助理建筑师 羲和清零 021

Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling

Chapter: 21 Business Trip

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When Zhang Siyi returned home that night, it was almost ten o’clock.

As he was traveling on the subway, he received the booking information about his flight from the personnel department. The flight is at 7:05 tomorrow morning.

He threw himself on the bed feeling like the day was a dream. This morning, he was still struggling with his work content and how to address Gu Yu about it. Instead, he is going to travel with him tomorrow morning!

The phone buzzed. Zhang Si Yi saw a stranger’s ID and was about to delete it thinking it was more spam messages. Luckily, he caught a glimpse of the message – ” remember to arrive at the airport 45 minutes in advance, do not be late.”

Zhang Siyi glanced, quickly sat up, got out the business card that Gu Yu gave him during the interview and compared. It really is the number of Gu Yu!

He immediately returned the text. “Yes” then put the other party into his address book.

Arriving at the airport 45 minutes in advance means that he must arrive before 6:20. Thinking backwards that means with time for the subway, he must get up at 5:10 at the latest! Zhang Siyi dares not dawdle. He got up swiftly to rummage through his belongings to find his camera, then plugged it into the outlet to charge the battery. After, he went to the bath for a quick shower.

In the shower, he thought of another question: how long does it take to visit the area on this business trip? The project time is so urgent, can they come back that day?

After returning to the bedroom, Zhang Siyi grabbed the phone and sent a message to Gu Yu: “Will we spend the night there?”

After five or six minutes, the other party replied: “At least one night.”

Zhang Siyi: “…”

He would have to bring a change of clothes!

Zhang Si Yi grabbed some underwear and t-shirts and stuffed them into a bag. He then realized if he ended up sharing a room with Gu Yu he didn’t want to be sleeping in just underwear. He also packed extra pants to sleep in. Zhang Siyi was so busy all day his body feel fatigued, but his mind is still racing. He felt really excited about the upcoming trip and couldn’t get himself to fall asleep. Already past midnight, Zhang Siyi habitually opened the phone and checked his chat groups online. He felt bored doing so. With swift thumb movements he entered in Gu Yu mobile phone number into the search page. There is an avatar of a calligraphy brush “Gu” and the “Quiet Zhiyuan” that he has in his office. That must be Gu Yu!

Zhang Siyi hesitated for a moment, then boldly clicked “add”. After a bit, the information page showed they were friends and could start chatting. Gu Yu passed the verification but there was no other reaction.

Zhang Si Yi’s heart jumped. Looked at the confirmation, then thought the polite thing to do is say hello to his superiors so he asked: “you are not asleep?”

Gu Yu: “I double checked the flight information, why don’t you sleep? Still online chatting with friends?”

Zhang Siyi: “…no, I am going to sleep.”

Gu Yu: “Oh, It’s going to be a busy day tomorrow so get to sleep. Don’t come complaining to me about how tired you are.”

Zhang Siyi: “…” he shouldn’t have added him to WeChat! ”

Good night!  Zhang Siyi lay down with his eyes closed for a while but could not fall asleep. The gossip factor in his mind was moving around excitedly – he just added Gu Yu’s WeChat and wanted to find out more about him.

He picked up the phone again, then shrunk back into his covers and opened Gu Yu avatar.

With a quick scan, Zhang Siyi’s hopes fell through. Gu Yu has made very few posts mostly related to architectural design or forwarding articles.

Only twice had he made a more private remark. Once was 1.5 ago, Gu Yu patted a roadside wildcat, described as “cute kitten”. Zhang Siyi can’t see his mood and state. The second time is a half year ago. He posted a picture of the cactus when small ball was still attached to it. Gu Yu’s description of them is “new life.”

Zhang Si Yi made a frown at the phone. It wasn’t very interesting, so he turned off the phone to sleep.

At 5 o’clock the next morning, the alarm woke up Zhang Siyi. He got up quickly, washed, grabbed his stuff, and hurriedly left. He didn’t have time to talk to Fu Xinhui.

