The winter in N City is always inscrutable. On the day of New Year’s Eve, it started snowing again after a few days of sunshine.

    Outside, it was snowy and windy, but inside it was warm.

    Zhang Man is in Li Wei’s study, doing the angular momentum problem of a rigid body in a competition book, in which the force analysis and calculation process is very complicated. She had studied college physics in her previous life, but never touched it after teaching in high school, and was already rusty.

    It’s been more than 20 years since she’s been exposed to it, and she’s still struggling to do it.

    But the knowledge you have learned can be picked up again quickly.

    After about five or six minutes, Zhang Man made a complete analysis of the forces on each object, calculated the different moments, and found the key to solving the problem. She followed the steps and wrote the solution without skipping a single step.

    The large desk in the study has two very different styles. The girl sat upright, her handwriting was also upright and the draft paper was divided into two sides by a vertical line in the middle. She wrote the solution process on the left and made a draft on the right, and each formula was marked with a number after it, which was so perfect that it could cure OCD.

    The youth on the other hand were not as sophisticated as she was. He had a thick pile of papers spread out in front of him, with all kinds of notes drawn on them. He took the pen and wrote quickly on the paper, but his handwriting was not too clear and did not exactly follow the path of the horizontal lines on the paper.

    He writes quickly enough to barely keep up with the calculations in his head, and many of the letters and numbers are passed in a single stroke in the way he is used to.

    With such casualness and scribblings, it is estimated that no second person can read these derivations except himself.

    Zhang Man did another question and got a little bit absent minded.

    She turned her face sideways and peeked at the youth who was writing with a quick pen. He has been sitting there for more than two hours already, doing a lot of calculations without stopping at all.

    In fact, theoretical physics, which is very romantic, is not like computational physics or applied physics and electronics, which requires a lot of data measurements and the assistance of various instruments and computers.

    A pen and a piece of paper can pry up the whole universe.

    The youth’s look was serious, almost reverent, and he finally came to the desired conclusion after writing the last equation.

    He stretched slightly and turned around to look at Zhang Man.

    “What’s wrong?”

    Zhang Man looked at his dry, cracked lips and pointed to the glass of water in front of him.

    It dawned on him, and only then did he pick up the glass and take a sip. He is always like this, when he gets serious he can’t care about anything.

    Summer’s okay but in the winter when the outside is dry and the heating indoors is on, Zhang Man is a little worried that if this goes on he will flare-up.

    “Li Wei, let’s go to the mall, I want to buy a humidifier and put it at home. The room is too dry.”

    She said it so naturally that she didn’t realize she had omitted a few words.

    But the youth on the sidelines froze.

    He heard her say, “Home.”

    Home—sometimes he really does not know what home is. An empty house with only him, is it considered a home? But that word just came out of her mouth and suddenly it had meaning, as if it carried warmth.

    It was so hot that his heart trembled.

    He nodded, the itch in his heart reached his palm and his fingertips began to tingle a bit, he couldn’t help but raise his hand to touch her soft hair.

    “Click ……” with the dry winter air, Zhang Man was caught off guard by his touch, and a strong static electricity was generated between the two, which was particularly loud in the quiet room.

    Both of them were slightly stunned, then Zhang Man smiled and said, “See, it’s really dry so let’s go!”

    ……

    The snow and wind are still outside, and many branches on the road are bent over.

    Li Wei’s home is located in the city center, surrounded by many shopping malls. This year, electronic shopping malls and express business are not so popular, so people mostly rely on physical stores to buy things and N City’s major shopping malls are in the most prosperous years.

    The two looked for a larger one, and found that the opposite building is dedicated to a small electrical appliance mall.

    The sales lady was very enthusiastic and took them to the shelf full of humidifiers.

    Humidifiers are in the inner row with a wide variety as well as a row of foreign imports that also come with aromatherapy oils that can be placed inside.

    Zhang Man stopped. When she heard Li Wei speak earlier, it seemed that his sleep was not very good and he often thought about physics problems all night. She recalled that in her previous life, she heard Chen Feier say that lavender essential oil has a sleep-aiding effect, so if you drop some lavender essential oil when you sleep, your sleep should improve a lot.

    But there are several kinds of essential oils, each with its own advantages that Zhang Man picked out.

    The youth is only responsible for the cart, standing aside quietly watching the squatting young girl without making any comments.

    Around the young girl’s neck hangs the pair of rabbit ear muffs he gave her, and with the down coat’s fur collar, she looks fluffy throughout. She frowned and looked at the function descriptions on each humidifier box and carefully studied them, her mouth constantly perking up. “No, the capacity of this is too small… it won’t last for a long time…… this is too ugly, not aesthetically pleasing to put at home…”

    She looks more serious about buying things than doing physics problems.

