Tang Yi had imagined many kinds of scenarios when he talked to Gu Yanting about his origin. No matter what, it made him nervous and sad. He couldn’t predict Gu Yanting’s reaction, let alone the impact and shock the latter would feel. As a result, he was dragging this matter, but he didn’t want Gu Yanting to be kept in the dark or to be told and used by people with ulterior motives.
He hesitated for a long time, and finally after Christmas, he revealed everything he knew.
The cause was Gu Yanting’s conversation he overheard when he passed by Weiwei’s door that night. Gu Yanting became interested in the fish tank in Zhou’s house at that time. Tang Yi smiled and shook his head after hearing a sentence. As soon as he was about to walk away, Gu Yanting asked Weiwei in a low voice, “Weiwei, is that right?”
His voice trembled a little but was still clear, “Are there two peach blossoms on the base of that fish tank?”
“There seems to be…” Weiwei said, “The flowers are this big.”
“Yes, they are blooming like that, right?” Gu Yanting’s voice rose a bit, then dropped again, “No, like this, folded…”
Weiwei’s vocabulary was not big, and many times he could only understand something vaguely. Gu Yanting then repeatedly changed various statements so that the child could understand and compare.
The texture of the fish tank, the size, the colour of the base, the carved pattern, the position of the notched corner, and… the simple lines drawn on it of the small fish and the little sun.
He talked more and more slowly, until no detail was left out.
By the end of it Weiwei had forgotten what he was crying about; he blinked and tilted his face in amazement and asked Gu Yanting, “Uncle, what you said is exactly the same. Hey, did you have one too?”
Gu Yanting didn’t say anything.
After a long time, Tang Yi heard him sigh softly and answer in a low voice, “En.”
Tang Yi couldn’t tell if it was because of the faintly discernible choking in the low-pitched response, or if the pressure from the secret had become too much for him to bear, and he hadn’t even had time to prepare himself and make a rough draft before Gu Yanting came out of the second bedroom. He just abruptly pulled him and said, “Let’s talk.”
They had a good talk.
Gu Yanting was silent the whole time. Tang Yi couldn’t bear staring at his expression as he spoke, so he watched his Adam’s apple rolling up and down and his right hand trembling until he could hardly hold the cup.
When Tang Yi finally finished speaking, Gu Yanting suddenly smiled.
He said, “Hey, I’m fine.”
Tang Yi couldn’t help being a little surprised, and heard him say again, “It’s almost New Year’s Day, will you come home with me, okay?”
Okay? Naturally it was okay.
Gu Yanting had been away for two years and had only called home on New Year’s Day during this time. When he returned from his business trip this time, he had gone home for half an afternoon to see Mom and Dad Gu, and then hurried back to the city in the evening.
At that time, Tang Yi had a sense of guilt that Gu Yanting “married his wife and forgot his mother”. At this point it made sense to go back home together.
So he quickly bought a massage seat and a foot bath and had them delivered by the manufacturer. Then he called Secretary Zhao to come and pick up Weiwei. When everything was packed and loaded into the car, Tang Yi suddenly hesitated.
He slowly selected clothes one by one, and then pulled Gu Yanting for advice, and finally it took him half an hour to choose the clothes. Gu Yanting was immersed in the joy of going home, and seeing that Tang Yi was dressed, he went downstairs first on his own. Who knew that as soon as he went downstairs and touched the car door, Tang Yi leaned out from the balcony and called to him, “Come up here again.”
Gu Yanting could only lock the car and go upstairs again. Tang Yi was frowning when he opened the door, saying, “Is it okay for me to wear this?”
“……” Gu Yanting didn’t dare to be impatient and nodded like a chicken pecking at rice, “Okay!”
“Is it too formal? In a suit and tie, it’s like going to negotiations.“ Tang Yi stood in front of the mirror again, and finally said decisively in front of Gu Yanting’s stunned eyes, “You wait a while, I’ll change again.”
Tang Yi was very nervous. In the past two years, he had actually sent a lot of things to Gu’s family, but most of them were through the hands of others. On a formal level, the last time he and the two elders of the Gu family met was the time he broke up with Gu Yanting.
Fortunately, this tension didn’t last long. When Gu Yanting drove him back, he introduced the scenery on both sides of the road along the way, counting the increasingly scarce street lights and trees, and then stopped in front of a staff dormitory in the tube-shaped building.
Few people lived in this area anymore, and only a few families were drying towels or clothes on the balconies with peeling walls.
