There were not many classes on Monday, only two common subject lectures in the afternoon.
Bo Ziren was jotting down notes when Zhu Mingwen, the one next to her, poked her arm with a pen, then whispered in a low voice: “Your photo has been taken in secret.”
“What does that mean?” Bo Ziren asked in return.
“The second row from the back, the man is sitting near the window wearing gray Adi sportswear. Since a few classes back, he has been secretly taking your photos.”
Bo Ziren seriously asked: “Why does he secretly take my pictures?”
“I heard, people said he fell in love with you at first sight. He even approached our female classmates to ask if you’re local here.”
Hearing this explanation, Bo Ziren turned her head over, and coincidentally, her sight met with the young man wearing a gray Adi sportswear. The other side had not expected she would suddenly turn around, so he quickly put down his mobile phone, pretending as if nothing happened.
“He’s quite good looking, it’s just his sense of fashion is bad. The entire season back and forth, yet it’s always the same two sets of gray and white sports wears. Not only that, from time to time he would match them with bright red socks.”
On this matter, Bo Ziren zipped up her lips.
Zhu Mingwen officially concluded: “Judging from your expression, I bet he doesn’t have even an iota of a chance.”
Seeing Bo Ziren showed no other response, Zhu Mingwen pursed her lips and unenthusiastically let the matter go.
After class, Bo Ziren bought a box of biscuits from the campus’ supermarket. When she lined up to pay, a voice came from behind her.
“You also liked lemon flavored sandwich biscuits?”
Bo Ziren turned around and saw a clean and neat square face.
“I’m sorry, I’ve bothered you during class.” The Adi sportswear man smiled embarrassedly, “I’m called Fangzheng. I’m in the third year.”
Bo Ziren was somehow slow-witted in reply: “Hello.”
“I noticed you from the first day of school, but didn’t get the chance to talk with you until now.” Fangzheng probed, “It seems you always moved around alone.”
“But you are very smart! It makes me admire you more.”
Bo Ziren was dumbfounded; she wanted to reply with a ‘thank you’ but the words were stucked at the tip of her tongue. In the brief moment of silence, it came to her turn to pay. She then hurriedly settling the goods and left the supermarket. No more than a dozen steps, Fangzheng already caught up to her, one of his hands waved at the empty space at her back, he asked: “Are you heading to the cafeteria?”
“No,” Bo Ziren replied honestly, “I’m going to the lecturer’s office.”
“Then I won’t take more of your time, let’s talk again next time.”
After Fangzheng left, Bo Ziren went on to meet Lecturer Fu He and helped tidied up some data as well as some miscellaneous chores. At the end of the day, she brought back a bunch of exam related questions back to her dormitory.
Back in her dormitory, she took off her outer coat and was surprised to find a piece of paper in one of the pockets. It was a letter.
I presumed that you’ve already heard something about me from some other people’s mouths, and they are right. I like you. Please forgive my awkwardness for some words are hard to express face to face, so I can only confess to you through a letter. I know not flowery words, and what I wished to convey is very simple.
From the first day of University when I met you, it gave me a different feeling. After these days of struggle and deep thinking, it made me realized that I’ve fallen in love with you at first sight. I look forward to catching a glimpse of you every single day, even more, I hope to be close to you. If you are willing, I hope we can start by being friends. Below is my phone numbers; I await your reply.
Lastly, I hope you can believe me when I say I’m a good person.
Bo Ziren read the letter twice, back to back, to make sure this letter was really intended for her. The content rendered her speechless.
She had never received letters similar to this and so was not sure how she should reply. At first, she decided to throw it away but it struck her that this represented a grown man’s sincerity. To show respect, she folded it and placed it on top of a dictionary in the bookshelf.
Then, she proceeded to take the exam papers from Lecturer Fu, and a pen out. Lowering her head, she began to focus on the questions. After finishing a page of them, her thoughts wandered off, and the tip of the pen unwittingly slanted off from the answer sections. Ten seconds had passed when she looked down and realized, subconsciously she had written four words there––Love at first sight.
A wisp of hair fell over her face. Though she felt slightly irritated, she only brushed them away gently.
Inexplicably, she felt like this Monday was particularly long.
The feelings still shadowing her even two days after. She wondered if it was due to the cold weather that caused the blood flow to slacken, reaching the point of stagnation, and affecting her concentration.
