ned to his hometown.
Out of the four people in their dorm, only Xia Wennan stayed in the city to pursue a graduate degree. 

“I went to grad school?” Xia Wennan’s shock was audible. 

Peng Li was startled.
“Yeah, what’s wrong? Didn’t you go? Don’t tell me you flunked?” 

Xia Wennan said, “Oh, I probably went.” He hadn’t seen his grad certificate or degree lying around though.
Perhaps they were kept in his safe.
Shortly after, another thought occurred to him.
“So, did you come to my wedding?”

“Huh?” This time, Peng Li’s tone was tinged with genuine astonishment.
“You got married?”

Xia Wennan interjected, “No—I mean, will you come to my wedding if I get married?”

“Of course I will,” Peng Li replied.
“You scared me there.
I thought you got married and didn’t tell me.
What’s the matter? Do you have anyone in mind right now?”

“No,” Xia Wennan denied, “it was just a hypothetical question.” He then exchanged a few more words with Peng Li before hanging up. 

The baking pan in front of him sizzled.
The aroma of barbeque oil wafted through the air.
But Xia Wennan’s mind lingered on the fact that… if even Peng Li didn’t know about his marriage, there was no chance his other classmates did either.

What kind of marriage was this if none of his closest classmates had been informed? Xia Wennan picked up a slice of lean pork belly fat and thought to himself: This means that I definitely didn’t marry him voluntarily.

In the afternoon, Xia Wennan made a trip to his school. 

He’d been at this school for far longer than he could remember, after four years of undergrad followed by graduate school, but it had changed dramatically and no longer resembled the school he remembered from his second year of university.

The dorm buildings were still standing, but the people who lived there were no longer the same.

It was possible that he’d gone to grad school, but he had no idea what he’d majored in and who his academic advisor had been, let alone his grad school classmates.
He wished he could go back to that time in his life, but the past is the past, and things won’t remain unchanging just because his memories were frozen in time.
Those he’d lost would forever be gone.

Digging his past back up was pointless.
It was better to carefully plan for the future.

When Xia Wennan watched students pass by, he felt that he was still one of them, but when he accidentally caught sight of his reflection on a glass window on the side of the road, he became acutely aware that he was no longer one of them, just like the fact that his grandpa had died and would never return. 

He was drowning in misery.

He walked out of school and stood on the side of the road, watching the ebb and flow of traffic on the wide lane in front of him, for a while not knowing where to go.

The sun gradually moved westward, carrying the scorching summer heat, its golden yellow darkening into a burnt orange.
Xia Wennan, who’d been standing under the shade of a tree, watched as the sun’s rays began to shift from his feet to his body. 

He sweated, all over his back, his clothes damp with it and sticking to his skin.
But he remained where he was, motionless.

He’d always thought that he was a bit lazy.
Since he was little, he’d only ever imagined that he’d find a decent but not overly taxing job after graduating and earn enough money so his grandpa could live—not necessarily lavishly—but a little better.
He assumed that he’d marry, and that a Beta wife would be ideal, someone pretty but not stunningly beautiful.
Just… an ordinary, but stable life. 

However, his life had been turned upside down.
Although he couldn’t remember a thing, Ming Luchuan wasn’t the only reason that his life had devolved into shambles—it was most likely his own fault as well.
He couldn’t comprehend why he’d made the choices he made, and he had no idea what to do with his life after this.

Xia Wennan sighed, then heard the ringing of his phone that interrupted his idle reflection about life. 

A capital “M” was displayed on the screen.

After he accepted the call, Ming Luchuan said, “I won’t be back for dinner tonight.” 

Xia Wennan glanced around.
The fact that Ming Luchuan had originally planned to go home for dinner was news to him.
“Okay, I’m not going back for dinner either,” he said.
And with that, he hung up the phone.

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