Making the decision to go home was far easier than actually doing it. Although Suo Yang tried his best to appear as relaxed as possible, his anxiety could not escape Shen Huiming’s eyes.
Shen Huiming arranged all his work, urgent matters were resolved as soon as possible, and those important but not urgent matters were waiting for him to return.
After they bought high-speed rail tickets and booked a hotel, at six o’clock in the morning, the two of them set off for the station, finally taking the step to untie Suo Yang’s long-standing knot.
During the four-hour high-speed train ride, Suo Yang talked very little.
When he was in college, he used to go back and forth on this route many times a year, but later, it became less and less, and the less often he came back, the less he dared to come back.
Although Shen Huiming could not truly empathize with him, he tried his best to think about it from Suo Yang’s perspective. He could understand Suo Yang’s worries and uneasiness, and the only thing he could do was to accompany him.
He hoped that this trip would have an outcome, good or bad, at least give Suo Yang a response and not let him continue to drift aimlessly in such uncertainty.
Shen Huiming gripped Suo Yang’s hand tightly, and the other party turned to look at him and smiled reluctantly.
“Would you like to take a nap?” Shen Huiming looked at the time, “We still have more than an hour to go.”
Suo Yang hesitated for a moment, then sighed, leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes.
In fact, he couldn’t sleep. Shen Huiming also knew that he couldn’t sleep, but it was good to close his eyes and rest for a while. Suo Yang hadn’t slept much since last night, and Shen Huiming was really distressed.
Suo Yang said softly, “I suddenly feel it’s fortunate I don’t have to face this matter alone.”
Shen Huiming turned to him.
Suo Yang did not open his eyes. This was the first time Shen Huiming took a serious look at his eyelashes and the bridge of his nose.
“When I left home on New Year’s Eve, I didn’t even dare to tell them that I would definitely meet a lover who could stay with me until we grow old.” Suo Yang said, “In our family, even if we quarrel, we will leave a way out for ourselves, trying our best not to give the other person a handle to grasp.”
“At that time, even though I reluctantly came out, and even though I had a falling out with my parents over this matter, I still couldn’t confidently tell them that, even as a gay, I could still have an excellent and long-lasting partner.” Suo Yang paused and sighed, “In the end, I’m not confident in anything.”
Suo Yang slowly leaned on Shen Huiming’s shoulder and breathed a long sigh of relief, “Tell me, my parents don’t think I took you back to protest, right?”
He laughed, “After all, they shouldn’t have thought that I would really find such a good lover.”
Shen Huiming raised his hand and gently placed it on his forehead.
The palm of my hand was pressed against Suo Yang’s cold forehead, which felt very comfortable.
Shen Huiming looked out the car window. It had snowed heavily a while ago, and it was so white outside, stretching as far as the eye could see.
“It’s almost the Chinese New Year again,” Shen Huiming said, “You won’t be alone this New Year’s Eve.”
The only time Suo Yang had a falling out with his parents was on the high-speed train alone. But that night, the train staff served dumplings to all passengers, and he quietly cried while eating.
He did not tell Shen Huiming about the incident in detail. The past grievances and sorrows were all over, and there was no need to bring them up again to make his lover feel sad for his past self.
Later, Suo Yang took the initiative to apply for flight arrangements every New Year’s Eve. He would never let himself fall into endless loneliness. He did not feel that such self-torture was suitable for him.
However, if he could celebrate the New Year in a down-to-earth manner this year, it would probably become his most memorable Spring Festival in recent years.
No matter how high you fly or how far you run, you will not be as happy as being with your lover and family.
As the high-speed train entered the station, Suo Yang said, “For so many years, this place has remained just the same.”
Shen Huiming walked behind him and got out of the car with him.
The train stations in every place were probably equally noisy, and the people that arrived here mostly wore expressions of hurry or confusion.
Everyone started or ended their journey here and wrote the beginning or ending of a story here.
Shen Huiming and Suo Yang were walking in the crowd, and as everyone walked towards the exit of the station, Suo Yang said, “When I was in college, my dad would come to pick me up every winter and summer vacation. When he drove his car, he would always say the car needed to be replaced but never did.”
On the way out, Suo Yang calmly told Shen Huiming about his family affairs.
Suo Yang and Shen Huiming, neither themselves nor their families, were actually the kind of legendary stories worth special recording. They were just ordinary people in the city, doing ordinary jobs and busy with life.
They all knew very well that people like them could be found in large numbers in such a city, and the rich and powerful families full of grudges and entanglements in novels or movies did not exist around them at all.
They were just ordinary people entangled in the troubles that ordinary people have.
Suo Yang said, “I have secretly come back several times in the past few years, always hiding and watching from a distance and politely asking supermarket owners how they are doing.”
Shen Huiming said, “Perhaps they also know you have returned.”
You should know.
Suo Yang thought, they should know.
The owner of the supermarket was a chatty grandma. With her personality, it was impossible not to tell his parents after meeting him.
