Afterwards, we decided to go out for dinner. I really like Korean food, which everyone laughs at me for saying I have no taste, but I just really like any sweet and spicy food. I didn’t say that I wanted to eat Korean food though and said anything’s fine. He said, “Then how about we go eat Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong1. I really like their sour-sweet-spicy sauce and lettuce bowl.” I frantically nodded because those were also my favorite! While on the way there, I thought, if I didn’t even know Dumbledore was gay, then would I also not know if I’m gay?
xx once said, all of mankind is face-sexual2, and sexuality is naturally fluid.
I casually thought of this, silently walking along with him. When we were ordering after we arrived at the restaurant, I realized we even liked to eat the same meat! In my heart, I screamed as if I were a teenage girl. Was it possible for someone to meet another person so like-minded? If everyone in this world was a mung bean, were we two extraordinary red beans that happened to meet? Didn’t the economists say it was impossible3?
After we finished eating, it was about time for us to part and go home, but neither of us opened our mouth to say goodbye. We slowly walked along the long road, arrived at the entrance of my residential area, then finally arrived at the entrance of my apartment building. I said I was home, then he smiled and told me to hurry back. I took two steps inside, thought for a moment, then turned around. “I-I ate a bit too much. Do you want to go for a walk to digest our food, then have a snack?”
I’m such a pig, aren’t I! I really am.
He smiled once again. Ai, a fool will always be a fool, he really was quite beautiful when he smiled. I advise all the young people out there: During the night, stay far away from people who light up when they smile. It’s too dangerous and it’ll make you dumbstruck.
After our walk, I really did get hungry, so we turned and walked back to my house. I wondered if I should invite him up to sit down for a bit. I decided I would count to ten in my head, then invite him in. I’d just gotten to six when he said, “It’s pretty late. We should get home and rest. We still have work tomorrow.”
I didn’t feel too sorry about it. After we said our goodbyes, I ran back home. As I walked down the hallway, I thought that although the light was dim, it was gentle and soft, and although the neighbor’s dog continuously barked, it seemed very happy. Just as I walked into my apartment and turned on the light, I received a message from him. “Today was very fun. Goodnight.” I replied, “Good timing, I just got home! Have a good night as well.”
After I washed up, I lied on my bed, then got up again and made a bowl of noodles. Today really was fun.
I suddenly remembered that xx still thought I was gay, so I sent her a message explaining that I was straight. She was very flustered and apologetic. I gathered my thoughts and typed a message into my phone then deleted it, going back and forth like this a few times. I didn’t want her to think I was disgusted by gay people, but I also didn’t want her to know that Shen had accidentally outed her to me. It would be better to wait for her to tell me herself. So, I finally said that everyone has the freedom to like what they like, and that she shouldn’t worry about it. This really was what I thought, such as if I liked apples and someone else liked bananas. But did I like bananas? I couldn’t help but ask myself.
The next day, I got up to go to work. I work at a digital media company, and everyone gets to work after ten. But I’m used to waking up early, so I often show up a bit early. That day, I ran into Shen at the elevator! We worked in the same company? I smiled and thought, if we were together, wouldn’t it be an office romance?
He smiled at me and handed me a cup of coffee. “Did you sleep well last night?” I looked at him and nodded. We walked into the elevator together, and he pressed the button for the third floor. Oh, it wasn’t odd for him to know my department. After all, he knew xx. It was only him and I in the elevator, and I could smell the Bvlgari4 fragrance on him. He smelled really nice.
As I thought this, the elevator seemed to reach the third floor in a flash. I had no choice but to say goodbye to him. He only smiled and nodded his head, pressing the open button for me with one hand, and waving with the other. Just when I exited the elevator, my colleague, Xiaohei, suddenly dashed out in front me and pulled me toward the elevator. “Stop just standing there. Fortunately you’re here. Xiaobai is busy today, so hurry and come run an interview with me. The car is downstairs.” I was pulled into the elevator, and Xiaohei said to Shen, “Sorry, buddy, we’re in a hurry to get downstairs. We’ll have to hold you up for a bit.” Shen didn’t say anything and nodded his head. Once we reached the ground floor, Xiaohei set out first, and I couldn’t help but turn and wave at him, once again saying goodbye. He smiled and winked at me, and I suddenly felt a bit embarrassed, quickly turning back and chasing after Xiaohei. Xiaohei said, “Did you know that guy in the elevator? He’s pretty cool.” Cool? I asked Xiaohei, “He’s very good looking, isn’t he?” Xiaohei gave me an astonished look. “What’s so good looking about a man? I’m straight.”
I-I am too, but I still think Shen is very good looking.
Xiaohei pointed to the coffee in my hand and asked, “Are you still drinking that? If not, then give it to me. I woke up too early today.” I subconsciously withdrew my hand and said I would buy him another one, but he said “Forget it, we don’t have enough time.” I actually didn’t like bitter coffee, but I hesitated and still didn’t speak. When I sat down in the car and we were preparing to leave, I took a sip, and it was actually french vanilla. I love french vanilla, it’s very fragrant and sweet. (I think everyone should try french vanilla with an iced cappuccino. It’s the sweetheart of the coffee world.)
