Couple of Mirrors – Chapter 45: Goodbye to the Past
Xu Youyi steps inside Zhou Heng’s hospital room.
‘Youyi, you’re here!’ he greets her. ‘Please, sit!’
‘I wanted to see you,’ he adds. ‘But you never came. So I had to resort to this.’
Xu Youyi remains standing. ‘And now you’ve seen me.’
‘Mm,’ says Zhou Heng. ‘And I’m a little bit disappointed. That dress doesn’t seem to fit you very well. Have you put on weight? You seem to be in good spirits these days.’
‘Zhou Heng,’ says Xu Youyi warningly. ‘If you have something to tell me, just say it. I’m very busy.’
Zhou Heng gives her a cool smile. ‘Youyi, Agent Bai was the one who bribed Mrs Zhu, not me. Do you really think I’d be stupid enough to get my own hands dirty?’
‘Then perhaps that other hotel attendant was mistaken,’ says Xu Youyi. She glances down at the bedspread, which is hanging very far down the bed’s legs.
‘But,’ she adds, ‘given everything that’s happened, does it make a difference whether Agent Bai did it or you did it?’
‘Hmph,’ says Zhou Heng. ‘Then is there a difference between you and me? You also talked someone into giving false evidence in order to frame me, and you even—’ He pauses, then goes on, ‘—even planted a rifle in the suitcase I gave you, with your own two hands!’
‘Is that why you wanted to see me, Zhou Heng?’ asks Xu Youyi. ‘The two of us are the only ones in this room. Do you really need to continue lying and play-acting in front of me? Unless there’s someone else in this room, and you’re doing this with some ulterior motive in mind!’ she adds.
Jiang Bin is hiding under the bed, concealed from view by the low-hanging bedspread.
‘How could anyone else be in this room?’ Zhou Heng snaps. ‘Xu Youyi, you’re lying!’
‘We both know perfectly well who’s lying,’ Xu Youyi retorts.
There are still no inconsistencies in what each of them is saying, Jiang Bin thinks as he eavesdrops from under the bed.
‘Youyi, all this while, I had no idea this was the kind of person you were,’ Zhou Heng tells Xu Youyi.
‘That’s exactly what I want to say to you, Zhou Heng,’ Xu Youyi responds. ‘I came here today because I wanted you to tell me why. Why did you cheat on me with Zhang Wan? Why did you cheat on me with Chu Huizi? Why do all of that?’
‘Why? You have the nerve to ask why?’ Zhou Heng demands. Then he bursts out laughing. ‘You’re behaving like some sort of thug — you’re greedy and unreasonable!’
He reaches under the bedspread and pulls out a hairclip with butterflies on it. ‘Youyi, do you remember this?’
Xu Youyi looks startled. ‘How did you get that?’
Zhou Heng stares almost maniacally at the hairclip. ‘I found it in your purse on the day of our wedding — the love token that Xie Yifan gave you!’
‘How’s that possible?’ Xu Youyi demands. ‘I threw it away before I married you!’
‘You’re lying!’ Zhou Heng yells, and flings the hairclip at her.
It lands at Xu Youyi’s feet with a thud.
‘Zhou Heng…’ Xu Youyi begins, but he interrupts her by slamming a fist against the bed.
‘Shut up!’ he screams. ‘Don’t lie to me anymore! Not one more word!’
Xu Youyi bends to pick up the hairclip. Then she turns back to Zhou Heng. ‘Even if everything you’ve said is true, let me ask you this, Zhou Heng! Is this why you cheated on me? Is this why you committed murder?’
‘Do you really think this is a trivial matter?’ asks Zhou Heng.
‘Of course not,’ says Xu Youyi. ‘Unfaithfulness is the worst crime you can commit in a marriage. But when you thought I might have been cheating on you, why didn’t you raise it with me? Why didn’t you talk to me? Even if you had broken up with me right then and there, that would still have been much, much better than all the things you’ve gone on to do in the name of love! You’ve hurt me, and you’ve hurt so many other people, and you’ve hurt yourself. Do you understand that?’
Zhou Heng laughs. ‘Now you’re just twisting my words!’
‘Stop lying to yourself, Zhou Heng,’ Xu Youyi tells him. ‘You’re just making excuses. You’ve always had an easy life — you can’t withstand even the slightest difficulty. You say you loved me, but you never gave me the chance to explain myself. That was like condemning me to death. How was that love?’
Xu Youyi clutches the hairclip tightly, then hurls it to the floor, where it shatters.
She turns her back on Zhou Heng. ‘Let’s try never to see each other again.’
‘I knew you never really meant to come back to me,’ says Zhou Heng despondently. ‘You were only trying to find the evidence you needed to frame me and set your friend free. But I was still hoping against hope — that you’d get tired, that you’d get scared, and that you’d want to become my wife again. Isn’t that love?’
Xu Youyi doesn’t look back.
Still hiding under the bed, Jiang Bin grouses inwardly, What am I even doing here?
Xu Youyi leaves Zhou Heng’s room, and is immediately confronted by Mrs Zhou, who shrieks, ‘Get lost!’
Yan Wei gives Mrs Zhou a warning look.
As they leave the hospital, Yan Wei asks, ‘How was it?’
Xu Youyi stops mid-step as a sudden realisation strikes her. ‘It was Zhang Wan!’ she exclaims.
She flashes back to herself in a hospital room, many years ago. Zhang Wan is sitting at her bedside. ‘I always told you Xie Yifan was unreliable,’ Zhang Wan is telling Xu Youyi. ‘He had dreams, but what were they worth? Can you eat dreams?’
She adds, ‘By the way, who were those two men who brought you to the hospital? The nurse said they came by car — they must be quite wealthy!’
‘I don’t know who they are,’ says Xu Youyi.
‘That’s all right,’ says Zhang Wan. ‘Why don’t I go and empty this bin, then buy you some lunch along the way? How does porridge sound?’
‘Thank you, A-Wan,’ says Xu Youyi.
Zhang Wan reaches into the rubbish bin by Xu Youyi’s bed and picks out the butterfly hairclip.
‘Are you sure you don’t want this anymore?’ she asks, holding it up.
‘Mm,’ says Xu Youyi.
‘That makes sense,’ says Zhang Wan. ‘You no longer even want the man who gave it to you — why would you keep it? Try to rest. I’ll be back soon.’
As she steps outside Xu Youyi’s hospital room, Zhang Wan pockets the hairclip.
Back in the present, Xu Youyi concludes, ‘Zhang Wan used the hairclip to set me up.’
Yan Wei glances back towards the hospital.
‘Do you want to go back inside?’ she asks.
Xu Youyi shakes her head. ‘Forget it. He’d never believe me anyway.’
She takes Yan Wei’s arm.
‘I’ve understood what I need to, and I’ve ended what I needed to,’ she tells Yan Wei. ‘Rather than dwelling on the past, let’s use it to nourish the future. Let’s use it to write a new story.’
She and Yan Wei smile at each other.
‘A story about a relationship full of jealousy, lies, doubts and betrayal… how it shattered and came to an end… and… how it paved the way to salvation, and a new hope.’
Please view the original manhua here.