I had originally planned to split Epilogue 1 into two parts, but while I was prepping this post, I changed my mind and hurried to translate it all in one go. So, today, you have an extra long update, two posts in one. I will accept hugs, ramen, and creme brûlée as expressions of your love. 😛 Actually, this epilogue is quite sad. I cried several times, and hence, I didn’t want to drag your heartbreak out over two posts. No, they don’t go through any more hardships. The epilogue just explains some things during the time when they were apart. Next post is the final one for the novel, and it will be pure sweetness.
Epilogue 1 – The Goodbye I Owe You
The winter of the year he and Tong Yan separated, he returned to Philadelphia and also changed to a different firm.
Originally, due to issues with his visa, he had needed to leave the country for seven days and while he was there, he would do a post-surgery physical examination. However, after he completed the examination, he had soon received his new project, a joint collaboration between the Philadelphia and China offices on a hedge fund investment project.
Grandfather’s health was gradually turning for the better, so it seemed there was no reason compelling him to return. In the end, Gu Pingsheng decided to indefinitely extend his original seven-day leave from China and stayed in Philadelphia.
When Christmas came, coincidentally, both Luo Zihao and Pingfan went to visit him.
Luo Zihao arrived earlier, while Pingfan, because she first went to visit a friend, did not arrive until the evening of Christmas Eve. Outside, there was a thick holiday atmosphere, but when she pushed open the door, there were only two men sitting across from each other, typing and staring ceaselessly at their own computers.
“Today is Christmas, right?” Pingfan felt as if she had stepped into the wrong dimension.
Luo Zihao breathed out a long sigh. “Merry Christmas. Finally, there’s a live person here to talk to me.”
Gu Pingfan burst out in chuckles.
If Gu Pingsheng wanted to ignore someone, it was simply too easy to do. He needed only to shift his gaze away and then his world would belong only to him. Absolutely no one would be able to intrude on him.
Irrespective of where she was, Pingfan would still spend Christmas with fellow Catholics and go to hear Mass.
Luo Zihao could not bear the feeling of lonesomeness and went with her to experience a festivity of the Church. When the two returned, it was already early the next morning, and Gu Pingsheng was in the kitchen warming some milk. In that quiet kitchen, aside from the sounds of cooking, there were no other noises.
Without warning, a manila envelope blocked his sight, and raising his head, he saw Gu Pingfan say, “I got it done for you.”
Opening up the envelope, he pulled out all the documents but discovered that one piece was still missing. “It seems the alimony piece is missing.”
Gu Pingfan took out some bread from the refrigerator, cut herself two slices, and took a bite into her mouth. “My great lawyer, don’t forget I’m your elder and senior sister in this field. How could I possibly not get this done properly? The problem is, your Mrs. Gu also has a law background, and she honestly read through word by word, for fear that she might be taking advantage of you somewhere … It’s almost done. Sometime before the Lunar New Year, I should be able to get everything to you. I never represented any such case before. A divorce, but both sides are scared that the other party is going to be shortchanged.”
He looked back down again, reading through each page at a time.
This kitchen was truly overly clean. Pingfan, herself, was someone who did not cook, but even in her eyes, it still somewhat gave off the sad feeling of a lonely bachelor. Leaning against the refrigerator door, she suddenly pressed her lips together and looked him over.
Gu Pingsheng sensed her gaze, and tilting his head to the side, he signaled that she should speak directly if she had words to say.
“When Tong Yan broke up with you, what exactly did she say to you?” She thought about how she should word what she wanted to express but in the end decided to simply to cut to the chase. “I actually hinted to her before that you and I both would not take it to heart if she left you first …”
After a short silence, he answered, “It does not matter what she said. None of it could be considered as the truth.”
Gu Pingfan raised her brows. Finishing off the remainder of her slices of bread, she suddenly commented, “I remember you weren’t like this when you were a kid. Whatever you liked to eat, you wouldn’t ever let me even touch it. If that particular dish wasn’t there, you would rather eat plain white rice than touch any other dish. TK, aren’t you really possessive?”
