Chapter 33.1: I love you, so will you come back? (2.1)
The next day, before dinner, Cheng Hui noticed that Chen Mo was staring at him expectantly and asked, “Something the matter?”
Chen Mo nodded.
Cheng Hui gestured with his hand, indicating Chen Mo could leave if he had something to do. Cheng Hui could hold down the fort.
Chen Mo swiped his wallet and keys and left. Cheng Hui saw the departing figure and chuckled. This fella… The peach blossoms have bloomed!
While on the road, Chen Mo was thinking of how to broach the topic with Miao Yuan and how she would respond. What would happen if she agreed? What would happen if she didn’t? Yuan Jie had originally blabbered about some principle: “You see, women never speak their heart. So their words aren’t always the truth of the matter. They want to leave, but they’re just hoping that you’ll ask them to stay.” Chen Mo doubted this principle. Mainly because it was too bothersome. Also, if he had really listened to Yuan Jie, wouldn’t that still be useless? It was very clear that when Miao Yuan had said she was leaving, and didn’t expect him to ask her to stay.
In the end, Chen Mo decided, Screw that. I need to first see the target to know how to angle my gun, what the wind speed is, and how to correct any errors… If I can’t get it in one shot, that’s okay. I’ll try again. Chen Mo felt as though there were hundreds of thousands of principles in this world. One always had to find a suitable one to go by.
So Chen Mo thought, Following standard procedure, I should politely invite Miao Yuan out to a meal. No, no…Following standard procedure, I should first ask how she’s been lately and if she has a boyfriend as of late. Following standard procedure…
Following standard procedure…Chen Mo push the door open and surveyed his surroundings. He did not see Miao Yuan, and was extremely disappointed. Normally, Miao Yuan would take Wednesdays off.
Wang Zhaoyang warmly welcomed him. “You’ve come! Same old?”
Chen Mo waved his hand. “Not for today. Where is Miao Yuan?”
Wang Zhaoyang immediately took note of the situation. “Why didn’t you say so earlier? No matter how you look at it, a guy buying the same cake every day just isn’t normal. Sure enough, it’s for chasing a girl.” She calmly shook her head and said, “She’s not here today. She went on a date with her boyfriend.”
What a pity, she thought. Though Chen Mo was a regular, Yang Weidong had already asked her what Miao Yuan liked last night. Yang Weidong was their baker, and no matter what, she couldn’t just have Chen Mo steal away one of her people.
Chen Mo seemed to have suddenly grown colder. He stared at Wang Zhaoyang and emphasized every word as he said, “What. Boyfriend?”
His fierce glare forced her to swallow her words and she remained silent. Wang Zhaoyang rigidly nodded and thought, So scary, oh my god…
“Her boyfriend is…?”
“Our shop’s… our shop’s…” Wang Zhaoyang nervously stuttered out half a phrase before thinking, Why the hell do I need to tell him. Who is he even?
Looking around, Chen Mo discovered that as expected, the baker was absent. He lowered his head and gave a slight nod. In a low voice, he said, “Sorry for the trouble.”
Wang Zhaoyang mouth twitched and she forced a smile. “Not at all.”
According to standard procedure, what had happened should be called; “Suddenly losing the need to fire.” He had gone undercover for three days, traversed a thousand miles, and finally locked onto his target. Only for the target to say; “Don’t shoot, go back!”
Chen Mo paced at the entrance of Earth Café and aimlessly followed the flow of the crowd. There were all sorts of people on this street. Some were in a rush, and others walked at a leisurely pace. Chen Mo blankly stared at them, his gaze flitting across indistinguishable faces. What has passed, has passed.
It seemed as if he was always late by a millisecond, his target perpetually slipping out of his grasp. When he realised that something was in his grasp and he desired to possess it, his hand was already empty. He seemed to always be late by just a moment.
The streets were bustling with people, and he brushed shoulders as he passed them. Chen Mo was pushed to a Lugang restaurant.1 The door swung open and shut as people came and went, and a familiar melody drifted out from inside.
