Chi Xueyan felt that He Qiao’s eyes were particularly serious when he said this sentence.
It seemed he really liked it.
Therefore, Chi Xueyan thought about it. He glanced at his notebook again, stretched out his finger and tapped on the page. “This is wrong. It is clarithromycin, not clindamycin.”
They were two antibiotics that were easy to mishear and remember.
In the place where his fingers touched, He Qiao quickly crossed out the wrong word and wrote the correct noun.
The last time Chi Xueyan saw He Qiao’s handwriting was in the window note he saw through the binoculars.
His handwriting was beautiful, clear and powerful. It was naturally suitable for writing the most formal notes on snow-white pages.
Chi Xueyan was inexplicably pleased by his imagination.
Due to staying next to the attentive good student at the same table, he finally gave up the lazy posture of the bad student and sat up straight.
Next, at a very slow pace, he and He Qiao kept listening to the lecture and took notes while dividing the peeled sugar-fried chestnuts.
At the end of the chestnut tasting conference, Teacher Zhao’s hypnotic pharmacology class also ushered in the end.
During this period, Chi Xueyan didn’t fall asleep again even though the open window was closed again and the warm classroom made it hard for people to open their eyes.
However, under Teacher Zhao’s soothing tone that was enough to cleanse any soul, Chi Xueyan was someone out of his mind and his thoughts were wandering the entire time.
The two of them left the classroom and returned the borrowed items to the real college students. They took only two pages of paper full of notes and a bag of chestnut shells.
He Qiao put away the paper after returning the things while Chi Xueyan carried the bag and went straight out to find the trash can.
This was until he was stopped by He Qiao’s somewhat helpless voice.
“Your coat and hat.”
He Qiao picked up the coat that Chi Xueyan had forgotten on the table as well as the black hat.
Hearing this, he stopped and turned around. Then he generously stretched out his hand and waited for He Qiao to hand over the clothes.
They were unaware of the gazes cast by other people toward him.
It was the most ordinary lecture hall. There were wood-colored tables and chairs, incandescent lamps overhead and the faint mist on the glass windows. All the ordinary scenery had become the most dazzling red.
Chi Xueyan was smiling at him. He reached out a hand and just looked at him with an intimate tone filled with teasing. “Do you think my coat is heavy?”
After a brief trance, He Qiao walked up to him and gently put his hat on for him, moving as naturally as an ordinary friend.
The brim of the hat and the existence of the companion hindered the sight of other people quietly looking at him.
He Qiao held two coats at the same time and he really felt that the one that belonged to Chi Xueyan had a heavier weight.
“This is heavier. What is in it?”
“There is gold,” Chi Xueyan joked with a serious expression. “Gold to be used at night.”
He thought of something and a bright light flashed in his eyes. “Do you want to exchange coats? So you are going to be the golden-haired Santa Claus.”
It seemed more meaningful to have the birthday star do it.
Of course, Chi Xueyan didn’t deny that there was a second important reason. He felt that this coat was too heavy to wear and he wanted He Qiao to bear it for half a day.
In any case, these two outfits were originally his. He subconsciously didn’t feel that there was any ambiguity in the proposal to exchange coats.
Hearing this, the man holding the clothes paused for a moment before saying, “Okay.”
Soon, Chi Xueyan put on He Qiao’s coat and the heavy gold went to He Qiao.
Neither of them used perfume and there was no superfluous smell on the clothes they wore.
It was just that after the exchange, a strange and familiar body temperature faintly lingered on their body.
A smell like the wind stayed.
Chi Xueyan put on his coat, pressed down his hat and turned around first. “Let’s go. Go to the next stage.”
They once again joined the flow of people.
College life was usually made up of two spaces.
They almost finished strolling through the campus and there was still the outside the campus.
Therefore, today’s dinner wasn’t a delicious dish from the opposite school, nor was it a dark dish from the school cafeteria.
It was an unnamed noodle store where students often lined up in the narrow alley behind the school.
The owner of the noodle store was an elderly couple with silver hair and friendly smiles. The ordering and cooking of the noodles weren’t fast, it was even slow. But the young people who came to eat the noodles were very patient and no one urged them.
A bowl of noodles was 10 yuan. The noodles were firm and the broth was rich. It was also piled high with generous meat and vegetable toppings.
For most students with limited living expenses, this was the most popular off-campus cafeteria.
The taste of this bowl of noodles was also very good. It was indescribably good, like a white-collar worker working alone in the big city and going to the company with coffee and bread in the morning, only to suddenly remember that many years ago, he rubbed his eyes and walked out of the room with his school bag to see the bowl of noodles that his mother had just cooked on the table.
