Life

From Raindrops to Forever: A Subway Encounter Blooms into Unexpected Love

At 7 o’clock in the morning, my progenitors and I engaged in a substantial altercation before hastily vacating the domicile. I, being of twenty-eight years, found myself subjected to a succession of orchestrated blind rendezvous by my progenitors. Though compliant, each rendezvous concluded fruitlessly. It is not a matter of fastidiousness, but rather, a lack of affinity toward any suitor presented. On this particular day, when urged to partake in yet another blind encounter, I adamantly declined, remarking, “A photoshoot is superfluous; an engagement will suffice,” before departing in a state of agitation.

Fate seemed indifferent to our plight, as within mere moments of our departure, torrents of rain descended from the heavens. Pedestrians sought refuge beneath umbrellas, leaving me as the sole individual drenched by the deluge. Accidentally ensnared by the rain, I found solace in its purifying embrace. Yet, as abruptly as it began, the rain ceased. Raising my gaze, I beheld a vast azure and onyx umbrella, wielded by a visage of pristine handsomeness. Before I could register the moment, he placed the umbrella in my possession, traversing alone into the tempest and vanishing into the subway’s maw.

Instantly, my heart thawed, dispelling the melancholy shroud enveloping it, propelling my steps with newfound celerity. Minutes later, I encountered him once more within the subway confines. Hastening to return his umbrella, I extended gratitude, to which he responded with a genial smile, “Should its appearance not deter you, do keep it; the forecast portends continuous rainfall.” With the arrival of Line 2, we embarked in silent camaraderie, side by side.

Observing him aboard the subway, I noticed his possession of a suitcase. Thoughtfully, he fashioned a niche with it, allowing me space beside him as we stood in contemplative silence, peering through the dim windowpane. In that fleeting moment, I experienced an unprecedented sensation of anticipation, tinged with a reluctance to envision the journey’s terminus.

As the subway journeyed onward, I harbored a fervent desire for his presence to endure. Alas, upon announcement of our imminent arrival at Hankou Railway Station, he stirred, clutching his suitcase. My heart plummeted, a pang of loss piercing through me. He bid farewell, adorned in denim and shirt, a pristine white undershirt peeking beneath. Belatedly recalling the umbrella, I faltered, “Your umbrella…” Yet, he merely offered a parting wave and a smile, as the subway doors sealed shut. Clutching the umbrella, a bitter sweetness enveloped me, yearning for his contact details inscribed upon its fabric.

Subsequent to that encounter, I endeavored tirelessly to rendezvous once more with the bearer of the umbrella. At precisely 7 o’clock each morning, I embarked upon the same subway route, hopeful to reunite. Despite the vast expanse of the world, my quest remained singular: to locate him, return the umbrella, and convey my gratitude in person. For he bestowed upon me not only an umbrella, but also bestowed courage, elucidating the dichotomy between indifference and the flutter of the heart. I yearned for the continuation of our narrative, yet he remained elusive.

Upon the digital realm of our shared metropolis, my confidante issued a plea for assistance in locating him. Days turned to weeks, and weeks to months, yet his whereabouts remained shrouded in mystery.

Posting our tale on an online platform, I was astounded by the outpouring of support. “Should he be deserving, persevere a while longer,” echoed the sentiments of many. In the throes of midnight, I found solace in the musings of those who shared similar sentiments. Through these messages, I found solace, fostering the belief that our tale, even if left unresolved, possessed a warmth and tenderness of its own.

Nine days following the post, at the appointed hour of 7 o’clock, serendipity manifested once more. Amidst the familiar confines of the subway, before the selfsame threshold, a figure approached, uttering a familiar refrain: “Long time no see.” It was him, indeed. Clad in attire reminiscent of our initial encounter, he bore the same affable yet absentminded countenance. And in response, I echoed his sentiment, though it felt as though eons had transpired since our first meeting.

On that day, we both took respite from our duties, akin to long-lost comrades reuniting after years apart, reminiscing upon the trials of the preceding three months. Initially, my anticipation welled tears, yet upon hearing his perspective, my heart stirred with even greater tumult.

His name, Duan Peng, preceded mine by two years. Our initial encounter coincided with the nadir of his existence. Destined to depart for his ancestral abode in Northeast China, he found himself ensnared in the throes of despair. The closure of his company, compounded by the betrayal of his erstwhile roommates, precipitated his displacement. With parental entreaties beckoning from afar, he stood at the precipice of departure, resigned to his fate. It was the fortuitous rain of that fateful morning that stayed his hand. Oblivious to the significance at the time, he perceived only a lone figure amidst the downpour, offering respite in the form of an umbrella. Thus, fate interceded, weaving our destinies together in an intricate tapestry.

In the aftermath of our initial encounter, Duan Peng found himself at a crossroads. Reflecting upon his years spent in Wuhan, he resolved to defy the inertia of departure, electing to remain. Employed as a designer within a gaming firm, he shared candid insights into his recurrent forays into the rain-soaked streets, each instance evoking memories of our chance encounter. Though our paths nearly intersected on subsequent subway journeys, the demands of his profession often consigned our reunion to the realm of missed opportunities. It wasn’t until the fortuitous dissemination of our tale within his professional circle that he became aware of my earnest endeavors to locate him.

Anxious yet resolute, he ventured forth that fateful morning, deliberating over attire in a bid to ensure recognition. His admission elicited laughter tinged with tears, underscoring the profound serendipity of our shared existence.

On the auspicious occasion of New Year’s Day, Duan Peng and I exchanged vows, forging a union unforeseen by both. Though devoid of prior romantic entanglements, our union elicited curiosity amongst acquaintances. Yet, amidst the whispers of skepticism, our parents stood as steadfast supporters, having long harbored hopes for our eventual union. At our nuptial ceremony, we beseeched friends to immortalize our narrative in sand, a testament to the twists and turns of fate that led us to that juncture. Though familiar, our tale never fails to evoke emotions anew, a testament to the capricious nature of destiny.

He remarked, “Life is replete with unforeseen diversions; in a single moment, we may find ourselves adrift.” Henceforth, Duan Peng made it his solemn duty to escort me to and from my place of employment, regardless of inclement weather or prolonged work hours. In turn, I awaited his return beneath the comforting glow of the lamplight, resolving any conflicts with expediency.

With each rainfall, whether in each other’s company or separated by circumstance, we share a simple refrain: “It rains!” Rain, a harbinger of our enduring bond, a symbol of our shared journey. In a world beset by uncertainties, I fervently pray that all may find solace in the companionship of a kindred spirit.

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