On the way, Xiaohei said we were going to interview a Canadian that wanted to help his dad come out of the closet.
Was the world crazy, or was I crazy? Was this a companion piece for The Truman Show called The Coming Out Show5? Was everyone in this world an NPC6?
I must have looked too astonished, as Xiaohei in turn advised me, “Everyone has the freedom to like what they like so don’t discriminate against others. At the very least, don’t bring this attitude to the interview.” I could only continuously nod. Inside I said, “I’m not, I didn’t!” In the car, I thought of how young people are really quite remarkable these days. They don’t feel the need to come out themselves, yet still come out for their own father.
After arriving at the arranged meeting place, I found out, however, we were interviewing a middle-aged man. After everything was set up, he began to talk about his father’s experience, and said he had consulted his father for this interview. He said that his father loved his family and was serious and responsible, but as he grew up he gradually thought he didn’t seem happy. He thought it was because of family burdens, but following his parent’s divorce, his mother remarried. He spoke with his parents and discovered that before their divorce, his mother was already with another man and that his father actually preferred men.
But his parent’s divorce did not affect their friendship. He and his mother encouraged his father to get to know other people. He decided that this time too, once his father found a lover, he would issue this ritualized operation.
Although I wore a smile on my face throughout the story, internally I was saying “WTF?” But I was indescribably moved, which must’ve been because of the sincerity in the man’s expression that would make someone feel like their life belonged to them, and that the choices they made were their own and worthy of respect.
Everyone has to face themselves in their heart. No one is able to live their whole life in suppression and suffering.
At the time, I suddenly thought of Shen. For the instant that I thought of him, I felt a bit scared and a bit happy.
The interview carried on the whole day, and when I opened my phone, I had several messages from Shen. He asked if I wanted to go to an exhibition together and that Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Room7 would be on display. I didn’t think I had a single artistic cell in my body, but I enjoyed spending time with him so I agreed.
That’s all for today!
When I got home, Chinese subtitles had just been put out for the Halloween special of Inside No. 9. Inside No. 9 has been my favorite British drama for the past two years. On Weibo8, there were many people who had finished the live broadcast and were already posting about how brilliant it was! I also really wanted to watch it, but it was the Halloween special after all, so I didn’t dare to.
I definitely think there will be people who are going to laugh at me for my fear of ghosts. Humph, anyone with an imagination is scared of ghosts.
I thought for a moment, then nudged Shen on WeChat. I didn’t know why, but I thought that if he watched it with me I wouldn’t feel scared.
He quickly agreed, then we started a voice call. We each began to open it up to watch it together. I was a bit slow to open it, so he said “It’s okay, I’ll wait for you.” Ai, he had a very nice voice. After he counted down from three, we went on to watch it together. There was a sudden jump-scare that startled me quite a bit. I violently fell backwards, my earphones pulling at my ears. I made a sound of pain which he must have heard. Smiling, he said, “My dear little orange, I’ll rub your hair, you won’t be scared.9” Even as my face turned red, I thought, isn’t it “dear little rabbit10”? At that moment, I suddenly had to use the bathroom. I was a bit embarrassed, and I didn’t dare ask but couldn’t hold it in anymore. I very, very shamefully told him I needed to use the bathroom. He said it was fine, and I paused the show. He paused for a moment then asked whether I was still scared or not. I said “a little bit” and he laughed again. He said, “Then you should take your phone with you and act like you’re holding me.”
It seemed that I did like him a little.
I was a bit embarrassed, but ultimately took my phone into the bathroom, acting as if I was holding him. During the process, I tightly held the microphone and pretended I didn’t see my blushing face in the mirror.
Then, we went back and watched the rest in one go, it was amazing. It was different from the interaction you could have with the viewers in a theater. It was a space of even larger digitalized interaction. I felt very envious of the people who got to watch the livestream. I couldn’t help but say, “Reese (one of the screenwriters) is so awesome. I’ll love him all my life!”
1.Korean barbecue restaurant.
- 颜性恋- A technical term created by Chinese netizens for a sexuality that describes people who are attracted to and can develop romantic feelings for anyone as long as they are good looking, regardless of gender.
- I’m not completely sure about this, but I think he is referring to something an economist once said about how if a person is too good to be true, then they probably are.
- Brand of cologne/perfume.
- Here, a pun is used. In Chinese, The Truman Showis called 楚门的世界 (chu men de shi jie) and the narrator asked if they were doing a companion piece for it called 出柜的世界 (chu gui de shi jie). 出柜 (chu gui) means to come out of the closet. Some things to note are that they both use the “chu” sound in the beginning, and “men” in 楚门 (which is how Truman is written in Chinese) means door, while “gui” in 出柜 means closet.
- NPC stands for non-player character and refers to a character in a game that is not controlled by a player but rather automatically controlled by the program. It can also be used to describe people who can’t think for themselves or make their own decisions.
- Chinese microblogging website. It is generally considered the Twitter of China.
- The first part (my dear little rabbit) is a children’s song, and the second part (I’ll rub your hair, you won’t be scared.) is often said to comfort children when they’re scared, and I also believe it’s part of a nursery rhyme.
- Rabbit (tu) and orange (jü) kind of rhyme in Chinese which is where I think Shen’s mistake came from.