Tang Yi almost laughed aloud when he heard the phrase “a little happy”; it made him shove back the thin blanket he had taken out to give Gu Yanting, then undress and go to bed, all in one go.
There was no movement outside the door, so he didn’t know if Gu Yanting was guarding the door or had gone to nestle on the sofa. Tang Yi pulled out the blanket and rolled it on the bed. He couldn’t sleep. Counting sheep with his eyes closed didn’t help. After half an hour of tossing and turning, he opened the door with his brow wrinkled and threw the blanket out, by the way picking up the fragrant Fanfan who was sleeping soundly on the carpet.
The sofa in the apartment was only 1.2m, and Gu Yanting was struggling to fold himself into it. He knew that his behaviour of “basing his happiness on Tang Yi’s pain” was breaking a taboo, so he didn’t expect any mercy. He was thinking about how to fall asleep with his coat on while keeping a miserable posture to earn himself some sympathy tomorrow. Who knew Tang Yi would come out as soon as he had started his preparations.
He was startled first, and only when Tang Yi picked up the dog and was about to leave did he react and grabbed Tang Yi’s arm.
“Hey, what about… can I sleep on the bed?”
Tang Yi froze.
Gu Yanting covered his mouth and coughed a few times, swallowing hard as he looked at Tang Yi, “I came from D City in a hurry and didn’t wear autumn clothes and long pants. The temperature difference between the two places is a bit big. Maybe… uh… But if you are afraid that I will infect you, I will just stay here, it’s fine.”
He said so, but his hand didn’t let go, his eyes raised bashfully at Tang Yi, the other hand patting the sofa, “Anyway, this is much better than a hard seat on a train. I’ll get used to it in a minute.”
These words blocked the refusal that Tang Yi was about to issue; his eyes flashed and he fell silent.
The first city Tang Yi and Gu Yanting travelled to together was Guangzhou. Before that, Tang Yi had never been outside of the province, nor had he travelled, and although he looked like a mature and stable young man at that time, it was still hard to hide his inner sulkiness and impulsiveness.
The two of them stuffed a few clothes into their luggage bags, decided on a destination and ran to the train station in T City. At that time, multiple-unit trains had not yet become popular, and a place in the red leather carriage was not easy to buy. They were full of enthusiasm and didn’t have much money for tickets, and finally they only managed to buy a hard berth and a hard seat. It took more than 30 hours to get from T City to Guangzhou, and when Tang Yi bought the tickets, he thought that Gu Yanting didn’t know much hardships, so he would let him sleep in a berth. But then when they got on the train, Gu Yanting stubbornly demanded to switch. He said that he was handsome and had the most experience in ticket evasion since he was a child, so when the time came he could find his way over to Tang Yi without much effort.
Tang Yi got into the carriage suspiciously, waited for a long time but didn’t see Gu Yanting coming over, and no one answered the text messages and calls. Doubts turned into worries. While dealing with the bouts of conversation from the opposite bunk, Tang Yi was speculating about all kinds of things in his heart.
After another hour he finally couldn’t sit still and started to look for the hard seats, carriage by carriage, from a vague memory.
Long afterwards, Tang Yi had a recurring nightmare in which the scenario began with their joyful ticket purchase and ended up in an endless cycle of searching. The handsome, sunny young man had disappeared without a trace after getting on the train. In his dream, Tang Yi struggled past the travellers in their mazes or luggage, enduring the smell of sweat and perfume, searching from seat to seat, but never finding Gu Yanting’s shadow.
This kind of panicked dream that always left a glimmer of hope often made Tang Yi’s heart feel congested when he woke up. In fact, his progress that day was very smooth. After walking through four or five sections of the hard seat carriage, he saw a slender man on the opposite side moving in this direction with a ‘thank you’ and a ‘sorry’ on his lips. The two of them saw each other from a distance and both breathed a sigh of relief. Then Gu Yanting stopped and waved at him vigorously.
Tang Yi later learned that Gu Yanting’s mobile phone had been stolen as soon as he got on the train, and that he managed to do nothing to evade the ticket check. The train’s police officers didn’t buy his handsome face, spitting on him without mercy and then shooing him back when he repeatedly tried to cross the small dining room between the sitting and sleeping carriages.
The hard-seat compartment was so crowded that Gu Yanting couldn’t stretch his long legs and the seat he was sitting in was mostly taken by the two people beside him. Tang Yi was so distressed that he wanted to switch with him, but Gu Yanting fiercely refused to do so. In the end, Tang Yi could only squeeze over from time to time to have a look.
