Chapter 67 – Farewell

After seeing off Mi Cai, I returned to my room, finished the remaining red wine, and lit a cigarette, lying heavily on the sofa. My mind kept replaying the scene where I asked Mi Cai if we were friends. I was somewhat surprised at why I asked such a question, and what was the meaning behind it?

I couldn’t figure it out for a long time. Perhaps it’s like the saying, “A dying man’s words are good.” Even though I didn’t care how Mi Cai saw me before, when it was time to leave, I wanted to leave a good impression on her. Even if we weren’t friends, I didn’t want her to associate me with words like vulgar, shameless, and despicable.

After freshening up, I gradually sobered up from the alcohol and started packing my luggage while I was still clear-headed.

In my luggage, there was still the guitar that Jian Wei gave me. I found a clean cloth and wiped it over and over again, wiping out the pain of love and the wounds of memory. I felt a bit sad.

How wonderful it would be if a love could ignore material things and last forever. Then, perhaps Jian Wei and I would already be married. I’m not afraid of marriage at all because I love Jian Wei. Being with the woman I truly love would never be boring, no matter how long it lasts.

I remember the days after we broke up, I thought about her every moment, wanting to tell her, “Remember, I’m always waiting for you at the end of the world.” But after a month, a year, I never got a response. So, I started to ruin my life with beer and women. But the guitar she gave me stayed the same, accompanying me.

I put down the cloth, plucked the strings of the guitar, and the sound was still clear. It was as if I could hear the clear laughter of us cuddling together. Such laughter made my past happy but also hurt my present. So, I held the guitar tightly, thinking that this way, I could hold onto those happy moments.

A ringtone pulled me back to reality. The laughter I was holding onto slipped through my fingers like sand. I couldn’t catch it, and I felt a sense of loss and a dull pain in my heart.

I stared at my phone for a long time before answering the call. It was from Yan Yan. She cut straight to the chase and asked, “Zhao Yang, when are you planning to return to Xuzhou?”

“Tomorrow, tomorrow morning.”

Yan Yan sighed, “So soon?”

“Yeah, no strings attached, free to come and go.” I replied with a smile.

“I wanted to treat you to a meal before you leave! … We’ve been friends for so many years, I really don’t want to see you go.” Yan Yan’s voice choked up a bit. I knew her emotions were genuine. She didn’t want me to leave, and I didn’t want to leave her and Circle either. But this city is not for me. Leaving means liberation and a new beginning.

“You don’t need to do that. You and Circle are both very busy. Just remember to visit Xuzhou when you have time…” I added after a pause, “If he’s still willing.”

In fact, in the four days since I resigned from the company, I haven’t had any contact with Circle. I know he’s still upset about that incident and has some resentment towards me. But I don’t know how to explain it to him because my reasons don’t count as reasons in his eyes. We simply can’t see the incident from the same perspective. This makes me feel regretful and heartbroken.

Yan Yan remained silent, which made me guess that Circle was still angry, and might be for a long time. The negative consequences of this incident were too great.

After a long silence, Yan Yan finally said, “What time is your train tomorrow? I’ll take you to the station.”

“You don’t have to go to that trouble.”

“Tomorrow is the weekend, I’m not working, it’s no trouble.”

I thought for a moment, didn’t refuse again, and told Yan Yan the time of my departure tomorrow morning. I also gave her my current address.

After ending the call with Yan Yan, I finished packing my luggage and freshened up again. Finally, I returned to my bedroom, lay on the bed, and thought about calling Robben and CC to tell them I was leaving tomorrow morning. But in the end, I gave up. I knew they would go to the station to see me off, but I didn’t like the melancholy of face-to-face farewells. So, I decided to tell them when I got back to Xuzhou.

I turned off the light and lay in the dark, reflecting on my years in Suzhou. Actually, it wasn’t all without gains. At least I made a few good friends and had a good boss, Chen Jingming. It’s just a pity that I gave up the opportunity in the end and indirectly ruined Chen Jingming’s chance for promotion. Thinking about this made me feel guilty.

I also knew that Circle’s biggest resentment towards me was because of Chen Jingming. He has always valued Chen Jingming’s recognition and support. Without Chen Jingming, there would be no him today.

But, is our brotherhood of so many years really going to be ruined by these workplace disputes?

I don’t know, and I don’t have an answer. I can only hope that time will help Circle let go, and one day in the future, he and Yan Yan will visit us in Xuzhou. Then, just like before, we can have a few drinks, smoke a few cigarettes, and brag a bit…

Fatigue finally set in amidst my chaotic thoughts. In the middle of the night, I yawned heavily and fell asleep, quietly passing the last night before my departure.

…Early the next morning, I moved my luggage out of the room and handed all the keys to the young couple who rented the house yesterday.

Downstairs of the apartment, I was looking around in the morning sunlight. Today, Yan Yan and I had agreed that she would take me to the train station. However, women are naturally slow, and there was still plenty of time before the train departure. I wasn’t in a hurry. While waiting, I habitually smoked several cigarettes.

After a while, I finally saw Yan Yan’s white Mazda 6 slowly approaching. To my surprise, there was another person in the passenger seat. Upon closer inspection, it was Circle. My emotions surged instantly. Circle and Yan Yan had come to see me off together.

After the car stopped, Yan Yan and Circle got out of the car from both sides and then came to me.

I smiled at Circle and said, “I didn’t expect you to come!”

“Yan Yan is here, how could I not come.”

I jokingly asked, “You didn’t get dragged here by Yan Yan, did you? You seem reluctant!”

“Even if I wasn’t dragged, it’s almost the same.” Circle responded to my words, but he didn’t joke around.

Yan Yan slapped Circle lightly and said, “You two have been brothers for so many years, do you really want to stop communicating? Let’s help Zhao Yang move his luggage into the car quickly, so we don’t miss the train.”

Circle nodded, and then he and Yan Yan put my not-so-much luggage into the trunk of the car. He then turned to me, who was still standing in place, and said, “What, do you want to linger a bit longer?”

I smiled, didn’t say anything, and gestured to Circle to get in the car. Then the three of us got in the car, Yan Yan started the car and drove towards the train station.

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