During their honeymoon, Jiang Xun and Gu Wei paid another visit to the little village where Gu Wei had grown up.
Gu Wei had spent more than a decade of his life in that village. Although his old room was already layered with dust, many of his possessions from his early school days were still there.
Gu Wei didn't care too much about the things he'd left behind, but Jiang Xun insisted they were all important relics of Gu Wei's past and evidence of his youth. If they brought them home, Jiang Xun could in some small way make up for the years of Gu Wei's life in which Jiang Xun hadn't been there for him.
And so, taking advantage of their time off, they returned to that old house and moved out a lot of Gu Wei's old things.
They came on a weekday; not many tourists were visiting that little town, and the bars lining the main street were quiet. After their last visit, Gu Wei's trepidation and uncertainty over walking these streets had disappeared. He felt completely different, and completely at ease this time.
"We don't need to bring all these awards and certificates, do we? They're all so old," Gu Wei said. When he looked upon the wall with all his awards hanging up, he felt some hesitation. Those papers had been stuck to the wall for so long. They were sure to suffer some damage if they were removed.
"We were in such a hurry last time that I didn't take a good look at these. Student Gu Wei, outstanding academic achievement," Jiang Xun read as he began to carefully loosen the tape holding the certificates and awards to the wall. He skimmed the writing on each one as he worked. "Little Gu Wei, Class 3, best hibiscus award."
Jiang Xun looked over at Gu Wei, smiling and borrowing the name from the certificate as he praised, "Little Gu Wei has been outstanding ever since he was in kindergarten."
"Everyone got that hibiscus award in kindergarten," Gu Wei insisted, feeling a little embarrassed. He went over to the drawer and dug out two paper flowers, both a little crooked and haphazardly made. After patting off the dust that had gathered on them, he passed them over to Jiang Xun. "Here. If 'Little Jiang Xun' likes them, he can have them."
Jiang Xun took the flowers and put them with the award he'd just stripped from the wall, setting them in the box of things they planned to take back with them. He glanced back over at Gu Wei, and peeked at the drawer Gu Wei had just opened.
"Don't hide anything," Jiang Xun urged. "Let me see."
"There's nothing to see." Gu Wei opened the drawer again. "Just my old winter and summer break homework."
Gu Wei's old homework hadn't been well-preserved. The pages had yellowed noticeably, but the handwriting was still perfectly legible.
"'My Dream,'" Jiang Xun read out, flipping to a random page in the notebook.
"You even want to read my essays from elementary school?" Gu Wei complained. He snatched back the notebook and quickly tossed it back into the drawer.
"What are you afraid of? I have mine at home. If you want to see them, I'll show you when we get back. I had to write about my dreams when I was in elementary school too.
"I wrote it was my dream to play esports, and my teacher was baffled. She put a question mark on my notebook and even called my parents." Jiang Xun smiled as he reminisced. While Gu Wei listened, distracted, Jiang Xun crept over to the drawer and took out all the notebooks from within.
"My dad had just starred in a really popular drama back then," Jiang Xun continued. "Pretty much everyone who watched the drama knew him, and he walked into my teacher's office just like that. He really gave everyone a scare."
Gu Wei found himself imagining that scene, and he almost laughed out loud. "So you've wanted to play esports ever since you were in elementary school?"
"Even before that," Jiang Xun said. "I just never got a chance to tell anyone before then."
Jiang Xun looked up after grabbing something else from Gu Wei's desk. "Weiwei, you wrote up this schedule? It's so neat. We're taking it with us."
Tucked inside Gu Wei's old pencil box was a slip of paper on which he'd copied his class schedule. His handwriting really was inordinately neat and tidy. Jiang Xun wanted to take the whole pencil box with them.
"Jiang Xun." Gu Wei sighed, feeling a little helpless. "You may as well just take the whole room with you."
Jiang Xun pretended to think about it for a moment before he said, "It'd be a bit difficult."
Gu Wei fell silent.
So Jiang Xun really did want to take everything.
"Do you want to read my diary?" Gu Wei asked. If Jiang Xun was going to take everything back anyway, it would only be a matter of time before he saw it. So Gu Wei took the initiative to offer it up on his own.
Gu Wei's diary was a very ordinary-looking notebook with his name written on the front. It looked like it hadn't been opened in a long time.
[April 9th. Stepped in the neighbor's vegetable patch while being chased by a dog.]
[May 7th. Forgot my backpack at school.]
"You were a pretty clumsy kid," Jiang Xun mused. After reading a few of these short little entries, Jiang Xun remembered the mishaps that had led to the chicken-and-duck conversation they'd had shortly after meeting.
"That wasn't entirely my fault," Gu Wei argued when Jiang Xun brought up that bit of their dark history. "Who would believe that they could suddenly get engaged overnight?"
[May 9th. Bought a flower pot.]
[June 1st. Mama hit me. If I don't have to, I don't want to live like her. Today the teacher talked about 'love' in class. What's love? Will someone love me?]
"I was a pretty unreasonable kid, huh?" Gu Wei said with an embarrassed smile. He suddenly regretted letting Jiang Xun see his old diary.
Jiang Xun closed the diary and set it aside. He wanted to reach out and tousle Gu Wei's hair, but he was worried about the dust and dirt that had collected on his hands.
When you loved a person, you even worried about these things.
"Weiwei, where do you want to go for our honeymoon?"
"Anywhere's fine," Gu Wei said, shaking his head. "You pick."
Jiang Xun found Gu Wei more and more enthralling as he looked at him. "So, is what you're trying to say that… as long as we're together, you're happy going anywhere? Even if we stay in bed without leaving the house, you'd be happy?"
Gu Wei said nothing for a moment.
"No, I want to go somewhere," he quickly amended. If they didn't, Jiang Xun would definitely spend the whole time bullying him.
"Mom and Dad chose a vacation island for us," Jiang Xun said. "Wanna go?"
"Sounds good." Gu Wei nodded as he checked his desk drawers again. He found a little kite in one corner. It was brand new, still in its original packaging. "Can we fly kites?"
He'd bought that kite when he was ten years old. But his mother's temper was bad back then, and Gu Wei had been too afraid to ask her to teach him how to fly it. But if it was Jiang Xun, Gu Wei wasn't afraid of anything.
"Of course," Jiang Xun said. After wiping his hands clean, he finally pulled Gu Wei into a hug.
On the bottom shelf of Gu Wei's bookcase, there was a single sheet of paper. Jiang Xun spotted it and picked it up. Gu Wei had once drawn a stick figure on that piece of paper, and the stick figure wore a big, dopey smile.
"I think I drew that in middle school," Gu Wei said, recognizing the figure. "I doodled it with a pen in class."
Deciding to be perfectly honest with Gu Wei, Jiang Xun said, "Who is it supposed to be? This guy looks kind of ugly and stupid."
He flipped the sheet of paper over and saw on the back, in Gu Wei's neat and tidy handwriting—
My future boyfriend.
Jiang Xun stared.
That day, on the Weibo blog of esports legend Jiang Xun, three new photos appeared. Two were photos of essays Gu Wei and Jiang Xun had written when they were kids, and one was of a certain someone's million-dollar masterpiece.
In their essays about their dreams for their futures, Gu Wei had written that he wanted to dance. And Jiang Xun had written that he wanted to play esports.
Whether by coincidence or by fate, they had both realized their dreams.
As for the third photo, netizens studied it for days without coming to any conclusion about what that stick figure was supposed to represent. Only two people in the world knew its deeper meaning.