The glass contained milk in it. Raising it to his lips, he slowly took a couple of drinks. Still a bit scalding. Before, when he had drank it at home, from when Tong Yan finished heating it to when she set it down in front of him, the temperature would always be just right.
“If you had tried to vie for it, Tong Yan would not have been so insistent,”Pingfan stated.
“If she was your little sister and I had no relation to you, would you still say those words? Still try to persuade your little sister to accept a sick man who would never completely recover?”
Gu Pingfan fell into silence, then gave a smile. “When all is said and done, there will always be a difference to people between close and distant relationships, related and unrelated. If you get to the bottom of it, I’m still selfish.”
“If your future husband could leave this world at any time, would you, every day, be worried and distressed about it? Or perhaps feel pessimistic and filled with despair?”
Gu Pingfan laughed, “You crow’s beak [stating misfortune]!”
She did not provide a direct answer, but that was equivalent to tacitly agreeing with these arguments.
Seeing that the time should be about right, he tested the temperature of the milk again. Still not right. He did not know what sort of patience she must have had in order to be able, every day, to do all these little types of tasks perfectly.
There were still other points, but he did not carry on speaking.
All along, Tong Yan had purposely concealed certain things, unwilling for people to know the reality of her family circumstance. Pingfan and even her best friend, Shen Yao were only aware that her parents had divorced but did not know just how disappointing they actually were.
He remembered, when he was twenty-two years old, the thing he could not even speak out about was that sense of humiliation and shame brought about by his closest kin.
Though he deeply loved his mother, because of his mother’s yearning for a married man, because of his own identity as an illegitimate child, he also had only been able to live his life as if it was hidden away in the shadows behind the sun. Those feelings that had tortured him for twenty-two years were now being reenacted on Tong Yan, those feelings of being unable to forsake her kin, yet also deeply ashamed.
She, as a twenty-two year old girl, was not even completely mentally and emotionally matured.
Yet, because she loved a man named Gu Pingsheng, what she had to endure was far more than even him of the past.
The Tong Yan who had first drawn him to her had been the girl who stood in a royal blue evening gown beneath a brilliant spotlight, her brows lifting and lashes batting coquettishly at the piano accompanist while she sang, deeply immersed in the feelings of the song. And the last impression he had of her was a girl who was starting to learn everything possible, often very solemnly feeling his pulse and measuring his heartrate, and needing always to know where he was and whether or not he was safe.
There had been too many times where her eyes were reddened, yet still she would smile at him.
He had considered and thought through too many things, but the one thing he had overlooked was her psychological state. Thinking back upon it now, likely after some time, she would have had a complete mental breakdown. All those emotions that had accumulated since her teenage days as well as the remorse and guilt she felt toward him.
Was there a way to defuse those?
He did not know. After all, wasn’t he also still holding himself captive in an unnecessary persistence, refusing to hear any sound?
Soon after Christmas passed, it was the New Year. Due to the serious sickness he had suffered this year, Grandfather had specifically requested that Gu Pingsheng must return to China for the Lunar New Year.
On the eve of the new lunar year, the young children in the family all ran outside to watch firecrackers being set off. Once a person passed the age of thirty, he would feel that time flies. He could even still clearly remember how, last year at this time, Tong Yan had lay in his embrace, pouting cutely that she wanted to go the next day to see Grandfather, and how, after receiving his consent, she had beamed so happily, not caring at all about her image.
But after joyfully coming here, she had not even gotten to see the elder.
Gu Pingsheng seemed particularly well-loved by the children of the family. Once the time had passed midnight, those little tyrants had played enough outside and all of them, not even bothering to remove their down jackets, crowded up by his side, asking all sorts of questions.
