As he lied down on his bed at night, He Nuo felt a bit insomniac. When Shi Yan sent him back, he had said that he would come look for him tomorrow, so after he ate dinner at home he quickly finished the revision papers that he was supposed to work the next day. After he finished most of them, it was already 1am. He thought that he would dream of Zhou gong1, yet he felt unexpectedly energetic and didn’t feel the least bit sleepy. Within the lonesome silence, He Nuo’s mind was as clear as a mirror. With the recurrence of today’s (actually yesterday’s) office event, he could no longer escape the problem that he had always been reluctant to delve into.
No matter how simple-minded he may be, he had still taken physiological classes before and understood ethics and morality, so he knew that what he did with Shi Yan was shameful and wrong. When Shi Yan had done something like that to him (he can’t think or even say the word ‘rape’, not even in his heart), it made him feel deeply humiliated and had even pushed his sense of inferiority up to the surface. But what Shi Yan was doing to him now no longer brought him shame or pain, and instead gave him pleasure. Being near Shi Yan felt like bathing in the warm sunshine during winter, and feeling the warm breeze that blew on the grass in autumn. His resistance to Shi Yan’s embrace seemed so vague now.
It was the first time for the ignorant He Nuo to step into the palace of desire. Even though he knew that they did was considered ‘self-consoling’, it was better known as ‘masturbation’. Their school had issued a popular science booklet in his first year which described the growth and development of adolescents. The book had emphasised over and over again that self-consolation was a normal thing to do for adolescent boys, so they need not feel pressure nor shame for doing it. But He Nuo was deeply influenced by his inheritance of the thousand-year education that dictated “lust as the mastermind behind ten thousand evils”, so how could he comfortably masturbate? And the more serious problem is: right now he and Shi Yan were comforting each other. He felt like he was doing something wrong, something obscene.
But who was obscene? He wasn’t, and neither was Shi Yan. His thoughts were all muddled and chaotic, where did the fault lie? It wasn’t appropriate to say that Shi Yan was acting like a hoodlum, because he didn’t feel like he was being bullied by Shi Yan. It actually felt more pleasurable when Shi Yan does it for him than when he does it himself. He recalled how Shi Yan brought some warm water afterwards that night and that huge handkerchief again, and how he didn’t want Shi Yan to wipe him down. But he couldn’t even raise his hand to start cleaning himself up in front of Shi Yan. After Shi Yan generously helped him wash away the foul liquid, he wiped off the liquid on his own body too. By the time He Nuo fell asleep, he was still unable to dispel the clouds above him that were concealing the answers to his doubts.
After he had lunch on a Sunday, Shi Yan came to He Nuo’s house and lied down on his bed the moment he entered the room. He Nuo specially sat on the stool in front of his table, but it didn’t take long before Shi Yan patted the space next to him and asked him to go over. He Nuo didn’t want to stick so close to Shi Yan, so he didn’t go over. Shi Yan went over and forcibly dragged him to the bed, so He Nuo leaned close to the bed’s headboard. Shi Yan asked, puzzled, “What’s wrong with you? Why are you being so awkward?”
He Nuo hesitated, “I don’t want to.”
“What don’t you want?” Shi Yan didn’t understand him.
“I don’t want………..” He Nuo searched for the words to say.
When Shi Yan saw the blush of shame on his face, he knew what he was talking about so he deliberately questioned, “What? What don’t you want?”
“Let’s not do that anymore, it’s so obscene.”
Shi Yan was stunned, then he laughed aloud. He Nuo was dumbfounded by his laugh, he didn’t understand why Shi Yan reacted that way. Shi Yan yanked He Nuo over and pressed him down beneath him. He couldn’t help smiling as he said, “Who did you call obscene? You? Me?”
He Nuo shook his head. Shi Yan’s eyes had a mischievously evil glint, “It’s not you, it’s me!” As he spoke, he grabbed He Nuo’s legs, “If you hadn’t mentioned it I would’ve forgotten it, didn’t our grand master scold Laozi for being a local hoodlum in front of Laoshi the other day? Looks like you’re getting really bold.”
He Nuo managed to dodge the attack of his demonic claws, but he couldn’t escape being pressured down by his huge figure that was as heavy as Mount Tai, so he was thoroughly subdued by Shi Yan and couldn’t budge an inch. This was when Shi Yan rubbed his hand in a clockwise direction across his pants, and after he had provoked the bulge between his legs erect, he gently whispered into He Nuo’s ear, “Does it feel good?”
“You don’t like this?”
He Nuo didn’t answer him. Shi Yan blew into his ear and He Nuo shuddered, “I like it.”
“Do you hate this?” Shi Yan gently bit his ear, then began to lick and suck on it.
“I don’t hate it.” He Nuo’s voice was trembling. The heat between his legs rose.
