Rui: Sorry for such a late update. I was busy with uni entrance exams (I live in the southern hemisphere, so we’ve got finals before Christmas :\). Hope you guys understand, and enjoy this chapter ! 🙂
Yan Han – After You Left
Yan Han has a lover who’s stayed together with him for more than ten years. He is called Wen Qing.
When Wen Qing first left, Yan Han drowned his sorrows in alcohol everyday. When he became intoxicated from drinking too much and said these very words to other people, they would always correct him every time and emphasise that it was all in the past.
Oh, that’s right, it was in the past.
Later, there was another time when he got drunk, and forgot who spoke to him and said, “When you want to drink, at least you have our gang of friends as company whilst you drown yourself in alcohol. What about him? He stayed with you for half his lifetime, and didn’t even end up with a single friend.” Towards the end, that person also began to lament, “If you think about it, what’s the point in immersing yourself in love time and time again?
So what was the point in him being like this?
After that, Yan Han didn’t really drink anymore, nor did he frequently mention Wen Qing again.
It was as if he locked up all his memories about the other person in a box, and would only dare to gently brush the dust on the lid when the emptiness in his heart drove him to the brink of madness in the middle of the night.
Sometimes he would never mention a single word about him, but it wasn’t because he wanted to forget. Rather, it was because he couldn’t open his mouth, for as soon as he spoke he would be drowned in gushing waves of regret. Plus, he didn’t have the right to mention anything.
Yan Han never thought of quitting smoking again. The only brand he smoked was Marlboro.
But Wen Qing was no longer here.
These days, there were people who had once again, started to continuously tell Yan Han that it was time for him to find a new partner.
Yan Han narrowed his eyes. Yeah, it was time to find someone new. Hasn’t it already been another three years? That lady, Han Wei, was even married now.
It seemed like she didn’t know about what happened to Wen Qing. A while back, he met her during a business trip to a tourist city. Han Wei was clearly very excited, and asked him if he knew how the other person was doing. She called him Wen Qing instead of Wen Ge. Her words were laced with hints of caution, as if she was afraid she had got the wrong person, and also as if she was afraid that she was being too abrupt.
It had been too long since he last heard someone else speak of the name Wen Qing. For a moment, he felt taken back, and at the same time a slight sense of unfamiliarity.
He then smiled as he nodded his head, “Wen Qing’s doing well, very well.”
It was like he was comforting her, yet at the same time it felt as though he was merely deceiving himself.
He found a cafe and sat down inside. He listened to Han Wei recount stories about Wen Qing. There were stories about the time when Wen Qing was still in County S, as well as tales of Wen Qing’s life in Australia of which she had heard from someone else.
That person was probably Wen Bai. He was probably the only person in this world who would so conscientiously fabricate a world that Wen Qing was no longer a part of.
His own memories and imaginations of Wen Qing would all end with an image of Wen Qing being covered up with a piece of white cloth.
A desolate wash of a polychromatic palette of red.
Perhaps the only reason why he was still living was because he was too afraid to go and see him.
But then again, how could he possibly meet him?
The other person had ascended to heaven, whilst he himself would fall into the depths of hell.
Some people say, that once your memories have become blurry due to the influence of time, you would initially try to polish and discern them before eventually giving up in the end. Then when you rely on your imagination to recount your memories, it means you’ve become old.
And together with the organ inside your chest that is struggling to continue beating, you would’ve inevitably… aged.
When Yan Han looked at himself in the mirror in the morning, he discovered that another tuft of white hair had grown. The wrinkles between his brows could no longer be smoothed out.
Yan Han suddenly remembered the dream he had last night.
In the dream, Wen Qing had become an old man, and was watering the flowers on the balcony.
He himself was wrapped in a thick padded jacket. He held a walking stick in his hands as he stood to the side and urged Wen Qing to quickly return inside.
Wen Qing laughed and suddenly transformed back into his youthful appearance. His hair was ink-blank, and his eyes carried sparks of a youthful spirit. He was smiling.
Wen Qing said that he was an old man now, and couldn’t continue living an unbridled life with him anymore.
He tapped the other person with his walking stick out of anger, and asked why they couldn’t stay together anymore.
Wen Qing raised a brow before he turned around and jumped off the tall building.
He then woke up.
