Xiao You sits on the couch in the living room, spaced out.
Too much information for her to digest from that one meeting with Xi Men.
She heads over with intention to tell him that she is leaving, but not only is she asked to stay, she is also being told of a lot of things she didn’t know or expect to hear.
The real nature of Xi Men and Juliana’s relationship.
Now that she had heard from Xi Men, she can pair the information he gives with the information she had heard from Juliana, and she knows what is really going on.
“So this is the kind of relationship Xi Men have with Juliana…” she finds herself mumbling.
Still spaced out, she remembers how Xi Men pleads her to stay.
“Start anew here, Xiao You,” Xi Men said.
She could even hear the words repeat on its own in her ear.
“Stay back and start anew here,” he said again. “I beg you…”
She closed her eyes and shakes her head briefly, seemingly trying to get rid of Xi Men’s voice in her mind.
And then she opened her eyes again, and takes a deep breath.
Just as she flings his hands off, Xi Men is quick to grab her right arm again and this time he pulled her to him, enveloping her into an embrace with his hand around her shoulder.
This is happening too quickly that she did not have time to register what is going on in her mind.
As soon as her head lands on his chest and his chin is just inches away from her ear…
“Xiao You, I love you,”
“Xiao You, I love you,” his voice rings in her ears.
Her tears formed in her eyes.
“I came to Taipei with Mark,”
“But now I am left alone,”
“And my parents want me to move on with life,”
“That is why I decided to leave,”
“To start anew back in where I belong,”
“I know you like me,”
“I know you have feelings for me,”
“I have always know,”
“But why… why did you tell me now?”
“Why did you tell me when I don’t want to hear this?”
“Why are you telling me when you are not supposed to tell me?”
She buries her face in her hands and she wept.
Xi Men lowered his head down, and then raised an envelope which he has been holding, where his suit which is on his hand has unintentionally covers it from everyone’s sight.
Juliana tilts her head and looked at Xi Men looking at it.
“I have this in my drawer in the office for many years,” he said.
“Many years?” she asked.
He lifted his head up to look at her and then he nods, before he then extends it to her.
“Hmmm?” she took it from his hand. “For me?”
Xi Men looked at her, and then nods again.
“What is this?” Juliana asked as she looked into the envelope.
A set of documents?
She took the set of document out from the envelope, but before she could even read the title…
“Our divorce papers,” Xi Men said.
Juliana’s eyes popped open upon hearing that and looked at Xi Men, who clearly looks stoic.
She immediately looked at the document in her hand, and reads the title.
It is what he says…
She then covers her mouth as tears begin to well up in her eyes.
“Just so you know,” Xi Men said, and then swallowed the lump in his throat. “I could have asked the lawyer to make the document valid just by my signature, but I respect you, so… I would like to use the official way for our divorce,”
He looked at her as he saw a tear of hers fell onto her cheek as she remained in disbelief over what she sees in her hands.
“Juliana, I am sorry, but we need to do this,” he said. “We should divorce,”
“What… why…?” she asked, turning her head to look at him.
“I think this is fair for both of us,”
“What do you mean fair for both of us?” she asked with a tinge of harshness in her voice.
Expressionless, “You know very well about the state of our marriage,” he said.
“What state of marriage?”
Xi Men swallowed the lump in his throat. “We are not happy,”
“NO,” she firmly said. “I don’t know what you are talking about. What do you mean we are not happy? We ARE happy,” she dropped the document to the floor, and turned around to walk away.
“Juliana,” Xi Men heads to her and grabbed her arm, stopping her. “You can lie to yourself, but you know deep in your heart, this marriage’s life is not what you’ve desired,”
“It is, Xi Men! It is!”
“Marrying me is. But living like this is not,” he said.
“I love you that is why I marry you,”
“But you know that is not the case for me,” he said.
“Juliana, you know very well when I marry you, I don’t love you,” he said.
“That was back then. You do now,”
“I don’t,” he said. “I tried. I can’t. I am sorry,”
“You do, Xi Men! You do! I know you do,” she yelled with tears streaming down her face.
Xi Men just looked at her expressionlessly, watching her every reactions, and he knew exactly why she would react like that.
“Xi Men, although you have never verbally said it, I know you do because I can sense it, and I can feel it from you,” Juliana said, gripping onto his arm.
