I have a friend.
We are neighbors from primary school to junior high school, and then to high school.
His name is He Shaoyi and my name is Han Jinchuan.
The day I first met him was his eighth birthday.
I was running downstairs holding the basketball my father bought me two days before.
It was summer and I was sweating all over.
The corridor was a little dark because it was evening back then, and the voice control light seemed to be broken. I knocked on the door. The door of my house didn’t open, but the door opposite our house opened.
I looked back and saw him through the crack of the anti-theft door. His face was as white as jade. He was wearing loose household clothes, and one of his hand stretched out from the crack of the door.
He opened his hand and there was a plastic-wrapped candy in the palm of his hand.
“Today is my birthday. If I give you this, I want you to say happy birthday to me.”
That was the first thing he said to me.
His body developed very fast.
When I was in junior high school, he was taller than me.
When I realized that fact, I drank milk like crazy for two years in order not to fall behind. Finally, I was one head taller than him before I went to high school.
I can’t forget the look in his eyes when he came back from his grandmother’s house in the countryside. There was like a spark to overflow.
“Han Jinchuan, are you a cow going to the field?”
When he was a child, his white skin became darker because of the grace of the sun. I opened my mouth and he put the back of his hand.
If he thought I didn’t see the scars on his hand and the calluses on his palm.
Then I really didn’t see it.
I have only one friend, but he has many friends.
Especially in high school where everyone had their own small group. He was very popular. I often saw girls secretly fill his desk with love letters.
He and I sat at the same table. The girls call him a handsome boy, while they call me a fool.
In self-study hours, he will take out those love letters. Each envelopes have different colors, but most of them are pink. The first sentence of the letter is often:
“Classmate He Shaoyi, I have liked you for a long time.”
Of course, he deserves to be liked by those girls, especially when he won the first place in the high jump back the autumn sports meeting when we were seniors.
He took the mineral water I handed him and asked me, “Was your brother handsome just now?”
He is becoming more and more popular.
He was even selected as the school grass of the year by girls, and more and more people were asking me to hand their love letters to him.
But he is really strange. He is very happy when reading the love letter, but he didn’t want me to give it to him. He blows his beard and glares every time I hand it over to him.
I will write him a note in self-study class.
Don’t be angry.
Should we go to Snack Street after school?
Reading the note, his face will brighten in an instant.
I thought more than once, why should he become friends with me? I didn’t even say happy birthday to him.
Later, I found out why he was at home alone at that time.
On his eighth birthday, his parents were going through divorce. When he talked about these things, it was like he was telling other people’s stories.
His parents fought for custody for several years. Finally, he chose to be with his own father because he was reluctant to give up his grandmother.
I sat on the roof of the school with him. He was wearing a white school uniform shirt with undone tie against the wind, then opened his arms.
The wind was really strong today. But, I don’t think it would blow his shirt to the point where people could see his thin waist.
He looked back at me and seemed to have a smile in his eyes.
“Han Jinchuan, I’m going abroad after graduating from high school.”
He was eighteen and I was sixteen.
I received a love letter.
The girl handed it to me and ran away. If I guessed right, this should also be for He Shaoyi. I already encountered this situation many times. Girls would always come to me in order to hand over the letter to He Shaoyi.
It was Friday. After school, I took the letter out of my schoolbag and handed it to him.
He seemed a little unhappy, but he still opened it. His eyebrows frowned when he read the love letter.
He stared at me. “Did you want me to read your love letter? This is for you!”
I really didn’t expect this to happen. He tore the love letter to pieces and threw it into the garbage can on the side of the hallway.
“Han Jinchuan, I don’t want to be friends with you. No… I’ve never made you a friend.”
He and I became familiar strangers.
He no longer shared the table with me but integrated into other small groups. The messages I sent him were never replied on.
Seeing him talking and laughing with others, I felt a little sad.
I began to recall that we had already known each other for so many years. He always seemed to tease me and I would looked worried and helpless.
