It’s Colder Today

Fifteen Degrees Part 2

Wei Congying supported the back of her neck and felt the bones of her cervical spine under the skin. The protruding bones fit in his palm. His palm was large, pressing against her nape, and his thumb was lightly pressing her throat.

By the time Shi Yun realized it, she had completely turned around and sat face-to-face with him.

Her hair was wrapped around his fingers which were lightly clasping her neck, and the hand pressing on her throat gave the illusion of being suffocated, but she didn’t feel the discomfort that came from suffocation.

His hand rested on Shi Yun’s neck. The hand that was a few degrees cooler than the skin of her neck had a distinct presence on her neck. He could feel the rise and fall of her Adam’s apple in the hollow of his palm, feel the throbbing of her carotid artery. He controlled the path vital for her intake of oxygen, just like a ship’s captain that had control of the helm during a tsunami crisis.

They heard the running of the elevator’s steel cables through the not-so-sound-proof door, and then the elevator arrived, followed by the sound of footsteps.


Before the doorbell rang, he turned his face and pressed his lips against Shi Yun’s hair. His breath was a little unsteady, and he asked her, “Do you want to take the next step?”

There was a split second where Shi Yun was unaware of his question, but the person in her thoughts and heart was also asking. So when she was looking at his face, she just nodded, unable to figure out who she was answering.

The doorbell rang.

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Mbl lmralpp nswakla bye yaakhle.

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Tl oyzjle shla obkzl srldkdt vbl plyzle ryrla cyt.

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Ebld Elk Usdtukdt oyp pvweukdt kd vbl Bdkvle Fvyvlp, bl zkhle okvb y bspv qyxkzu1[1] Gzps pkxkzya vs y bsxlpvyu, kv kp y qyxkzu obknb rashkelp csyae yde zsetkdt vs pvweldvp, wpwyzzu qsa y qll. Nkhkdt okvb y bspv qyxkzu yzzsop pvweldvp vs raynvknl obyv vblu byhl zlyadle yv pnbssz kd y alzymle esxlpvkn pkvwyvksd. Fswanl: Uszzkdp Pknvksdyau. Mbl okeso zkhkdt ynaspp qasx vblx oyp y alqkdle osxyd obs zkhle y byae zkql okvb vball nbkzeald. Rd qasdv sq bla bswpl, oyp y uyae qwzz sq nyxlzzkyp.2[2] Tlal’p y rknvwal, kpd’v kv clywvkqwz?

Pwakdt vbl qzsolakdt plypsd, usw nswze yzoyup pll vbl nzwxrp sq nyxlzzkyp tasokdt swv sq vbl qzsolacle nsdqkdlp, vbaswtb vbl osseld qldnl.

He was currently thinking about the red camellia that covered the yard during the flowering season, and Boston ivy which didn’t originally exist, appeared in his memory.


The camellia and the Boston ivy were planted together, and the Boston ivy climbed up the branches of the camellia. That was the instinctive nature of the Boston ivy, and it wrapped around every branch of the camellia.

Interweaving and entwined together, the entire yard was filled with red and green.

Thus all the flowers, and all the leaves grew wildly towards it, shackled by it, and surrounded by it.

The washed cement gray cotton sheets had probably been unused for a few days as there was no smell of detergent present, nor was there a strong lemon shower gel scent.

In addition, as he probably didn’t smoke in bed, the bed didn’t bear any resemblance to an ashtray either.

There was no light in the bedroom, but there was a big gap left between the curtains. Shi Yun turned her head and looked at the rainy scene outside through the window.

It was a pity that her position was not good for observing the scenery. The glass that was covered with rainwater blurred the bright neon lights of the night scene, and the neon lights exploded inside the water droplets, as if they were all that was in this nearsighted world.

Her gaze moved to another window whose view was not blocked by the tall building opposite them. That window had a view of the sky, but after looking through it for a long time, she only saw pitch black. There was only a cloudy sky with no stars or moon.