So he saw Gu Yanting who was freezing, pulling down his sleeves like an old farmer; Gu Yanting who was sleepy like a chicken pecking at rice but unable to find anything to support himself to sleep; Gu Yanting whose butt was sore from sitting and so he was standing up against the back of his chair to doze…
When Tang Yi and Gu Yanting started dating, Tang Yi had a sense of superiority in everything. He thought he was more mature and responsible. He saw Gu Yanting’s flaws clearly and at the same time, because of his love for the other man, he generously allocated a piece of his territory for him and vowed in his heart to protect him. Who knew that he would make his partner suffer the first time they travelled. After arriving in Guangzhou, Gu Yanting’s eyes were red and bloodshot, and Tang Yi had mixed feelings in his heart. When he got out of the train, he pulled Gu Yanting over and kissed him on the forehead, telling him that they would never suffer like this in the future.
When Gu Yanting got what he wanted, he was still a little incredulous as he lay on the big bed. Tang Yi looked like he wanted to refuse but didn’t say anything in the end and simply let Gu Yanting follow him in.
Tang Yi slept on the inside, leaving a lot of space for Gu Yanting on the outside, as if he was trying not to have any contact between the two of them.
When Gu Yanting turned off the light, he realised that the two of them were sharing the bed in a similar way to when Tang Yi had visited his house two years ago. After that night, Gu Yanting suddenly fell ill. At that time, he couldn’t accept the reality that the two had really broken up. His world was filled with despair and there was nothing he could do.
When Tang Yi left that day, he left Gu Yanting a luggage bag that he had bought when they went on their first trip, a canvas bag that had travelled with them to many places and that Tang Yi was never willing to let go. When Gu Yanting opened the bag, he had mixed feelings. He took things out of it one by one, and saw ticket stubs from the first time they watched a movie, train tickets from the first time they travelled, contracts for the apartments rented by the two of them, and all the gifts he had given to Tang Yi, large and small, as well as the things Tang Yi had given him. At the bottom of that bag were six handwritten love letters, all written when they started dating.
Only the first one was a bit special. It was from freshman year, and the content was so simple that it was pitiful – “I saw someone today and liked him a lot. His name is Gu Yanting.”
Gu Yanting had been confessed to by many people over the past two years, first by girls, later joined by boys, and then by female bosses and male bosses, all of whom were of different looks and character and confessed in a variety of ways. Gu Yanting rejected them one by one, and when he returned to his place of residence alone, he couldn’t help but savour Tang Yi’s breezy words from years ago – “His name is Gu Yanting.” It turned out that Tang Yi liked him so much.
Today, when Gu Yanting guessed that Tang Yi was in conflict with his boyfriend, he seemed to have overturned a five-flavour bottle in his heart(1). He was a little distressed and annoyed. In addition to faint anticipation, he felt that Zhou Whatever must have been blind to make Tang Yi sad to such an extent. But thinking back, his own dog eyes had gone blind even earlier, or else how could he have given someone else a chance?
Tang Yi was sleeping soundly, curled in the bed, and naturally he didn’t know that Gu Yanting was turning over like a pancake on a pan behind him all night. For a while he wanted to wake up Tang Yi to scold that heartless man for him, and for a while he wanted to ask if Tang Yi needed a shoulder to cry on. In the end, Gu Yanting resisted these silly impulses and just moved silently to the middle of the bed, and then moved again.
The next day the two of them were woken up by the sound of the doorbell, and when Tang Yi looked at the time, he realised it was ten o’clock. Gu Yanting was startled by the doorbell and jumped out of bed in a daze to open the door, but was pulled back by the quick-witted Tang Yi.
“I’ll go…” Gu Yanting’s eyes were still unfocused and he was a bit aggrieved.
“You go, my ass! It’s my colleague!” Tang Yi looked at the blanket that Gu Yanting moved to the middle of the bed. It was too late to settle accounts with him, so hurriedly put on his coat to go to the door.
He always woke up at five or six o’clock recently, so he didn’t expect to sleep until this hour today. But he had slept quite well tonight, and if he hadn’t had an appointment with Ning Zeyu to talk about some things today, he would have wanted to lie down and go back to sleep.
When the door opened, Tang Yi was shaking his head, but when he looked down, he saw the leather shoes in front of him and froze.
Ning Zeyu had never worn such elaborate leather shoes, so… Tang Yi’s eyes slowly moved up, and when he saw the man who came, the corners of his mouth couldn’t help but twitch, “Zhou Hao? Why are you here?”
Zhou Hao was also taken aback and a little surprised, “You’re not up yet?”
Tang Yi’s expression was a little odd.
Zhou Hao waited for a moment and, seeing that Tang Yi had no intention of moving away, sighed, “Is it convenient to let me come in and have a seat? I want to talk to you.”
“Let’s go out and talk.” Tang Yi rubbed his brow and let the man in, “Wait for me in the living room for five minutes.”
- Sweet, salty, sour, bitter, spicy hot