Edited by Tropes
Shen Kanyu was out buying birthday presents for father and daughter. Looking at the calendar, their birthdays were coming up. He just so happened to receive a large bonus, so he has the money to buy them both something nice.
On the topic of birthdays, theirs were quite close to his own. It sure was fateful; perhaps they were destined to become family.
Even though it was only for a while. But that’s okay, enjoy the journey, not the destination.
Their presents were picked out long ago. A wristwatch was chosen for Gu Yansheng, its watch face a beautiful sapphire blue. He didn’t know what material was used so that when the light dimmed, the clean, deep, sapphire blue would give way to a vast ocean of stars.
Shen Kanyu thought, if he can’t become a ghost flitting around after he dies then, he can become a star. Even though stars are light-years away from Earth, and he may not be able to see Gu Yansheng, it’s said that stars can bless people. If only he can bless him with a lifetime of peace and happiness.
Stroking the dial, Shen Kanyu couldn’t help but be amused by his own superstitious and childish thoughts.
What wishful thinking. For a person like him, he’ll go to hell after he dies, and won’t be allowed to reincarnate for all eternity.
While wrapping the watch, the employee kept looking at him with a smile. “Is it for your girlfriend?”
Shen Kanyu blanked for a moment and then smiled, “No.”
The employee covered their mouth and spoke with a chuckle, “Is that so? Your ears are flushed.”
Shen Kanyu touched his ears. With his eyes downcast and brows knitted, his smile was so gentle it was like an early spring pond.
On his way home, Shen Kanyu had a sudden whim to celebrate his birthday—it may be his last.
Although he couldn’t quite make out the exact date of his birthday and was even a little unsure how old he was this year, but if it was his last birthday, he must celebrate it one way or another.
Generally, others celebrate birthdays by visiting a theme park, throwing a party, or eating a big meal, and so on. If nothing else, at least there must be a cake, but to Shen Kanyu, these were too costly and unrealistic.
What other way was there to celebrate?
It occurred to him once he walked past a noodle shop that people could also celebrate by eating longevity noodles1. Then, he’d go ahead and eat a bowl.
[T/N: 1In China, noodle dishes are a staple for birthdays because they signify a long life for whoever is eating them.]
Since his appetite was bad and he couldn’t eat much, he told the boss to make him a simple dish of light vegetarian noodles with some greens, topped with a little salt and an egg. At the sight of beer in the fridge, he couldn’t hold himself back from adding two cans to his order.
When the dish was served, he couldn’t eat more than a few mouthfuls, but the beer, he actually finished very quickly without leaving a single drop.
As he stared at the almost-full bowl of noodles, he fell into a daze. He looked down, took out his phone, inputted his home phone number then cleared it. He did this several times before biting the bullet and putting the call through.
“Hello~~” Gu Yutian answered the phone in her very sweet baby voice. Shen Kanyu’s heart half-melted at the sound.
“Darling, it’s Papa.” Shen Kanyu spoke softly, his voice a little low and hoarse.
“Papa!” Gu Yutian’s clear and loud voice immediately called out to him.
“Hey!” Shen Kanyu replied very energetically. The next lines, however, were spoken more gently than before. “The kindergarten taught you how to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ recently, right? Sing a couple of lines for Papa, okay?”
“Okay ya!” Gu Yutian who couldn’t wait to show off immediately sang into the receiver, looking like she really was singing into a microphone. “Happy Birfday to you~ Happy Birfday to you~ Happy Birfday to you~ Hapy Birfday to you~”
“Wow, you sing amazingly!” Shen Kanyu himself didn’t realize, his voice trembled on the final syllable of this phrase.
At that moment, a burst of noise could be heard and Gu Yansheng’s clear and indifferent voice followed, “Shen Kanyu, are you not coming back today?”
“A-Sheng!” Shen Kanyu joyously called out his name before answering his question, “I am!”
“…Then why are you calling?”
“A-Sheng,” Shen Kanyu called him again, longing to say something yet nothing came out after a long time passed, so he just called his name several times without reason. “A-Sheng, A-Sheng.”
“I’m here,” it was obvious Gu Yansheng was extremely resigned, “Speak.”
Shen Kanyu foolishly chuckled, saying, “It’s my birthday today.”
After he spoke he gripped the phone very firmly in his hand and pressed it hard against his ear, as if he was afraid he’d miss a single word Gu Yansheng speaks.
Gu Yansheng was silent for a long while before dully laughing, “Your birthday? How many birthdays do you have in a year? One moment you say you were born in Spring, the next you say your birthday is on Qixi2. What are you playing at?”
[T/N: 2Chinese Valentine’s Day; Summer in China]
Shen Kanyu gripped onto his phone as he blankly gazed at the clock on the wall. He resembled an old and discolored painting. There was no color on his face, and even his lips were gray.
I just actually can’t remember the exact date of my birthday. Although it’s written on my ID, I always can’t clearly remember it because I’ve never celebrated it before.
I just really want you to celebrate my birthday. Just once. I don’t need a present or a cake. Just sing me the birthday song once. It doesn’t matter which day. The day you sing it for me is my birthday, I promise in one year I only want that day, I won’t want more. But now I don’t want it anymore, can you not be angry.
I just started missing you a little right after I left.
Though he really wished to say these words to him, he’ll be hated. It wasn’t easy for him to not be that hated recently, A-Sheng was even willing to stay home more.
