Chapter 107: An accidental matchmaking session (2)
Xu Tingsheng had originally wanted to ask Mrs Xu: When obtaining that hundred thousand yuan back then, did you really borrow it or was it actually that you sold me in exchange for it?
This problem could now be discarded, because this person before him was Ye Yingjing. If the two of them were really brought out to sell, Xu Tingsheng wouldn’t be able to match that Ms Ye’s value at all.
Ye Yingjing was a girl whom Xu Tingsheng had always admired yet never interacted much with. In his previous life, the two seemed not to have spoken at all before. Even in this life, the closest the two had been were as represented in those few calls exchanged between them over that period of time when the university entrance examination results had been released as well as that brief, hasty encounter when he had gone to hand in his aspiration form.
Afterwards, while they had technically become friends, no further communication had been forthcoming between them other than the occasional polite word exchanged during holidays. In truth, there had actually already been no communication at all between them for almost the past half year.
Ye Yingjing was ever so graceful and elegant, her smile mature and calm. This sort of smile contained some sort of soothing influence that allowed Xu Tingsheng to to relax as well. After a few simple pleasantries, Mrs Ye came over.
Xu Tingsheng had experienced Mrs Ye’s intrepidness before. The first time they had met, this auntie had asked him to change his aspiration form.
This time, Mrs Ye went straight to the point as well, “Look at these smiles, this enthusiasm. Tingsheng’s Mum, let’s not get between the two of them any longer. We’ll go upstairs, drink some tea and wait for the good news.”
Mrs Xu and Mrs Ye hooked their arms together and went upstairs, not forgetting to instruct them before they left, “Go off on your own, the two of you. You can walk along the embankment.”
The twenty-year-old Xu Tingsheng, the twenty-year-old Ye Yingjing. What a good age that was. As they strolled along the embankment, the thin layer of ice from the previous night had still yet to fully melt, with faint crackling noises still audible as they trod on them.
The clear, crisp sound was pleasant to the ears, as was the beautiful scenery here. It was just that the mood between the two had been spoilt by Mrs Ye, with it instead having come to feel a little unnatural now as the two of them walked on silently, one at the front and one at the back.
As Ye Yingjing slipped, Xu Tinsheng naturally reached out and grabbed her to keep her from falling.
This excited the two mothers who were watching through the teahouse window upstairs. “It’s begun!” Mrs Ye exclaimed. “That child, so hasty,” Mrs Xu commented. “It’s fine, it’s fine. I agree to it,” Mrs Ye replied.
On the embankment, Ye Yingjing’s ‘thanks’ broke the temporary silence between the girl and the ‘uncle’.
“Is this your first time?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
“Huh?” Ye Yingjing replied.
“Are you feeling nervous?” Xu Tingsheng asked again.
“What?” Ye Yingjing’s mouth was opened slightly in doubt and puzzlement.
“Oops. Matchmaking, I mean! Is this your first time? Are you feeling nervous?” Xu Tingsheng hurriedly explained, with this manner of phrasing easily prone to leading to misunderstandings.
Ye Yingjing fanned her rather red face with her hand as she chuckled, “Yeah. What about you?”
Xu Tingsheng said, “Me too. Having lived for half a lifetime, this is really my first time. I really was a little panicked just now, only feeling a little better seeing that it was you…Right, were you duped over here by your Mum as well?”
“Half a lifetime?” After smiling, where she should naturally feign and conceal things a little, Ye Yingjing easily replied straightforwardly, “No, I knew about it. I felt that it might be fun.”
The two were naturally unaware that the pair over in the teahouse were already about to begin comparing their birth dates and eight characters, choosing an auspicious date. The next topics they chatted about, from senior high all the way to university, came on much more smoothly.
Like an uncle who was concerned about a young friend, Xu Tingsheng asked in a very gossipy manner, “Have you dated anyone in university?”
Ye Yingjing shook her head vigorously like a rattle drum, “No. What about you?”
As she shook her head, a few strands of jet black hair landed on her reddened face. Ms Ye raised her hand and tucked them away behind her ear. With just that one simple movement, the romantic flair within that youthfulness…had it been seen by the Xu Tingsheng of this age in his previous life, he might just have fallen right in.
Sadly, he was an uncle now, and an uncle with someone in his heart at that.
It was time for Xu Tingsheng to answer.
“Not yet, but there’s someone I like,” he said, “Really like a lot.”
While he could not go into specifics, talking about Little Xiang Ning, Xu Tingsheng’s face brimmed with joy.
Ye Yingjing saw this smile. She was momentarily taken aback, but quickly managed to recover and continue the conversation proper.
Perhaps because they did not often interact, Xu Tingsheng could instead speak in a much more bold and uninhibited manner when conversing with Ye Yingjing.
