Tang Yi had already unlocked the door and glanced suspiciously into the dark, only to find that there was someone there. He was taken aback and subconsciously was about to throw the dog carrier. Fortunately, the other party didn’t play games and walked out of the shadows slowly.
It was Gu Yanting.
Tang Yi frowned for a moment and before he could speak, he heard Gu Yanting calmly ask him, “Can I come in and sit down?”
“Is something wrong? If it’s a business matter, please come to our company tomorrow to talk about it,” Tang Yi shifted the air carrier in his arms and said, “If it’s personal, forget it, there’s nothing to discuss between us.”
The atmosphere between the two was a little depressing. Tang Yi looked down at the puppy who was whining and scratching the door impatiently.
“Three minutes,” Gu Yanting looked at him, “I promise I’ll leave in three minutes. Just treat me as a door-to-door salesman today. It won’t take too much of your time.”
Three minutes was the chicken soup that Tang Yi forcibly poured into Gu Yanting. When he was at the university, he worked part-time and went door-to-door selling cleansing ointment. Nine out of ten he would be shut out. Later, after he started working, he deliberately took care of these young people who were shuttling between communities and office buildings and hit walls everywhere. Every time he met a salesman, no matter what the other party was selling, he would always give him a chance to talk. At the beginning, Tang Yi thought about bringing them a glass of water but it turned out that most salesmen would not drink it, probably for fear of the drugs in the water, so eventually this concept of love was simplified to listening to the other party say a few words.
Gu Yanting’s previous personality was very self-centred. There was always some friction between the two when they were together. When they quarrelled, the more Tang Yi calmly and rationally categorised the problems into one, two, three to reason with him, the more irritable Gu Yanting became. If Tang Yi had said such a thing two years ago, Gu Yanting would have become furious on the spot and either forced his way into the room or walked away.
At this moment, he was going to politely take “three minutes” to deal with it. His eyes were calm and he didn’t look away. This made Tang Yi a little surprised, but when he thought about it, it was natural.
They had all changed; after all, it had been two years.
Gu Yanting was standing across the corridor, and his appearance was already different from the young man in sportswear Tang Yi had slammed the door on two years ago. He was wearing a well-fitted suit, his hair was short and freshly cut, and the bones of his thin, long face became even more pronounced.
The last time Tang Yi saw him was on the night of the banquet. Gu Yanting was dressed in standard business attire and his hair was combed back and styled with hair wax, and there was an elite aura about him. At that time, Tang Yi looked at Gu Yanting who had been rapidly growing into a successful man somewhere else, and his nose was inexplicably stuffy. He almost smashed his wine glass and told Gu Yanting to get lost for no reason.
Such anomalies didn’t indicate any good results no matter how you looked at them. Being supercilious and open-minded was the best way for two people to get along. At the very least talking in a calm tone was a must, but Tang Yi couldn’t do that.
The famous donkey-faced dog began to spin around in the air carrier. Tang Yi didn’t speak, and Gu Yanting stood still, seemingly patient enough to wait for his answer. Tang Yi was eventually prompted by his dog son’s need to pee, went inside without saying a word and headed straight for the toilet. After a moment’s pause, Gu Yanting followed him in.
The apartment was still the same as before, but the beige carpet had been replaced with grey. The lush purple passion that was originally next to the armrest of the sofa was gone, along with the crystal lotus bowl ashtray ornament on the coffee table.
Gu Yanting noticed it quickly and then sat quietly on the sofa.
Tang Yi waited for his dog son to pee before remembering that the puppy hadn’t pooped yet and simply locking him in the bathroom. When he came out, he saw Gu Yanting sitting on the sofa with his hands and feet placed carefully, his posture looking a little formal.
The two people who used to be so close were now in such a situation, quite emotional and awkward at the same time. Tang Yi didn’t want to speak up, but Gu Yanting looked very polite from beginning to end, which forced him, as the host, to speak first.
After a pause, he simply stood at the door of the bathroom and looked at Gu Yanting, “What do you want? Say it.”
“Well, where’s Tuanzi?” Gu Yanting glanced at him, then turned his head and glanced at the small fish tank that had fallen over the small dining table.
Tuanzi was the turtle raised by Tang Yi. It liked to eat tenderloin. It was Gu Yanting’s idea to put the tank on the table. Tang Yi sometimes worked overtime too late and didn’t go back to the apartment, so Gu Yanting would come here. Gu Yanting had a bout of middle-aged male cancerous disease and was inexplicably jealous of a turtle, so he came during the day and moved it to the table, deliberately eating in front of it.
