A light drizzle started to fall, and in this small park where it was about to get demolished, Chen Ge encountered this strange woman.
"Excuse me, do you know Fang Yu?" That appeared to be the only sentence she knew. She looked at Chen Ge. Her eyes were like a lake in the mountains, clear as pure ice.
"Fang Yu?" Chen Ge took out the picture and showed it to the woman. "Is this him?"
Holding the picture with both hands, the woman looked at the boy in the picture. She looked for a long time before shaking her head. "I don't know."
"The picture was taken here at the park. The boy is facing the camera, so the person who took the picture should be standing here." Chen Ge stood up to stand next to the fountain. "Does that jog your memory?"
The woman stood where she was with emptiness in her eyes.
"Okay, perhaps I was wrong." Chen Ge returned to the bench. Some time later, the woman also joined him on the bench. She smelled like shampoo, and she was dressed cleanly, not like a person who could not take care of herself.
"Er... can I ask you a question?" Chen Ge turned to the woman. The woman had a beautiful side profile, but her cheeks were mostly covered up by tattoos, so under her beauty, there was a trace of horror about her. "Why would you come here so late at night to search for Fang Yu?"
"I remember coming here every day, but I cannot tell you why."
"Then, do you know that this park is getting demolished? You won't be able to come here anymore." Chen Ge held the picture and focused on the woman. Hearing that, the woman did not answer but stared at the name tattooed on the back of her hand quietly.
"Why are you looking for Fang Yu? Is he your family?" Chen Ge tried to communicate with her, to get her to open up. Only then could he help her.
"I cannot remember, but I tattooed his name all over my body. That is probably because I do not wish to forget him." The rain pattered down on them. In the old park, two strangers sat on the rusted bench.
"Actually... I know Fang Yu." Chen Ge lowered his head, and the woman turned to him in shock.
"You know Fang Yu?" The woman stood up. "Can... can you bring me to go see him?"
"I can, but before that, I have to confirm something with you." Chen Ge showed the picture to the woman again. "Do you really have no memory of this boy at all? Earlier, I noticed that you were studying it for a long time."
"I have no memory of this person, but..." The woman pointed at the faceless boy in the picture. "He seems important to me."
The woman's words struck Chen Ge like lightning. He was reminded of the black phone's introduction for the picture. The first time I forget you is when I look at your picture. I cannot remember who is in the picture. I only know he is important to me.
"Keep this picture." Chen Ge shoved the picture into the woman's hands.
"Why are you giving me this picture?" The woman was baffled.
"The faceless boy is Fang Yu." Chen Ge observed the woman's reaction.
After knowing that the boy was Fang Yu, there was some life that entered the woman's eyes. She was like a baby who first opened her eyes to the world, and her clear eyes focused on the faceless boy in the picture. "Can you help me find him?"
"I can, but it is getting late. It's too dangerous for you to stay outside alone. Why don't I get you home first?"
Chen Ge was sure that this woman was no ghost; her body was warm. Holding the picture with both hands, the woman hesitated before nodding. "Okay."
She did not put the picture into her pocket and held it by both hands as they walked out from the park. The woman had a presence about her that caused people to move away from her, and she appeared to be shy around strangers. She kept to the shadows with her head lowered as if she did not want to trouble anyone with her presence.
Chen Ge had the woman walk on the inside of the pedestrian walkway and he on the outside. He accompanied the woman silently past various blocks before stopping outside an old apartment building at the old part of town. All along the way, the woman kept her head lowered and her eyes on the picture, wordless.
"Xiao Yu!" When they got to the building, a rather large aunty ran out from the stairwell with an umbrella. "It started to rain. I was about to go get you!"
The aunty stopped next to the woman, and she regarded her like a mother would regard her daughter.
"It was you who walked her home, yes? Thank you so much, kind young man!" The aunty smiled at Chen Ge. "Xiao Yu, you should thank the man, too."
"Wait a minute." Chen Ge latched onto a detail. "Aunty, what did you call her?"
"Xiao Yu, is there anything wrong?" The aunty opened the umbrella and grabbed the woman's arm lightly as she pulled her into the building. But to her surprise, the woman did not want to follow her and flung her grasp away. The woman did not seem to resist the aunty before, and this unusual behavior confused and confounded the aunty. "Xiao Yu, it's raining. We'd better get inside."
As the aunty tried her best to advise the woman, the woman suddenly turned. Gripping the picture tightly, she shouted loudly, "I am not Fang Yu! You got the wrong person! I am looking for him too!"
"How are you not Fang Yu? Who told you that?" The way the aunty looked at Chen Ge suddenly turned hostile. She could not deal with Fang Yu, so she turned on Chen Ge. "What kind of nonsense did you feed her? What kind of perverse person would find joy in bullying a girl like that?"
"Aunty, I think you've misunderstood something. She is really not Fang Yu." Chen Ge concluded that from the black phone's introduction. He did not think that the black phone would give him false information.
"What are you talking about? Take a look at this!" The aunty reached into the woman's left pocket and took out a faded red wallet. She fished out the woman's ID from it. "I don't know what kind of sick plan you're scheming, but I'm telling you, it's not going to work with me around!"
Chen Ge took a glance at it. The woman's name on the ID was indeed Fang Yu.
"She is Fang Yu?"
"If she's not Fang Yu, who is? You?"
"But isn't she looking for Fang Yu?"
"That's how you tricked her, isn't it?" The aunty stood protectively before Xiao Yu. "I don't what you're planning, but leave now, or I'll call the police!"
Hearing the argument, a window on the first floor opened. An old man stood at the window. "What's the ruckus about? What's happening?"
"Someone wants to bully Xiao Yu!"
"Bully Xiao Yu?" Without even closing the window, the old man soon appeared at the entrance in slippers, holding a wooden sword used in Taoist ceremonies. "Is he the one who wants to bully Xiao Yu?"
"Please calm down." Seeing the misunderstanding getting bigger and bigger, Chen Ge quickly tried to explain himself. "I didn't bully her. I just want to help her."