What would you do if you were drowning in sadness? ‘The Loner’ touches on dealing with pain through trauma bonding with a person who shares a similar feeling of pain and heartbreak.
Loneliness can sometimes be suffocating, but having someone with you can help ease the sadness, even by a little bit.
T/W: Mentions of suicide
Qian watches the lone goldfish stuck in an aquarium, very much like how she is feeling – alone and stuck. As she was laying her head down, she saw Yu Chen pass by into the school’s pool. Yu Chen dove into the water with the intention of ending her life. Qian, however, dove after her and ended up saving her life. She walked Yu Chen back to her home where she took care of her. Qian dried Yu Chen, who was still not moving, but thankfully alive. She carefully laid her down on the bed and watched her sleep.
The next day, Yu Chen woke up first and saw Qian sitting near the bed where she was sleeping. She put a blanket over her, careful to not wake her up. Yu Chen got up and looked around the room, fascinated with the new environment. As she was looking around, she saw Qian’s list of things she wanted to do including finding a good friend, learning how to cook, traveling with her mother, and learning how to swim.
Qian finally woke up, wondering where Yu Chen went. She went through her whole house and found a note saying “thanks”, seemingly left by Yu Chen. Qian cooked breakfast, alone, once again, in her house.
Yu Chen is about to enter the swimming pool again, but a bunch of girls are bullying her because of her “relationship” with their coach. But Qian sees them bullying her, so she runs towards them and grabs Yu Chen’s hand so they can leave. Once inside the pool area’s locker room, however, Yu Chen is once again bullied by the other students, leaving notes of a “student-teacher love affair” on her locker. Yu Chen tore those notes out and began crying. Qian tried to stop her and comforted her through her tears.
The two girls are now looking at the goldfish aquarium. Qian teaches Yu Chen how to breathe like a goldfish, which she says makes her feel better when she does. The two hang out even after class, eating ice cream together. Yu Chen asks Qian if she is curious about what happened, but Qian says that it seems like she doesn’t really want to talk about it, but if she does, then she’ll listen. Yu Chen smiles a bit. Qian asks her if she can teach her how to swim.
The two go to the swimming pool where Qian attempts to swim, with Yu Chen looking on. Yu Chen begins opening up, saying that she thinks she won’t be able to swim anymore. Qian also begins opening up, saying that she actually wants to learn how to swim because her mom, who got incredibly sick, was not able to finish teaching her how to swim. After telling her painful story, Yu Chen splashed water on Qian saying she looked prettier when she smiled, attempting to make her laugh.