Till Friday came.
Bo Ziren sat alone on the first floor of Lighthouse Café, flipping the book in her hands. Other than the soft music accompanying her, the surrounding atmosphere was peacefully quiet. Truth to be told, this café’s interior design’s layout was exquisite, the bright wallpapers made the place looked clean, every glass and cup were polished till they sparkled, and not a drop of grease stains could be spotted on the tables. Other than an old-style green-colored glass lamp, there were no other unnecessary decorations placed on the tables such as candles, lucky signs, and those kinds of extra fluff were not used here to display cuteness like many people did.
Especially the space in the first floor. It was wide and spacious, the solitude here was suitable for an afternoon reading.
Half an hour later, a small noise breached her focus.
Bo Ziren raised her head and looked towards the staircase where someone was coming down from the second floor. As the person came closer, she took a better look at him. Right, it was him. The man she had encountered last Friday.
Today, it was twelve degrees outside but he only donned in a dark-colored shirt and casual pants. Holding something in his hands, he casually walked down and took a quick glance over the first-floor area.
He saw the spacious area only had one lamp on where a female student in a black sweater who sat at one of the corners. Next to her hand were a glass and book. The scene seemed to be very peaceful. It actually had him surprised, and coincidentally, at that very second, the female student looked up. Their gazes instantly met. At that moment, it was as if he was caught in an illusion, the space between them turned into a vast ocean, and she was the solitary, lonely island.
His steps halted for a while before he resumed it and walked towards the switches. Switching on the two lights above her, he turned around, preparing to leave. But, he heard her voice: “Excuse me, can I ask if you are here to join the Friday Book Exchange Club meeting?”
He turned around and answered: “No.”
“No? But I see you’re holding a book in your hand.”
“En, this is teaching materials.” He gave a single sentence explanation.
“Oh, I was mistaken, sorry.” She felt her own abrupt attempt of striking a conversation was seriously lacking in skills, so she swiftly retracted her gaze.
Out of her expectation, he voluntarily walked in her direction till he stood beside her, but still maintaining a respectable amount of space between them. His eyes quietly fell on the book next to her, a book with blue and white cover, as if he was looking at something nostalgic. The angle of the light illuminating his pretty eyes. In the quiet, secluded corner, a long shadow of a slender silhouette was pinned onto the wall. She could vividly feel warm, gentle breaths fanning her clothes.
He slowly placed the book he was carrying down onto the table and took a seat opposite her. Stringing mild, well-thought words, he politely commented, “The truth is, I didn’t expect the recent Book Club Exchange would be so deserted, only one person attending. No matter what, thank you for joining.”
Bo Ziren thought for a moment before she said, “I feel the atmosphere here is very good, and the location is also convenient. It’s close to my dormitory.”
“You are studying nearby?”
“Yes, I’m attending my first year at Technical University.”
He smiled faintly, but there was no sign of inquiring about her further. Instead, he brought the topic back, “What do you like to read in your free time?”
“Actually, I don’t read that much.” Bo Ziren picked up the book next to her hand, “Except for this one. But I bought it a long time ago. I’ve just reread it recently.”
He peeked at the book title under the light, “I can see there’s some history.”
“It is my fault for not taking good care of it.” Bo Ziren put the book back down and glanced at his teaching materials. The exterior was wrapped with a layer of kraft paper, so she could not take a peek of the context of the book. But just from this, she knew he was someone that cherishes book.
“You said you usually don’t read books, did you find this place by chance?”
Bo Ziren maintained her silence, under his ink-black pupils, something stirred deep in her heart that had never happened before.
“I found it online, you might find it strange for me telling you this. The truth is, the reason I came here was because I wanted to find a person to communicate with.”
His calm expression showed he was attentively listening to her and did not categorize her as odd, “It’s very normal. Sometimes, words come out easier with a stranger.”
“Seriously? Then do you also experienced something similar?”
“I’ve been there. I think most people to a certain degree, would have had experienced the same thing.”
Bo Ziren looked earnestly at his face, and then to the well-wrapped book at his side, she asked: “What is this book about?”
“Oh, this is a philosophy textbook.”
“Ah?” the answer took her by surprise.
His hand reached out to pick up the thick-looking book, “Actually, it is related to my work.”
