Xie Xuanming stood at the door of the bank, with a homeless man lying at his feet. He glanced at his watch and found that it was 8:55, five minutes before the bank opened for business.
Xie Xuanming had been standing here for 20 minutes. During this period, he went to the convenience store next door to buy a loaf of bread for breakfast. As soon as he bought it, his stomach ached from a hangover. He didn’t eat a bite and gave it to the homeless.
Ji Sheng woke up in the middle of the night. His memory was stuck before he passed out; he didn’t even know how he passed out, he thought he was drunk. He looked confused and ignorant, completely unaware of Zhao Wenhua’s nasty thoughts. He opened his mouth and asked if they were eligible for the competition. When the others saw him like this, they didn’t have the heart to tell him the real situation. They could only tell him vaguely that Xie Xuanming and Zhao Wenhua had a conflict, and the chance to qualify for the competition was likely lost…
“Huh?” Ji Sheng was dumbfounded. He turned to look at Xie Xuanming. He was shocked and angry when he saw his injuries. “Did they bully you? How did you get like this?”
Ji Sheng’s face was full of anxiety, and Sheng Kongzhi secretly shook his head at Xie Xuanming slightly.
Xie Xuanming got the hint and kept silent. Sheng Kongzhi remedied the situation: “Xiao Xie couldn’t help being angry that you were drunk, so…”
“Huh?” Ji Sheng’s complexion changed slightly; he was silent for a few seconds, then frowned and scolded, “Because of this? What’s wrong with me drinking a few drinks as an adult? Xie Xuanming, why are you so impulsive and act out on such a trivial matter? You also fought with a bunch of guys and came back with injuries!”
Angry, he stood up from the bed, swayed twice and fell back. Sheng Kongzhi quickly helped to steady him and whispered to him to calm down.
The untold truth, the poor state of Ji Sheng under the effects of the drug, Sheng Kongzhi’s concerned attitude, Su Jing’s earlier unintentional words, the burning of the alcohol that had not dissipated…
These things stuck in Xie Xuanming’s throat like fishbones, and the dry sharp pain made his veins throb, an uncontrollable fire rising to the surface.
He resisted his anger and said that he wanted to talk to Ji Sheng alone.
As soon as Sheng Kongzhi walked out, Xie Xuanming almost roared.
“Don’t you fucking know how to say no?” Xie Xuanming’s face was ugly, “Still no brains, if I hadn’t come back in time yesterday, do you know what might, no, what definitely would happen to you!”
His hoarse, broken voice made Xie Xuanming look like an unreasonable child, and Ji Sheng’s astonished and confused expression made him feel embarrassed afterwards.
After Xie Xuanming finished scolding, he stared at Ji Sheng, gasping.
He actually regretted it a little bit. After all, Ji Sheng didn’t know the situation… He just learned that they lost the chance to qualify for the competition and before he had time to get angry, he was slapped by the culprit and lectured…
Xie Xuanming felt that if he were Ji Sheng, he would have walked out with a cold face, slamming the door.
He tried to save face and maintain his fierce expression, but in reality his heart grew apprehensive, hesitant and afraid of Ji Sheng’s anger.
However, Ji Sheng didn’t get angry. He only looked at Xie Xuanming in surprise, faintly feeling that the things that must have made him mad were probably not as simple as they seemed.
However, instead of asking for the truth, Ji Sheng chose to look after the exploding minor first.
He relaxed, his expression returning to his usual casual nature, smiled and hugged Xie Xuanming’s shoulders, squeezing his face, both molesting and soothing him.
“The sun is rising in the east, and our good boy actually used two dirty words in one sentence. Come on, go, go, share the joy with Lao Sheng and the others.”
With Ji Sheng reacting so unreasonably, Xie Xuanming was stunned as if he had punched cotton.
Finally regaining his senses, Xie Xuanming pushed Ji Sheng away like a frightened bird and walked away with a flick of his sleeves.
