My plan to write such a story dates back to the day when an acquaintance of mine told me the aforementioned sentence: “We hate each other because we are strangers; we are strangers because we hate each other.” I was struck not by the skillful rhetoric it used, but the sense of estrangement it brought along. Thus, this sentence occurred and recurred in my mind, until I decided I should write an illustration of it.
The locale of the story is in S city. Jiaotou joked with me, saying that S city was no more than a Utopia. I smiled at his witty words. Yes, S city is just an imagined city, created from my opinions about those big, modern but spiritually derelict cities. You can guess it is Shanghai, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Shaoxing, or whatever city you think it sounds like. But here in this story, it is only a non-existent place, applying to everywhere or nowhere.
The characters are also created, though each of them has his own archetype.
Sylvia, for example, is a combination of several girls I know. When I was writing, I mainly thought of an acquaintance of mine in university. We hold quite different opinions about life, so like Mohamode said, it is difficult for us to make friends. However, we share something in common: we both are whimsical, willful and weirdo-like in others’ eyes, only the extent of hers is more severe than mine. She only wears clothes with pure color, she likes walking alone deep in the night when suffering from insomnia, and she eats excessively to drive away low spirits. She has the desire to drift, and hates any rule that binds her, and is cunning in dealing with life. However, she is still childlike, while all her cunningness is no more than bravado. One of her famous jokes is that she went shopping one day, and the vender charged her of 1.2 yuan for oranges per kilo. She bargained, insisting on paying 2 yuan for 3 kilos. The vender agreed, perhaps laughing in his heart at this foolish consumer. Though she is clumsy in daily life, she is a wonderful cook, for which I admire her desperately.
But this girl is too cynical and skeptical so that she treats love in an irresponsible way. So the devotion of Sylvia is absorbed from another girl, my closest friend in university. She and her boyfriend both come from poor villages. In order to support him, she does all the cooking, washing, as well as many part-time jobs. In an environment where boys and girls flirt and part easily, her seriousness and responsibility in her attitude toward love move many people.
As for Silver, she is a simple girl, in which way she resembles me. Despite of her experiences, she still maintains her naivety as a vulnerable child, sticking to her ideals, even if parts of them are out of date. However, she is also selfish when she retreats to Tim for comfort, not considering his feelings.
Earnest originates from many vivid examples I meet with my own eyes. Generally speaking, he is an excellent man, and loves sincerely his girlfriend. But as a rational young man, he has to cut with his beloved girl when confronted with the alternative between love and career. Though he is cruel in doing so, I condemn him not, for he, as well as his broken-hearted girl, is also a victim of the conflicts in life.
I like Yunmeimei’s novel Merely A Scar very much, and the character KANG Wen in it gives me the aspiration of Tim. Also, Tim is created to commemorate my transient love experience last year. I had tried hard to accept someone, but soon disappointedly broke with him, as I thought he was too material. Like Silver, even my sense couldn’t persuade myself into doing something I dislike. But I feel sorry for him, as he is so tender towards me.
Wiseman is not my focus in the story, and I know very little about the thoughts in his mind. But I once heard someone talk of the quarrels between she and her boyfriend. It broke due to the boy’s self-contempt. Thus, he tried every means to hurt her, thinking she could find a better man than himself if she will leave him. All these are ridiculous forejudgements, however, they are powerful to destroy the patience and love.
We Hate Each Other is not a satisfactory story as I am not a good story teller. Moreover, I am not streetwise enough. That is also why I decided to write it in English: People are strict with something written in their mother language, but more tolerant towards those native-written English. In my opinion, Moment in Peking can not be eyed as a great novel if it is translated into Chinese. The characters in it are pallid, yet it enjoys world renown.
Many people say my story is too sad. Yes, that is true. And I am going to explain why.
There is a song named Belief by Jeff ZHANG. It says: “Love is a type of belief.” What I want to say is I let the story go this way because I don’t have such a belief, and I made it up according to my ideas about things. But if you believe in love, then please stick to it, and let it blossom in your own story.
Finally, I want to express my thanks to all who have the patience to read the whole story. Every encouragement and opinion of yours is a good motivation for me to go on.
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