Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 79: Voice
Money can’t buy him the spiritual satisfaction and security brought about by the things he wants.
Yes, money is important, but Zhang Siyi is not so poor as to give up his dream in order to survive. Compared to He Chengtian and Shen Hao, his income is indeed insignificant. When he thinks of his coworker, Lu Qiao who continues to support his family with his wages and compares his other friends in the industry, he salary isn’t bad.
Therefore, the answer is very clear. Zhang Siyi won’t leave Borderless to accept He Chengtian’s job invitation. However, Zhang Siyi didn’t want to step on the good intentions of his friend by refusing him on the spot, so he told He Chengtian he would think about it.
After the wedding banquet, He Chengtian gave Zhang Si Yi his mobile phone number. He warmly invited him out when they got back to Haicheng. Soon after he left, Shen Hao drove Zhang Siyi home then rushed to meet with the construction site supervisor. Seeing him so busy, Zhang Siyi didn’t have the nerve to ask him out for drinks.
When he arrived at home, his Mother was sitting on the couch watching TV. Tiered, Zhang Siyi feebly walked across the living room to slump down onto the sofa next to her and asked: “Where’s Dad?”
Mother Zhang pointed upstairs and scoffed: “He has been obsessed recently with watching the news on the internet. He spends over two hours on the computer!”
His Mother is a woman who is advancing-with-the-times. Five years ago, when Zhang Siyi taught her how to use the computer, a door was opened into the new world. From then on, she changed from a traditional Chinese woman into a mysterious lady.
In the early years, while other people were worried about the mindless time children spent on the internet, Zhang Siyi was worried about his Mother not being able to extricate themselves from the network.
During that time, Mother Zhang spent every night until two to three in the morning on the network. His Father endured it for a while until he finally couldn’t take it anymore and exploded. Combined with the time she spent on duty at the hospital and with her addictive behavior on the net, it was like living without a Mother. At that time, his forty-year old Father felt alone and if they didn’t have a housekeeper to cook meals, they surely would have starved to death under his Mother’s lack of supervision.
After the intervention, Father Zhang sent Mother Zhang to an etiquette school for one month. Zhang Siyi’s Mother also tried to drag his Father into the water and wanted to share her experience with him but thanks to his Father’s stubbornness and old-fashion ideals, any progress was halted. Since then Mother Zhang sought her own knowledge groups and outlets on the internet. In contrast, Father Zhang acted like he was bitten by a snake. For a long time, he regarded the computer as a savage beast that needed to be kept away to prevent contamination. Without the ability to change, his inflexible Father would soon be out of the times.
Only his Mother had the capacity to slowly coax his Father out of his own anti-information-age sentiments. The proof of her success upstairs is reflected on Mother Zhang’s proud face. Zhang Siyi smiled: “Why don’t you teach him to go on Weibo?” He can look at the headlines. The hot search is more fun.”
His Mother took an orange and started peeling it: “I have been on Weibo and the information isn’t conscience. There are too many people arguing every day. He won’t necessarily like it. It’s better to let him figure it out for himself for a little while.” She split the orange in half and gave it to Zhang Siyi: “How was the wedding?”
Zhang Siyi sighed and remembered the excitement of the day. He told her about He Chengtian and Shen Hao. “Mom, do you think I’m super useless?” Although he knows what the clear choice is in his heart, he can’t help worrying about his choice. Will he regret his decision to refuse the potential of all that money?
His Mother paused and said, “Sisi, I’ll tell you something.”
Zhang Siyi: “What is it?”
Mother Zhang patiently said: “After more than a decade ago, your father just became a director. At that time, in order to go ahead with construction, many projects had to be signed by your Dad. Every day, whether someone wanted approval faster or because they wanted to overlook mistakes, persons came to his door to give him gifts like money, real estate, company bonuses…… All to ‘help’ him make decisions. Do you know how much will power a person has to have in order to resist so many temptations?”
Zhang Siyi was surprised at the new information that his Mother spoke of.
Mother Zhang: “Because he stuck to his morals so diligently, he offended more than one person and was denied promotion. Until your Grandfather who was at the top acted, he stayed in a position where there was no real power for many years. I also thought that his disposition would limit his career in his life because it was difficult in this Chinese society to move up again. But he stayed clam. He told me that a person has to love the life they live in order to be at peace in both spirit and mind.”
Zhang Siyi was astonished! He did not expect his archaic and overbearing father to say something so cool!
Looking down at the oranges, Mother Zhang bowed her head. She slowly said: “I was touched by his words and I was dead-set on following him. Even if his ideals inhibited his career, I know we can solve anything together. I will be a person to support this home.”
Zhang Siyi: “……” Ohh, so romantic!
His Mother peeled off the remaining half of the orange and handed it to Zhang Siyi. She looked at him and said: “Sisi, you are alone in Haicheng and Mom is very worried about you. I can understand your father’s intentions. We have never looked forward to your wealth and never expected you to become a rich tycoon. He and I hope that you will be able to stand on your own two feet as an independent man. As long as you are both earning an honest wage, and are healthy and happy every day, in both spirit and mind, that is enough.”
