[The last time you met?… well, at that time… at that time… he was dying.
His hair had fallen out from the chemotherapy, and he couldn’t sleep at night because of the pain.
That’s why he was so haggard… At that point, he couldn’t go anywhere by himself, and he really couldn’t leave the hospital.
But he said he had an appointment with you, and he insisted on leaving the hospital no matter what.
He said that this was the last time he would see you… His parents couldn’t stop him… At that time, I was in the private room next to you.
After you left, I was the one who carried him back… When he returned to the hospital, he was admitted to the ICU… Not long after that day, he lied to you and said he was going abroad, but at that time, he had already…]

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The last time they met was in the winter three years ago, at the cafe[1] they used to go to the most.

Tao Ran remembered very clearly, he didn’t sleep a wink the night before, and got up early to clean himself up, do his hair, put on a facial mask, and do skin care.
He was doing everything he could to make himself look good, hoping to attract Xu Ziyang’s attention again.

When he arrived, Xu Ziyang was already there.
He was wearing a wool coat, a hat, a scarf and leather gloves.
His face was ghastly pale.
He just sat there quietly, leaning back with his eyes closed, looking a little tired.

Tao Ran didn’t care about anything else, and the first thing he did was to hurriedly ask, “You haven’t rested well recently? Does your leg hurt again? Go to the hospital and get it checked out, alright? Your complexion looks terrible!”

Xu Ziyang didn’t speak, and didn’t laugh.
He just looked at him quietly, and after staring for a long time, he finally called out, “Tao Tao.”

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Tao Ran burst into tears in an instant, crying and asking, “I’m willing to change, I’m willing to change anything, whatever it is you don’t like about me, I’m willing to change… Xu Ziyang, don’t leave me, okay?”

Xu Ziyang looked at him painfully, his eyes also a little wet.
Finally, he shook his head and said, “I’m sorry.”

Tao Ran felt, at that moment, that the sky was falling.

Afterwards, they broke up unhappily, but Tao Ran still had a little hope in his heart.
He looked at Xu Ziyang pleadingly, “Can you come home tonight? I cleaned the house and scrubbed the bathtub.
Don’t you like soaking in the tub? I learned massage and I can rub your leg for you…”

He was clearly begging at that point.

But Xu Ziyang just looked at him and shook his head.

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Everything Tao Ran had carefully prepared came to nothing.
He was ashamed and sad.
Biting his lip, he turned his head and left.

Behind him, Xu Ziyang leaned there, watching him the whole time, as he walked away.

Tao Ran couldn’t help but think, at that time, could Xu Ziyang still stand by himself? Perhaps he couldn’t even sit upright.

[Actually, Da Yang gave us a death order[2].
He wanted us to not tell you no matter what.
At the time, I thought it was a very unreliable plan, but he told me to pretend to be him.
I didn’t have to reply to all of your messages, and I could just respond once in a while using a cold tone.
Once I figured your feelings for him had faded, and you became more independent, no longer needing his “goal”, I would tell you that he found a girlfriend, and was already engaged–he even took a picture, trying on wedding clothes at the bridal store.
He said, as long as you saw the picture, you would definitely give up on him.
But I thought… he… I thought… the feelings between the two of you shouldn’t be destroyed in this way… I already feel guilty enough, fooling you like this.
If I told you he found someone else, this sort of thing, I truly… I couldn’t say it… besides… besides, when he was taking that photo, he was only thinking of you…]

When they were in the height of their love, Tao Ran once complained childishly, saying that when gay marriage became legal in China, he really wanted to marry him.
When the time came, they would try on bridal clothes together.
With one in black and the other in white, they would definitely look good together.

Xu Ziyang asked with a smile, “Then who will wear black and who will wear white?”

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Tao Ran giggled, “Of course, I will wear white and you will wear black.
It’s obvious from our positions in bed, hahaha.”

Lao Yang also gave him that photo.
In the photo, Xu Ziyang was wearing a black suit, striking and handsome.
He was in the middle of putting on his cufflinks, his head bowed, with a soft smile on his face, his expression gentle.

[The relic[3] he left to you… is there.
He said that if we can’t keep hiding it from you and you find out the truth, then go home and go to the study, find that hardcover book, “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, open the cover, and inside is a letter.
Everything he wanted to say to you, he wrote there.
Tao Ran… I’m sorry I lied to you for so long… Although I was entrusted to do it by Da Yang, every time I see you waiting for him stupidly, inside… I also feel bad… I’m sorry…]

Tao Ran didn’t know how he got home, how many red lights he ran and how many times he exceeded the speed limit, who cares about that.
His hand shaking, he unlocked the house door, ignored Mint as it rushed over, going straight to the study.

Ah, found it, that copy of “One Hundred Years of Solitude”.

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He carefully took out the book and peeled off the beautifully packaged cover, only to hear a soft “plop”, as a letter fell out to the ground.

He breathed heavily, trying to calm his heart that seemed like it was about to shatter.
After a while, he reached out, picked up the letter, and opened it.

As soon as he saw the familiar handwriting, he couldn’t hold back any longer and burst into tears.

[1] 茶餐厅 (lit: tea restaurant), a type of restaurant known as a Hong Kong-style cafe.

[2] This was a command given upon death, essentially his final wishes.

[3] 遗物 (lit: relic, remnant), I think it can also refer to grave goods.

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