Lin Anran took out the insulated lunchbox that he’d put in his backpack yesterday and used the contents inside as this morning’s breakfast.
It was nothing special. Lin Anran didn’t know how to cook. Inside the insulated box was a layer of ordinary and carefully prepared sandwiches. The color of each layer was not repeated.
Because it was a day later, the color of the vegetables no longer looked as bright as the day before.
Yesterday, he went to the Bosalia Convention and Exhibition Center with this big lunch, but it came back intact. What he ate by himself that afternoon was a loaf of bread.
Lin Anran warmed up the sandwiches and brought them to the breakfast table. They ate them together.
Before he left the house, Shang Hao turned back and wrapped his arms around Lin Anran.
He hugged him tightly.
Lin Anran only felt that this person’s arms had tightened, and before he could react, his feet had already left the ground.
Shang Hao was much taller and stronger than him. He was so tall that his head nearly reached the top of the doorframe. His arms were equally large and generous, giving people an enveloping sense of security.
In contrast, the thin Lin Anran might not be enough for him to hold.
A slipper on Lin Anran’s feet fell to the ground. Under the cover of the door panel, he was hugged and kissed.
But Shang Hao still restrained himself. After kissing Lin Anran a few times, he pulled back.
But he continued to hug Lin Anran tightly. Their faces were very close, so much so that their eyes seemed to blend together.
Shang Hao’s eyebrow arches were high, and his pupils were deep, which always gave people a deep and unpredictable feeling whenever he looked at them. Lin Anran had a thin face. After Shang Hao stared at him for two seconds, he heard Shang Hao say, “Your face is red again.”
Even though he said this, his gaze was still fixed on Lin Anran’s face.
Finally, Shang Hao bent down, and at the same time, his body also followed Lin Anran down. Their bodies seemed inseparable, like two magnets locked together.
This person pressed his face to Lin Anran’s neck, opened his mouth unwillingly, and took a bite.
The strength he used wasn’t heavy at all, and when he finally retreated, what was left behind was a particularly numb feeling.
Because of these series of actions, the suit that Shang Hao wore was crumpled again. He glanced down at it, causally smoothed it down, and said goodbye to Lin Anran.
Lin Anran breathed fresh air, and was finally able to watch him leave.
He closed the door, put his fallen slipper back on and ran into the bathroom. He looked in the mirror to see how red his face was.
It was really red.
Lin Anran pressed the back of his cold hands to his cheeks and stared at his silly expression in the mirror.
It was very strange. But he really liked this feeling.
After Shang Hao left, he was all alone. He walked out of the bathroom with his hands still pressed to his face and stopped at the dining table.
The plates on the table were still there. Lin Anran stared at the tableware for two in a daze before finally sitting down.
After Shang Hao went out, he was the only one left.
For most of his day, this quietness was the norm, and now it was just returning to normal.
It was just that the dishes on the table were definitely for two people, but there was always a sense of unreality in his heart.
Indeed, he was alone by himself.
Very soft piano music was playing in the room inside the counseling center. There was a thermostat here, and so the room temperature was always at an appropriate level. The gauze curtains were pulled up so that the light won’t be too bright, while the thick walls cut off the noises from the outside world.
Lin Anran was sitting on a single sofa chair with a glass of water on hand.
The psychiatry consultation that he’d missed yesterday was rescheduled for today. Teacher Zhou was a gentle woman with medium-length hair and light makeup. Her voice was always very patient and gentle whenever she spoke, which gave listeners a very pleasant feeling.
“Okay, it’s still the same. Let’s talk now.”
Lin Anran lowered his eyes and nodded. He quietly leaned back on the sofa, his gaze dropping to his knees.
“Do you feel better today?”
The excuse he’d used to ask for leave yesterday was physical discomfort. Lin Anran paused, and then he nodded.
Dr. Zhou always suggested that, when they were conversing, Lin Anran need not look at her directly if he did not feel comfortable doing so.
The piano music was very soft and gentle, like flowing water, slowly soaking into the brain.
Dr. Zhou’s voice continued to ask slowly from the side, “So, has ‘he’ come to you recently?”
Lin Anran stared quietly at his knees, and he nodded again.
“How often does ‘he’ come to you?”
Lin Anran said, “Every day.”
“Is that so?” There came the sound of pen scratching against paper, and then she said, “You said that you two didn’t know each other before. It seems that you and ‘him’ got along very well.”
Dr. Zhou smiled. “‘He is a very nice person, right?”
Lin Anran answered this question without difficulties. “Mmn.”
“So we can agree, you’re not a person that can’t make friends.”
After saying this, Dr. Zhou carefully observed Lin Anran’s reaction.
Lin Anran was silent for a few seconds, and finally he just shook his head.
“You see, ‘he’ is a very good friend,” she said, slowly returning to the topic just now. “If a friend is a person like him, would you still feel repulsed?”