Therefore, in addition to students, guests of different ages often frequented here. They spent time with the bowl of noodles while missing the old days that could never be regained.
Sitting at the small plastic table on the plastic chair, Chi Xueyan looked at the person opposite him and guessed in his heart that He Qiao should like the taste of this bowl of noodles.
After a bad lunch, they finished ushered in a simple but delicious dinner.
For a birthday, it wasn’t a bad ending.
His arrangement had one last leg left.
The place where he could spend the gold.
After eating noodles, Chi Xueyan led He Qiao for a walk along the familiar path.
The sky was getting darker and dusk shrouded the shadow of the trees. There was a wide park in front of them that was surrounded by a peaceful residential area.
His alma mater was located next to a large area of old residential buildings that were home to many retired faculty members. Thus, it was permeated with a special cultural atmosphere.
He Qiao’s coat became heavy and he already looked at the ‘gold’ in his pocket during the meal break.
It wasn’t real gold but many, many coins. According to visual inspection, there were around a hundred of them that were packed in two plastic bags, one in the left and the other in the right pocket.
It was hard to imagine that someone would go out with so many coins in his pocket.
Then he thought about how the owner of the coat was Chi Xueyan and it seemed that it wasn’t so surprising.
They passed a quiet residential area and walked into a large park with trees and bridges.
The park was relatively lively. Some people were walking, others were running at night and some were walking their dogs. There were human voices everywhere.
There was faint singing and music in the distance.
Chi Xueyan walked in that direction. At the same time, he glanced at He Qiao. “I don’t know if you will like it here. It might be a bit corny but I think it is very romantic.”
This was the first time He Qiao had heard him describe something as romantic.
“It is a place you used to go to when you were in college?”
“Yes, a few times a week,” Chi Xueyan said. “Every day there looks the same, but it is different.”
The sound of music was getting closer and closer. He Qiao finally saw the scenery under the street light.
It was a bit like a KTV set up in the open air, but the equipment was very simple. It was only a karaoke machine with a projection screen that was blown by the wind from time to time. There were two microphones that looked a bit old but were surrounded by people listening to songs.
Next to the karaoke machine stood a middle-aged man wearing thick glasses who should be the boss. He was looking up at the MV of the song playing on the projection screen.
It was a very old song, but it was sung by a young college student. The audience included young friends who came with him as well as elderly strangers.
“You can sing a song for one coin. They only receive cash and there are no songs in the library from the last 20 years. It is because the equipment hasn’t been updated for a long time.”
Chi Xueyan stopped and explained with a smile to the person beside him, “It is also because the customers that the boss originally wanted to serve were middle-aged and elderly people walking in the park.”
“But he overlooked that there are two colleges next to him. Bored college students will dig into everything they can play with around the school.”
Therefore, youth and old age met under this street lamp. Every night was full of changes and chances.
The song that was flowing in the air at this moment was a dream written by young people 30 years ago. It was sung by young people 30 years ago and there were people who were young in that era standing next to them.
Music was a strange language that could erase precise time coordinates and stir up different emotional tides in people’s hearts. The past, present and future emerged at the same time.
He Qiao thought that this was indeed romantic, a romance that was too complicated to describe.
He also understood the role of gold in his pocket in an instant.
A song was three to four minutes long. It was 6 o’clock and a hundred coins was just enough for a stranger to sing for the remainder of Christmas Eve.
It was Santa Claus in the true sense of the word.
Without further words, he walked over to the middle-aged boss next to the karaoke machine and took out two plastic bags full of coins in his pockets.
The boss looked at the unfamiliar He Qiao in front of him. He was stunned at first before seeing Chi Xueyan by the side.
Thus, he took back what he wanted to say and laughed emotionally. “Student, you are here again for Christmas Eve.”
Chi Xueyan nodded and a smile flashed in his eyes. “Boss, happy Christmas Eve.”
No one knew what the boss’ last name was. He had a slightly strange accent and also did a strange business. He didn’t make much money but he enjoyed it and showed up on time every night.
Once the song was over, the boss rejected the coins handed over by the next guest. He picked up the microphone and announced, “The rest of the night is free to sing. Someone has treated you.”
No matter whether they wanted to sing or not, everyone started to applaud enthusiastically.
In the sudden noise, the boss looked down at the machine. “Before queuing up to order a song, I will pick a song to give to this old friend. Which one of you can sing?”
The moment he finished speaking, Chi Xueyan shook his head with a smile. He couldn’t help complaining to He Qiao beside him, “I know.”
From his sophomore year, he had become famous in school along with that song. He became a school legend everywhere.
Even the boss who sold a song for one coin in the off-campus park had heard from Chi Xueyan’s friends about the moment when he announced on stage that he didn’t want to fall in love.