Tang Yi was taken aback for a moment, and then saw Gu Yanting point, prompting him: “Look, that’s my home.”
Tang Yi turned his head sideways and finally under Gu Yanting’s guidance found a dark balcony. Gu Yanting smiled and said after a while, “When I was sent here, my first reaction was that it was a really old place.”
“At that time, I was still a little bastard, and I don’t know if I said anything unpleasant or did anything assholish. But I’m afraid it was not much better.” Gu Yanting propped his arm against the window of the car, squinted his eyes and smiled, “My parents were really kind not to throw me out, too.”
Tang Yi didn’t expect him to take the initiative to mention these things, and he was stunned for a while and didn’t know what to say.
Gu Yanting didn’t pause for too long. He glanced outside and said, “He has a wide network of people and a lot of money. If he really wanted to find a lost mother and son, he wouldn’t have no news for so many years. It’s not like it’s difficult. So most likely he didn’t want to find. Back then, my mother should have been the mistress he raised in the south. Regardless of whether she knew it or not, this relationship was ultimately wrong.”
“When I was in middle school, I was sensitive and had low self-esteem, which gradually developed into autism. Mostly it had to do with that. I was five or six years old when I was put up for adoption, the age of full understanding. My own biological father and mother disappeared one after the other, leaving me alone to be tossed around and finally enter a family that was completely unfamiliar. That kind of feeling, I’m sure, must have been very uncomfortable.”
Tang Yi didn’t speak, reached out and grabbed Gu Yanting’s hand, giving it two firm shakes. He remembered the time when Gu Yanting had sent pathetic text messages when he was on a business trip.
“I just want you to know my past,” Gu Yanting also grabbed Tang Yi’s hand with a reverse grip and finally interlocked their fingers, “to know what I think.”
“I know.” Tang Yi smiled.
Gu Yanting also smiled, and looked outside with him for a while. When it was almost dark, snowflakes suddenly floated in the sky and fell quietly in large swathes. Gu Yanting rubbed his hands, restarted the car and drove away.
When the two of them arrived at Gu’s house over the potholed road, it was completely dark. Mom Gu cooked a table of dishes and waited at home with Dad Gu. When Gu Yanting and Tang Yi knocked on the door, they saw the two elders wearing brand new clothes as if it was the Spring Festival, coming to greet them.
The massage chair manufacturer had already delivered it in advance, and it was placed in the most conspicuous place in the living room. While Mom Gu blamed Tang Yi for spending money indiscriminately, she happily pushed Dad Gu to demonstrate it to Tang Yi.
The meal with jokes and chatting was eaten until nearly ten o’clock. Gu Yanting rushed to wash all the dishes and chopsticks, and then pushed Mom and Dad Gu to the bedroom to let them sleep first, before carefully going to the second bedroom.
Tang Yi was sitting at the small desk reading a book, and when he looked up, he smiled slightly.
Gu Yanting also smiled at Tang Yi. He didn’t rush forward but stood still, looking at Tang Yi’s profile carefully in the light of the table lamp.
The corners of Tang Yi’s mouth curled slightly; when he was in a good mood, his lips would make a very beautiful arc. In Gu Yanting’s heart, it was a perfect lip shape; even with the quiet, serene expression at this moment, he would feel his heart soften as he looked from a distance.
He remembered what Tang Yi looked like when he asked him with a smile, “Let’s give it a try?”
It was an autumn afternoon. Tang Yi was walking solemnly along the ginkgo road of the university. The golden leaves fell to the ground. There were many students taking pictures on the road. Gu Yanting followed Tang Yi and looked at him secretly. Who knew that Tang Yi would suddenly stop when he reached the corner. Gu Yanting followed closely and almost bumped into him.
Tang Yi curled his eyes in a smile at that time. Gu Yanting blushed unconsciously and took a step back, but Tang Yi caught him.
“Gu Yanting, will you give it a try with me? If it doesn’t work, we’ll part again.”
They had both been through trials and tribulations and had missed each other, and now there were still all sorts of present or impending unpleasant things waiting for them. But that didn’t stop them from finally coming together again and nestling cosily in this little room.
It was snowing heavily outside, and a layer of water vapour quickly condensed on the bedroom window.
Gu Yanting leaned over with a smile and kissed Tang Yi lightly at the corner of his mouth, “What are you doing?”
“Reading,” Tang Yi smiled and pinched his face, and turned to the last page to show him: ”Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”(1)
- Henry David Thoreau, ‘Walden’