In July 2010, Zhang Hang graduated from the School for the Blind. While he didn’t have a graduation gown, he received a graduation photo. Because all the students couldn’t see the people in the photo, it was processed using special technology that made it so every person’s silhouette in the picture protruded a little and could be felt. Zhang Hang stood on the right side of the last row when the photo was taken. When he graduated, his height was already considered relatively tall, even among the tall students of the north. Beside Zhang Hang sat a black guide dog whose silhouette could also be felt due to the special photo processing.
Additionally, there was a Braille list attached to the picture. By following the list, the students could touch the people in the picture one by one. Obviously they couldn’t see them, but still wanted to remember their classmates in this way.
“This is Big Black?” One student asked in surprise. “It’s so short, much shorter than Zhang Hang. Each time I go to school I can hear its bark very loudly and clearly, so I thought it was a very big dog.”
“Labradors are between medium-sized and large-sized dogs. As adults they aren’t too tall, so of course they wouldn’t grow too big.” Another student felt the silhouette of Big Black and said, “But Zhang Hang, your dog is still awesome. Counting the preparatory classes, you’ve been in school for four years, and it’s waited for you each day for four years. It behaves very well, and even ended up moving the headmaster’s heart. She even let Big Black in the graduation photo.”
The corner of Zhang Hang’s mouth raised slightly. Already a 20-year-old, the youth was now moving forward and maturing according to Lu Chengye’s estimation. He was not exceptionally tall, but his body was perfectly proportioned. A pair of long legs were wrapped in school uniform pants, showing a robust outline. He was very handsome. Even though he was obviously blind, he gave off a very sunny feeling when smiling. His eyes were very beautiful, but because they were unfocused, it was like looking into an abyss. If you stared at him, you would be unable to free yourself from their depths.
When he stood, the moment he smiled, his body seemed to be automatically illuminated by warm light, making people feel comfortably warm. When you found out that such an excellent young man was actually blind, your heart would ache.
However, in the School for the Blind, the other students couldn’t see what he looked like, so his remarkable appearance and temperament, shaped by years of experience, went unnoticed. The reason why Zhang Hang was famous at school was because he had a guide dog who had followed after him for four years, and only had that guide dog.
People who had come into contact with Zhang Hang knew no one was looking after him, and that even though he was blind, he lived by himself. However, after getting along with each other for a long time, this admiration would turn into envy— being able to have such a soulmate was truly something that could only be found by chance, not sought out.
Big Black had become well known throughout the school. All the new students entering in September of 2010 knew from the headmaster that the Kaishi School for the Blind had such a guide dog. In the past, when people talked about the Kaishi School for the Blind, they referred to it as “the first school to merge a vocational high school and a school for the blind”. Now they said “oh, the school for the blind that has a dog at the gate”.
For anything, doing it for one day was ordinary, for one year was persistence, and for four years was a miracle. Big Black created the legend of the Kaishi School for the Blind with his determination and his efforts each day. He was able to accompany Zhang Hang to school in a different way. Even if Zhang Hang was studying indoors, from time to time someone would remind him, saying, “your dog is outside”, “it’s raining, so the guard put a poncho from the security office on Big Black”, “it’s snowing, so Big Black should be wearing shoes and warm clothes”, “it’s windy, you should put a hat on Big Black to protect him from the wind”, or “Big Black is still waiting outside for you to get out of school”.
When hearing about Big Black, Zhang Hang would reveal a happy smile. At this time, both people who could and couldn’t see would be able to sense that he was showing off just based on his voice!
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Ktja’r gluta, tf kjr j rtbk-boo. Ca ifjra, j qgfaas ijwf bcf.
A dog could be something to show off… Mom, I want one too!
Dlu Dijmx’r gfrbieaf jaalaevf jaagjmafv atf jaafcalbc bo rbwf Bjlrtl gfqbgafgr ktb kjcafv ab gfqbga bc atf rabgs bc ibmji KN. Coafg jii, atlr rmfcf bo ibsjiis kjlalcu mbeiv yf mbcrlvfgfv ibmji Bjlrtl rmfcfgs. Lbkfnfg, atf qgbqbrji kjr gfpfmafv ys Itjcu Ljcu. Lf jcv Dlu Dijmx cfnfg atbeuta atja la kjr jcsatlcu ab yf jwjhfv ys. Ktfs kfgf rlwqis jikjsr abufatfg, vjs lc jcv vjs bea. Snfc lo bcf kjr kjlalcu bearlvf atf ujaf jcv atf batfg kjr lc atf mijrrgbbw, atflg tfjgar kfgf bcf.
Like this, when taking the graduation photo, Zhang Hang may not have suggested it, but the school invited Big Black to be a part of the group photo with the bartending students.
“Big Black is also a student of our school who never comes late or leaves early. He is a model student, hahaha!” The headmaster of the School for the Blind was a very open-minded and generous woman. Her grandmother was also blind, so she raised money and opened the school a few decades before the founding of the People’s Republic of China. At that time, it was a private school, but after the founding, it became public. The headmaster changed from generation to generation, and now it was her turn, which could be considered a sort of cycle.
