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In another world, may you blossom brilliantly

Posted on:October 5, 2023 at 01:05 AM

The beginning of the holiday marked the start of an impromptu day trip to Western Sichuan with a friend. We rented a car and left Chengdu around eleven at night, keeping the music on to stay alert. Among the classic road trip songs, “The Ordinary Road” was also played, but this time, it struck me differently.

I had just gotten a tattoo, a colorful one, marking my first foray into such designs in 2023. This was also my first tattoo session lasting over an hour.

My journey with tattoos began around the middle of 2018, at a time when I was deeply mired in anxiety and sadness. My first tattoo was of Plankton holding a flower alone.


A month later, I made up my mind to visit a hospital and, unsurprisingly, was diagnosed with depression. This led to a long period of medication and a year of mandatory weekly psychological counseling at school (where I never spoke a word of truth to the so-called psychological teachers). Little did I know, this would later connect me to her.

Our story, like many, started with a shared desk in high school in 2013. It’s surprising to realize a decade has passed since then. We weren’t exactly desk mates but ended up sitting together every few weeks due to shared interests.

Many weekends were spent together exploring parks, chatting on her rooftop, and once, hiding in her room playing 2048 for two hours when her father came home unexpectedly. We shared everything – dreams, realities, desired universities, and even competed with kids for swings in parks. I still have many photos from those days. I remember the first time I held her hand, our last hug, and the sight of her eyelashes wet with tears.

After we drifted apart, our interactions grew rare, and we became like strangers in the same class. During college entrance exams, I wished her well, hoping she’d get into her dream university. Ironically, she stayed in Xi’an, while I, wanting to stay, ended up in Chengdu.

Our paths crossed again on Weibo, but we limited our interactions to likes and comments, deliberately not adding each other on WeChat until almost graduating in 2020. She was a catalyst in my understanding of gender equality, and her posts on Weibo opened my eyes to many new perspectives.

After high school, we met a few times at gatherings. She remained the girl whose eyes would turn into crescents when she smiled. I kept a low profile on Weibo, with her being one of the few who knew my account. This led to what followed. I had documented my depression treatment on Weibo, and later, she went through a similar ordeal. One night last January, she reached out to me on WeChat about hospital consultations, which I responded to and advised her to seek timely help. Our conversation was brief thereafter.

On New Year’s Eve, after not hearing from her for a while, I checked her Weibo and was alarmed to find her last update in May. Further investigation revealed she had passed away.

An hour before the new year, I was overwhelmed with memories and regret. A few days before her departure, she had liked a post saying, “Only in death do we find eternal life.” I had planned to talk to her about it later but forgot amidst other things. Four days after liking that post, she jumped from a building.

I wanted to share this with someone but hesitated on New Year’s Eve. Realizing we didn’t have mutual friends to confide in, I spent that night sleepless.

In the following days, I wondered if things might have been different had I kept in touch with her about her treatment. It’s a thought that occasionally haunts me – regret or self-blame, I’m not sure.

After learning of her departure, I reached out to old friends to make sure they were still with us, which finally eased my mind.

Later, I communicated my thoughts to my tattoo artist. I initially planned to get the tattoo on the day she left but postponed it due to travel plans to Hainan. On a night in September, I finally mustered the courage to get it done.

In my world, she has withered away. But in the world she ventured into, I believe she will find everything she hoped for.


“In another world, may you blossom brilliantly.”

Wishing you well.