Xi Men remained surprised after being told that his separation with Xiao You has been made public.
He didn’t exactly know how it happened.
“Make way please… make way…”
His eyes blinked and his mind keeps buzzing left and right.
“CEO Xi Men, you can move now,”
The word ‘CEO’ woke him up from his reverie.
He looked around and realized that the guards had asked the reporters to take a couple of steps back so that they can allow Xi Men to park his car at his designated parking bay and exits his car to his office.
Xi Men steps onto the accelerator and heads to his parking bay, and Secretary Xu is already waiting for him there.
The reporters followed Xi Men’s car to his parking bay.
Xi Men managed to park his car at his parking bay, and then he turned his head to look out of the window.
So many reporters.
The guards are guarding the reporters from being too close, so that Xi Men has ample space to exit the car.
Secretary Xu stood next to the door, waiting for Xi Men to come out from the driver’s seat.
Xi Men pressed his lips together and he took a deep breath.
He had promised Xiao You.
He needs to face them.
But he isn’t sure if he should address them now.
But he still needs to get out of the car, right?
He unbuckled his seatbelt and then slowly, he opened the door.
“Mr. Xi Men!”
The chaos begins the moment the door opened and when he only puts a foot out of his car…
“Mr. Xi Men!”
Xi Men gets out of the car and slammed the door close.
Secretary Xu bows down slightly to greet Xi Men, and then stood next to Xi Men. “I am sorry, sir. I didn’t know they are at the entrance. They aren’t here yet when I reached the office this morning,”
Xi Men nodded, “It is okay,”
“Do you want to talk to them, sir…?” Secretary Xu asked.
Xi Men shook lightly.
“Then, we’ll go to the office, sir,”
“Okay,” Xi Men replied, taking a few steps, and Secretary Xu as well as the guards walk with him.
“Mr. Xi Men!”
“Mr. Xi Men! It was said that you have separated from Miss Yang! Is this true?”
“Mr. Xi Men!”
Separated from Miss Yang.
He is again reminded that he had promised Xiao You that he will…
“Secretary Xu…” Xi Men grabbed onto Secretary Xu’s arm, “Stop,”
Secretary Xu stopped just as when Xi Men also stopped walking.
“I… I need to address this,” Xi Men said.
Secretary Xu looked at Xi Men.
Looking at the expression on Xi Men’s face, Secretary Xu now knows that the rumor is true.
He didn’t know his CEO’s marriage is on the rocks.
He thought they have always been well…
But still, Secretary Xu hopes he had derived the facial expression inaccurately.
Maybe they have always been well, but the report is incorrect so Xi Men would want to address that?
“Mr. Xi Men!”
The reporters saw opportunities when Xi Men stopped walking.
“Mr. Xi Men! It was said that you are no longer on good terms with Miss Yang!”
Xi Men turned around and looked at the media.
“Who said we are not on good terms?” he asked them.
“Miss Yang, please tell us! Please!”
Jin stopped, just like what Xiao You had said, and she stopped too.
That pleading tone from one of the reporters had prompted her to stop.
The moment they saw Xiao You stopped walking, all of the reporters immediately surrounded Xiao You and Jin firmly extends his hand out to avoid the reporters from getting too close to her.
“It is rumored that your marriage is on the rocks…”
“It is true that Xi Men and I have separated,” Xiao You interrupts.
“It is true that Xiao You and I have separated,” Xi Men said.
Secretary Xu swallowed the lump in his throat upon hearing that.
His boss and his wife have really separated…
“But that doesn’t mean we are not on good terms. We are still friends,” Xi Men adds. “And this is a private family matter that I would like to keep it personal. I will not address this subject any further. Please kindly give us space,”
Xi Men turned around and walked.
“But Mr. Xi Men! It was said you do not talk as much to her when you meet her yesterday at the car workshop!”
Xi Men halted his steps and turned his head, giving a fierce gaze, “I would like to reiterate that it is my personal matter and I am not going to divulge further about my personal issues with you. You are free to speculate but nothing will be confirmed unless I or Xiao You said it. I would like to repeat again that I want Xiao You, me and my daughter to be given space and left alone in regards to this matter,”
He took a deep breath.
With no one dare to ask anything anymore…
“Thank you for your cooperation,” he harshly added.
He straightened his head and walked to his office.
And Secretary Xu followed behind.
