Tomorrow would be November 11th， Singles’ Day. The whole country seemed to be more than ready to celebrate it wholeheartedly， without any official recognition， though. I got a text message from this guy named Yang.
“Hey， are you free tomorrow？ Why don’t we go out and have some fun together？” My heart pounded fiercely as I read the message. I sensed that it could be the last time I contributed to this nationwide craze for celebrating， or should I put it as lamenting over2， being single.
“I think so. I’m free so far. I will let you know if I can’t make it.” I reedited the message several times， pondering over every single word so as not to accidentally disclose any sign of excitement as I always did， but the rest of the day then was all about me obsessed with endless fantasies about the romantic beginning of a romantic relationship. It surely was the longest November 10th ever.
The next morning. Single’s Day. Standing outside my dorm building， I looked up and took a deep breath， closing my eyes gently to allow the sunshine to stroke all over my face. I didn’t look in the mirror， but was convinced that my face must be radiant with smiles.3 Recovering from the temporary blindness the bright sunshine caused me， I found Yang waiting in the distance. After today， I would set myself free and run toward him， with both arms wide open. But there I was， walking toward him with grace and poise4.
We went to the beach together. There were tourists scattered here and there. The buildings of Macau were a narrow strait away from us. We sat next to each other， having random talks from time to time， but the main recreation is to listen to the sound of waves lapping against the shore. I usually had no problem staying with him doing nothing， but at that moment， somehow， waves’ lapping felt boring and “doing nothing” seemed utterly awkward.
“Mister， please buy a rose for this beautiful lady！” A little boy， who， with a basket of roses in his hand， was standing in front of us， interrupted the silence. I could feel my cheeks had flushed5 red.
“Yes， this is the moment！” I thought. “He’s gonna do this！ Eventually， he’s doing this！ It’s a little bit old-fashioned， but who cares！ It’s still sweet and romantic to make this whole plan in advance. Hahahahaha…” I tried very hard to keep that laughter in my mind. My face must have twisted in a grimace of not pain， but excitement.6 It was really tiring because every single cell inside me seemed to be trembling in ecstasy7.
“No， thanks.” He said simply.
“You really should buy one for this lady！” The boy did not give up.“No， thanks！” He raised his voice， slightly annoyed.
“This rose is beautiful. Please…” The boy was almost begging him.
“I said no！” He stood up， apparently irritated by this little street vender who he thought had ruined the romantic atmosphere.
“Buy a rose， please…please…”
“Stay away！ Put your hand off me…”
Before I figured out what exactly happened， Yang and that little boy were grappling8 together. To be accurate， Yang was trying to get rid of the boy who， at this moment， was clutching9 the waist of his shirt. I froze there， shocked. For about one minute， which felt a lot longer then， I couldn’t move and was of no help to the situation at all until eventually， Yang got rid of that boy， grasped my hand， and started to run.
The running part felt kind of romantic， since the fighting drew some attention and as we ran， some people were watching us， like in the movies. It was also the first time that he “officially” held my hand. I enjoyed the wind generated by our sprint10 for a while， but very soon， I realized what it meant for me when Yang declined the boy with the dogged11 certainty. All of a sudden， I felt exhausted and couldn’t help wheezing12 as if the running was giving me trouble. As we slowed， I wrenched my hand free of his grasp. My face darkened， and my heart too. The rest of the evening， we wandered about a shopping mall， had dinner together， and went to the supermarket as most couples would do on weekends. Nothing seemed wrong except that I had strained my nerve to hold back my frustration， as hard as it was when I tried to hold back my excitement in the morning.
Yang escorted13 me back to my dorm building. It’s finally the time to say goodbye. “Ok， goodbye. Good night！” I said calmly， knowing this could be the last time I’d say this to him. I knew exactly how I felt about him. Friendship never existed between us. And if he did not feel the same way I did， we were going nowhere other than total strangers.
He stood there.
“If you’d like to stay here longer， take your time. But you may have to excuse me…” Upon saying so， I realized how difficult it was to pretend to be fine when you were not.
“Would you be my girlfriend？” He smiled shyly.
It is now eleven at night on November 11th， 2016， exactly five years after that unforgettable night. And as I am typing up these words， the guy who refused to buy me one stupid rose on that important night is in the kitchen， washing the dishes we left behind after dinner. My gift and flowers for our anniversary are lying there quietly as if to listen to our stories of these five years.
“Honey， can you tell me why you insisted on not buying me that rose on the day you planned to confess your love to me？” I teased him.
“Because I was too nervous， and that is not part of my plan. I hate to have plans disturbed.”
“Then why did you manage to tell me eventually？”
“Because I couldn’t afford to lose you.” Upon saying so， he smiled shyly.
1. Singles’ Day： 光棍节，是一种流行于年轻人之间的新兴娱乐性节日，其起源目前没有定论，但普遍认为其兴起于大学校园，通过网络等媒介的传播，逐渐形成了一种光棍节文化。
2. lament over： 為某事（通常是人的逝去和重大损失）而悲痛，哀悼（此处为夸张的用法）。
4. poise： 优雅，淡定。
5. flush： （人或脸）发红。
7. ecstasy： 狂喜，欣喜若狂。
8. grapple： 扭打，搏斗。
9. clutch： 紧握，抓紧。
10. sprint： 短跑，快速奔跑。
11. dogged： 顽强的，坚持不懈的。
12. wheeze： 喘，喘息。
13. escort： 陪同某人，护送（某人或某物）。