Chapter 8 – Your punishment

The car drove into the old neighborhood. I pressed the car window first to see if Mi Cai had taken out my luggage. I was satisfied with the result. Although I didn’t follow the agreement, my luggage was not downstairs. It seemed that my warning last time worked.

I floated upstairs lightly and opened the door. The room was pitch black. I looked into Mi Cai’s room, but there was no light coming through the crack in the door. It turned out that she didn’t come back tonight. No wonder I didn’t see her car downstairs, and no wonder she didn’t move my luggage.

It’s good that she didn’t come back. I can stay here for the night again. Perhaps this is the only comfort given to me by heaven at the end of the day.

After a simple wash, I lay on the bed. When I closed my eyes and turned off the light, the world suddenly became quiet. I thought I could quickly fall asleep in this state, but some fragments rushed into my mind.

All these fragments were about the past, recalling the past and bringing out the emptiness and decline of the present. I don’t understand why Circle and Yan Yan could persist and eventually get married after graduation, while Jian Wei and I ended so dimly. What did I do wrong? I really hope Jian Wei can tell me in person. But such a simple request has become a luxury!

So I suffered in pain for two years without understanding, and indulged for two years.

I wiped my face heavily, sat up from the bed, and sat still for a long time. I got out of bed and found the long-sealed guitar from the cabinet. I wanted to sing a song, for myself… for Jian Wei.

I tuned the guitar with a tuner, plucked the strings, and hummed “Lost” by Qu Yinghao.

“Who can see through this prosperity, once again, eyes blurred; who can escape from this noise, once again, eroding you; who has mentioned these past events, once again, forgetting you; who will meet again in the next life, once again, falling in love with you.

I’m lost, can’t find the map, it’s so hard to walk this path of emotions; I’m lost, can’t find the way back, why has the world become so numb; I’m lost, can’t find the way I came, the people around me are all strangers; I’m lost, standing still in place, while your heart has flown far away…”

When I sang the last sentence, I felt a warm sensation in the corner of my eye. I’m lost, really lost. I thought I had come a long way in these two years, but I was just standing still on a map called love, while her heart had flown far away…

I lit a cigarette and took a puff. Suddenly, the door was knocked, and I was so scared that I almost broke the guitar strings. Isn’t there no one at home?

Mi Cai’s voice came from outside the door, “If you’re in the mood for singing, please find a place where there’s no one. This is a residential area.”

I put on slippers, opened the door, and Mi Cai stood in front of me wearing a camisole. Her well-proportioned figure was comparable to Yan Yan’s, and her pretty face was so quiet under the dim light, making her temperament unparalleled.

“Didn’t you hear me singing ‘Am I Lost’? If I’m lost, can I find a place where there’s no one?” I said with a half-smile.

“You’re twisting the facts!”

I ignored Mi Cai’s dissatisfaction and asked, “Why are you at home?”

“I’ve been here.”

“I didn’t see your car downstairs!”

“It’s parked in the empty space across the street.”

“No wonder!” I sighed and immediately wanted to close the door, afraid that Mi Cai would bring up the topic of moving. It’s almost one o’clock in the morning now, where can I move to?

Mi Cai pushed the door with both hands, not letting me succeed.

I glared at her angrily and asked, “Are you really planning to make me move out now?”

“No.” Mi Cai paused and said, “Since you want to sing and get lost, I can take you to a place where there’s no one and let you vent.”

“Really? Are you that kind?” I asked cautiously.

“Anyway, I can’t sleep because of your noise. If you’re still interested, I can be your audience.” After thinking for a moment, she added, “Your voice is not bad!”

I felt that Mi Cai was taking the initiative to repair our relationship, or she was amazed by my singing, or she pitied me, this decadent man. Anyway, no matter what her motive was, I felt that I could agree to her request because I couldn’t sleep either. Let’s go crazy together!

After a while, Mi Cai changed her clothes, and I wore pajamas. We walked downstairs with the guitar, one after the other.

