Things That Those Boys Taught Me • Holy Angels Edition 那些男孩教我的事 • 圣天使版
Boy Number Nine: The Boy In The Washroom
By:Kevin Tsai/Tsai Kang Yong/Cai Kang Yong 蔡康永
Previous Story | Next Story
I met Boy Number Nine in the school washroom.
I didn’t even notice him the first time I went in. Then, when I went in for the second time on the same day, he greeted me with a smile. That same day, during last period when we had gym class, I saw Boy Number Nine again outside the changeroom’s washroom.
He told me that it was the third time today he’s bumped into me in the washrooms.
“Why didn’t you change into your gym clothes?” I asked.
“I’m not here for gym class,” he answered.
“Then what are you doing here?”
“To check on the washroom over here,” he replied. “I regularly check on all the washrooms at school.”
“You’re … the washroom patrol?”
“I guess so,” he said, “I like the washrooms at school. They’re way more interesting than the classrooms.”
This was my first time hearing something like that, but it’s also not wrong.
“Anywhere is more exciting than the classrooms,” I added.
“No no, not just any place, only the washrooms, that’s where it’s most interesting,” He corrected me.
“Oh, well, I gotta use the washroom, bye—”
I walked into the washroom, and he followed me inside.
I looked at him.
“You go ahead and do your business, don’t mind me,” he urged.
He went over to the stalls and pulled open each door to look at the graffiti written on them. Most of them were written on the lower portions of the doors, and Boy Number Nine tirelessly bent down and read them all.
“What are you looking at?” I asked.
“Tsk tsk tsk …” he interjected, “it’s so well written, so brave, tsk tsk tsk, much more well written than those horrible writings they make us read during composition studies.” He stated.
I pulled up my zipper and leaned over to look, and what I saw was a chunk of small, densely packed writing, scrawled with a ball point pen on the stall door. I got quite dizzy trying to make out the writing. It seemed especially bold and daring when there was a string of several swear words written all together.
I stood up straight and looked at Boy Number Nine.
“Is this what you do all day in the washrooms, just looking at things like this?” I asked.
“It’s not just this. I also look at people. I like watching people in the washrooms. It’s just like …”He stopped to think.
“Just like … what?” I wondered.
“Just like watching animals in a wildlife documentary.” He answered.
I burst out laughing.
“You’re right,” I said. “Those animals on TV are always caught peeing when they are being filmed.”
“Everyone becomes more natural when they are in the washroom, unlike the dead look that they have in the classrooms,” he told me.
“Do you meet all your schoolmates in the washrooms?” I asked.
He seemingly nodded his head, then seemingly shrugged his shoulders.
“Isn’t that strange? From then on, all your friends will associate you with the washrooms.”
He smiled, looking delighted.
“I like it,” he said,“I like the way this place looks, white ceramic tiles, white urinals, and white toilets, I think it’s quite nice.”
“You are really weird.” I stared at Boy Number Nine.
“I’m not weird.” Boy Number Nine stared back at me bravely. “Some people hang around the sports field, some in the classrooms, and some near the flag-raising platform. But once we all leave school, the sports field, the classrooms, and the flag-raising platform will all disappear into some dark corner. But not the washrooms, the washrooms will always be here, and other people will always think of me.”
He kept on smiling.
This story was included in the Holy Angels Edition, so it is one of the 18 addition stories added to the original.
What did you think the author learned from Boy Number Nine? Maybe it’s that some people fear oblivion, so much so that they’d do anything to leave their mark on the world. This way, they’ll always be thought of, or that’s their plan. But was this really what left an impression on Tsai?
Who knows, only Kevin Tsai holds the answers. But share your thoughts with me if you’d like!
As always, please like, comment, and follow if you’ve enjoyed reading!~ Ciao! ❤
Previous Story | Next Story