“What’s wrong with the car in front of me? It’s so slow, even an old lady can walk faster… so it’s you.” Shang Muxiao lowered his eyelids, looking tired, “Next time, put a sign on the back, to avoid misunderstandings.” 

I was stunned for a moment. At first I didn’t understand what sign he wanted me to put up. After a few seconds, I quickly realized that he should have wanted me to put up a sign like, ‘The owner is disabled’ or ‘The owner is sick’.  

He probably didn’t mean to act in such a discriminating manner towards me, but his words did make me uncomfortable. I was just paying attention to safety. It had nothing to do with whether I was disabled or not. Even if I wasn’t disabled, I would have driven carefully. 

“Excuse me……” 

Enduring my displeasure, I explained to Shang Muxiao that I slammed on the brakes to avoid the wild cat that suddenly came out. After listening, Shang Muxiao nodded, as if he wasn’t very interested in the cause of the accident, and readily stated that since he rear-ended me, then he was fully responsible. 

“Was it damaged badly?” I asked. 

“Mine is fine, it’s just scratched off a bit of paint, yours is more serious.” Shang Muxiao put his helmet under his arm, took out his mobile phone, and glanced at it. It was unknown to whom he was sending a message.

Just a few seconds later, the bell rang suddenly, and he answered the phone almost immediately. His originally impatient expression suddenly became incredibly soft.

“Sister… It’s just a small accident, it’s okay… I know, I will pay attention… The snacks you want have already been bought, you wait a while…”

Upon closer inspection, I found that he had a piercing in his right ear and was wearing a small black spar earring. He had  a small black mole just above his earlobe. If you didn’t pay attention, you would think that he had two ear piercings.

I remembered that Shang Lu also had a mole in the same place. I used to like his mole very much and thought it had a “taste”.

Genes were amazing, even this aspect was so similar.

A long queue gradually formed behind the car, and there was a series of honking horns coming from the vehicles behind. Our accident had already caused congestion, and if we delayed it any longer, the police would come.

“Let’s do this…” I was just about to say let’s go to the open area to discuss when Shang Muxiao hung up the phone and stretched out his hand directly to me. 

I stared in confusion at the phone that was handed in front of me, not understanding what he meant.

“Xlnf wf sbeg qtbcf cewyfg,” tf rjlv. “P’ii tjnf ws lcregjcmf ygbxfg mbcajma sbe.”

Ktja kjr ktja la wfjca.

P abbx atf qtbcf, fcafgfv ws cewyfg, jcv tjcvfv la yjmx ab tlw. 

Lf vlvc’a ibbx ja la, aemxfv atf qtbcf lcab tlr agberfg qbmxfa, qea bc tlr tfiwfa jujlc jcv rjlv ab wf, “Ofa’r ifjnf la tfgf obg cbk. P tjnf rbwfatlcu egufca ab vb. Po atfgf lr jcs qgbyifw, P klii ajix jybea la ja rmtbbi cfza kffx.”

I nodded, said nothing, started the car, and headed towards the intersection again. Just after turning the corner, a blue-and-white figure quickly overtook the car from behind, and the smooth body disappeared from sight before I could take a closer look.

That night, a man who claimed to be an insurance broker of Shang Muxiao called me and asked me to go to the designated location to fix the damage when I had time, saying that the repair costs would be fully paid by their insurance company.

As Shang Muxiao said, the back of my car was really badly damaged. The entire rear bumper was dented, and it was a little shaky. With a crash like this, it only managed to scratch some paint off of his car. I didn’t know whether it was because his car’s quality was too good, or my car is poor quality. 

I ultimately decided to get the damage assessed on the weekend. After driving the car to the damage assessment point, the staff looked at my car and told me that the entire rear bumper might have to be replaced, and the rear cover had to be repainted. I asked them how long it would take to fix it and they said at least two weeks.

The thought of not having a car for two weeks gave me an unstoppable headache.

And this invisible, lingering pain also indirectly affected every aspect of my life, such as my mood in classes. Even Yu Xixi noticed that I was in a bad mood recently, and became more and more pinch-tailed, and didn’t dare to share gossip with me.

Sheng Luoyu came to see me on Wednesday and brought a lot of daily necessities. Knowing that it would be inconvenient for me to travel without a car, she even went to the vegetable market to help me fill up the refrigerator. 