His heart felt empty.
It wasn’t until a long time after Wen Qing had left, did he remember what sounded off about Wen Qing’s words when he had told Wen Qing they would live a good life together in the future.
Wen Qing didn’t include himself as the subject of the sentence.
Wen Qing said, “You must remember to live a good life in the future.”
He suddenly remembered back to the day when Wen Qing asked to break up a few years ago.
Wen Qing dragged his suitcase and stood at the entrance.
He left a few words behind before he exited.
You should hurry and head back up. Don’t catch a cold.
The other person had only been cruelly ruthless to himself.
He squeezed out some time to visit Wuhan. There was now a lot more graffiti by the edge of the Yangtze River. There was a group of young people taking photos by the reed beds of the Hankow marshland. The place had grown a lot in prosperity.
At night, he went and lounged in a pub.
A lady wearing heavy makeup was playing the guitar as she sang on the stage as though she was murmuring to herself.
Before we must discover that we shall end up with nothing,
At least you can say,
I understand, the ones who live are the loneliest.
Everything I have is but a mere fluke,
Whilst everything I have lost is life.
When you no longer forget, nor think of the past,
I love you
Yan Han suddenly had a thought. Loneliness wasn’t so bad.
Wasn’t it just living through cycles and cycles of twelve years?
[Extra 2 (1)]
Wen Bai – Chest and Hand (1)
Wen Bai was the typical tall, rich and handsome man. Coupled with his high EQ, he had always been the centre of attention ever since he was young.
He had many past relationships with both men and woman. Yet, upon closer recollection, he couldn’t really remember any of them.
He thought that there was nothing more to love than this. The more times you loved, the more boring it would get.
Wen Bai was in the school’s Literature and Arts department back in university. He had participated in the production of a microfilm that was scripted by a philosophy professor.
The film was called “Chest and Hand”. It sounded a bit strange, and so he borrowed the script to have a read.
It was the voluptuous tale of licentious love making painted in scenes of debauchery.
Later down the track, both the male and female protagonists ended up with their own respective partners.
In the denouement of the story, their eyes teared up as their shoulders brushed against each other on the streets.
Wen Bai didn’t really understand.
Did they recognise each other in the end on the street?
If they did, then why didn’t they greet each other? Their love for each other should be unforgettable as if it was engraved into their bones.
Wen Bai laughed at such thoughts. Did eternal love even exist in this world?
Did he himself even understand this concept of eternity?
He then met Wen Qing.
The other person was attractive, gentle, and always treated him like a child.
When he completed his work well, Wen Qing would also reach out with his hand and caress his head. He would feel a sense of numb pleasure when the other’s fingertips brushed through his hair.
He didn’t like how Wen Qing treated him like a child, but he enjoyed his interaction with Wen Qing.
He didn’t originally have any other feelings towards Wen Qing.
It wasn’t until he saw the love bite on Wen Qing’s neck, did a senseless anger suddenly swell inside his heart.
When he asked Wen Qing whether he had a boyfriend or not, the other didn’t reply, opting to merely gaze back at him with a raised brow and a forced smile.
It was like the other person was saying that he was asking too many questions.
He felt irritated. Irritated at the fact that he had no right to meddle with Wen Qing’s personal life.
For a moment, he even wanted to just pin Wen Qing down on the office desk and ruthlessly screw him, so that the other’s body would be filled with his own marks and scent.
Just as he was about to do so, he suddenly felt confused.
Why was he so angry?
Did he like the other?
Perhaps he did.
He didn’t dwell on this question any further. After all, wouldn’t the answer become clear after they attempted a relationship together?
He had never been rejected in his entire life.
Perhaps Wen Qing really did have a boyfriend, but why would that be a problem anyways?
It was merely a matter of time.
He didn’t even plan on taking too much initiative. An appropriate amount of flirting and advances would be enough to make the other person cling onto him.
He lifted the corners of his mouth, full of confidence that he had victory in the bag.
On the night he knew of Wen Qing and Yan Han’s relationship…
His resolve began to waver.
If he didn’t take initiative, perhaps he would never be a part of Wen Qing’s life.
But was it worth it?
Yan Han wasn’t an easy opponent to take on.
His sense of reason told him that it was time to let go.
