Epilogue 1.3: Yi Mei’s Chapter – A Person’s Flower Bloomed
(translated by peanuts & edited by lidge)
That day, I felt restless and went to C University to look for him.
C University had an unwritten rule, which is “Guys can’t go into the girls’ dormitory, but girls can go into the boys’ dormitory”. Therefore, there was nothing to hinder me from going to Yi Chen’s dormitory.
Yi Chen was not there.
Yi Chen’s roommate knew me long ago, so the first thing he asked me was whether I was aware that Zhao Mo Sheng had left.
I was taken aback.
Before Yi Chen came back, his roommate had already told me everything he knew. In the end, he wanted me to console Yi Chen by saying that kind of heartless girl was unworthy for him to remember fondly.
After that, I did not pay attention to what he said. I envisaged a lot of scenarios, but I did not expect Zhao Mo Sheng would just leave. I kept wondering in my mind how she could simply go away? Was it really like what they said that in order to go abroad, she left without a word? Or it was because of what I said? Also, did she mention to Yi Chen what I said?
When I was feeling restless, Yi Chen came back from the law faculty. He appeared okay but seemed a bit haggard, gloominess appeared between his eyebrows and his eyes looked dark.
I stood up.
“Yi Mei.” He called me faintly.
“Ah, I, I come ……” I did not know what to say, for a split second even a little panic. If Zhao Mo Sheng left because of what I said, I did not know what he’ll think.
He did not seem to notice my acting strange. Like before, he asked me what was the matter. I shook my head.
He did not say much, merely asked me to have lunch together.
We went to the cafeteria to have our meal.
If we didn’t go to the small restaurant outside, the cafeteria was the place we most frequently went. It was because Zhao Mo Sheng liked the very sugary, sweet and sour pork ribs prepared by the chef here. Every time, she also wanted to come early to queue up for fear of it selling out. The chef here probably knew her as he always gave her more than others. When she could not finish, she would use chopsticks to give one by one to Yi Chen. In fact, he was not fond of eating sweet stuff, but it seemed like he never declined.
While we were eating, Yi Chen was very quiet. Since he did not speak up, I also dared not say much. After finishing our meal and on our way out of the cafeteria, he said to me: “I’ll go to N University with you.”
The moment he said those words, I felt pleasantly surprised. However, his next sentence immediately wiped them away.
“Is Mo Sheng’s library card with you?”
“What ……” I said in a daze.
“Last time, she used her library card to help you to borrow that book “Money and Banking.” The library card was conveniently slipped inside the book.” He repeatedly mentioned her, but his facial expression was very ordinary all along and his manner of speaking was also quite stable.
“Oh.” I replied blankly.
We walked all the way to N University. The road was exceptionally quiet today. Yi Chen had always been a man of few words. Previously, the atmosphere was lively because Zhao Mo Sheng kept on chattering with him all the way.
When we arrived at my university, he waited for me downstairs while I ran upstairs.
Before I’ve to write a thesis on Money and Banking subject, but the books for this subject matter in N University were very old. Therefore, I asked Yi Chen to help me to borrow from C University’s library. Yi Chen’s library card quota was full, so he used Zhao Mo Sheng’s library card.
I climbed onto my bed to take out the book and flip through it. The library card was really inside, caught in the back section of the book which I did not notice before.
In the photo, Zhao Mo Sheng had a ponytail, a pair of big eyes, the curve of her smile like a crescent moon, and she appeared to glitter like the sunshine.
A very familiar smile, which I had seen often not long ago.
Probably because she was truly happy, her smile was infectious. Whenever she smiled, her dimple was partly hidden and partly visible, a bit naughty and also high spirited, causing people to unconsciously follow her cheerful mood.
Perhaps Yi Chen liked this kind of smile.
Actually, I also looked good when I smiled, but not her kind.
For a split second, I wanted to throw away the library card and tell Yi Chen that I could not find it. However, in the end, I still brought it down and watched Yi Chen put it into his pocket.
She was already gone. Looking at Yi Chen’s gradually disappearing desolate back, I kept telling myself.
What was the point of smiling even more brilliantly, she was already gone, already left. Even if Yi Chen still wanted to yearn for her for a while, he would forget her very soon.
At least, he was already very calm now.
At that time, I still did not understand that there was a kind of calmness called “ripples in the stagnant water.”
