Li Ming sighed when he realized that immediately upon looking at his phone, he had thought of Mo Fang again. It had been so long but it still happened all the time. Clearly, no matter what he tried to tell himself, he wasn’t over this yet. Breaking up just wasn’t able to sever your feelings as well. And for him, it would clearly take quite a bit of time until he was at that point.
Just when he wanted to put his phone away, he flinched when somebody sidled up to his shoulder. He looked to the side and then raised his brows at Yao Ai.
She looked up as well and raised her brows at him. “What are you looking at?”
Li Ming continued to stare at her, and for a moment, he had some thoughts along the lines of ‘youngsters these days’. Actually, he didn’t feel old but looking at Yao Ai right now, he had this feeling that maybe he was after all.
He cleared his throat and then put his phone back into his pocket, shaking his head. “I just turned it off. Wouldn’t want that to disturb the course.”
“Oh.” Yao Ai nodded and then hastily took out her phone as well, doing the same.
Li Ming smiled, feeling that she should be more familiar with that concept than him. He didn’t think that they were allowed phones in class these days. But then, who knew what school kids these days were able to smuggle into the classroom? Ah, thinking of things like this, he really sounded like an old man, didn’t he? He somehow felt pathetic when he thought about it.
Putting her own phone away as well, Yao Ai turned back to him. “Anyway, you didn’t answer my question before. What’s your job?”
Li Ming smiled wryly when he realized that he wouldn’t get around answering that question after all but then again, it probably wasn’t that bad. Anyway, being out of a job wasn’t that much of a problem if it wasn’t a regular or long-time thing. “Well, I was working as a security guard until a few days ago.”
“Really?! That’s so cool! Like in those movies?”
Li Ming couldn’t help but laugh at that. “I’m afraid it’s a little less glamorous.”
Yao Ai didn’t seem quite sure what he meant with that. “How so? That must be awesome, beating up the bad guys, protecting people and stuff. Anyway, why aren’t you doing it anymore? Did you get in some trouble?”
Li Ming’s expression stiffened and he wondered if he should’ve even mentioned that detail. It probably would’ve been better to just tell her what his job had been. “You know, there are different types of security guards. I wasn’t protecting a person. I was working at a railroad station, making sure that nobody would make trouble. So, it really wasn’t that glamorous. And I didn’t get in trouble. I just thought that it was time for me to change some things in my life.”
Yao Ai stared at him, apparently not quite getting what he meant with the last part. But after a moment, she just shrugged. “Well, I guess there’s nothing else you can do when you get into a midlife crisis. Either you stick it out or you try to change.”
On the other side, Duan Zhi Hao doubled over in laughter.
Li Ming turned to him and raised his brows, not having expected that he was the type of guy to do that kind of thing. He had seemed like the quiet type who would probably hide it even if he had that kind of thought. But then again, this had also been unexpected so he couldn’t fault him.
He turned back to Yao Ai and shook his head. “I’m not old enough for that. Rather than that, it’s just that a lot of things happened recently. And I felt like I needed to do something new. In a few weeks, I’ll go back to the job even though it will likely be at a different place. I also registered for this course so that I can polish my skills a bit. It might bring some new opportunities.”
At that, Yao Ai nodded. “So it was like that. Actually, that is pretty similar to me. You know, I just recently finished school. I figured that before I go off and try to get work, I should also get some more skills. Although, my parents want me to go study at university. But I already hated studying back in school. I don’t think it’s my type of thing.”
Li Ming wasn’t sure what to say to that. Surely, not everybody was well-suited to studying. Forcing your child to do something like that for even more years might not yield the results you hoped for. Then again, if a few years would set your child up for success, then maybe that was also worth it. “Well, is there nothing that you like? I mean, if you had a subject that you really cared about, maybe studying it wouldn’t seem so bad.”
Yao Ai pursed her lips. “Yeah, I guess it might not be that bad. But just imagining how I might have to sit down and study for hours every day again I’m not sure if it wouldn’t just suck all the fun out of the topic. It just seems so dull, you know?”
Li Ming nodded, even though he couldn’t help but feel that it was strange that she had gone to this kind of course then. Wasn’t that also studying? But he didn’t know enough about her to judge anything. “Well, I guess there is still time. I’m sure you and your parents will be able to figure something out.”
“Well, I sure hope so. You know, I don’t know if you still get that at your age but it’s just so scary if you have to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life. I just have no idea where I should even start.”
Li Ming gave a hum. Even though that time had indeed been a few years ago for him, he still remembered it quite well. “I think we were all at that point once. A lot of people have managed to do it before you so I’m sure you’ll also be able to manage. It might take some time but you can certainly do it. I’m sure that you have amazing skills in something and you’ll be able to put them to good use. Just don’t give up.
“Anyway, nowadays, even if you start out in one field, there are always options to switch later on. So even if you decide on something now, it doesn’t have to be for forever. Just pick something you think might be the right thing and then see where that leads you.”
Next to him, Duan Zhi Hao couldn’t help but sigh. “Oh, if only somebody had told me that when I started out. But my parents were also like Yao Ai’s. They were always on my back, trying to get me to study harder, pick up more courses, just do even more. I just felt so overwhelmed all the time. Like if I wasn’t able to finish everything by tomorrow, my life would be over. I guess your parents must have been really laid-back if you have that kind of attitude.”
Li Ming’s expression stiffened at that. “Well, we had other problems with each other I guess.” Back then, while his parents had been laid back in regard to studies compared to many others there had been enough trouble when they realized that he was gay. But then, everybody had their own problems. You probably couldn’t really compare.