At the end of the day, we have to learn to let go.
The wine bottle was empty. I put down the bottle and looked at the clock. It was ten thirty already. I went back to the kitchen to take another bottle of wine. Actually, I should not have drank so much. I have a low alcohol tolerance. What if I babble nonsense in front of him? I do not want that to happen. That would be too embarrassing. I am a strong and confident woman. I am determined to keep up my image at whatever cost. Even if the whole world has collapsed, I will still stand on top of the ruins and hold my head high.
How would he think of me, what would he say, I no longer care. He is no longer my husband. In the past, my whole heart was with him, my eyes only looked at him, my ears only listened to his words. Now that we have divorced, my status of a servant has been elevated to a general. I am relieved.
The TV host asked Wen Qian about her first date with her first love. She vaguely answered that it was in the school. I suddenly thought, where did I have my first date with Cheng Rui?
I remembered that it was at a noodle shop in the corner. It was summer. Against the setting sun, the two of us sat inside the small and stuffy shop and ate our beef noodles, sweating profusely. Cheng Rui was a big and unfriendly boy that time. “Missy, you have the time in the world but I rely on myself to earn my keep at night. You can play, but please let me off!”
I grinned from ear to ear, “Do you want another bowl of iced green bean soup?”
He looked troubled. His dignity and appetite were in a battle but he finally chose to abandon his dignity for the bowl of iced green bean soup.
That was our beginning, a poor and young boy who got together with an innocent and young girl. Their story began like any romantic young couple out there. I was attracted to him just by hearing him sing love songs. He was attracted to me just by watching me busy in his small kitchen. At that time, no one would have thought that after many years later, two weary adults would sit down on a table to sign a legal paper titled ‘Divorce Agreement’.
Many couples can go through thick and skin together, but not all can enjoy the fruit of their labour together.
The doorbell rang. I jumped up, quickly hid the wine bottle and hurriedly rinsed my mouth before opening the door.
Behind the door was actually Yue Ru jie, Cheng Rui’s manager.
It was half past ten, not early anymore. I rushed to the kitchen to make her a cup of lemon tea. When I went out, she was holding and looking at the photo that I threw at the corner earlier on. She said, “You are very cold-hearted once you make the determination to do something.”
I shrugged, “Otherwise, how would you call that determination.”
She took the cup, and started persuading me.
“Everything will turn for the better. You thought that you have reached a dead route, but who knew there would still be a door hiding behind the dark? Both of you will regret for making such a hasty decision.
I asked, “What is happening outside?”
She snickered, “I’ve switched off all my phones but if both of you intended to occupy the headlines, then you all have succeeded. ”
I am a little tired striking this conversation, “Even if you want to help us patch up, you can’t help much now. There are so many people divorcing these days. Why can’t we get a divorce?”
Look, how interesting. When ordinary citizens get a divorce, they would say that it is nothing. Look at how many celebrities are divorcing now. When we get a divorce, we would say that so many people are divorcing, us getting a divorcing is nothing.
Yue Ru jie looked at me, her eyes filled with regret and sympathy. She is a very nice person, just like my big sister. Cheng Rui’s success was partly attributed to her. The both of us are very grateful for her, but she cannot save our marriage.
Finally she said, “There is no room for forgiveness?”
I lowered my head.
“He loves you. I am very sure of this. Those rumours outside, you know, it is for the sake of hype. I know that you feel stressed, but the pressure on him is not small either. I hope you can be more considerate and understand him.”
I laughed, “I have been considerate for six years already.”
“After this period…” she said.
“I heard the same words for six years. When he was not popular, I had to wait for him to be popular. When he was popular, I had to wait for him to be even more popular. I got married but I felt like I didn’t get married at all. I have seen through it already. The only time when we will be able to lead a normal and good life would be when he retires. How long would that be? Ten years? Twelve years?”
Yue Ru jie sighed, “Which singer can be popular for twenty years now?”
“So what? We are pursuing different things in life now. I am a simple woman. I just want a lover who can accompany and stay by my side.”
“Just give him more time,” Yue Ru jie asked earnestly, “You have come so far. It wasn’t easy, why give up now?”
“He is my husband, but he does not belongs to me. I already knew that he belongs to everybody but I wanted to have him. Now I will return him back to everyone.”
