A better love story than — oh, fuck it. Yeah. As far as I’ve figured out, this is autobiographical. Respect to him for pouring it out for all to see, and what an amazing window into the life of a Chinese progamer it is that he’s shared with us…
Note that, if you read the entire thing, it is possible to figure out which teams and competitions he is talking about, to give yourself an even deeper view into the progamer side of it all. He covers the time between roughly 2010 to 2013, and mentions teams and competitions, along with how they affected him… For further background reading, directly related, see his response last year from the ACE/EHOME controversy.
Send LanM your wishes and support: http://t.qq.com/guoercwh
The Chronicles of LanM: “Stories of Yesteryear” [Part 6-9]
6. Story III
Ever since the girl tore up the marriage agreement and broke off all relations with her parents, the boy had became enamoured, infatuated, hungry for money. He put everything down to his own inability — if he had the money, then things like age, profession, would all not be barriers. He thus drifted away from the ideals of chasing after your dreams, and settled into patterns of temperamental outbursts. He’d burn in anger out of nothing, throw things, even hurt himself… But despite the fact that it was her entry into his life that changed his once carefree lifestyle, he never directed his anger towards her, because she was the one he had promised to stand by for life.
Since the girl left home, for good this time, the boy had seemingly been gripped in a madness in his work. And even when she came to him with sweet words and kind gestures, he’d at most give it the bare minimum in response before burying himself back into the world on his computer. Angry, she would ask, “Exactly which is more important, me or your work?”
“Without my work I have no money, without money how do I marry you, what will I have to love you?” were the words in his mind, but not on his lips. Instead, he would respond, “Stop bothering me, go away and be quiet.”
Hurt, she went into the room, shut the door, and cried — oh how she must’ve hoped that he would push the door open, come in, and give her a hug. But he was too far focused on his computer, and by the time he realized his words in those moments had been too harsh, it was late. When he went in, he found that she’d long since fallen asleep, and because of his own fatigue, when he went to lie down for sleep he never noticed that half her pillow had been soaked through in tears, and that was the first time they slept with their backs to each other.
What is it, really, that constantly pushes life in directions away from those we desire?
For the Lunar New Year that year, the girl did not go back to her own parents’ home, and instead went with the boy back to his home. They dared not tell his elders the details between them. Over the past two years, the boy had ceased being seen as that naive youngster, and at the dinner table he conversed freely and fluently with them all while she sat to his side and quietly listened. In the relatives’ eyes, they were seemingly a good match; she was faithful and pretty, he was smart and hard-working. The two of them felt this way as well, and that night, with her arms around his neck, she said, “Let’s name our child in the future Xiaofan, okay?” He asked why, and she replied that it was the name of the main character in the books she was reading at the time, a great character. On an average day, in order to not get in the way of his focus, she’d just sit at home and read on her phone; sometimes for a day at a time, and thinking of this, the boy’s determination in being with her grew ever more, and he kissed her deeply……
His team, because of problems with finances in the past year, had disbanded. He then signed with a newly formed team, but the new team’s progress was slow, and wouldn’t be able to pay him well in the short term. Without pay, how could he prove to her parents, what would he have to show? He ate little and slept fitfully. She saw all of this, but every time she went to console him, to tell him not to worry so much, he always misunderstood her intentions. He faulted her, thinking that she wasn’t dedicated to staying together, that she was blaming him for his inability, his lack of money. And so she took it all, soaked it up like a giant sponge, while he piled it piece by piece upon his own shoulders to carry, each of them alone in their collective worries. Yet, love is like that — once worries cannot be shared, burdens be carried together, then even the smallest of things grow to unmanageable proportions.
7. Story IV
His chance was finally here: his old team was re-forming for a high-prize pool competition, and with many promises to the boy, he unflinchingly made the decision to break contract with his current team to join this team again. What he needed was money, because there was only a year left to the time he had promised to be able to marry her; there was no more time for him to waste. The insults, criticism, character attacks… would all be worth it as long as the two of them could stay together. Finally, he was reunited with teammates of past days, and even though some promises the team made never did come true, by this point he had no retreat. He put practically everything he had into it, even ignoring the girl when she was by his side: all he wanted was to win, win this tournament, take her home. In those days, the girl felt that he had almost changed into a different person, and even the smallest of requests from her would spark him into wrath.