Because she contributed both her money and efforts, my bad mood for a few days had also calmed down a lot. We talked about some unimportant things and I was not so impatient anymore. “Xiao-Jie, the mutual aid group I told you last time, do you have time to join one on Saturday?” Sheng Luoyu simply made two plates of spaghetti and shared one with me.

“What kind of mutual aid group?” I scrunched up my face and didn’t quite remember what she said about the mutual aid group. I probably thought she was too long-winded. I’ve heard it, and it went in one ear and out the other.

“It’s that… optimistic psychological support group.”

I seem to have an impression of this name. 

I looked up at her: “I have no psychological problems.”

Sheng Luoyu didn’t believe it at all: “You’re so pessimistic and world-weary, and you still claim to have no problem?”

I corrected her, “It’s not my psyche, it’s my philosophy.”

She was speechless. 

“My mother asked me to persuade you to go. If I fail again, she will come to the door in person. She has not been in good health for the past two years. Do you have the heart to watch her worry about your affairs?”

If she used herself to play this family card, I could totally bear it. But my aunt was an elder I have respected since I was a child. As long as she goes out, I can’t just refuse it. 

I was silent and didn’t directly refuse, “How is Auntie doing recently?”

“It’s still the same old problem. It’s easy to get a cough when the weather is cold.” Sheng Luoyu poked her plate of pasta and said earnestly, “She’s very worried about you.” 

My aunt suffered from lung disease when she was young. Although she was cured later, the root cause of the disease was still there, and it was easy to fall ill when there was any stimulation. When I had an accident, she shed a lot of tears for me, and I didn’t want her to worry about my affairs anymore.

She was one of the few people who were willing to worry about me.

After pursing my lips, I put down my fork, and finally gave in.

“Okay, I’ll go.” 

After Sheng Luoyu left, I packed up the tableware, poured myself a cup of Trockenbeerenauslese wine suitable for bedtime drinking, and went to the CD rack in the living room.

I pulled out the DVD of ‘The Retrograde Wind’ from the corner, opened the box, and skillfully inserted it into the DVD player.

Sitting in the dim living room, looking at the screen that had already been replayed for who knew how many times on the projection screen, I chose to fast-forward directly to the place I wanted to watch.

In a hot and humid barn, a topless man smoked cigarettes. The woman flirted with him. He hugged her into his arms as he slowly exhaled the smoke in his mouth, forming a wonderful fluid phenomenon, which vaguely enveloped the heads and faces of the two.  

The nails sank slightly into the glowing muscles, and the thick blood vessels bulged and throbbed under the wheat-colored skin. 

A burst of lust, a surge of hormones. 

This movie deserved a more laudable image, but I loved this part alone. 

The director should be very fond of Shang Lu. Loved his excellent expressiveness, and also loved his acting skills that seemed to reach even the tips of his hair. In the close-up of his profile, every bead of sweat and every undulating breath of his were just right. Even the mole on his earlobe seemed to be speaking of the infinite charm of the male protagonist.  

Staring at the tiny black mole, another younger face flashed in my mind. I frowned, quickly clearing the inappropriate image from my mind. 

After watching the movie, I put the empty wine glass in the sink as the sleepiness gradually emerged due to the effect of alcohol. I turned off the projection and controlled the wheelchair into the bedroom to rest. That night, maybe it was because of drinking, or because I revisited ‘Retrograde Wind’, I had a lot of messy dreams. When I woke up, I couldn’t remember the content of the dream clearly, but I felt exhausted physically and mentally as if I had been fighting with people all night.

“Teacher, I really have a reason. I didn’t miss so many classes on purpose. Please give me another chance and let me take the exam… I can’t fail any more classes, or it will affect my graduation.” 

Knowing that they were going to fail the course, there were many students who came to me for intercession.  

But today was different.

I typed on the computer keyboard without looking up. Seeing that I ignored her, the girl simply walked around the desk and came to me. 

“Teacher, please give me another chance.” She lowered her body and half-kneeled beside my wheelchair, begging. 

My head hurt even more. 

Minimizing the window, I leaned back in the chair and looked down at her: “You will be disqualified from the exam after five absenteeisms, but you have more than five absenteeisms, Classmate Yan Ying. Since the beginning of the semester, you have not attended my class even once. You’re not a freshman anymore, you should know what I can’t tolerate the most.” 

The girl flinched, her eyes shifting: “I have troubles, teacher. During summer vacation, I got……depressed, and then I couldn’t control my emotions. Taking medicine didn’t help. It didn’t improve until the start of school, so I skipped classes……It’s all because I’m sick. I really didn’t skip class on purpose.”