Chapter 29 – Elopement

In Yan Yan’s puzzled eyes, I said, “Don’t look at me with those doubtful eyes. Haven’t you ever teased Circle before? It’s a healthy development for couples to tease each other. Everyone here knows that I, Zhao Yang, have a strong character.”

After speaking, I complained to Mi Cai, “Don’t make fun of me. If you want to tease me, let’s do it at home. These guys are all teasers. Don’t get involved with them.”

“Zhao Yang, you’re really crazy. For the sake of your own tall image, you’ve degraded me and the others!” Xiang Chen said.

“I’ve always been good at doing that!”

This time, Mi Cai took the initiative to speak, “So I’m right to say that your character is bad, right?”

“Exactly!” Everyone agreed, and then they smiled and raised their glasses, finally livening up the atmosphere.

I drank the remaining half bottle of beer in one gulp, feeling a little relieved. But the corner of my eye glanced at Jian Wei. Since we entered the bar, she had been even quieter than Mi Cai, only occasionally talking to Xiang Chen.

The others continued chatting, and although I was sitting next to Mi Cai, I didn’t dare to have any physical contact with her because I was afraid she would get angry. At this moment, I just wanted this gathering to end peacefully, and I didn’t want to participate in it again no matter what. The pain in my heart was only known to myself. I just wanted to silently wish Jian Wei and Xiang Chen happiness from behind, instead of being like this now.

Reluctantly, I joined in the laughter and banter with everyone, filling my heart with pain that I couldn’t escape from.

Oh, the pain of wearing a mask that doesn’t fit is not just on the face, but also in the heart!

Robben, who was far away, finally finished singing. He looked at me with the microphone and said, “Zhao Yang, come up and sing a couple of songs to liven up your friends.”

As soon as Robben finished speaking, Jian Wei was the first to applaud, followed by Circle, Xiang Chen, and others. They all clapped and whistled, and the atmosphere in the bar became lively.

I glanced at everyone, nodded at Robben, and then walked towards the stage.

Robben handed me the guitar and took a bass from Little Wu, a member of the band. I took a deep breath and chose Zheng Jun’s “Elopement”.

“A song of elopement for you all…” I said, strumming the guitar strings and closing my eyes. Some fragmented scenes appeared in my mind.

“Devote our youth to the glorious city behind us, paying the price for this dream. Leave love to the girl who is most sincere to me. You accompany me in singing, accompany me in wandering, accompany me in both victory and defeat, until now I suddenly understand that what I yearn for is true love and freedom. I want to elope with you to the farthest town…”

In the sound of tearing, I improvised and sang three consecutive “elopements”. My emotions were completely released at this moment. Before Jian Wei went abroad, we were forced to a dead end, hiding back to Suzhou from Shanghai, and then wanting to elope from Suzhou to Tibet. At that time, we naively believed that with the courage in this song, we could elope to the ends of the earth, and we thought that with a guitar and the two of us, running all the way would make us the happiest people. We also believed that eloping could steal a lifetime for the two of us from the real world…

The heavy metal music tore apart the longing, drowning out all the worldly noise. I had never been so hysterical, wishing I could tear the world apart, tear apart the illusions!

As the music gradually stopped, the applause thundered. I still looked up, and after a long time, I returned the guitar to Robben without looking back and walked towards the restroom.

In the mirror of the restroom, my face was covered in water stains, but I was glad that I had successfully hidden the pain, the suppressed tears, and the false disguise.

She used to be my belief in this city of desires, but now, faith has mercilessly collapsed. So all the hurt, pain, and longing were suppressed in my heart, finally becoming unbearable and mutating in the time of this song, torturing my nerves.

Outside the bar, everyone said their goodbyes. The three of us men were a little drunk. Circle supported Yan Yan and walked towards their car first, while Jian Wei helped Xiang Chen, who was not sober, and only Mi Cai and I maintained an imperceptible distance.

Jian Wei helped Xiang Chen into the car, and when I thought she was going to leave, she turned back and walked towards Mi Cai and me.

She stood in front of Mi Cai and me, but didn’t look at me. She said to Mi Cai, “Go back and make him a cup of milk with honey. His stomach isn’t feeling well.”

Mi Cai nodded, and only then did Jian Wei look at me. Then she nodded at Mi Cai, without saying anything else, and turned to walk towards the other car.

I stared at her back, unable to come back to my senses for a long time!

“She’s already gone…” Mi Cai said to me.

“Oh.” I numbly responded.

“Where do you live? I’ll take you home.”

“No need, I’ll take a taxi myself.”

Mi Cai smiled and said, “I promised your ex-girlfriend to make you a cup of milk with honey. I don’t like breaking promises.”

“Then let’s go.”Mi Cai was driving, and I sat in the passenger seat, watching the car weave through the city’s lights and towering buildings. I felt a bit dizzy, knowing that the alcohol was starting to take effect.

After a long silence, Mi Cai finally asked me, “Was that song you just sang for your ex-girlfriend?”

“Her… her name is Jian Wei.”

“So, you don’t like it when people refer to her as your ex-girlfriend?”

I replied somewhat clumsily, “Two people who have… severed ties… isn’t it cleaner to just call them by their names?”

Mi Cai chuckled, “I’m afraid your heart isn’t as clean as your words suggest.”

I didn’t respond, just stared at Mi Cai for a while before suddenly saying, “Drive faster, I feel like throwing up.”

“Then you should get out of the car and throw up.”

“I’ll throw up at home, just drive faster.” I urged again, my words becoming more fluent.

Mi Cai slammed on the brakes, and the car came to an abrupt stop. “Get out and throw up. Aren’t you uncomfortable holding it in? There’s a river over there.”

Although I was dizzy, I wasn’t about to throw up. I had only mentioned it to avoid talking about Jian Wei. But the sudden stop almost made me vomit the alcohol I had consumed. This woman always seemed to see through my lies and punish me accordingly.

I opened the car door and stumbled towards the river, then began to vomit hysterically.

Feeling weak, I lay flat on the ground, looking at the twinkling stars and feeling dizzy again.

Mi Cai came over and handed me a tissue, reprimanding me, “I told you not to drink so much!”

“If you hadn’t… slammed on the brakes, I wouldn’t have thrown up.” I slurred.

“Really? So you were just playing me again?”

Realizing I had inadvertently confessed, I decided to play dead and lay motionless on the ground.

“Keep pretending, I’m leaving.”

I remembered the night Mi Cai had left me in the middle of nowhere, and I grabbed her hand, “Don’t go…”

I held onto Mi Cai’s hand tightly, afraid of being left alone in this rarely traveled area.

Mi Cai was a bit flustered, struggling to free herself while asking me to let go. I clung to her legs, as if I had found a source of comfort, a solace, a lost past.

“Zhao Yang, let go, you’re drunk!” Mi Cai’s voice was tense. This level of physical contact was too intimate for us.

“Just let me hold you for a while, don’t go…” My voice was choked with emotion.

“I’m not Jian Wei, Zhao Yang, sober up!” Mi Cai pushed my shoulders, struggling fiercely, and finally managed to push me to the ground and ran towards her car.

Lying on the ground again, my world was dark. The cold autumn wind gradually sobered me up. After a while, I got up and walked towards Mi Cai’s car. But Mi Cai, still shaken, insisted that I sit in the back seat.

The car started again, carrying my sobering sense of loss towards the bright lights ahead.

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