He knew that Fangzheng had come to his home yesterday, but he had no interest in coming out.
Now that he saw the huge white dog at his doorstep, he was truly given a fright. However he heaved a sigh of relief when he saw that it was this harmless-looking dog. It was even shaking its tail at him, as if it wanted to say it had no intention to harm him.
“Brother Brother Dog. I’m only going downstairs.” Lu Zheng did not know what he could say to a dog, but he said that sentence as a way to embolden himself.
The dog seemed to understand what he meant as he stood up and made way.
Lu Zheng heaved another sigh of relief and slowly wheeled past the dog. Then, he came to another stop. His house was on the second level. It was not very high, but he still needed to take the stairs if he wanted to go down! There were windows that lined the staircase, but they were not facing the basketball court. He needed to go downstairs if he wanted to watch the game.
After confirming that the white dog would not harm him, Lu Zheng looked at the steep stairs and hesitated a little. It was too high and too steep. He had lost the use of his legs, and could only use a wheelchair. His wheelchair only had wheels, so if he wasn’t careful, he might tumble down. Just that thought frightened Lu Zheng.
At that moment, there were cheers coming from outside. Someone had apparently scored!
Lu Zheng’s heart burned with the desire to see the game! He did not wish to stay at home all day! He wanted to watch!
This thought intensified, but he kept hesitating when he looked down at the steep staircase.
The staircase was too steep. He was disabled, so he could not go down!
No, I have legs. They just don’t move! But I can go down! I still have the use of my hands!
What if I fail to hold on? What if the wheels slip? Can I control the wheelchair and break the fall? This is my first time going downstairs!
No, I can do it. I definitely can!
These two thoughts clashed crazily in Lu Zheng’s mind as his eyes turned redder. When he heard the cheers and shouts outside, the anxiety was killing him.
Finally, he held a railing with one hand as he steered his wheelchair with another. He slowly went down the stairs, but the moment he reached the edge, his wheelchair plummeted straight down due to inadequate strength. I’m doomed!
However the wheelchair suddenly seemed to be fixed in place, as though something was pulling at him.
Lu Zheng turned around and saw that the lazy dog had crawled up. It had its mouth on the back of the wheelchair to prevent him from falling.
“Thank you.” Lu Zheng had forgotten when the last time he said that was, but this time, he had managed to say it. The feeling that he was a survivor that escaped death made him rejoice inwardly.
Lone Wolf gave him an encouraging look. Lu Zheng said in astonishment, “Are you encouraging me?”
Lone Wolf nodded gently.
“Thank you, I will do it!” Lu Zheng nodded. He would have felt inferior if it were a person in front of him. He was depressed because he couldn’t walk, thinking that he was a cripple, one that needed the help of others to get down the stairs. But towards a dogan animal that had kindly helped himhe found it acceptable. This feeling was quite amazing. At the very least, he felt that animals were pure and innocent. The dog had helped him without any intentions. It was also very rare for animals to help humans. This experience comforted him.
Lu Zheng adjusted his position and gripped the railing. After being certain that he had stabilized himself, he said to Lone Wolf, “I’m good now.”
Lone Wolf slowly released his grip, and indeed, Lu Zheng stood atop the stairs stably.
Lu Zheng slowly released his grip, allowing the wheelchair to slowly descend, bit by bit. Every inch he lowered himself, he would turn to look at Lone Wolf who was following closely behind like he was a guardian. With him around, Lu Zheng felt reassured. Finally, Lu Zheng successfully finished going down a flight of stairs.
Lu Zheng gestured a victory sign at Lone Wolf, but Lone Wolf only gave him a look to signal for him to continue.
Lu Zheng took a deep breath and turned to look at the next flight of stairs. He said determined, “I can do it!”
With that said, Lu Zheng continued down the stairs. Bit by bit, he went down. In the beginning, he would turn to look at Lone Wolf. Eventually, as he was too focused, or perhaps because he trusted Lone Wolf so much, he no longer turned his head. Slowly, Lu Zheng was pleasantly surprised to realize that he had succeeded in going down the stairs on a wheelchair all by himself! That pride excited him greatly. He turned around to look at Lone Wolf, only to be appalled to realize that Lone Wolf was still standing in the middle of the stairs. He had not come down at all.
“You You didn’t follow me?” Lu Zheng was stunned.
“Amitabha. Patron, if you can do something by yourself, why do you need someone to help you?” At that moment, a Buddhist proclamation sounded. A white-robed monk appeared around the corner. He was dressed cleanly and although he was not especially handsome, he had a righteous and benevolent look. It made one feel peace.
“You” Lu Zheng immediately turned nervous when he realized that someone was downstairs. He even began to stutter.
Fangzheng smiled. “This Penniless Monk is Mt. One Finger’s abbot, Fangzheng. That is This Penniless Monk’s Guardian, Jingfa. Patron, is going down the stairs difficult to you?”
When Lu Zheng saw the warm and friendly smile of the monk which resembled warm sunshine, he was surprised to realize that he did not rebuff the monk because he did not see any disdain, pity, or empathy which horrified him in his eyes. Instead, the monk looked at him like he was any ordinary person. He liked that feeling. He hated to be looked at differently by others, be it disgust or pity!
Lu Zheng looked at Fangzheng and replied, “It was a little difficult in the beginning, but it’s not that hard once I got used to it.”
Fangzheng smiled and called out to Lone Wolf. “Let’s go, time to watch the game.”
Lone Wolf rushed down and when he passed Lu Zheng, he jerked his head, as though he was saying, “Come on, together!”
Lu Zheng hesitated a little. “I I’ll just watch from here.”
Fangzheng smiled. “Go ahead then. If it’s possible, it would be nice if we played a game.”
Lu Zheng said with a wry smile, “How can I play basketball when I’m like that?” With that said, there was a gloomy look in his eyes as he looked at his feet.
“Before coming down the stairs, were you sure you could come down the stairs? Going down the stairs on a wheelchair is nothing easy.”
Lu Zheng did not say a word.
“Due to passion and love, it made your fearless. It made you courageous and strong! Then, why don’t you try walking for that love in your heart?”
When Fangzheng finished his piece, he turned to walk outside where sunshine shone down on him. He did not turn back, and instead said lightly, “People with legs aren’t necessarily able to play basketball. Likewise, it’s not apparent that those without legs can’t play basketball. Furthermore, you still have your legs!”
Fangzheng walked off. Lone Wolf turned to look at Lu Zheng and cocked his head, gesturing him to follow.
Lu Zheng looked at Lone Wolf and Fangzheng’s back before mumbling. “Yes, many people are bad at basketball even with legs. It’s not apparent that those without legs can’t play basketball! Besides, I still have my legs! Moreover, I’m only going to watch.”
With this thought in mind, Lu Zheng wheeled his wheelchair out. It was the first time in a very long time since he felt the fresh air outside. He raised his head slightly and squinted his eyes from the blinding sunlight. The feeling was so familiar, yet it was also very unfamiliar. Years ago, all of this was just too ordinary, but now, it had turned into something too precious.