Their New Foundation
Translate: Sae | Edit: Jowly | Proofread: Anasofi
Early in the morning, Gu Hai was awakened by the sound of a cell phone alarm going off at 5:00. Entering a state of post-waking confusion, he cracked his eyes just enough to get a view of his dark surroundings. To his surprise, stars were among the things that jumped into his line of vision. It was really rare to see stars in that bright yet seemingly gloomy city, so the sight of those heavenly bodies confused Gu Hai even more. He couldn’t make out whether it was already morning or not.
Fuck! Who’s the stupid bastard who set the alarm so damn early?
He remained motionless for a few seconds, dazed and irritated. Until finally, it dawned on him. The idiot he was referring to in his head was in fact himself. With that realization, he was able to muster enough strength to open his eyes just a bit wider.
With great difficulty, Gu Hai started to shift. His eyelids felt like gravity had put a curse on them. One second they were open, the next shut tight. Fighting the urge to go back to sleep, he turned and casually looked over at Bai Luo Yin’s peacefully sleeping face. Finally, Gu Hai was able to force himself off the bed.
In the darkness of the early morning, Bai Luo Yin was forced into consciousness by the sensation of someone gently kissing his face. The kisses were so gentle that he didn’t mind having been awakened by them. He closed his eyes and relished Gu Hai’s kisses for a couple more minutes. When he opened them again, the lamp was already lit. He could see Gu Hai standing beside the wardrobe, looking for clothes.
“What time is it?” Bai Luo Yin asked as he sat up.
Gu Hai threw a couple of clothes toward him, “Wear these today. It’s a bit cold outside.”
Pushing the warm blanket to the side, Bai Luo Yin dragged himself off the bed and went to the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth. As he did so, a familiar scent, one which forced him to stick his head out the bathroom’s door, started to invade his nostrils. He saw Gu Hai standing at the corner of the kitchen, carefully and meticulously placing the food that he had bought from Aunt Zou’s restaurant earlier into plates and bowls.
That sight made Bai Luo Yin pause with the toothbrush still hanging loosely at the side of his mouth. He silently calculated the distance from their apartment to Aunt Zou’s restaurant, as well as the time it took to go back and forth. With this information, he was able to determine the time that Gu Hai had gotten up.
During breakfast, Bai Luo Yin couldn’t help but ask, “Why didn’t you wait for me to wake up, so we could go out and eat instead?”
“Wait for you to wake up?” Gu Hai snorted. “We won’t even have time to eat if I did that.”
“Then why didn’t you just wake me up earlier?”
“Don’t you already know the reason why?” Gu Hai retorted as he took one half bitten egg and shoved it into Bai Luo Yin’s mouth.
Once they got in the elevator, Bai Luo Yin stood behind Gu Hai. As they approached the first floor, Gu Hai suddenly turned his head and gave Bai Luo Yin an extremely hideous expression, which caught Bai Luo Yin off guard. That simple act gave Bai Luo Yin quite the scare. But, after gaining his composure, Bai Luo Yin kicked Gu Hai’s leg and said, “Can you not be so childish?”
Needless to say, that delighted Gu Hai. He couldn’t help but smile as he moved toward Bai Luo Yin to fix his collar and zip up his jacket. Finally, the doors opened and the pair walked out of the elevator together.
Thank to the cold weather, the bicycle, which the two had been using every day to get to school, had also turned cold. So, for the sake of ‘exercising’, they decided to just jog to school.
Today, never once did Bai Luo Yin felt the need to sleep all throughout their morning classes. He wasn’t sure whether the reason for that was because he had slept half an hour longer than usual this morning, but Gu Hai proudly credited himself for that achievement.
During class, Gu Hai had a habit of stretching out his arms and touching various parts of Bai Luo Yin’s back. It was not an act that was intended to elicit any sexual response from the person in front of him. It was just something that he unintentionally did out of his subconscious’ desire to make sure that that person did exist. At first, Bai Luo Yin always felt a bit annoyed whenever Gu Hai would touch his back. Sometimes, he would even get so irritated that he couldn’t help but to turn around and curse him. That was then. Just like all things, time changed Bai Luo Yin’s attitude toward that habit. Whether he admitted it or not, he had now grown accustomed to it. It had even come to the point where he would, in his own volition, turn around and check on the person behind him when the latter failed to reach out to him for some time, which happened whenever Gu Hai would try to concentrate on the lecture at hand.