The beauty of the spring winds are nothing compared to your smile. Those who haven’t met you wouldn’t understand… 2
Chen Mo stood outside the entrance in a daze for a few moments. As if possessed, he opened the door and walked in. A waitress warmly welcomed him, guiding Chen Mo towards a window seat and handing him a menu. He was focused on the song while answering the waitress, “Whatever…Okay…Sure.”
Jonathan Lee’s slurred voice reverberated in the air.
Whether it’s infatuation or karma,
That’s not important as long as you can return my embrace.
Though the times hasten old age, though love always causes distress,
Though the future is uncertain, is it too early to say goodbye now?
After the song concluded, Chen Mo finally noticed the surroundings of the shop. In the Taiwanese restaurant, old rock records played continuously in the background, carrying strong waves of nostalgia through the airy place. A waitress came with a platter and set his smoothie in front of him. Chen Mo tasted the sweet ice-cold drink before putting the spoon down and looking out at the sea of people. It was just dusk as the sun set in the west, igniting the city in a beautiful golden-red fire.
Based on Chen Mo’s age, his youth shouldn’t have coincided with the era of Jonathan Lee and Lo Ta-yu, but back then he had a roommate in military school who was utterly obsessed with Jonathan Lee. Chen Mo didn’t care that much about music, but he would always half-heartedly listen and mindlessly hum a few phrases. He never understood why some people would listen to a certain song and feel a sadness, or why some people would hold a song in such high regard.
But now surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the crowd, Chen Mo sat alone amidst the golden dusk and reflected upon his loneliness. He suddenly remembered how his roommate had said, “I like Jonathan Lee because he tries to explain love in its plainest form.”
That phrase played in his mind, feeling very antiquated and vague. It was as if it had been suppressed in his memory box for a very very long time, and by the time he opened the box, it was covered in dust.
Chen Mo remembered at that time, he didn’t care about this so-called “love”. All determined young men with lofty aspirations didn’t care about such an emotion. In their eyes, love was like the strawberry on bread—a lustrous red that tempted people into weakness. It was merely an…ornament!
Yes, that is the critical word. No matter how many adjectives are attached, it still doesn’t mask the true nature of the noun described: ornament!
So at that time, he really had no comment for his roommates. If one said that love itself was unimportant, then the logic behind love was equally as trifling. In our youth, we’ve rabidly chased some things, as well as heartlessly let go of others. And that was all because of ignorance. Chen Mo thought perhaps that was the case. His ignorance caused him to lose out on the love of his life. But without meeting, separating, and missing the opportunity, how will the ignorant come to discover this?
When Chen Mo left that restaurant, Winnie Hsin’s rousing voice sounded in his ear.3
Being loved is a luxurious blessing. A pity you never cared.
If our love is a mistake, I hope we didn’t suffer in vain.
If there was a time you truly gave your sincerity, then that should be enough.
Ah! What a painful realization. You were once my everything.
I only wish you could throw off the shackles of feelings, the bindings of love, and to freely chase.
To not suffer again from love.
Chen Mo remembered when Miao Yuan had looked at him with a face full of tears. She had said that she couldn’t bear it anymore, that he didn’t love her.
She had said it with such conviction, and logical reasoning. But in truth, she was waiting for him to refute her.
Chen Mo thought he should have sealed her lips with a deep kiss and pulled her into an embrace. He should have tightly held onto her, never letting her go. He should have resolutely told her…
“No, you’re wrong. I love you! If you feel like it isn’t enough, then I’ll double it!”
But alas, he didn’t do that. He was restrained and polite. He was tolerant and magnanimous. He presented an infallible front. Or perhaps…that was only because at that time he himself had doubts.
What’s lost may only be realized after everything is done and over.
- Lugang is a place in Taiwan, and this restaurant probably serves food from there.
- These are lyrics from a song called Infatuation by Jonathan Lee. You can hear it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF0kCGbuVT4
- Winnie Hsin is a Taiwanese singer. The following song she sings is called Understanding, which you can listen to here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhfUGpEp9to