So Big Black, after being pet by the headmaster, director, teachers, and students, got an opportunity to stand beside Zhang Hang for the group photo, and became a graduate of the 2010 bartending class. His figure would stay alongside Zhang Hang in this school forever.
The student roster for the 2010 bartending class went from left to right. Zhang Hang was listed last, and after his name, the teacher who printed the roster carefully added the words “Big Black”.
Zhang Hang stroked the roster and photos, smiling gently. “After four years, Big Black has become my classmate.”
“I see, you must be happy,” one of his classmates said jealously. “Now that you’ve graduated, do you have a job? Everyone else is apprenticing at bars, and have now basically been accepted to work there. You’re going to the distillery, where it’s hard to get hired as a wine taster if you aren’t an expert. What will you do if you can’t find a job? Would you like me to introduce one to you? The working environment isn’t bad.”
“No need.” Zhang Hang shook his head and said, “My cocktail-mixing technique is not quite good enough yet. I want to learn more for a while.”
“You’re already a senior bartender, where are you not good enough?” the classmate asked in surprise. They had all just graduated, but most were only junior bartenders, with a few being intermediate. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to take the exam, but that they were only allowed to take one every two years. If they wanted to break the rules and sign up for one, they had to be recommended by their instructor. Zhang Hang had always had a good relationship with his teacher, and was recommended to take the senior bartender exam.
Zhang Hang didn’t speak, instead leaning against the window and feeling the sunshine. Although he couldn’t see it, he still enjoyed the sensation of bathing in the sunlight. He could “see” how bright the sun was based on the temperature, which was a very good feeling.
Graduation… in a flash, he was already 20 years old.
These four years were neither fast nor slow. He spent every day studying and became quite fulfilled. In the past four years, he had completely learned how to be a blind man, and was able to adapt to living without seeing the world. He seemed no different from normal people, and was even able to cook well as long as he was in a familiar environment.
Over the past four years, a great many things had happened, but it felt as if no time had passed. Like pure wine left to ferment for four years, his life became fragrant and full of appeal.
He learned to love life, to enjoy the sunshine in the dark, and to appreciate the silence in the noise.
At this age life was supposed to be fast-paced, but he understood the leisure of stopping. It should have been a gloomy life devoid of light, but he found a way forward.
After graduating, life was full of hope.
At the graduation ceremony, Zhang Hang delivered a speech as a representative of the graduates. He had no prepared manuscript, and did not need one. At this special school, he only had one sentence to convey to all the graduates and students who were newly enrolled during this period of confusion: “In this world, we are the people who understand the best that light is precious, and treasure this light the most, because only when there is light in our hearts can we face ourselves, respect ourselves, regard ourselves as people who add brightness to the world, and pass this treasure on to each and every person.”
Maybe other people didn’t understand this sentence, but Zhang Hang did. He lost his light, but there was one family member whose own warmth filled his heart with light so he wouldn’t feel cold in the dark. He cherished this light, which allowed him to laugh today and hope tomorrow. If you abandon light, you will be in darkness even when you couldn’t see it. If you embrace the light, you will be bathed in the sun even if you were blind.
Light didn’t discriminate against anyone. Even if you couldn’t see it, you could still feel its warmth.
At the end of the graduation ceremony, Zhang Hang walked to the school gate with his diploma and photo. He heard a familiar “woof” and raised his hand habitually. A lively body fell into his arms, and the dog’s warm tongue licked his ear.
“Another student graduates,” sighed the headmaster. “I won’t be able to see Big Black in the future. It makes me feel a bit lonely.”
“There are still photos.” The director felt the imprint under his hand. “Go back and put them in the bookcase.”
In his bookcase, there were countless graduation photos, from the past, from now, and… in the future.
Zhang Hang had graduated, and the school which gave hope to the blind would welcome new students and teach each and every one of them to be excellent.
Back home, Zhang Hang put the photo under Big Black’s nose and said, “Look at Big Black. I can feel where Big Black is, it’s so nice.”
“Woof!” Lu Chengye cried out with satisfaction when he saw himself stuck to Zhang Hang’s side in the photo. The headmaster of this school was quite sensible.
“How stupid of me. When I took photos before, I didn’t think of how they were only 2D. It’s hard to recognize them if I can’t see the positions in them. Big Black, let’s get all our photos specially printed in the future so I can feel where you are in them.” Zhang Hang couldn’t help feeling Big Black’s body in the graduation photo.
“Woof!” He completely agreed! Actually, he was quite stupid as well, since he hadn’t thought of this before either.
“I’ve graduated, Big Black, tomorrow I want to…” Zhang Hang spoke nervously, “that… we don’t have much money… we shouldn’t…”
“Woof, woof, woof!” Lu Chengye bit Zhang Hang’s finger. How could he doubt him?
Tomorrow was the start of a new day!
sere: ZH is a very good role model and he deserves all the light ever. Also irrelevant but editor rants: the author’s use of second person POV is really freakin annoying
bear: ZH’s speech warmed my heart… our boy is so mature and wise and aaAA