Wen Qing used to like eating sweets, but Yan Han didn’t. He would even subconsciously knit his brows together when he smelt desserts.
Later, Wen Qing felt bored when he ate sweets for there was no one to keep him accompany, and so he gradually forgot he had a sweet tooth.
When Yan Han came back today, he brought Wen Qing a tiramisu. Wen Qing ate a single mouthful and his eyes shone, “Where did you buy this?”
Yan Han frowned as he pondered before he said that it was from a western restaurant that was quite far away.
He watched Wen Qing eat in happiness and smiled, “Does it taste good?”
Wen Qing nodded his head furiously as he thought to himself that he ought to visit this restaurant for more desserts in the future. He asked, “Why did you suddenly think of bringing a dessert back?”
“I remembered you liked sweets. It just so happened that I heard my assistants talking about how there was a restaurant who made delicious desserts, so I bought one for you to try.” His words were suffused with intimacy of a good man who had a great sense of home.
Wen Qing paused for a moment before he smiled at Yan Han, carrying the mellowness of the tiramisu. Yan Han’s heart skipped a beat and he walked over to hug Wen Qing before he sealed the other’s lips into a deep kiss.
After their kiss, Yan Han nodded his head in satisfaction, “It seems like the dessert tastes pretty good.” Wen Qing was blushing slightly. His eyes cast downwards, forming a small shadow on his face.
Perhaps one would actually live a happier life if one did not dwell on certain things.
So it turned out that Yan Han did know about his sweet tooth, but in these past twelve years, he had never mentioned taking him out to eat desserts. It was only upon comparison, that the lack of concern towards certain things could be exposed.
In these twelve years, his thoughts of a Yan Han whom he believed treated him well seemed quite funny. Just what was it in these past years that made him continuously hold onto this relationship of theirs despite the pain?
However, Yan Han was probably starting to really treat him well. It should be true. He had endured it up to now and there was nothing bad about the present.
Wen Qing lifted the corner of his lips and suppressed the agitation in his heart. He gently smiled as he hugged and kissed Yan Han.
At night, Yan Han held Wen Qing who was fast asleep in his arms and faintly smiled. It didn’t seem bad to live the rest of his life with Wen Qing like this. A life without anyone else didn’t seem boring. Wen Qing could satisfy all of his needs. Whenever his innermost desires wished for something, WenQing would always give it to him. Sometimes he didn’t even know what desire he was feeling agitated over, but WenQing would.
Back then, he would always think that if he stayed with Wen Qing too often, he would grow tired of him. That’s why when he first started working, he had an indulging attitude. It wasn’t until he felt a sense of danger later on, that he thought of pulling the other person back so that they wouldn’t be too far away from him.
Wen Qing… Yan Han smiled as he smelt the fresh fragrance of bath gel on the person in his arms. WenQing could always give him surprises. The closer he got to him, the more he discovered the resplendence of colours within the other.
Wen Qing managed to find time to visit that western restaurant. He ordered a slice of black forest cake, and from then on, completely fell in love with the place. He found an opportunity to meet up with the restaurant’s dessert maker and left his contact details behind. Usually, Wen Qing would also try and make some sweets at home. He would contact the other if there was anything he didn’t understand. He would even invite him to his house. Gradually, they became fairly close friends.
The dessert maker was called Yan ZiChen. He was a delicate and pretty, black haired young boy who was a lot younger than him. It seemed like he was also studying for a PHD in some degree. He was kind of shy, but his character was unexpectedly stubborn.
Yan Han once mocked Wen Qing by asking why he liked to eat such trifling things that were made for girls. Before he had time to reply, Yan ZiChen got mad and angrily exclaimed that desserts weren’t ‘trifling things’.
Yan Han was dumbfounded and glimpsed at Yan ZiChen with a forced smile. Yan ZiChen also felt awkward, and become even more embarrassed from Yan Han’s gaze as he lowered his flushed face.
Wen Qing watched the two with squinted eyes and kindly smoothed things over.
The situations that followed became awkward.
Yan ZiChen invited himself over to help make desserts every now and then. It also became more and more natural and accepted that he would stay back and eat dinner. A scene that would more frequently occur at the dinner table would be that as soon as Yan Han talked shortly with him about work, he would then start having a discussion with Yan ZiChen over some trivial matter. Perhaps even Yan Han didn’t sense it himself, but no matter how much Yan ZiChen offended him, he never got mad. Hints of happiness would even flash in his eyes.
That was a treatment Wen Qing did not get.
Wen Qing couldn’t explain what he was thinking. He sensed the flickering flames of possibility between the two. He could’ve snuffed it out, but not only did he not do so, he even let the fire grow. He didn’t want to be the one who took initiative to leave Yan Han. His current state was more like he was waiting for Yan Han to discard him.