Hearing his Mother’s words, his emotional stress over the last few days found an outlet and tears fell from Zhang Siyi eyes: “Mom……”
His mother reached out to softly pat his head: “If you are trying and can’t seem to make any headway, you can come to us for help. There is nothing you can’t tell us about. We are forever on your side.”
With his head leaning on his mother’s shoulder, Zhang Siyi sniffed back his tears and softly said: “I didn’t mean to cause trouble. That is, this year… I sent too many red envelopes to my cousins and now I don’t have any money.”
Mouth open, his Mother stared wide-eyed at him. She didn’t know whether she should laugh at him or cry. With criticism she said: “What? Why were you acting so vain that you sacrificed your wellbeing? Look at yourself, you are a mess!”
Zhang Siyi grumbled about his mother. In the first place, he didn’t want to give red envelopes to all of his cousins.
Mother Zhang asked: “So how much money do you have now?”
Zhang Siyi: “Two-hundred remained, but yesterday at Gu Yu’s house, he gave me a two-thousand red envelope for New Year’s.”
Mother Zhang was surprised: “What!? How can you take his red envelope!”
Zhang Siyi looked feebly at his Mom: “I didn’t want to take it, but I don’t have money.”
Pursing her lips closed, his Mother was silent. She got up off the sofa and went to her purse to take money out of her wallet and wrapped it. She gave it to him as an impromptu red envelope: “Don’t let your father know.”
“Mmm-hmm!” With a smile Zhang Siyi squeezed the red envelope.
Listening upstairs for a long time, Father Zhang sighed, shook his head and with a broad smile on his face, snuck back to the study.
In his bedroom, Zhang Siyi counted the money in the red envelope he just received from his Mother – wow, another two thousand! The gift money sent out today is back! He quickly opened the book-keeping app, entered the proceeds, and giggling, he admired the rising numbers. ~\(≧▽≦)/~
Thinking about Gu Yu, Zhang Siyi took out his phone and opened WeChat. It’s been a day since they communicated so he took a few minutes to think of what to write: “Boss, I went to a friend’s wedding today and met with one of your high school classmates.”
Not a second has passed and Gu Yu reply appeared: “Hmm…?”
Surprised at the speed at which the message was returned, Zhang Siyi wondered if Gu Yu was simply watching the phone: “His name is He Chengtian. Do you remember him?”
Gu Yu’s next reply was relatively slow compared to the previous one: “Who is that? I don’t remember.”
Zhang Siyi: “……” Are you fucking kidding me!? You remember the Kong Ming Lock that you gave me nineteen years ago, but you don’t even remember your high school classmate who, for three years, was at your heels on the exams?
Gu Yu asked again: “What does he look like?”
It seems like he really doesn’t remember……. Zhang Siyi described him a bit and told Gu Yu about some of He Chengtian’s second place history.
Stimulating his memory, Gu Yu replied: “Oh, it’s him.”
Zhang Siyi: “Do you remember?
Gu Yu: “Well, he was like an anti-Japanese gangster you see on a TV drama that acted like a boss picking on the weak with a group of boys following him around.”
Zhang Siyi: “………” This… this summary. He feels like he should say something in He Chengtian’s defense.
Gu Yu asked: “How come you met him?”
Zhang Siyi: “He was the eldest brother of my childhood playmate who lived next door. We were at a wedding of a girl we knew when we were kids.”
Gu Yu: “Oh, then you are not one of his little brothers?”
Through the screen, Zhang Siyi can feel the contemptible tone of Gu Yu and defensively rebuked: “I am not!”
Gu Yu: “Did you mention me? What did you say?”
Clearly, it is a simple question without ulterior motives, however, Zhang Siyi has the feeling of being tortured. Cold sweat broke out on his forehead. While he hesitated on what to respond with, the phone suddenly rang with Gu Yu’s call.
Zhang Siyi hurriedly pressed the answer button, holding the phone he stammered: “You, why are you calling?”
Gu Yu’s low voice came from the phone: “With all the necessary typing to explain, I figured it would be easier to talk, so I called you instead.”
Zhang Siyi： “……” (o////o)
Gu Yu’s tone is playful: “You didn’t say bad things about me again, did you?”
Zhang Siyi was shaking: “No, no. He told me about your very good grades and that he always placed second in the exams. So, he’s kind of….”
Gu Yu: “Bitter?”
Zhang Siyi: “Well, pretty much.”
Gu Yu chuckled and casually said: “There isn’t really any difference between those at the top rankings, whether it was second, third, fourth place…. How can he still be bothered by something that happened so long ago?”
Zhang Siyi: “……” What to do… As a good childhood friend, he supposed feel bothered by Gu Yu’s attitude, but he doesn’t. Ah!
Now serious, Gu Yu asked: “What else is going on? If you deliberately mention this person to me, then there must be something to tell me about.”
Getting straight to the point, the pressure on Zhang Siyi builds. Especially because he heard Gu Yu hoarse voice ask him so directly.