Life goes on, as it always does, but what is it like without him by her side?
Chapter 12.2 – Miss You a Little (2)
When the new semester began, many people also started to systematically plan out their futures.
One afternoon, Shen Yao furtively tugged Tong Yan over in front of her computer and said, “Can you take a look at this email and tell me what you think about the tone? I’m writing it to the old guy from the United Nations, the one from the conference last time. I’m hoping he will write a letter of recommendation for me.”
Pulling over a chair, Tong Yan took a seat and began to seriously read through her letter.
After reading for a while, Tong Yan told her with furrowed brows, “I think, from a content perspective, it should be pretty good. As for your grammar and sentence structure … you be the judge of that. My English is not nearly as good as yours.”
Shen Yao told her some of her plans, and from the sounds of them, she had put much thought into them, to the point that she had even started calculating out what grade point average she must achieve this term before her applications to certain universities would be accepted.
For law students like them, it was actually very difficult to obtain scholarships at any university that was particularly good because, after all, there was a difference between how universities abroad and Chinese universities viewed law school.
Similar to medical school, law schools in the United States require that students first earn an undergraduate degree before they are eligible to apply to study law. However, in China, it is simply, if you don’t know what to study, then go take law.
“One of my friends who won an award together with me when we were in primary school has already graduated from a music conservatory in Germany.” Shen Yao sighed wistfully, “My dream in the very beginning had actually been to be a pianist, but because of early dating, I wasted my time. Now the other person is already a professional violinist and I’m just still an ordinary undergrad student … So, Tong Yan, I absolutely must become a lawyer.”
Seeing that this was a rare instance where she was being so serious, Tong Yan obliged her by dreaming with her about the future.
When her eyes happened to sweep over the clock on the computer, she abruptly leapt to her feet. “Oh shoot, I’m finished! I have physics this afternoon.”
Grabbing her books and bicycle key, she unlocked her bicycle and dashed away.
Because it was Monday afternoon, there were people everywhere on the campus.
With only another five minutes before class started, everyone was in a hurry, and bicycles were being ridden as if they were in a high-speed race … She sped along on the small pathway between the several dozen dormitory buildings, and right as she turned a corner, she managed to successfully collide head-on into three or four girls who had been riding side-by-side in a row and heading directly toward her.
A peal of shrieks rose up as girls and bicycles all crashed to the ground.
Her teeth clenched in a painful grimace, Tong Yan pulled herself up from the ground. Her physics book had been flung somewhere far away.
This was truly a year of ill luck.
All the while saying sorry, she and the other girls picked up the fallen bicycles. Fortunately, they were all students, so aside from apologizing to one another, no dispute arose between them.
It was only after those people had left that she discovered there was a tear in her down jacket because of the fall. Soft, white feathers could faintly be seen poking out from the royal blue … Although the rip was not large, it still pained her terribly.
This was Gu Pingsheng’s Christmas gift to her.
“Tong Yan,” someone spoke up, handing her book to her, “you okay?”
Looking up, she saw it was that Class Rep Shen. She had not seen him since the end of her elective course last semester.
“Thanks.” She took it from him. “I can’t talk right now. I’m going to be late for class.”
Upon saying this, she was going to ride away, but Class Rep Shen unexpectedly stretched out an arm and grabbed ahold of the back of her seat. “Can I ask you a question?”
Puzzled, she turned back to look at him.
There was uncertainty in Class Rep Shen’s eyes, but hesitantly, he still voiced his question. “I’ve heard people say that you and your faculty’s Teacher Gu are together now, and that Teacher Gu even resigned because of this?”
Many people walked by beside them, and because the fall she had taken had left her in a bit of a sorry state, where her pants and down jacket both had several rips in them, passersby were constantly turning to glance their way. Those who did not know them even thought that they were a couple who had gotten into a quarrel plus a physical fight …
She took another look at her watch. “I really am late.”
That boy was still as introverted as before and did not have the courage to ask a second time.