After He Nuo shot into Shi Yan’s hand again, he covered his face in shame. Shi Yan took his hand away, “What’s obscene about masturbating? Which guy hasn’t done it before? Even girls do it.”
These words made He Nuo turn his head away. Shi Yan pulled his face back, “Don’t tell me you’ve never masturbated before? I won’t believe it.”
He Nuo went all out, “Self-consolation is normal, but to play with someone else’s is…very obscene.”
“You’re calling me obscene because I played with your dick?” Shi Yan was upset, so he deliberately picked crude words to say.
When he heard that kind of crude language, He Nuo’s face flushed red.
Shi Yan bumped against He Nuo with his crotch, “I like it when you touch my dick, it feels better with your hand than jerking off by myself. But I don’t think you’re obscene.” He took He Nuo’s hand and placed it on his, but He Nuo retracted his hand.
“Would it feel this good if it was obscene?” Shi Yan grabbed his hand again and placed it on his, “Then when you go to college and listen to all the bullshit they say at night in the dorms, won’t you think that they’re all hoodlums?” The way Shi Yan dealt with He Nuo just now — finding his sensitive spot on his ear — was something he learnt from the midnight chats he had at college.
There were two students in their dorm who were from the city, so they could walk to school and didn’t need to stay in the dormitory. But they wanted to break away from the shackles of their family and enjoy a dormitory’s social life. The two of them were also children of officials. They grew up in the big city, so they were more mature and sophisticated than Shi Yan and gang; and they were wilder too. This bunch of guys who were of the same feather hit it off immediately. Shi Yan and his buddies wanted to change dormitories because their dormitory only has 8 beds, but their gang has 11 people. There were 6 people in this college at first, so when Shi Yan and Zhou Xiaodong joined in, they stayed in the opposite dormitory and always thought about how to change their accommodation such that all 8 of them can live together.
After they got close to those other two students, they decided to just move the wardrobes in their dormitory to the opposite dorm and placed two more beds inside, then 10 people could live in one dorm. Actually, if it were possible, the dormitory opposite them really wanted to move in as well because their dormitory was so lively and enticing. So usually, as long as there was one person in either dorm, the dorms would not be locked and the people from both dorms would go on rampages.
They were most lively when the bunch of them gathered to play poker, and it was even more exhilarating when they combined their cards with their new buddies. But what they liked the most were the colourful topics they talked about excitedly before they slept. The two brothers from the city broadened the horizons of the other guys with their thorough understanding of the matters between men and women. They didn’t hide the fact that they were veterans, and had quite a bit of experience under their belt. In actuality, Shi Yan and his buddies have tasted the forbidden fruit before, but they have never so publicly “reported” their experiences like they were giving a presentation. After a few months of nightly training, everyone’s theoretical knowledge had risen up a notch, and the initial situation no longer occurred: when all of them listened until their blood would rise and their bullets would get loaded.
He Nuo asked about the communal life in his college’s dormitory, because to him, the word ‘communal’ was actually very foreign. Shi Yan told him the essence of their meaty conversations at night, while He Nuo listened to his stories with his mouth agape — this was how a college’s communal life was like?!
“You talked to them about those kinds of obscene things?”
“Hehe, there’s nothing much for me to say, I just listen to them for fun. Isn’t it quite interesting? Isn’t it good if I can tell you about it when I come back?”
“That’s so low-class.”
“Other people won’t say that. Men all like these things, except for you who doesn’t know anything about it.”
“Then since you know so much, you must be very knowledgeable about it now.” He Nuo was a bit disappointed with Shi Yan’s college.
He Nuo’s sarcastic remarks sounded very unpleasant to Shi Yan. Whenever he heard anything interesting or funny at his college, he always thought about telling He Nuo about it because he thought that it would certainly make him laugh. But now, his excitement had been extinguished, “Aren’t I just telling you about it? Besides, I don’t do these things with anyone else.” Shi Yan felt like He Nuo despised him, so he got off the bed, “Since you think I’m obscene, I’ll leave.”
“Hey,” He Nuo had just said this one word when Shi Yan opened the door and walked out. By the time He Nuo went out, Shi Yan had already left on his bike. He Nuo felt lonely as he went back in, and he felt quite bad. During dinnertime, his parents asked him why Shi Yan left. Apparently, when Shi Yan came, his parents had asked him to stay for dinner. He Nuo could only say that he left because he had something else to do.
1. Duke of Zhou is also known as the “God of Dreams”. The Analects record Confucius saying, “How I have gone downhill! It has been such a long time since I dreamt of the Duke of Zhou.” This was meant as a lamentation of how the governmental ideals of the Duke of Zhou had faded, but was later taken literally. In Chinese legends, if an important thing is going to happen to someone, the Duke of Zhou will let the person know through dreams: hence the Chinese expression “Dreaming of Zhou Gong”.↩