This is the last part for Chapter 16, one of the longest chapter to date in this novel.
Things are a little awkward between Zheng Xie and Xiao He He. Zheng Xie did not take much notice to the awkwardness between them while He He seems to be very troubled. What exactly is in her mind?
Chapter 16.7: Understanding that is too deep
Zheng Xie stood up and found himself numb from sitting from one position for too long. He saw He He’s clear and articulate eyes. Totally sobered up. Truly magical. He couldn’t help but go and put her hair back to the back of her head. He cannot tolerate to see such stuffy hairstyle.
He He suddenly took a big step backwards and she step up against the wall.
Zheng Xie did not mind and smiled at her: “You sober up very quickly.”
“I am not drunk.”
“I know. You’re just drank too much.” Zheng Xie said in a soft tone, “Next time don’t drink so much. Girls are likely to suffer more.”
“I didn’t drink too much. I was just sleepy.” Xiao He He insisted on her innocence.
“Ok. Next time if you are sleepy, do not drink. Or else you would easily fall asleep outside.” Zheng Xie also start feeling a little sleepy. He did not want to talk too much. “Would you like something to drink? Milk? Honey?”
“I will get it.” He He still holding on the quilt that she intended to cover him with while standing stiffly against the wall.
“Then I will go back. I would be staying opposite tonight. Call me on the phone if there is anything.” He He did not like the dark night. She is afraid to look at the starts and moon in the sky and always not willing to participate in any night outdoors activities. When she is outside at night, she often show abnormalities, such as two or three hours ago, she was acting childish with him but now treating him like a stranger.
Zheng Xie tugged his crumpled clothes. He greeted He He and turned away. He He holding and dragging the quilt walked behind him, sending him to the door.
Zheng Xie opened the door. He heard He He calling him softly behind him: “Brother.”
He paused for a while and turned his head.
“When you were sending me back, I did not create any trouble. I did not say any strange thing?” Her eyes showing her uncertainty.
“No, you have been behaved well. Once you got into the car, you fell asleep.”
“Oh!” she lowered her eyes. When Zheng Xie was going to shut the door, he heard her gently said: “Thank you for sending me back.”
Zheng Xie paused his action of wanting to close the door, and finally reminded her: “Remember to lock the door.”
After Zheng Xie left, He He put the quilt on the sofa and went to the refrigerator to take out the cat food. Walking to Xiao Bao’s plate, she found Xiao Bao fast asleep after being fed. She carefully picked Xiao Bao up, wrapped it in a towel. She hold Xiao Bao and walked to the balcony. She sat on the rattan rocking chair that Zheng Xie sat earlier while starring in a daze into space.
As a child, she has always been afraid of the night. She is more afraid of the night sky. When the sky is in a dark mass where she could not see, she felt it hard to breath. When the moon in the sky is bright enough to see the stars and the shape of the constellation, she would suddenly be frightened. She always suspected that the moon will fall and then she will be sucked into the constellations by those stars.
Zheng Xie has said that this is her symbolic phobia. He tried a lot of methods to help her to overcome this. He dragged her to go camping and even bring her for night cruise in his yacht. As a result, it caused her to a second degree of fear. Later as she gets older, Zheng Xie finally is willing to face the fact that this is a disease. He no longer thinks that her behavior as self-willed and no longer forced to accept all kinds of wonderful and natural night landscape. Although He He no longer has the fear now, she still do not like it.
Xiao Bao the cat gently snore in her arms. It suddenly woke up, struggled a few times before jumping from her lap. Xiao Bao ran back to his little nest to continue his sleep.
He He suddenly lost something that she could cuddle on, so she don’t know what to do. Then she saw the box of cigarettes and matchbox that Zheng Xie left behind on the side. She stoop down and picked it up.
She scratched the side of the box of match and lit up one of the match. Then she lit up another match while thinking about the story of the little match girl. The little girl has a lot of clear visions so light the match one by one to match her fantasy. While He He watched every single match flame fluttering while feeling empty in her heart without any ideas at all. She felt like she has nothing that she is short of or missing from her life. So she really don’t know what she wants. She just felt that she is often bored so need to find something to do.
Finally there is only one last match left. He He counted the cigarettes in the box and found that there is eighteen left. Zheng Xie had smoke two.
Then she pulled out one stick, using the last match to carefully light the cigarettes. She sat on the rocking chair, rocked slowly while smoking the cigarette, slowly spitting smoke ring.
Zheng Xie if see her smoking, she will surely suffer.
He He remember that she learned to smoke when she was in Senior High Three, when she was sixteen or seventeen.
She was late, so her rebellious period came later than everyone else. When her classmates were in their rebellious age, always exposing crimes against any antisocial remarks, she was the angel in the eyes of her teachers. When the other children have weathered through the most difficult years of their adolescence and prepared their first step towards maturity, He He had to go through her adolescence years alone and depressed while feeling lost for a long time. Smoking in her young mind are ‘evil’ just like getting into genetic relationship. It was one of her medications during those time.
She was able to put on a poker face, acting as if nothing happened. She carefully kept it hidden from her always absent mother, hidden from the kind and gentle Aunty Qian and hidden from the nanny in Zheng Xie’s home. But she failed to hide it from Zheng Xie whom was in school away from home and was only occasionally home.
Zheng Xie did not allow her to smoke. He He rebutted: “Now men and women are equal. Women smoking is normal. You see Maggie Cheung and Zhang Ai Jia in the movie. They look so cool while smoking.”
Zheng Xie said: “The other women are allowed to smoke. You cannot smoke. Other women have the temperament of smoking, while you do not have.”
“When you are in junior high school, you started smoking. On what ground you are stopping me?”
“If I quit smoking, will you also not touch this thing?”
They reached an agreement on this.
It seems that after so many years, both of them did not fulfill the agreement that they made that year.