At 6:10 in the morning, Gu Yu called Zhang Siyi and asked him where he was.

“I am out of the subway! I will be there soon!” Zhang Siyi grabbed the mobile phone and walked out of the subway station, but his luck wasn’t so great. The station near the airport was under construction. It looked like a disaster zone.

Gu Xiao seems to hear Zhang Siyi stumbling, indicating: “Go along the ground deformation seam, then turn right and turn again.”

Zhang Siyi: ”???”

Zhang Siyi didn’t understand Gu Yu directions at all. He noticed the temporary detour sign and walked faster. Finally, he saw the airport entrance and rushed over. Still holding onto the phone, he said “I’m here! Where are you?”

Gu Yu: “I am at the ‘departure level’, the junction of area c and d.”

Fortunately, Zhang Siyi was familiar with the airport and quickly went to the location with the fastest speed. He saw Gu Yu standing there.

Gu Yu was wearing a windproof jacket today with a black shirt inside, crocheted autumn scarf around his neck, retro black casual shoes, backpack in one hand and a mobile phone in the other talking. He doesn’t look like an architect, but like a college student instead.

Zhang Siyi waved his hand and rushed over. With a slight frown, Gu Yu hung up the mobile phone. The two of them hurriedly got in line to check in.

After a morning of anxiously, rushing around, Zhang Siyi sat down with sweat all down his back. He couldn’t move, and his calf leg started to cramp. It was only after the flight attendant pushed the cart for breakfast and a cup of instant hot coffee, that he could start to relax.

Gu Yu folded his scarf and asked slowly: “What did you want to tell me yesterday afternoon?”

Zhang Siyi stunned and reacted. Gu Yu was asking about the conversation they had not been able to continue yesterday.

He felt a little guilty. He was being cocky. After he saw all the talented colleagues working hard yesterday, he no longer felt so self-important. Everyone is better than him. Everyone is more capable than him, and more diligent and hardworking. What other qualifications does he have to be picky?

Zhang Siyi shook his head and found an excuse to put off the past indiscriminately.

Gu Xiao also did not continue to press, after a while, suddenly said: “I saw your circle of friends on the subway today.”

Zhang Siyi was shocked. Gu Yu looked through his postings? He tried desperately to remember if he sent anything strange and wondered if the work plan photos sent a few days ago be a little silly.

Unexpectedly Gu Yu said: “You have been to many places.”

“Oh…” Indeed, before he returned to China, he went to several countries in Europe and took photos and posted them to his social media account frequently. However, there isn’t much currently.  Zhang Siyi smiled twice and said, “It’s just a matter of walking.”

“Is there really a tortoise under the porch column of the Holy Family Cathedral? “asked Gu Xiao.

“Yes, a turtle or a tortoise.” Zhang Siyi, he replied. He remembers the surprise when he first saw the cathedral in Spain. The cathedral facades were so detailed and complex. The interior columns so magnificent and the whole space was spectacular. Gu Yu’s questions spurred Zhang Siyi on. He excitedly talked about his travels. 

Gu Yu listened to him carefully, smiled: “You seems to remember quite a lot.”

Zhang Si Yi suddenly a little speechless?

Gu Yu said again: “Although most of the posts have very boring content, but the photos you take are pretty good; composition ratio is good.”

Zhang Siyi: “…”

Gu Yu turned towards him and said: “But, to tell you the truth, you aren’t very photogenic. In the future, don’t take a selfie.”

Zhang Siyi: “…”

Gu Yu continued: “Besides, the frequency with which you have recently made posts have decreased. Overtime is good for you.

Zhang Siyi mad Chatting with friends is too much? Why does Gu Yu keep bringing this up? Zhang Siyi isn’t at the office, why does he have to endure his endless poison tongue ah!

He couldn’t help but fight back: “I also looked at your circle of friends.”

Gu Xiao provoked eyebrows: “Oh?”

Zhang Siyi: “Don’t you have a personal life other than work?”

He summed up the content of Gu Yu’s circle of friends. Is he just focused, or a boring person?

