296 A Similar Accident
Time in the real world passed relatively quickly, and it was easy to keep track of the days with the sunrise and sunsets. Before I knew it, three days had already passed.
I didn’t do anything but sit on the same sidewalk all this time.
It was as if I froze.
I didn’t feel cold nor did I feel warm.
Nobody could hear me, nobody could see the tears that escaped me.
I didn’t feel hungry, nor did I feel tired.
It was horrifying.
Though a day had only twenty four hours, it felt like forever to me.
I daydreamed like this for three whole days.
I thought about Gaoqin Jiuye, Jiao S and many others from the Split Zone. I thought of Nie Zun.
Didn’t we have to stay within 500 meters of each other? Why can we be apart now? Aren’t we in totally different spaces right now?
We’ll realize that some things are actually not like what they seem.
It was just like how deactivating my split symbol set things in motion. The link between us would disappear if my split symbol disappeared in this crack in space.
No one would have been able to predict this happening.
I still ended up in here even under the protection of so many others, even with that restriction between Nie Zun and I, even when so many others put their trust in me.
Millions of thoughts ran through my mind in these three days.
I wondered if this was a punishment or if it was just my destiny to be a lonely ‘existence’ which doesn’t experience happiness or sadness, and which cannot die nor be destroyed.
I thought I’d be able to stay like this forever until I became one with this crack in space.
However, an accident caught my attention on the third day.
There have been some interesting things I’ve witnessed as I sat along this busy road. There was a loving couple who passed by just seconds ago, but one of them suddenly got angry and began walking away. The other party was visibly upset, and they both started quarrelling right in the middle of the street.
This was something ordinary.
If I had to talk about something interesting, I’d rather be talking about things which don’t usually get noticed by people. I was more attracted to the things which have happened that do not actually attract the attention of others.
Two individuals had been on the phone on the pedestrian street behind me. These individuals looked very different.
One of them was dressed rather sloppily while the other was neatly-dressed and looked like someone rich. Both were males and they looked like they were in their early thirties.
The well-dressed male was the first one to make a call. His hair was neat and he had a pair of bright eyes. He looked like a businessman who was doing very well.
His mobile phone was one of the latest models. I couldn’t identify it though, even when I hadn’t actually left the real world for that long. This is just technology. You’d be left out of that rapid advancement even if you’ve just left for half a day. When you return, a new product would already have been developed.
Though I didn’t eavesdrop on him on purpose, it’s been too long being alone here, and I couldn’t even begin to describe how that loneliness felt. I couldn’t help but tune in to whatever sounds were around me.
He sounded like he was calling his wife. He didn’t sound very loving. It sounded like he was being polite, as if he was speaking to a guest.
It might be an arranged marriage or just a mere transactional one.
He was telling his wife to take care of his mother who was in the hospital.
I couldn’t hear the voice on the other end of the call, but I didn’t go closer either. All I wanted to do was to sit and I was too lazy to move. Also, I thought it’d be more interesting for me if I didn’t hear the other side of the conversation. This way, I’d only have his side of the story to judge things on.
I came to a conclusion shortly.
His mother was gravely ill in the hospital, and because he was so busy, his wife thought that he didn’t have the time to visit his mother. So, she called him and told him not to worry because she’ll be helping to take care of her.
To this point, it sounded like a pitiful businessman who poured all their time into earning money that they didn’t have any left to spend with their loved ones.
But this was not the case at all.
After hearing whatever his wife said, a bitter smile appeared on his face as he said, “It’s okay, don’t tire yourself out. I’ll put everything down right now and be there with you to take care of Ma.”
I felt my heart skip a beat. Surprised, I touched my chest and I realized that my heart was actually in it.
This was nothing like having a scientific breakthrough and his words weren’t out of this world, but that surety and his resolute gaze when he said them touched me deeply.
I couldn’t hear the other end of the conversation, but I could guess the gist of it from his answer.
“Don’t worry, taking care of Ma is more important than work. If I lose this deal because of it, then it’ll just be the will of the heavens. If that really happens, then let’s go for a trip to that place you’ve always wanted to visit after taking care of Ma.”
He sounded happy as he ended the call. His gaze was sharp and bright as he walked away from me with a calm demeanor.
Just when I was still shaken by what I just heard, another individual came to the same spot to make a call.
I looked at him.
He looked like he was dressed in rags. He didn’t look like a beggar, but he was probably a laborer of sorts. He looked to be in his early thirties, and his eyes looked like they were already numb to this world.
His mobile phone was an old one, and if I remember right, one could only make and receive calls on such an old model.
He sounded like he was talking to his wife as well.
“Sick? Help me take care of her then. Why do you think I’m working so hard for? It’s all for you guys, and you’re telling me you don’t have the time to take care of my mum when she’s ill? What are you at home for then? What else can you do apart from taking care of our son and cooking?”
From what I’m hearing, his wife might have found it difficult to cope if she had to take care of their son and the house at the same time if she also had to make time to take care of his mother at the hospital as well. So, she called the man hoping that he’d be able to come back for a short while to help out.
However, this man was not willing to that.
He could have felt that he can’t do it because he was the sole breadwinner, and I could understand such a mindset because that would mean cutting off their only source of income.
But from his gaze, I could tell he wasn’t looking at things from that perspective.
He wasn’t willing to do it because he felt that it was his wife’s responsibility to do so. He felt that he didn’t have to be responsible for anything else since he’s already in charge of bringing in the money.
This was what caught my eye in the past couple of days.
It was the difference between these two men.
Sometimes, the truth is vastly different from what is depicted in books or heard via rumors.
Not all who were rich would turn out to be arrogant, unfilial or immoral, and not all who were poor were kind and forgiving.
Even if those who were rich didn’t have anything else, at least they had money. For those who were poor, there would probably be reasons unknown to us that landed them in their plight.
Hearing these phone calls made me think about the life in the Split Zone for the past two years. I realized that there really was no distinct line between good and evil.
Was You Ji evil? But she did treat me as a friend before.
Was she good then? No, she wasn’t.
Jiao S treated me very well. But can I really say she is a good person?
She was just like me; we both killed someone when we were alive. She ruled with an iron fist over the Eastern District as well.
It was difficult to differentiate between good and evil, because there were no fixed boundaries. No one would be good forever, and it’s not set in stone that evil persons would remain evil all their lives.
But in this world where we judge things as good versus evil, are we really able to be objective about it? Are we able to forgive ourselves and calm our hearts after doing evil deeds?
I didn’t know what others thought about this, but I knew I couldn’t do it.
I might have returned to my own world long ago if I had forgiven myself.
This was the only thing which caught my attention in the past few days, but I was drawn to the accident that happened today.
This was the first time in three days that I stopped acting like someone who had lost all their senses. I stood up and walked over to the scene of the accident.
It was just a few steps away from me, but a crowd had already gathered around the scene.
I approached the scene with a sardonic smile as I realized that one advantage of being a wandering soul was that no one could stand in my way.
My face froze when I saw what actually happened.
It wasn’t a serious accident. A boy lay on the floor with his eyes shut. There wasn’t any blood and there were no obvious wounds on him.
The woman got out of the car with a cold expression on her face. She was in black shoes and she didn’t look like someone you should offend.
Click, click, click.
She walked over to the boy.
I recognized the boy, and I recognized the woman as well.
These faces belonged to the woman and the boy who both died in the Gate of Heaven.
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