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Chapter 481 – Philosophy of Life and Death
It wasn’t raining hard, but it kind of felt like it wouldn’t stop raining until the end of the world.
As if the heavens were influenced by the cla.s.s leader’s tears and also wanted to weep for the pa.s.sing of the little black dog.
Everyone says it rains on Qing Ming Festival (day to commemorate the dead) because rain acts as a good farewell when a life pa.s.ses away.
I vaguely remember back many years ago when my own dog died. The skies were clear and a detestable shade of blue. It was not until late into the night when I secretly buried my dog in the community garden that the heavens stingily shed a few tears.
Afterward, I had a long discussion with my dad. He might be a man who couldn’t escape from his emotions, but he has a lot of unique views about life and death, you could even say he’s almost at a philosopher’s level.
I could plagiarize the words my dad once told me and tell it to the cla.s.s leader.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a burial or a cremation.” I pointed to my heart after I attracted the cla.s.s leader’s attention, “Ben Hur Lampman once said: The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his master.”
My dad once said that to me to comfort me.
Of course, I still have no idea who Ben Hur Lampman is, maybe he didn’t do anything else but say that line.
The cla.s.s leader, who was sharing an umbrella with me while walking on the water soaked streets, looked up at me as if she didn’t expect that I could say those words.
The pet hospital had received an emergency where a German Shepherd had its stomach pierced by a chicken bone and needed immediate surgery. I was able to persuade the cla.s.s leader to leave the little black dog’s body with Xiao Ding, and we walked out with my umbrella.
I was only planning on comforting the cla.s.s leader a bit and then bring her home, but she wandered around aimlessly and brought me onto streets I didn’t recognize. It was clear she still had a lot of emotions and didn’t want to head home yet.
There weren’t many pedestrians on the damp streets and the air was crisp and clear. The wet surface of the road reflected the lights from the streetlights and the dimness of the night more p.r.o.nounced.
The cla.s.s leader once again let out a couple of sniffles. If I didn’t personally witness it, I would never believe the mighty cla.s.s leader would suddenly act like a crybaby.
The night breeze blew at the cla.s.s leader’s skirt and I slanted the umbrella a bit more towards her to prevent her from being showered by the rain. It was fine for me since I already got wet when I ran over.
What, did you say I would get a cold? Stop joking, a Spartan’s body wouldn’t be that frail.
“But…” the cla.s.s leader spoke for the first time after I comforted her, “He was able to pa.s.s so many crises, but he couldn’t pa.s.s this one…”
Hey, you made the mistake of ‘attachment’ according to Buddhism. You can keep living as long as you can breathe, but sometimes we can’t keep breathing anymore.
I recollected the things my dad once said to me and instead of answering the cla.s.s leader directly, I asked:
“Cla.s.s leader, do you believe in life after death?”
The cla.s.s leader shook her head, “My parents are atheists and so am I.”
“That’s right, if you don’t believe in the afterlife, then the little black dog is currently in a state of nothingness. It’s a great state to be in, even better than a deep sleep. If you don’t believe me, try to remember the state you were in before you were born.”
My unconventional rational caused the cla.s.s leader to widen her eyes in surprise, “So you’re saying… since nothing exists after death, it’s even better than being alive?”
Yeah, that’s pretty much what my dad meant. He even quoted a pa.s.sage from the Book of Dao which says, “I suffer because I exist, if I don’t exist then what sufferings could happen to me?”
In layman’s terms: “Since I have a physical body, that means I would die of sickness and suffer. If I don’t have a body, then I wouldn’t suffer any hards.h.i.+ps.”
Before waiting for the cla.s.s leader to speak her doubts, I continued to speak:
“Conversely, if you do believe in an afterlife, then regardless of religion, a sick puppy is free of sins. After it dies, it can go to the heavens and enjoy paradise. It might even be watching you from the skies, so why show him your sad face?”
My words may have stirred up emotions as the cla.s.s leader sniffed and covered her eyes.
“Ye Lin, you… actually thought a lot about life and death. I underestimated you…”
Actually, the one who thought about life and death was my dad! Why would I think about the world after death as a 14 year old? But I guess it’s good if the cla.s.s leader thinks I’m complex.