“Little Uncle, fingers crossed.” A tiny little girl crossed the index and pointer fingers of her right hand and made a praying motion. “Did I do it right?”
Gu Pingsheng could not hold back his smile. “Little Auntie taught you that?”
“Nope.” This little niece was terribly proud of herself. “Yesterday, I was sitting in daddy’s car, and a big sister on the radio was teaching this. She said that someone taught her that if she was worried she wouldn’t pass her physics, she should just do this ‘fingers crossed’ and pray for good luck.”
Perhaps that scenario was simply too familiar, for he thought of Tong Yan.
The little niece extended her hands, folded them together, and very solemnly said, “Great-Granddad must live a healthy, long life. Little Uncle also must live a healthy, long life.”
This short, little conversation was one he would think about, even when he returned to Philadelphia.
At the conclusion of a video conference, when all the lawyers were gathering their documents, he suddenly spoke in Chinese to address the several assistants in the China office. “I need some information.”
The people inside the screen instantly became energized again and grabbed their pens and paper to take notes.
“I need the recordings of the evening programs from all of Beijing’s radio stations during last year’s Lunar New Year. The precise date is the twenty-ninth day of the last lunar month. Should be the programs that aired between five and eleven o’clock.”
The other side recorded the request, not suspecting anything, and, remembering his uniqueness, immediately said, “We will prepare a written transcript.”
He replied, “Alright.” Pausing for a moment, he added, “Send me the audio files as well.”
That evening, he received the files the China office had sent over. Flipping through all the files, he finally found those words that had seemed so familiar. Despite the fact that it was fully a textual recording, reading between the lines, he was still able to confirm that it was Tong Yan.
It was an evening traffic program. The name of it was very simple and down-to-earth: There’s Me to Keep You Company.
There were two hosts, and Tong Yan was one of them, as the “intern radio host.”
In this particular instalment, she actually had not spoken very much, except when the program was nearing its end and a call was received from a student in her last year of high school. It was a science stream student about to take her examinations, but all this time, she was worried about her physics grade.
Originally, there should have been all the reason to simply comfort and motivate this student. But she, instead, had pulled out her own experiences of failure in physics to tell that young, senior-year high school listener, no exam was worth being afraid of. Even someone like her, who had retaken university-level physics four times, was still able to successfully find a job and now sit there as a radio host.
Gu Pingsheng could not hold back a chuckle. Her experience of having to retake university-level physics was deeply stamped in her memory.
As he stared at those rows of text, he could even imagine the expressions and gestures she had had when she spoke. The person who transcribed the recording had been very diligent and had even carefully recorded, “the intern radio host laughs quietly.”
“Fingers crossed. Wishing for you that you successfully pass your exam.”
At the very end, she said, before her very last physics examination, someone had taught her to do this particular sign: put your middle finger on top of your index finger so that they are crossed together and then pray for good luck.
He read through that transcription for a very long time. Finally, he rose to stretch and move about.
At that time, she had been about to return to the university for final examinations, and on the entire drive to the airport, Tong Yan had fidgeted restlessly. Gently, she had rubbed her cheek against his shoulder, and when he finally looked down at her with amusement that he could not disguise, she had very troubledly asked him, “If I don’t pass my physics this time, I can’t graduate, and then what should I do? …”
“You scored eighty-six on the mock exam paper that you did last night. Right now, this is just a mental barrier for you.” Taking her hand in his, he placed her middle finger on top of her index one and then taught her to make a praying gesture. “Before your exam, make a ‘fingers crossed’ sign. For sure you will pass then.”
Tong Yan responded with an “oh.” Then, she extended both her hands and folded them together, solemnly saying, “Fingers crossed. Pass my physics, successfully graduate, and then register our marriage.”
The winter of the year she and Gu Pingsheng separated, Grandmother’s cancer recurred.
