Please Be More Serious Chapter 6

Moon Cakes, they went on about them a lot. 


Talking to the Dead under the Harvest Moon:

Yin Ting cheerfully described the moon (Zuben: If you’re ‘talking to them’ and they know you’re not married surely they know what the moon is like) and the delicious moon cakes, and how Qiu Zong was really filial but assured his parents not to worry and they can look after themselves and so on…
Yin Shi gave Zhengqing a helpless glance. Zhengqing smiled, he realised he didn’t mind someone else talking to his parents; he was dense and rarely had anything to say to them.
Yin Ting talked on and on. Then she finally stood up and turned in the direction of her mother’s grave,
‘Dad is talking to Mom a long time,’
Her brother pinched her lips, ‘See your mouth. At least Dad is talking to his wife; you have been chatting for so long to people you don’t know.’
Yin Ting glared at him, ‘How rude. The elders of our friends are our elders too, and Qiu Zong will not boast about his achievements, so someone has to.’
Yin Shi gave Zhengqing an apologetic look, but Zhengqing could not help but laugh. Yin Ting’s brain was certainly not like a normal person’s. He turned to Yin Shi and said, ‘If I were you, I’d make her carry around the family’s phone number on a tag just in case she gets lost.’
Yin Ting sputtered, was he complaining? After she’d helped him boast to his parents? Some people don’t know how to repay kindness and uphold justice.
Her silly look make Zhengqing smile even wider. Yin Shi raised an eyebrow and asked Yin Ting, ‘Has your careless reputation spread far and wide?’
‘My reputation has always been witty, brave and broad-minded.’ Yin Ting said confidently.
 Ying Shi and Zhengqing burst out laughing. Witty and broadminded huh? He didn’t realise those two words were synonyms for careless and spastic.
Yin Ting was now grumpy, what was funny about what she said? She turned back to the Qiu family graves, ‘Uncle, Aunt, you see, not only is Qiu Zong very successful in what he does, he is a good person…very loveable…’ Yin Shi gave her a knock on the head,
 Yin Ting clutched her head and bared her teeth at her brother, as she winced in pain, Zhengqing laughed, ‘Thank you but stop praising me. I am scared my parents would not recognise their son.’
Zhengqing’s words reminded Yin Ting of the nick name she gave him – please be more serious. She could imagine him telling her, “be more serious!” but she could not help but smile and sought to educate him and said, ‘Give them an opportunity to know more about you.’
Just then, Yin Ting and Tin Shi’s father came up to them. He’d noticed his children talking to a stranger so he’d come over, Yin Ting made introductions, ‘Dad this is Qiu Zhengqing Zong who works for Uncle Qin.’
Yin Guohao nodded, ‘Qiu Zhengqing? Old Qin has mentioned you. Hello,’
Zhengqing quickly greeted the older man, ‘Hello Yin Shu,’
Yin Ting laughed and waved to Zhengqing, ‘We’ll be off first, goodbye,’ they made their farewells and Zhengqing watched the Yin family walk away.
As they walked away Zhengqing could hear them still talking, Yin Shi was saying to Yin Ting, ‘You should get dad phone number printed on your back,’
‘I don’t care if you make fun of me!’ Yin Ting replied.
After they had gone out of sight, Zhengqing turned back to his parents’ grave with a smile, ‘She’s a colleague’s friend. A kind little girl,’ he paused not knowing what else to say, ‘I’ll be off now. I’ll see you again soon.’
Zhengqing fussed with the flowers, took one last look at the graves, then left.
 His car was not parked very far, as he made to get in he saw the Yin family trio near their car, Yin Ting looked back and saw him, she waved. Zhengqing waved back.
Zhengqing entered his car, just as he was about to start the engine, Mao Huizhu called.
‘Are you busy? Can we chat?’
‘Yes, what’s up?’ Zhengqing had a feeling that things were not going well at home for Huizhu, so she called to air her grievances,
‘Can you believe it? Seven aunts show up for dinner. One of them was upon me in no time; my make-up doesn’t look good, I should look more innocent and delicate. My clothes don’t suit me, I should wear a one shouldered scalloped dress with flowers and fancy work, (Zuben: That sounds hideous) how could I be this old and not married, one of my cousins already has a child in elementary school and is expecting another one. I should read dating books; another girl did and got a boyfriend. All this pointless jibber jabber, I could not endure it any longer.’
‘So you are outside for some peace and quiet now?’
‘Yeah, I told them I was going to have a smoke.’
Zhengqing smiled, Huizhu seemed quite rebellious, ‘Some of them mean well, but obviously some of them are just jealous of your success and are sour grapes, who just want to pick on what they perceive as your fault. And if you show it bothers you, they will be gleeful.’
‘I know, I have to take it on the chin, but my parents they are quite proud of me. They aren’t happy about what they are saying. But when I told my dad I was going to smoke, his complexion changed.’
 Zhengqing didn’t know what to say in this situation. There was really no way to go about it, some people where like this; you can’t satisfy the whole world. Don’t mix and people would say you’re looking down on them. Be friendly and they will ridicule you behind your back. Or they’ll behave like you owe them something, and must benefit from your success; otherwise you would be seen as petty. Zhengqing understood what Huizhu was going through.
He could not say much, but decided to be a bit encouraging, ‘It’s only two more days, hang in there. You don’t need to care what they say.’
‘Hmm, I’m not happy about it but venting has made me feel better.’
‘But smoking is not good for the body,’ Zhengqing said, he was very self-disciplined. He did not smoke, there were lots of people in their field who did. Perhaps because his face was so foreboding, but no one had ever tried to convince him to smoke.
‘Do you mind?’ He could hear her smile, ‘I’m not addicted. I only do it on occasion, when you confirm the possibility of us dating, you can be rest assured if we begin to date, I will quit.’
Zhengqing laughed, this idea was similar to his; terms can be set and agreed upon, signed and then implemented.
‘Shall we meet up after the holidays?’ Huizhu asked.
‘Sure,’ Zhenqing had no reason to refuse. The more contact they hand, the more he could get to know her better and it would help him make a decision.
‘I will be back in town the day after tomorrow, we can think about a time then.’ There was a short pause, ‘I have to go my mom is calling me. Thanks for talking with me, I feel much better.’
‘Zhōngqiū kuàilè1,’ Zhenqing said. Out of the corner of his eye, he suddenly found someone standing at the window. He jumped. He looked properly to see Yin Ting holding huge grapefruit in his window grinning.
Huizhu had hung up at that time, so Zhengqing put down his phone and wound his window down. ‘Zoe?’ Yin Ting asked cheerfully.
Zhengqing raised his eyebrows; does she now read minds too?
Yin Ting laughed and said, ‘I saw you laugh happily and guessed,’ Not wanting to go on about the phone issue, she continued, ‘My dad’s friend sent us some grapefruit for the festival greetings. It was in the car, they are especially nice. Here are a few for you. Zhōngqiū kuàilè oh!’ Thrusted the fruit into his hands.
Zhengqing expressed his gratitude, but Yin Ting had already skipped off, waving goodbye. Yin Ting’s car was not parked far from his. As got in as they drove by him, Yin Shi also waved goodbye.
(Zuben: Too many words to say very little.)
❀❀❀ 

