Don’t Be a Kept Man
Chapter 113: Something Stuck in My Heart
Warning: mentions of suicide
Chen Mei Ying had died on a rainy day.
There was a very tiny screw, about the size of a pinky, that was normally used to hang up clothes, on the ceiling, and she bought a length of rope, stepped on a stool, and ended her life.
Hanging is a very painful death.
It was not as peaceful as it would seem to be on TV.
At first you won’t die, and as humans, our natural instinct is to fight for our lives.
So our hands and feet will start to struggle and flail in the air subconsciously.
Our eyes will start to push out of their sockets, and our tongues will wag outside, and then after a long few minutes, our breathing will finally stop.
The way that Chen Mei Ying died was very frightening, and the neighbors who came to check up on her later had turned green to their stomachs.
So what could be said of Bai Yang who spent the entire night with her body? He originally didn’t like to talk, and after that incident, he had become even more silent.
Slowly and slowly, others started to pass on that he was turning dumb, becoming mentally challenged.
Only Wen Chuo knew, he wasn’t dumb.
He had only suffered too much of a shock at that time.
Usually at 9pm, the restaurant would close up.
But the business had been so dead that besides mosquitoes, only flies turned up with not a single human shadow to be seen.
Liu Meng Meng looked out the door, but following the gust of humid air to her face, she quickly retreated,
“It wouldn’t be raining soon, would it? Why is it so humid?”
She took down the clothes line stick and went upstairs to collect the clothes1.
When she turned her head, she saw Bai Yang still sweeping, and she called out to him from far away,
“Bai Yang, you can close the door and get off work.”
It was very dark out there, and there would be sudden gusts of humid winds blowing by occasionally.
It would shake the tree branches, and these all looked to be signs that it would be raining soon.
Each and every household began to rush to collect their clothes.
Cans and bottles were aimlessly rolling around on the floor, clanking as they did, and soon the streets were emptied out.
Bai Yang stood at the doorway and looked up at the darkening sky.
Whatever he was thinking of, he didn’t go home immediately.
Small droplets of rain started to fall unhesitatingly onto him, and his clothes very quickly became soaking wet.
Originally, Wen Chuo was lying in bed at home when he heard the sound of thunder coming down from outside.
He suddenly remembered something and as if lava was burning him, he flew up from the bed and quickly rushed out the door.
He was just at the fifth floor railing when he saw Bai Yang standing at the alley entrance.
He waved over at him,
“Bai Yang! Come home!”
The distance was a bit far, so he didn’t know if Bai Yang heard him or not.
He stood in his original spot and dazedly looked around him before slowly walking over to the crosswalk.
Wen Chuo was dumbfounded at this before cursing out quietly.
He grabbed an umbrella and then flew down the stairs, chasing right after Bai Yang.
“What are you doing blindly running in the middle of the night! Going around making your blunders again! If you get lost, no one will come find you!”
Wen Chuo pulled him back from the road and covered his head with the dark blue checkered umbrella.
It blocked the increasing downpour of rain, but Bai Yang did not seem to be willing to leave.
He lowered his head and shrunk down into a ball, shaking his head fervidly, rejecting and afraid, struggling with all his life to tug his hand back.
“Stop making a scene! Let’s go home!”
With the lightning and thunder, the umbrella was being blown askew.
One half of Wen Chuo’s clothes had been soaked through as, with some difficulty, he held the umbrella with one hand and the other was dragging Bai Yang towards their homes.
Bai Yang was unwilling, grabbing onto the railing on the side and shrinking into a ball, not letting go with a deathly grip.
Wen Chuo was afraid of hurting Bai Yang, and so he didn’t force him.
He threw away the umbrella, brushed back his wet hair and walked in circles, looking very agitated.
Perhaps it was his mental trauma, but when it rained, Bai Yang was not willing to be at home.
Not quite long after Chen Mei Ying had died, Liu Ruo Qing had been collecting clothes one evening and saw him crouched by the alleyway, sleeping.
He had been drenched in the rain and her heart couldn’t just let him be.
She picked him up and carried him to her home.
It was at this time that Wen Chuo realized how afraid Bai Yang was of the rain.
He leaned against the wall, suddenly contemplating, in his past life, how many rainy days occurred in the three years he’d left and how did Bai Yang hold himself through and survive those years.
How many years had they lived with each other as their one and only? It was impossible to be without feelings.
When Wen Chuo saw Bai Yang shrunk in a ball, something struck his heart.
