Chapter 68: The youthful fluttering of a heart
With there still being some time before the holiday ended, Xu Tingsheng, Fu Cheng and Huang Yaming made a trip to Old Zhou’s house together, bringing Old Zhou some cigarettes and saying hi to his wife as well.
This was already the third time they were visiting Old Zhou’s house. They had come here twice during the summer holidays after graduation. Old Zhou had a good temper and his wife’s wasn’t bad as well, the loving relationship between the two having left a very deep impression on the trio, who had even felt a little envious of it.
This time, however, Xu Tingsheng felt that the atmosphere was a little wrong as soon as he stepped into the room. Old Zhou and his wife seemed to have been in the midst of quarrelling. More precisely, Old Zhou seemed to have been in the process of getting ‘educated’ by his wife.
Looking at the rather awkward, hapless-looking trio, Old Zhou’s wife who still appeared rather worked up forced out a smile, “It’s fine, it’s got nothing to do with you. I’m very happy that you’re visiting…stay behind for dinner.”
After that, she glared at Old Zhou, “Hurry up and accompany them; I’ll go make dinner.”
She went off to the kitchen. Old Zhou exhaled slowly, shooting the three of them a look. He dared not broach the topic directly as they first began casually chatting about university life. After a while, Old Zhou even gave Xu Tingsheng a deep, knowing look, telling him that Yao Jing had just visited earlier.
As they talked, his wife finished making dinner. After eating, she went straight to her room, leaving him and his three former students to chat casually over wine.
Only now did Old Zhou get into the mood, because the pressure was gone, also because the wine’s effects were kicking in.
“I heard that you had a history with Yao Jing back in school?” He asked Xu Tingsheng.
Xu Tingsheng nodded rather awkwardly, admitting it.
Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng excitedly interjected from the side, taking turns to elaborate on what had occurred between the two. Xu Tingsheng had himself already forgotten many of these things. Hearing them being said now, whilst finding it to be interesting, he inevitably felt rather embarrassed as well.
The naivety of youth…So, he had actually done so many foolish things before.
After hearing it all out in detail, Old Zhou smiled rather slyly, “Actually, Yao Jing calls my wife Auntie. We are actually relatives, and she often visits our place. Having come earlier, we talked about your matter as well. Afterwards, we also talked about something else. Currently, there is another guy from the same university as her who is pursuing her. He’s someone from Libei as well, having graduated from Libei Senior High a batch earlier than you.”
Now, Old Zhou, Fu Cheng and Huang Yaming all watched Xu Tingsheng carefully for a reaction, seemingly very much wanting to apprehend something from his expression, perhaps jealousy, perhaps unwillingness.
Yet, there was nothing at all.
Xu Tingsheng had dated Yao Jing for a month in his previous life before finally breaking up on amicable terms, still remaining rather good friends. Many years later, Yao Jing had been leading a simple yet blissful life. She had achieved happiness.
This was the most important thing. Xu Tingsheng too rejoiced for her, rejoiced at her happiness, also rejoicing at their previous rational breakup. Neither of them had remained shackled by this relationship.
In this life, perhaps Xu Tingsheng having changed some things, Yao Jing’s feelings towards him had been a little deeper than in his previous life as she had been hurt a little more by the eventual breakup as well. Still, there was one thing that wouldn’t change. The two of them weren’t suited for each other, and hadn’t been all that in love as well. Since that was so, wasn’t it best that she lived as happy and blissful a life as before?
Could it be that having been reborn, now possessing greater abilities, he should then shamelessly aspire to grasp both everything that he should and should not possess, satisfying his own personal desires?
Xu Tingsheng smiled at Old Zhou, saying calmly, “A youthful fluttering of the heart. Now, I only wish her happiness.”
The three were all able to feel his candor as Old Zhou raised a glass of wine, exclaiming, “Well said! Come! A toast for that fluttering of the youthful heart!