The class was dismissed around noon and the two decided to buy takeout and make their way back to their apartment. Upon reaching their floor, the two got surprised when they discovered that someone had once again opened their unit’s door. The sight made them stop in their tracks.
What’s going on? Didn’t we secretly change the lock yesterday? Could it be a thief?
The two slowly made their way inside the living room, looking for any sign of danger. In the end, they found no reason to panic as everything was as when they left it that morning. They entered the kitchen and saw Jiang Yuan’s figure moving inside.
“My babies, you’re back! Mom has prepared food. Go wash your hands and get ready to eat.”
The vein in Gu Hai’s forehead started to pulsate heavily. He quickly pulled Bai Luo Yin back toward the living room.
“What’s going on? Wasn’t the lock already changed? How was she able to get inside again?” Gu Hai said through gritted teeth.
Damn it! She even has the nerve to get a locksmith to take the lock apart?
Just when they were about to go back to the kitchen and question her, Jiang Yuan entered the living room with a radiant smile adorning her beautiful face. She was wearing an expression that made it seem like the sun had shone brightly today just for her sake.
“That’s right, I forgot to tell you guys. The lock was broken. Don’t worry about it though, I already had it fixed.” After saying that, she quickly returned to the kitchen, humming as she started to arrange the food on the dining table.
Bai Luo Yin walked toward the front door and looked at it. The lock looked exactly the same. He and Gu Hai had worked so hard to change it yesterday, yet that day his old lady had easily broken through it. It was so professionally done that the only mark on it was the one he made the day before with a screwdriver. Just one look and he was able to tell that no locksmith had a hand at this. Everything was done personally by his mom.
Gu Hai approached him and stood to his side. He started laughing coldly. “I finally understand.”
Hearing that, Luo Yin looked up. “Understand what?”
“I can finally understand why your dad, who’s so honest and sincere, could give birth to such a smart child like you. She has just proven herself to be your mother, and you her son. Now I know why my dad is so obedient to your mother.”
Bai Luo Yin threw a sharp look at Gu Hai. He was quite unhappy at the fact that he was mentioned in the same breath as Jiang Yuan. Yet he couldn’t deny the fact that many of his good genes came from her.
The pair made their way into the kitchen.
“I’ve decided that from today on, I’ll come over every day to make food, wash your laundry, and clean the bathroom. I still can’t be at ease with a housekeeper. I don’t really do much all day so it would be better to be here to help you guys out.”
Bai Luo Yin and Gu Hai’s faces took on a ghastly expression.
Jiang Yuan added, “Of course I won’t stay too long. I’ll only stop by at noon and night time.”
Gu Hai’s face darkened.
How can she be so disgusting? What makes her think she can just do whatever she wants?
Jiang Yuan pushed the food toward Bai Luo Yin and Gu Hai.
Bai Luo Yin’s chopsticks wouldn’t budge at all. He looked straight at Jiang Yuan with expressionless eyes.
“After today, can you not come here and bother us anymore?” Bai Luo Yin said. Each word he spoke was accompanied by a certain weight that expressed his resolve.
The fact of the matter was, Gu Hai had been wanting to say those words since earlier but chose not to since, after all, she was Bai Luo Yin’s mother.
Jiang Yuan’s lips turned so white that not even her lip tint could conceal her emotions.
“Luo Yin, mom misses you. If mom doesn’t see you for one day, my heart…”
“You don’t miss me,” Bai Luo Yin interrupted. “You just want to take advantage of the situation here.”
Jiang Yuan’s eyes started to well up.
“I never saw you show your face when I still lived with my dad. Didn’t you also live well then?”
“That’s because someone was there to take care of you. But now…”
“But now I will take care of him,” Gu Hai interrupted. “Didn’t you always believe in the western education system? Well, we’re already 17 years old. We’re old enough to be independent. If you’re afraid he won’t be living well, I can guarantee you right now that I will always be here to wash his clothes and make his food. When he’s in pain or tired, I’ll know it. As long as you can guarantee that you won’t step through that door again, we will definitely live well. But if you insist on coming to bother us again, then I can’t guarantee that you will still see us tomorrow.”