One day, she got sick and ended up having to stay in a hospital far away from his training house. With training every day, he had no way to visit her, so she spent each night alone in the hospital, tears streaming in hope, then despair, all as the boy never showed up. She heart-breakingly wrote a letter to him, a letter of break up. She called him and told him that if he still wouldn’t come see her, then she’d leave. At 4 in the morning, he finally made it there, visibly exhausted, but she still gave him the letter she’d written. He read it, then tore it into shreds in a flurry of his own tears, and from that day on, he’d go and spend the nights after training by her side. In that period, the boy, who already looked sort of goofy, took on the looks of a drug addict in all his exhaustion; but he could not fall, because he had promised.
The day after the tournament, he stared blankly at her QQ avatar on his screen. Despite all her consolation, he still felt he’d lost. Lost everything, lost the tournament, and lost her; he was a complete, through and through loser. In the days afterwards, he struggled… he feared losing her, and lacked the power to face reality. Sometimes he thought to himself, there’s no way to give her what she deserves; he should just stop holding her back. Even though she’d chosen him, he ultimately bowed to the reality of it. He became dark and moody, his actions were as if he wanted her to leave. She’d long since replaced the flashy designer logos in the past with cheaper, wholesale items.
One day, the girl mentioned that she wanted to go back home to grab some of her old clothes, but the boy interpreted this to mean that she had thoughts of giving up on it all, on them. He became irritable, but she was one with great patience, and went on absorbing it all, bit by bit, despite the fact that he’d been getting more and more out of hand. In a flash, another Lunar New Year was upon them, and this time she insisted on going back home to visit her ageing parents. She wanted him to come along, but he was afraid. He was afraid that his pitiful self-respect and dignity would be trampled again. She was upset, but with no other alternative, she went back home for the holiday herself. Just before parting, she said to him, “You promised to marry me this year…” He had nothing to say…
After that, he lost himself. He told her, “Let’s break up.” She thought it was just another episode of his antics… But after he ended it, he went on QQ and began adding all sorts of females that he would’ve paid no heed to beforehand, flirting with them all. He himself wasn’t clear on why he was doing this; he thought no one would care about him, he wanted to forget about her and all of it, their life together had been so much work… But he simply did not see the girl’s side of it at all. She had persisted for two years in the face of pressure from her family, pleading, arguing, trying to convince her parents. Over two years, they had almost relented to the stubborn girl, yet at just this time she was shown chat logs of his interactions with all these new people, and in her heart it was as if a thousand ants tore at it at once, piercing pain. Was this him? Was this really the one that had promised to love only her for eternity?
8. Story V
When her text arrived, questioning whether it was really him, the boy was blank. They’d been together nearly three years, and he’d never hurt her like this before; he’d always tried to keep her safely protected within the palm of his hand. She had always been so easily satisfied, not spoiled at all; during the Mid-Autumn Festival, they’d gone out together and she didn’t want to buy anything, only stopping at a mooncake shop and picking a few of the cheapest ones. They were the best she’d ever had, she had said. But now, now in his chats he was telling these other girls that he’d been training over Mid-Autumn, erasing all of this; what a monstrous thing for him to do. He immediately called the girl, and mired in feelings of both fear and shame, he deleted that other woman’s QQ, hoping to just run from it all like this. From that day on, the girl had nightmares at night, waking in tear-soaked fits — that half a month passed slowly as if it were half a year instead, and he never once called her again during. Finally, she couldn’t stop herself anymore, and dialled in that string of familiar digits on her phone. It was 3 in the morning, he should be sleeping, and she feared that she’d hear the other woman’s voice on the other end.
“Why aren’t you speaking?” his question broke a long silence.
“Who is next to you?” came her response, her voice giving away that she’d cried recently.
“Teammates. You cried?” piercing pains thrust into his heart. He had once been so afraid of seeing her cry; no matter how heated an argument would be, once her tears dropped, all his anger would fade and he’d go to her and hug her for forgiveness… But now he’d let her cry by herself for so long. She hung up. She didn’t know why she had to call him, he was just a lying piece of shit anyway.
When he learned that she often woke up in the middle of the night crying, that her parents were on the verge of agreeing to them being together, he practically wanted to kill himself — because it was by his own hand, his own doing, that he destroyed all of their happiness, their future. Regret came, and he went to her and asked forgiveness. Soft-hearted, the girl eventually accepted, and everything seemingly went back to before; only that, now, she felt there was something different about this person before her, the person who had once promised to only love her was no longer the same person now.
Valentine’s Day, 2013, she gifted him a set of clothes. She’d always liked to buy him colorful, bright clothes. She would cheerfully explain to him, “You’re dark-skinned and ugly, so you should wear colors to brighten yourself up a bit.”
And he’d happily reply, “If I’m ugly then why do you like me?”
“I’m afraid no one else will want you,” she responded, patting him on the forehead.
