Volume 1 Chapter 1.1 About Love
Year 2006. Summer. The sky was cloudy, the sun baked the earth. Cicadas on the trees issued hoarse tweets, and the heat wave made people feel irritated.
Mo Ka wore sandals as he squatted on the roadside. His dyed blond hair, under the sun, exposed the particularly dazzling highlights. The cigarette between his fingers had already burnt over half way. From time to time at his side, the same bragging friends mocked and berated. Occasionally, people passing by would give him a disgusted glance. When Mo Ka stared back, they quickly made their way.
Mother Gong Rong’s phone call came at the wrong time. Mo Ka impatiently placed the phone to his ear. A truck on the street rumbled past. Mo Ka opened his mouth and roared into the phone: “Why did you call didn’t I say I’ll come back later? You’re annoying, what did you say? Can’t you talk louder, I can’t hear clearly!”
The voice on other side of the phone gradually became clearer. Mo Ka’s hand flicked soot from the red butt of the cigarette that was peeling off. Before it even touched the ground, it was blown away by the wind. He took in a breath staring at the noodle shop on the opposite side of the road. He looked at his reflection on the two sliding glass doors, his body convulsed. Mo Ka cried out a heart rendering cry which penetrated the scorching heat of summer.
Mo Ka did not understand. A few days ago, his father was diagnosed with asthma by the hospital. The hospital then said that it was Acute Myocardial Infarction, and because the doctor didn’t notice, they did not consider a misdiagnosis. This resulted in not detecting it in time, leaving Mo Ka fatherless. He really didn’t understand how human life could be so fragile. Saying gone really meant gone.
The hospital was afraid of things getting big. They found Mo Ka’s house. They took flowers, a box of fine fruit, and a dazzling red envelope. The envelope carried an agreement and a credit card. With their entire face creased with the director’s affable countenance/respect, they earnestly advised Gong Rong. Looking as if one of their own family members were dead; “Your family does not have any relatives and you have a son to raise. A woman managing the family is not easy, not to mention he will need to go college (university) in the future. Even if you really do sue us, you might not necessarily win, do you really have the money to pay for expensive legal fees? Here are 20 thousand yuan and an agreement. It’s our hospital’s leadership’s good will. If you agree to not cause trouble at the hospital from now on, this money will be yours. Are we clear, you are an intelligent woman, you should weigh the stakes.”
Just when Mo Ka wanted to shed all pretence of cordiality, Gong Rong stopped Mo Ka. Finally, eyes red and swollen, she nodded. She could not afford legal fees. She had a son to raise as well. Even if she is unwilling, so what. This was reality.
Just like that, 20 thousand yuan brought Mo Ka’s father to heaven/paradise.
On the day of cremation, Mo Ka dyed back his blonde hair and cut it short. He threw away all the cigarettes hidden in his bag and room, and cleared the h-coloured books from under his bed. And like before, cut off contact with that pack of scoundrels.
Mo Ka gave up his wrong way of life and turn to a better one,  but the cost of that was just too big. That year Mo Ka was 15 years old.
 弃暗透明 to renounce the dark and seek the light or to give up one’s wrong way of life and turn to a better one
Mo Ka is now 20 years old. He was a junior student of a well-known local professional law school. He was not good enough, but he was very satisfied with his own moderation. A book said that those who are satisfied with their status quo are doomed/inactive. Mo Ka was this type inactive of person.
He nested on the sofa and rested his legs comfortably on the tea table. He looked around the room. This place was at the very top of the building. Originally, he could not have been able to afford to rent a room such as this. The 19th floor was just modified to be cheaper. Coincidentally Mo Ka’s childhood friend needed to rent out an apartment, so he let Mo Ka move in.
Hao Shuai came out from the bathroom desperately wiping his head. He sat down next to Mo Ka and grabbed the remote-control board: “School started a week ago. Apart from reading, you nest on the couch watching TV. Don’t you have any other ambitions?”
Hao Shuai was Mo Ka’s childhood friend. Fuck, his looks definitely did not match his name (handsome). Mo Ka often ridiculed Hao Shuai as he simply pitied his name. In truth, Hao Shuai could be considered able. He trained with dumbbells in his room every day. He stretched his muscles and trained his body till it was particularly burly.
“Nothing is fun.”
“Then find yourself a girlfriend to play with. You’re already a junior and you’re still a virgin. Aren’t you afraid that people will laugh at you if you tell them/if they find out? Want me to let Shan Shan introduce you one.”
“Don’t, keep them for yourself.”
Gao Shan Shan is Hao Shuai’s girlfriend. Mo Ka didn’t like her. He’s never met/seen a woman with such an affectation before.  Everyday stepping on 10mm high heeled shoes and gorgeously dressed. The most terrible thing about her was her posturing character , especially that time they had passed by the fry shop. Gao Shan Shan suddenly stopped, and softly spoke to the boss asking if he could wait till she passed to fry his goods. She had just washed her hair that morning, and the fumes/oil would linger on her hair. On the bus, she dares to touch the handlebar only after wrapping her hands with toilet paper. When she goes to buy a bun, when others handed it to her, she doesn’t take long before blurting: “Do you think it’s less tiring to grip normally or reversed?”
affectation means unnatural behaviour, manner of speaking intended to impress others
 the word used here is 装B which can also mean stupid bitch
Sometimes, there are types of people that even when you’re only looking at them, you can’t help but have the urge to swear. Like this, every time Mo Ka sees Gao Shan Shan, he gets that kind of feeling particularly strongly.