“No, not playing at anything. I was just…joking with you, A-Sheng,” Shen Kanyu spoke with some difficulty. Although his voice was hoarse and weak, it still overflowed with gentleness and joy. “Actually it, it’s that your birthday is coming up haha. You’re such a busy person you can’t even remember your own birthday, so I was just trying to remind you and wish you well in advance.”
“A-Sheng, I’m wishing you a happy birthday in advance~ always be happy~” Shen Kanyu’s smiling eyes curved, “This year I’m the first person to wish you well, you must remember it!”
“…..” Gu Yansheng sighed. “Stop doing lame things.”
This manner in which Shen Kanyu responded to Gu Yansheng was like an obedient child in school who listens to the teacher well. From out of nowhere, Gu Yansheng’s heart tightened. He let out a soft cough then spoke lightly, “I’m hanging up.”
Making a call just to say some puzzling words, he even thought something had happened.
Once he hung up, Gu Yansheng squatted down, stroked Gu Yutian’s cheek, and knitted his brows. “How old is your Papa, he acts more like a child than you.”
Ever since Gu Yansheng called him out for faking his own birthday, Shen Kanyu had been so terrified he didn’t dare provoke him. The closer his birthday drew, the more anxious Shen Kanyu became, and he felt this present became harder and harder to give.
Were it any other time, he wouldn’t be this thin-skinned3, but it was Gu Yansheng’s birthday. It was such an important occasion, why did he pick this time to upset him?
[T/N: 3Thick-skinned = shameless]
He picked out the bones in the codfish very carefully, lightly sighing.
So troublesome ah, if only A-Sheng didn’t hate him that much. If so, how would he have this many worries?
The little glutton Gu Yutian made her way into the kitchen, gripped onto Shen Kanyu’s trousers, and raised her small head pitifully. “Papa, egg yolk puffs.”
Shen Kanyu shook his head in a very firm manner. “You’ve already eaten it once last week. No way you’re eating it again. It’s too sweet, your teeth will rot.”
Gu Yutian’s mouth crumpled, wanting to cry, “Papa bad, don’t love Tiantian, don’t give egg yolk puffs, Daddy gives it.”
“Daddy loves you the most, of course he’ll spoil you.” Facing the baby’s soft and adorable complaints, Shen Kanyu remained stubborn, “I won’t be like that.”
Gu Yutian angrily knocked her plump fist against his calf and mumbled, “Papa is the baddest! Don’t love me! Then I won’t love you too!”
“Huh? Fine, think I’ll be afraid of a little thing like you?” After this direct retort, he paused, suddenly thinking this was a great opportunity to brainwash the child. Hence he immediately followed up with, “Baby, it’s okay to not love Papa. But your Daddy is the person who loves you most in this world, so you have to love him very much in the future, okay?”
Sniffling, Gu Yutian’s baby voice said in a harsh tone, “I know, you don’t need to say it. And you can’t fight over Daddy with me.”
“I won’t I won’t, I definitely won’t.” After washing his hands, Shen Kanyu crouched down to fix the little girl’s messy hair, his voice gentle and soft, “Tiantian, if Papa is gone one day, you’ll love Daddy well, right?”
Gu Yutian blinked, “Eh? Where are you going?”
“Somewhere a little far from here, it may be a long time before I return. At that time Tiantian will have grown up to be the prettiest big young lady.”
Gu Yutian didn’t fully understand as she nodded, “Oh…then I’ll love Daddy well.”
Shen Kanyu smiled, “So it’s fine even if Papa isn’t here, yes? Since Papa doesn’t like you, and you don’t like Papa.”
Papa doesn’t like you, but Papa loves you. Shen Kanyu silently said at the bottom of his heart.
Gu Yutian looked at him in confusion, nodded, then shook her head, “Then, are de egg yolk puffsh to eat.”
“Yes, Daddy will give you everything.” Shen Kanyu stroked his daughter’s fair and pink cheek. His gaze was so gentle that his eyes vaguely shined. “He’ll give you things that are more delicious than Papa’s egg yolk puffs. He’ll pamper our baby into the happiest little princess in the world.”
“Kay!” The little girl doesn’t know much about life. What she longed for most was to become a fairytale princess. In an instant she was overcome with excitement, “I wanna be a princess!”
Shen Kanyu said, “When the time comes A-Tong gege might accompany you with Daddy, isn’t that awesome?”
“Yes! Very aweshome! I reawwy wike Tong gege!”
“Our Tiantian is so sensible, you really are Daddy’s darling.” Light gleamed inside Shen Kanyu’s curved eyes. He pulled Gu Yutian over a little to kiss her little pink chubby face, but he didn’t expect this kid to cover his mouth with her little plump hands.
“Aiya!” Gu Yutian covered her face and ran. “No kisses, no kisses, only Daddy can kiss me!”
Shen Kanyu watched Gu Yutian’s back view and let out a low sigh. “You can’t be such a Daddy’s girl ah…you won’t be able to find a boyfriend later.”
He got choked up, yet he didn’t realize it in the slightest. His eyes felt a little sour so he reached up and rubbed them. When he stood up, intending to continue picking out the codfish bones, his heart was squeezed with griping pain. Quickly pushing off the ground to support himself, his entire body was slightly trembling.
If he was an alternative in a multiple-choice question, he probably wouldn’t be the right answer for anyone. Regardless of whether it was a single-choice or multiple-choice question, no one would choose him.
How nice this was.
To have nothing was to be free of burden.
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