Due to this unexpected mishap, by the time she stepped into the classroom, she was already ten minutes late.
She had taken three semesters of Zhao Yin’s class already and knew that this teacher had a practice of taking a roll call right after she walked into class. The attendance check did not contribute to actual grades, but students with poor attendance would absolutely not receive credits for her course.
Once Tong Yan entered the teaching building, she deliberately removed her jacket and hugged it in her arms. In that five hundred-person lecture theatre, the instant she walked through the door, she attracted the attention of everyone.
At that moment, Zhao Yin, with chalk in hand, was writing out notes on the blackboard and did not seem to have noticed her.
She felt a little awkward. Part of this was because she was late, but another part was because of Gu Pingsheng.
Out of the three, four hundred people present, ninety percent of them were university freshmen, and now, they curiously appraised this person who was standing at the doorway.
“Teacher Zhao,” she finally greeted when she saw Zhao Yin set down the chalk.
“You’re late?” Zhao Yin glanced at her, then walked over to the podium to flip through the attendance book. “You did not show up last class either. Tong Yan, if this semester you still do not pass and have to re-take the course in your fourth year, it will directly impact your internship. Your faculty requires that your internship term is an entire year of full-time work, and no internship employer will give you a half day off, twice a week to come back and attend class.”
“I’m sorry, Teacher Zhao. Last week, I had some personal family matters. I won’t skip class again.”
Zhao Yin opened her book and did not look at her again. “Go find a seat.”
A simple little incident. Zhao Yin had not purposely tried to be hard on her and make things difficult, but Tong Yan still felt very uneasy, especially when she thought of what Class Rep Shen had said.
That night when she returned to her dormitory room, she specifically told Shen Yao about this incident. Chomping on her soy-sauced pork chop, Shen Yao asked her in a voice muffled by the food, “Tong Yan, what are you afraid of? So if people talk, are you going to lose anything? If you ask me, I’d say you should learn from Wang Xiaoru and her superstar style. No matter how dreadful your opinions of her may be, she still only does what she pleases in her own way and is just living a better and better life.”
The aroma of soy-sauced pork chop had infused their entire dorm room.
Shen Yao munched down her dinner while starting her daily, two hour-long, long-distance lovey-dovey talk time.
Tong Yan opened up the laptop he had left her. It could probably be considered eighty or ninety percent new. He had bought it last semester, when he first arrived in Shanghai. When he left it for her, he had cleared out the hard drive right there in front of her.
The D-drive had already been very clean and simple with nothing but two folders in it. One was comprised of medical-related contents, which he had deleted, and the remaining one contained things related to law, which he left completely for her.
After logging into MSN, she glanced at his name. It was greyed-out.
Sitting cross-legged on her chair, she tucked a blanket over herself, pulled out her physics textbook and notebook, and began doing practice problems while waiting for him.
It was fortunate that he was the only person in her MSN contacts list, and very soon, a short alert sounded and a chat window silently popped up on her desktop: It seems I’m late.
Setting her textbook down on her lap, she quickly typed on her keyboard: It’s alright. I used the time to do some studying.
How was your day today?
So lousy. I fell when riding my bike, I was late for class, and when I was getting lunch and finally got to the front of the line, they didn’t have my favourite Kung Pao chicken.
It was true. The general course of events had indeed happened as she had described here, but she had simply omitted some details. For instance, her clothing had torn from the fall, she had heard a voice questioning her actions, and … the class she had been late for was Zhao Yin’s university-level physics course.
From the sounds of it, it was pretty tragic. Does Kung Pao chicken really taste that good?
After you’ve eaten in the school dining hall for a long time, everything will start to seem tasteless, and you can only manage to scrape together a bit of an appetite if you have really spicy dishes like that one.
There really was no specific point to their dialogue. Still, Tong Yan could not keep from smiling. A couple of simple sentences of casual conversation from Gu Pingsheng had completely shattered away her downcast mood of this entire day.
