Editor: merahmapple 🍁
The waiter took the menu. There was a moment of silence on the table. Qu Zhengyan hesitated, completely afraid to ask all the things that old friends would enthusiastically ask about when they meet. Are you okay after all these years? How could you not say goodbye when you left! Where did you go after you left? Which city did you live in? Who did you meet? What interesting things have you experienced? How are your studies? How is your love life?
All these…he dare not mention it.
He Ziming also felt that this silence was a bit awkward. He raised his eyes to look at Qu Zhengyan, and gave a slight smile. The smile flashed at the corners of his lips, not even reaching the bottom of his eyes. And yet, Qu Zhengyan was dumbfounded.
For so many years when he recalled this person’s face countless times, not once he was smiling. Proud, impatient, annoyed, angry, stubborn, dazed… there were all kinds of expressions, and yet he could not remember the way He Ziming smiled. At the last party gathering before leaving home for university, Wang Bailu said that Du Yongjin would only smile while facing him. But once Du Yongjin left, he had taken Qu Zhengyan’s smile along.
That beautiful young man.. When he smiles, he would be handsome, correct?
Even in his dreams, Qu Zhengyan could not remember his smiling face…until today. His eyes and nose suddenly felt sour and hot. He lowered his head to cover it, but an irresistible smile appeared on his mouth. Time had passed like galloping white horse. The gleaming halo wrapped around his body may have disappeared, but in Qu Zhengyan’s heart, he has always remained himself…
“You changed your name?” He gently asked, using a safe question to break apart the heavy atmosphere.
He Ziming nodded. “My mother helped me change, to follow her surname.”
“It almost made me think I got the wrong person. Still, I thought it might be you.” Zhengyan said as he continued looking at He Ziming. He added, “Luckily I came over and asked… You really didn’t recognise me?”
He Ziming gently turned the fingers of his hands towards each other, looking at Qu Zhengyan as he spoke. Listening to the question, He Ziming paused. Lifting his head, he answered, “My eyes…they are shortsighted. I can’t see well.”
Qu Zhengyan looked at those calm and black eyes. He did not react for a while. “What?”
“Didn’t wear spectacles. At that distance, it was slightly unclear.”
“… Ah, no wonder.” Qu Zhengyan zoned out a little, suddenly smiling, “I thought…” He stopped and smiled again. I thought you wanted to ignore me.
“How did you manage to spoil your eyesight? Weren’t you 20/20 before?”1Raws was 2.0 – ie perfect eyesight.
“I’m not sure. They suddenly become shortsighted.”
“You… must have been using the computer too much?”
He Ziming tilted his head, thinking. “Perhaps.” He looked less tense than before.
Qu Zhengyan looked at him, with his head slightly tilted sideways, his eyes looking towards the sky, in deep thought. Then, He Ziming’s thoughts came back, with a slight tilt in the corner of his mouth.
Here, there truly wasn’t any change. This was precisely how the younger Du Yongjin looked.
“Come to think of it, you went to study computer science? Didn’t you always want to apply for the film school?” When Qu Zhengyan mentioned that, he suddenly tensed. Did he ask a bad question? Should he have not mentioned it?
He Ziming’s expression remained unchanged. His tone was calm. “My mother said I have no talent in that area.”
The dishes arrived. Qu Zhengyan hurriedly changed the topic and started to talk about the dishes instead. Like the weather, talking about food would never go wrong. In addition, words about food are plentiful and the local dishes are extremely tasty.
Hearing Qu Zhengyan rave praises on this store, He Ziming finally asked a question. “You’ve been here for many years?”
“Not too long. I came here half a year ago. Why?”
“… I stayed here for six, seven years and I don’t have such a clear idea of that.”
Qu Zhengyan smiled. “That’s because my boss’ secretary is a local. With a native here, it’ll definitely be convenient to bring us about.”
He Ziming nodded his head, not continuing his words.
Six, seven years… Qu Zhengyan thought about it. He asked, “You didn’t study in Beijing?”
Du Yongjin’s mother had gone to Beijing. Shouldn’t Xiao Jin also follow?
He Ziming shook his head. He drank a spoonful of soup, cautiously looking at the ingredients inside. “I studied here.”
Qu Zhengyan was at a loss for words. Xiao Jin was in such a far land, away from his house and Beijing.
Then his own desperate efforts at getting admission to the university in Beijing, staying in Beijing and working hard at searching in that city with a population of more than 10 million like a needle in a haystack… What were these worth?
His silence caused He Ziming to raise his head, eyes silently questioning and.. with words he could not continue, almost as if he was nervous… Qu Zhengyan collected himself and laughed secretly at his own bad eyes.
He Ziming was just calm. Calm until unfeeling.
His own feelings, can Du Yongjin understand?
His own persistence, can Du Yongjin accept?
This thought only flashed unconsciously. His entire body and mind were focused on the person sitting quietly next to him.
During the meal, both of them were a little distracted. Their words were few, their content was light. Once the meal was over, Qu Zhengyan sent He Ziming home. Following his instructions, the car was parked below a high-rise apartment building in a high-end residential area in the city.
Qu Zhengyan remembered in a daze that this garden housing estate called Moonlight Lake was expensive. Has Xiao Jin’s salary as a system engineer been so high? This thought flashed across his mind for a moment without a hint of profoundness. His whole mind was focusing on the person sitting quietly next to him.
However, the moment He Ziming got off the car and took a few steps away, Qu Zhengyan drove past him and called out, “Xiao Jin!”
He Ziming turned around. His pale face was warmed by the shining yellow street lamp, making his shape fuller. Under the light, his eyes were calm and dark, yet a little fragile.
Being looked at by those eyes, Qu Zhengyan felt his whole soul was being squeezed out of his skin, completely forgetting what he wanted to do.
After a long while, he whispered, “Xiao Jin… Whatever it is…to meet you again…I am grateful to him.”
The voice was as soft as a whisper. It was a wonder if those slightly afar could hear them. Perhaps, they could only see his lips move.
He Ziming stopped avoiding his gaze. Staring straight at him, he pursed his lips. “Goodbye.” Then he turned and went up the stairs.
Qu Zhengyan watched as his back disappeared. He sat back in the car, pondering for a long time before sighing and laid his head on the steering wheel. He didn’t know that the person he sent back also stood in the elevator in a daze. Time passed before he realised that the elevator button was not pressed yet.
The elevator quickly rose to the top floor. He Ziming stepped out and took out the key to open the door. As soon as the sound of keys clanging, the door was pulled open from the inside. A tall and thin figure leaned his head on He Ziming’s shoulders, complaining, “Ming, I am starving to death. Why are you so late?”
He Ziming “ah” softly, and hugged him. “Sorry, I had something on… Forget to give you a call.”
The person murmured his dissatisfaction.
“I’ll do it now. What do you want to eat?” He Ziming couldn’t help but apologise, the other hand moving to close the door.
- 1Raws was 2.0 – ie perfect eyesight.