He wiped the rain water off his face and then walked over, crouching down.
Let’s go home.”
Wen Chuo wrapped Bai Yang into his embrace and patted his back slowly.
The body under his palm felt very weak, and was currently trembling and shivering like mad.
“It’s all fine, everything’s alright.
Let’s go back to my place to sleep.”
Wen Chuo picked the umbrella back up and used it to block most of his body from the rain.
He pulled away Bai Yang’s hands that were gripping onto the railing and half dragged, half tugged him to get him off the ground.
In the faint darkness of the stairway, only their footsteps could be heard.
Glancing through the window into Bai Yang’s home, Wen Chuo could see and hear nothing inside that completely dark and quiet apartment.
The moment he thought about how Chen Mei Ying hung herself here, his heart froze in fear.
Starting to sympathize with Bai Yang, he quickly used his key to open the door to his own apartment.
The two of them were soaked to the bone, and as Wen Chuo was afraid Bai Yang would run away when he wasn’t paying attention, he used one hand to hold on to him and the other to open his closet.
He pulled out a pair of pants and some clothes,
Shower and then sleep.”
Bai Yang didn’t move, so Wen Chuo could only pull him over to the bathroom.
Without any sensual feelings, he helped him shower.
A male body didn’t really have much to look at; the front and back was all flat, almost like a washboard.
Wen Chuo had nothing on his mind and Bai Yang kept his head lowered, trying to hide away.
Wen Chuo shook the shirt in his hand,
“What are you hiding for! Are you not going to wear clothes now?”
Bai Yang stopped moving again, and after a while, walked over to put on the clothes, buttoning up each and every one well.
Wen Chuo watched from the side and then reached out to unbutton the top two,
“Why are you buttoning up so high? Don’t you feel strangled?”
And then said,
“How long have you stopped growing? These are my clothes from so long ago.”
Wen Chuo was very tall, so even if it were clothes from long ago, it was still too big, a great deal longer for Bai Yang.
The clothes hung very loosely on his body, revealing half of his skinny shoulders.
Looking at his dripping wet black hair, compared with that pale white skin, for whatever reason, Wen Chuo reached out to rebutton his shirt up for him,
“Go lie down on the bed.”
The bathroom door was then closed and water sounds splashed out.
Wen Chuo stood under the shower, feeling that his brain was somehow in a mess.
There was a feeling in his heart that felt like being unable to pick something up yet also being unable to put it down.
Perhaps this was the legendary inability to decide and be assertive.
He put on his clothes and looked at himself in the mirror.
Finding that the dye on his hair was already fading and the roots were starting to show, he used his towel to messily dry himself off and then closed the lights and climbed on the bed.
Bai Yang was silently lying there, shrunken into a ball, and only inhabited a very small place.
Wen Chuo liked to sleep like this as well, but in the darkness, he reached out and pulled Bai Yang over.
“Hey, Bai Yang, come and talk to me.”
Bai Yang didn’t utter a sound and even his breathing was very light.
He leaned into Wen Chuo’s embrace before his fingers moved, slowly and subtly grabbing onto the corner of Wen Chuo’s shirt.
Wen Chuo was engaged in his own conversation,
“The color on my hair will soon fade away.
Say, what color do you think I should dye it tomorrow? Blue? Or should it be purple?”
And then felt that he seemed to have already dyed his hair those colors and fell into contemplation.
Bai Yang opened his eyes in the dark and said only one word,
Wen Chuo thought it was a bit too normal,
“A bit commercialized.”
Covered with a thin blanket, his hands folded into each other.
After a while, he used his elbow to bump Bai Yang,
“Do you have a way to earn money?”
Bai Yang lowered his head and quietly said,
“Picking up plastic bottles.”
Wen Chuo didn’t even need to think to reject it,
“Don’t even think about it.
I won’t go pick up bottles.”
Bai Yang thought about it, his eyes looking a little bit lost,
Wen Chuo thought, you pick but that money isn’t mine.
He used the blanket to cover his head, and then as if a thought came flashing by, he suddenly held tightly onto Bai Yang.
my mom had also died in this room.”
Bai Yang paused and then he heard Wen Chuo say,
“I’ve always felt that she was especially agitating.
Even more than you.
What is pride, can it be food? Well she’s even better at this and got sick.
Left without even looking back, leaving me to suffer by myself here……”
Wen Chuo was talking and then suddenly quieted.
