After Lu Chu’s parents had died, their room was left unused, and cleaned up only occasionally.
Lu Chu still lived in his original room.
“No one’s lived in this room for a long time,” Lu Chu said to the man. “Later, I’ll clean it up, you’ll have to make do for the night first.”
“I’ll sleep on the sofa.”
Lu Chu’s ears were facing the man’s direction, and his eyelashes covered his sightless eyes as he shook his head and smiled, “how can I do that? You’re a guest that I invited in.”
The man didn’t say anything, and a lot of times, Lu Chu felt that he was quieter than Carrot.
Lu Chu broke the silence with a smile, “of course, if you don’t mind, you can share a room with me.”
“You have no vigilance.” The two of them were obviously strangers who didn’t even remember each other’s names.
Lu Chu smiled and shook his head, groped around to open the closet, and said as he took a blanket out of it, “if you wanted to do something against me, there’s no way I can resist at all. Since I let you in, why would I bother to do something more and separate us by a wall? If it was to comfort myself psychologically, I wouldn’t have spoken to you from the start, would I?”
The man had never met someone like Lu Chu before. He had no desires and no fear, yet he lived well.
“I’ve been watching you secretly for many days.”
Lu Chu was surprised, and didn’t expect the man to readily admit that he was following him, and couldn’t help but make a sound of doubt, “en?”
It was as if the man hadn’t finished speaking, but he still didn’t say anything else and didn’t speak again afterwards. Instead, took the blanket in Lu Chu’s hands and turned to the living room. He casually placed the blanket on the sofa, then said to Lu Chu who had followed him out, “rest.”
Then, he laid down.
Lu Chu stood on the spot, a little stunned. After a while, he said, “good night, if you feel cold at night, please tell me.”
The next day, Lu Chu got up very early, he lightened his footsteps as he got out of bed, but found that the man had already woken up.
Lu Chu said, “so early.” Till now, he didn’t know what to call the man, and it was a little strange to call him ‘7’.
“En, you too.”
Lu Chu made breakfast, the two ate, and the man went out. Lu Chu didn’t ask what he was planning to do, and returned to his room.
He had a job as an online psychological consultant.
This profession was very strange, and also fit with his situation. He had always been sensitive to emotions since he was a child, and at the same time, he was also very good at soothing the emotions of others. This ability was like his blindness, innate to him. After studying and several examinations, he had obtained the qualification of an online psychological counsellor.
Although this town wasn’t big, but it wasn’t so small to the point where everybody would know Lu Chu. While many people knew about his blindness, and most people were curious about it, but it was more in an anecdotal style, where once the amazement passed, their life would continue on.
He didn’t mind being treated as a freak.
This job was undoubtedly very suitable for him, and it was introduced to him by an old gentleman downstairs in the community.
The content of this work was very simple for Lu Chu. He only needed to log onto the corresponding website at the designated time, and wait for the person who needed help with their psychological problem to call. On ordinary days, most of the people consulted for things such as “I feel that life is hopeless if I failed my exam”, “does my boyfriend not like me anymore”, and “I suspect my husband has another woman”, these sort of emotional problems, and today would probably be the same.
Lu Chu sat in front of the computer, and when no one came in for counselling, he would do some work with his hands — either sculpting, or making a model. In these days where he couldn’t see, touching the world made him feel at ease.
“Ding– you have a counselee who is looking for help.”
Lu Chu put down the sailboat model in his hand, touched the keyboard with familiarity, and hit the enter key.
“Hello, is this the counsellor?”
Lu Chu’s voice was extremely gentle, and it made others feel assured as they listened to him, and he said lightly, “yes, it’s me.”
“It’s like this, I encountered some things recently and felt upset……”
After Lu Chu’s morning shift was over, that strange man still hadn’t returned.
Despite this, he still made lunch for two, and of course, didn’t forget Carrot’s meal. He hadn’t felt like this in such a long time, and obviously, this was a strange and silent man, yet it gave him the illusion of being accompanied.
Later, when the man returned, Lu Chu helped him warm up the meal.
Every time it was relatively silent between the two of them, Lu Chu always felt like saying something. He suddenly remembered that the man wasn’t a local, didn’t have luggage, and should probably lack quite a lot of daily necessities, so he asked, “do you need anything?”
The man replied, “no need.”
