Chapter 23: Shallow Kindness
Zhao Qiang burst in anger and replied fiercely, “It’s none of your business!”
The unexpected friendship that the two had worked so hard on to build had immediately collapsed. The boy grabbed his shovel and trudged directly towards the cafeteria.
Lin Xin shook off the dust from her hands before following after him.
By the time everyone lined up to get their dinners, Zhao Qiang stood in the middle of the line while Lin Xin, who arrived late, had to stand at the very end. Since all she had that day was a piece of boiled egg, she would certainly be starving by that evening. Lin Xin dragged her legs forward as if they were made of iron. She painstakingly moved forward, step by step until it was her turn to fill up her lunchbox. Being the last one in line, she was only left with a bit of soup and a small bowl of rice.
Is there anything more miserable than not having enough food for a meal?
Lin Xin stared at her small bowl of rice with a sour mood before she made her way to a humble corner. Just as she sat down, Wu Anan came over and scooped over half of her bowl of rice onto Lin Xin’s plate.
Despite her acts of kindness, Lin Xin didn’t like Wu Anan. If someone suffered in the snow, people could choose to help in two ways: they either gave charcoal to provide warmth, or simply add icing to the cake [note] 雪中送炭和锦上添花–Chinese proverb meaning that someone either helps in two ways (1) sincerely help while giving up something of value i.e. giving precious ‘charcoal’ to someone suffering in the snow… or (2) helping only when it’s convenient or for the sake of appearances, i.e. something as easy as ‘adding icing to the cake [/note]. Wu Anan could only be the latter. However, Lin Xin did praise her for at least trying. Not everyone is willing to share their icing, even if they had a good amount to spare.
“Thank you.” Lin Xin said.
“I couldn’t finish eating all of it.”
“My sister will pick me up tomorrow.”
Lin Xin was surprised. “So soon? Wasn’t it supposed to be next week?”
“Elder sister called and said that she rescheduled it for tomorrow. She said the sooner I leave, the better.”
“I’m glad that you can be reunited with your sister,” Lin Xin sincerely replied.
As they spoke of Wu Pingping, Wu Anan smiled and her eyelashes fluttered. She was very happy, just like a woman in love.
‘Hey’…Lin Xin had some complicated feelings building up within.
At this time, Lin Xin suddenly noticed that Lin Xinyu had come out of nowhere. He put down his meal and smiled as he sat down next to her.
Wu Anan, who sat opposite to the pair, glanced at Lin Xinyu before saying to Lin Xin, “Don’t forget to come and see me off tomorrow. I’m done eating so I’ll head back to the dormitory first.”
She still had more than half a bowl of rice left, but she still gave such a false reason for leaving. However, Lin Xin didn’t want to embarrass her by pointing it out.
“Alright, what time tomorrow?”
“Around ten in the morning.”
After Wu Anan left, Lin Xinyu spoke up. “Do you want to have some of my meat?” He opened up his lunch box to reveal thick, red stewed meat on top.
The boy was not yet aware of her confrontation with the Dean; if he knew what kind of conversation they previously had, he wouldn’t be so naive as to follow her around. If he wasn’t aware of it, then it would be best if he didn’t find out.
She simply replied, “I don’t want to eat meat today.” She wouldn’t dare. Since she knew where he got it, why would she touch it?
Lin Xinyu bowed his head in despair and covered his lunch box. If she didn’t want to eat it, he doesn’t want it as well.
It was a pity to throw it away like this. Although he was used to throwing meat away every time, he felt sorry about doing it this time around.
Lin Xin had similar thoughts as him. She believed that if a human commited a sin, that person was accountable for their action, but the objects they used to achieve their means aren’t guilty of the crime. Similarly, this red-roasted pork didn’t commit any wrongs since it was just a piece of meat.
Throwing it away won’t solve anything.
“Look at you, you need to eat more.”
Lin Xinyu responded, “I don’t like to eat meat. You can have it.”
Lin Xin pretended to be angry and insisted, “I said you should eat it, so eat it! You’re body is ill, so you need to eat a lot before you’re healthy enough to run.” She tried to maintain a harsh tone, but towards the end, her voice unconsciously turned gentle.
The boy didn’t want her to be disappointed. He closed his eyes and took a small bite of the red meat. Lin Xin’s words seemed to cast a spell of the braised pork, as if to make it smooth and tasteful as he ate it.