Sometimes, small, seemingly inadvertent details, often play a decisive role. Take for example the pivot point that holds up the earth, like the small screws in a precision instrument, or perhaps, Dr. Yi’s faint voice that appeared in Dr. Fang’s office.
It wasn’t until much later that Meng Fu discovered that the reason why Di Jun found out about his sexual relationship with Gu Ze was completely due to the fact that Yi Ying had mentioned it to him as if it were just a casual, interesting story.
Dr. Fang told Yi Ying, and Yi Ying then told Di Jun.
Just like how children whispered in each other’s ears in a game of house.
They thought that it was perfectly fine to talk about a stranger, but they had forgotten that as doctors, they had to protect the privacy of their patients. They had forgotten that the things that people most liked to pass around were the private affairs of another person.
Just like a virus, it spread so quickly, so freely.
Meng Fu stood in front of Di Jun, apologizing, completely oblivious to the situation. “Big Bro, I can’t do this job anymore. I’m really sorry for the trouble I caused you from what happened yesterday.”
Di Jun was silent for a long time, but he seemed to ask a completely irrelevant question. “Meng Fu, when did you start liking men? Well, let’s put it this way. You hid it really well in prison.”
“What?” He looked at Di Jun, confused at what he’d heard.
That look of indifference and disgust in Di Jun’s eyes was unmistakable.
“Meng Fu, you should know that I really hate gays. I never told you the reason why. I thought you weren’t one of them.” Di Jun stroked the conspicuous scar on his forehead, and the old memories slowly poured in. “I used to have a buddy I would go through fire and water with. I thought of him as my brother, but he killed my woman. Do you know what his reason was? He said he loved me. Isn’t that disgusting? He couldn’t stand the fact that I liked women, and he’s the one who put this scar on my forehead. They’re the one thing I can’t stand in my lifetime. Just go.”
Di Jun waved him away with some sadness in his heart. This boy with his pretty writing was the one who helped him get together with Yi Ying, but he just had to be one of those gay men that repulsed him so much. Once the label came down, he wouldn’t even allow Meng Fu a chance to explain himself.
Meng Fu’s body stiffened, and he answered in a soft voice, “I’m not. I’m not into men.”
“The hospital that Dr. Fang works at is under my name.”
It was then that it dawned on him. No wonder that doctor had so many Naruto comic books, and no wonder Di Jun was so sure he had to be gay.
“I’m not a homosexual,” he repeated again in a quiet voice, an ineffectual response.
For something like that to happen, and for the partner in question to be Gu Ze, it was useless no matter how he tried to explain himself. Di Jun had already turned his gaze away from him, as if he were a stinky fly.
It was useless for him to explain anything more. Turning around, Meng Fu shut the door softly behind him and left.
He had nothing to begin with, so losing this job didn’t upset him, he thought.
But the pain that was surging through his body was difficult to restrain.
When Secretary Wang entered the room, Gu Ze’s office was filled with smoke. Meanwhile, the cigarette between the fingers of the man sitting on the office chair was still burning red.
Secretary Wang covered his mouth to stop himself from coughing and asked, “Chief Gu, should I open the window?”
Gu ze raised his head, only to find out that the windows of his office weren’t open. He nodded and continued his work.
The cold wind of early winter blew in, whisking away some of the smoke with it, and the room finally became a little clearer.
“Chief Gu, Meng Fu was dismissed from the nightclub yesterday.”
The pen in his hand paused. Gu Ze flicked the ash off his cigarette and took a light drag. “What’s he doing now?”
He didn’t seem surprised about Meng Fu’s dismissal at all.
“Since you said not to monitor him in the future, I’m not too sure about his current situation.”
“Message received. You can go.”
The smoke lingered around the room, like endless loops of desolation.
After work, he drove to Meng Fu’s house. Surprisingly, Meng Yi was the one who opened the door. He was a little apprehensive to see Gu Ze, but he still smiled sweetly at him.
“Meng-Meng, that Big Brother is here again!”
Meng Fu was just setting food on the table for dinner when he heard about Gu Ze’s sudden arrival, which caught him off guard. Should he invite this man to eat? Or should he just stand still as usual?
“Meng-Meng, aren’t you gonna eat?” Meng Yi poked Meng Fu’s arm and sat himself down, picking up his chopsticks and digging in.
