Chapter 310: A hasty meeting every time
Due to the influence of Luc Bessons’ <Taxi> series, one might easily misunderstand that taxis in France are all very crazy.
Actually, French taxi drivers are generally dressed neatly, are gentlemanly and polite, and move very slowly. In a country where people spend almost as much time eating as they spend on working every week, you should really not expect them to be in so much of a rush at all.
The official weekly working duration in France is 35 hours. Next, around 30 hours are spent on eating every week in the southern district of Provence.
When one lives life at another pace, life can be especially long and carefree.
There is more time to look at your wife’s face that is like the sunlight, turning from bright to warm, watch your daughter grow up as her little plait gradually turns into a wedding veil.
The taxi traversed the streets.
Sitting up straight, Ye Yingjing extended her hand into her bag and felt around, confirming that she had brought money with her.
Then, she tilted her head and looked at herself in the rearview mirror, adjusting her hair that had been scattered about by the wind and rubbing her cheeks before making a marmot’s expression and smiling to herself in the mirror.
Her smile was a little awkward because only now did she finally remember that she had rather ‘let down’ her roommate and senior, Gu Ying.
Things were actually as coincidental as this. Following that sudden realisation back then, she had been overcome by excitement, her mind growing flustered as her wits had forsaken her.
“I wonder if Senior is angry right now and continuing to be conflicted about this or if she can already let go of this matter now?”
Ye Yingjing took out her phone and pressed a few buttons before just setting it down again.
When she picked it up again, she had already decided to leave this matter for when she got back. After all, there were difference in priorities. She sent Xu Tingsheng a message: What a coincidence.
Ye Yingjing was wearing a loose, plain-coloured denim jacket along with jeans and white shoes.
When she appeared in front of Xu Tingsheng, he was in the midst of setting twenty plus bottles of perfume in his backpack, carefully separating them using the cloths the boss had given him.
Just like she would normally when meeting any other friend, Ye Yingjing smiled, “Buying gifts?”
His head lowered as he set those bottles in his backpack, Xu Tingsheng said, “Yep. Here, you have one too.”
Xu Tingsheng casually handed over a bottle.
Not questioning his sincerity or lack thereof, Ye Yingjing placed it before her nose and sniffed it before putting it back again, taking a bottle that had the lightest colour. She shook and sniffed it.
She smiled, “I’ll take this one then.”
Xu Tingsheng said, “Okay.”
The two sat down in a small cafe just across the street.
Finally seeing that text, Xu Tingsheng said, “Right, what a coincidence. I’ve been in Nice for a week, but I never knew you were here.”
“You aren’t contacting me anyway,” Ye Yingjing smiled, “Actually, now I’m feeling that it doesn’t really feel much coincidental.”
Despite how a minor relationship of the past had arisen from that call, if there was really such a thing as true coincidence between them, shouldn’t they already have met on the streets of Nice way back?
Then, they should have strolled together through the same streets and alleys, listened to the same wind by the bay. Even if nothing came out of this, it would still have been a story to tell.
Also, Gu Ying who lived under the same roof as her had already been worked up for so many days. Ye Yingjing had foolishly just listened mildly to her and watched her just like that, merely speaking up once in a while to console her on this. For some reason, she had never asked her what that person looked like, what his name was.
And when she finally ‘discovered’ the other party, he was already immediately about to leave.
A hasty meeting every time. During that lesson conducted by Xu Tingsheng after their mock examinations in twelfth grade, when handing in their aspiration forms, on the first day of the Chinese New Year, in France, Nice.
This so accurately described the tale between the two of them. While they had clearly been in the same place, nothing had come of it. First had been in Libei Senior High, and now it was Nice. Even though they were in the same place, they had just never ‘met’ earlier for some reason. And yet, they had still met.
The heavens are like a mischievous child who loves playing pranks. Has it ever arranged such a person for you in your life?
When going to work in the morning, you encounter a person in the lift, exchanging a few words. Then, your heart beats faster for the entire day and you think very far ahead. Then, getting off from work in the evening, he or she is carrying a paper box, also being in the same lift as you.
They say that they have been working in this building for three years. They have resigned to return to their hometown today, engaged to someone they met on a blind date just recently.
Actually, you have also worked in this building for over a year. Yet…you only just met today.
When they had been on a blind date during the New Year, speaking of living life once more, Ye Yingjing had said at the end, “If I could really start all over, 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.”
She had even said, “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.”
Xu Tingsheng had been completely unable to understand this back then. His mind had been fully focused on the inspiration Ye Yingjing had evoked in him. Having understood it a little afterwards, he had felt this to be inconceivable. In his previous life, they had never even conversed once before. He might have taken notice of her at one point in time. As for her, there was already no knowing this now.
Chatting about Gu Ying’s matter for a while, the two both felt a little like they knew not whether to laugh or to cry.
Then, they switched the coffee for liquor.
“Actually, I knew that you’ve been overseas recently,” Ye Yingjing said, “Your Mum told my Mum, and my Mum told me about it over the phone too. Still, they said that you were at Loch Ness(尼斯湖)…back then, I was wondering why there had to be an additional lake(湖) behind it. You’re so childish that you’re off seeking monsters…I didn’t even consider that you might actually be in Nice(尼斯).”
“You’ve been in Nice for a week. When we finally met, there were only two hours left. Now, we still have one hour and twenty-two minutes remaining,” Ye Yingjing said.
Looking at the sky beyond the transparent glass walls, Xu Tingsheng suddenly said, “I think it was in eleventh grade. We were split into the Science and Humanities streams. Your Class 7 was on the fourth floor and our Class 10 on the fifth floor, both on different corridors. The first time I saw your name was on the Red Chart. You were the top scorer. That was the first time I paid attention to the Red Chart.”
“Then, there was once when I was playing with a few friends on the field and you walked over from the running tracks. They told me-that girl is Ye Yingjing. I joked: How could the heavens allow someone to be the top scorer and so beautiful too? This isn’t fair? Give her a slightly worse boyfriend to balance it out, such as me.”
Ye Yingjing focused on Xu Tingsheng as she learnt of a story related to her which she could not have known of, could never have found out.
This sort of story might actually also have happened with you yourself, just that you will never have a chance to hear it. Therefore, you actually do not know that you are not without a tale.
It is just that this story lies with another.
This had actually happened in the twelfth grade of Xu Tingsheng’s previous life, close to his graduation. It had just been some messing around amongst friends, just like how countless other boys had once sat around with their friends, messing around and discussing that girl passing by.
Xu Tingsheng continued, “After I had said that, they all began making a ruckus, trying to instigate me to go flirt with you. I’m utterly shameless anyway, they said. I told them: Scaring her like that? I’d have a reason to go over if she sprained her ankle. Then, you sat down at a corner of the stands to rest. Then, I said: If she sits there for more than ten minutes, I’ll buy a bottle of water and bring it over to her.”
“What happened then?”
“In the end, you didn’t sprain your ankle. You only sat down for a little over eight minutes before going back to study again.”
“Just that one time?”
“…I’m thinking that even if I had really sprained my ankle then, you still might not have come over. Or if I had sat there for more than ten minutes, it might still have ended the same way. Only because it didn’t happen do we presume, assume how all this would have turned out.”
“And maybe I would really have come, but nothing would still have happened anyway. You might have said that you can walk on your own, or your classmate might have been passing by at the time. Or you might also have been scared off by me, not wanting the water that I offered you.”
“…Yeah. Time and humanity, winding and meandering…”
After the initial ‘yeah’, it sounded like she was simply murmuring to herself.