“In contrast to what the article has written, Xi Men and I are still on good terms and we are still friends, and most importantly, we are still the proud parents of Emily. Thank you for your interest. But this is my personal matter that I would like to be given space for. And before I forget, I want you to respect my privacy and also this is my workplace, not your camping ground with your purpose to dig more things about me and Xi Men. Thank you,” Xiao You said, and almost immediately, she resumed walking ahead with Jin blocking all the reporters from getting too near to her.
Xi Men sat at his CEO chair with his eyes closed, and his hands covering his face.
He took a deep breath.
He wasn’t quite sure how long he had been sitting there in that particular position.
But all he knew was… he hasn’t done any of his work the whole morning.
He eventually took another deep breath and lowered his hands down, as well as opened his eyes.
He looked at the time on his wristwatch.
He sighed in his quiet CEO room.
His eyes landed on the newspaper that Secretary Xu had brought for him right after he entered his office.
He lifted the newspaper up and looked at it.
Since it is said that his separation has been published in the newspaper, he needs to find that article.
He flipped a few pages and finally saw the headline.
‘Xi Men Zhong Er Lang and Yang Xiao You rumored to have separated’
After reading the article, he exhaled his deep breath.
“So it is because someone saw us yesterday,” he said, lowering the newspaper down onto the table. “That is why it is made public,”
He is completely dazed.
He didn’t see this coming.
Or rather, he didn’t expect the matter will be exposed like this.
For some reason, he didn’t feel comfortable or at ease, to ‘finally’ reveal the status of their relationship.
It wasn’t something he wanted to actually talk about.
He remembers the time where he brought Xiao You out to corporate dinners where medias asked him about her, like, who she is and if she is his significant other.
He also remembers the time where he officially announced Xiao You is his girlfriend.
And also, the time where he proudly announced that he is going to get married.
He calls her the love of his life.
Those were the times where he is actually happy and couldn’t wait to make the announcement to the media.
But not right now. Definitely not about this matter.
He sighed again.
His eyes casually traveled to the smartphone he had placed on the desk.
The media swarmed him this morning.
Will it be the same to Xiao You as well?
But… did she actually know what happened?
She hasn’t called.
But if she knew… she could have called, right?
He hadn’t called her to talk about it too.
He extends his hand and scoops up his smartphone.
He unlocked the phone, and his finger slowly swipes the screen of the phone to look for Xiao You’s contact details.
He stares at the name, photo and the number that is being displayed on his screen.
He is just one click away to call her.
He blinked numerous times at the beautiful picture of his soon-to-be ex-wife.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
He pressed on the button.
He then puts the phone to his ear…
Xiao You sits in her office in the ballet studio.
With her hand supporting her head on the table, she lifted her head up to look at the bamboo drawing that is hung proudly on the wall on her right.
Though not necessarily strong physically, bamboo is actually flexible, durable and adaptable. Did you notice that bamboo does not break, even though the wind, rain or thunderstorm just went by? That is because the bamboo is able to bend with whatever comes. It can bend but can never break.
Not forgetting, to be able to withstand whatever that happens and still emerge at the end of the chaos, it requires wisdom, intelligence and knowledge. So bamboo is also a representation of those as well.
I drew you the painting; to wish that for your business, I hope you have the wisdom, intelligence and knowledge to manage it and I wish you on your road to success. But as you know, business has ups and downs. So, I hope you can learn to blend and bend with whatever comes to you, and never breaks. When the tough times passed, you’ll survive and be stronger.
I hope the meaning of bamboo doesn’t restrict to your business only. I hope you can apply it to your life as well.
The voice of Xi Men’s mother echoes in her ear.
“Thank you mom…” Xiao You mumbled. “I will survive and be stronger…”
Even though her phone is placed in the drawer, the sudden soft ring in her quiet room jolted her up.
She lowered her head, moved slightly to make space for the drawer to be pulled out.
When she pulled the drawer, she saw the picture of her soon-to-be-ex husband being displayed on the screen; as the caller.
She took the phone out.
After taking a deep breath, she picks up the call.
Xiao You: Hello.
Xi Men: Hi.
Xi Men then pressed his lips together.
Xi Men: I… I think you already know that the news… is out.
Xiao You: Yes (lowered her head down).
Xi Men: Did the media came and swarm you…?
Xiao You: Yes.
Xi Men (feeling concerned): I hope they didn’t injure you.