During that entire time, Pingfan communicated with her about the various terms and agreements. On one hand, she needed to carefully avoid all the “traps” in them that Gu Pingsheng had dug for her, while on the other hand, she needed to conceal the poor mental state she was in as a result of this long period of caring for Grandmother in the hospital.
Luckily, Gu Pingfan very shortly later needed to return to the United States to officially begin her residency at a hospital.
Worried that she would hold up Pingfan’s work, she finally signed the alimony agreement. Her only condition was that everything had to be deposited into her joint account with Pingfan. Gu Pingsheng had originally instructed Pingfan to set-up this joint account because, concerned that she would be dragged down by her father’s debts, he was leaving her some savings that her close kin would not be able to take from her.
Therefore, this sort of condition was one that he very quickly accepted.
In the spring of the following year, Grandmother’s cancer cells finally metastasized to all parts of her body, and after holding out in the hospital for less than two months, she passed on. Tong Yan remembered, that night, it had been 2:43 a.m.
Due to a prolonged duration of being unable to ingest food, when she left the world, Grandmother was already gaunt and wasted, looking nothing at all like a normal person. In those final dozen or so days, it was her father who took turns with her on the night vigil.
Nearly every day, Grandmother’s eyes had been red and swollen. She thought her father had done something again, and at first, she had pulled him aside to urge him that, if he wanted money, he should wait until Grandmother had pulled through this illness. Afterwards, there had been one day where she had hurried back over in the middle of the night after finishing her radio show, and she had happened upon a raucous scene in front of the hospital room.
While the nurses and her father were not watching, Grandmother had actually run out of the hospital room in only a shirt and shorts.
Right as she stepped out from the elevator corridor, she saw that several nurses were all unable to stop Grandmother, whose mental ability and awareness were somewhat in turmoil. There had been incessant whispers from the onlookers of how the elderly woman’s cancer must have spread to her brain so that she had now gone a little mad. In an instant, the picture of her father, standing in front of the door, utterly helpless to do anything and with tears falling ceaselessly from his eyes as he cried, “Mom,” had caused her to lose all her calm and reasoning.
She did not know at all how she had bolted over there to hug Grandmother tightly and quietly console her. In fact, when some nurses stepped forward toward them, she had driven them away with a wide swing of her arm. That night, it was as if she also had gone insane, and dragging her father by the arm, she had thrown him out of the hospital.
When she returned to the hospital room, all the eyes — pitying, sympathetic, empathetic, indifferently observing — had been shut out by her after she drew the bed curtains. The forceful removal of the intravenous needle had caused that hand, which had already been very difficult to insert a needle into, to become swollen. Gently, she had massaged it for Grandmother, all the while smiling as she said, “Why were you being so naughty? Oh, you. The older you get, the more you act like a child.”
Afraid that she would wake the other people in the room, Tong Yan had maintained a low voice when she spoke.
She had purposely talked about some of the interesting things from her radio show, most of which had been either calls in from some of the younger listeners or the jumbled, inarticulate words of men and women pining for their love. At the end of her narration, even she, herself, had not been able to hold back a laugh.
“Yan Yan.” Grandmother pointed at her own head and in a hoarse voice, told her, “Grandmother is very clear and sound up here. I’m not confused.”
Tong Yan gave an “mm.”
“I did that because I want to make your dad feel guilt — a guilt toward us.” Grandmother patted her on the hand. “I’m scared I won’t be able to wait until the day he suddenly and completely wakes up to the error of his ways. In the end, the only one remaining and who will have to suffer is you.”
Her nose instantly began to tingle, and tears nearly tumbled down. She, however, could only do her best to smile as she said, “It’s twelve o’clock already. You’re still not going to sleep?”
“Little Gu’s illness this time, is it very serious?” The elderly woman had already closed her eyes, but then she thought of him. “Last time, he also left for four months. This time, it should be nearing nine months now?”
