"Pa-la-". The porcelain doll shattered onto the hard floor, breaking into tiny sharp pieces that spread far and wide.
Qiao Anhao froze on the spot for half a minute, with her hand suspended in the moment she grabbed for the doll, before she realized what she had done. Her long eyelashes flickered for a moment, and then she crouched on the ground. She stared at the big and small shards in a panic and at a loss.
Her fingertips trembled for a long while, before she hastily reached her hand out to pick the shards up one by one. She tried to piece the doll back to how it looked originally.
However, the shards of porcelain had shattered so bad, Qiao Anhao simply didn't know where the pieces fit. With one careless move, she accidentally cut her finger on a sharp edge of a shard. As the blood gushed out, she didn't feel any pain, nor did she stop picking up the pieces. When she picked up the largest piece, she saw a plastic tube with a roll of paper inside among the shattered pieces.
Qiao Anhao furrowed her brows and without conscious thought picked up the piece of paper.
It was a good quality paper and particularly thick. With one pull, the paper unfolded itself. Then, Qiao Anhao saw that the paper was heavily filled with words.
With just one look, she immediately recognized that it was Lu Jinnian's bold and cursive handwriting that looked natural and fluid.
"First year. The first time we met, she wore a school uniform; a white s.h.i.+rt and blue skirt. In the height of autumn, she had a pink bike, and a blus.h.i.+ng face.
Second year. Rainy days weren't the most beautiful thing, finding shelter under the roof with her was.
Third year. I left half the maths test blank, so I could be her cla.s.smate.
Fourth year. I gave her a birthday present with the words 'Shmily' carved on the back. Who knows if she noticed...
Fifth year. I gave up on my dream of attending a prestigious university. I gave up all plans of living an ordinary life to go to Hangzhou for her."
As Qiao Anhao read this part, her hands, which were still holding the paper, started to tremble as she faintly understood what she was reading. The fog beneath her eyes began to coalesce.
"Sixth year. With her single careless step closer, I smelled the soft smell of her hair. It made me stay up all night.
Seventh year. I gave up a monumental, career-changing opportunity for her.
Eighth year. I slept in the same room with her. It was the first time I kissed her and the same year I was awarded my first achievement award. I rushed to Beijing overnight to find that she was engaged to someone else.
Ninth year. I started smoking because of her. I smoked and drank the whole night, alone in my room. I cried for her all night."
A single tear slowly fell onto the paper, smudging the dry, black ink.
"Tenth year. On many occasions, I secretly hid in a corner as I watched her back a few times.
Eleventh year. After having seen thousands of different women, I always subconsciously compare them to her, and she's always the best of them all.
Twelfth year. All alone, I silently feel pain when she hurts, and happy when she is so.
Thirteenth year. I made the best decision of my life... to cross paths with her once again."
Qiao Anhao forcefully bit onto her bottom lip, tears falling hysterically one after the other.