To be precise, it was inappropriate to call it walking away with a flick of sleeves, it should be called running away.
Xie Xuanming’s face was hot and painful; he was angry for no reason and he was generously forgiven, he realized his own childishness and he was ashamed to face Ji Sheng, he could only wretchedly hide in his room, huddling in his bed, constantly torn about what to do, whether to apologise, how to apologise…
People always find themselves worthless when they are shown kindness.
Xie Xuanming had never been forgiven or treated kindly by others in the family where he was imprisoned since he was a child.
He was not at all familiar with this social process and clumsily decided to exchange for emotions the material things that met the urgent needs of those he wanted to please at this stage.
This was why he came to the bank early in the morning.
At nine o’clock, the bank opened.
Xie Xuanming went in, walked straight to the ATM machine, lowered his head and touched his pocket.
The last time he came to the bank was after his mother died and the man gave him a card.
It was the first time Xie Xuanming went to the bank and he had a lot of zeros in his account.
Looking at a long list of digits, Xie Xuanming suddenly remembered his mother. Money was the best care product. The man’s generosity extended his mother’s youthfulness, allowing her to bloom as brightly as a flower for decades.
In the end, she withered like a flower.
Xie Xuanming didn’t want to use the money.
The more generous and charitable the man was, the more pathetic and cheap he appeared.
But he didn’t care anymore.
The reason for the need for money was more important than the senseless dignity.
But his assets were frozen.
Xie Xuanming was silent for a few seconds when he saw the screen prompt. After turning to manual service, he was told that only up to 10,000 yuan could be withdrawn from his card.
The man who claimed to be his father probably wanted to teach the rebellious child who did not want to return home a lesson, but he was afraid that Xie Xuanming would starve to death, so he did not forget to leave a narrow path back.
Ten thousand yuan.
The narrow backroad.
Xie Xuanming wanted to laugh inexplicably.
The “basic living expenses” that rich people allocated lightly might be a huge sum that other people struggled to earn by rotating through a dozen bars at night, staying up all night to practice the tracks for a temp job or distributing flyers for ten hours in the 30-degree sun…
“Take it all out, thank you,” he said.
Xie Xuanming went to the convenience store next door to buy an ice cream and got a plastic bag there. He loosely put the banknotes into the bag and left.
When he walked out, he broke the card and squeezed it in his palm.
One really cannot be poor, Xie Xuanming was thinking carelessly, holding the ice cream.
After being poor for a while, breaking the card like that actually physically hurt.
But it felt really good to have contempt for money.
He finished the ice cream in three bites, waved his hand casually and threw the wooden stick together with the card that was broken into the trash can on the side of the road.
Xie Xuanming returned from a rewarding journey and knocked on Ji Sheng’s door.
Ji Sheng had just woken up from his nap, opened the door with sleepy eyes and stared blankly at the visitor.
It wasn’t until Xie Xuanming opened the bag and a stack of red banknotes showed up that he suddenly woke up, full of excitement.
“You are not…” Ji Sheng’s eyes widened, and he said in amazement, “Have you gone to extort medical expenses from Zhao Wenhua?”
“No.” Xie Xuanming said, “I originally wanted to withdraw 15,000 yuan from the card… but… they froze the money at home, and I could only withdraw so much. Just take it and make an album for Qingchu.”
Ten thousand yuan of cash was a pile of red, and the impact was so strong that it took a while for Ji Sheng to look away and say, “Qingchu can’t ask for it.”
“Why?” Xie Xuanming said, “Everyone is saving money for the album, and I also want to help.”
“…just sing a good song, don’t worry about money.”
“No.” Xie Xuanming was more serious, “Am I not a part of Qingchu?”
“This is not a question of being a part.” Ji Sheng scratched his head irritably.
The puppy you picked up casually on the road suddenly brought back a gold medal. He wagged his tail proudly and said that although you couldn’t tell, he was actually a noble puppy, so let him steal the assets of his family and buy you fancy canned food…
Ji Sheng’s face was gloomy and Xie Xuanming stared at him without blinking. The beautiful bruised eyes were shining, just like a dirty puppy waiting for praise.