“It’s not very serious; it’s just that he needs rehab.” Her voice contained a slight sense of heartache in it. “His health isn’t very good, either. When he left, he told me repeatedly that I should not let you know. I also haven’t dared let him know that you’re staying here right now because otherwise, he’d definitely find a way to come back to China.”
“Yes, yes.” The old woman hurriedly patted Tong Yan’s hand. “You are both young. His health is so poor, and he needs to carefully look after his own treatments. It’s alright. Grandmother understands.”
Tong Yan pressed her lips together and smiled. “That’s why you need to be good and recuperate, or else, if he comes back, he definitely won’t let me off the hook. As for me, I will be responsible for working as hard as I can to earn money and allow the both of you to live lives that are a little better — and better some more.” She halted her words briefly, then added, “Our boss asked me if I also want to sub in for the morning traffic show. The original host just had a baby and needs to rest for several months. That way, I also have more chances of getting a pay raise. At the very least, my bonus definitely will be bigger.”
“Morning show? The one you’re doing right now starts at nine o’clock, and you also have to commute back and forth from the hospital.”
“When you’re young is when you fight and work hard.” Tong Yan tucked Grandmother’s hand under the cotton blanket and instructed quietly, “No more talking. Go sleep, go sleep.”
The elderly woman clasped her hand again and urged rather long-windedly, “These last few days, I feel like I’ve had much more energy. They say that if your mood is good, your cancer will naturally get better. Absolutely don’t have Little Gu come back. If he is to come back, it must be when he is healthy.”
Tong Yan nodded. She knew that Grandmother would not take it to heart, would not take exception to an unwell person not coming to visit.
However, if the elderly woman learned that she and he had already separated, that, she was afraid, would be the fatal blow. Fortunately, Grandmother had long ago been, unspokenly, well aware of his illness, so after the four-month long separation of last time, these eight, nine months had been easy to explain.
She did not know at all how long she could drag this lie out.
Her only thought was, any extra day that she could was one extra day gained. Later, there was no more “later.”
During that period, she had requested the longest leave she had ever taken since she began working. For a full week, she took care of all of Grandmother’s funeral and after-death arrangements.
Afterwards, she never went back home to stay and instead, co-rented another apartment with her co-worker.
That home had been hurriedly bought by Gu Pingsheng for her and Grandmother to live in when he had rushed back to China that time. And when they separated, he had also insisted on leaving it to her. She had refused everything, but the sole exception was this apartment, which seemed to have helped her by providing her with a kind-intentioned lie that Grandmother could believe.
The granddaughter whom she always kept on her mind and in her heart would be well. Regardless of what might happen, there would still be someone who treated her like she was his precious treasure and loved her.
When the intention of that lie had come to its end, she dared not live in such a big apartment alone. Since she was doing the live morning traffic show and the nighttime program concurrently and also needed to attend planning meetings during the mornings, she entrusted full authority of the apartment’s sale to a real estate agent. She had originally assumed that, because Beijing’s home purchase policies these last couple of years had been harsh, the apartment would not be that quick to sell.
According to the agent’s boastful assertions, this truly was an apartment with excellent fengshui. Seeing that Tong Yan was not anxious for it to be off her hands, he searched unhurriedly for a suitable buyer, trying as much as possible to bring the selling price up. However, in merely one month, there was someone who directly paid the price in full.
The day she went to sign the contract, the weather was dry and hot, and she just so happened to have a summer cold as well. She wrote down that bank account number that she knew so well by heart, unwilling to go another time to the bank. The buyer of the apartment was good-natured and simply went to the bank with the agent to transfer the money.
She and another younger real estate agent stayed in the apartment. With nothing to do, she decided she might as well slowly take another walk through it.
Over here, right there. She carefully took it all in with her eyes.
The young real estate agent did not understand and thought that she had lost something earlier on. “Miss Tong, what are you looking for?”
She gave a sheepish smile. “I’m not looking for anything. I just don’t really want to say goodbye to it.”
