Your Distance - 42
For a long time, Ting Shuang was speechless, not knowing what to say.
The goosebumps on his arms disappeared, and his heart was left palpitating.
The wind was still blowing.
The sun set slightly, and in the distance, the sun shined on the creeper on the wall of a teaching building, turning it into a shade of golden green.
Bai Changyi glanced at his watch and said, “I should go.”
Time flew so fast, Ting Shuang was a little bit reluctant, “… Can’t you stay for five more minutes?”
“I really want to, but unfortunately I can’t.” Bai Changyi smiled, a hint of regret in his eyes, “There’s been a job recruiting a professor recently. The search team and assessment committee is meeting in the afternoon.”
“… Okay.” Ting Shuang took Bai Changyi’s card out of his shirt pocket and returned it to its original owner. “Then… cough, a kiss before you leave?”
His gaze was burning.
Bai Changyi lowered his head and kissed Ting Shuang on the lips, “I’ll be going.”
“Hey, isn’t your kiss too half-hearted…” Ting Shuang said dissatisfiedly behind Bai Changyi.
“It can’t not be half-hearted,” Bai Changyi didn’t look back, so he could only hear the smile in his voice, “If it’s not, I can’t walk away.”
Ting Shuang looked at Bai Changyi’s back and laughed sillily for a while, and then stood alone beside the fence on the roof for a long time.
Now, when he looked around, he felt a little different.
The towering buildings, and the people that came and went.
The tide rises and falls, while the green hills are stationary.
In the past few years, he always felt like it was necessary to be realistic, but reality… it seemed like it wasn’t as realistic as he’d thought, or so devoid of imagination.
After thinking about it for a while, he couldn’t help but take out his phone to send a message in the “We must pass Robotik” group: Actually, I think our professor isn’t bad.
Song Xin: ?
Guo Ping: ?
He Le: ?
Ting Shuang: I would like to ask, apart from our professor’s course being hard to pass, does he have any other shortcomings?
Song Xin: Yes.
Guo Ping: Yes.
He Le: Yes.
Ting Shuang: ?
This formation was surprisingly neat.
Ting Shuang: What shortcomings…
Song Xin: Have any of you gone for his consultations? As long as you’ve gone once… As long as you’ve had a one-to-one conversation with him… You will inexplicably begin to think that there’s a problem with your IQ…
He Le: Yes, after making an appointment once, I never dared to go again. Because he said that he could not understand my description of the problem and asked me to reorganize my language. At that time, I felt like in the next second he’d give me a German dictionary.
Guo Ping: Moreover, regardless of the difficulty of the question you ask him, before he answers you, he will always tell you that it is a simple question.
Ting Shuang: Have you ever thought about… The possibility that… He doesn’t want to underestimate us…
The group was silent for three seconds.
He Le: I’m begging him to underestimate me.
Song Xin: I’m begging him to underestimate me.
Guo Ping: I’m begging him to underestimate me.
Ting Shuang didn’t give up, typing: Actually, thinking about it… If whatever is taught in class is whatever we study after class, and is whatever exams test, then isn’t it the same as in high school? Where’s the meaning in that?
Guo Ping: You think there’s no meaning in that?
Guo Ping: Let me tell you what is meaningless.
Guo Ping: It’s meaningless if you can’t graduate.
As soon as this message was sent, no one started any formation, and no one responded.
The group fell into dead silence.
Ting Shuang stared at the phrase “It’s meaningless if you can’t graduate” on the screen, and instantly fell from the high-dimensional space of the great Professor Bai back to the low-dimensional space of reality.
At that moment, Ting Shuang remembered the fear of retaking the course.
He realized again that it was the brothers and sisters in the group who were his companions, and that Bai Changyi was another creature standing outside the wall.
Bai Laoban said that their different views and attitudes towards the same thing were not a question of who was right or wrong, but a question of perspective. From Bai Laoban’s perspective, it wasn’t wrong to say that university is a place that pioneers mankind… But from another perspective, couldn’t Bai Laoban also care a little more for these hind legs(1) of mankind?
For example… A pioneer spurs on the hind legs of mankind to achieve overall progress?
Ting Shuang decided to wait until he got home in the evening to continue discussing this question with Bai Changyi seriously.
Thinking of the concept of “home”, Ting Shuang felt like it was time for him to deal with the apartment he had rented.
When he rented the apartment, the contract stated that the lease term was unlimited. According to the rent regulations, he had the right to keep renting the apartment, but if he planned not to continue the rental, he needed to inform the landlord three months in advance to allow the landlord enough time to find a next tenant.
For people without much ups and downs in life, three months wasn’t a long time.
Three months ago, Ting Shuang would have felt like even if he couldn’t see the entirety of his life being smooth-sailing, he’d at least be able to peacefully make it to the end of three months. It was Germany, where if you’re asking someone else for a meal half a year later, the other may have to check their calendar to see if they’ve arranged a trip.
Three months ago, he didn’t know that life was actually always unexpected, and the calm before the storm was just to make the unexpected seem all the more unexpected.
By accident, he was paired with his professor.
By accident, he started dating his professor.
By accident, he started living with his professor.
Life was just so exciting, no plan could ever keep up with it.
It was impossible to tell the landlord about withdrawing the rent three months in advance. He could only help the landlord find the next tenant, to make up for it.
Ting Shuang first made a call to the landlady to explain the withdrawal of the rental.
The landlady asked, “Are you going to graduate and return to China?”
It was nowhere in sight.
“No, I decided to move in with…” Ting Shuang originally wanted to use the word Partner, but he felt that he didn’t have to mention ‘partner’ to the old lady. After all, it was a private matter. “My friend.”