Xiao You: I had Jin to protect me from the car to the office. So I am fine.
Xi Men (phew): That is good to hear.
Xiao You: So… did you address the matter?
Xi Men: Yes, I did. What about you?
Xiao You: Initially I didn’t want to, but… at the end, I told them we’ve separated.
Xi Men (lowered his head): Exactly what I said too…
Xiao You (nodded): Okay…
Xi Men (took a deep breath): Can’t believe some reporter actually saw us at the car workshop yesterday.
Xiao You: It wrote ‘a writer’. Doesn’t sound like a reporter to me.
Xi Men: Oh.
Xi Men: It surprised me when I saw them at the office this morning.
Xiao You: I have already prepared.
Xi Men (smirked): I wondered if you prepared for this every single morning when you go to work.
Xiao You: What do you mean? They will continue swarming the building for the next few mornings?
Xi Men: You said you have prepared for this. Like, since when? 3 months ago? So that you are ready to face the media if they happen to go to your building whenever the news come out?
Xiao You: I mean last night.
Xi Men (frowned and ask questionably): Last night?
Xiao You: Yes, the news is already out last night.
Xi Men (eyes brightened up and surprised): Last night?
Xiao You: It was on the news portal last night. You didn’t know?
Xi Men: Last night? You mean you already know last night?
Xiao You: Yes… you don’t?
Xi Men: I only know this morning. And… (totally in disbelief) you could have called me and tell me last night when you found out about the news!
Xiao You: I thought you knew.
Xi Men: You can still call me, right?
Xiao You: If you found out about it, will you call me to inform me just that?
Xi Men: Yes. Exactly like what I am doing now, right?
His heart sank at the thought of it, that she didn’t even want to tell him this or talk to him.
Xi Men: You know but yet you are not calling me to at least let me know. Is it that our separation has led you to not even have the slightest desire to talk to me anymore? Is it so difficult for you to talk to me right now?
Xiao You could only hold her phone onto her ear and tears formed in her eyes.
Xi Men (patted his own chest as he said): Is it so tough for you to call me and tell me about this?
And then a tear fell onto her cheek…
Xi Men: Do you know I feel so dumb right now? Because you already know about this matter and I felt I could have prepared way better to face the reporters if you had told me!
Xi Men (eyes widened upon hearing the sniff. His tone softened up): Xiao… Xiao You?
Xiao You (sniffed again and wiped her tears): So this is why you don’t love me anymore, right?
Xi Men is surprised to hear that.
Xi Men: It… it is unrelated.
Xiao You (clenched her teeth): Do you think nothing else will change? Do you expect me to be the same Xiao You that will still talk to you just about anything? The Xiao You that will be elated upon reading any sort of news in the newspaper or article that has the name of her husband, and will call you wherever you are in the world, just to tell you that? Do you expect me to still be the same Yang Xiao You that you know?
Xi Men: I…
Xiao You: I don’t care whether you feel dumb or not. I don’t care whether you could have prepared yourself better to face the reporters. I don’t care at all! We have separated! I only want to move on from you and learn to be on my own! On my… own… (sob)
Xi Men: Xiao You… don’t cry… I… I am sorry… I shouldn’t have raised my voice… I shouldn’t…
Xiao You (sniffed hard): Do you think it is nice to say that I have separated from you? Do you think it is something that I should be celebrating? Do you know how hard it is for me to hold my emotions to tell the world that I am fine even though I am not? Do you think I don’t have enough pain already? Do you think I can just pretend as though our relationship has never happened? This separation is not mutual. You wanted it, I don’t!
Xi Men could feel his tears are forming upon hearing her painful words.
Xiao You (sniffed and swallowed the lump in her throat, trying to hold herself together): Sorry. I’ve strayed from the topic.
Xi Men (slightly surprised at the change of topic so quickly): It is okay, Xiao You. I mean…
Xiao You (interrupts): Anyway, I am not obligated to update you anything. Anything at all. Learn to adapt.
She puts the phone down on the desk and she sobbed, with her hands covering her face.
Little did she know…
She just puts the phone down, but she didn’t hang up the call.
And Xi Men heard her sobbed pitifully over the phone.
His heart wrenched upon hearing her cries.
And eventually a tear of his’ fell too.
When he thought she had begun hating him, he could also sense she still loves him.
She is really on the fine line between love and hate.
Neither here nor there.
“Xiao You… I am really sorry…”