Gu Hai’s voice was not loud but it held a certain authority… one that had the ability to cause the ground to shake.
From then on, Jiang Yuan stopped coming to their home. Occasionally, she would send someone over to bring them things like clothes and quilts, which they didn’t use. Everything was thrown into a room where it started to pile up.
Bai Luo Yin had really started to live in Gu Hai’s apartment. And once he started living there, two weeks quickly passed by. Aside from Saturdays and Sundays, which he spent at Bai Han Qi’s house, the rest of his time was spent with Gu Hai.
The two developed a regular routine. Gu Hai would always wake up half an hour earlier than Bai Luo Yin, buy breakfast and wait for Bai Luo Yin to wake up so they could eat together. Bai Luo Yin felt guilty about it, so he asked Gu Hai if they could take turns buying breakfast. As expected, Gu Hai immediately refused. The reason was that he could drive and Bai Luo Yin couldn’t, therefore it would take him longer to get to Aunt Zou’s and back. In turn, Gu Hai started giving Bai Luo Yin driving lessons every day at noon.
After class, the two would always head straight home, have dinner, and then workout. They would either hit the gym or play basketball, which they really liked doing. They would play until their clothes were soaked in sweat. After that, they would usually take a hot shower or bath. The rest of the night would be spent doing all sorts of trivial things.
The two never quarreled, which made it exceptionally peaceful in the apartment. The reason was probably that there was really nothing to argue about. When their room was messy, they would both ignore it. It also wasn’t a problem when their toiletries went missing or were thrown all over the place. They would simply use whatever they saw, regardless if it was clean or not.
They also never argued over which television station to watch, since their preferences were more or less the same.
Their biggest problem was food.
Gu Hai promised that he would make food for Bai Luo Yin. And, being the person that he was, Gu Hai kept true to his words. The best thing that Bai Luo Yin could say about Gu Hai’s cooking skill was: I won’t die of food poisoning.
It was true. If he closed his eyes and pinched his nose, the food Gu Hai prepared was actually edible. There was, however, one dish that Gu Hai was good at. That was boiled eggs. Every day he boiled eggs, and every time they were cooked really well, Bai Luo Yin would give him a praise or two.
Every weekend, like a ritual, the two would go back to Bai Han Qi’s home. And every time, Aunt Zou would be at a loss for words upon seeing how much food they would consume. In one breath, they would eat several people’s worth of food. They would eat so much and then complain about not being full.
One afternoon, Aunt Zou had decided that enough’s enough and went over their apartment to give them a large amount of food. One week’s worth to be precise, which she instructed them to place inside the refrigerator. And because she was the sweet aunt that she was, she would even make extra food on her spare time and send it over to them. She did this without any reservation.
Gu Hai was always diligent and responsible when it came to washing their dirty laundry. Of course, that was especially true when it came to Bai Luo Yin’s clothes. His, he would toss into the washing machine, but Bai Luo Yin’s, he would wash carefully by hand. Bai Luo Yin had urged him several times to just toss everything into the machine, but Gu Hai, very stubbornly, insisted on hand-washing them. He was very selective about which article was to be hand-washed and which one should go into the machine.
It didn’t take long before Bai Luo Yin discovered that, in reality, Gu Hai only hand-washed one item, and that was his underpants. Every night, Gu Hai would stand in front of the bathroom sink and would, with great determination, scrub, scrub, scrub away. It was then that Bai Luo Yin finally understood how Gu Hai could easily run several miles at a time without losing his breath. Since, after all, washing clothes had already left him flushed and gasping for air.
1 apples – the Chinese word for apple, which is pingguo, sounds similar to the Chinese word for Christmas Eve, ping’an ye, and thus a tradition was born out of it. Besides, the sound and character of ping of “píng guǒ”, sounds the same as ping of “pínɡ ān” which mean peace or calmness. So, if someone gives you an apple on Christmas, it means that they are wishing you peace and calmness.