Editor: Wahnsinniger Herrscher
When We Were Young
Little Miaomiao’s thoughts circled around the packet of dried meat. She thought that she could’ve shared it with Zhou Yuan, if she could’ve brought it. The pomegranate that Zhou Yuan gifted to her was very large. She had to use both of her hands to hold it. She stared at it. She thought about whether Zhou Yuan gifted this to her as a token of friendship. If he did, she would accept it.
Looking at her dumbfounded expression, Zhou Yuan found her cute. The other night, after discovering her past affliction, curiosity surged within him, and he wanted to know more. So, he sought and found a video that recorded her abuse. The video showed how her parents locked her inside a cat cage as punishment, which forced her to languish within a tiny enclosure for more than six years. He now understood why her reactions were slow.
He didn’t press her for any response and simply said, “Tell me if you want to eat it. I will peel it for you. You should peel it right before you eat it or else it will rot when exposed to the air for too long.”
Little Miaomiao blinked and didn’t understand a word that he said.
Patiently, Zhou Yuan clarified to her, “The fruit contains the pomegranate seeds that we ate yesterday. If the seeds are exposed to air for too long, then they will wither and will become inedible.”
This time, Little Miaomiao finally understood. She clasped the pomegranate tightly in her hands. She wanted to preserve it for her aunt. Her aunt said that it would take a long time for the seeds that they planted to sprout. She mustered up her courage to speak and said slowly, “I want to take this sixteen back.”
But she felt wrong for some reason. She couldn’t hone in on what was wrong, but a tinge of anxiety crept into a corner of her heart. After all, it was something that her friend had gifted to her. She kept her head down and whispered, “I’ll gift you…the dried meat. It’s very delicious…I’ll give all of it to you.”
Zhou Yuan looked at the top of her head. Seeing her lower her head while speaking, he thought that the little girl was too timid, whenever she spoke to him.
Time froze for a moment and Zhou Yuan remembered how she took yesterday’s pomegranate seeds home as well. He found this a little unusual. Why didn’t she eat it and why did she keep it in her bag?
He asked her, “Why does Little Miaomiao want to bring it home?”
Little Miaomiao whispered back, “Auntie wanted to eat sixteen, so I want to bring it to her.”
Zhou Yuan was speechless. Yesterday, she clandestinely hid the pomegranate seeds and brought them back home to gift them to her adoptive mother. But when she saw how they rotted away, she felt sad, is this correct?
After realizing this, a wave of complicated emotions overcame Zhou Yuan. He couldn’t help stroking her head, “Alright, you can take them home, Little Miaomiao.”
Little Miaomiao’s mood lightened, and she gladly put the sixteen into her schoolbag.
During this time, several children walked into the classroom hand in hand. They conversed with each other. Just like yesterday.
Little Miaomiao looked at their interlocking hands and thought that they must be good friends. She pondered about her reception of Zhou Yuan’s food and wondered if they were also, now, good friends.
Little Miaomiao turned her head and focused her attention to Zhou Yuan’s hand. His hand held a pen, and he wrote quickly to complete his homework.
Of course, Zhou Yuan had to write swiftly, in order to finish his homework, as class was about to begin.
Little Miaomiao thought that she should be patient. Tomorrow, she will give him the packet of dried meat and hold hands with him.
After Zhou Yuan completed his homework, he realized that Little Miaomiao intermittently glanced at his hand. He also looked at his hand, but didn’t see anything special in them.
Then, Zhou Yuan remembered that scars riddled Little Miaomiao’s hands. He noticed that the long sleeves of her dress that she wore today were custom-designed ruffles. The design looked gorgeous.
Little Miaomiao always paid fastidious attention to her hands due to her scars. When she saw how Zhou Yuan pulled out his sleeves and concealed his hands like she did, she retracted her gaze. She thought that her tablemate didn’t want to hold hands with her.
When the second period finished, Little Miaomiao was on her way to the washroom, but she was intercepted by the little girl who sat behind her, who also coincidentally went to the washroom. She held Little Miaomiao’s hand and said, “Your name is Little Miaomiao, right? My name is Jing Jing. Let’s go to the washroom together.”
Little Miaomiao was surprised, when the little girl held her hand. She thought about whether she made a new friend.
The girl named Jingjing had a round face and when she smiled, her eyes would curve. When she held Little Miaomiao’s hands, she felt something amiss. Suddenly, she screamed, “There are bugs on your hands!”
Little Miaomiao was also startled and pulled her sleeves down to cloak her hands and retorted, “No.”
A few children were watching their interaction and they saw the back of Little Miaomiao’s hands that were riddled with criss-crossed scars. This shocked all of them instantly.
Zhou Yuan stood up and helped Little Miaomiao pull her sleeves down. Children had no emotional intelligence and would say whatever they wished. Zhou Yuan feared that they would harm Little Miaomiao’s feelings by talking nonsense.
He had to act quickly and preempt any difficulties that Little Miaomiao might face, so with a grave expression on his face, Zhou Yuan said, “You all discovered it so soon!”
Jing Jing who touched her hand still felt something was wrong. She couldn’t help but to ask him, “What happened to her hand?”
Zhou Yuan soothed Little Miaomiao by gently stroking her head and said, “Sure enough. You all have forgotten about the incident that happened five years ago, when we traversed into this world from another world.”
Since Jing Jing screamed loudly, all the other students gathered around them. There were more than twenty little children encircling them. A tinge of fear crept into a corner of Little Miaomiao’s heart.
“Five years ago?”
Someone calculated his age and said, “Zhou Yuan. Five years ago, I was two years old.”
“Is that five years ago?”
Zhou Yuan whispered, “Someone go and shut the door. Don’t allow others to know about this. Why do you think we’re in the same class? It’s because of what happened five years ago.”
A boy swiftly went to shut the classroom door.
“When we first arrived in this world, we were all omniscient and omnipotent. Not only that, but we could also communicate with each other at that time.” Zhou Yuan said seriously.
One of the little boys quickly interjected, “It’s fake. I watched this on TV.”
Zhou Yuan shifted his attention to him and said, “Little Gang, do you remember the incident when you were a one year old and fell down from the second floor? At that time, we were all conversing and you paid no heed outside and fell down.”
Zhou Yuan looked at another classmate and said, “You were there during that time. But you were busy sitting on your dog’s back and played with it as if it were a horse.”
Little Gang was stunned. His mother told him about an incident when he fell down from the second floor. He was very fat when he was young. He tried to crawl over the security net affixed to the balcony, but he fell down. Fortunately, the lawn below broke his fall and he only received a few cuts to his ears. “How do you know…”
Another classmate said, “My mom often said that I used to walk around everywhere and my family had to drag me back…”
A quick-witted classmate instantly asked, “Zhou Yuan, what was I doing at that time?”
Zhou Yuan glanced and gestured as if he was recalling it and said, “You always liked to bite your dad’s slippers. We tried to persuade you to stop for a long time, but you didn’t listen to us.”