He didn’t want to go and pick up bottles on the streets; he didn’t want to go and help others move boxes and restock shelves.
He especially doesn’t want to work under or for someone.
Was there really a difference between him and Liu Ruo Qing who cared for nothing more than her face2 and pride and suffered because of that?
It seemed like there wasn’t much difference……
Right before she died, Liu Ruo Qing had come out.
All the surroundings around her, with the bitterness of being poor, with the pain from her illness, it was enough to make her crazy.
But all this in front of death seemed to be nothing.
Before she died, she had said to Wen Chuo,
“Forget it all……”
Forget their past of wealth, forget their past of status, and take comfort in the state they are in now, living just like this.
Wen Chuo wanted to forget, but he couldn’t.
He was stuck into this mud pit and it was hard to pull himself out.
Being poor was a shackle on him, shackling his feet and dragging down his footsteps.
He had tried to walk out, but he was forcefully pulled back.
At this exact moment, Wen Chuo thought about the words, having a heart that was flying higher than the sky while the rest of the body was deep underground.3
He placed his forehead against Bai Yang’s, intertwining their breathing today as if their two destinies would never be pulled apart.
Wen Chuo quietly asked Bai Yang,
“Being alone by yourself at home, do you not feel bored?”
Bai Yang didn’t move.
Wen Chuo said,
“Buy a computer.
You can watch television and play games.
If you can’t, I’ll teach you.”
Bai Yang: “No.”
“Don’t say no.
What are you saving the money for? Isn’t it all going to be used anyway? Since you are young, enjoy, enjoy this life.
When you get old, you won’t have a chance.”
Wen Chuo wanted to tickle him, but found that there was no fat on Bai Yang.
Separated by clothing, he touched and it was all bone, as if there was only a layer of skin pasted on.
He suddenly remembered, he was only half an adult.
Bai Yang never eats breakfast and only has a steamed bun for lunch.
Working day and night, it would be even weirder if he wasn’t so skinny.
Wen Chuo finally felt that bit of unbearable feeling.
He brushed aside Bai Yang’s bangs and then patted his back, thinking of the times they relied on each other, sworn by life.
“Bai Yang, from now on, we will always be together.
When I earn enough money, I’ll bring you out to live a good life.”
Bai Yang moved his lips,
“No what no, I don’t want you to buy a computer.
Are you going dumb again.”
Bai Yang raised his head, his pair of black inky eyes stared at him,
Wen Chuo paused and then chuckled lightly.
He suddenly reached out to hug him into his embrace and soundlessly shook his head,
…..His limbs were all intact and he was not dumb nor was he stupid.
Why would he want an idiot’s hard earned money? Humans must always learn to bow their heads.
First bow then you will be able to lift it later.
Bai Yang shifted in his embrace and then expended a great deal of effort to lift his head.
He counted on his fingers very seriously,
“How much money?”
Wen Chuo suddenly felt that he didn’t dislike Bai Yang as much as he imagined.
Perhaps it had been a hurdle inside his heart, an unwillingness to accept that he had actually fallen in love with an idiot, with a man.
He squeezed Bai Yang’s hands, finding the gauze still on.
He lightened the pressure,
I don’t need you to buy.”
Perhaps Bai Yang thought that Wen Chuo was playing him and he slightly pursed his lips.
Whether he was angry or not, out of habit, Wen Chuo pressed up against him and then covered them with a blanket,
“Go to sleep.
Go to sleep.”
*1 clothes line stick: Most of the time, most people would hang clothes to dry outside the building/out their window as well as from the ceiling of their apartment.
They have this stick with an end that is like… a fork and a rounded spoon (image below!) that can grab the clothes back/the stick where they hang the clothes.
It can also be used as a “clothes line” as well.
*2 face as in to mean pride and honor and all that, not her beauty.
*3 This is from Dream of the Red Chamber, and I’ve actually referenced it in Volume 3 (Chp 62), but it’s translated a bit differently here, as the latter part of the phrase is written differently.
But as a whole, it’s basically referencing the same thing, where it basically means believing in your heart that you are greater, having pride and eyes up higher than anyone else that are around you, but you don’t really understand the situation/environment you are in, unable to see the truth that you are less than what you really think (and perhaps you do know, but you just won’t believe it) etc.
Of course, this is based on “class” in society so in a way, this is probably to reference how Wen Chuo can’t get out of the mindset he has pretty much been raised up in.
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