That night while, most families were eating dinner with their loved ones and not so loved ones, Zhengqing ate take-out by his lonesome in-front of the TV. He felt a little depressed, not knowing what to do; he did not want to go on the internet, or read financial news. This evening also has no meaning to him. Sitting for a bit, he remembered the oversized grapefruit. He got a fruit knife out and peeled a grapefruit. He did not like grapefruit usually; it was troublesome to peel and tasted so sour, so he really did not feel good about this fruit.
Today, he had nothing better to do, so he peeled the grapefruit. Carefully stripping the skin to get to the fruit took a while, but it was kind of fun. Then he began to eat.
 Sweet! Very sweet! The fruit was really good. He ate two more, then collapsed on the sofa. (Zuben: How do you get tired from eating fruit? Maybe the peeling?)
He never would have thought grapefruit could send him nearly comatose. He thought of Yin Ting giving him the fruit with that sweet smile. If he really died from eating the grapefruit, what reaction would she have? Guilt? Or will she say “Oh I knew that will happen,” or “Or you get what you deserve for eating so much.”
Zhengqing decided he wanted to know her reaction so he sent her a text message, ‘Zhōngqiū kuàilè, thank you for your grapefruit, they were too big, I am nearly in a fruit coma.’
Just as he as falling asleep, he got a reply, ‘Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha’ filled the screen.
Black lines hovered over his head, why was she happy? Her laughter was too unrestrained.
There was nothing after all the laughter. It was completely different from his guess. Zhengqing felt more bored so he got off the couch and went to bathe and prepare for bed.
In bed, he checked his phone to make sure the alarm was set. Checked his mailbox to make sure he hadn’t missed anything. There was work tomorrow, it made him relieved and happy. In the mailbox, he found a new message, it was from Yin Ting, it seemed there had been a network delay between time sent and time received,
The message read, ‘Please be more serious, the red string certainly has begun its effects. You have been hugged by the god of humour. If you behave like this more, you are certainly going to have better luck in love, compared to your usual mechanical behaviour. Wishing you a pleasant evening.’
Zhengqing was mollified; he didn’t think that his message was that funny. He was rather serious. What was going on in that woman’s brain all day long? And he was not looking for love, intended to set terms to determine a good compatibility to marriage.

However, being hugged by the sense of humour god was rather interesting. He guessed that Yin Ting girl had been hugged by the god of silliness and it was holding on to her tightly.


[1] - Zhōngqiū kuàilè : Happy Mid Autumn Festival; It sounded awkward so I chose to keep it Chinese.

Zuben: Don't get me wrong, I like the story, if I was reading it for myself, I'd skim like a surfer. It seems Asian authors are suffering from the too many words to say very little affliction. Or it could be okay in Chinese or Japanese, but absolutely tedious in English.



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