Except, this time it wasn’t the vibrant colors of before, and in its place was the lifeless tone of black. She said, “The North is cold, take good care of yourself.” And the boy, as usual, was careless and didn’t pay enough attention to notice all the pressure she was under.
A few days later around noon, the boy called her as usual after getting up, yet he never though that this would be their last time speaking. He asked if she’d be online later, and after a long silence from her, the response came, as if she was busy and couldn’t answer conveniently: “Just go and find something to do with your friends,” and then she hurriedly hung up the phone. Feeling something wasn’t right, he dialled her number back, but all he got was the busy signal, and then she sent a text over: “Mom and dad are taking me to go meet someone.” Angered, he felt she shouldn’t be going, but no matter how he called her, she wouldn’t respond again. In her lowest days, she had told her parents that she’d been discarded by the boy, and her parents, already lacking any good impressions of him, took the chance and flooded her in a new deluge of lecturing. You’re not young anymore, you should go and find a proper partner as soon as possible. She never wanted to accept any of it, but this time even though they had gotten back together, she dared not confront her parents with it again.
In madness, the boy called, sent texts, begging her to give him another year, to believe in him one more time. But she only responded once, “Sooner or later you’ll meet someone younger and prettier than me, who will make you love her even deeper. You must work hard to do better for yourself. Our love has been the greatest time of my life, but this time I cannot wait any longer, I don’t want to hurt my parents any more.” No matter how he begged, she never replied again.
9. Story VI
In the following days, he drank, wasted away online, and even went without eating entire for entire days, returning home only after night had passed and daylight came again. At home, he could only fall asleep after exhausting himself from crying. In his waking hours, he still dialled her number, but there never was an answer. Though he put on a different face in front of friends, he wasn’t normal. Every time, going downstairs, at the bottom of the stairs he’d habitually stoop down to let her piggyback along… but she wasn’t there anymore, wasn’t there anymore to tell him to grow some meat on those bones, or else you won’t be able to carry me anymore…
Half a year later, that familiar number appeared at the head of a text message. This past half year, he’d been in a haze. Once in the past, upon meeting her, he had a drive to life, that she was his dream. But everything’s gone now… “May 1st I’m getting married, will you come?”
That day, the boy tidied his by-then shoulder-length hair, shaved. Long since stored away, he dug out the leather jacket, jeans, and green sneakers they had once bought together. When they’d bought it, he had been a little timid in accepting a gift from her. She told him, “Eh, don’t be afraid to accept gifts I buy for you!” Somehow, now, she was about to step into her wedding gown, into a marriage with someone else. He watched as they exchanged rings, kisses, vows. He didn’t feel pain any longer. These past three years of struggle ultimately lost out to reality, and now he had no more regret, no well-wishes, just numbness. As the new bride and groom went around toasting the guests, he stepped onto the stage and picked up the microphone…
Once ago, now, things past will not come back
Bright red, falling leaves, rest long in the dust and dirt
The beginning and the end, ended up never changing
At the edge of the heavens you drift, away from the clouds
A sea of pain, in its waves stir love and hate
In this world, difficult to escape from destiny
Matchmaking, an untouchable boundary
Or I should, just believe this is fate
Lovers, upon farewell, will never, return (a disappearing love)
In silence, solitude, gazes on the world beyond (hopes of continuing on in days to come)
Fresh flowers may wither (only wish) but they may bloom again (for you)
A life’s love hidden (with you) on the other side of those clouds (waiting)
After that, it was as if he’d set down a lifetime of burdens as he peacefully walked toward the door. The crowd, stunned by this stranger’s exit, had no response; only the girl, seeing his soulless shadow departing, her tears quietly fell within her heart…
If you all don’t like this story, this ending, then I’ll tell another one.
It’s been 11 days. Tears, pain, heart rendering yells. All unable to fill all this emptiness in the heart. Remembering back our bits and pieces together, everything seemingly like it happened yesterday. He still promises that, in this life, it’s her or no one. Only this time, what he needs are witnesses, what he needs are well-wishes. If he fails, then just let the love of yesteryear be sealed up with this unfinished story. If he succeeds, he will keep his promise for life, and come back to put another ending to this story.
By the time you’ve read this far, he’s already started out. He hopes that, for each of you that has perservered and read his story to this point, to be generous in your wishes and support for him, to be his witnesses. And help him face reality, so that he may never bow his head down again.
Send LanM your wishes and support: http://t.qq.com/guoercwh
Update 2015: LaNm has gotten married with his girlfriend, and has a daughter with her born in the summer of 2015. It’s a happy ending to his stories of yesteryear!