“If there’s no ‘out with the old,’ there will be no ‘in with the new.’” The young agent laughed, “Supposedly, it was because this apartment has good fengshui that the selling price ended up being pretty good. If you throw in a bit more, you could buy one that is extremely good. If Miss Tong wants to buy another place, I have some on hand right now.”
Owing to this last half a year of working both mornings and nights, she had lost quite a bit of weight. Her build had originally already been petite, but now even more so, it appeared delicate. Since she was a radio DJ, she did not have to show her face, so her dress was very casual and she still looked like a student.
Such a pretty girl, yet she was capable of selling, by herself, an apartment like this one. It even appeared that there was no family to restrict and control her. The young real estate agent’s imagination naturally read a little too much into this, so he even more so thought there was business to be made.
She listened to this, uncertain whether to laugh or cry, and shook her head, not trying to clarify.
There was a limit to the amount that could be withdrawn from that joint bank account, but there were no limitations at all on how much could be deposited. Looking at the sum written in the bankbook, she felt a sense of satisfaction, like that of the new-rich.
Gu Pingsheng, you must have forgotten: gifting is legally considered a unilateral act, and it is not necessary to obtain your approval. Mrs. Gu’s Contract Law grade was ninety-one percent. Even if she were to die, this portion of her assets would have nothing to do with her father and would wholly belong to him.
As Christmas neared, There’s Me to Keep You Company seemed to have turned into a hotline for people to discuss love and feelings. According to her leaders, they could even work with any particular needs of a show and occasionally play a song for the listeners as a way of setting the atmosphere.
For the program that had been planned for Christmas Eve, she specially invited Ai Mi to attend.
In only three brief years, because she hosted a talk show, Ai Mi had become a highly thought of host of a local television station. Even her coming here to Beijing to do a program on a traffic radio station had caused quite a few listeners to call in ahead of time and express their excitement.
“You want me to call you Little Ke, but I’m really not used to that.” Ai Mi stepped into the radio studio with her in advance and sat down on the swivel chair. Unable to contain a laugh, she asked, “Why not use your real name? I think your name is particularly easy to remember, and what’s more, it doesn’t seem like a name that an ordinary person could give to someone. If you were to say it was a stage name, absolutely no one would suspect otherwise.”
“I’m not a high-profile person like you.” Tong Yan tossed the script over to her. “I don’t want my old classmates to hear me hosting a show. I can just imagine how they would burst out laughing while they listened.”
“You’ll gradually get used to it.” In a sincere and well-wishing tone, Ai Mi patted her on the shoulder and told her, “Back when I first hosted my program, my mom even deliberately saved the video from online and then burned copies onto discs to hand out to every single relative. Let’s not mention how embarrassing that was.”
“Be content. That’s because she’s proud of you.”
“The two of you …” The director yawned, “Just one glance and we can tell that you’re old, ‘leftover women‘ [old maids], eh. It’s Christmas Eve and all that you’re caring about is to talk with an old schoolmate. You haven’t had a single phone call? No date after the show ends?”
They both ignored the director’s teasing goading and carried on chatting in low tones.
When nine o’clock sharp arrived, they immediately resumed their professional voices and switched into working mode.
Tonight’s show was a special program, a radio talk program hosted by well-known female television host, Ai Mi, and Little Ke. These two women with beautiful voices casually conversed and occasionally would take calls, most of which were song requests or, interperspersed between, memories of previous Christmas Eves.
“Little Ke and I are old schoolmates.” Ai Mi threw her a meaningful look. “Back then, she once had a courtship in university that caused a huge sensation. I dare say that every night in the dormitories, there were girls who would prick voodoo dolls and curse her. Tell me, did you ever spend a very romantic Christmas Eve with that one who was the desired lover of the masses?”
“Yes. That night, it was the first time we kissed. Really corny, actually. It was in a cinema.”
“Whooooa!” Ai Mi narrowed her eyes, so jealous she was about to go mad.