It was just a few simple home-cooked dishes like braised fish, green pepper pork stir fry, and a refreshing bowl of luffa egg drop soup. Everything looked delicious, and Meng Yi ate with relish. After finishing half his rice, he turned around to see that Meng Fu was still standing. “Meng-Meng, why aren’t you eating? Has that Big Brother eaten yet?”
Seeming to have just come back to his senses, Meng Fu said to Gu Ze with some formality, “Mr. Gu, have you eaten yet?”
“Then Big Brother can eat at our house!” Meng Yi invited Gu Ze enthusiastically. The more the merrier. He enjoyed lively atmospheres.
Meng Fu looked at Gu Ze and said, “Please, have a meal here if you don’t mind.” Since Gu Ze didn’t object to the idea, he went into the kitchen to grab a clean set of dishes and chopsticks.
It was a first for him to be sharing a table and eating dinner with his enemy. It was only when he dug his chopsticks into the plate of stir fry that the idea really set in.
Meng Yi continued happily enjoying his meal, but Meng Fu was more cautious. He only ate a few bites before feeling full.
Gu Ze’s appetite was surprisingly good. It was not known whether it was because of Meng Fu’s cooking, or because of the good mood that suddenly sprang up in him.
After a calm and rather bizarre dinner, Meng Fu cleaned up the table while Meng Yi watched TV. So, Gu Ze leaned back on the sofa as well and played on his phone. Meng Fu would occasionally turn his head around to check the situation in the living room. But fortunately, nothing happened.
Hearing the background music of Gu Ze’s game, he peeked over at his phone screen. He had no idea what it was, but it looked interesting to him, and he ended up scooting closer and closer until his whole body was pressed against Gu Ze. Even his face was drawn to the screen.
“Want to play?” Gu Ze asked.
Meng Yi nodded excitedly.
“The game looks simple, but it’s actually really hard to beat once you reach the highest level.”
Meng Yi looked at Gu Ze, puzzled.
“Here, how about Big Brother download it for you to play?” It was rare for him to speak so much. Maybe it was because he had a satisfying meal, or maybe because he was just treating Meng Yi like an ordinary child.
“Meng-Meng doesn’t have a phone.”
Meng Fu doesn’t have a phone? It was surprising that someone in this day and age wouldn’t own one. No wonder he never saw Meng Fu contacting anyone.
“Here, I’ll let you play on mine. Tap on three matching bubbles to pop them. The rules are that simple.” He handed his phone to Meng Yi while he stood up and headed into the kitchen.
Leaning against the door, he spoke to the person who was washing the dishes nimbly. “You don’t own a phone?” Gu Ze asked.
“No.” A little surprised, he turned around and gave him a light answer in response before he continued wiping down the kitchen.
“Why don’t you buy one? No money?” He continued to ask. His expression looked unfettered as if he were just asking an ordinary friend that question.
“There’s nobody I need to contact, so there’s no need to waste money.”
Actually, he had already finished cleaning, but he still cleaned away without rest. Only when he had something to do with his hands would he not be constrained to standing motionlessly in front of Gu Ze. Doing that made him feel just like a prisoner.
“What about Miss Xie? You must want to contact her, right? I’m sure a lot happened between you when I left.”
He knew that Meng Fu would definitely push Xie Zhenzhen far away according to his nature. It was because he cared, because he was scared of hurting her, but he still stubbornly questioned Meng Fu, because he thought it was amusing, and because he thought it would put him in a good mood.
“Nothing happened. We’ve already broken up, so there’s no need for us to talk.”
What’s more, the injuries from that day were still there, so what could they have done?
“Oh.” Gu Ze nodded and continued, “So you got fired from the nightclub? I heard you punched a customer.”
“Is that the only reason? It must be more than that, right? Di Jun wouldn’t fire you just for that. You were cellmates for seven years.”
That was a difficult question to answer. He really wished that he were mute right now.
“He said I was gay, and that he hated gays.”
But he still spat it out in the end. It felt as painful as if there were a pin stuck in his throat. He really respected Di Jun and was grateful for the way he took care of him in prison.
However, Di Jun couldn’t be more disgusted with him right now.
He was shocked at first, but then he felt a twang of heartache. In the end, all that was left was a sneer. Gu Ze asked, “Aren’t you though?”