The cla.s.s leader took a breath of the cool and crisp air, then sighed: “I’m not as open-minded as you. I go and visit the dog every week and it’s already become a habit. If I suddenly change my habit…”
It’s the same for me. Even now when I have leftover bones, I always think if I should bring it home for my dog, but then I realize we no longer have a dog at home. An indescribable feeling was stuck inside me, so I could only smile bitterly.
If someone else heard about the cla.s.s leader’s current state, they might recommend the cla.s.s leader to raise another dog, but I don’t have the right to make that recommendation.
The healthiest dog will at most live ten plus years, so after that amount of time, the cla.s.s leader will once again feel the pain of losing her dog. And the longer you’re together, the more pain you would feel, since being together everyday would have become a habit.
So I recommended the cla.s.s leader to stop volunteering at the pet hospital. She could find a different hobby or even use her free time to get some more rest.
The cla.s.s leader didn’t reply but asked: “You like dogs, right?”
“A bit.” I made my sure appear as indifferent as possible, “As long as they don’t bite, then I would feed them if I had food on me.”
“Then have you raised a dog at home?”
I really wanted to avoid her question, but I needed to comfort her and I also said I had a similar experience. So I sighed and told her about my dog and how he died of illness.
I rarely tell people that story, maybe it’s because I think they wouldn’t understand how I felt. But I finally felt like I could tell everything to the cla.s.s leader and get rid of the sadness in my heart. I even told the cla.s.s leader about how I buried my dog in the garden with my own hands.
I might have accidentally said too much, so I turned my head away in embarra.s.sment.
“So that’s why…” The cla.s.s leader nodded, “Now everything makes sense.”
It wasn’t raining that hard, but the cla.s.s leader got a bit closer to me. I felt like because we had similar experiences, our minds was also closer.
At around 8:30, after walking around in the rain, I safely sent the cla.s.s leader home.
When we opened the door, Shu Zhe was was sitting the living room eating KFC takeout while watching TV. He didn’t even notice his sister’s grieving expression, he glanced at her and asked:
“Sister, where did you go after school? I called you and you didn’t pickup. I was starving but I didn’t even have anything to eat, so I could only order some takeout.”
“I had some stuff to do, so I came home late.” The cla.s.s leader said apologetically to her brother.
Shu Zhe’s tone really made me angry. I walked in quickly and gave Shu Zhe a scare, then I said to him:
“Your sister was at a pet hospital taking care of a dog that just pa.s.sed away. She’s feeling down right now, what’s wrong with taking care of your own dinner? And you’re still complaining to your sister?”
Shu Zhe only just realized the grief on his sister’s face, but as someone who didn’t love animals, he couldn’t understand his sister.
“Bro Ye Lin and sis, really? It was only an animal that died, it’s not like I died, why are you so serious? Just buy another one.”
I rolled up my sleeves in anger, then I pointed to Shu Zhe and asked the cla.s.s leader: “Can I hit him?”
“Don’t, he didn’t do it on purpose.” The cla.s.s leader stopped me, “Everyone has different perspectives. Xiao Zhe just doesn’t like animals.”
Shu Zhe quickly escaped to his room and took his KFC with him before I could change my shoes.
He escaped pretty quickly.
I thought if the cla.s.s leader went directly to the pet hospital after school, that means she hasn’t eaten yet.
“Cla.s.s leader, you haven’t eat yet, right? How about I help you go out and buy some food?”
“No, it’s fine. You already helped me a lot today and I can just cook some noodles at home.”
She might have said that, but who knows if she would actually eat something or just go to sleep after I leave.
I decided to volunteer: “I could also cook noodles. If you don’t mind, I’ll help you cook some noodles with eggs. You’re the main force of the volleyball team for tomorrow, it would be bad if you don’t eat or get a good night’s rest.”
The cla.s.s leader had already cried for a long time before I got to the hospital, so she seemed to be really tired. She didn’t think it was a good idea, but then she thought about it and graciously accepted my offer.
Ah, I can finally cook noodles for her like I said a while back, but I have to cook and not think about dirty jokes. (TN: Cooking noodles also sound the same as the lower half of your body so it could mean I’ll feed you my lower half, was a pun from a looong way back)