By the time Shen Yao hung up her phone call, it was already nearly nine o’clock. Tong Yan knew that Gu Pingsheng had a very regular routine and would usually sleep by around ten o’clock, so although she really did not want to say goodbye, she still was about to let him go sleep.
They had actually already said good night, but as if steered by a bizarre force, she typed out a row of words: Want to consider, after your recovery has about reached a certain point, coming back here to slowly work on your rehabilitation?
On the other end, there was a long period of silence before he at last sent over a reply: That will depend on how things go.
Tong Yan had known that he would not agree to it so readily.
But I’ll miss you. Won’t you … miss me?
She stared fixedly at the screen, feeling somewhat apprehensive.
“What’s going on?” Noticing the expression on her face, Shen Yao said amusedly, “Is Pretty Lady’s Bane having an affair? What’s up with the grave face?”
She flicked her eyes over to Shen Yao. “I’m discussing something very serious with him.”
Tong Yan threw her a glare, then paid no more heed to her teasing.
The icon next to his name was still lit, but he did not send over any more replies.
Did he go take a shower? Or did he have to answer a phone call? Or … The scene from that night floated up into Tong Yan’s mind, and she was suddenly gripped by a slight sense of fear. Over there in the United States, he should be living alone. If he had been pouring water and suddenly fell … She rapidly typed on her keyboard, and even that light noise seemed to give a strange, unsettled feeling: Still there?
Still here. I’m contemplating how to answer your question.
You asked me whether I would miss you.
She felt helpless against his avoidance of giving her a true answer. But, in reality, this response was already a very clear answer: his mind was made up.
Very soon, he sent a file over to her.
Unfortunately, after she accepted the file transfer, because there was a problem with the Internet speed, the speed of the transfer was extremely slow, and she reckoned that it might not even be complete the following morning. Gu Pingsheng seemed to have also discerned this problem, and shutting down the transfer request, he typed a message to her: It will probably take about ten minutes and then you’ll have it in your email.
Feeling rather curious, Tong Yan inquired further with him what it was.
The answer to your question. Get some sleep now. Good night.
After leaving this one line with her, the icon beside his name went dim.
Tong Yan was somewhat baffled and could only open her inbox and wait for the email to arrive. Approximately ten minutes later, she saw that sure enough, she had mail, and furthermore, it was not one, but ten separate emails.
No wonder he had said that. A file had first been uploaded to each one, and then one after another, they had been sent. It would indeed take that long.
Based on the time the messages were sent, she opened up the first email.
In the past, I had a habit where, after every surgery, I would sketch out my thoughts to prolong in my mind the surgery that had just finished. Or sometimes, when I was explaining or trying to communicate with people, I would sketch and talk at the same time so that I could allow people to see, step by step, the surgery and how it had progressed.
Unlike digital cameras, before you bring your pencil to paper to sketch, you need to call up the memory. Just now, when I was scanning, I carefully looked over these papers that were by my hand. The facts prove that Mr. Gu misses Mrs. Gu very much.
She clicked open the attachment. It was a sketch that could not be considered very finely and detailedly drawn, depicting a scene inside a classroom. The many people in the drawing who served only as background were simply rough outlines. Only the lone person standing in that scene had been drawn in slightly more detail.
Annotated simply in the bottom right corner was a date — the day he had left.
Gu Pingsheng is over in the United States, so 9:00 at night for Tong Yan should be morning time for him. Hmm… I guess Gu Pingsheng’s routine includes a mid-morning nap? :p Actually, in the online version, Tong Yan slept on everything for a night and then the next morning, she had her conversation with Shen Yao and the MSN chat with Gu Pingsheng. When the book went to publishing, they changed the discussions to take place at night, Shanghai time (I’m guessing because students usually have class mid-morning and wouldn’t be still hanging out in the dorm) but they didn’t change the little bit about Gu Pingsheng needing to get his sleep.
I should be an editor. LOL. Instead, I’m just a translator and I’ll translate everything that’s there, even continuity issues. :p
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36 of 66 Main story segments
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