Without Zhao Mo Sheng, the opportunity for me to meet up with Yi Chen was instead less than before.
Nobody called me frequently to go to C University. I also cannot find so many excuses to go there often.
Therefore, I only found out Yi Chen had been smoking very heavily a long time later.
It was very common for boys to smoke in university, so I did not really want to associate it with another matter. For a time, I deceived others and also myself that it was caused by the university environment, even though this was obviously out of character for Yi Chen.
Knowing was one thing but seeing with one’s own eyes was another thing. Once, I went to his dormitory and personally saw his roommates and him completely drunk. Actually that time, it was the birthday of someone in their dormitory, everyone also got drunk, not just him. But I did not know why, I could not stand it any longer.
Yi Chen was never like this, he always had good self-control and did everything with a great sense of propriety. I really wanted to convince myself that he was just celebrating a friend’s birthday and not drowning his sorrows in liquor. But he looked so gloomy and depressed, making me unable to deceive myself.
The blind spots I did not see previously seemed to become clearer now.
Gradually, I remembered Yi Chen said when Zhao Mo Sheng pestered, her eyes had a faint smile.
Sometimes when she was a little late, he would be impatient and worried.
No matter how careless she was, he would only frown and helped her to sort everything out.
There were still many incidents, why did I not see them before?
Unconsciously, my cheeks were streaming with tears, I did not know for who.
It turned out that he was just trying hard to maintain a calm appearance. Now that he was drunk, he could not conceal it anymore, everything was exposed into the open.
When he was sober, I had became a lot calmer but sadly said to him: “Look at you, not just my parents but if dead uncle and aunt were to see you like this, they will also be broken-hearted.”
In addition, I was also very sad. Yi Chen, did you know that?
He did not say anything for a long time, lowered his eyes and his facial expression was hidden in the shadows. After a long time, he dejectedly said: “You’re right, I do not have the right to indulge myself.”
Consequently, that outstanding and cool-headed He Yi Chen was back, but I still felt as if something was different.
I could not pinpoint what.
Yi Chen and I remained the same.
Zhao Mo Sheng probably did not have time to mention what I said to Yi Chen because he did not talk about it at all.
As for me, I did not have the courage to mention it again.
I was satisfied with the status quo. At present, it seemed like we had returned to before. Although the relationship between us did not progress further, there was no one extra person.
Actually, I was very weak and dared not take the initiative to pursue anything, except to wait until one day he would turn and look at me.
But I was feeling more and more lonely.
I treated everyone also well, but I did not have good friends. After Zhao Mo Sheng left, nobody asked me to go shopping, nobody told me I looked good when trying on clothes and also nobody informed me a month in advance that my birthday was around the corner……
I vaguely thought, actually I also liked this friend.
Just that there was Yi Chen between us.
Four years of university just passed by in the blink of an eye. When I graduated, I was still single to the amazement of my roommates. I had a female classmate, one hand holding the graduate certificate and another hand holding the marriage certificate. After having the farewell party, there was also a wedding feast next, so it had become the hot topic of conversation.
When I was treating Yi Chen dinner with my first month’s salary, I told him about it. While he was listening, he seemed to be having a lapse in concentration and inadvertently said: “I also planned to get married after graduation.”
I looked at him in shock.
He seemed to have realised what he had just said, a trace of sadness flitted across his eyes.
For a short while, both of us did not speak.
I slowly regained my composure and said: “Yi Chen, last time mom even asked me whether you have a girlfriend. You should find a girlfriend.”
At this moment, I spoke that sentence sincerely and genuinely. Four years of university made me realize that after Zhao Mo Sheng, Yi Chen may fall in love with someone, but that someone would definitely not be me. I was no longer the former He Yi Mei. Currently, I hope that he can fall in love with someone and this time round, I would just wish him well wholeheartedly.
Even though my heart ached.
He lightly in a few words changed the topic.
We finished the meal by talking about some irrelevant topics. When it was time to pay the bill, although I said it would be my treat, Yi Chen still paid the money.
While waiting for the waiter to come back with the change, Yi Chen got up to go to the toilet. When the waiter came back with the change, he still had not come back. I saw that his jacket was draped on the chair, so I reached out and took out his wallet from the coat pocket, wanting to put the change into it.