Mi Cai drove her own car, and I opened the car door and sat in the passenger seat. I had sat in luxury cars before, but it was my first time in a Q7, so I couldn’t help but take a few more glances.

Before I could fasten my seat belt, Mi Cai had already stepped on the accelerator heavily. The powerful thrust of the Q7 almost killed me against the windshield.

“At this late hour, do you want a corpse sitting next to you?” I rubbed my sore head and angrily said to Mi Cai.

“Who told you not to fasten your seat belt? Those who don’t follow the rules deserve to be hit!” Mi Cai said indifferently.

I pointed at Mi Cai in anger and helplessness and said, “You’re really getting back at me!”

Mi Cai completely ignored me and continued to drive expressionlessly.

After about twenty minutes, Mi Cai really brought me to a deserted wasteland where no one would come. She stopped the car, pulled up the handbrake, and finally turned off the engine, saying to me, “There’s no one here, sing to your heart’s content.”

“The space in the car is too small, I can’t fully display my skills.”

“Then sing outside.””Do you take me for a fool? If you drive off later, where can I go to complain?” I said warily. Ever since she deliberately started the car while I hadn’t fastened my seatbelt, I’ve been suspicious of her intentions.

“You sure talk a lot!” Mi Cai unbuckled her seatbelt and got out of the car first, acting as if she was the innocent one and I was the villain.

I also got out of the car, standing shoulder to shoulder with Mi Cai, and looking up at the sky, I realized: the weather tonight was good, the moon was bright, the stars were sparse, and the air was fresh. I felt a sense of relief, as if I had finally escaped from the hustle and bustle.

My heart gradually calmed down. I was genuinely grateful to Mi Cai for bringing me to this quiet place. I needed to vent, to release all the unhappiness and dissatisfaction with reality in my heart.

I strummed the guitar and started singing a song by Jin Wulin called “Metamorphosis”.

After I finished singing, Mi Cai unexpectedly clapped and asked, “Do you also like serious music?”

“YES, it feels better to sing with more instruments,” I replied, surprised that Mi Cai knew this song. Serious music is not mainstream, it has strong artistic and academic qualities, and both performers and listeners need a certain aesthetic ability.

Mi Cai nodded and said, “You’re not as dumb as you look!”

“Judging people by their appearance is your narrow-mindedness.”

Mi Cai didn’t argue with me and said, “Please continue.”

I put down the guitar and said to Mi Cai, “You seem to know a lot about music. Can you play the guitar? Play a song.”

“We agreed that I would be the audience. You continue.”

I nodded. On such a dim night, in the boundless wilderness, having a woman as beautiful as her willing to be my audience was a gift from heaven!

Thinking about it, I felt even more guilty for being so rough with Mi Cai before. She had been quite nice to me, lending me money, letting me stay at her place for an extra night, and now accompanying me to vent my frustrations. Maybe I really should change my bad temper!

A cold wind blew, and Mi Cai subconsciously pulled her thin clothes tighter.

Feeling a bit sorry for her, I said, “You should get in the car. I can vent on my own.”

“Are you sure?”

I nodded.

Mi Cai opened the car door and got in, but she didn’t completely isolate herself from me. She rolled down the window, rested her chin on her hand, and looked at me, as if she was looking forward to my next song.

I strummed the guitar and started singing another song. As I was getting into it, the car behind me suddenly started. I turned around abruptly, and Mi Cai had already fastened her seatbelt.

She said to me with a smirk, “Your voice is really good… but I have to go now. This is your punishment for breaking your promise and being rude.” With that, the car shot off into the night like an arrow.

“Damn you!” I took off my slipper and threw it at her car, but it didn’t do any damage.

“You bastard, you bitch, I knew you were up to no good… taking advantage of my sympathy, you better watch out for divine retribution… damn it! I’m not done with you!” I was so angry that I was spinning around, cursing at Mi Cai who had already disappeared from my sight.

I’ve always been a friendly person, easy to trust and not fond of being on guard. I deserved this!

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