Ji Sheng didn’t want to eat the puppy’s food. Ji Sheng just wanted the puppy to bark nicely, so he invited him to join the group.
Thinking about it, Ji Sheng sighed: “You give all the money to Qingchu, what are you going to do?”
“I can make money.” Xie Xuanming said seriously, “I can do anything you can do by handing out flyers and singing in bars.”
“You are still in school.” Ji Sheng frowned, “You will be in your senior year when you start school.”
“I don’t want to go.” Xie Xuanming wrinkled his nose, showing a bit of age-appropriate rebellion, “I’m not up to it anymore.”
“It’s not a question of whether you want to or not.” Ji Sheng was taken aback and his expression changed, “You are angry.”
“No.” Upset, Xie Xuanming said stiffly.
Don’t treat me like a child, he wanted to say.
However, Ji Sheng spoke first, interrupting him.
“I am very worried about you.”
Ji Sheng frowned and looked at him seriously: “Xie Xuanming, you have no plan for the future. This will not work. It is very worrying.”
As he said, he got a little angry inexplicably.
“You may think that you have 10,000 yuan in your card and you can use it whatever way you want. You will spend it impulsively today and earn it tomorrow. This is a trivial matter, but it is not… This reflects that your attitude towards life is very perfunctory. You are only seventeen years old and it’s fine to skip school and play in a band, but to drop out of school is beyond the limit of ‘willfulness’. It’s not good and it’s not allowed, I don’t agree with it and I won’t allow it. If you really want to drop out of school, then you will no longer be welcome at Qingchu, you will quit the band tomorrow, no, today. Get your ass back to school and go to classes honestly!”
Xie Xuanming swallowed hard.
Ji Sheng’s tone was stern; he assumed the posture of a full-blown elder and lectured long-windedly.
As a rebellious seventeen-year-old boy, Xie Xuanming felt that he should be unhappy.
However, in fact, Xie Xuanming was happy, he was very happy.
On the one hand, he suspected that his head must have been broken yesterday since he was so happy to be scolded, on the other hand, he couldn’t help being excited.
Ji Sheng was worried about him.
Xie Xuanming’s heart moved; Ji Sheng’s words were like the first wave of sea water revealed when the harbour melted, icy and cool, bringing the scent of spring.
Xie Xuanming suddenly realized why there were so many rebellious teenagers in the world who loved to do stupid things.
If rebellion and immaturity could be exchanged for worry and love, Xie Xuanming was willing to be called an asshole kid for the rest of his life.
Ji Sheng paused to catch his breath in the middle of the tirade, frowning and ready to continue educating the young lead singer in front of him who had turned into a punk in less than a month.
Who knew that before he could speak, the rebellious boy who was as stubborn as a mule just now would suddenly sniff and say softly: “Okay, I understand.”
Ji Sheng’s education-related topic stuck in his throat, making him choke.
Xie Xuanming lowered his eyes; his voice was quiet, a little embarrassed and a little aggrieved: “I’m sorry.”
Ji Sheng watched Xie Xuanming raise his eyes in a daze. His bruised eyes, the wounds in the corner of his lips and scabs on his face all made him look a bit pitiful.
After apologising, the pitiful Xie Xuanming said softly: “It’s my fault to get angry in the morning and it’s my fault to say that I’d drop out of school. I was wrong. Brother Ji, don’t be angry.”
Xie Xuanming’s words, like a ball of cotton, were shoved into Ji Sheng’s heart, unreasonably squashing down his anger completely, while the floating cotton choked him with stifling discomfort.
Ji Sheng thought.
This kid was really good and realized the true meaning of life in just a few minutes.
Worse than a seventeen year old dead stubborn mad dog was a seventeen year old dirty puppy.
If it was the former, you could still wave a big stick at it angrily; but the latter rolled in front of you and you could do nothing about it.