Gu Yu glanced at him and smiled and asked: “Do you want to know more about my private life?”

Zhang Siyi originally wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t think of it, “I just thought you would send something that was not related to work.”

Gu Yu nodded: “Yes, it’s just that you can’t see it.” He sighed slightly.

Zhang Siyi’s glanced at him. Oh? Is it a group of friends who have set up a separate group?

Sure enough, Gu Yu explained: “Private life is inherently private, and of course it can only be shown to intimate people. You are not my intimate person, why should I let you know what I look like in private?”

Zhang Siyi was dumbfounded. Gu Yu’s completely concise statement erected a clear boundary between them. A boss and his subordinate. Whatever misconceptions he had about being from the same high school were eliminated. He felt isolated.

Zhang Siyi had nothing to say, and sat there in a daze, with a strange sense of loss in his heart.

Gu Yu saw him silent, after a minute, only a euphemism: “I also advise you to send less meaningless posts about food, clothing and shelter. Other than your mother, I think probably no one will remember what you ate a week ago. Life is not for others to see. The frequency of news-posts can only indicate a serious lack of self-identity.”

Zhang Siyi: “…”

Is this comforting? Why did he not feel comfortable, but more depressed?

The conversation was terminated. Gu Yu leaned against the seat and closed his eyes for the three hours flight. Both got up very early in the morning and the drone of the plane spurred people to sleep.

Until the announcer used the PA system to remind people to get ready for landing, Zhang Siyi was asleep. He didn’t know when he started leaning on Gu Yu and then to his horror, he saw that he drooled.

At that time, Gu Yu was already awake and was calmly turning pages of the magazine on the plane.

Zhang Siyi sat up straight, embarrassed. Gu Yu looked at him and said: “You are very keen to soil my clothes. Coffee, vomit and now saliva. Is there anything else in the future?” Gu Yu’s low voice has an inexplicable attraction. There is a smile in his tone, but he doesn’t know whether it’s ridicule or a joke. No matter what, Gu Yu’s harsh tongue always exists. The difference is, sometimes it makes Zhang Siyi irritated and other times, it lets him blush.

Zhang Siyi whispered a few “sorry”, scrambled to take paper towels for him to wipe. If Bi Lele knew drooled and slept on the Boss’s shoulder, he would never hear the end of it.

Getting off the plane, they got a taxi and went straight to the area of development.

On the road, Gu Yu casually talked with the driver and asked him if he knew that the government was planning to build in the eastern New Town area. The driver nodded and spoke with a Minnan accent: “It was on the TV news.”

Gu Xiao: “Do you know what they will build on this land?”

Drivers: “Others carry out the development. Our common people don’t understand. We just make ends meet with a house to live in.”

Gu Yu joked and asked: “If they build houses to live for you, do you think it is good?”

The driver smiled and shook his head: “It’s not good, there is a leading port. There is frequent flooding under heavy rain and it is not safe to live there.”

Gu Yu glimpsed it as they drove by. He and took out a black pocket recorder from his coat and continued asking him questions. Zhang Siyi took out the camera and hung it around his neck, adjusted the shutter and sensitivity, and took a picture of the road that the car passed. Sure enough, the site was very different from the photos he found. Many houses around the site had been demolished, and some areas had new buildings.

The taxi took a while to drive all the way around the 250 Hechter lot, then the two got out of the car. Zhang Siyi isn’t sure if it’s just the day or regular local climate, but it’s wet and gloomy out. Gu Yu opened the mobile phone map and starting walking into the property site with Zhang Siyi following.

There are many houses waiting for demolition at the scene. The internal roads are muddy and wet. The route is chaotic, and the living environment and life style are very poor.

Although Z City is a second-tier city, the degree of development here is not up to standard. It is no wonder that a lot of planning and development are needed.

Zhang Siyi has been taking pictures for more than two hours. Gu Yu occasionally would stop to talk to nearby citizens to find out more about the situation. Most of the questions asked were similar questions as what he asked the taxi driver.

