Next post is the final chapter, at least until the book is published. See you Friday night/Saturday morning!
Back home, back to reality.
Chapter 52 – Coconut Rice (5)
On the day they left the island, they went to the airport at noon. While they were eating at the only Chinese restaurant there, the local guide who had been with them for four days unexpectedly pulled out a gift and presented it to Sheng Sheng, saying it was “a gift for the only newlywed couple in this tour group.”
Gu Sheng right then was eating water spinach stir-fried with minced garlic to make up for her nutritional imbalance caused by the lack of green vegetables these last couple of days. So, when the gift was handed to her, everyone at the table was filled with mirth.
They had all come along with Toupai and Little Golden Master on their honeymoon?
Ah, so that’s what it was.
And so, Gu Sheng spent the entire journey back to Shanghai embarrassed like this…
When they finally arrived in Shanghai, it was late in the night. Toupai drove her and Cousin to downstairs of Gu Sheng’s home. While Cousin got out of the car to get the luggage, she wanted to say goodbye but suddenly felt she really did not want to part from him. This was the first time in all her life she had ever been this close with a boy before. She seemed to have already become completely accustomed to being able to see his face and hear his voice right before she slept or immediately after she woke up.
But… it seemed, everyone who was blissfully in love was like this, right?
Don’t be so melodramatic, Sheng Sheng Man.
“I’m going now. Give me a call when you get home.” She finally steeled herself and said her goodbye.
“Alright.” Those gorgeous eyes looked right at her, and then he reached over and took her hand.
While she was still feeling downcast, he kissed her palm and said softly, “I suddenly feel Iike I don’t want to let you leave.”
…… Oh no, it was over for her.
That mood from just a moment ago of steeling herself to say farewell to him was utterly gone now.
His voice seemed like it was seeping into the very depths of her heart. She honestly could not make herself say goodbye now.
T.T … Don’t. Don’t use that voice to speak to me anymore…
“Would you like me to go up with you? To see your dad and mom?” he unexpectedly asked.
She was given a shock by this, and her first reaction was to shake her head furiously. Pulling her hand back, she said, “Bye,” and then, in passing, added a “Good night,” before fleeing from the car. Only after she had raced back home, taken a hot shower, jumped into bed, and covered her head with her blankets was she finally able to breathe out in relief… But her heart also felt hollow. Had she just rejected Toupai again? …
But, hearing “meet the parents” just felt so very frightening. Even though he had unofficially met her mother already, what he was proposing was clearly something very official. And she did not seem to be mentally prepared for this yet.
She probably just had not had enough time yet… But… She stuffed her hand under her pillow and pulled the entire soft bundle into her arms. But, they were already so close and intimate, with nearly nothing held back from one another. What if, in the future, they… parted ways?
She hugged her pillow tightly and straightaway filtered out this notion from her mind.
T.T Too horrible. Just thinking about those words made her feel miserable…
Was this that trap they called “worrying about losing the good thing one has”?
She fell asleep in this state of mind but did not sleep well because of the constant guilt that was weighing upon her for turning him down twice. She was not sure what time she slept to, probably when the sky was just starting to show the morning light, when she heard her mobile phone ringing from somewhere nearby. Feeling around for it, she found the lit-up phone, answered it, brought it to her ear, and said, “Hello.”
“I couldn’t really fall asleep so I went directly to the hospital instead.” In the middle of the night, the voice was even more captivatingly gentle than a radio DJ. “Did you sleep well last night?” He really seemed to be somewhere outdoors, and the sound of vehicles coming and going could faintly be heard.
She answered with an “mm,” and then after a few moments, said in a small voice, “I miss you.”
“How much?” He gave a little laugh.
“Really …” She decided to simply surrender and cut directly to the final answer. “… really miss you.”
The person she missed so much that she could not even sleep was, of course, him.
“I’ll go to the supermarket another day and see if they sell coconuts.” He seemed to be in quite a good mood. “Haven’t you been wanting to eat coconut rice all this time?”
Yup. Unfortunately, though, that island’s mangoes were very good but the coconuts were not all that tasty, so she did not get her wish.
“Okay.” Her voice was very languid. She was truly tired. “You don’t need to sleep for a little bit? You’re at the hospital so early?”