The landlady misunderstood him, “Oh, is it Liang? I haven’t seen him for a long time, please say hello to him for me.”
“No, it’s not Liang.” Actually, there was no need to explain, but Ting Shuang subconsciously refuted it when he heard the statement, “It’s my… new friend.”
It could also be understood as… his new boyfriend.
The landlady listened and said, “Oh, you mean Partner?”
“Uh…you can take it that way.” He didn’t know how the old lady thought of the word. Ting Shuang was a little embarrassed, so he hurriedly ended the call, “Then, I’ll start looking for the next tenant. I’ll call you again before I bring them over to see the room.”
While Ting Shuang self-studied in the library in the afternoon, he posted a leasing message on the renting website. He also left his email and phone number so that prospective tenants could contact him.
At half past five, he sent a message to Bai Changyi: Dear, are you ready to leave?
Bai Changyi replied: Wait a minute, I still have something to deal with.
Ting Shuang thought it was going to take a while, so he continued reading.
Unexpectedly, in less than five minutes, his phone screen lit up. Bai Changyi sent one word: Leaving.
Ting Shuang hurriedly packed his things, and while walking out the library, he replied: Didn’t you have something to deal with?
Bai Changyi answered: It’s done.
Ting Shuang: So fast?
Bai Changyi: I passed a project to Elias.
Ting Shuang: Elias?
Bai Changyi: A graduate under me.
Ting Shuang: ?
Ting Shuang: What was that about a place that pioneered mankind?
Ting Shuang: You just let someone be a pioneer by themselves and work overtime for you?
Ting Shuang: While you leave by yourself?
Bai Changyi: It is officially time to get off work. I just told him to work on a year-long project, I didn’t make him work overtime.
Bai Changyi: I don’t have the right to make anyone in our office work overtime for me, except for myself. It is illegal to make others work overtime.
Ting Shuang: Oh oh, so it’s like that…
Ting Shuang: Bai Laoban, it seems like you’re still a pioneer.
Ting Shuang: Taking the lead.
Ting Shuang: A model worker.
Ting Shuang: Setting the standards for thousands of people.
Ting Shuang is typing…
Bai Changyi: Why are you still chatting with me?
Bai Changyi: Hurry and come over.
Bai Changyi: [Animated Emoji]
It was the first time that Bai Changyi used a meme, and it was the one Ting Shuang sent to him at noon, “It’s become chilly, it’s time to cross out the name of this student”.
The corners of Ting Shuang’s mouth were uncontrollably tipping up so high.
Bai Laoban actually used his own meme, he was just too damn cute.
Ting Shuang ran all the way out of school where Bai Changyi dropped him off in the morning, opening the car door naturally and skillfully, and sitting in the passenger seat.
“Cough.” Ting Shuang adjusted his sitting posture and glanced at Bai Changyi with a particularly reserved look, “Going to the supermarket or going home, which one first?”
This question was roughly equivalent to asking: Are you eating dinner first or eating me first?
Going to the supermarket first – buy ingredients and cook dinner before doing it.
Going home first – Do it, then go buy ingredients and cook dinner.
Bai Changyi said, “The supermarket closes at eight, so we’re going to the supermarket first.”
Ting Shuang cursed silently: Old beast.
Is two hours not long enough for you to do it?
“I want to eat steamed scallops with garlic.” Thinking of the physical activity they’d do at night, Ting Shuang started to demand dishes in advance to reward himself, “and braised pork.”
First, Bai Changyi drove to a normal supermarket and bought the ingredients he needed. Ting Shuang thought he was ready to go home, but unexpectedly, the car stopped at the door of an Asian supermarket run by someone from China.
“Mm?” Ting Shuang followed Bai Changyi out of the car, “What else are we missing that we haven’t bought? Are we out of soy sauce or vinegar?”
Bai Changyi turned back to look at Ting Shuang, finding it a little amusing.
Slightly embarrassed, Ting Shuang admitted, “I really don’t know the use of various seasonings in the kitchen… But it doesn’t mean that I can’t do anything, right… Isn’t it because of your superb cooking skills, Bai Laoban… At my level, I am only worthy of being a subordinate, not worthy of being in charge…”
“Hey, you’re here,” The employee of the Asian supermarket saw Bai Changyi and greeted him, then took out a bag of stuff from the refrigerator, “It just arrived, it was especially on time.”
Ting Shuang looked at the bag curiously, “What is this?”
“Mr. Bai previously ordered handmade dumpling skin, the very thin kind.” The employee smiled at Ting Shuang. “Not many people even make their own dumplings these days. They buy quick-frozen dumplings from the freezer. Dumpling skins are all pre-ordered by others before they are sent to the store.”
“You–” Ting Shuang quickly turned and raised his head to look at Bai Changyi. The warm yellow lights in the store were reflected in a pair of dark eyes, flashing like stars in the night sky.
He was both surprised and delighted.
“… You remembered.” For a bit, Ting Shuang was so happy he didn’t know what to do, “Today… What day is it today?”
It wasn’t anyone’s birthday, nor was it Valentine’s day.
It was a very ordinary Monday.
“It’s not any special date.” Bai Changyi picked up the bag of dumpling skin. “When I passed by, I just remembered how you said you wanted to eat it last time.”
(1) ‘drag on someone’s hind legs’ is an expression often used to say that you’re dragging someone down. So Ting Shuang is kinda referring to them as the people dragging humanity down…? haha #relate
Chapter name probably referring to how the author had updated the chapter later than usual~
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