What does he think of me in his heart? Does he think of me the same as others?
I looked at him and inadvertently met his eyes.
He’s very kind.
After so many things, he is still like a sun to me.
He and I were probably not the same kinds of people from the beginning. Maybe I was just… Ordinary.
If time went back, I would never give him that love letter.
I want to stay with him as a friend, even if I already know that he was leaving.
The closer the college entrance examination came, the more uncomfortable my heart is.
He gradually stopped coming to class, and the headteacher seemed to know his family’s situation and so he ignored it.
After school, I passed by his desk and saw that the milk I brought him for breakfast was still neatly placed on it. There were several milk boxes in the dustbin next to his deskmate.
He never gave anything I gave him to anyone before, even a rubber.
He really didn’t make friends with me.
The college entrance examination is over.
I heard from my classmates the date of his flight and then I drew a cross on the calendar in my room.
We are just a few steps away, but we never met each other. I would only find his father who would always open their door for me everytime I went to find him.
I haven’t seen him for a long time.
Until the day before he left, the students organized a farewell party for him.
During the KTV I felt awkward. The students around me, who I didn’t know their names of, made me drink a lot of wine.
I did drink a lot, and I encouraged myself to look at him and stop running away from him.
I walked towards him, I held out my hand to him, however, I threw up all over him.
That was my last memory.
I woke up in bed at home.
I looked at my cell phone and rushed out immediately. His plane was about to take off in an hour.
It’s only a ten-minute drive from the airport. Can he wait for me?
I want to talk to him about many things.
Making up our friendship.
And… I wanted to ask him.
Do you like me?
But I was so unlucky that I didn’t get to see him. When the car was passing through the tunnel, I tried to text him but the signal was unstable. Only one text was sent.
“One-way friendship. That’s what we are but… “
He doesn’t know that the my next sentence is: I didn’t really want to be friends with you. How can I be willing to be friends with the person that I like?
I didn’t have the courage to send it again, because he replied, “Yes, just a one-way friendship.”
I like him. I’ve liked him for a long time ago.
I told myself that I don’t have to worry about saying it anymore because I will never see He Shaoyi again and I am actually mute.
My parents don’t have a good relationship.
My mother came from a wealthy family, pursued love, married my poor father, and cut off contact with her family.
She is not a good mother, and my father is not a good father.
They would always quarrel and forgot ti take me to the hospital when I had a fever when I was a child, so I couldn’t speak anymore.
I hate them, but I can only pretend that I don’t care. I’m afraid they’ll abandon me.
I hate myself. I couldn’t even say happy birthday to He Shao when I first met him, or say I like him when I left.
That day I waited outside the airport for a long time and watched the planes at different times rush into the sky and disappear into the sky.
I looked up and didn’t want my tears to fall.
He Shaoyi, will you be feeling pain to be liked by a person like me?
Luckily, you don’t know about it.
I saw him again in a bar in my college town.
I don’t know why he choose such a place.
If I remember correctly, today is his birthday.
He dyed his blond hair and was particularly dazzling amidst the flashing light. Countless eyes were directed to him.
After drinking the wine, he came to me with drink. He ignored the people around him and whispered in my ear, “take me home.”
He didn’t tell me his address, so I had to take him back to the small house I was renting.
He seemed to have changed a lot. For example, his skin was white again and he grew a little taller, but his hand remained unchanged, still with scars and calluses.
I put him in bed and prepared to cook him a bowl of sobering soup, but he opened his eyes before I took two steps.
He held out his hand to me. I don’t know why another plastic-wrapped candy appeared in his palm.
“Today is my birthday. I want to hear the truth.”
I turned around but he grabbed my wrist.
“Han Jinchuan, did you know? I kissed you on the mouth the night before I left.”
I don’t know, I really don’t know.
His eyes cleared up and moved his fingers. My tears flowed out of my eyes uncontrollably.
This sign language means: I like you.