At the same time Al departed from school and headed for work.

He had a part-time job at a ra-men restaurant which was always busy during the evening.

He did not talk much, but he could make noodles fast without any mistake. Customers came and go, and he would make noodles in the back(as he didn’t talk much) for hours and not appeared to be tired. Once the store closed up he would wind up all the dishes and garbage from the tables and clean them. He would clean up the restaurant by sweeping and mopping, then headed to do the dishes quickly. By the time he finished everything it passed 12 a.m already.

“Good job, Al.” the owner(also a ra-men chef) applause, “thank you for your help tonight!”

Al nodded and left along with his bookbag. He walked in the streets where there was no one else. He got home-which wasn’t really a “home”. Rather, it was just a small room in the students’ residency where he started to live in since the first year of high school. The single room’s rental was a little higher than a normal 2-4 tenants room, but he was content by the fact that he could live by himself. It had all the necessities and was comfortable, too. It had a bed, a desk, a washroom with shower, and even a kitchen with small fridge.

He quickly took a shower then grabbed a can of cold coffee from the fridge. He was finally relaxed for the first time during the entire day. He hated to be in places with other people, as it made him (). He felt better at work, which he could fully concentrate on making noodles and no one would bother him. Besides, he got pretty good pay for working efficiently too, so a little extra living expense on rental wouldn’t hurt. He had always wanted to live by himself ever since the first day when he entered the orphanage. The kids there disgusted him. They were a parallel image of the human society in the big world, as Al learned when he read books about the reality of human nature and humanity. The kids form gangs and groups to bully the weaker ones and took advantage of them, just like the way most adults deal with others. Living with them for over nine years, he decided that enough was enough. He studied hard during the three years of junior-high and scored well on the national high school entrance exam, and so did Enne. They made it into the high school which they attended right now. It was far away from there.

At least Enne was able to get out of that damn place after all, Al thought. He had never been comfortable talking to anyone, including her. But he didn’t dislike Enne as much as for other kids. In fact, he didn’t hate her at all. For Al it was good to see her around, but not to talk with her or being close to her too often as it became stressful. He wanted to start a new life desperately and he was making profound progress, and Enne’s presence would remind him those days in the orphanage. He never understood why Enne insisted to choose the same school as him. She’s even got a scholarship to pay off her tuition and living expense, or else weak girls like that wouldn’t have gone this far…She couldn’t really work herself…

It was passed 1:30 a.m. when he realized that he had to cut off his thoughts about the past. He didn’t have to study or hand in any assignments as teachers didn’t care about him. He was the invisible in the school, he laughed. He went to bed and fell asleep as soon as he closed his eyes.

And there was fire again. He woke up on the bed, terrified. The flame was everywhere in the bedroom and was about to extend to the bed in any time. He cried for his daddy and mommy and no one would come. The little child cried and cried of despair and hopelessness. His twin brother beside him was still asleep, like nothing had been happening at all…

There father rushed to them and grab them in his arm, one on each side…He felt safe and warm that he closed his eyes…He couldn’t stare at the burning world anymore, it scared him…He could feel that they were running towards the outside of the house, but dangers were still ahead…They could hear their mother crying for them to hurry as the house was about to collapse…

His memory was blurry…Or maybe everything just happened too fast for him to remember…All of a sudden he was left alone on the lawn a few yards away from the house…It was torn and burnt down…He couldn’t see his mother, his father, or his brother anymore…He cried again, and louder as the flame gone wilder and wilder…

Al woke up with his shirt full of sweat. He was breathing hard as if he had entered that scene again himself. For ten years he had been dreaming about that incident for countless times and he hated it. It was another morning, another new day, but he still could not conquer his past for essence.


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