But so what?
Sometimes, it was better not to know.
Suo Yang felt even more disappointed when he thought that they knew he had gone back but still did nothing.
The two took a taxi and went to the hotel first.
Originally, Suo Yang planned to go back and forth on the same day because he didn’t think he would stay too long on such a trip.
In the end, he was still pessimistic and did not have any expectations for this meeting.
However, it was not so much that he didn’t want to have expectations, but rather that he didn’t dare. If he didn’t have too high expectations, he wouldn’t be too disappointed. Right now, he knew very well how to make his life better.
But Shen Huiming said, “Let’s stay one night. The four-hour high-speed train ride is quite tiring. Let’s go to your house first, and you can take me shopping in the evening.”
He said he wanted to see the city where Suo Yang grew up, go to the school where Suo Yang studied, and try the restaurants where Suo Yang ate.
Suo Yang remembered that on that previous date, he retraced the path that Shen Huiming had once lived on, and even if it was a courtesy, he should say yes.
So, the two booked a hotel not far from Suo Yang’s home.
It was already noon when they settled in.
Suo Yang said he would go there after dinner, but Shen Huiming suggested going during lunchtime.
“If we go at this time, we will catch them eating,” Shen Huiming laughed. “Maybe we can get a meal.”
Suo Yang was embarrassed to tell Shen Huiming that his parents were truly not the kind of people who would invite others over for a meal. Growing up, he rarely saw his parents socializing or doing anything with friends. His parents kept a low profile, maintaining a polite distance even with outsiders. He had never seen them have close friends or much interaction with relatives.
They lived a very “private” life as a family.
However, Suo Yang still did not refute Shen Huiming’s proposal and led the people back home.
At noon on Saturday, the neighbourhood was very lively.
Old people, children, delivery guys…
It had been more than ten years since Suo Yang’s family moved here. Suo Yang was still in elementary school at that time.
It was considered a very nice building then, but over the past ten years, it became an ‘old house’.
Suo Yang became nervous when he entered the neighbourhood. He couldn’t even chat with Shen Huiming calmly.
The two had already agreed on a plan before they came out of the hotel. They asked Suo Yang to go up alone while Shen Huiming waited on the stairs below. Otherwise, as Suo Yang put it, bringing a boyfriend home abruptly might give the impression of a protest.
When going upstairs, Suo Yang walked slower and slower.
His family lived on the fourth floor, and when he reached the second floor, he no longer dared to go up.
One time in the past two years, he came back secretly and was already standing at the door of his house. But when he heard something moving inside, he immediately ran upstairs and hid.
That time, his mother went out to take out the trash. She came out and went straight downstairs. She didn’t see Suo Yang, who was hiding on the steps above and peeking at her.
After two years, walking up these steps again felt like stepping on Suo Yang’s heart.
“Are you okay?” Shen Huiming was a little worried about him.
Suo Yang was a little distracted at first, with his brows furrowed as he was stuck in memories. When he heard Shen Huiming’s voice, he was brought back to reality, shook his head and said, “I’m okay.”
They continued to walk up, and Shen Huiming stayed on the third floor.
“Is everything okay?” Shen Huiming asked, feeling a bit concerned for him.
Suo Yang was a bit lost in thought, and his brow furrowed as he got caught up in memories. Hearing Shen Huiming’s voice snapped him back to reality, and he shook his head, saying, “It’s fine.”
Further up, he counted the steps and walked up.
It was an old house, not very tall, and there weren’t many steps on each floor.
He just counted and then arrived at the door of his house.
He had not been back to this home for several years.
In fact, Suo Yang’s definition of home was often vague. What exactly was home? A house, a couple, maybe a child? These were just the appearance of ‘home’.
Home should be warm and full of love.
Home should also exist like the blue sky, giving people freedom and tolerance.
So, what about his home?
Suo Yang stood at the door of his home and looked back toward the stairs. He couldn’t see Shen Huiming hiding, but he knew that the other person was waiting for him there.
Facing it alone.
And then, will there be a satisfying conclusion?
Suo Yang raised his hand, and when he knocked on the door, he suddenly found that his palms were all sweaty.
His heartbeat had never been so fast, not even when he learned that the plane was malfunctioning.
He stood there and heard his mother’s voice coming from inside, “Who is it?”
Although he hadn’t heard it in several years, it was still familiar.
Home was something you couldn’t let go of no matter what happened later.
Suo Yang suddenly understood.
He listened to the footsteps inside getting closer and closer, and the sound of slippers scraping against the floor tiles became very familiar to him. He opened his mouth, but for the first time, he failed to make a sound.
The second time, he replied, “Mom, it’s me.”
The sound of walking inside suddenly stopped, and Suo Yang stood outside the door like a defendant waiting for sentencing.
Will he be acquitted?
Will this family grant him freedom and acceptance?
Suo Yang said, “Mom, I come back to see you.”
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