With such a thought, Mo Ka went to the balcony. Because these were modified rooms, the balcony was much smaller than compared to the one on the 18th floor. Mo Ka only needed to bend over to be able to see the 18th floor’s balcony clearly.
He saw that boy again, quietly standing on the balcony. The sunlight penetrating the clouds gently shined upon him. His clean light blue shirt was the colour of the sky. Hair and clothes blown by the wind, the boy created a picturesque scene.
Since moving here, Mo Ka had noticed the boy from time to time appearing on the balcony. He could not help but wonder what he looked like, and by the way he dressed, he shouldn’t be much older than him. In Mo Ka’s boring life, he made a bet with himself, a bet on when this man will look up for him to be able to see his face.
Hao Shuai’s sudden comment interrupted Mo Ka’s thoughts: “I heard that within this year’s freshman group, there is a good looking junior. The juniors and the seniors are all disturbed. You also know how the university is. When convulsive women see a handsome brother, they will all eat with the same enthusiasm as eating a large tonifying pill.”
“Anyways it’s none of my business. I only need to quietly complete junior year. When I become a senior, I can go get an internship. Then I’ll let my mother introduce me to the next door’s butcher Aunt Li’s daughter. Then I’ll get married and have children. Then wait for the children to get married and have their own children. If I can also wait for another round, (another generation) then great. If not, my life could be considered a complete success.”
Hao Shuai looked at Mo Ka. Ever since his father’s incident, Mo Ka had changed. He had become indifferent to everything. Apart from Aunt Gong, there were two or three good friends he spoke well with, and to others, he spoke less. The Mo Ka before was of the bad sort, who had a sub momentum and a ruffian smile; although the present Mo Ka was good, it was a good that made people feel bad.
“Can you offer some prospects and look further? Aunt Li’s daughter weighs 200 kilos, can you eat that? Not afraid of marriage, woman press men into this position to suffocate them to death. Besides, if some day when you’re old and look back on your life, wouldn’t there be nothing exciting or even worth telling about when there’s no vigorous story?”
Mo Ka turned. He placed his hands on the railing of the balcony: “Me marrying a woman who weighs 200 kilos isn’t considered vigorous?”
“This is a bad time to tell me, I’m too lazy to gab with you. I’m going to go meet Shan Shan after class.” When he finished talking he gave a hippie smile. He threw Mo Ka a pair of headphones: “You’re kidding me, are you breeding again.”
“What do you think I exercise for?”
“Can’t you make her bite a towel?”
“It’s not childbearing.”
Mo Ka threw the earplugs at Hao Shuai: “Childbearing sounds better than her.”
By the time Mo Ka looked down after Hao Shuai had left, the figure had already disappeared from the balcony below. Mo Ka looked up and glanced at the Garfield clock hanging on the wall. The afternoon law class was about to start. He slowly looked through Hao Shuai’s colourful folders and found the textbook he needed and went out.
The school and the building where Mo Ka lived in was separated only by a snack street. A superb collection of foods and cries. Indian pie, Handong pancake, Small octopus balls, Kebab/lamb skewers, Shan Xi LiangPi… [refer to bottom for pictures]. Doing business outside the school should be considerably successful, especially with the girls. Every single one of them were simply foodies. They become depressed when they haven’t eaten. After eating, they become more depressed about their weight.
The class’s people had all nearly arrived. The clamour is noisier than usual. Mo Ka chose to sit on a side with no people around. He had been at the university for three years and Mo Ka hasn’t made a single friend in this class. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to, but because he didn’t like being with strangers that are all rusty and awkward. He hated it when people who obviously had nothing to talk about had small talk. Sometime before, Mo Ka had seen a program. It said that if a person was fake smiling, his or her eyes will not change. If they are genuinely smiling from the heart, his or her eyes would have furrowed lines. So, Mo Ka was always worried that if others had likewise watched this program, they would know that he is faking his smile. And this would be a very embarrassing thing.
Even after the whole class had settled down, Mo Ka didn’t remember a single word the teacher taught. His attention was captured by the girls sitting on the rows to the front and rear of him. They kept repeating the name Chen Ge over and over again, along with Chen Ge’s appearance. This made Mo Ka want to forget but couldn’t.
He had never seen people discuss so intensely about any such incident before. Mo Ka thought that girls in the class were not afraid of death, and were instead afraid of not having a man.
And just like this, the student named Chen Ge naturally appeared in Mo Ka’s ordinary and boring life.
One of Mo Ka’s hands was under his head, while the other was turning a ball point pen. He remembered falling in love, but he could not remember their faces, or even the names of the girls he used to have a crush on. He knew very well, but there wasn’t a way to pass the emptiness. And Mo Ka’s concept on the term love was very vague.
He had lost the desire for love, so he was going with the flow of time and be consumed…