Su Zhinian's easy acceptance made Auntie Su incredibly anxious. She gripped her hands tightly. After taking a deep breath, she asked, "Ah Nian, that person hiding in your memory, the girl you once told me you love, is your Uncle Song's daughter, Song Qingchun, correct?"
Song Qingchun had thought about a hundred thousand possible topic Auntie Su might want to talk to Su Zhinian about, but she really did not expect that the first question out of Auntie Su's mouth would be the same exact question she wanted to ask Su Zhinian.
Song Qingchun stopped breathing and focused fully on listening to Su Zhinian's answer. The silence stretched for a long time, and she was unable to hear Su Zhinian's voice.
Just as Song Qingchun thought she might have imagined that question, Auntie Su continued. "Ah Nian you don't need to hide it from me anymore. Actually, I've found out everything. That day I asked for your phone, saying I needed to contact Xiao Lin, that was a lie; it was to get the phone number of the girl you love."
Song Qingchun was reminded of the little incident with Auntie Su at the front of the hotel when the elder woman asked for her phone number.
As if confirming her thought, Auntie Su continued. "That night, when Qingchun escorted me back to the hotel, I asked for her phone number. I discovered her number is an exact copy of the phone number I took from your phone.
"Ah Nian, did you fall in love with Qingchun that year when you moved into Uncle Song's house? You jumped off the building for Qingchun because you love her and wanted to use your own life to trade for hers, right?"
The bungalow was eerily quiet. Other than the questions from Auntie Su, there were few other noises. The ticking of the grandfather clock in the living room became exceptionally loud.
The tick-tock continued for who knew how long before Auntie Su continued the conversation. "Ah Nian, some time ago, when Secretary Cheng came to the hospital, I talked with her. I found out from her that you once wrote a resignation letter and booked a plane ticket to leave this country and swore to never return again. Am I right?"
Su Zhinian, who had been silent throughout, finally uttered, "Yes."
"But that plan was foiled because of Qingchun's accident, right?"
Silence reigned once more. Auntie Su seemed to be struggling before she finally said, "Ah Nian"
When she called Su Zhinian's name this time, tears gently fell down her face. "Ah Nian I support your decision to leave this country."
Auntie Su's voice was laced with the choking sound of tears. "Leave China and go to France. Find a good girl there to settle down with. Don't worry about your mother, I'll take good care of myself. We can still talk on the phone, or we can try Skype. Leave, Ah Nian, leave as soon as possible."
Why would Auntie Su turn around to ask Su Zhinian to leave after finding out he loves me?
Song Qingchun was so befuddled by the whole conversation that she did not realize Su Zhinian had just admitted to loving her.
Su Zhinian was silent for a very long time before announcing with finality, "Okay, I will go."