在你惶恐的深处，恶魇的尽头， 隐隐约约， 永远潜伏着这位朋友的怒眉和冷眼，不，你永远忘不了他。
An Excerpt from Limited Words vs. Boundless Friendship
By Yu Guangzhong
Replying a letter does make me flinch; however, unreplied letters allow me no release at all. Dozens of unreplied letters pile up on my bookshelf, like a sum of debt waiting to be paid. Some have been waiting there for over one year, while some have newly arrived. The pressure from paying off that debt is far beyond what a junior debtor can endure. The stack of unreplied letters are, like a group of haunting ghosts, continually pestering my guilt-loaded soul. Conventionally, the letters will certainly be replied. I can even swear by heaven that never do I have the intention not to reply when my mind is clear. The problem is how to reply. Even if I spared myself a whole summer night, I would be wavering on which letter to reply first, the 18-month-old one or the 7-month-old? The reply has been delayed for so long that I’m afraid even a heartfelt apology has already lost its power. In friends’ heart, I’ve been marginalized as a cocky man unworthy of care. “Unaccountable”! That is their unanimous comment on me.
In fact, even though I pull myself together and settle down at the desk, ready to pay off the debt, my determination will easily be split up by doubts. Old and new letters, replied or yet-to-be, cram the shelf and the drawer in disorder, which reminds me of two verses: “He’s simply in the very mountain. In the depths of clouds, his whereabouts are unknown.” (from Calling on a Hermit in Vain by Jia Dao). Picking out the letter I decide to reply from such a mess will cost multiplied time and energy as replying the letter does. Moreover, on visualizing the facial expression of friends when they receive the reply — reburned lingering anger rather than surprised delight — my tiny amount of determination dwindle into naught. Consequently, the date when my debt is paid off extends into eternity. Although I haven’t replied the letters, I can never forget my friends, any more than a debtor can forget his creditor. In the depth of my disturbed and apologetic heart looms the indelible angry and icy look of my friends. Never can I forget them. Friends who really fall into oblivion, from which guilt is totally absent, are those who have received my reply.