The next few weeks seemed to pass by slowly. It wasn’t that Li Ming was any less or any more busy than before. Everything seemed to have stayed the same save for the fact that he didn’t spend any of his free time with Zhao Chen anymore. They still saw each other at work but right the next morning after their talk, Zhao Chen had turned in his resignation letter so the days they would meet each other there were counted.
Zhao Chen also made a conscious effort to not arrive or leave at the same time, making it so that they hardly ever ran into each other. Li Ming wasn’t sure what to make of this. They had broken up, yes, but it hadn’t been that bad of a breakup. Was there a need to be like this?
But then, he also realized that Zhao Chen was doing this so he wouldn’t be needlessly hurt. He was likely thinking that it would pain him whenever he had to see him so he was trying to reduce the opportunities. In a way, it was sweet but it was also completely useless. The hurt wouldn’t be lessened by not seeing each other. At least not for him. But then, he couldn’t force Zhao Chen to agree with him.
When the day for Zhao Chen to finally leave Shanghai came, Li Ming still went to see him off. He didn’t have any hard feelings and he didn’t want Zhao Chen to think that he did either. While he might be his ex-boyfriend, that didn’t mean that he was angry or … anything. Maybe a bit disappointed but that was at the circumstances and not at Zhao Chen himself.
“Don’t think too much. Just go and … do your best at your new job. Make it into the opportunity you think it is and don’t leave any regrets for yourself.” This was what he had done and even though it had played a part in Zhao Chen and him breaking up, he would still do the same thing again if he had another choice. There were simply some things in life you had to try out. Otherwise, you would always wonder what could have happened.
Zhao Chen nodded, even though he wasn’t sure that he felt that right now. With Li Ming in front of him, he was once again reminded of what he was giving up on for this opportunity. Was it worth it? He genuinely couldn’t say. If it worked out, it might be. If not … well, it couldn’t be changed at that point.
He couldn’t help but think that he might be making a mistake. He loved Li Ming and, honestly, he had seen this relationship go somewhere. They were good for each other and he hated that he had to give up on this for an uncertain career.
Maybe he should have been more daring and said that they should at least try a long-distance relationship. Anyway, if didn’t work out, he absolutely would come back to Shanghai so they could resume where they had left off. This had been his plan from the very beginning. He couldn’t tell Li Ming though.
Doing that … it would be too selfish. After all, he would put Li Ming in a situation where he would always be torn. On the one hand, he would be hoping that things worked out for him even though that would likely lead to their eventual breakup because he was just a genuinely good guy. On the other hand, he would naturally want him back but that would make him feel conflicted because it would mean that his dream hadn’t worked out.
Giving Li Ming a sliver of hope but nothing tangible to go off, that would just be deliberately leading him on. He couldn’t do that to somebody he loved. No, he had had to break up and make a clean cut so that Li Ming could move on. Even if that meant that he might one day return and find him in a relationship with somebody else.
Zhao Chen sighed at that thought and then reached out, giving Li Ming a hug. “I’ll try. You … you should also try not to dwell on it. Just focus on your work or … get a new hobby or something. I’m sure you’ll find something.” He stepped back after a moment and looked at Li Ming’s face for a while longer before nodding and boarding the train.
Li Ming watched him leave, truly feeling like it was over. He sighed to himself and shook his head. Today was his free day so he wasn’t in a rush to go anywhere. He simply stood there for a while, watching the train depart before he finally turned around and left.
He wasn’t sure where to go or what to do. He simply walked around for a while and finally found himself in front of the restaurant that Zhao Chen and he had gone to for their first date. He smiled faintly and walked in by himself, sitting down.
Breakups … he didn’t deal well with them. He remembered how Zhao Chen had told him that it was different for him and that he was able to move on fast because he didn’t dwell on it. He hadn’t thought of that in a long time but now, he couldn’t help but wonder if it would be the same this time around.
Actually, he might wish that for him. Zhao Chen was a good guy and for all the time they had been together, he had been a good boyfriend as well. He wasn’t at fault for their breakup either in the way that he had done anything wrong. No, they had had a good relationship and even broken up in a ‘good’ way as far as a breakup could be good. So, why would he wish him ill?
Rather than that, he hoped that the two of them would both get over this fast and be able to lead their regular lives again. Whether that was with a new partner or simply as a single, he didn’t care too much. It was only important that they both felt alright with whatever decisions they made.
He smiled to himself when he thought of that. Most likely, they would indeed be able to come together as friends in the future if this was how things turned out.