Downing a small glass of the white wine of more than fifty degrees, Old Zhou’s face was flushed red as he went on in a mysterious manner, “Do you know why I was scolded by my wife today? …This is the second day already…”
“Well, I deserve it, actually. Two days ago, I attended a senior high gathering. Coincidentally, truly coincidentally, our class beauty who had emigrated to America for more than 20 years and I hadn’t seen since came as well…You guys won’t know this, but she was my dream lover over the entirety of my senior high days..”
“From right when I saw her, no, from right when I heard that she would be coming, this aged heart of mine went thump, thump, thump…I wasn’t able to focus the entire night…”
“Finally, when dinner was over, she stood by the entrance of the building, hugging all of us old classmates one by one. She said that this might be the last time we would see her…”
“Under such circumstances, with her even having sent herself right up to my doorstep, with it being our final ever time meeting as well…don’t you think hugging her a little was what I should’ve done?”
Xu Tingsheng, Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng all nodded in unison, “Hug, definitely got to hug.”
“And so I hugged! Thinking about that skin of hers back then…” Old Zhou coughed, “I was always thinking that just a little pinch and blood might flow out of it…coincidentally, she was wearing clothes that laid out most of her back bare that day…so…I hugged a little tighter, a little longer…”
“And then your wife saw it?” Huang Yaming asked triumphantly.
Old Zhou painfully nodded.
All his remaining words were left to the wine. Regardless of age, when men were talking about their girlfriends in school back in the day, their first loves, their secret crushes and so forth, there would always be the same emotional sentiments as well as words that would never run dry.
From Old Zhou’s scattered ramblings, Xu Tingsheng pieced together such a conclusion:
Actually, the women in this world all possess the same mistaken view. They trust as well as ask of their partners a hundred percent devotion, a hundred percent complete unwavering loyalty.
However, there can truly be no hundred percent loyal and devoted man in this world. However much there are those who appear on the surface like they have been loyal and devoted their entire lifetimes, it is actually an unavoidable thing that their hearts would have involuntarily fluttered for some other women a few times, tens of times, perhaps even hundreds of times.
Sometimes, it would merely be a simple sigh, a single thought. Sometimes, their very souls would be enraptured and drawn, such sentiments recurring and inescapable even within their dreams.
Where then did the difference between good and bad men lie?
It lay with them not forgetting that one person within their heart, not forgetting their responsibilities, not losing their way. Thus some became incorrigible playboys, drunkenly unable to rouse themselves from this way of life. Thus others fell in love with some other woman, leaving their wife and forsaking their children…naturally, there were also those who remained true to their coremost devotion, remaining steadfast throughout their entire lifetimes.
Therefore, do not blame his heart from fluttering, because such is really an unavoidable thing. If you want to be calculative, calculate whether you are still that one person within his heart following all those flutterings of his heart thus far.
Maybe you should actually be feeling even greater, deeper bliss over this. He has viewed the multitude of colourful flowers in this world, yet you are the sole flower inserted within his heart.
After all this, Huang Yaming said to Old Zhou, “Boss, these words of yours really make a lot of sense. Why don’t you try saying all these to your wife, explaining things to her?”
Old Zhou chuckled wryly, “How are women creatures that can be reasoned with…speaking, is asking to die…not speaking, you still can muddle through half-dead…being half-dead is still being alive, being alive and waiting till she gets over and forgets about all this.”
Exiting Old Zhou’s house, as the trio walked tipsily down the road, Huang Yaming suddenly asked, “Actually, is it the same for women as well?”
“What?” Fu Cheng responded.
“Actually, is it the same for women as well? They too can’t remain forever devoted and loyal; their hearts will also inadvertently flutter many times?”
“Probably,” Xu Tingsheng said.
As Xu Tingsheng walked, he felt a liberating, refreshing feeling in his chest. Over tonight’s casual conversation, Old Zhou had helped rid him of a problem which had been plaguing him.
It could not be denied that Xu Tingsheng had been moved by Apple. Due to such, due to that happiness, his heart had indeed fluttered, not being able to bear how he was associating with her.
He had been conflicted over this, having also before tried to resolutely bring a swift and decisive end to the matter.
Now, Old Zhou had told him that even if his heart had once inadvertently fluttered hundreds of times, so long as he had never forgotten that one person, it was okay.