The light cast into the room was not moonlight but neon lights.

The accumulated water on the road converged and flowed into the sewer.

A drop of rain the size of a mung bean can overturn an ant’s boat. The rain outside the window didn’t seem like it would stop for a while.


He bullied her for not reading Wang Xiaobo’s3[3] Wang Xiaobo was a renowned contemporary Chinese novelist and essayist from Beijing. books and for not knowing The Golden Age. Wang Xiaobo had said that there were as many stars in the sky as there was dew, and he said that there were just as many raindrops on a window, a very ordinary description of scenery.

Right now, the skies above the capital city were filled with dark clouds. There wasn’t a single star to be seen, so what was like dew?

Was it the neon lights blooming brightly in the raindrops? Or was it the camellias in the yard of the neighbor that lived across from him in his memory?

Or was it the love that overflowed from her eyes every time she looked at him? Without a mirror, Shi Yun couldn’t see the look in her eyes. She faintly felt that he had misinterpreted the meaning of this sentence, but she didn’t have any scholarly talent, so she couldn’t figure it out.

But she could see his eyes. Contentment could be seen from the depths of his eyes and face, a crime of perfection.

Wei Congying used his feet to catch the blanket at the end of the bed, and unfolded it so he could cover Shi Yun’s body. He was so sweaty that he didn’t want to lie down, and the baby hairs on his forehead were wet with sweat. He found the remote control for the air conditioner and lowered the temperature in the room. Then he turned around after covering her with a blanket and asked, “Do you want me to carry you in to wash off?”

Shi Yun didn’t answer this question, and instead said softly, “Hug me, please?”

Wei Congying was startled for a moment, then lifted the blanket and lay back down next to her, bringing into his arms, the gradually cooling body of the person beside him.

She was like a koala, and also like a baby monkey that could not be separated from its mother. Shi Yun buried her face in the crook of his neck, and their closely attached bodies felt the sound of each other’s heartbeats.

Wei Congying seldom cuddled after having a roll through the sheets. Although he wasn’t very used to being hugged after doing it, he still didn’t push Shi Yun away, nor urged her, and quietly waited for her as her breathing and heartbeat gradually stabilized.

Time passed by little by little, and the heavy rain in the city seemed to have stopped.

It was a while before Shi Yun left his arms and returned to her previous appearance. She got off the bed and bent down to pick up her pajamas from the ground: “I’ll take a shower first, is that okay?”


A simple rinse was enough.

Shi Yun used the lemon-scented body wash again. Afterward, she changed into the pajamas she had been wearing before and tied up her messy hair. Her body felt a little weak.

She returned to the bedroom wearing the oversized slippers. He was still on the bed.

Shi Yun sat down on the edge of the bed and looked at the person reclining at the head of the bed. The quilt covered him from the stomach down. His skin was not pale, but the scratches and teeth marks were unexpectedly obvious. Because she sat down, Wei Congying glanced away from his phone, and his gaze fell on her face, waiting for her to speak.

Shi Yun did indeed have a question that she wanted to ask. She recalled what his grandma had said on the other end of the phone the last time she called him. She asked him: “Have you finished breaking up with your ex-girlfriend yet?”

She had no intention of being a mistress.

Wei Congying wanted to laugh. He thought it would be something else, but he didn’t expect it to be this question. He originally planned to answer it properly. But looking at Shi Yun, he decided to be a little mischievous: “We’ve already done it, isn’t too late for you to ask this question now? If I didn’t break it off clean, were you going to apologize to her?”


[1] Also similar to a homestay, it is a family which provides board and lodging to students, usually for a fee. Living with a host family allows students to practice what they have learned at school in a relaxed domestic situation. Source: Collins Dictionary

[2] Here’s a picture, isn’t it beautiful?

[3] Wang Xiaobo was a renowned contemporary Chinese novelist and essayist from Beijing.


Translator Corner:

Funny thing is, I didn’t get what was happening here until I went through it for the second time.

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