Tan Jiao hung her head low at first before jolting her head up and staring at me. “What did you say?”
“I said I’ve been seeking the truth, but I’ve not made any progress.”
She continued to fix her gaze on me intently while letting out a somewhat mocking chuckle. “You said a year has passed? How can that be? Hasn’t it only been a few weeks?”
The room fell into a silence that seemed almost tangible once again. Flashes of terror surfaced in her eyes. I raised my head once more, taking a glance at the calendar hanging on the wall. I saw the written date there. For a split second, I felt somewhat perplexed as well. What’s going on? However, I kept my cool and said, “Tan Jiao, the day we went on the cruise was the 23rd of June, 2016. The date today is the 18th of July 2017. It has been one year and three weeks.”
I could not describe the expression she had at that moment; her face was deathly pale, while her previously lively eyes looked like they had sunk into a dark swamp. Her gaze followed mine; she stared vacantly at the calendar before pulling out her phone from her bag to check the time. Realizing the passage of time, she became astonished and awed as if she had just woken up from a dream. She bit down on her lip harder and harder as if she was about to cry. It was like her entire person was going to crack into pieces like broken glass.
“I…” she stuttered before continuing, “I thought only a few weeks have passed. I saw the year 2017 every day, yet I did not realize… I have no memory of that entire year. It’s as if nothing had happened.”
Suddenly, I understood something.
Both of us experienced some level of memory loss.
While I lost several days, she lost an entire year.
What is going on?
I even speculated if we were somehow attacked while we were on that ship, which was why we lost our memories. Was it because her injuries were more severe, so the memories she lost were greater?
“So we haven’t seen each other for a year?” She looked at me with her watery eyes and asked, “That’s why your transformation was so drastic? To the point where I couldn’t recognize you at all?”
Pain abruptly struck my heart, and I wanted to hug her with my outreached hand. However, she shoved my hand away, stood up, and stumbled out the door hurriedly.
I got up and chased after her. “Where are you going?”
“I want to go home. I need some time alone, so stay away! Don’t follow me!”
Standing at the door, I looked on as she rushed into her car before driving away in the next moment; she was like a panic-stricken rabbit.
Yet, as though a small flame of pain became ignited in my heart, I took my bike and went after her.
It was already deep into the night as I cruised along the city road with the calm scenery flashing past behind me. She drove only slightly faster than normal despite feeling emotionally overwhelmed. As if the wind blowing in my face had a calming effect, my troubled mind calmed down with the gentle glow of the moon shining down on us. Although we were both entangled in this mystifying situation, the road ahead of us was calm.
I followed her until she reached her apartment building.
She parked her car somewhat slanted and saw me when she exited it. There were about ten meters of silence between us as I sat on my motorcycle with my helmet on, looking at her mutely.
Her face was already without tears and impassive. But her eyes had a peculiar calmness in them. She’s a strong-hearted girl indeed. Finally, she spoke, “You should go back, I’m fine.”
“Alright,” I said without moving.
She put on a somewhat unhappy expression and said, “I’ll go in if you’re not going.”
“Sure, I’ll wait till you go in.”
After glancing at me, she went upstairs with her shoes clicking and echoing on the steps, seemingly energetic and positive, which relieved me of my worries.
There are no obligations, but every bit of support helps, especially to help pay for editors and my bills.