Love Of Despair
Drawing + Editing+Writing：Kiwi He
Special thanks to Mowen and Cherry
One of the phenonenons under the Domino Effect is the Butterfly Effect. It is characterized by small, seemingly insignificant events, bringing humongous change. This effect shows the results of the development of events, the sensitivity and dependence of events on their starting requirements, and how the changing of those requirements can lead to drastic differences between the results.
The movement of the butterfly, causing the air around it to be affected, will cause the slightest of air currents, and from this, will result in the environment and other systems around it changing, causing a domino effect, eventually leading to drastic changes in other systems.
“Today, there’s been a case of a schoolgirl committing suicide at a school. The schoolgirl was diagnosed and confirmed to be dead on the 13th, at 9pm-“
The rest I couldn’t hear, just the static from the old television after the screen turned into static snow.
Haya is my daughter, she was diagnosed to be dead yesterday.
It’s the 14th, 8:05 in the morning. The TV is playing the morning news, as usual.
I lift my head slightly, to see my husband’s yellowed sweatshirt drying outside, next to the red dress that hasn’t been taken down.
Ah, these are the washed clothes from the day before yesterday, it’s been two days, they still haven’t been taken down; Haya’s dress isn’t ironed either.
She always complained about not liking this dress, I should’ve gotten her the jeans she wanted last month.
I go out to buy the jeans for Haya, as usual, I am wearing neat, ironed clothes, dressing up facing a mirror. The salesgirl keeps looking at me weirdly. I try to smile at her, but the corners of my mouth feel stiff, she looks scared now.
The salesgirl turns and knocks a glass of water, which spills onto the white dress nearest to the counter. The girl grumbles as she bends to pick the cup up, but accidentally cuts my arm with the scissors in her hands she uses to cut tags off.
She hurriedly apologises to me, but in the crowded clothes store, the beads of blood, squeezed out of my fingertips, catches my attention.
I spaced out again. I remember the dream I had last night, Haya leaped off the building, staining a cluster of black lilies, red.
I cleaned Haya’s room to be neat and tidy, and found, in her old, sewage-scented backpack, among the molding orange peels and tattered textbooks, a broken, tattered notebook.
Haya’s textbook is missing half its cover. The notes in the book are hardly visible, and there are marks of the paper being soaked in water, and then carefully dried out.
I never knew Haya had a habit of writing diary entries.
I think I know who to find.
I go to all the places where students tend to go after school, convenience stores, alleys, even the woods.
Haya’s death seems to have been forgotten. The beautiful faces of teenage girls, shining with the exuberance of youth, wearing make up, surrounding a group of students with pimples, harassing a frail girl.
These faces look familiar. They’re Haya’s classmates.
The glasses of girl that was kicked on ground are already shattered into pieces. The things in her bag are soaked from being dumped into the mud puddles.
The girl in front says, not as amusing as our friend from before, right? When Haya was knocked down, she didn’t make a sound.
The tormented girl’s clothes are torn. She is still kneeling on the ground, I hear her plead the girl in front, Lana, please, I’m begging you.
A stocky boy, with pimples on his face, stomps on the girl’s cheek. He turns and looks at Lana with a crazed expression.
The voices around me grow louder and louder. I turn away.
I bought two glasses of hot milk. When I return to the muddy, dirty place, all that was left was the girl who had been kicked.
I help her gather herself toegther. Her tears are already dry and her cheeks are red and swollen.
Her hands are shaking. I decide to take her home.
I ask her, why didn’t she tell the teacher? Can the teacher take her home?
She says her teacher, Mr. Ma, is a middle-aged man, who only cares about the pretty students with wealthy families.
“The class captain before said, if a girl goes into Mr. Ma’s office, they get felt up by him, it’s really really weird.”
The girl waves goodbye to me. I am holding the warm milk in my palms, my fingertips are cold.
Back home, the house is still filled with the disgusting scent of beer. I just hope, tonight, he doesn’t come home drunk and hit me, or vomit on the washed sheets.