Tang Yi’s attitude was indifferent now, and Gu Yanting knew that he had to find some common topics to start the conversation. He looked around and remembered the living creature, and his heart couldn’t help but grasp on it.
Tang Yi glanced over there faintly and said, “It’s dead.”
Gu Yanting was startled for a moment: “… then, my condolences.”
“It was delicious, but unfortunately I didn’t leave you a mouthful of soup.”
Gu Yanting choked and didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry, so he paused to get back to the point, “I’m here to explain what happened back then.”
Tang Yi: “……”
“There may be many reasons for our break-up, but regarding Lin Rui, no matter what, I really never had any thoughts about him. I admit that I liked him for more than four years, and some things have become a habit, but ever since I’ve been with you, I’ve only wanted to spend my life with you.”
Gu Yanting coughed to clear his throat and continued cautiously, “I thought before that we were a family and he was an outsider, so we should pay more attention to him. Of course, I didn’t grasp the right proportion. It’s my fault in this regard, But if you were put side by side to choose from, I’d take you.”
Tang Yi opened his mouth and frowned, about to retort, but after Gu Yanting finished speaking, he just swallowed and let out a sigh.
“Gu Yanting, you have indeed made progress in the past two years, especially in terms of eloquence. Congratulations.” Tang Yi looked down at his feet and smiled faintly, “Are you done? Remember to close the door behind yourself.”
Gu Yanting hadn’t been home since he separated from Fat Sod today. He walked back and forth along Jianghuai Road many times. This road was not far from his house and even closer to Tang Yi’s apartment. When he realised that he unconsciously walked downstairs of the apartment, he thought for a long time before he came up with the above paragraph. Saying that he was not hopeful would be a lie. But to be more serious, he didn’t know what reaction he expected from Tang Yi.
Tang Yi leaned against the bathroom door, his expression gradually turning impatient.
Gu Yanting paused for a moment, feeling that there were so many things he wanted to say, yet he felt that there were no appropriate words. He could only really act like a salesman and get up in silence to say goodbye.
When he went out, he couldn’t help but glance back, and saw Tang Yi maintaining the same pose without moving, just closing his eyes, his lips pursed into a straight line, his clean, round-tipped fingers tapping lightly on his forehead.
Long after Gu Yanting left, Tang Yi was brought back to his senses by the stench from the toilet.
When he opened the door, his dog son had already hid in the corner of the toilet in disgust, diagonally from his poop. Tang Yi was first disgusted by the smell and then couldn’t help being happy when he saw the little guy’s eyes.
Shen Fan called again anxiously. Tang Yi was picking up the little guy, sniffing whether he smelled or not. When he answered the phone, he hardly wanted to talk.
“Have you named my dog nephew yet? “Shen Fan was so excited he was almost burrowing over from the other end of the phone line, and Tang Yi’s ears hurt from his voice. “My dog nephew has a great pedigree, agh, grandparents and dad were champions in several countries, hey, I’ll go and check what countries…”
There were clicks on his side as if he was flipping through the web pages. Tang Yi closed his eyes hard and said helplessly after scratching the dog’s head, “Don’t look for it, I don’t care about this, the name hasn’t been given yet. No, let’s call it Wangcai (good fortune and great wealth).”
“What!!! Such a noble dog, you…” Shen Fan suddenly became anxious.
“Laifu (rich ever since).”
“Holy shit can you use a little more… such a noble…”
“Fugui (riches and honour).”
“Such a noble…”
“Shut up!” Tang Yi finally exploded from all the noise and shouted at Shen Fan. Seeing his dog son shiver in fright, he gritted his teeth and lowered his voice, saying, “Shen Fan, you know that I work for eleven hours a day plus the road. The time I come home is rarely earlier than eight o’clock in the evening. At least once a week, I have to socialse, and sometimes there are social engagements that I can’t put off for three or four days in a row. I have to go to the gym on Saturday and Sunday to prevent my body from ageing prematurely and dying in the hospital. In addition, I have to go to the orphanage once a month and spend an afternoon there. You tell me, how am I supposed to raise a dog since you get me one!”
Shen Fan coughed and finally stopped clicking.
Tang Yi let go of the innocent puppy in his hands and watched him sniff around happily for a long time before he could catch his breath “Isn’t this dog that smart? What are his grandfather and father champions of? I can teach him to eat by himself and use the toilet by himself, can’t I? And give him the TV remote control so he can watch whatever channels he wants at home, so he won’t be lonely and depressed?”