Even the director became gleeful, crying nonstop in their headsets, “She leaked it herself, she leaked it herself!”
The light music playing in the background was all old American or European songs.
After saying this, her mood seemed to improve greatly, and she easily shifted the topic away. However, all the subsequent phone calls became ones that inquired about what type of date she had had that Christmas Eve, and some people even very excitedly shared with her that their first kiss had been in a cinema as well, or other things along those lines. She finally felt that she truly had brought trouble onto herself.
The drawback of inviting someone well-acquainted with you was that, at every single moment, she was trying to spill out things from your past. By the time the program was about to come to a close, Tong Yan was lamenting her decision so much she wanted to die. Ai Mi still was not letting up in the least, divulging that Tong Yan had once won third place in the university’s singing competition, and her specialty was singing technically difficult foreign-language songs.
The director’s mood was immediately aroused as well, telling her to sing something a capella and then they would gradually fade in the original song to bring an end to the program.
She could not fend off their coercing. Suddenly, she remembered the song she had played on repeat all through the nights during that period of time when she and Gu Pingsheng had first separated. The melody was very familiar, and she also knew that the recording engineer here would definitely have a copy of this song.
An old song of Jessica Simpson from 2001, “When You Told Me You Loved Me”.
The musical introduction for this song was unexpectedly melancholy, but it would always cause her to remember how, that night, for the first time, she actually got to see him at a loss for ideas on what to do. Standing beneath the twinkling trees and brilliant lights of Xintiandi [New World District], he had not known what they should do next, had not known how to have a date.
Softly, she hummed the melody line, and the recording engineer very soon recognized what song it was.
Gradually, the music faded in. The slow melody. Her increasingly clear singing.
In the lyrics of this song, there was one line that was repeated over and over again:
When you told me you loved me
Did you know it would take me the rest of my life?
 痴男怨女 “chi nan yuan nv.” This translates literally as “smitten men and grudging women” and is a saying used to describe a couple, deeply in love but unable to fulfill that love.
大龄剩女 “da ling sheng nv.” Literally, this means “old, leftover women.” It would be equivalent to the term, “spinster” or “old maid” as it is describing a woman who has passed the “suitable” age for dating/marrying. In China, this term begins to apply to an unmarried woman approximately between the ages of 25 to 27. The reasoning behind this is, at that age, the woman would be looking for a spouse in his 30s, but men at that age who are a decent catch have established careers and are more financially secure. Hence, with their assets, they could look for the younger girls, age 24 or less. Women older than that and still unattached are therefore considered “leftover” and thought to have a much harder chance of marrying.
“… wasn’t he also still holding himself captive in an unnecessary persistence, refusing to hear any sound?” Later, though he still had not accepted the hearing aid, when he was asking for the recordings of Beijing’s evening radio programs to search for Tong Yan’s show, did you catch that he said, “Send me the audio files as well”? In their reunion, Gu Pingsheng can now hear. He has chosen to release himself from being captive to his unnecessary persistence. He has finally forgiven himself and let go of the guilt that he was the catalyst for his mother’s suicide, so he doesn’t need to punish himself anymore. While the text doesn’t say explicitly, I feel like those audio files were *his* catalyst for doing that, that for Tong Yan and her love for him, he would let go and make himself a better person, to live free. And when he did, he could listen to his little girl’s voice. 🙂 (Just my little interpretation.)
Tong Yan’s biggest reason for breaking-up with Gu Pingsheng had been guilt — guilt that her family situation was dragging him down and placing undue pressure on him, which could ultimately affect his health. Gu Pingsheng’s reason for unquestioningly accepting the break-up was… also guilt — guilt that his declining health was only causing her to bear pressures that she, a 22 year old girl, should not have to face and affect her mental state.
Anyways, they’re back together again. 🙂 See you next (happy) post!
1 of 1 Prologue
66 of 66 Main story segments
1&2 of 3 Epilogue segments