Chapter 8 — The Point of Living
Edited by Tin
When their examinations were done, the students all returned home. Just like the previous years, Zhou Hao did not go back. Currently, he remained in the school’s laboratory, working on his experiments. After working on them over the next few days, he would have to go to the hospital for his clinical attachment next month.
Ever since the farce at the bar, Zhou Hao cut off all communication with Jiang Yuqian, and he also did not take the initiative to look for him.
Time went on, and it would again be the weekend the next day.
At night, Zhou Hao fiddled with his phone — tapping on that name in his contact list, then exiting, then tapping in again…
He did not know how many times he repeated the action, and his finger even started to feel numb from the repetitive action.
It was late in the night.
The building he lived in was near the road, so there would always be the sounds of car engines as well as people talking. When the house was extremely quiet, he could hear the conversations happening outside very clearly.
Zhou Hao liked houses that were near the streets. They could hide the silence of his home perfectly.
At 10:30pm, Zhou Hao put his phone down. He went to the bathroom to shower, then returned to his bedroom and quietly went to sleep. He slept throughout the night, and only woke up at 11 the next day. Perhaps due to sleeping too much, his head felt heavy and tired.
The phone, which he did not use to make any calls, after being left on the coffee table at 10:30pm, never lit up again.
This was very normal. Zhou Hao’s social circle was so tiny that it barely existed. Other than Jiang Yuqian, there was only Yan Ming.
This year, Yan Ming went home for the holidays. He had just left the day before, and Zhou Hao even sent him to the train station. As for Jiang Yuqian, it was impossible that that person would take the initiative to look for him.
In the past, Zhou Hao would always send a message on Friday night to remind that person. “It’s already the weekend.”
Both people were aware of what the message implied. It meant — it was time for you to come!
There was only once, when Zhou Hao wanted to see if Jiang Yuqian would take the initiative to come or not. As such, he deliberately did not remind him on Friday. As expected, the next day, that person really did not come.
Only at this point did Zhou Hao truly wake up. Between the two of them, he never had the right to be wilful. This was originally a forced trade, and if he did not maintain the relationship by working hard, that person would not pay attention to him at all.
Occasionally, Zhou Hao would have a perceptive side to him. He would lie on his bed, imagining what that person would be like late in the night. He would probably be just like him, yearning desperately for a certain someone. After all, didn’t that person have a certain sissy in his heart?
This world was really so amazing that it could make one want to swear! He liked Jiang, while Jiang liked Cheng, and who did Cheng like? Zhou Hao did not know either.
It was already past 11, and the time for breakfast had long passed. Zhou Hao decided to just combine breakfast and lunch, using the ingredients in his fridge to prepare a dish and a soup. After the meal, he hurried to the laboratory.
See, a person’s life did not only have fucking love, it also had countless laboratory experiments!
In a sense, Zhou Hao liked doing experiments a lot. As he had been tormented by life, leaving only an empty husk, to be able to fill up the emptiness with work, to him, was something that was worth being happy about.
The cold and lifeless equipment was sometimes even warmer than the so-called human nature.
After staying in the laboratory for the entire day, cultivating a primary cell culture finally produced some satisfactory results. Walking out of the sterile room, Zhou Hao removed his mask and coat, then washed his hands. At this moment, his stomach grumbled a few times. Looking at his phone, it was already 7.
Zhou Hao left the underground laboratory, walking around on the streets. The bright neon lights, the young people swaggering through the streets, and the square dancers twisting their hips and swaying their waists at the entrance of Songyuan housing estate…
The bustling scene was very noisy, as well as very glaring.
This was a big cosmopolitan city. It was all-embracing, with rapid changes, accepting people from all over the world, as well as the brave youths who dared to venture out from their homes all over the country.
Despite the splendour of the city, the unique landscape, Zhou Hao always was able to feel the taste of loneliness amidst the crowd of people. True, this place was also not his hometown, and it was actually a city completely different from it.
“Yan Ming.” Zhou Hao gave Yan Ming a call.
“Mn, what’s going on?”
“How is it like now?”
On the other side of the line, Yan Ming did not understand. “Huh? What?”
“It’s nothing…” Zhou Hao hung up, walking along the street aimlessly, like a walking corpse.
How many years had it been? From the year he entered the university, until now where he had already finished the first year of his masters, it was already five years.
Even today, Zhou Hao could still remember dragging along a big and bulky black luggage, carrying a big backpack, and riding on a hard seat on a train for two days before reaching the capital.
When he came, no one at home sent him off. After so many years, no one at home gave him a call either. Even if he had died away from home, that woman would probably never know.
Zhou Hao’s fingers scrolled through the contact list on his phone to find “Zhang Qiuhua” — his mother’s name. He hesitated, unable to make a decision. What could he say if the call was picked up? What would that woman say?
