It was already late so Li Ming didn’t bother doing anything else and just went to wash up before going to bed. Today had really been fun and he was looking forward to seeing Duan Zhi Hao again next week. The car ride home just now had been awkward thanks to his so-called ‘clarification’ but he really didn’t hold it against him. Anyway, he had just been uncertain and had taken the time to make sure of his doubts. That was better than just making up a scenario in his mind and acting based on that.
Soon enough, he fell asleep. When he woke up the next morning, he first checked the time on his phone. Staring at the screen, he couldn’t help but remember that today was the day when he was supposed to meet his mother.
Originally, it had been something he was looking forward to as well. Now though, he was once again nervous. It might’ve gone well the other day but a phone call always meant that he had the opportunity to make up an excuse to hang up without her noticing. He couldn’t very well do that when he was there. And he wasn’t sure if he had the strength to take his parents’ rejection today or ever, really.
Li Ming sighed and then got out of bed, getting ready to go over. In any case, no matter how things would go, he still had to give it a try. If it didn’t work out, well, then he also couldn’t change it. But maybe he would be surprised and things would go better than expected.
His parents actually didn’t live that far away. In just half an hour, he had made his way over. Standing in front of the door, his hands suddenly felt sweaty. When had he been this nervous the last time?
He honestly couldn’t remember. Even when there had been something that he had been nervous about with Mo Fang, it hadn’t been this bad. At the very least, with Mo Fang, it was usually about something he was looking forward to. Now, he just felt like an anxious mess inside and hoped that he could get it over with soon.
He took a deep breath and then reached out, ringing the doorbell. He just … he needed to get things started. When he was inside and they started talking, he was pretty sure that it would become easier no matter which way it went. At the very least, he’d know what was up by then.
Before he had time to think any further, rushed steps approached the door from the other side, and then it was pulled open in a swift motion, making his mother’s smiling face appear.
Li Ming stared at her, actually dumbfounded at her expression, while she was already grabbing his arm and pulling him inside.
“Xiao Ming, you’re finally here! Come in, come in! Did you eat yet? I made some snacks for you.”
Li Ming was still in a complete daze and just let her pull him forward. While his mother handed him a pair of slippers and urged him to quickly change shoes, a familiar scent already wafted over from the kitchen. It wasn’t as strong as he remembered, so most likely, she had prepared most of it yesterday.
Realizing this, Li Ming hurried up with changing his shoes and then followed his mother further into the house. Actually, she seemed to treat him completely normal. Not just that, but she also seemed as if she had missed him. No matter what else was going on, she had at least taken the time to prepare for today. That … should be a good sign, right?
His mother pulled him into the kitchen and made him sit down, hurriedly pushing some bowls and plates in front of him. “Here, have some snacks first! Do you also want some tea?”
Li Ming smiled faintly and then nodded. “That would be lovely.” He picked up one of the snacks, and took a bite, feeling a bit strange. This was … like being homesick. Which made no sense because he was currently at home. Well, it might be more accurate to say that this was reminding him of the past, of his childhood, and he couldn’t help but long for how things had been back then.
He had always been pretty close with his parents. It was only when he became older that they slowly drifted apart because discovering his sexual orientation had made him pull back little by little. Now, after he had long come out, not much was left of the relationship between them.
This wasn’t new and usually, he dealt with it quite well but coming here, and re-encountering the taste of these snacks that was still exactly the same as it had been twenty years ago … it made him nostalgic. It also made him wonder if there was a way to ever go back to how things had been between them.
Li Ming looked up and this strange feeling of homesickness got even worse. His mother hadn’t changed much either. She was still the same kind and beautiful woman that he remembered.
Seeing her like this made him wonder once again if maybe all of this had been his problem from the very beginning rather than that of his parents. Maybe they actually hadn’t had as much of a problem with his orientation as he had thought.
He knew that he probably shouldn’t but he put down the snack and looked at her with a serious expression. “Mom, be honest with me: Do you mind … that I’m gay?”
His mother turned around from where she was preparing the tea and gave him a confused look. “What do you mean?”
Li Ming faintly furrowed his brows, not quite sure what to say. “I just … I just wanted to know. These years, we haven’t talked as much. I’ve always felt that … you might have been disappointed in me.”