Cin Heung sat cross-legged on the floor, looking at the opened suitcase. She was checking its contents.
“Tops, pants, skirts… Oh! Charger!”
Tonight, she was packing up for the trip.. She ran around, putting one thing after another into the suitcase while her clothes were packed neatly inside.
Her mother watched her go back and forth like a bee and couldn’t help saying, “You’ve packed so many things. How long will you be staying there?”
“About a month.”
“Oh… Yeah, you should. That girl is your high school classmate after all, marrying someone’s a really important stage in life too!”
“She’s happy that I could be with her.”
Her mother suddenly thought about something. Not long ago, her daughter had plans to get married, but now she was helping her friend with hers instead. The world really was a funny place indeed.
“Daughter! Come here for a second.”
“Mom! What’s the matter? I’m busy!” Even though she said that, she still sat down next to her mother.
Her mother looked at her pretty eyes and could figure out what she felt deep in her heart. Only a mother would know; her mother would know if she was happy or deep in sorrow.
Her mother still liked to caress her daughter’s hair, so she caressed it from top to bottom.
Cin Heung looked at her mother with a smile and asked, “Mom, what’s the matter? Treating me like a kid all of a sudden.”
“Things have been hard for you recently, so just take this trip to relax. You don’t have to worry about us. Just be happy!”
“Mom, I know.” She looked at her mother affectionately and said, “It seems that you’re still worried about me! Mom, I’m an adult already!”
“Ho, someone’s talking big.”
“What?” Cin Heung pursed her lips and complained, “At least my mouth’s not big!”
“Making fun of mom now?! Haven’t you heard that having a child will cause 99 years of headache?”
The mother and daughter both giggled. Cin Heung held her mother and buried her head in her bosom and said, “I know, I know! Mom cares about Cin Heung the most.”
At that moment, her father came out from the room and saw them holding each other and laughing.
“What’s the joke? Let’s hear it.”
Cin Heung said, “Secret!”
“What a brat!” Her father looked at the suitcase and asked, “Have you finished packing?”
“Siu Cin, when will you take me to see the world?”
“Dad, the last time we went to Japan, you said that our home was the best.”
“Did I say that?”
“You’re playing forgetful again!”
Her mother also chimed in, “You definitely did! You even said that Japanese bread doesn’t taste good and is just like toys, and they don’t taste as delicious as master Yeung’s around the street!”
When Cin Heung heard this, she suddenly realized something and asked, “The old baker’s surname is Yeung?”
Her father said, “That’s right! Unfortunately, the rent was too high for him. After paying the rent, he couldn’t hire any employees. His son would rather work overseas than coming back to take over the business. In the end, with no one helping him, he decided to retire and close shop. Sigh… His craft would be lost too.”
Cin Heung checked the stuff in her suitcase again while saying, “Father, you seem to know him very well!”
“We chat a little!”
“It’s a pity people around here won’t be able to enjoy his baking anymore,” Cin Heung said in disappointment.
“Siu Cin! Why don’t you take over the shop? You don’t have a job anyway, and you can bake delicious bread!”
“Don’t make me laugh, dad! You think it’s that easy to open a shop?”
“That’s right dear! Don’t interfere with Siu Cin’s life.”
“Oh! Cosmetics!… The two of you, please don’t get in my way! Get out of the way!” Cin Heung began packing up again.
The next day, as the sun hung high along with a refreshing breeze, the horizon seemed endless and the blue sky looked vast and fresh.
Soon, a seven seater car arrived at Cin Heung’s residence and stopped. Man Ching drove the car while Wing Tung was sitting in the front passenger seat. Except for Cin Heung, the other three girls were already in the car, gossiping and laughing in the back.
Man Ching acted dumb and didn’t speak, while Wing Tung’s face was red and seemed embarrassed.
Sum Ting said, “Wing Tung, why do you always sit in front like the host!”
“Because… I… I… Man Ching picked me up first, that’s why I ended up in the front seat.”
Man Ching then reaffirmed, “That’s right! I picked her up first because her place was the closest.”
Gou Jing asked, “That’s strange. Isn’t your sister’s home closer?”
Man Ching answered, “That’s… because she’s often late!”
The door suddenly opened and the person outside said, “Who’s late?”
Sum Ting, Manman and Gou Jing said in unison, “You!”
The laughter of the three women echoed in the car.
Cin Heung refuted, “Hey, I’m always punctual!”
Manman said, “Ask your brother then.”
“Turnip, are you talking ill of me?”
“No! It must be a misunderstanding! Okay! Everybody’s here, I’m gonna drive to the airport. Don’t disturb the driver.”
Cin Heung looked at Man Ching suspiciously and then at the three women, who all showed a sly look. Sum Ting twitched her mouth then used her eyes to signal to Cin Heung about Wing Tung and Man Ching.
Cin Heung immediately understood and nodded her head with a smile. She poked her head in between the front seats, looked at Wing Tung on the left and Man Ching on the right. Out of nowhere she suddenly said, “You two are dating!”
Man Ching was so shocked that he suddenly stepped on the brake momentarily. Cin Heung was almost thrown forward.
“Turnip! Drive carefully!”
“I told you not to disturb the driver, now sit down!”
