I stirred my black coffee placed in front of me slowly, taking my own pace. My fringe is so long that I brushed it aside to stay in place, covering my right eye.
I did not plan to get it trimmed because my hairstylist said she needed my hair to be long for varieties of style for my wedding with Ken. My long, mahogany colored, perm hair were not trimmed either.
I landed in Taipei about an hour ago after a three-hour flight via father’s private jet, with Emi.
At this very same day a year ago, Xi Men ran after me after my drink in VS and basically, he saved me from the robbers… by getting both sides of his neck slit at the entrance of Ying neighborhood.
What a drastic change, the following year, which is today, I came to Taipei to settle some of my marriage stuffs. I need to see the venue, at least.
After a thorough thinking, I finally contacted Xi Men from my cell phone yesterday. I’m practically nervous to talk to him, after I walked out from his life more than half a year ago.
But I owe him my life. He saved me.
I love him still.
I didn’t know how to bring myself to give my happiness to another man I don’t love.
I called Xi Men, and I asked him if he is interested to meet me today. He did not hesitate, he answered almost immediately that he wants to see me.
I didn’t know how to face him after all. But I missed him.
I don’t think I can marry another man before I take a final glance at the man that I loved…
I looked over to Xi Men Corporation across the street, through the window on my right, which I chose this seat next to the window, and facing the door.
I told Xi Men to meet me at the coffee house across his office, for his convenience, at 11am.
As clock is ticking, my heartbeat seems to pump real fast too.
I feel my hand trembling.
I wonder how much Xi Men has changed. Is he getting fat? Or getting thinner?
At the same time I also wonder how his life has been…
I put down the tablespoon gently at the plate beneath the coffee cup. I let out a deep sigh.
I took the coffee cup up and I drank the black coffee.
I lifted my eyes when I saw the door to the coffee house is pushed open.
In walked a man wearing a black coat on top of a long-sleeves beige blouse, and a black tie. I saw the face that stared straight at the coffee house. How the fringe stretches from top of his right forehead and covers his left eye, ended around mid-cheek. How the strong jaw line of his face were shaped perfectly to complete this man’s facial feature.
He looked around, and when he turned to his left, his eyes landed on me.
Yes, I do recognize that face that I missed.
He curved his lips and smiled at me as he walked towards me, but I noticed, it is a very sorrow smile.
I put down the coffee cup gently. I smiled at him.
Xi Men pulled the chair and sat down in front of me.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hi,” I said.
It does feel awkward. I love him still… but…
“Am I late or something?” he asked.
“No… I’m just early,” I said.
He just gave me another curved lips and a waiter approached our table, handing the menu to Xi Men. Xi Men lifted his hand mid-air, to ask the waiter to keep the menu.
“Black coffee,” Xi Men said, looking at the waiter.
“Sure, sir,” the waiter said politely as he walked off.
Xi Men turned and looked at me, and then his eyes looked down to the cup of coffee in front of me. He stared at the cup of coffee for few moments.
“Black coffee, huh,” he smirked lightly as he looked up.
“Oh… yeah,” I said, smiled lightly.
I didn’t expect he will be like this… he is so quiet.
“Sorry, was just carried away by my thought of you filling my house with the aroma of coffee,” he said, looking out of the window.
OH GOSH! That was painful to hear… and perhaps even voicing it out.
“It’s ok,” I abruptly answered.
“Coffee, sir,” a waiter placed down a cup of coffee in front of Xi Men.
Xi Men nodded slightly as a sign of acknowledgement, and the waiter walked off.
Xi Men took up the tablespoon and stirred his coffee.
He did not talk. He didn’t seem wanted to see me in my eyes too.
“How’s life has been to you?” I asked, trying to set up a conversation.
“Cruel,” he said, continue stirring. “You?”
It hurts to hear him saying that. “Just fine,” I responded. “How’s your injury in your neck?”
Xi Men touched his neck. “Usual,”
“It’s been a year since the incident,” I said.
