The very moment he saw the lecture notes he held scattering like snowflakes onto the ground, Guo Jinshan snapped back to reality as if waking from a dream.
At the start of spring, right after the Lunar New Year, several lab equipment had unexpectedly broken down. It took almost a whole month for the manufacturer to fix them, causing a need to redo the research data. In addition, the professor had hired him to work in the laboratory during the summer holidays. Once the summer holidays were over, apart from the research institute’s courses, he was required to teach the newly enrolled juniors as well. Then there were also other plans made by his professor and seniors on the way.
He led a busy life. He wondered all the while whether he was getting enough sleep.
In order to finish recording the research data, he stayed up late until 3 AM and woke up feeling light-headed, having almost overslept. He had no choice but to rush out quickly while carrying thick and heavy files in his arms. The summer sun had always been especially hot in the morning, and when he entered the train station, cold air blasting from the air conditioners welcomed him inside yet somehow he could feel no relief. All of a sudden, he felt faint and off-balance.
He shook his head, deciding he wasn’t fully awake yet and took the escalator down to the platform. There was a crowd waiting for the train, students standing nearby were talking loudly and a warning sounded loudly that the train heading in the opposite direction was going to leave soon. The noise all made his right ear uncomfortable, causing him to feel like he was about to lose consciousness.
In a trance, he vaguely noticed the train he needed to get on had arrived. While he was following the crowd, suddenly a person collided against him. Bumping into him set off a huge migraine and he ended up passing out for a few seconds. Fighting to keep down the unpleasant pain caused by the migraine as well as the strong urge to vomit, he took a deep breath and waited for his consciousness and vision to recover, only to find his lecture notes had already scattered all over the ground,
Panicking, he bent over to pick them up. At that moment, in his mind, he could only think of returning the professor’s important documents back to him in good condition.
On the platform, the people who were supposed to board the train had already boarded, and even those who had reached their stop were already walking towards the escalator. Maybe it was because they were in a hurry or maybe they were just embarrassed, a couple of people would even kick the scattered papers towards him, but in the end, no one stopped to help him.
Unsure whether it was because of his light-headedness, his body felt heavy, causing his movements to become slow. The more he panicked, the messier things became.
If he couldn’t pick them all up soon, they might end up dropping onto train rails once the train left. He didn’t want to obstruct traffic and cause trouble for everyone.
Suddenly, a pair of hands clutching a pile of paper entered his view, surprising him.
“Mister, let me help you.”
“Huh?” Guo Jinshan, feeling distressed, raised his head and discovered the person offering to help him was tall and well-built; he looked like a young college student.
He couldn’t refrain from looking towards the direction the youth had just come from. His instinct told him that the guy had run out after getting on the train. The doors had already slid shut and he saw many people pretending they hadn’t seen what had happened.
Pointing his finger at the shut door, he knew it was already too late but he still reminded him urgently, “No….You, ah! The train left!”
Without looking back, the youth swiftly picked up the papers one by one and then told him, “Rather than worrying about the train leaving, these papers will fly away again if you don’t hurry.”
Remembering the strong winds that follow a departing train, Guo Jinshan quickly replied, “Ah, yes!”
With the youth’s help, he managed to retrieve all his lecture notes. Although the order had been messed up, he could still rearrange them back at the lab.
He said gratefully, “I’m really sorry for troubling you.”
“It’s alright.” The youth glanced at his watch with a perplexed expression.
Seeing this, Guo Jinshan apologetically asked, “Sorry, did I… make you late?”
The expression on the youth’s face was definitely unhappy, and as expected, began to scold him, “Next time watch where you’re going. Don’t trouble others like this again.”
If he wasn’t in such a daze, something like this would have never happened in the first place. Guo Jinshan felt extremely guilty, he could only lower his head and apologize again, “I’m terribly sorry…”
The youth, without saying another word, turned and left.
And looking at that departing figure left Guo Jinshan feeling unsettled for the rest of the day.
It wasn’t until 11 PM when he was about to go home, that he realized he had forgotten to thank the youth.
By the time he noticed an unfamiliar health insurance card in the handouts he had picked up, a couple of days had already passed.