh and said softly, “Okay.”
There is nothing more to insist on, Jiang Ru opened her mouth several times, but could not find to say anything. The tears finally fell one by one. She turned and ran out of the store.
She seemed to forget about Bai Lu’s presence and ran all the way outside.
The huge school bag swayed left and right behind her, awkwardly.
They keep chattering as if whatever happened just now was everyday drama for them.
One boy said, “Little Ye, you are too much, how could you curse others.”
Another boy: “Yes, at least she came out at night to find Brother Hui, you are just too jealous and scary.”
Xiao Ye sneered and made a fuss with the boys, yelling, “How dare you talk about me! I said wrong? I’m going to bite you ah!”
The boy said, “In fact, she is not particularly ugly, she looks like that mainly because her head is too big, and she’s so thin. She suddenly came in like an alien and scared me.”
Xiaoye giggled, “Your mouth is very cheap.”
“Big head sister.” The boy said, “She is from Sixth Highschool. She must be good at studying.”
Xiaoye: “Nerdy bitch, women rely on learning good ah.”
Boys: “Well, good learners are better than good-looking people? no way.”
Xiaoye: “The examination room depends on good study, but the love field must rely on the face. Nerds should go to nerds.”
The group followed with a laugh, a boy joked: “Brother Hui, how did you make the girl fall for you? Give me some tips, we are single for too long, both physically and mentally exhausted.”
After a long time, Xu Hui spoke, and jokingly said, “You have to have the face, sometimes nerdy women also look at the face.”
The crowd laughed.
The waiter of the restaurant watched all the way how they mocked the girl and could not help but say: “Young man, that little girl also liked you, you didn’t do a good job this time.”
Xiao Ye was annoyed: “What ah, what do you mean not too good? Which love has a good side? He does not like her, but also have to force himself to like, just listening this make me so sick ah.”
Xu Hui did not speak, the waiter was already choked a mouthful by her reasoning, and hurriedly said, “You’re right, you’re all right.”
“I know.” Xiao Ye said, “playing like the banner of the deadly face of the people are not disgusting. There is no right or wrong in love. Love you a lot, stay together. Don’t love, then kick them off. Who is not like that? The one that is not like this should roll by themself, don’t make people upset.”
The leaves on the ground have been stepped on until nothing was left, Bai Lu stepped away and walked back.
She met Jiang Ru, who was squatting and crying, in that lonicera bush.
Bai Lu squatted down next to her and said, “Don’t cry.”
Jiang Ru covered her face, and Bai Lu suddenly said, “Do you feel more humiliated?”
Jiang Ru shook her head vigorously.
After a long moment of silence, Bai Lu said again, “Don’t cry, it’s not worth it.”
Jiang Ru cried, “You don’t understand ……”
Bai Lu: “It’s really not worth it, you just be yourself, you don’t have to change anything.”
Jiang Ru raised her eyes, “They are also right.” Eyes red she said, “Bai Lu, I simply have a crush on him. It’s just me who loves him, but I want him to respond. It’s more than what you think. Since I have a claim on him, I should pay for it myself, I have to pay my karma.”
Bai Lu laughed, “Good physics ah, so logical.”
Jiang Ru: “Boys like good looking girls ……”
Bai Lu: “Not necessarily.”
Jiang Ru: “He just likes it.”
Bai Lu smiles, “Not necessarily.”
Jiang Ru: “What do you mean?”
Bai Lu paused and added, “Don’t you think their remarks are superficial?”
Jiang Ru shook her head, “No, we are silly, too self-righteous. Always say that inner beauty is most important, who can see it ah.”
Bai Lu: “Your self-criticism is really thorough.”
Jiang Ru pulled the corners of her mouth, trying to match Bai Lu, but her face remained miserable.
Bai Lu: “Let’s go back.”
Jiang Ru lost her soul so she didn’t respond. Bai Lu added: “Wait a few days and forget about it.”
Bai Lu dragged Jiang Ru’s arm and pulled her up from the ground. Jiang Ru’s body swayed and Bai Lu took her school bag off and carried it.
Jiang Ru: “Thank you.”
Bai Lu: “It’s okay.”
Jiang Ru walked and said unconsciously, “It’s that I didn’t give him enough love. Senior year is important, I can’t be with him wholeheartedly like that girl.”
Bai Lu whispered, “It’s not love then.”
Jiang Ru stubbornly: “It’s love.”
Bai Lu: “You’re just taking the bull by the horns now,* I don’t think the feelings are that simple.”
[T/L: Saying or doing illogical things]
Jiang Ru did not say anything.
Bai Lu: “If love is given gently and easily, and received the same way, it is not what is considered love.”
Walking in the dim street lights, they are about to leave the neighborhood. The fragrance of flowers could no longer be smelt. The roadside has a faint smell of passing cars.
Jiang Ru asked blankly, “Then what do you call love?”
Bai Lu became quiet. She watched as a black car passed them with a flash to the neighborhood.
“It may have to be a little more intense.” Stopping in her tracks, Bai Lu looked at the gray and yellow street, pondered, and then said softly: “Either save the person you love or kill for them ……”
The night wind carried the fishy smell of dirt. Their hair blew gently with the wind.
“This is how I understand love.”
Through the flower garden, Bai Lu and Jiang Ru left the neighborhood.