That day, Chen Yuchuan had already made up his mind and everything was all set up. He sat in the chair for a moment and took in a breath to ask, but in the end, he couldn’t even bring up Ye Guanghe.
Lu Yang’s back was very straight. He sat down opposite him, looked at him coldly, and asked, “Xiao Chuan’er, after so many years, do you have such a big problem with me?”
“Yes.” Chen Yuchuan threw up his hands and said, “I can’t go on like this.”
Lu Yang stared at Chen Yuchuan for half a minute and then slowly said, “Okay then. The household registration book and the marriage certificate are in the drawer next to the bed.”
After he said this, he raised his wrist and looked at his watch. “The Civil Affairs Bureau is still open right now.”
When he heard this, Chen Yuchuan was stunned. In fact, it wasn’t that they had never broken up before. They had broken up so many times that he’d lost count.
But at that moment, a thought suddenly popped into Chen Yuchuan’s mind. This time, it was different.
In fact, apart from the matter of Ye Guanghe, Chen Yuchuan didn’t want to admit that, since half a year ago, something had gone wrong between him and Lu Yang.
They would still hug and sleep together, but they hadn’t quarreled, and it had been a long time since they had sat down for a meal and chatted properly.
He often saw Lu Yang returning from work with exhaustion written in his eyes. What was in his eyes was not only exhaustion from high-intensity work, there was also a pale sense of powerlessness.
And he, himself, had stopped bothering Lu Yang like he used to. They still minded about each other. In fact, they minded more about each other than before and rarely talked about themselves.
They seemed to be fine, better than before.
But Chen Yuchuan knew that nothing was the same as before.
They used to argue a lot. Two big men have been together for 16 years, so it would be a lie to say that they don’t quarrel.
When they first got together, there was a period of time when they would argue almost every day. The longest time that they had gone no contact was half a month, both equally ignoring the other.
In that half month, Chen Yuchuan didn’t go home. He stayed at a friend’s house every day until he couldn’t stay anymore and decided to go home.
At first, he thought that Lu Yang wouldn’t be at home. But when he opened the door and went in, he immediately saw Lu Yang lying on the sofa.
Lu Yang, still neatly dressed in a suit, had thrown one arm over his forehead. He was still wearing leather shoes, and his briefcase was placed on the coffee table, as if he’d just gotten home from work.
Chen Yuchuan called his name but heard no response. When he got nearer, he discovered that Lu Yang’s lips were tightly pursed and his cheeks were abnormally red.
He pulled Lu Yang’s arm away from his forehead. The moment he touched Lu Yang’s burning forehead, his palms shrank away and his chest tightened.
He was so distressed that he jumped up and bit Lu Yang’s arm through his suit jacket. But even though he’d bitten him hard, Lu Yang still didn’t wake up.
Chen Yuchuan sent Lu Yang to the hospital. Lu Yang laid in the hospital for three days, and in those three days, Chen Yuchuan went unshaven, so focused was he on taking care of him. He became so obedient that he would listen to whatever Lu Yang said.
After that, they stopped for a long time, to the point where they went for nearly half a year without arguing once.
But in the end, they still argued. The only difference was that Chen Yuchuan would no longer go to his friend’s house after quarreling with Lu Yang. Their argument would last for one night at most and they would hug each other when they woke up the next day.
Whenever they had a particularly bad argument, someone would mention breaking up. Chen Yuchuan had said it, and Lu Yang had said it, though the one who said it the most was Chen Yuchuan.
And without fail, the moment Chen Yuchuan had finished saying it, Lu Yang would throw him over his shoulder, carry him legs kicking to the bedroom, and throw him onto the big bed to do him.
When Lu Yang was the one to say it, Chen Yuchuan would become angry and scold him.
Like hell we’ll break up. I won’t leave. You can never get rid of me. I’ll stick to you for the rest of my life.
Every time, his various, colorful curses would make Lu Yang not know whether to laugh or cry. So in the end, when he could no longer listen, he would raise his hand and cover Chen Yuchuan’s mouth.
The moment Lu Yang covered his mouth, Chen Yuchuan would stop cussing, and instead, he would stick out his tongue and lick Lu Yang’s palm.
So, every time they broke up, it always ended in bedroom activities.
But just now, when Lu Yang had said that the Civil Affairs Bureau was still open, Chen Yuchuan looked at the expression on his face, and there was only one thought in his heart:
Lu Yang might not love him anymore.