He asked Ye Yingjing a question, a question that he had pondered on many times before, having wanted to ask many others about it yet never having been able to actually do so.
“If you were suddenly reborn one day…I mean, if, hypothetically, you suddenly returned to your past self of more than ten years ago, yet had access to all your memories, being the sole person in the entire world who knew about events of the future, what would you do?”
Ye Yingjing had the kind of character, or rather personality, that Xu Tingsheng admired.
Life is actually like this for us who live in this world. However you look at and treat things, that is how things will respond to you. However tolerant and embracing you are of the world, that is how tolerant and embracing the world will be of you.
“With Ye Yingjing’s personality, how would she face a life of rebirth?” This was what Xu Tingsheng was curious about, yearned to be provided an answer to and be inspired by, having been trapped in solitude this past half year with no one whom he could speak of his troubles to.
Faced with this seemingly random question, Ye Yingjing raised her head thoughtfully and considered for a moment before asking Xu Tingsheng, “You mean…the power of foresight?”
Ye Yingjing had come up with the most appropriate interpretation of his words that would usually come to mind. Still, while a life of rebirth was similar to possessing foresight, there actually did exist differences between them.
The greatest difference between rebirth and the power of foresight was that the latter only had foreknowledge, while the former had already experienced all of it before, having experienced all the happiness yet also been left with regrets, some of which might truly hurt deep down inside.
Thus, comparatively speaking, the goal-orientedness and sense of urgency of someone who had been reborn would be much greater than someone who merely had the power of foresight.
“You could say that,” Xu Tingsheng nodded, looking at Ye Yingjing with eyes filled with anticipation.
This was his first time having asked someone this question since his rebirth. At this moment, she was standing in the sunlight, while he was standing half illuminated and half in darkness, yearning for guidance…even though she could not possibly know that.
“It would be very easy for such a person to lose their way,” Ye Yingjing said as she pondered.
“Lose their way? Why?” Xu Tingsheng pressed.
Ye Yingjing thought hard as she carefully expressed her view on the matter, “The power of foresight just being so strong, it actually might not be able to bring one happiness. I think that the most likely result is that the person will lose their way.”
Xu Tingsheng fell into deep thought. Losing one’s way after having been reborn…Due to the foreknowledge that he possessed, wealth, power and many other things he had once yearned for had become much more easily obtainable for him. If his ambitions grew greater and greater the higher he climbed, with him losing himself further and further to the corrupting authority of wealth and power, what then?…
Ye Yingjing continued, “Let’s put it this way. The term you used just was ‘rebirth’. If one’s trajectory after having been reborn were to be completely changed, with even the person themselves having changed completely, could that even still be considered rebirth then?”
“For example, if an originally warm and gentle person had turned brutal, cold and ruthless. Originally having been able to live a peaceful, happy life, that person’s heart might instead be overtaken completely by desire, with only the peak of power and wealth filling their mind…”
“I think that that would not be rebirth, because in truth, everything having changed, that person would no longer be you or I, but someone totally and completely different. That person would only have the same name and appearance as you or I, yet already not being the same, authentic person.”
“That person could already be a total stranger to us, perhaps even someone whom we would all feel fearful of just thinking about.”
Being ‘enlightened by perfect wisdom’ originated from Buddhism, referring to the the passing down of knowledge that left someone truly seeing the light. These current words of Ye Yingjing caused Xu Tingsheng to break out in a cold sweat. He had been walking very blindly all along.
Perhaps he had not yet lost his way. Still, if things went on unbridled just like this, what of the future?
“Thank you,” Xu Tingsheng said.
There was no way Ye Yingjing could know about the ripples of unease within Xu Tingsheng’s heart. To her, this was just a question worth pondering deeply about. At the end of the day, however, it was really nothing more than an interesting little ‘what if’.
“Actually, if one really did experience such a rebirth, they could also be very happy. They would have a chance to make up for those things they regret,” Ye Yingjing’s eyes exuded a light as she gazed into the distance amidst her words.
“You have some things that you wish you could change? Mind sharing a little?” A curious Xu Tingsheng asked.
Looking at Xu Tingsheng, Ye Yingjing swivelled her head away before murmuring, “Actually, I’ve always been very happy and contented. If there is something that I might regret, perhaps, maybe…I wish that I could have met a certain person earlier on. I would go look for him earlier, appear in his life a little earlier…before he had had the chance to fall in love with anybody else.”
“Meet a certain person earlier?”
“Yeah. When things come too late, what might otherwise have been precious, happy times sometimes only live on in the form of one’s deepest, buried regrets.”
Having said that, Ye Yingjing smiled brightly before turning to leave, “Come, Xu Tingsheng. Let’s go back.”
This matchmaking session ended just like that. With her wisdom and the shine of her personality, Ye Yingjing inspired Xu Tingsheng. Still, it might be that he would never come to understand the regret that she spoke of.