雖然我們在交友程式中認識，我對他並沒有特別的好感，至少並沒有想和他發展任何關係的意思。唯獨有一件事讓我耿耿於懷 —— 上次約會後翌日，我收到餐廳的來電，店員說我遺下了一本記事簿。我想了想，餐廳是我訂位的，餐廳只有我的電話號碼吧。
下一頁可應該是他按著我交友程式的 Profile Pic，模擬出來的插畫。我頭上染了啡紅的短髮，偷偷用美圖 App 修過的大眼睛，繫著一條粗冷的大白色頸巾。那照片是前度男友幾年前給我拍的，正好用來給陌生男生一副純情無邪的錯覺，現在有點演變成一副法國詩人印象下的東方神秘少女模樣。我扁了一下咀，覺得畫中人不像我，但又一定是我。帶着這奇妙感受，蓋上了記事簿⋯⋯
One afternoon in November, I met him again.
He was wearing a military green cardigan, a pair of jeans with a cheek-length light brown hair and round, metal frame glasses…
Though we met on a dating app, I didn’t really have any feelings for him, at least not in a romantic way. But there was one thing that was bothering me – the day after our previous date, I received a call from the restaurant saying that I’ve left behind a notebook. I thought about it, since I booked the restaurant, they only had my number, right?
I brought back the notebook from the restaurant and put it on my desk. Under the lamp at midnight, the notebook was fastened with a rope, it had a handmade wood cover; something like the one you see on an old bible. I asked myself: Did he leave this behind? Or did he leave it on purpose for me? There were no new messages from him on the dating app. “You seem to have left a notebook in the restaurant.” This text bubble was like a flyer on a lamppost, nobody cared about it.
I couldn’t ignore this little devil in my mind, I was curious, and untied the bow of the rope. The moment it opened, I felt guilty as if I was opening a Pandora’s box. Quietly turning over the first page, it said:” What is happiness?”.
On the second page, it’s like one of those social media feeds, but at the same time verses of poems written by some artistic teens. “Happiness is meeting the right person at the right time. I’ve been searching every day, but to no avail. Have I mistaken the right person for the wrong one?”
The pages following were just supplements to the same question, like a tree branching out to countless subtopics.
“Happiness is like a lost shoe. Before the youth fades and the sun sets, we shall travel across the world, together.”
“The one who travels across the world with you may not be your partner for life, you could also start all over again and find someone who would grow old with you.”
“Do you believe in the spooky quantum entanglement theory? It’s like a pair of quanta that were born as one, the one connected to your soul is doing something similar but also opposite in another dimension. While he’s ironing his clothes, you’re packing your skirt into the luggage; while he’s sick with Covid-19, you got a hidden version of a napping cat toy from the gachapon; while he saw fireflies flashing past his windows, you were scared to death by the snake slithering past the wall; while he’s turning left, you were turning right. Everything in the world appears in different forms to different people. What you have, is like something others don’t; what you want, is something everyone has but you. Luck has never been fair, not everyone has it; but everyone can pursue happiness, because happiness is not tangible.”
After muttering every word in the notebook to myself, I found myself on my bed. When I turned to the last page, a leaf fell out of the page and onto my arms. That was a leaf from a Hong Kong sweet gum tree. There were three veins, it was red and yellow in colour, with a little green. It might be from Tai Tong or Tai Tam; it was definitely not a perfectly colour, perfectly veined leaf you see in movies or cartoons. But on a cool autumn night, after reading some touching words, this leaf was just nice, at the right time….
These were written on the last page of the notebook, probably by him:
Like sand attracting tides
Like the wind gently kissing the sapling
Like a light shining on the bridge
Like a note full of poems
The next page was a drawing of me from the profile picture of my dating app. I had brown, short hair, with a little Photoshop on my eyes, wearing a thick, white scarf. That photo was taken by my ex-boyfriend a few years back, and it just had the pure and innocent vibe that many guys fall for. Now it’s more of “what a French poet would imagine an eastern girl looks like”. I pouted, thinking that the drawing didn’t look like me, but I knew for sure it’s me. I closed the notebook along with these thoughts…
This time, we were in the same cafe, 3 tables apart. He saw me. Taken by surprise, but smiled and nodded instantly. The girl opposite him seemed like someone he just met. The heavy makeup, and a little sexy off-shoulder sweater. She was the total opposite of me. I was waiting for the guy I met on the dating app. He was attractive and stylish. Though he was not my type, I picked him.
I brought the notebook along and had him book the restaurant for tonight. Later, I’ll leave the notebook behind, and have the restaurant call him to get it back. Then, I’ll disappear forever, hoping this little book about happiness would be passed on in this sea of people.
Storyteller：Saville Chan 陳心遙