Maybe, he still loved him, but not as much as before.
That was how people are. He had loved you for 16 years, but as long as he made you feel for one second that he doesn’t love you anymore, suddenly you couldn’t help but suspect that his 16 years of love for you was fake.
Even if Chen Yuchuan knew this to be true, it was useless. At that moment, he felt his legs go weak and the chair he was sitting on suddenly became unstable.
But he didn’t curse to smooth this matter over.
Because at that moment, he himself had considered whether it would be better if they did separate.
Chen Yuchuan thought that many things become habits, but only love was like a plaything used to pass the time. It was easy to get used to, but may disappear all of a sudden. Eventually, it would be consumed bit by bit until you abruptly realize that the thing was gone.
Chen Yuchuan didn’t know if he and Lu Yang were like that, whether he still loved him or not, and thinking about it made his head hurt.
Thinking about it now, he felt that he really was such a hypocrite at the time. In order to ask about Ye Guanghe, he was prepared to talk so much.
In fact, at the time, he was a little scared, as if, if he didn’t set up the emotions in advance, his heart would not be at ease.
He no longer had confidence in himself, and he no longer had confidence in Lu Yang.
Lu Yang didn’t take the initiative to mention Ye Guanghe to him, but neither did he mention his insomnia to Lu Yang. It wasn’t because he feared that Lu Yang might worry, but that he simply wanted Lu Yang to find out for himself.
He stared at Lu Yang for a long time in front of the plate of Sichuan peppercorn fish. He thought about many things, until they all became jumbled in his head.
His and Lu Yang’s friends were basically all married. They were all the same age as them, in their thirties.
In their circles of friends, there were also many same-sex couples like them. But in the end, these couples eventually separated, and even if they were still together, they lived as if they were separated.
Their friends had always said that they would definitely experience the third-year pain and the seven year itch. If they survived through it, they would live like relatives. If they couldn’t survive, they would break up and divorce.
The third-year pain and the seven year itch, Chen Yuchuan didn’t know what they were like.
But then again, maybe they were like now.
Their friends also said that only Lu Yang and Chen Yuchuan could not split up. They were the last line of defense in this camp.
If they split up, this proved that love doesn’t exist.
Every time Chen Yuchuan heard them say this, he would always bump Lu Yang with his shoulder and say, “Did you hear that? We’re the last line of defense. We have to guard it well, otherwise love would no longer exist. Only when we stay together will this prove that love does exist.”
Lu Yang would then raise his eyebrows and ask, “Am I just guarding it by myself?”
Chen Yuchuan would look at him and say, “You guard, and I will follow right beside you, so that we won’t lose it.”
But in the end, Lu Yang didn’t hold on and neither did he.
After Chen Yuchuan came back to his senses, he found that the string of Sichuan peppercorns was still on his chopsticks. His fingers shook, and the string of peppercorns fell on the table.
On that same day, they went to the Civil Affairs Bureau to get a divorce. When they came out, the sun was still high in the sky. The sun was like poison, and Chen Yuchuan didn’t feel that the sun was necessary at all.
Before he could even ask about Ye Guanghe, their marriage was already over.
When they got home, the string of peppercorns were still lying on the table. Chen Yuchuan threw it into the trash, and when Lu Yang went downstairs, he took the bag of garbage with him.
After Lu Yang left, Chen Yuchuan stared at the clock on the wall and listened to the second hand ticking forward.
He looked at it for a long time and began to feel irritated. Finally, he moved a chair over, stood on it, took the clock off the wall, and pulled out the battery.
Without the battery, the second hand no longer ticked. Feeling that it had become a lot quieter, he hung the clock back up, sans battery.
He remembered that the time on the clock was fixed on October 8th.
At that time, he had also looked at the calendar, and it was a cold dew.
Chen Yuchuan turned over on the bed, thinking of the clock in the living room. Suddenly, his eyes snapped open and he felt around the bedside, but couldn’t find his cell phone.
That day, when he removed the battery from the clock, it was one in the afternoon, and it was also one when he drove Lu Yang away.
So, what was the fucking time?
Chen Yuchuan got out of bed, found his cell phone in the pocket of the pants on the floor in the living room, and pressed on the screen to check.
Shit, it was almost four o’clock.
The sleeping pills didn’t seem to be working.