As far as I can remember, my husband has never been sober in our home.
The cut on my finger isn’t bleeding anymore. I close my eyes, the image of black blood-stained lily resurfaces on my mind.
I know that my husband passes a bar on his way back from work, called [erm], where he always gets drunk and staggers home.
The bar is not far from the school. There’ll always be students mixed into the crowd.
I meet the girl who had been bullied again. I deliberately ask if I can give her a ride to school, and she is grateful. I invite her to eat a bowl of beef noodles, and when she goes to get the noodles, I slip a note in her textbook.
Towards the end of school, I went to the school and asked to talk with Mr. Ma. I put on a helpless, lonely pretense to confide in him, crying about my husband’s uselessness.
I ask to meet him at the bar in the evening, and he quickly agreed.
I pass through the woods again. Lana and Jishen are both here. There is a loud slap, followed by the sound of a school bag being grabbed and dumped on the ground.
Lana’s shrill squeal rings out again.
“Haha, I can’t believe someone actually likes people like her! They wrote her love letters too, asking her to meet him in afterschool!!”
The girl’s panicked denial confirmed this for the both of them.
“Lana, we haven’t been to this bar yet. How ’bout we’ll go for her, after all, her face is so swollen, even ghosts are gonna be scared.”
It is Jishen that makes the proposal.
“My parents are taking my stupid brother out again tonight, I’m gonna prove to them, I don’t need no one taking care of me! I am definitely going-“
It is 6:26 in the afternoon.
I arrive 20 minutes earlier than agreed. I sit down in the corner and put heavy makeup on.
Lana and Jishen force the broken, frail girl into the bar. They’re still laughing at her.
The bar is shabby and secluded, and now there are very few people, with only one bartender and a waiter. I come, five minutes later.
20 minutes before my husband leaves work. He needs 10 minutes to get here.
Mr. Ma came, I purposefully change the alcohol to one with higher alcohol content, and he soon becomes drunk. He becomes more and more vulgar.
My husband should arrive in 5 minutes.
I excuse myself to the bathroom. Mr. Ma is delirious, lying on the table. I pretend to be an angry parent, accusing the fragile, little girl of being here with the “university students”.
Lana and Jishen, who are mistaken for college students, are giggling and continue drinking while watching the drama unfold.
The bartender and waiter are exasperated and proposed to discuss the issue outside.
My husband enters the pub through the side door.
It is 21:25 p.m.
Amongst the smoke, the girl, bartender and waiter fainted from the impact of the explosion.
I can almost see, the black lily in my dreams, finally coming to an end. Its petals close together.
A flower of love’s despair blossoms, with droplets of blood leaking.
Haya, you don’t have to be afraid anymore.
“Yesterday night, at 9:30pm in Shanghai, there was an explosion, at a bar known as ‘Un-Sight’. Two male and two females died from the impact of the explosion, three people were rendered unconscious, but none of the three suffered any fatal injuries- “
Before I make my decision, mom, I wanted to write one last letter to you, to say a few words before I leave.
I was always too scared to tell you. To me, you always seemed so tired, even depressed. I already felt horrible enough, and for you to be inevitably disappointed in me… I never wanted this to happen, but I always slept badly, and everytime I would dream of those… horrible people, their sticky, disgusting hands touching me. That day, I really didn’t mean to vomit in the egg soup you made for me. But the people being mean to me always dumped the egg soup from the canteen on my hair and my clothes, and the scent of it made my hands tremble so much I couldn’t hold onto the chopsticks.
Sorry, mom. Sorry, I really didn’t mean for this to happen. I wanted to be braver, to be more determined, to study harder and go to a nice college, and bring you with me. To get away from this school, the teachers, schoolmates, and dad. I’m sorry, mom, but I’m just so tired, I couldn’t catch a break, day and night both seemed like nightmares to me.
I just have one last wish, mom. Please don’t forget me. And if you can, please leave dad, he seems to spend even less time being sober now.
I’m sorry, mom, I’m sorry.
I love you,