I didn't really get to know him well until year 4 in university. Normally people called him Dada, but I like referring to him as Mr. Ye these days.
I just returned from our late night snacking session, like all other the nights for the past year.
On the way home I checked the calendar, wondering how many days we had left to eat out at nights. This morning I unpinned him from the top of my contact list. You need to start getting used to not having him on your fingertip after graduation, I thought to myself. Back at the food stalls tonight, we were trying to recollect how we got close to each other. During the first two years of university we knew merely each others' existence. At the beginning of year 4, I was hanging around in Zhuhai, one day he just messaged me asking if I would go mother's day shopping with him. He said he could not remember why he had asked me that day.
After recalling these, Mr. Ye said, fate is an interesting thing.
Since our relocating to Guangzhou last September, we started our shameless route of late night snacking. During that period everyone around us was caught up in job hunting. Mr. Ye and I were the only ones applying for another course. Neither of us hired an agency, therefore, every now and then we would nagged about sh*t happened in applications. He was often looking melancholy, and asked why I was not worried about not getting accepted anywhere. Back then Mr. Ye was just part of the night eating gang, and when the others were not free, we would not hang much, either. Later on we started to eat out with each other on a much more regular basis. In his words, the crew was always occupied with something, and the two of us remained hungry, always. Once this became a routine, things started to get out of control.
We started working in the same company one after another. Our daily routine started to include lunch together, dinner together, jogging at 9:30 PM together and then ending up in the food stalls together. I have always been thinking, not even all couples stay this close to each other. Gradually more items were added to the list of things we do together everyday, cigarette breaks, watching films, and out for drinks. Mr. Ye was not that happy with the work, so he would complain to me about the company a lot. I remember this rainy night, it was cold, he asked me out for tea. We were both in gray jumpers, as I remember, he smoked heaps of Marlboro red. We talked quite much about things outside of the office that night. He told me his lifelong dream was to see justice served, and to become a artistic doctor. Whenever I think of his two dreams again, I would marvel at the existence of people like this.
It was on my birthday when I really fell for him. We went to see the movie Interstellar. On the train back from the cinema, I gave my seat to an elder, and he just stood up and let me have his. Though it was a natural thing for him to do, I developed a weird restless feeling on the way. When we got back we met with the gang and played mahjong. He sat across me. I raised my head, my eyes met his, and that was the moment I knew I had messed up.
On the day he resigned from the company, I got the offer to my Master’s course. I had kept telling him to leave the job if he weren't happy, still I was bummed when he did quit. He said, now you have got a job to do and a course to attend, I got neither. But I have lost you, I replied. Of course, it was meant for a joke. But Mr. Ye took a screenshot and posted it in on social media. He is not so active on social media. So as I started to appear on his timeline, more and more people around me thought we are together. One day even my best friend started to wonder, if there was anything going on between him and myself. On that very day, Mr. Ye and I talked whether we could end up being a couple some time. I said that I did not see us as a good pair, while I was actually thinking I could never imagine being with someone like you. Finally he said, let us not talk about this again.
In the last 10 months, I almost confessed my feelings to him, twice. The first time was when a friend got me down with half a litre of Chinese baijiu and in all dizziness I tried to called him. I was already hammered when he came to the hotel to pick me up. Finally I could not bring myself to say those words in my heart. Then there was once during the winter break when he had coffee with his ex and told me they might get back together. I wanted to ask him to be with me instead so bad. All the misgivings come from my belief that I was not good enough. I reckoned if I could try to be better, because of you, it would still be a blessing even though we were not together. Although you will then not be a part of this story.
After not confessing my feeling to him, one of us was to go to CUHK and the other got accepted to EMTM. We were at the cinema when he received his offer from his dream program. I was happy, truly, though it meant that he would not be in Hong Kong. I thought, he can finally go to Europe, which he had long been wishing for.
Too many people around us were asking why we were not together, too many said he must had feelings for you and too many said we would make a good couple. However, I feel safer with what we have now. It is the inevitable fading out after graduation that I am worried and sad about.
Finally, we will live our own separate lives. Once we look up and suddenly we have a throw back to that ten months, where we share 80% of the meals every day, 80% of the movies on groupons, 80% of the jogging at night, and 80% of the whining and depressions, yet that will be a time when we have been out of touche for long, perhaps.
At that time, how will I recall my feelings for him.
Recalling when I looked at him I thought 'for someone you like, at every sight you want to make him yours'
Recalling meeting up in 7-11 at 3 AM, drinking up a bottle of wine till dawn,
Recalling his taking me to the hospital when I got food poisoning, sitting by my side while I took the drip.
Recalling his sitting in the cafe where I worked until I finished, recalling the avid movie binging, frequenting the cinema for days in a row, seeking out deals, ending up spending more on popcorn than film tickets.
Recalling his sending me over a hundred screenshots at 3 AM.
Recalling the food stall guy remembering we would always have two vermicelli rolls with pork and eggs, and an oyster omelette.
Recalling every single restaurant we dined in.
Recalling our sitting on the roof patio on Taikoo Hui drinking pink elephant eating strawberry tarts.
Recalling all the jokes that only we would understand.
Recalling strolling in the supermarket together, cooking together, watching the telly together and for a second I thought I could live with him.
Recalling each reading on one’s kindle quietly riding line eight from an end to the other.
Recalling discovering that many common interests.
Recalling this, beyond friends, not yet lovers, on est amireux.