“Yes, at the date today… last year,” he said. “You still remember,”
“Yes, I do,” I smiled lightly.
That is why I come over to see you, Xi Men…
He put down the tablespoon at the plate beneath the coffee cup and he took the coffee up. “Ah Si, Mei Zhuo and Lei’s private investigators did not manage to locate you,”
I looked at him. I thought I told him to not look for me?
“Do not take it like I wanted to, despite you ask me not to look for you, it is a very normal human instinct to find a person,” he said as he sipped his coffee. His eyes never met mine.
I looked down to my coffee, before I looked up at him again. I didn’t know if this meeting is a mistake, and where will this conversation going to.
Xi Men placed the cup of coffee down on the plate.
“Especially she is the woman I loved,” he said, finally looking up at me.
I saw the eyes. There seems to be sadness in his eyes. I carefully trace his face. His face did not seem as fine as I last see him. Did he overwork? Did he strain himself?
He looked thin…
He suddenly turned his head lightly, looking out of the window, and flings his head lightly, for his fringe to stay in place.
“Why did you leave?” he asked.
I knew it. I knew he would ask me.
“I’m sorry,” I said. That’s all I can say. My tears started to form in my eyes.
“Then why do you come back?” he turned looking at me again.
I saw the tears brimming in his eyes. “I…”
He interrupted me. “Why not you just stay far, far away, Xiao You?”
“I owe you an explanation,”
“I know,” he said. He closed his eyes for a while, before he opened it. “Why do you leave after a call and never come back as you promise? Why do you leave me just by an email?”
I looked at him. He’s hurt… badly.
“Do you want to tell me now?”
I looked down on my coffee. “My parents passed away in Canada after an accident,”
I feel his eyes are focusing on me, but he did not say anything.
“I have… to leave everything behind,”
“Including me?” he asked.
The answer is yes… but how am I supposed to tell you this?
“And you carry the burden yourself? Without telling me why? Without telling me what you should be telling me?” he said.
“I’m sorry, Xi Men…”
“Enough of the word, Xiao You!” he said.
I immediately silent.
“What’s with your parents passes, that needs you to leave me?” he asked, closing his eyes.
“I have promised my dad’s last wish… so I need to fulfill it,”
“And your dad’s last wish is to leave me?” he asked.
I know he’s hurt and I know he’s angry. So I will not blame why he is saying and treating me like this.
“My dad wants me to be his boss’ daughter,” I said.
He looked at me. “What?”
“And so I followed him and leads a differently new life,” I said. “I am no longer in Canada,”
“I know,” he said. “But no one knows where you are,”
He immediately lifted his hand up and stopped me. “I am not interested to know,” he said. “You choose to cut all the contacts with me and your other friends in the first place,” he took a deep breath. “At least it’s good for you to come and meet me,”
I looked down.
“Anyway, it doesn’t matter, I hope your new family treats you well,” he said. “I supposed you moved on and be happy with your life now,”
I smiled lightly at him. No I am not happy at all.
“Just fine,” I said. “And you?”
“Just fine,” he said, clasping his palms together. “If that is the case then it’s good for you,”
I still love you, Xi Men… I do. But I’m so sorry… I am marrying Ken soon…
I looked at my handbag, and then I opened it, taking out my wedding invitation card.
“I’m going to get married soon,” I placed the invitation card on the right of the table, before I pushed it to him. “I am personally inviting you,”
He looked at the wedding invitation card that I have just placed in front of him. His face is expressionless.
I saw him lightly pulled his coat, and he took something out with his right hand. He placed it on the table and then he pushed it to me.
“I’m getting married too,” he said. “Since you came and meet me today, I decide to invite you,”
I stared at the wedding invitation card he placed before me.
He and I bear the same expressionless face, and we both did not touch the wedding invitation cards in front of us. I understand the pain he has in his eyes to see me going to marry someone else, because I feel the same too.