    Zhang Man finally picked a good-looking, large capacity humidifier and threw it into the shopping cart. She gave a final glance at the price and it was acceptable, so she walked to the checkout.

    Mobile phone payment is not popular in N City this year so Zhang Man took out her wallet with the idea that she would pay, but was stopped by the youth.

    She saw that he would not allow her to refuse and take out a bank card and handed it to the cashier. Then he turned around and motioned that he would put the cart away, so she did not grab it from him.

    The two of them walked out of the Appliance Mall with their stuff, and Zhang Man suddenly remembered the last time they went to the bar, he gave the sultry woman a pile of money and was somewhat puzzled.

    “Li Wei… You live alone, where do you get so many living expenses?”

    The youth was quiet for a moment and the corners of his mouth curled up, “…My dad left money behind that I probably won’t be able to spend in two lifetimes.”

   Before his father committed suicide, he made a will, leaving him the vast majority of his assets during his lifetime and various real estate plus liquid investments, the exact figures of which he himself did not know.

    But it is something that probably the vast majority of people will never earn in their lifetime.

    There was a little more amusement in his heart when he said it.

    He is only one person, and has no interest in spending money, so he can’t use much at all. What is the use of leaving him so much money?

    Zhang Man listened to his slightly mocking tone, her heart tightened: “Li Wei, do you……you resent your dad?”

    Resent him for starting the madness that almost killed him, or resent him for choosing to commit suicide when he was so young, leaving him all alone in this world.

    The youth shook his head in silence.

    After a long time he added: “No complaints, I no longer remember what he looks like anymore.”

    Zhang Man felt a little uncomfortable again, like there was dense cotton in her heart that was blocking her to breathe.

    The last thing she wanted to see on his face was such an expression. Every time he talked about this, he kept stating it in a neutral manner. It’s like if you never get hope, you will never be disappointed.

    She would have liked him to act like a normal person who would complain, blame, and vent his frustrations, instead of taking these misfortunes as a matter of course.

    She took a deep breath to calm down, after which she curled her mouth and grabbed the youth’s sleeve: “Li Wei, you can’t finish spending so much money. I’ll help you spend a little today.”

    The youth lowered his head and looked at the girl in front of him.

    She looked at him with a smile and softly grabbed his sleeve like that and said she would help him spend the money. A certain corner of his heart collapsed again, and suddenly he felt that the money his father had left him was a bit useful.

    ……

    Zhang Man pulled Li Wei and went straight to the Home City upstairs.

    After she once again confirmed that Li Wei is really rich, she began a buying frenzy that showed no mercy. His home is so big, but there are only a few pieces of furniture and every time she goes to his house, she feels empty. The decoration is simple, and there are very few things, making it look quite lifeless.

    She picked a few plain pillows according to her preferences, as well as a vintage looking metal vase, plain sofa set, and picked a Beige wool carpet with a calming tone …… his home curtains also had to be changed. That black curtains are so dark that it feels gloomy to look at them. And……yes, there is also the kitchen and although she has added a lot of things before, there is still a lot she can still buy.

    There were so many things that two shopping carts couldn’t fit at all, and only then did Zhang Man give up.

    As the two pushed the shopping cart to the checkout once more, Zhang Man glanced at the bill and spat out her tongue with a little embarrassment.

    It seems like she…bought more than she should.

    She was bored standing at the front, waiting for the youth to pay and was casually looking around to pass the time when she suddenly found a girl about their age standing in front of the store, staring at Li Wei’s direction all the time, with some confused eyes, seemingly confirming something.

    The girl was very good-looking, the kind that is radiant and enchanting to look at, just like those in the movies.

    She is quite tall with exquisite features and unlike the common plain and stereotypical of a high school student, this girl dresses up in a very trendy way. There are several handfuls of brown wavy curls dyed green in the middle of her hair. She is wearing a ginger colored hoodie and a sports legging that is still rare in this year’s N City and is also carrying several luxury brand shopping bags in her hands.

    Zhang Man carefully recalled that she did not know such a person in her previous life. Could it be that it was someone Li Wei knew?

    But when she looked over again in a daze, the girl was gone.

    Zhang Man shook her head and did not put it in mind, perhaps it was a case of mistaken identity.

    When the two went home, they had to take a taxi and split several more trips to get everything home.

    Li Wei stood in the doorway, looking at the things piled into a small mountain in the living room and was a bit overwhelmed while the girl in front of him started to get busy with a satisfied face.

    Zhang Man spent the whole night setting up the whole home, and the final result was really good.

    The whole house has become much more crowded, and many spaces that were originally wasted have been used effectively and rationally, and it finally looks like someone is living here. The essential oil diffuser is already working and the air carries the aroma of lavender essential oil, which makes you feel relaxed just by smelling it.

    Satisfied, Zhang Man rolled up her sleeves and went around the house, surveying whether there was still room for remodeling.