Cin Heung pursed her lips and sat down, but all the girls clapped and cheered. Sum Ting even whistled.
Cin Heung said, “Girls, don’t scare Turnip and Wing Tung. They are very timid in this aspect…”
“Hey… Siu Cin!” Man Ching complained awkwardly.
“Alright!” Cin Heung made the gesture of zipping her mouth.
Wing Tung’s whole body was burning hot, as though smoke was going to come out. She sat quietly with her head turned to the side and stared at the fast-moving scenery outside the window.
Upon arriving at the airport, Wing Tung accidentally scratched her arm when she went to pick up the luggage. Man Ching became very nervous so he quickly took out the first aid box and bandaged her carefully.
Man Ching asked, “Is everything ok?”
Wing Tung only nodded shyly.
Man Ching grabbed Wing Tung’s large bag and said, “Best you don’t carry this since your hand is hurt. I’ll carry it for you.”
All the women were speechless as they watched on.
Cin Heung glanced at Man Ching, but he looked at the ceiling swiftly.
“I have to tell mom.” Cin Heung whispered into Man Ching’s ear.
“Don’t mess around… I’ll tell her myself!” He too said it beside her ear.
“Hey! What are you guys still talking about! We’ve got to check in!”
The airport was full of people and they had to wait for half an hour to check in. Finally, it was Cin Heung and Manman’s turn. Man Ching put their heavy luggages on the conveyor belt while the counter staff busied with the check in procedures.
The staff said, “Ladies, I’m sorry but there are no more seats side by side. We have a packed flight today and your bookings were done at different times. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
Cin Heung and Manman were a little disappointed but said, “No choice then.”
The staff then suggested, “Actually, after you board the plane, you could ask if the passengers are willing to swap seats.”
Cin Heung and Manman nodded their heads.
The staff continued, “Sorry for the trouble, here are your passports. Your destination is New Jersey. Please check the information and have a safe trip.”
Man Ching had to leave because he had something to do. Before leaving, he still told Wing Tung to be careful with the wound.
After they were done with checking in, the group of women found a restaurant to chill and wait.
“Your parents are not coming today?”
“They’re business people, so they’re pretty busy. They’ll show up when the time comes.”
Wing Tung felt sad and said, “Manman, you have to take care of yourself. Cin Heung, please take good care of her.”
Cin Heung said, “Manman’s not a child, don’t worry too much about her!”
The five old classmates all agreed to travel around the bustling places in the United States one week and let themselves loose before the wedding. It was rare that every one of them still had that adventurous mood.
Sum Ting recalled something in the past and asked, “Remember that handsome male teacher in senior secondary school?”
Cin Heung said, “That teacher made the whole class fall in love with mathematics.”
Manman chimed in, “Gou Jing even wrote a love letter!”
Gou Jing didn’t mind it at all and said, “At that time, I fell in love with the TV series ‘My 18 year old wife’ and thought that there was such romance in reality.”
Wing Tung said, “I admire your courage.”
Cin Heung then asked, “I still don’t know how Gou Jing ended up that time though?”
Gou Jing said, “Of course nothing happened! The flowers of love didn’t bloom, so there was no fruit! In the end, I was disciplined by the dean and was told to concentrate on my studies.”
Sum Ting suddenly said, “Damn it! I also wrote him a love letter at that time. They probably thought it was all you!”
“Wow! You little bastard! I didn’t know you did that until today!”
Speaking of the past, time passed quickly. It was now time to board the plane. Everyone was sad about parting.
“Bon voyage, see you in two weeks!”
Embracing and waving goodbye, Cin Heung and Manman passed through the departure building and walked to the departure area to wait for their flight.
When Cin Heung was about to board the plane, a man flashed by her sights. She didn’t pay special attention to him, but a familiar aroma came into her nose. She looked back at the man. Unfortunately, she only saw a tall man, with broad shoulders and thin waist. The man wore a light blue shirt and had blue jeans. Not a second longer, the man had already disappeared into the crowd.
The two confirmed their seats in the cabin respectively. The seat beside Cin Heung was initially empty. After a while, a man asked, “Excuse me, miss, could you let me through?”
“Sure,” Cin Heung stood up and let him in. The man nodded and went to his seat.
Suddenly the familiar fragrance appeared again. Even though she was unable to tell what it was, she was sure it must have come from the man.
Cin Heung took a look at the man when she returned to her seat. Immediately, she realised that it was the man that passed by her just now. He seemed like a proper gentleman.
She tried to figure out what the fragrance was, as she felt that it was something she often smelled, but she just couldn’t name it. Since she couldn’t think of anything, she thought she might as well read a magazine.
The man suddenly sniffed with his nose, and took a glance at Cin Heung.
It attracted Cin Heung’s attention, and she also looked up at him.
Their eyes locked for a good half a second. Then they nodded, smiled and went back doing their own things.
Encounters were just a coincidence. Everyday, people everywhere would cross paths, but no one would put much energy into each and every encounter.
The airliner in the starry sky… It was fate that two people met in this vast universe. A day later, they might already be at other galaxies, exploring other stars.
May the stars grasp each other and get to know each other with the only day they had. Even if the day was short, even if it was only accidental, even if it was strange, shall the ordinary night morph into a memorable starry night.