So once they became more familiar with each other, the boss would take the initiative to play a song every time Chi Xueyan came here.
However, Chi Xueyan never sang the song and it was the same today.
He had always been an audience member here.
The title of the song appeared on the projection screen. The young college student who grabbed the microphone immediately shouted at the boss, “Boss, it is winter now!”
The boss shouted back, “Yes, that is why you should sing about summer!”
The title of the song was Perfect Summer.
Chi Xueyan once performed this song with the bass at the party in his sophomore year and in the bar four months ago.
Now, he and He Qiao stood in the crowd together and listened to the unfamiliar college student singing it.
His voice wasn’t neat and it was occasionally out of tune, but the emotions were pure and warm.
“All summer, lingering at your window.
Wait for you to appear in the breeze…”
This was the best song to sing to their lover at the end of summer.
Once the song ended and the last melody faded away, Chi Xueyan looked at the screen that had faded.
Then he whispered to the person beside him, “Happy birthday.”
Melodies related to memories could always evoke the deepest emotions buried in people’s hearts, even if the emotions had become very faint.
He told He Qiao, who helped him write the annual report, that he had no regrets, at least this year.
At this moment, Chi Xueyan felt that perhaps there might still be regrets. He didn’t even notice it until it suddenly appeared in his emotions this time.
After all, it was a strange experience he never had before.
Even if he had heard his friends talk about heartbeats and lost love a hundred times, he was still an ignorant novice before he really experienced it.
In any case, this familiar song was completely over. After saying this happy birthday, the last trace of regret would probably disappear.
The part of his youth that came late seemed to have been made complete in an adventure that blurred the years and relationships.
In front of the blank projection screen, Chi Xueyan asked He Qiao in a normal tone, “There are no other links. Do you want to go home?”
He didn’t look at the expressions of his companions. He only heard the usual gentle response, “Okay.”
They remained in the crowd listening to songs as they waited for the driver to pick them up.
The guests were of different ages and had different singing levels, but they were full of true feelings and gave people a childish touch.
The boss listened intently most of the time and occasionally looked at the old friend he had been reunited with after a long time, thinking about this old friend’s relationship with the person beside him.
As the two of them were about to leave and Chi Xueyan said goodbye to him, the boss finally asked curiously, “Is this your boyfriend? You didn’t stay single?”
The person he asked smiled a bit before answering softly.
“This is my husband.”
The street lights and moonlight lengthened the two fading figures. They looked both intimate and distant.
The sidewalk was filled with Christmas trees without snow and presents.
The Christmas Eve arranged by Chi Xueyan was over.
Time, which had lost its coordinates, once again returned to the everyday order.
A familiar black luxury car waited on the side of the road. A familiar driver was opening the door and waiting for them to get in the car and go home.
The one-way glass blocked the sight of the pedestrians outside the car. The lovers who looked like a match sat in the car one after another.
The black board also blocked the view of the driver in front as they sat together in the back seat.
It was very similar to the night before the bachelor party. They walked through the similar music, the liveliness and the people’s voices and entered the silent, long street. The moonlight was like sweet cream and flowers bloomed outside the car windows.
Then once the adventure was over, there were no more questions and stories that quietly poured out emotions. There was no more mindless, subsconscious finger entanglement.
Chi Xueyan was looking sideways at the night scene outside the window. The Christmas atmosphere of the street, the snowflake stickers, neon lights flowing across his fair cheeks.
This Christmas Eve with his youth reconstructed could be ranked in the top five of his favorite days.
Thinking about it this way, there were already two days related to He Qiao in the top ten.
The worst and best horror movies and the intense summer day on a cold winter night.
The name chosen for him by his parents, who loved martial arts movies, seemed to have really doomed him to prefer the temperament of walking in between two extremes.
The back seat of the car was quiet. Chi Xueyan’s eyes were purely looking at the scenery.
This was until the person beside him spoke with a type of vagueness and abruptness in the night, breaking the sparseness in the small space. “Is your coin still there?”
Chi Xueyan didn’t react for a while and said casually, “It is all used on the boss.”
Thus, the coat that he exchanged with He Qiao finally became light.
The next second, he heard the other person’s serious voice. “It isn’t those coins.”
Hearing this, Chi Xueyan looked back in a slightly stunned manner. He looked away from the street scene on Christmas Eve and fell on the person who was born on Christmas Eve.
The neon lights still reflected on his cheeks. The ends of his dark red hair were dyed with a dark gleam. The moment his clear eyes stared into the other person’s eyes, he suddenly heard a belated echo in the deep sea.
“It is the coin in the palm of your hand.”