It was hard to get from the southern border to the north border. Zhang Siyi has been tired and thirsty. His two legs felt fatigued. It’s not that he’s physically weak. When he and Fu Xinhui were traveling outside, they didn’t feel tired when they walked away for a day, but now it’s a matter of difference.

Gu Yu saw him looking tired. He checked the time and asked: “Hungry?”

“Hungry! Hungry!” Zhang Siyi’s eyes were beaming, and his stomach was hungry and waiting for Gu Yu to pay for food. Can I finally rest? Can I eat and have good business trip?

Gu Yu looked around and saw a biscuit stand not far away, so he bought two and handed one to Zhang Siyi: “Eat and continue taking pictures.”

Zhang Siyi: “……”

He now understands why yesterday, Gu Yu said that the phrase “Don’t cry”. He is fucking wanting to cry now!

It’s no wonder no one volunteered to go with Gu Yu on a business trip. The rest of the group was relieved. He was too stupid for getting excited all night and thinking that this trip was going to be great. Is this what the designer can do? It’s more tiering than an ox plow!

The two men squatted on the side of the road like migrant workers, eating the snacks and drinking mineral water that they got from the plane ride.

Zhang Siyi glanced at Gu Yu who is deep in thought and wondered why he can be so calm in this environment. After they finish eating, they continue their way.

The two arrived at the leading port that the driver described. Sure enough, due to frequent flooding, the surface water system was bad. Although there was no rain, there were many potholes in the spot. Moreover, the leading port is the most important water system in the region, but the water quality is terrible. The oil and the phytoplankton are scattered all over.

Zhang Siyi took a photo and a heavy feeling came up.

Zhang Siyi can’t quite put his finger on the feeling. Yesterday while looking for photos online he was just a bystander looking into a field separated by time and space. He only regarded it as his work obligations. Perhaps it was the hopes of those residents who they spoke with or Perhaps it was the flood of dirty water, but now after a day of being in the space for real, he feels that he was not just an outsider. A sense of purpose wells up from the bottom of his heart.

Gu Yan stood on the side of the dilapidated river bank and called the people in the company. It seems that the boss of the landscape planning department also came to the scene to see. Hanging up the phone, the two went on. From the time of the flight to 5 or 6 in the evening, the two had not rested except for the ten-minute meal. After a day of non-stop, Zhang Siyi finally finished shooting the photos of the property before dark. At the last minute his camera battery was completely exhausted.

Gu Yu searched on his mobile phone to pick out a budget hotel in the liveliest place in the city center then let the driver know.  By the time they got out of the taxi to arrive at the hotel, Zhang Siyi felt his two legs were not his own.

Zhang Siyi has some complaints in his heart. If they are tired for a day, can they not live better? There is no shortage of money. Because the hotel has both a good location and price, there are no vacant rooms.

Originally, Gu Yu wanted to book two single rooms, but was told that they were all gone. Only standard rooms where left. At least the room was clean and comfortable.

Going into the room and putting his things down Zhang Siyi, feeling dizzy, instinctively went to the nearest bed. He miscalculated the distance and Instead of landing on the bed, he missed the edge by half his body length and slid down onto the floor with his hand grasping the sheets.

Gu Yu couldn’t stop laughing at Zhang Siyi.

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12 Comments

  1. Gu Yu looked at him and said: “You are very keen to soil my clothes. Coffee, vomit and now saliva. Is there anything else in the future?”
    The fujoshi in my brain: … *insert joke about body fluids here*

    Liked by 22 people

    1. Yep. Not kidding, I got a bit pissed off when he put down Siyi for his use of social media. I’m a private person who goes for months without using social media as a personal choice but how others, including my coworkers use theirs is their business. It’s not like Siyi is wasting his work hours using social media so that asshole Gu Yu can stuff his unsolicited opinion up his ass. He’s a hypocrite for defining their srictly work relationship and rudely judging Siyi’s personal life choices in the same converversation.

      Liked by 3 people

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