On the other hand, it also seemed to be mere curiosity. In the end, how would this man who he had stayed together with for twelve years, tell him to piss off or perhaps beg for him to let go?
Just the mere thoughts of it seemed interesting. The corners of Wen Qing’s lips formed a faint smile.
However, it appeared to be that these two men were even more oblivious towards their feelings for each other than him.
Wen Qing thought it was funny. He also thought that it would be too boring if the current situation prolonged forever. Thus, when Yan Han was hugging him one day, Wen Qing half intentionally insulted Yan ZiChen. Yan Han subconsciously refuted back in an unfriendly manner.
Wen Qing faintly smiled as he looked at Yan Han.
Yan Han frowned as if he couldn’t understand why he felt angry over Wen Qing insulting Yan ZiChen.
Wen Qing didn’t say much after that. If he spoke too much, it would seem deliberate. Yan Han wasn’t stupid, he would be able to understand his feelings for Yan ZiChen if he thought about it more.
Wen Qing lay in Yan Han’s embrace. He breathed in the familiar scent on his body and felt as though he was indeed acting like a bitch.
Why was he giving the man he loved for twelve years to someone else?
Wen Qing leaned closer towards Yan Han.
Even up until now, he still loved this man. What other reason did he have for being willing to leave him other than the fact that he was too tired?
How many twelve year cycles did a human have in their lifetime anyways? You always had to leave some time for yourself, right?
Wen Qing furrowed his brows and fluttered his eyes a few times to blink back the tears.
A breath too soft to hear, sounded like a sob.
Wen Qing received a call today when he was at home by himself.
No one said anything on the other end of the call. There were faint sounds of a man’s breaths and Wen Qing tried to call out, “Wen Bai?”
The man on the other end hummed in response.
Neither one of them ended the call.
After a long while, Wen Bai suddenly said, “I miss you.”
Before Wen Qing thought of what to say, he heard the beeping sounds of the busy tone through the phone.
Wen Qing laughed and suddenly thought many years back to the first time he caught Yan Han cheating on him.
It was Winter and Wen Qing wanted to buy Yan Han a New Year’s present so he went shopping around in a mall.
When he went downstairs, he saw the back of a figure that resembled Yan Han. There was a boy dressed in bright colours standing next to him and holding his arm. Wen Qing subconsciously hid away and stared at them for a long time. His hands shakingly dialled Yan Han’s number but the other didn’t pick up.
Shortly after he received a message: I’m working overtime tonight. Won’t be going back.
That was one of the few days of despair in Wen Qing’s life. At the time, he had fought and cut ties with his family for Yan Han. He had also just agreed with Yan Han to quit his job. He was just feeling complacent over having the last pillar of support in his life the previous moment, when he fell into the depths of ice cold water the very next.
He was angry yet helpless as he shivered in the freezing cold weather.
Late that night when there was still a thick layer of snow outside, the doorbell suddenly rang. It was Yan Han who looked cold and had a few snowflakes stuck on his hair. As soon as the door opened, Yan Han didn’t even say a word as he tightly held Wen Qing.
He stayed like that for a long time, so long that Wen Qing suddenly felt afraid that Yan Han would ask to break up.
In the end, the only words Yan Han spoke were, “I missed you.”
Wen Qing felt bitter then. He thought to himself that even though this man cheated on him, he should still forgive him. Look, he still loved him.
Just like that, a love that could shake the earth and heavens slowly became more and more accustomed to the word, compromise, before it was eventually degraded to dust.
It almost seemed like even then, they could still rely on each other for a lifetime.
Haha. A lifetime.
Wen Qing smoked a cigarette as he breathed out puffs of smoke. He smiled amidst the hazy shadows.
Fuck ‘a lifetime’.
Wen Qing stuck the cigarette into the freshly made cake.
He threw it into the bin, along with soup dumplings Yan ZiChen had brought over in the morning.
浮萍 are duckweeds. There are many instances when duckweeds are compared to life in China. One philosophy is that as duckweeds don’t have roots and more often than not, freely float in the water, it is somewhat synonymous to how people could not control their destiny. However, another way to look at it, is that despite not having roots and being at mercy of the water flow, we cannot underestimate their strength. Especially, in the face of storms (symbolic of life’s hardships), duckweeds can quickly adapt well to the situation. They wouldn’t surrender, but nor would they put up a meaningless fight. Thus, these storms could destroy trees with roots that were as long as a thousand feet, yet they could do no damage to duckweeds. I have taken on, the second meaning of duckweeds in this chapter as Wen Qing is talking about Yan Han, and translated it as a pillar of support.