However, in the end, he still couldn’t restrain himself from asking the other person. He merely wanted to hear the other say that he was special to him.
The only thing that was missing for him was an excuse. One that would make him completely break out of his cage of reason. One that would make him discard everything for Wen Qing, including his father and Wen Corporation.
However, he didn’t hear the words he wished to hear.
He silently agreed to Wen Qing’s resignation.
He thought that he could let it go. After all, the probability of him liking the other wasn’t a hundred percent.
That’s right, perhaps he liked him.
[Extra 2 (2)]
Wen Bai – Chest and Hand (2)
He tried to forget Wen Qing.
However, everytime he thought about the word ‘forget’, he would feel even more anxious and irritated.
That day, when he went drinking at a bar with some other people, they began talking about Wen Qing and Yan Han. They mocked Wen Qing’s cowardice, and made a bet that Yan Han would never return to the path of virtue. They then recounted each and every one of Yan Han’s past misdeeds.
Wen Bai’s uncontrollably clenched his hand, and his knuckles turned white causing him to almost crush the cup in his grasp.
There was no way by which he could act like his past self and join the others in laughing at Wen Qing, whilst using his life as a topic for an after-dinner conversation.
He understood Wen Qing. Wen Qing wasn’t the good-for-nothing type of person they described him to be. He was merely willing to lower himself for Yan Han’s sake.
Twelve years. He kept a low profile for an entire twelve years.
Perhaps Wen Qing understood the definition of an eternity engraved into one’s bones.
It was just that the person whom he felt an eternal love for was not him.
Wen Bai was actually quite cold-blooded, and lacked in emotion.
He was skilled at creating a facade of himself, yet he wasn’t good at loving someone sincerely.
However, every time he thought of Wen Qing, his heart would ache as if it was being wrenched.
There was also a raging flame of desire amidst the pain. A desire for Wen Qing.
He was going around in circles. He always had been.
Advance. Give up. Move closer. Trial.
All the way until Wen Qing jumped off a building.
Perhaps he understood Wen Qing’s intentions for seeking death. However, in one’s lifetime, joy is only ever delivered by one’s own hands.
Regardless of the promises and protection that other people gave him, as long as it was something he didn’t want, then it was all merely compulsion.
Let him go. For the sake of his happiness.
He was no longer here, yet time still continued to run.
Tick after tick, minutes and seconds would pass by.
It seemed as if another few years passed by. Company Yan had already shifted its core business to City W. Enterprise Wen held the larger end of the market in the city that Wen Qing had once existed in.
His career grew in success, yet he never dated anyone again. His parents had now grown old, and no longer had the ability to govern over his life.
The outside world was suspicious of his sexuality. There were even tabloids who exposed him for having physiological diseases. He just laughed when he read these articles.
People merely lived for the sake of being happy themselves. He could allow himself to have unprincipled indulges in certain things, but not when it came to relationships.
He didn’t plan on staying single. He was simply waiting. Waiting for the right one.
That day, he returned to his university for the school’s anniversary as an honored alumnus.
There was a recitation performance of a section from Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’.
The youth on the stage was wearing a white shirt. He stood in the center of the stage as the strong rays of light from the lighting shone on him, making his complexion seem slightly pale.
“One wither’d rose put years ago for thee, dear friend;
But I do not forget thee…
No, While memories subtly play—the past vivid as ever…”
Wen Bai narrowed his eyes as he examined the youth’s face with his eyes. He felt as though he saw Wen Qing, and at the same time, as if he saw himself.
The teenage boy’s name was Mo QiuNuo. He moved in with Wen Bai in less than two months’ time.
When they made love, Wen Bai really liked it when Mo QiuNuo’s fingertips brushed through his hair. The slightly cold yet warm sensation seemed to have the power of an aphrodisiac.
When Mo QiuNuo smiled, his eyes strongly resembled that of another person.
However, Wen Bai wouldn’t let him know that.
Wen Bai liked hearing Mo QiuNuo say ‘I love you’. He liked gazing into the tenderness that bloomed from within the youth’s eyes.
He thought that perhaps there would come a day when he would fail to recollect Wen Qing’s gentleness.
He thought that maybe there would be a day when the person he carried inside his heart would become the person that he currently held in his hands.
An eternity engraved in one’s bones. Perfect Harmony.
Chest and hand.