Lin Anran thought for a moment. Finally he shook his head with some uncertainty.
Probably not. He wasn’t sure.
“So, you see, making friends is not necessarily a bad thing. What do you think?”
She watched Lin Anran’s expression and waited for his response. Either a retort or an echo, she wanted to hear Lin Anran say a complete sentence to express his thoughts.
In the end, Lin Anran just nodded to her, as if no matter what the other party said, he would still nod. Although he himself hadn’t made new friends in many years.
Just like this. [T/N: A bit confusing here, but I think these next 3 paragraphs are from Dr. Zhou’s POV]
The way he grew up gave Lin Anran no desire to talk or verbally express himself to the outside world. He lived in his own cocoon.
It was undoubtedly dangerous that part of Lin Anran’s “self” was pinned on one person. This gave him only a single outlet, all the more dangerous because this “person” was only an intangible fantasy.
This was related to his childhood experience. This wall of security that he’d built around himself over the years was deeply rooted.
For the next half an hour, Doctor Zhou talked to him about other things for a while. Then finally, today’s session was over.
Lin Anran breathed a sigh of relief.
Obviously this room was relaxing in every aspect, but he still felt uncomfortable in it. After he left the room, right outside was a glass door, and he saw his aunt waiting for him with a thermos.
It was probably because he didn’t come as expected yesterday that his aunt especially made an effort to come today.
Lin Anran felt a little guilty. Since he moved out by himself, his aunt had worried a great deal about him.
His aunt was a junior high school teacher, so she didn’t have to work this weekend. She had round, curly hair that had only been recently permed, and she wore rimless glasses. When she saw Lin Anran come out, she quickly waved to him.
“Xiao Ran, aunt is here.”
Lin Anran greeted her. As soon as he approached, she stuffed the thermos bottle in his hand. She winked at him and solemnly said, “Good thing! Xiao Ran!”
Lin Anran didn’t need to look at it to know that there must be some famous stew in it.
He didn’t know why, but his aunt believed strongly in the efficacy of these soups. For many years now, she had dedicated herself to making the best tonic soup, hoping that it would help her nephew get better.
Dr. Zhou came out behind him and stood at the door. When Lin Huiyan saw that she didn’t leave immediately, she understood right away. She turned to Lin Anran and said coaxingly, “Xiao Ran, wait for me here for a little while…”
She didn’t continue and instead patted his hand. Lin Anran knew that his aunt and Dr. Zhou were going to talk again.
After Lin Huiyan went in, Lin Anran held the thermos in his arms and sat down outside to obediently wait for her.
Dr. Zhou closed the door and began to talk to Lin Huiyan about Lin Anran’s current situation.
“That is the case. You’ve mentioned Xiao Hong and Xiao Lan before. If it’s convenient, I would like to know more about this.”
Lin Huiyan was worried, and she explained it in more detail.
“It was when Xiao Ran was still a child. He had some crayons, and he drew Xiao Hong and Xiao Ran with red and blue crayons and became friends with them. This situation lasted for several years… Actually, he was quite young then. I wasn’t by his side at the time, so I don’t know much about it.”
Lin Anran’s early elementary school days were with his mother.
That woman absolutely didn’t care about him at all. Every morning, Xiao Ran would have to go to school by himself. Once, a boiling hot pot had directly cooked a piece of meat on the child’s arm.
But that woman usually didn’t bother to teach Xiao Ran, and so that small child, who could neither cry nor scream, took that piece of dead flesh that had deteriorated to black and purple to school for an entire day, and spoke not a word of it.
Lin Huiyan felt depressed when she thought of the past.
Having said this, she began to sigh again. “Dr. Zhou, do you think, if, I mean, if Xiao Ran really did think up a person out of thin air, how could he not realize it himself?”
“This symptom is usually common in schizophrenia,” Dr. Zhou said. “Don’t be nervous. It’s just a guess that Lin Anran has separated another self into the role of a ‘friend’ who cares for him.”
Lin Huiyan said, “You said that he thinks this person really exists. But how could he miss the inconsistencies in reality?”
Dr. Zhou thoughtfully said, “I remember you mentioned that one of the spare keys to Lin Anran’s house is missing.”
“In Lin Anran’s fantasy, he gave the key to his ‘friend,’ but in fact, it was given to this other split personality.”
“Anran doesn’t know where that key went. The existence of this split personality allowed him to circumvent this lie, but Anran is unaware of this. As long as his current spiritual needs are being met and he has a friend, then he is content.”
“Therefore, during the entire process, Anran is kept in the dark. This is the meaning of the appearance of “it.” As such, the traces left behind by this other person in the house are made by Lin Anran himself. That is why I said that this is symptomatic of schizophrenia.”
Dr. Zhou thought for a moment and continued, “And I think the role it played is probably not as simple as that of a ‘friend’.”
The process of psychological counseling in the article was fabricated out of thin air by my imagination. Friends, don’t take it seriously!