Xi Men just shook his head. “I have never,”
“You hold me to sleep every night. You hugged me. You…”
“It doesn’t represent that I have feelings for you,” he said.
“Juliana, if you remain insisting on that, I will explain to you that what you see and believe is not what it is,” he said, grabbing her arms as a mean to stop her from talking.
She looked at him, since he stood right in front of her closely.
“Before we even dated, I have told you back then that I will not love you,” Xi Men said, releasing his grip and took a step back, increasing their distance. “But you continued pursuing me, going after me; that I have no way to reject you but to accept you. I already know back then where the relationship will head to, and how it will evolve, no… it will not evolve, but how it will be. But a small part of me tries to love you; I try to make it work. But I couldn’t,” he looked at her.
Juliana remained looking at him, and another tear fell.
“I go out with you, and during those times, again and again, I told you about what you are getting from this; which is nothing from me. But you choose to stick with me,” Xi Men said.
Although he saw the fallen tear on her face, he made no intention to wipe it off for her.
“When my parents and your parents asked us to get married, you happily go for it. But, if you remember, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t agree to it,”
“But you didn’t disagree to it too,”
“Because I feel obligated,” he said.
“It felt like a responsibility to marry you because we were dating,” he said.
She sniffs again.
“I told you to think again before our wedding,” he said. “I told you to think wisely,”
“I want to marry you, that is why I said I will go with it,”
“I remember you said that. And I came late to the wedding ceremony because of this,” he said.
There is a distinct change of facial expression on Juliana’s face.
“You probably didn’t know what happened that morning,” he said.
“I know you are late… you said there’s traffic…”
He shook. “No. There’s no traffic,” he said. “The truth is, that morning, I was late because I was debating with myself if I want to do this. Marrying you will make both of us sad. I wondered if I should do this to you, by dragging you along? I know what we are going to have, Juliana. I know. At that moment, I keep on questioning myself. I hesitated. I didn’t want to ruin your life, but because of obligation, I ended up attending the wedding ceremony and marry you, arriving later than the specified time,” he said. “That is how much I did not want to marry you,”
She looked at him; sad and also surprised to hear it.
“And everything I’ve done to you from that day until now; which you claimed is a non-verbal action to show that I have feelings for you are actually actions due to my obligation to you. I hug you and hold you to sleep because I feel I am obligated to do that,”
Juliana remained looking at him, as she bites her lips together, trying to control her emotions that are stirring in her.
“Juliana, I am sorry if I have been harsh about this, but this is the truth,”
“I was convinced you will love me after time passes,”
“I tried. But it didn’t happen,” he said.
“We’ve been married for 5 years… didn’t it changed your perspective at all?” she looked at him.
He looked at her, and then he shook solemnly, “I really tried to love you but it just did not happen. I still don’t love you and I won’t be able to love you,” he said. “And what we have now will never change and it will be like this for the rest of our lives. Pathetic and directionless,”
“I don’t understand. We’ve been married for 5 years now… why all of a sudden…”
Xi Men swallowed the lump in his throat. “It is not ‘all of a sudden’,”
She looked at him.
He turned his head to look at the divorce papers on the floor. “I have just told you… this document has been in my office’s drawer for years,”
Juliana immediately remembers that is indeed what he had said just now.
Their divorce papers… in the drawer for years?
“Years…?” she said, in surprise.
“Precisely, since a week I married you,” he said.
“A week…?” she asked, her eyes brightened up.
“I have been waiting,” Xi Men said. “I have been waiting for you to ask for divorce, and also… at the same time, I am trying to look for the right time to tell you this,”
Juliana covers her mouth with her hand and tears flow.
Looking at her reactions, he couldn’t help but felt guilty, because he is the one that made her like this, “I am sorry I brought you to this stage. I marry you out of obligation. I did. And I am wrong in that,” he said.
She sniffs. “No…” Juliana uttered, and then she shook her head. “Despite all that… our relationship is doing well…”
“Juliana, it is not. Our relationship is not healthy, so stop denying it. What you have now with me is the only thing you will have if you continue to be with me. This is not happiness. This is a torture. And I want to put an end to this. You will never be happy with me,” Xi Men said.
“We can fix this… I am sure…”
Xi Men turned his head slightly in disappointment, “JULIANA! We can’t fix this anymore!” he said.
“Xi Men…” she pleads.
“If we could fix this, we would have done that years ago! Not now!” he said.