“My wedding will be on 23rd next month, hope you can attend,” I said.
He looked at me. “Then I’m sorry I won’t be able to go,” he said. “My wedding is on the same day,” he pushed the invitation card that I have just given him.
“Oh,” I said. “Since it is on the same day, then I won’t be able to attend either,” I pushed the invitation card he gave earlier.
He smiled lightly. “What a coincidence,” he said.
I smiled lightly back at him. “If that is the case, then I won’t be inviting Ah Si, Mei Zhuo or Lei with their wives too, since you will marry that day. I supposed they will attend your wedding,”
“Okay,” he said. “I… I wish you… happiness,” he extends his hand, and choked on his words.
“Thanks… and you too,” I said, accepting his hand, as tears finally streamed down my cheek.
I immediately took a sheet of tissue out and dried my tears.
He sniffed, possibly trying to hold his tears too.
“I love you still, Xiao You…” he suddenly said.
I looked at him and I closed my eyes. “I love you too, Xi Men…”
I opened my eyes to see him looking out to the window… he just didn’t want to see me in my eyes.
“But fate decides otherwise…” I continued.
“And it’s inevitable,” he said. “And you will be the only woman I ever loved in my life,” he finally looked at me.
“There will be no one else that could replace you in my heart,” I said.
“What about your fiancé?” he asked.
I shook. “Not even him,” I looked at him. “And your fiancée?”
Xi Men shook as he looked down. “Not even her,”
“Is she nice?” I asked. “Is she pretty?”
He smirked and nodded. “And your fiancé?”
“Yes, he’s nice,” I replied. I have to lie. I have never met Ken before, how do I know if he is truly nice? He cares for me in the email he wrote to me.
So there is no way I could tell Xi Men about this.
“As long as he is nice to you,” Xi Men said. “And loves you,”
I don’t understand love with Ken. I only understand love with you, Xi Men.
I just abruptly nodded at Xi Men and smiled lightly.
Right now it does feels better to know that Xi Men moved on with his life, and he is going to get married soon. That also means he could let me go… or maybe he has let me go and that he found love with another girl.
“We are still friends, right?” I asked.
Xi Men looked at me. He smiled lightly. “Of course,”
I have done and said everything. Now, I guess it’s time to go.
“I better get going,” I said.
Xi Men looked at me, and then at his watch. “Sure,”
“Days ahead will be pretty busy for me, so…” I said, lightly brushed my fringe.
“I understand. Same goes to me, you know, wedding is just around the corner,” he smiled.
“Yeah,” I dive my hand into my handbag to get my money to pay for the coffee.
“It’s ok, coffees’ on me,” he smiled as he immediately took his money out and placed on the table.
“Really? Thanks,” I said.
“No problem,” he smiled.
I rose to my feet, and he rose to his feet too.
He extends his hand again. “All the best,”
“All the best too, Xi Men,” I said, grabbing his hand for a handshake.
How I longed to be in his hug again, but it’s impossible.
I looked down on the table and I took my wedding invitation card. And I saw him taking his invitation card.
We both walked out from the coffee house. I am subject to take the route on the right, and for Xi Men to go back to Xi Men Corporation, he will be taking the left route.
“Goodbye,” I said, looking at him.
“Goodbye,” he said, staring at me.
I smiled, as I politely turned, and I walked straight. I dunked lightly as my tears continue to stream down my cheek.
I didn’t know how many steps I have taken, I turned my head to see if Xi Men is there, and I saw Xi Men’s back facing me. He is walking back to his office, with his right hand in his pants’ pocket, his head lightly dunked.
Yes, this will be the last time I see him.
I turned my head again, as I continued walking.
Suddenly I took out the wedding invitation card, just wanted to know who he is going to marry to. I took the card out from the beige envelope.
I frowned. I saw the cute couple on the card. Isn’t this my own wedding card? I flipped open the card to see Ken Zhu and my name.
I smirked. I just recalled I took back my own wedding invitation card on the table.