Lu Chu chuckled, “I think that you might need some clothes, if not, you wouldn’t be able to change.”
After a moment of silence, the man said, “sorry for the trouble.”
There was no work scheduled for Lu Chu in the afternoon, so he led Carrot and went out for a walk with the man.
The clothing store that Lu Chu often visited wasn’t that far from his neighbourhood, and the boss there was quite familiar with him. He shouted from afar when he saw him, “Xiao Lu, are you buying clothes?”
Carrot was also quite familiar with this boss, and barked twice before Lu Chu could answer.
Lu Chu smiled and said, “I brought my cousin here to take a look.”
The boss was surprised, “cousin?”
“En, distant cousin, not a local.”
“Not a local?” The boss seemed to be even more interested, “it’s been so many years and I’ve never seen a foreigner, ahaha. Our town is very remote, surrounded by mountains, and is basically self-sufficient. It’s very rare to see people from other places!”
The location of their town was one of the reasons for their leisurely life, other than the tall tower in the town centre, there was no other tall building, but it was still very lively. The people in the town could see the mountains all around the city outskirts, and what was on the other side of the mountains should still be mountains, but nobody thought about leaving the city. It was as if everybody had agreed, for nobody had ever gone to the mountainous areas.
The boss was quite passionate, however, the man didn’t say much, and after a few sentences, the boss bitterly turned his head and asked Lu Chu what clothes he wanted to buy.
Lu Chu felt that it wasn’t that the man was reluctant to speak, but it was as if he hadn’t talked to others in a long time, and didn’t know what to say.
He asked the man for his size and let the boss take some for him to try. While the man was trying on the clothes, Lu Chu heard a clerk constantly praising him for looking good in whatever he wore, and also for his good looks. Regarding the man’s appearance, Lu Chu didn’t care that much. Whether a person was handsome or ugly, he couldn’t see it after all. As for the praise, he only thought that that it was the staff’s professional habit as they called everybody good-looking. Even he had been praised like this countless of times.
After choosing the clothes, Lu Chu talked with the boss for a while, and the two of them returned home.
Due to his work, Lu Chu knew a few people who consulted him about their emotional problems, and one of them was a high school girl. Everybody in Lu Chu’s contact list had different ringtone alerts, and just as he sat on the couch and was combing Carrot’s fur and prepared to cook, he received the girl’s call.
He thought that the girl had encountered another problem in her life, pressed the answer button, and softened his voice like usual, “hello, is there……”
Before Lu Chu even finished speaking, he heard the other side suddenly break down as she cried, “Dr. Lu……um……Is this Dr. Lu?! Help me! Help me! I don’t know what happened to me, but suddenly it became dark and I couldn’t see anything in front of me! I’m the only one at home, and now I’m really in a mess. I’m so scared, am I terminally ill? I tried to fumble around for the door but couldn’t get out, and I’ve just hit something and it hurts…… please…… please help me!”
After listening to her hurried words, Lu Chu frowned, this…… what did it mean?
“Don’t worry.” Lu Chu’s voice became even gentler as he soothed her, “listen to me. Now, first, relax, don’t panic, and tell me what happened, okay?”
“I…… I don’t know,” There was a choking sound from the other side, “sudden…… suddenly, I couldn’t see everything, just like it became dark all of a sudden. Is it possible for people to not be able to see? I’ve never heard of this before; I must have contracted some terminal illness…… What should I do?”
Upon hearing those words, Lu Chu fell silent for a while, and slowly said, “humans, it’s possible for them not to see.”
He used to be the only one who knew how it felt.
“Dr. Lu, Dr. Lu, what did you say?”
Just as Lu Chu said those two words, he heard the other side cry even harder again, “Dr. Lu, are you still there, Dr. Lu…… Why can’t I hear anything?”
This time, Lu Chu was even more surprised, and hurried to sooth the girl, “Listen to me, don’t worry–”
“Why can’t I hear anything! Hear anything! I broke the glass cup, why isn’t there any sound? I turned the TV on, why is it so silent…… This world is so quiet– so quiet, why?!”
The other side suddenly hung the phone up, leaving Lu Chu to stand in shock on the same spot. He hadn’t responded to what had happened, and could only hold the phone in his hand.
Then. The man came over.
The translator has this to add:
My, what a senseless city.