Love was ephemeral, an ever-present, ambiguous gas that needed only a momentary spark to set the prairie ablaze in a raging fire.
“The secret to a long-lasting love is preserving the feeling of freshness.” Rong Qianshan said.
And I have to say, he did.
Even until the end of my life, he remained stunning to me.
He was the endlessly leaping flame of my life.
I pressed the red button, passing through with the hourglass for the final time.
“Professor Rong, here.”
I was standing in the entrance of the laboratory, carefully observing Rong Qianshan. He was no longer young, his appearance that of someone in their fifties, with wrinkles at the corners of his eyes.
He took the test tube, nodding as he said: “Thank you.” His gaze swept past me before halting on my body, “Yingwen?”
“How old are you now?” I asked.
“Fifty-nine.” He said.
“You don’t look it.” I said, “Still so handsome.”
“Really.” He smiled, “You haven’t come to see me in a long time.”
“I didn’t dare to disturb our young romance.” I shrugged, then walked over, “I came to bring you something.” I opened my hand, and the hourglass rested on my palm. The inside of the hourglass was empty, without a single grain of sand.
He picked up the hourglass: “What is this?”
“Something you gave to me so I could come and see you.” I said, “You left before I did.”
“When did I pass?” He asked.
“May 6th, when you were sixty-seven.” I said, “I…” I suddenly saw a piece of metal on the back of his neck, “What is this?”
His expression turned unnatural: “Nothing.”
I stretched out a hand to stroke the nape of his neck, but that piece of metal was held fast, like it had been embedded in his skin for a long time: “You told me, if the frequency of one person’s mind matches the frequency of another person’s mind from a different world, they could meet each other. This, is this a regulator?”
He looked at me in shock: “Are you sure that you study philosophy, not physics?”
“I’m your most outstanding student.” I said, “You’ve worn this thing for twenty years?”
“I’ve worn it since I met you.” He said, “I don’t even feel it.”
I stared into his eyes with obvious disbelief.
He said softly: “It hurt a little to put it in, and I couldn’t have any MRIs, but otherwise it’s fine.”
“You put a piece of metal into your head!” I raised my voice.
“And you lived in a mental hospital for half your life, didn’t you?!” He refuted.
Alright, you’re really capable. I turned around in anger, but he pulled me to a stop, “Don’t go.” He said, “This time, do you have to go?”
“I don’t know, you developed it.” I said. I let out a slow breath, “I came to say goodbye.”
I could feel that my life had come to its end, like the last flickering flame of a worn-down candle wick.
The Rong Qianshan of this time was fifty-nine, brimming with vigor. He and the fifty-six-year-old me had many things to discuss.
Oh, I finally knew why Rong Qianshan’s mood had been off that day.
He told me that someone had passed, but he did not tell me who.
He had seen my death with his own eyes.
He looked at me with uncertainty: “Goodbye?”
“I’m sixty-seven.” I said, “I took risperidone for thirty years, and my heart has been ruined for a long time. And.” I paused for a moment, emphasizing, “You left two years before me.”
“You made your assistant give me an hourglass at your funeral.” I said, “That day, the Hangzhou in my world had a 6.0 magnitude earthquake.”
He opened his mouth: “I made the two cities resonate.”
“Yes, your world’s Hangzhou and my world’s Hangzhou merged together. I attended your funeral.” I said, “The hourglass helped me cross over to see you. You manually manufactured our meeting.”
“A feat worthy of me.” He said, proud of himself.
Yes, a feat worthy of you.
“This is the last time I will pass over. What do you want?” I asked.
“I want you to lecture me about Shamanism.” He said.
“…Are you serious?” I felt that he was going a little overboard.
He laughed: “Then what are you asking, come over here and kiss me.”
The feather-like scar on his right brow fell tremblingly into my heart. I did not live my life as a bird adrift on a piece of wood; I was the kite in Rong Qianshan’s hands.
I was the one he had broken the limits of the universe to seek.
My arms were slowly turning transparent. I figured it was time for me to go.
He gripped my hand until he could only catch empty air.
Beside his ear, I murmured, I love you.
I attended his funeral. He left me an hourglass.
He saw me pass the end of my life. I returned the hourglass to him.
We would pass through these two worlds over and over again, becoming an unbreakable, infinitely looping Mobius strip.
I received an invitation when I was sixty-five.
Rong Qianshan was dead.
Thank you for reading! Ngl, I cried translating this. I really want to read more of this author, the writing slapped. Should I pick up 五个案子 Five Cases? Hmmm…