Three Hours and Fifteen Minutes
Fifteen past eleven
My parents have gone now, and I am alone at last, sensing the excitement and eagerness of those passengers waiting to be flown to their destination. But I am in no hurry and I want tonight to be long, as long as my life. I have the whole night ahead of me and I won’t waste a single moment of it because I’ve had enough yesterdays and tomorrows, and tonight, more than any other night in my life, I want to feel alive.
Ten to twelve
We did not have much in common in junior high, and I had thought that we were like two parallel lines because at that time you had already been admitted to a key high school before graduation while I failed the examination, and that left me with no choice but to struggle preparing for the entrance exam as most of my peers did. It didn’t occur to me that you would leave a message, indicating you hoped to see me again in the same school. I was not quite sure if it was merely a comfort for my failure or something else. But I did know that our story was far from over.
Nearly a quarter past midnight
It is late and normally I’d be asleep, but there’s one night in high school when I was trapped in various emotions and had difficulty in falling asleep.
When I was about to go home with the last bell, I saw you waiting for me in the corridor, absent-minded and a little embarrassed. It’s a long time since we last met each other although we studied at the same high school since time was precious and every little bit count. We walked along the road leading to your dormitory in silence, without much to say, but somehow the silence seemed to connect us in a way that words never could. Only at that time did the words you said to me before move from my head to my heart.
You tried to plaster a smile, but a sense of frustration lay right beneath the surface although you were quite reserved about it. I knew it. There were times when we were kind of emotional especially on the eve of Gaokao and a depressing taste always surrounded the school, but who wasn’t? In those trying days we had no choice but to struggle to get through, and your encouragement was always what kept me moving on every time I wanted to quit.
Two minutes to one
A handful of passengers are pacing around, anxious and impatient, and that’s exactly how I felt when waiting for the result of Gaokao. The moment I got my score, I pedaled home so hard that I thought my lungs would burst. Failing in the college entrance examination seemed to mess up everything, every plan I had made and every expectation I had dreamt about. The result was that I couldn’t make it to my expected university, our expected university, let alone live in the same city with you. I was aware that there’s no second chance like I did in junior high and once again, I became a loser, a complete loser. What happened after that was a blur, and all I could remember was that I cut off contact with you since then. I ignored both your phone calls and text messages because I wanted to be left alone, although during that time my shadow was the only friend. I chose a university that is far away from my hometown, wishing to shake off the confused feelings about you and escape from everything that I was familiar with. Every night that loneliness forced me to stay awake with the darkness keeping all my heart, but I knew I deserved it.
Twenty past one
The memory is still fresh, but I am aware that nothing would help me get back on track. I try to be casual about it, but it doesn’t work. I hate to watch myself swim out so far that I couldn’t swim back, and I wonder if a little discomfort and less self-esteem in the beginning could save a whole lot of pain down the road. I wonder if I should have told you what had happened right from the beginning instead of escaping like a coward, and I wonder what I was going to feel standing in your shoes. But this feeling starts taking over in the pit of my stomach and leaves me with numerous regrets.
The reality interrupts my thoughts. “Ladies and gentlemen. May I have your attention, please? Flight CZ8134 to Chongqing is now boarding…” I stand up slowly, grab my backpack and walk towards the boarding gate. I know our story ends here.
作 者：姜照卿 （英语学院2015级1班）