Chapter 54 – Struggle of human nature

Ignoring the pain from the burn in my mouth, I looked at Mi Cai with a flushed face, my heart pounding violently. In fact, throughout my 20-plus years of life, I've never been one to hesitate or overthink. However, this situation was too significant. My decision would not only affect my own fate but also the career prospects of my friends and superiors, including Le Yao. Her sacrifices to secure a job opportunity for me were still fresh in my mind. Was I really going to ruin all of this for Mi Cai?


"Zhao Yang, what's wrong? You look upset," Mi Cai asked, looking at me with a puzzled expression.


In my struggle, my heart suddenly calmed down. I rubbed my mouth and said to Mi Cai, "I got burned, and I think I might have a blister in my mouth."


"Do you need to go to the hospital?"


"Do I really need to bother the hospital with such minor injuries? Please, have some common sense!"


"Oh, as long as you're okay. Let's continue looking for a house then," Mi Cai said, starting the car.


Even the most difficult decisions are often made in an instant. In the end, I chose not to tell Mi Cai. I didn't know if it was the right thing to do, but my heart was still in turmoil. I wished Chen Jingming hadn't told me everything. But wishes are just wishes. I knew, and so I floated helplessly in a sea of self-blame, unable to see the shore.


The shadows of the streetlights reflected on the car window, stretching longer and longer, and my thoughts began to scatter, unable to come up with a perfect solution.




After searching late into the night, we finally found a cost-effective studio apartment. I immediately paid three months' rent and a one-month deposit. After the landlord left, only Mi Cai and I remained in the room.


We stood side by side on the small balcony on the 26th floor. I lit a cigarette and looked at the city's night view for a long time before saying to Mi Cai, "It's very quiet up here, just like your old room. Both are very quiet!"


"Are you finally admitting that the room is mine?" Mi Cai asked with a smile.


"Everything is settled, why wouldn't I admit it?"


Mi Cai nodded as if a weight had been lifted off her shoulders and asked, "Are you moving in tonight?"


"Tomorrow night…" I paused and looked at Mi Cai sincerely, "Let me stay at your place one last night. I need to say goodbye to my friends, the mop, the clock, the sofa, the cabinet. I'm afraid they'll miss me!"


I was prepared for Mi Cai to refuse, but to my surprise, she agreed. Perhaps she really believed that those inanimate objects were my friends. In fact, I wasn't lying or being pretentious. Sometimes, I'd rather befriend these seemingly unconscious objects than interact too deeply with people with subjective consciousness. Because if you're not careful, you might encounter beasts in human skin. Some don't even bother to disguise themselves, fearing that others won't recognize them as beasts, like the actress who slapped Le Yao because of scheduling issues, or Mi Cai's uncle, Mi Zhongde.




By the time Mi Cai and I returned to the old house, it was already late. Mi Cai went to the bathroom to wash up before me, while I sat on the sofa, seemingly calm, but my emotions were churning.


After a while, Mi Cai came out of the bathroom, applying toner to her face. She jokingly or seriously said to me, "Zhao Yang, weren't you going to say goodbye to your friends? Why haven't I seen you move since we got home?"


I put my hand on my chest and said to Mi Cai, "I communicate with my friends with my heart. We've already said our goodbyes, just now."


Mi Cai nodded and made a surprised expression, "You and your friends have a high level of understanding!"


"Of course, in front of me and my friends, you all are ordinary people."


Mi Cai pursed her lips, then laughed and didn't say anything more. She turned and walked towards her room, then closed the door. Suddenly, I felt as if we were separated into two worlds by this door. My world was in chaos, while hers was the calm before the storm.


After washing up, I returned to the room I had lived in for two years but was about to leave. I stared blankly at the ceiling, but my mind was not empty. For the first time in my life, I racked my brains to think about human nature, but found it elusive. For example, myself, when faced with a choice, I deviated from my long-held principles. I could say that this deviation was due to friends, a boss who had shown me kindness, and my career prospects. But can these many reasons really surpass the value of human nature, allowing me to distort human nature with a clear conscience?


The night grew deeper, and the bright moonlight outside the window filtered through the gaps in the curtains, swaying on the quilt. My consciousness gradually blurred, and after a while, I cast off the burden of human nature and fell asleep.




The next day, I got up early, as usual, first making porridge in the rice cooker. I went downstairs to buy some doughnuts, steamed dumplings, and some pastries. After returning, I fried two eggs. I planned to have breakfast with Mi Cai, but this was not to curry favor or to thank her for helping me find a house last night. It was more like a sense of guilt, guilt for my silence.


After preparing breakfast, Mi Cai had already gotten up. A moment later, after washing up, I prepared breakfast and said to her, "Let's have breakfast together. I made porridge."


Mi Cai politely thanked me and sat across from me. We started eating breakfast, but the atmosphere was always a bit oppressive and silent.


Mi Cai seemed to enjoy this silence, but I was in torment. So, she ended up eating faster than me. She politely said to me, "Zhao Yang, take your time. I'm going to work now. Oh, and if you don't have time to clean up the dishes, just leave them. I'll wash them when I get back tonight."


Mi Cai had already picked up her bag and was changing her shoes by the shoe rack. I called out to her, "Wait."


Mi Cai didn't stop changing her shoes and asked somewhat puzzled, "What's wrong?"

I remained silent for a while before saying, "Can you give me a lift? I'll go to work with you."


"Is it on the way?"


"Don't you work at the Zhuomei Shopping Center? Our company is right across from yours."


Mi Cai nodded and said, "Oh… What company do you work for?"


I hesitated before answering, "We're just a small company. I'm just earning a salary and getting by. It's not worth mentioning."


"Alright, then hurry up." Mi Cai had already changed her shoes and was waiting for me at the door.


I quickly finished the porridge in my bowl, changed my shoes, grabbed my briefcase, and followed Mi Cai downstairs.



The traffic during rush hour was not very good. We moved slowly, stopping and starting. As we neared the company, the car was once again stuck on a two-way street. With nothing to do, Mi Cai and I remained silent.


I took a CD from the storage box in Mi Cai's car and put it into the music player, planning to listen to a song to pass the frustrating time.


The song "Love's Proverbs" was performed by Luo Dayou with a voice full of vicissitudes and stories. This song expressing great love filled the small car.


The car was lightly enveloped by the autumn fog. Outside the car window, the cars waiting for passage all had their sidelights on, like fireflies resting, quieting the world. I was somewhat entranced by the quiet I had imagined, listening to "Love's Proverbs."


Mi Cai next to me was the same. She seemed even quieter than me, but the corners of her eyes were already moist. Tears slowly fell from her cheeks. As if she didn't want me to see, she leaned on the car's steering wheel. So, apart from some messy hair, I couldn't see her face at all.


What happened to her? She just listened to a song by Luo Dayou on this inadvertent morning, and she cried!


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