“I’m a teacher, majoring in Philosophy.” He added, “Sometimes, I part-time here.”
“Philosophy,” She sighed softly, thinking of her own understanding of philosophy was limited to the basics taught in the classrooms; she exerted some effort to recall some pieces of information, “A studies of the world’s origin, an outlook of the world as a whole, and the methods of unifying it as one… if my memory doesn’t fail me?”
He had no interest in correcting people outside of his teaching curriculum. Rearranging his thoughts briefly, he used a mild but straightforward tone, “The word philosophy originated from Greek, the root word means love of wisdom. To put it simply, it is a subject that could make people smarter, and at the same time it’s also a way of thinking in everyday life.”
“Means, I remembered wrongly?”
“No, in fact, there is no definite definition of philosophy,” he added, “what you said was not wrong.”
Bo Ziren’s hands folded above her book, her contemplative voice sounded, “En… sounds interesting, pity my reading is so poor, my knowledge is too shallow.”
“Everyone has different interest and direction.” Saying this, he took another look at the book beneath her hands, eyes like the calm appearance of an endless galaxy full of stars, “Just like the things that you like, I might not know anything about it.”
Following in the direction of his gaze, Bo Ziren generously pushed ‘The River in the Desert’ to the middle of the table, she supplied with a brief introduction: “I bought this book in my first year of high school, can be regarded as something from teen literature genre that’s telling the story of a young woman touring the world after graduation.”
He reached out and picked up the book, looking at the cover in detail.
His action gave her the opportunity to observe his hands. He had long and slim fingers, with clear and strong joints, and it was nice to look at. The main point was the calm and elegant demeanor as he picked up the book, was very appealing to her.
He only looked at it for a moment, and did not even flip the cover over, “You think it’s a good book?”
“En, there is much scenery described inside like the sea of Qingdao, the desert in the northwest, embankment villages, and also the Peacock Lake.”
He nodded slowly, and gave his assent, “En,”
“Also because of the relationships between family, friends, and lover, described there.” Bo Ziren searched for the accurate wordings in her mind, “How do I say it? I felt they were very honest, whether it was happiness or sadness when I was reading it, it felt like everything was happening right in front of me. It influenced people’s moods from the beginning to end.”
He kept on listening silently but did not show any intention of opening the book. He only looked at the title printed on the cover, and then politely returned the book to her.
Clearly, he was not interested but Bo Ziren did not feel any disappointment. After all, he did not look like someone who would read these type of books.
Retrieving the book, Bo Ziren started another topic, “Can you recommend me a book? Any book that you’ve read recently is fine.”
“The recent book I’ve read is a travelogue. Do you have any interest in this type of book?”
Bo Ziren nodded, and quickly took out her notebook and pen to write down the name of the book, almost at every other word, she would steal a look at him and noticed he was looking down, examining her writing. Recalling about what he had said of being a teacher, her pen holding gestures became very orthodox.
Finished jotting down the book title, she wrote down her name and tore the section off. Mustering up her courage, she showed him: “This is my name.”
“Bo Ziren.” He read it aloud once, then looked straight at her, “I remember the Chinese Medicine we ate has its presence.”
“Right, exactly that. Everyone thinks it’s weird my name resembles a medicine, but it is easy to remember.”
Before she could ask, in fluid actions, he took the pen from her and wrote down his name underneath hers.
“This is my name.” He passed the paper back to her, saying “Nice to meet you.”
She glanced down at the paper where three new words were written. She chanted them on her heart: “Cheng Jingpo.”
If it happened before, she would not have believed a person’s temperament was actually similar to their names, yet now she felt the thing was quite true. She had encountered many people and names, only his person and name matched so perfectly.
“You work part-time here every day?” She inquired.
“Not necessarily, if there was nothing urgent, in Friday evenings, I would come over.”
“Where do you teach?”
He did not answer this question immediately as if mulling over if it was necessary to tell her the truth.
She waited quite a while, just when she thought he was probably reluctant to answer, she heard his voice, “Finance University, exactly in the opposite direction to the University here.”
For a moment, a different emotion made its way into her heart.
 Bo Ziren – Chinese Medicine; pine nuts.
 Cheng Jingpo – orderly, calm, and anchored.
Translated by: Woodear
Edited by: ChocolateMorn
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