Take this burden - part 25
(Super short one)
They drove in silence.
Well, relative silence.
Felix threw a temper tantrum for about an hour, yowling, and hissing.
‘Is he ok?’ He Tian asked.
‘Yeah, he’s just…adjusting.’
‘Adjusting to the car?’
‘Adjusting to being out of the house, I guess.’
‘How long has it been?’
Mo Guan Shan considered that for a bit.
‘About a year, I guess. That’s when I moved back in with my parents.’
‘What about before that?’
‘He was with me in my apartment in Seattle.’
‘Did you live alone?’
‘Nope. With my ex.’
‘We broke up.’
‘We just…had different ideas about the future.’
Mo Guan Shan smiled.
‘Are we playing twenty questions?’
He Tian grimaced.
‘Sorry, I’m being a little nosy, aren’t I?’
‘I’m only teasing. Ask away.’
‘Ok, what were different ideas?’
‘He was in a hurry to settle down. Buy a house, have kids, all that.’
He Tian raised his eyebrows.
‘Was he your age?’
Mo Guan Shan shook his head, opening a soda and taking a drink.
‘He was 36.’
‘Oh. That makes a little more sense.’
‘So that’s not what you want?’
‘It is, to an extent. Just…not with him, as it turned out. Not to mention the whole kid thing.’
‘So, what happened?’
‘He proposed. I said no. Relationships rarely make it through that.’
‘Did you want it to?’
‘No. I felt like I was wasting his time, so we broke it off. It was for the best, he’s married now and bought a house a few months ago.’
‘You guys still talk?’
‘He ended up with a friend of my sister’s, so we all go out for lunch from time to time.’
‘That all sounds very…adult.’
Mo Guan Shan laughed.
‘So, what about you? I imagine you’re not really the domestic type, no plans in that department?’
‘I’ve spent the last few years focused on the club. That didn’t leave time for much else.’
‘That doesn’t answer my question.’
‘Everyone I’ve been with has had their own plans for the future. I’m just a momentary convenience. A fun distraction for a night or two. It’s easier that way.’
‘That doesn’t answer my question either.’
He Tian smiled.
‘I guess in the back of my mind I’ve always assumed I’d settle down with someone at some point…’ he trailed off.
‘But…?’ Mo Guan Shan prompted.
‘But, as time passes I only come to pity the poor soul that tries.’
‘That’s very pessimistic of you.’ Mo Guan Shan chastises.
‘Maybe so but, in the long run, who could ever want someone with so much baggage?’ He asked bitterly.
The atmosphere in the car had shifted.
Mo Guan Shan took his hand.
‘Someone with a really big closet.’
In lieu of a response, He Tian lifted his hand, kissing his fingers softly.
Mo Guan Shan napped.
He Tian thought about the nights he’d spent alone.
And nights he’d spent with company, feeling impossibly more alone.
He thought about watching Jian Yi and Zhengxi as their relationship grew and changed over the years.
He’d always been happy for them, but for the first time-
The part of him that did want a meaningful relationship.
That part did want affection and love and security.
The part that had given up gone to sleep in an effort to hide from his nihilistic unpleasantness, had woken up, stretched, fetched a cup of coffee, and now watched patiently as situation began to unfold.