Zhou Hao thought of many things. Ever since he was a child, his thought processes had always been scarily complex.
“Du du du—” Very quickly, the call was picked up.
Zhou Hao did not say anything. He licked his lips, his telltale sign that he was nervous.
“Is there anything you want?” On the line was his mother’s voice, so distant it was like a stranger’s.
Zhou Hao bit his lip, his expression extremely solemn. “How’s your health?”
Towards this biological mother, Zhou Hao had always treated her just like how he treated his teachers. Between the mother and son, there was never a time when they could laugh or joke.
“I’m fine.” The woman continued, “There’s nothing else, right?”
“Then we’ll end it here, Tingting has some questions for me.”
Again, only “du du du” was heard on the line. Zhou Hao stood by the road blankly, remaining there motionless for a quarter of an hour. He lit a cigarette, and ignoring how others would look at him, he sat down by the road and started smoking.
When a person was sad, they would always try to find something to divert their attention. After so many years, his addiction to cigarettes was increasing greatly.
He had started secretly smoking in junior high. In the third year of high school, as he was basically sealed off to study, he did not smoke as much, and was even about to quit smoking. Upon entering university, his addiction returned.
Each time he did the deed with Jiang Yuqian, he would also have to have a smoke. Yan Ming also advised him to hurry up and quit smoking, as it was harmful to the body, and it tasted bad.
Zhou Hao knew it too, but it was easy to get addicted to it. The smoke ring would slowly slide across the tip of his tongue, slowly escaping out of his mouth. Zhou Hao enjoyed this sort of foggy process.
He again took his phone out and gave Jiang Yuqian a call. It was quickly answered. What a rare occasion for the person to not reject the call.
“Jiang Yuqian, you’re even more addictive than cigarettes.” The words came out of nowhere. As though he was drunk, they had burst out of his mouth unwittingly.
“Zhou Hao,” that person called his name with a low voice, “you make me scared.”
Silence reigned for a few seconds, and Jiang Yuqian continued, “I’ll give you money, and that apartment as well. Let’s just end this here, and don’t harass me anymore in the future.”
“Can you fucking stop talking about money all the time?! Over the past few years, I did spend quite a lot of your money, I’ll pay it all back to you in the future! I will fucking earn money in the future and pay you back!”
At this moment, Zhou Hao’s hysteria seemed to have found a place to vent itself.
Actually, he was a little sad. He had already lost his love, but why did that person have to take away his dignity as well?
On the other side of the line, it was momentarily silent. Zhou Hao ended the call indignantly.
At 8pm on the streets, Zhou Hao had called three people. Other than Yan Ming, the other two exhausted his mind and body. He could get no love from them, but he was unable to hate them.
With his mother, he had no escape from their blood relations; With Jiang Yuqian, he was intoxicated with that person’s pureness, unable to pull himself out from it.
“Did I murder an entire city in my past life?” Such self-pity had flashed through Zhou Hao’s mind countless times.
Due to the cycle of karma, hence he would have such a retribution. Only by having this sort of self-consolation could Zhou Hao relieve himself from the pain of life, and light the flame of what little hope there was in living.
It was said that during the period of Meiji reform in Japan, there was a young girl who jumped off a waterfall to commit suicide. She left a will, and on it, she wrote, she did not hate the world, and she was not in despair. She only felt that the period of youth was too beautiful and magnificent, and in the best times of her life, she wanted to die splendidly like the cherry blossoms.
When Zhou Hao read this for the first time, he was only in his second year of junior high. It was the time when he was desperately studying and desperately smoking. Cutting out this will from the book, he would take it out every night for a look.
His precocious temperament had already exceeded that of people his age. When others were all playing games, he had already thought about the final step of one’s life.
Now, at this moment, he once again recalled the will he had kept. Zhou Hao was extremely perplexed. To kill oneself for youth?
Then what about him, what would it be for?
When this thought appeared in his head, Zhou Hao was shocked by himself. Death? There was no way he was going to die. It was others who owed him, why did he have to die? He did not want to do so, he wanted to live properly, and bring them the ultimate disgust.
He took out his phone again. However, he did not call his mother, but again, called Jiang Yuqian. It took him three tries before his call was picked up.
“Jiang Yuqian, I’m going to cling onto you for the rest of my life! I’m going to disgust you with all my might!”
“Zhou Hao, you should see a doctor.” Jiang Yuqian was clearly impatient. Spitting out his words, he ended the call.
“Fuck!” Zhou Hao snorted. He then stood up, walking in the direction of home.
It was 9:30pm when he reached home. He updated his post on Douban, but it was only a short statement today.
【I cannot understand the point of living. A family, a lover, I have none, they all think that I’m a burden. My purpose in life is probably to disgust people.】