Mo Qingcheng told her in a very mild tone that he was not tired and said something along the lines that a previous patient of his had installed a pacemaker and then not long after, went vacationing in a rainforest … The outcome was, the patient got an infection. Since he was back now, he went to the hospital to understand the situation. She listened to him for a little bit but was starting to feel drowsy, and after he coaxed her for awhile longer, she dozed off again, phone still in hand.
When she woke up at noon, she recalled again what he had said. There did not seem to be anything unusual about it.
Phew. He finally was not stuck on the issue of meeting the parents…
During those few days she had been away, the supervising teacher of the group that was organizing graduation night had finally noticed that the person doing the guzheng performance was missing. As a result, he gave her an urgent summons back to school, and intense rehearsals began. Being hunted down by a teacher at last gave her the sense that she was indeed back from vacation, but even while she was in the auditorium rehearsing, her mind would wander and she would wonder what he was doing.
From this point on, Qiang Qing Ci to her was truly only Mo Qingcheng.
He was Dr. Mo.
So, Dr. Mo, what is it that you do everyday?
There were still actually many mysteries about the 3-D world him that she did not know. For example … Actually, she only knew that his parents were both doctors, but at which hospital? She did not know. They wouldn’t be at the hospital across from the grocery store, too, would they? That would mean, if his parents wanted to see her dad and mom, all they needed to do was cross the street 0.0 …
He had stepped off the godly pedestal and opened up another door in front of her.
And what was the world like on the other side of that door? On the other side was the real him, how he had grown up since he was a child, his experiences… She wanted to understand all of it, to slowly, a little at a time, understand everything.
So amazing, wasn’t it?
However, many of the couples that she knew about, whose relationship had started in the 2-D world and some of whom even eventually married, seemed to be more concerned about each other’s hobbies, strengths, personality, and reputation outside of the Internet, and these real life, everday questions seemed less important. Perhaps it was because, actually… when the celebrity halo is taken away, most people are just very ordinary people.
But as for him…
Her fingers gently strummed the guzheng. No matter where he was, he would never be ordinary.
With rehearsal now over and free air-conditioning available here, such a quiet setting was perfect for idle gossip. Nearby, the other instrumentalists in the ensemble were also chatting, and the conversation somehow turned to the city’s First People’s Hospital and how, a few days ago, a patient who was carrying some sort of infectious virus had been taken in. That particular unit’s medical staff all had no choice but to stay inside the hospital, basically being unofficially quarantined. Gu Sheng’s heart gave a thud. Wasn’t that Toupai’s hospital?
She hurriedly asked further, but the girl only knew about the news because her family had been chatting casually about it. “Which unit? I don’t know…”
Before the girl had finished speaking, Gu Sheng had already left her guzheng where it was and run out.
These last couple of days, he had seemed very busy, so busy that he had not really had much contact with her.
It was her fault. She had gotten used to the busyness of his work and the utter irregularity of his schedule, and she had also become accustomed to him sending her an SMS or WeChat message while she was fast asleep, followed occasionally by a phone call … And this time, their interaction time when they were in contact was very short. She thought it was because, after several days of being away for vacation, he had lots of work and not enough time to deal with all of it, so naturally, they would have less contact.
It seemed he had said… said something about making coconut rice… No, wait, it was that he had a patient who had gone to the rainforest?
And then had come back with an infection?
It did seem that after that, their communication had been less?
It wouldn’t really be his department, right? Couldn’t be, right?
And yet, by coincidence, when she called his mobile phone, it was off.
She called him several times, and each time, it was always, “The number you are dialing is currently turned off.” How could he shut off his phone in such a crucial time? She dialed Jue Mei’s phone, but it, too, would not go through. She suddenly seemed to feel that, in the space of a single night, the two people in that apartment had just disappeared off this earth!
Forget it. She would just go directly to see him. More tangible and reassuring that way.
She hugged her bag to herself as she stood at the metro station, and even when the metro pulled in, she was still in a daze. Only after everyone around her had all entered the train car did she belatedly catch on to what was going on and also step inside. It was a half an hour metro ride to his home and forty-five minute ride to the hospital. Which one should she go to?
T.T …… Why was everything such a mess?
She held tightly to her backpack, feeling a sense of turmoil she had never felt before.
It felt like gloom above her and darkness below. She had completely lost her logic and thinking abilities …
患得患失 “huan de huan shi.” An idiom describing someone who is trapped in his own worries about gains and losses, worried about not being able to get something, yet when he does get it, worried that he will lose it.