Yue Ru jie was very anxious, “Do you know that everybody out there is saying that you want to get a divorce because you are having an affair?”
I’m tired, really tired. Let them say what they want to say. This world is too noisy, too complex. Five years have passed, but I am still unable to live here. I will give up my Siren and go back to my ship.
For the past year, we had little to talk about. We rarely met each other. There was many times where I could only flip the newspaper to know about his whereabouts. None of my friends was in this city. After I finished work, the house and books were my only companions. Sometimes, I even feel that I do not have a husband. I do not know what does marriage means.
When we are finally reunited, I would ask him, “How are you?” He would ask me, “How are you?”
How pathetic. We had become so distant and unfamiliar.
Yue Ru jie continued to harp, “It would be better if both of you had a child.”
She is really a good person.
Yue Ru jie got up to leave. I did not ask her to stay nor did I offer to send her off. She walked to the door, looked back and said, “I admire your courage.”
It took courage to marry him. Leaving him this time also required courage. I have nothing but guts in me. Actually, she should think it this way; after the divorce, I will become a rich woman who owns a house, car and jewelleries. I am still young and a woman like me would be the ideal partner for many men. If she thought it that way, then she would not think that I am in an unfavourable position. But she did not think it this way. That was why I said she is a good person.
The clock struck eleven. The house was empty again. She came and left while I stayed behind.
I was waiting for my lover to come see me for one last time. The feeling was different this time. I did not feel relaxed like how I used to be when we dated. In the past, whenever we met, I turned into a little girl who liked to snuggle into his embrace. But now, I am so scared to even catch a glimpse of him, for fear that I would fall into a deep abyss of flames.
I love him that much.
I took a shower, continued to drink wine. The television began to broadcast a typical anti-revolution drama revolving around city life. I switched off the television and played his songs.
“Do not say forever”
We really cannot say forever.
If I must say what feelings I have for this girl named Zhen Zhu, I really have no idea on what to say.
She is young, pretty and ambitious. She knows what she wants the most. She is initiative, positive and willing to work towards improvement. I am just like a turtle, crawling slowly as she overtook me. It was only then I realised how much I have aged.
How we first met was the most awkward moment of my life. They were kissing each other – Zhang Rui and her.
The house was overwhelmed with the smell of alcohol, the bottles scattered around the ground and the balloons were hung everywhere. There were only the two of them in the house. Today was a celebration to mark the good sales of his album. And I was late, so I was just in time to see this scene.
I stood in the open doorway, watched the two of them fell down on the sofa, caressing each other as if there was no one. The girl wrapped her arm tightly over my husband’s shoulder. I was stunned, and stood rooted to the ground. It was as if my feet were nailed to the floor, causing me to not move a single inch.
I knew what I was doing was not right. I should not have peeped at my own husband, and the more I should not have peeped at a half-dressed woman.
I quickly left, but accidentally kicked a beer bottle. Cheng Rui chased out, tugging up his clothes as he shouted for my name. I ran away like I was a rabbit being chased by a hunter. I ran to the station, hopped onto a coach and went to another city. I hid in my friend’s house for half a month.
Cheng Rui did not look for me. He went abroad to do publicity for his album.
Indeed, forever did not exist in this world.
Our relationship completely broke down – we hardly spoke to each other but no tears were shed during this journey. And then we got a divorce.
I finished drinking the third bottle of wine.
But I have never blamed or resented Cheng Rui. He has always been a wanderer. To be able to be his wife for so many years shows that at least, the woman that he loves the most is still me.
But I can also make a choice.
There was a sound of the doorknob unlocking. The person I have waited had come.
This man is always so handsome and his gestures are still as graceful.
He and I went into the bedroom. I pointed at the wardrobe and said, “I don’t know how many clothing you want to take with you so I packed only the clothes that you often wear.”
He opened the wardrobe and first took out the sweater that I knitted for him. I was on the brink of my tears and turned my head away from him.
“Take your time to pack. I will sleep first.” I went into the other room.
The guest room was well maintained and comfortable. I lay on the bed, stared blankly at the ceiling. Who am I lying to? I am definitely going to suffer from insomnia tonight.
