SML V6C13 Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

The two of them soon finished with Mo Fang’s grocery shopping and left the store once again. Madam Zuo seemed to be a bit out of breath so Mo Fang directly steered her toward the bench he had pointed out before, put down his bag with the groceries, and sat down with her.

Madam Zuo heaved a sigh of relief and patted his arm. “You’re such a good boy. You really remind me of my grandson.”

Mo Fang smiled. In her eyes, it seemed everyone was just like her grandson or resembled him in some way at least. Still, he actually didn’t know much about this person. “Your grandson … do you see him often?” With her behavior, he really couldn’t imagine. Most likely, she had no family close by.

Madam Zuo indeed sighed and then shook her head. “I am afraid not. You know, a few years ago, I would still see him regularly. But then, he found a girlfriend and they moved far away together. Since then, I seldom get to see him. If he drops by once a year, I can already count myself as lucky.”

Mo Fang nodded. “That must hurt.”

Madam Zuo waved. “Ah, I also know he has his own life. I can’t expect him to run over here all the time. It’d just be nice if he called a bit more often.”

“True. Nowadays, it’s really not difficult to keep in contact.”

Madam Zuo nodded. “Isn’t it? I really feel like he has no excuse for that! Just once a week would already be good but that will only happen in my dreams.” She gave a huff and shook her head, clearly unhappy with her grandson. She got over it after just a moment though. “Well, he does call every now and then and whenever I call him, he will pick up so it’s not all bad. What about your family? I only ever see you alone.”

Mo Fang gave a faint hum. “My parents live in the city but my mother travels a lot and often isn’t home. I only returned from overseas a while ago anyway so saying that I go by regularly would feel disingenuous. I did call while I was abroad though.”

“Oh.” Madam Zuo looked at him in surprise. Her grandson had moved further away but that was still in the country. She had never even thought about how it had to be to have your family live in a whole other country. It seemed she was still lucky after all! “Then are you back for good now or will you leave the country again?”

Mo Fang looked up at the sky, his expression a bit lost. Originally, that had still been a question. Being gay wasn’t easy in China, after all. Most likely, even though he would have returned for a while, he still would have left again. But now? Now, he had no reason to go abroad again.

He shook his head at himself and turned to Madam Zuo again. “I guess I’ll stay. It’s just … I feel a bit lost.” He lowered his gaze to his hands, feeling as if his whole life was somehow slipping through his fingers. “I was really happy overseas and everything just seemed to be on the right track as if … as if the future was going to be beautiful.

“Now, I’m back and I don’t even know what to do with myself. It’s weird. I don’t have this feeling of ‘coming home’, just …” He shook his head, not even sure how to explain it.

He couldn’t talk about this with his parents. He also didn’t feel like saying any of this to his friends. Most of them likely wouldn’t understand and many wouldn’t even care. He knew. That was why he had met up with different people every time, never sharing anything too personal. And even though some of them might have realized that he was somehow off, none of them had asked. Not that he was surprised.

Madam Zuo wasn’t sure what to make of this. “Well, if you were abroad for a long time, it must be difficult to readjust. But then, this is still the place you come from. After getting used to it again, I’m sure it’ll feel like home again in no time! Don’t worry about it too much.”

Mo Fang nodded and gave a smile even though he doubted that she was right. “I guess so. It’s probably just … a rusty start.”

Madam Zuo nodded, reached out, and patted his hand. “I am sure it is. Just don’t worry so much and let it happen naturally. Also, don’t be too proud to accept help.”

Mo Fang looked at her in puzzlement. Did he give off the feeling that this was a problem he had?

Madam Zuo waved her hand. “Oh, don’t look at me like that! I was young once too. It’s the kind of age where you want to do everything on your own because you’d feel ashamed if you had to admit that you needed help. But the truth is that life can’t be lived that way. Nobody is alone. Sometimes, you just can’t see that.

“But you have your family and friends, don’t you? So if you need help adjusting, go and ask them for that help. I’m sure they’d gladly do it. And, well, if they can’t help you, you can always come to me for advice.” She patted his hand again, her face lighting up. Clearly, she’d be more than happy if he did come to her to chat about his issues.

Mo Fang’s smile turned a little more genuine. “I’ll keep that in mind.” He didn’t think he’d actually do it but it was indeed nice to be reassured. At the very least, it dispelled some of that loneliness that had been accompanying him for months now. Maybe in the future, he would indeed be able to open up to somebody, no matter who that might be.

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