i was depressed yesterday but i was hoping today things would be different. life here is full of ups and downs, and yesterday i couldn't get any lower, so things were bound to improve. i went back to my normal bus, where i ran into xianglian waiting outside. she saw me but then i caught her busy trying to look away. normally that'd upset me, but it actually made me feel good, because at least she was feeling something, reacting to what i'd been doing. it would've been more terrible if she acted normal, like nothing had happened.
i didn't speak with xianglian at all throughout the morning. during lunch my luck picked up when i managed to sit with the ladies from document control then wangyan found me and joined our table as well. i felt wanted for a change, like people actually wanted to be with me.
after lunch i went outside and caught XL walking with the only 2 members of her contract team (everyone else - LXL and MH - were on vacation). the guys made excuses to go back inside so i ended up walking with XL for another loop around the office building. i don't remember what we talked about but it felt nice to be talking again. ignoring her is exhausting when all i want to do is the exact opposite. we didn't talk about why i was angry at her, i figured i'd save that topic for outside of the office. afterwards when she went back inside, i remained outside to get 30 minutes of sun and texted her a message: "are you free tonight? if it isn't raining, if it isn't too hot, if you're in the mood, if etc. then accept my invitation to go out for a walk again." i was actually surprised when she said yes, but contingent on the weather being okay.
in the afternoon i got a phone call from the jd.com delivery guy. i was a little confused because i haven't ordered anything in a while. he said it was an article of clothing, RMB$99. while i was paying for it, i asked him if i could return it since i didn't remember ordering it. as i was leaving, it finally dawned on me that this was the pair of pants i ordered about a month ago. back in the office i went to the bathroom to try it on. it was a pair of stretch-fabric teal-colored skinny-leg khakis. apparently it's what all the korean heartthrobs are wearing these days. it fit okay, although tight enough that you could make out the shape of my underwear underneath. still, it's nice to finally have a pair of pants that isn't black or dark grey.
i found xianglian peeling an asian pear. she broke off a piece for me to eat, but all the while i was staring at the paring knife she had in her hand. i usually just eat the skin because i'm not very good with a knife and can't be bothered to peel something.
after work everyone congregated outside. xianglian walked right past me, standing at the other end of the crowd, forcing me to follow her a few minutes later. she was standing with some boy (married), and i had a feeling she'd get on the bus and not sit with me again. but how can i relay my message without drawing any suspicions? i wrote a secret message on my hand, "sit with me?" but never had a good time to show it to her before everyone started boarding the bus. there were no pairs of empty seats left except at the back of the bus. i sat down, waiting for XL to follow. but she muttered something about not wanting to sit all the way in the back so just sat down next to some guy. i couldn't believe it, it was happening again! this time i didn't wait, i got right up and left the bus, getting onto the one behind it. i texted her a message, "call me when you get back into town."
back in town, i looked for XL. she was with that boy i saw her with earlier, and from a distance it looked like he was trying to invite her to dinner, but she must've refused because a few seconds later i saw her crossing the street alone, heading in my direction. "you need to eat, right?" she asked me. earlier she'd already told me she was skipping dinner. i told her i was just going to have some tea eggs and a piece of bread. "10 minutes is all i need," i said, while she went back to her apartment to wait.
in my apartment i quickly finished the tea eggs before putting the bread in my mouth and headed out the door again. i called XL when i got to her place. she came down a few minutes later. she carried nothing and wore the company shirt she wore earlier along with a pair of navy leggings. compared to her i was overpacked, with my camera bag (containing 3 different cameras), my tumbler, my umbrella, and a bag of chips in case we got hungry. we climbed up the hill behind the changshou communist party headquarter building, the same hill where a month ago we professed our mutual attraction.
it was close to dusk and mosquitoes were out. i got bit a few times, but they seemed to stop once it got dark. we sat on a bench underneath a tree on one of the summits. there was only one way up or down, but locals had created a dirt path shortcut along one of the hillside, and every once in a while somebody would scramble up, only to leave after a short rest on one of the remaining wooden benches.
we chatted, but more like circling around what we really wanted to say. it was xianglian who finally asked me why i was mad earlier this week. maybe if i spoke english i'd find the right words to say, but in chinese it was a little harder as i tried to explain my reasons. but i told her everything, the main one being i was simply jealous that she would sit with other guys whenever she had the option to sit with me. instead of being freaked out or annoyed, she actually understood where i was coming from. "you're such a girl," she joked, but agreed that emotions don't exactly adhere to logic. i also told her that when two people like each other, they usually try to find ways to hang out as much as possible. and i also told her that i consider any free time where i'm not with her to be a waste of time. i then asked her if she was mad at me. she said yes, because she had no idea what was going on, and when she asked me earlier, i couldn't tell her why. she thought the reason why i suddenly bolt off the bus earlier today was because maybe some girl had invited me. it's funny the things we think when it fact the truth is actually very different.
we kept talking until dark, when fireworks were being lit in the guzhen, until 9:00, when the ladies down below were almost done with their dancing and loud music. as the steps weren't lit, we walked down using our cellphones as flashlights. i walked her home and said good bye, as i returned to my own apartment, feeling quite different than what i was feeling 24 hours ago.
my parents had been frantically trying to reach me. for some reason they thought something terrible had happened given what i'd posted on my blog yesterday, that maybe i was in the hospital. i skyped them when i got home, said everything was okay, and noticed 5 calls on my nokia cellphone - the one i didn't bother bringing with me tonight.