The moment I opened the wallet, I saw that photo.
It seemed to have been torn from a document, as there were traces of steel marks on it.
In the photo, the girl had a ponytail, a pair of big eyes, the curve of her smile like a crescent moon and she appeared to glitter like the sunshine.
A very familiar smile, which I had not seen for a long time.
When Yi Chen came back, I was still holding onto his wallet and staring blankly in a daze. It was too late to put back the wallet, so I might as well put the money into it and return it to him in an easy-manner.
“That’s your change.”
“Okay.” He nodded and took it with a calm expression, just like that year when Zhao Mo Sheng just left.
At this moment, I suddenly realized the implied meaning behind this kind of expression.
He was calm because he already made his decision.
He decided to continue waiting.
Some people’s wound will heal slowly in time, like mine.
Some people’s wound will fester slowly in time, like his.
Actually all these years, he healed only outwardly. There is a kind of wound that penetrates the bone marrow and ravages areas that cannot be seen.
After leaving the restaurant, we walked to the bus station. At that time, he had just worked for a year, whereas I’ve just started working. Thus, both of us also did not have much money, so we chose to use the bus which was the cheapest mode of transport.
While waiting for the bus, we did not speak. My bus was turning into the station and when the bus was about to stop, he suddenly uttered to me:
I turned my head to look at him.
The brilliant colors of the city’s night lights reflected on his body, making him looking all the more lonely.
“You will understand later, if in this world that person once appeared, other people will just be a compromise. He said, “I do not want to compromise.”
The bus was driven further and further away, his silhouette slowly became blurry in my line of vision.
My mind kept thinking about his words – you will understand later, if in this world that person once appeared, other people will just be a compromise.
Why later, I knew all along.
I also did not want to compromise.
Thus in this crowded metropolis, both of us with the same frame of mind, stubbornly waiting in loneliness.
Busy with our respective careers, we gradually has less contact with each other compared to the university days.
Before, I used to be afraid that this day would come, but this day still came.
In fact, it seemed like nothing.
I was not sad.
Because I was already used to it.
Yi Chen gave me a very long time to get used to it.
Later, he once came to my office to pick me up to go back together to Y City to visit my sick father. While waiting for me downstairs, one of my female colleagues met him.
The next day, that female colleague asked me who he was and even brazenly asked if he has a girlfriend.
I replied he already had a girlfriend in the United States.
Her eyes revealed her disappointment and somewhat dissatisfied, she said: “Foreigner girlfriend? Most long distance relationship will break up and a foreign girlfriend is very dangerous.”
“No, they’ll end up together.” I did not know where my persistence came from, “She’ll come back.”
My colleague was probably surprised by my firm expression: “He Yi Mei, you’re not her, so how do you know?”
I did not answer again.
I merely said over and over again in my heart, how could she not come back?
He was always waiting for her.
However, we did not expect such a long time. Waiting was not frightening. What was frightening was not knowing when it would end.
One year, two years …… five years, six years ……
On the seventh year.
That day, I brought mother’s homemade to him. When I put it into the refrigerator, I discovered there was no food inside, completely empty. Hence, I asked him to go to the supermarket.
The supermarket was crowded on the weekends.
While walking, I chatted with Yi Chen about each other’s current situation. The last time we met was more than two months ago.
Then, I seemed to hear the sound of something collapsing.
I casually turned my head.
In the midst of the collapsing sound, I saw her.
From the last time I met her in KFC, up until now, it had already been more than seven years. I suddenly felt this lengthy time frame seemed like I only turned around for a moment.
The blue sea turned into mulberry fields. (The world is changing all the time)
The change was merely my gradually aging heart. The change was merely Yi Chen’s increasingly hard shell.
As for her, she seemed to have not changed one bit.
Still continuing to smile without a care and without worries.
That night, after I arrived home, I sat on the sofa and watched the sky gradually brightening up.
Because I was busy with work, I had not been tidying up my rented small apartment for a long time. That flower pot on the balcony, after I bought it back, I just left it there, not knowing when the flower bloomed before. I also did not know when the petals withered by the rain and wind, only leaving a red petal swaying in the morning breeze.
Suddenly, I felt as if I was like this unknown name flower.
A person’s flower bloomed. A person’s flower withered. All these years from start to finish, nobody asked about it.
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