I felt discomfort in my stomach because of the alcohol I drank earlier on. I was in pain and felt giddy, but I could not fall asleep. I got up and started groping in the dark to look for the bottle of sleeping pills. I poured two pills out and headed towards the kitchen to pour water. Cheng Rui’s voice sounded at this time, “Alcohol plus sleeping pills. Unless you do not want to live anymore.”
I almost forgot that these two things could not be used together.
I threw the pills in the trash, took a stool and sat down. Cheng Rui took a bottle of milk from the refrigerator and heated it in the microwave.
“You don’t have to bother about me,” I said, “Just leave if you have finished packing.”
He sighed, “Look at how you look like now, like a ghost.”
“There is no dead person, only living ghost.” I said.
“How can I not be worried when you are like that?”
I laughed. I heard the biggest joke. “Worried? You are only worried now?” Then where have you been all this while?
The microwave beeped and the cup of milk was ready. He brought the cup over and cautioned me to be careful of the hot milk. He placed it near my hands, but I did not touch it.
What I need is not a cup of hot milk.
“Let’s talk,” He said, “What do you want? What must I do to get your forgiveness?”
“Forgive you for what?”
“Zhen Zhu and I. I went out of control that time.”
I sighed, “If you are talking about the woman, then I am not angry about that matter. It is just that I am tired of this kind of lifestyle. What is point of staying together but being so courteous with each other? To spend my life sharing you with your ambition, I do not want that.
He was silent, looked very tired.
“Can you give up on your career? Willingly? No. By the time when you are old and start to think about the past, you will be filled with regrets and blame me. I cannot guarantee that I am strong enough to shoulder that. I am just a woman.”
“Dan Xin, why do you have so many requests?”
“A woman who only wants her husband to stay by her side after dinner everyday is not making a request.”
He stared at me. Not many women can resist him under his gaze.
“Dan Xin, the woman I love, from the beginning until now, has always been you only.”
Then he lowered his head. A moist sparkle shined at the corner of his eyes.
This, I believe. But love is not enough to sustain a marriage. Two people are required to maintain the family. No matter how well I recite my monologue, I can never be the Best Actress.
If he does not want to give up, then I will give up. Take a step backward, and everybody will have a better choice.
I could not bear to look at him anymore, “You can go now. I’m just depressed. I promise that nothing will happen to me.”
He stared hard back at me, “Dan Xin, do not joke!”
Really. When I joke, people take it seriously. But when I start to tell the truth, no one wants to believe.
I felt really dizzy but I decided to stand up and walked towards the window. It was late at night, but there were still many cars driving on the road. Because the sky was cloudy, I could not see any stars. I felt very disappointed.
Cheng Rui came behind me, “Dan Xin, why don’t…” I raised my hand to stop him. I did not want to sum up the reason why our marriage failed with him.
He did not say anything and continued to stand behind me.
I took the wedding ring from my pocket and placed it in his hands. “To keep or to throw, you decide. I don’t safe keep valuable items here.”
He lowered his face.
I turned away to face the window again.
After a long period of silence, he knew that I did not want to speak to him anymore. He finally moved and lifted his luggage.
I heard the doorknob turned. I felt like my heart was being ripped apart. My tears began running down. Bidding farewell has always been a sentimental and painful affair.
He stood at the doorway, but was not in a hurry to leave. “Dan Xin, I am leaving…”
The doors finally closed.
I slowly knelt down and cried silently against the glass window.
I will miss him for a long time, but I do not want to spend my time and love on waiting anymore.
I remembered the first time I met him. A young man jumped down from the stage like he had descended from the heaven. The bright fire shined on my eyes and merged together as iridescent clouds.
If only time could stop at the moment when we first met.
Cheng Rui has always placed his ambitions as his first priority. He has never put in any effort to sustain the marriage, even when he knew it was coming to an end. I am glad Dan Xin didn’t circle herself in hatred, because that would make her an unhappy person. Letting go, was the best solution and the happiest ending for her.
I like the ending, it is a satisfactory one to me. They could never get back together. Cheng Rui is now a celebrity, who has been used to the glam and all, and will not let go of it. Dan Xin is still the same woman as she has always been, a normal girl who uses all her energy and life to love.
Thank you for joining me in this journey and for appreciating the beauty of this story. I am so happy that you guys enjoyed reading TBT. <3