    His house is a very large flat with three rooms with a study, but there are two rooms she has never been in. Zhang Man opened the door to one of the rooms and found that this room was very large and should be the master bedroom.

    Against one wall in the center was a very large bed with a bedside table, desk, and a round sheepskin rug. There is a row of closets on the other side, and there is even an old dresser next to the closet, but nothing is placed on it.

    The room has a bathroom, and outside is a large balcony facing south, Zhang Man pushed open the balcony door and stepped out to look up.

    Sure enough, there was a stainless steel clothesline on top.

    Her heart tightened and she hurriedly closed her eyes to keep herself from thinking about those images.

    She retreated back into the room. The floor and furniture were clean, and it was obvious that someone came to clean it often.

    The youth saw her in the master bedroom for a long time and did not come out, so he also came in and leaned on the door frame to watch her.

    “This is the master bedroom, which Janet stays in when she returns from Canada occasionally.”

    Zhang Man bit her lip as she heard him mention his mother so naturally. Her eyes couldn’t stop drifting towards the balcony outside.

    Could it be here? Is this where all his misfortunes began?

    Li Wei looked at the girl in front of him looking at the balcony from time to time with a worried and sad expression, so he walked over and gently pushed open the glass door of the balcony.

    A gust of crisp, cold air hit him, stimulating his nerves.

    It was already night outside and the surrounding skyscrapers were lit up, and you could vaguely see the thin snow drifting down in the air below the lighted one. The criss crossed roads, a car racing past, even if it is winter evening, the city is still busy.

    He beckoned the girl to come to his side and went back inside to get her a blanket to wrap around her.

    “Don’t worry……that balcony back then is not in this home.”

    Zhang Man breathed a sigh of relief, but her expression still did not relax.

    Even if it wasn’t this balcony—that was still the home he used to live in.

    Her heart aches just thinking about the torture and pain he went through at such a young age. Wasn’t he in a lot of pain at that time? If the neighbors hadn’t found it, then he would have been strangled alive by the rope……

    The youth thought she did not believe him and remained silent for a while, with some memories in his tone, he spoke.

    “That year…before the accident, our family lived in a different place……”

    The recollection touched some memories that were stored deep in his mind.

    He actually has some memories of that day.

    Their family was in a luxurious villa area in N City. There was a large swimming pool in the neighbor’s house and several children in the neighborhood would go there to swim when they had nothing to do.

    He also went that day, and a few young friends of about the same age to play together, and swim together, splashing each other, soaking wet.

    It was only when they played until the evening that he ran for home wet.

    After his father had some mental problems, he didn’t go to work for a long time and told the public that he was recovering from his illness at home. He was young and did not know what mental illness was, but saw his dad laughing and crying all the time and thought that all adults were like that.

    He entered gleefully, intending to go and change his clothes, but instead he ran into his dad walking out of the room looking that delirious again.

    Some of the details are actually not very clear to him, he only remembers that his dad picked him up very hard and carried him to the big balcony from the first floor of the villa.

    He could not break free at that time and he was in pain from his dad’s grip, so he kept screaming and crying, but his dad turned a deaf ear and went crazy, saying something like, ”You will catch a cold if you are wet and not dried. You will get sick and die—”, and hang him on the clothesline of the balcony with a rope.

    The thick knot of rope wrapped around his neck and the hand that his dad was holding him by jerked loose as he turned around and went to the living room. His legs began to flutter constantly, trying to scream but completely unable to make a sound. His own weight made the rope bind his neck and strangle into his flesh.

    The pain of suffocation, the twitching of the whole body due to the extreme pain, and the withdrawal of the mind, even after so long was still not forgotten.

    People can be really desperate when they are still conscious prior to their near death.

    So desperate that every time he remembers, he can’t breathe as if there is still that rope that strangles his neck.

    Even though he was very young that year, the overwhelming despair seemed to be engraved in his bones.

    It’s impossible to forget after all these years.

    Li Wei could not help but raise his hand and touch his neck.

    Thinking about it today, it seems less uncomfortable and the knot of fate seems to be loosening its grip on him.

    Is it because she is here?

    He looked at the girl who was still frowning in front of him and went over, smiling while stroking her head.

    Some things become more and more proficient as you do them more.

    “I was very young then, and that incident is something that I can’t remember at all.”

    “Don’t worry about it anymore.”


Translator’s Note:

“One person’s craziness is another person’s reality.”
― Tim Burton


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Mei
A Japanese language student that decided to translate Chinese Novels during the pandemic. If you want to support us, you can buy us a ko-fi. To maintain the site and support the translators as well. Thank you for reading!
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Loni

>_< dang…. pwq
It's nice that Zhang Man made his house into a home haha~
Thank you (´▽`)

BloodCoveredAngel

My heart is breaking.

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