When Tang Yi said it at this moment, he was half ignorant and half sarcastic. Of course, he didn’t think that two years later his prophecy would come true. Once he would come home early and would be greeted by the air conditioner and TV switched on, and the already handsome and elegant son of the champion would be sitting with a calm face next to the opened refrigerator.
Shen Fan was also embarrassed at the moment, humming a little, “The champion of… seems to be more than beautiful, or just the posture, ah… or something…”
Neither of them spoke anymore. After a while, Tang Yi slumped down on the sofa, his fire extinguished, and said, “Then you say how he should be called.”
“Riten (day by day)!” Shen Fan answered oddly quickly, vaguely smug.
Tang Yi was silent for a while, feeling that he really couldn’t have a good time tonight, “Is it the ‘ri’ from Sunday (zhouri)? ”
It was late when he went to bed after all this tossing tonight. Tang Yi was exhausted by Gu Yanting and Shen Fan plus the dog. Finally, he propped up his eyelids and checked a bunch of notes. He had to put the little guy in the bedroom together with him so that he could see him at any time.
When the puppy entered the bedroom, he was quite curious. He ran around several times and peed before falling asleep against the head of Tang Yi’s bed.
Tang Yi was a bit speechless. He hadn’t kept anyone in the apartment overnight in the past two years. Even if someone in the company worked overtime until late at night, he never mentioned it again.
It was probably because of the overproduction of testosterone that he became too territorial. In the past, when he lived with Gu Yanting, this apartment was just an unused spare place, so he could come and go as he pleased. But after the two of them separated, it became his so-called home, and subconsciously he didn’t want outsiders to set foot in it.
It was just that no matter how he dressed it up, he never felt at home here. The turtle that he had raised for a long time could die inexplicably. At that time, when the little turtle was packed in a box and buried downstairs, Tang Yi felt desolate. He thought that it was such a small apartment, why did it feel more empty the more he lived there?
Tonight, there was finally an alien creature in this empty place. When Tang Yi turned off the lights, he glanced at the little guy curled up in a ball, and suddenly the sullenness he had felt was mostly cured.
He was a little sleepy, but he couldn’t sleep yet. The way Gu Yanting stood outside the door, the way he sat on the sofa in a slightly formal manner, the way he half-supported and half-hugged Tang Yi in the private room that day, his breath unsteady, all that made it difficult for Tang Yi to calm down.
From the moment he heard Gu Yanting’s voice a few days ago, Tang Yi wondered if he would come looking for him. What would he say if he did?
He also knew that after two years of not seeing each other, the other party must have changed a lot and might have even put the past behind him and have a new boyfriend or a girlfriend. He even speculated on what Gu Yanting would say and then how he should deal with it in order not to be embarrassed.
He expected everything, but he didn’t expect Gu Yanting to mention Lin Rui right away.
This was something Gu Yanting would never have done before. He had always divided Lin Rui and Tang Yi very clearly. The Chu River and Han Border(1) were clearly separating them, and each had their own good points and their own territory.
Tang Yi could probably guess Gu Yanting’s feelings for Lin Rui. Indeed, as the former said, he didn’t cheat or have any thoughts at the time. It was easy for people to adore someone they didn’t know or couldn’t possibly be with, and it could readily satisfy their vanity without violating their conscience.
Gu Yanting had been rejected by Lin Rui, and was so disillusioned by the gap between him and Lin Rui that he decided that Lin Rui would not look at him. Under this premise, his admiration and kindness seemed to Gu Yanting to be pure and risk-free.
Like in the cases of most men’s ”close female friends“ and ”wives who shared the hardships”, some feelings were strong but didn’t seek results, and some feelings were inseparable but no longer strong. Even Tang Yi was not sure that if someone had entered his heart before Gu Yanting, he would have been able to completely erase that person from his thoughts as he had asked Gu Yanting to do.
If you trace back the root of the matter, it wasn’t all Gu Yanting’s fault.
Gu Yanting’s indifference and his own increasing criticism were just the result of the passage of time.
Perhaps it would have been a different situation if they didn’t break up in the first place. After all, after three years of tea, rice, oil and salt, there was also enough sweetness and tenderness of eating full and wearing warm clothes to bet on. The sweet memories could have been used as the trump cards, dumped one by one, like adding a code, until Gu Yanting gave up his white moonlight completely.
But Tang Yi couldn’t bear it. Those precious bits and pieces of the past would fade once they were taken out. He thought that if Gu Yanting couldn’t let Lin Rui go after all, then he would at least have these memories to keep him warm.
Who was to blame that he still loved Gu Yanting when they broke up?
- In Chinese chess, the middle section of the board that separates the players’ sides is called the “Chu river and Han border”