Having suffered an appalling, character-assassinating introduction, we now delve into Cheng Zheng’s version of events. Though his flawed reasoning doesn’t make his actions excusable, it certainly provides us with a better understanding of him.
By the way, all the pictures in this project are courtesy of Peanuts amazing sifting skills! The classroom frame yesterday simply cannot be bested. Please do thank her for all the effort she’s put in to make the posts less dreary (freeing me of time to focus solely on translating teehee). Thanks again Peanuts!
While Cheng Zheng was used to Yun Jin’s same old routine of glaring and turning her back on him, his eyes would betray momentary disappointment whenever he faced her stiffly straightened back yet again.
The day she had forcefully leaned back onto his desk, the abruptness had caused his pen to rake sharply over his worksheets. Despite that, all he noticed was her hair on his desk.
Loosening her hair in the evening
Letting them cascade like rapids down her shoulders
As she came to rest on a gentleman’s knee
There’s nothing lacking in this scene
Language was not Cheng Zheng’s forte but these lines had emerged from the recesses of his mind, shocking even himself. Thus, he instinctively tossed out some insulting phrases to shift the focus of his mind. He mocked her as stupid and while she was obviously infuriated, she had forced herself to ignore him.
Cheng Zheng, you’ve messed up once again, he thought to himself. He realised that he hoped she would ask him “Could you please explain…” just as the other girls did, they with their expectant gaze. But she never once sought his help and he knew she never would. This girl who liked to press her lips together and was as silent as a shadow, went everywhere with her eyes cast on the ground. Actually, Su Yun Jin had a beautiful pair of eyes. If not for that fateful day, he would never have noticed it …
That day in their sophomore year, he was hanging out with Zi Yi and some others in the corridor outside the classroom when Zi Yi asked him “Ah Zheng, are you electing to study in the Arts or Science stream?”
He had answered without thinking, “…What rubbish, of course I’m studying Science! Who doesn’t know that only nerdy girls and people with poor results study Arts…”.
Suddenly, he noticed a girl with a bowed head who had earlier walked past them turn around abruptly and stare in their direction. She had a unique expression. Her fair skin betrayed a curious blush and her pair of intense eyes seemed to burn with rage. She was unbelievably captivating.
This was the first time Cheng Zheng had carefully studied a girl but her line of vision never landed on him. In fact, she had spun round quickly and reverted to her bowed head posture before continuing in her steps.
“Hey, who was that girl?” he had prodded Zi Yi. Alas, Zi Yi had been slow on the uptake and stared curiously in the direction he was pointing at while asking “Which one? Who is it?”
Cheng Zheng had glanced in the direction she had taken once again but could only see the neighbouring class boys causing a ruckus. This was followed by the mood-dampening bell signalling the start of lessons.
That night, his mind was consumed with the image of that pair of intense eyes. When he awoke with a startle in the middle of the night, he noticed a cool, sticky patch on his trousers. 17-year-old Cheng Zheng had cursed under his breath as he went to wash-up his trousers, but his heart was completely bewildered.
From that moment on, he would roam the corridors after school in search of that familiar silhouette. But even up till the end of sophomore year, he had not met her again. It was only until year three post-streaming commenced that he found her; they were now fellow classmates. It seemed so surreal. The student population had been the proverbial haystack and she, the needle! After learning more of her background, Cheng Zheng found it ridiculous that she had been in the neighbouring class all that time yet prior to that incident, he had not noticed her at all.
Soon, Cheng Zheng realized that he not noticing her before had a logical explanation. This girl was so adept in keeping to herself that she seemed to blend in with the shadows.
She pressed her lips together often out of habit and liked to cast her eyes on the ground. She was so silent that people often forgot that she existed. Furthermore, she didn’t seem to take particular note of the people around her. Including him. She never once turned up to cheer him on at ball games like the other girls did. He even purposely strolled past her desk on countless occasions, but she never once reacted to him, not even giving a toss of her hair.
Sometimes, he would patiently eavesdrop as the girls discuss soccer animatedly although laughably, he could tell they didn’t even grasp the role of a striker. He hoped she would give their silly conversation one interested glance at the very least, but she never did.
Cheng Zheng had tried to fight against the attention he was giving Su Yun Jin. After all, she was merely one of the ‘little missus’ that Zi Yi and the rest made fun of. She was homely, not a striking beauty and not particularly likeable.
Once, when the guys had a bro-talk, one boy had assessed the ‘eight dinosaurs’ and mentioned that “Actually when Su Yun Jin dresses up, she’s actually quite easy on the eyes.” He instantly shot back “A sow is also easy on the eyes when dressed up well.” They had all dismissed it as Su Yun Jin being an eyesore to him, but only he knew that he did not care for another guy rating her. She was his personal treasure which he didn’t want others peeking at.
Thus, everyday during class time, he would force himself not to take any notice of her, yet all the while hoping he would catch her eye. He had despaired until the day of the new seating arrangement. When she hesitated over claiming the seat in front of him, Cheng Zheng’s heart had beat so fast that he froze and could only pretend to be concentrating on his study as his mind was a complete blank.
He never did like girls sitting near him, them noisy and troublesome creatures. Even when Meng Xue, who was a good gal pal of his, had suggested sitting in front of him, he had chased her off but Su Yun Jin was an exception. He was almost afraid that if he raised his head too excitedly as she approached, he would scare her off.
When Zi Yi yelled out, he cringed internally and without thinking, said those nasty words that hurt her. When she glared hatefully at him, she once again became stunningly intense that she took his breath away.
He was ironically glad even though she had looked at him with contempt. So this was what it took for her to notice his existence and give him her undivided attention. He caught on quick and started to find fault with her over every silly issue. He rather she detested him than ignore him.
Su Yun Jin, Su Yun Jin. Cheng Zheng liked the name. It was easy on the lips and reminded him of the joys of eating cotton candy. But how unfair was it that she turned his world topsy-turvy when she didn’t appear to be affected in the least?