Li Ming stared ahead blankly, unsure what to say. In his mother’s mind, was he just not coming home because he was busy with his own life? It seemed like it.
Actually, thinking about everything she had said today, maybe he was thinking too much. Maybe she actually didn’t mind him being gay as much as he had thought. Anyway, she hadn’t slipped up even once mentioning girlfriends and she had shared her experiences pretty freely.
If she really had a problem with his orientation, wouldn’t she have tried to reinforce that he should be done with his ex? Why tell him a story of how his dad had done something similar and they had still gotten together? Wasn’t that like giving him permission to rekindle his relationship with Mo Fang as well?
He wasn’t sure if, right now, he really wanted to believe that this was the case. The idea that it was had come too suddenly and he didn’t trust it yet. In the end, he gave a faint hum. Anyway, he should just give it a chance. In any case, what was the worst that could happen?
Either way, he either hit rock bottom where he had neither a job, nor a lover, nor a family, or things would start to turn around and his relationship with his family would get better again before he found a better job and then one day started to date again. There was a chance of that happening, wasn’t there?
“Well, I’m busy tomorrow but I could come over on Sunday if you want me to. I mean, if dad is alright with that as well.”
“Of course! You better come over in the morning then so we can eat lunch together. Oh, better stay for dinner as well. I’ll make your favorite food!”
Li Ming smiled, feeling that this was a bit like things had been before he came out. This love for cooking, he might have inherited it from his mother. She might have forgotten to teach him about it, but it was definitely there. “You know, I can help you cook. You’d be surprised to find out but your son is actually really good at it. I think one of the things my ex appreciated the most about me was my ability to cook fine meals for him.”
His mother laughed, genuinely seeming happy when he told her that. “That is great! If you want to, you can make some side dishes but I’ll do the bulk of it. Anyway, you’re coming over so rarely. How could I let you work when you finally do? No, no, you should sit down and just enjoy somebody cooking for you again. It’s also bonding together, isn’t it? Just like when you were younger.”
Li Ming gave a hum even though he felt that cooking together would probably be the better mother-son-bonding activity. He didn’t want to force the issue. Anyway, she hadn’t seen him cooking even once yet. If he started helping out and she realized that he was doing well, she might change her tune anyway. “Then we’ll do it like that.” He fell silent for a moment and then couldn’t help but tilt his head. “Actually, I could use your advice on something else.”
“Oh? What is it?”
Li Ming almost wanted to laugh out loud when he heard her eager tone. This wasn’t something that he was used to from her but then, maybe this was also because they had talked so little over the last few years. She was probably hoping that she would get to make up for it now.
It really made him question whether he had made the right choice distancing himself. Well, he couldn’t change that anymore but he could try to do better going forward. “Well, you see, I’m currently … or rather I just finished taking a course. I met some people there and I’m going out with two of them tomorrow. Not like on a date but just as friends.
“I happen to be the one who is supposed to choose what we’re going to do but I myself don’t care too much and neither does one of the others. I think we’d be alright with just about anything. The third one is a girl that just finished school a while ago though and she seemed a bit sad about not being able to go out as much anymore because all her friends are already off to university will she’s still stuck here.
“So I know was wondering if there was anything you think we could do that she would really like and that might make up for how things are at least a little. Have you heard anything from your students?” His mother was actually a teacher and her students weren’t that much younger than Yao Ai. So he figured that she should have a good idea about what might be a good activity for them. At the very least, there should be a decent chance she did.
“Girls that age … Well, it probably depends on what type of thing she likes in general. But if she’s feeling cooped up at home, then I guess doing something outside should be good.
“Mn, how about going to that amusement park outside of the city? I think that one is really well-liked more young people, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure that I’ve heard some of the girls talking about having gone there together. I’m just not sure if you and the other person would like it as much if they are more around your age.”
Li Ming gave a hum, feeling that the latter wasn’t a problem. Duan Zhi Hao was the type who would do everything and even though he himself had never been at the park, from what he had heard, it was something that was suitable for all ages. So he wasn’t worried about that. “No, I think that would work really well. Thank you! I guess we’ll just do that.”
“I’m glad I could be of some help. You know, if you ever need some advice — no matter what it is — you can always call me. That’s what mothers are there for, isn’t it?”
Li Ming lowered his head and gulped. “Yeah, sure! I’ll definitely remember.”
For a moment, neither of the two knew what to say. This situation, after so much time had passed, it was just strange. But then, it was also much better already than in the past.
In the end, Li Ming picked himself back up and rubbed his face before getting up from the chair. “Well, anyway, it’s gotten pretty late. You’re probably heading to bed soon and I should also go to sleep so I’ll be up for having some fun tomorrow. I’ll see you on Sunday then.”
He hesitated for a moment, not sure if he should say anything more but his mother already picked up.
“Yes, I’ll be waiting for you! I guess I better go to the market tomorrow to get some fresh ingredients. Anyway, don’t think about those things tomorrow. Just have some fun with your friends. You can tell me all about it on Sunday.”
With that, the two of them bid farewell and indeed went to sleep. It was almost as if nothing had ever happened in the past.