• Akiko: Talking Elbows

Volume one.

Autumn in 2022.


The patter of light rain fell from the gray sky, floating lightly on the city streets.


It is autumn, and from time to time, pedestrians without umbrellas can be seen passing by with their hands over their heads.


In the narrow Junmin Hutong, there is a seventeen or eighteen-year-old boy sitting opposite an old man under the canopy next to the supermarket canteen.


The whole world outside the canopy was dark and the ground was darkened by rain. Only the ground under the canopy was left with a dry area, as if there was only one piece of pure land left in the entire world.


In front of them was a dilapidated wooden chess board with a red “Fu Lai Supermarket” sign on top of their heads.


“General,” the young Qingchen said and stood up, leaving the old man with sparse hair sitting in a daze.


Young Qingchen glanced at the other party and said calmly, “No need to struggle.”


“I can still…” the old man said unwillingly: “This is only 13 steps down…”


In his words, the old man felt a little embarrassed about the situation of losing his helmet and abandoning his armor in thirteen steps.


Qing Chen didn’t explain anything, the murderous intentions were revealed on the chessboard, it was the last moment that Tuqiang saw.


The young man had a clean face and clear eyes. He was just sitting there in a plain school uniform, as if he was purifying the world around him a little more transparently.


The old man threw the chess piece he was holding onto the chessboard and discarded the piece to admit defeat.


No one beside Qing Chen walked into the counter of the nearby supermarket, took 20 yuan from the change basket under the counter and put it into his pocket.


The old man looked at Qing Chen scoldingly: “I have to lose you 20 yuan every day! I just won 20 yuan from Lao Li Lao Zhang in the morning, and I lose all to you now!”


Qing Chen picked up the money, then sat back next to the chessboard and started replaying: “If they hadn’t been willing to play chess with me, I wouldn’t have to win money through you. You need face, I need money, it’s fair. reasonable.”


“You can eat me, right?” The old man murmured, “The fortune teller said that I can live to seventy-eight. I’m only fifty now. If you lose 20 yuan a day, how much do I have to pay? “


“But I also teach you to play chess to win back your face,” Qing Chen replied calmly, “You are not at a loss by this calculation.”


The old man murmured, “But what you taught these past two days has been useless.”


Qing Chen glanced at him: “Don’t talk about yourself like that.”


Old man: “???”


The old man re-arranged the chessboard irritably, and then eagerly said: “It’s all right, let’s resume the game.”


At this moment, Qing Chen suddenly bowed his head.


The time that had just passed, seemed to replay from his mind.


The guns that hit the head in the head, the fierce pawns in the Chu He Han realm, echoed one by one in his mind.


More than these.


And the uncle who passed by them while playing chess, holding the four sesame cakes they just bought, the fresh sesame cakes fainted with some water vapor, and the transparent plastic bag was stained with a layer of white mist.


The little girl in a white dress walked by with an umbrella, and there were two beautiful butterflies on the upper of her little leather shoes.


Above the sky, the precarious rain fell in the alley, crystal clear.


At the end of the alley, the 103 bus flashed past the narrow alley, and a woman in a beige windbreaker rushed to the bus station with an umbrella.


The sound of footsteps and the sound of running water as the rain flows into the manhole cover by the roadside, these noisy sounds make the world extremely quiet.


Qing Chen has never forgotten all this, although it is difficult to recall.


But the difficulty does not mean it is impossible.


This weird memory is Qing Chen’s innate talent, just like he picked an archive from the long river of time, and then read the picture in the archive magnetic strip.


Qing Chen resisted the dizziness in his brain and squeezed the chess pieces on the chessboard.


The old man stopped talking immediately, and stared at the board with his eyes intently. The resumption after each game was also the agreed terms of the game.


Qing Chen is responsible for teaching chess, and the old man learns chess after losing money.


This scene is a bit weird, Qing Chen does not have the modesty and shyness that young people should have when facing the elderly, but like a teacher.


The other party didn’t think there was anything.


The old man didn’t blink his eyes. The start was normal, but he couldn’t figure out how to get to the sixth step. He obviously ate the opponent’s horse, but suddenly fell into a slump.


“The essence of the thirteen tricks for abandoning horses is to enter the cart and abandon the horse in the sixth step. This is a killer to tear the line of defense,” Qing Chen said quietly, “I see the chess you played with that old man in Wangcheng Park the day before yesterday. Now, he likes to start the game smoothly. It’s no problem for you to beat him with these thirteen tricks.”


The old man on the opposite side fell into deep thought, and then asked in a low voice: “Can you really beat him?”


“Learn the thirteen tricks I taught you to abandon the horse within a week, and you can get your face back,” Qing Chen said, “After all… he didn’t do that much.”


There was a hint of joy on the old man’s face.


But he suddenly asked, “If I can beat him by studying for a week, how long will I be able to beat you by studying chess?”


Under the canopy, Qing Chen thought about it seriously: “The fortune-teller says you can live seventy-eight years old… Then it’s too late.”


The old man’s complexion was stagnant: “If you say a few words, I might be able to live to seventy-nine… Hey, you should study by yourself at night, why is it so early today?”


He knows that Qing Chen is a sophomore in high school. Today is Tuesday, so the 13th high school two blocks away should be studying late at this time.


Qing Chen thought for a while and replied, “I’m waiting for someone.”


“Waiting for someone?” The old man was taken aback for a moment.


Qing Chen got up and looked at the drizzle outside the canopy, his eyes dangling in the rain curtain.


The old man said, “Qing Chen, your kid is so good at chess, why don’t you go to a chess match? Didn’t you say that you are short of money? You have money to win the championship.”


Young Qingchen shook his head: “I just memorized a lot of chess records in my mind, not how good I played chess. Memory does not mean analytical ability. It’s okay to play with you. If you really meet a master, I will be shy. . My way is not here. Chess is only temporary.”


“It’s all in my head…” The old man sighed: “I used to think that remembering things like this was made up by others.”


The rain slowly stopped.


At this moment, the old man suddenly noticed that Qing Chen was stunned. He followed the boy’s gaze and looked towards the end of Junmin Hutong. He happened to see a couple walking with a little boy.


The middle-aged woman is wearing a delicate windbreaker, holding a cake box in her hand with a beautiful purple ribbon on the box.


The gray world couldn’t stop the joyful look on the three of them. Qing Chen turned around and left, leaving the old man sitting under the canopy at the entrance of Fulai Supermarket and sighing softly.


The middle-aged woman saw Qing Chen’s back, she called out Qing Chen’s name, but Qing Chen disappeared at the other end of the alley without looking back.


The walls on both sides of the hutong were very old. After the white walls fell off, they left patches of mottled red bricks.


The people Qing Chen was waiting for came, but he didn’t want to wait anymore.


Author caitou


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