Juliana sniffs again as she thinks deeply, trying to save this marriage.
She then forces a small smile on her face as she managed to think of one, “Xi Men, we could have kids. They said kids could bring the family together,”
“Kids?” Xi Men looked at her.
Juliana nodded with the smile on her face. “Although you said you hate kids, we can fix that. I am sure you will love kids. I saw the way you play with Alex, Wei Yi, Chen…”
“Juliana, do you want to know the painful truth to this?” Xi Men asked.
Juliana looked at him, her small smile fades.
“I love kids. I have always love kids,” Xi Men said, looking at her. “I wanted my own kids, I wanted to be a father, but I didn’t want you to be the mother of my kids,”
Juliana’s eyes widened up at that revelation.
“I only want to be a father to kids bore by the woman that I love. That is why I forgo my desire to be a father when I marry you,” he said. “I told you I hated kids because I didn’t want to have kids with you,”
Juliana covers her mouth and nose with both her hands now, completely surprised.
“I didn’t want to have kids with you so that when this day comes (divorce), you can go out there and look for your happiness with someone else without the need to take responsibility of kids from our marriage and so do I,” Xi Men said.
This is a very hurtful revelation. Very, very hurtful!
“And I do not want to see my kids grow up in an unhappy family, like what I have been thru when I was younger,” Xi Men said, putting his right hand on his heart. “I become the comforting son for my parents because of their broken relationship. I don’t want my kid to be in the same situation to either be your comforting kid or my comforting kid. No matter how you lied to the child about how happy you are with me, it will come to a day where he or she will grow up and know the relationship and marriage that we have is not as happy as you claimed,”
Juliana is on the verge of sobbing, as she tried to hold it in.
“Juliana, I am sorry about lying to you that I hated kids when I actually love them. This is a very hurtful truth. It is just best not to hurt you with that thus I chose to lie to you,” Xi Men said.
She is on verge of explosion now; mix of anger and sadness and everything you can think of.
“Then why?! Why now after so long?! Why did you ask for divorce now after 5 years having that document in your drawer?” she shouted at him. “You already have desire to end this marriage for years, then why now?!”
He looked at her. “I…” he uttered. “I do not have the courage to do this… and I know I will make you upset like this,”
“Do not have the courage? Then now? You have them now?” she mocked him.
He finds himself smirking briefly, not minding her mocking tone. “Yeah,”
She trembled as she tried hard to contain her sadness.
“Did… did something happened?” she asked.
He pressed his lips together.
She looked at him, finding there is really something that triggers this.
“Mm hmm,” he acknowledged, as his gaze lowered.
“What… what is it? What happened that could give you the right to make me in tears like this?! What happened that could you give the courage after 5 long years?!”
After swallowing the lump in his throat, he lifted his gaze up and looked at Juliana, “She is back,”
Despite all the tears on her face, “She?” Juliana frowned. “Who… who is ‘she’?”
Xi Men lowered his head, and then his sight returned to her few seconds later. “The second woman in my life,” he said. “She has returned,”
Juliana’s eyes widened.
“You can’t be serious,”
“Honey, this is really happening,”
Jing closed her eyes and then exhaled her deep breath as she ran her hands thru her hair in disbelief. She then opened her eyes, “Right now?” she asked on the phone with her husband at the other end of the call.
Lei: Right now. It is happening right now.
Jing (pressed her forehead with her fingers): Oh my gosh. I feel so bad for Juliana…
Lei: But we all know this is bound to happen. That divorce document has been sitting in the drawer in Xi Men’s office for 5 years.
Jing: I know. But still, I feel terrible…
Lei (sighed): That is why I am going home now.
Jing: Going home?
Lei: I can’t work anymore. After seeing Xi Men’s reaction just now… gosh, I am affected as well.
Lei (took a deep breath): Anyway, darling. Go ahead and do your things, alright? I’ll be home soon.
Jing: Lei, is there anything we can do?
Lei could only stares straight to the road, as he ponders about it.
He then tilts his head.
Lei: Well… I don’t think so. This thing is not within our control.
Jing (exhaled her deep breath): You are right… so… we are just… going to stand at a side… and watch?
Lei: Not meant to be rude but that seems to be the only thing we can do now.
Jing nodded: Alright. So… I’ll pass the message to San Chai and Xiao Qiao?
Lei: Okay. Just the two of them, and their husbands. Don’t let Xiao You know.