Chapter 10: Papa, Mama and Me.
Teacher Lin also didn’t know what had happened. She simply thought that I had been playing wildly, and thus didn’t hear the bell that announced the classes.
The sensation from shadowboxing was making me feel invigorated, it seemed that every action was affecting the worldly primordial qi which I could sense with exceptional clarity. More importantly, those types of primordial qi, which on ordinary days would be exceptionally unruly, and as difficult to tame as a noble steed, seemed to have been dulcified when I was shadowboxing, as they voluntarily entered my body.
“Could it be that I have the ability to become a Martial Arts Master?” At that time I didn’t know what Dao Cultivation was, and within my mind the position of a martial arts master was already a very high.
“Huang Jingyang, if you are able to study a bit harder, and obtain good results, and are able to pass the university entrance examination, then you would be able to move out of this mountain village of yours. Don’t you really want to go to the big cities? Pass the university entrance exam, and you will be able to go to a big city.” Teacher Lin seemed to understand perfectly what I desired.
I dreamt of going to the big cities, because I wanted to live together with Papa and Mama everyday, and also to be able to watch my younger brother grow up every day. Just like the other children in the village.
Dogs never dislike their owners for being poor, a son can never despise his mother for being ugly. Even though my parents hadn’t come back to see me over so many years, I never felt even the slightest resentment towards them. I always thought that they had done nothing to me, and that the mistake was all mine. Therefore, I wanted to try hard to make money, and when I then had made a lot of money, they may notice me. I would also be able to go to the big cities. This was because I had heard from Thirteenth Uncle, that going to GuangDong is very expensive. I didn’t know that in fact there was no need to buy a ticket for myself at this age.
“Doesn’t attending a university cost a lot of money?” I blurted out.
Teacher Lin didn’t know why at such a young age, I would be able to think of such a complicated issue, perhaps it was because children of poor families begin taking charge of the household early.
Women are always sentimental. Teacher Lin’s eyes turned red as she looked at me, some tears were also seemingly beginning to form in her eyes: “First let’s return to the classroom.”
Teacher Lin finished speaking walked quickly towards the classroom. I thought that I might have said something wrong which made Teacher Lin angry, so I, somewhat perturbed, nervously followed Teacher Lin into the classroom.
“Today, we will be talking about families.”
“In this class, each one of us will be talking about our father and mother, and also about yourself. One at at time.”
During this class, I began to understand the students around me. Originally I had thought that I was the most unfortunate kid in the world. However, while listening to the introductions given by these classmates, I realized that there were people even unluckier than me in this world.
Classmate Li Lijuan’s father had died of illness, and her mother had remarried, now she was living with her Grandma and Grandpa. They were also not well, their family was even unable to keep the pot boiling. While she was talking, she started crying, following which even the other students in the class started crying.
[TLNote: Unable to keep the pot boiling is an idiom which means they don’t have any food/are on the edge of starvation]
Teacher Lin hadn’t anticipated this at all. Originally, to avoid dwelling on unpleasant things, she had wanted to start a class on parent-child relationships, but did not expect that it would become a class on family grievances.
I thought about myself, even though my parents hadn’t come back to see me in a long time, seemed to have forgotten the new years and birthdays, and also seemed to have forgotten about me, they were still alive. Inevitably, there will be a day, when they would remember me. Compared to Li Lijuan, I felt I was several times more fortunate.
There were a lot of parents who had gone out for many years, and hadn’t returned back ever since.
When it was my turn to speak, I very indifferently said: “My Papa and Mama, in order to make money, haven’t returned home these past several years. I have been living with Grandpa in my home. Life is quite good.”
Resultantly, the big fatty Huang Shulang immediately jumped out: “Huang Jingyang is lying to everyone. His Papa and Mama have given birth to a younger brother, so they don’t need him. He lives along with his Grandpa at home, and he doesn’t even get to eat meat.”
[Robin: This little fucker….]
To Huang Shulang, eating meat is happiness, and him eating just like a pig, is naturally a symbol of wealth.
“Student Huang Shulang, do not interrupt other students. Everybody has a different understanding of happiness. Some people, even while living a life of luxury, feel sad, while other people eating mustard for three meals a day, can feel happy. Happiness is not gotten from eating good food, or wearing good clothes. This age of you all is the age of enjoyment and growth, Teacher also hopes that you are also able to cherish everything around you. Study hard and in the future show a lot of filial love for your close ones.”
Teacher Lin was feeling that it was time to end this episode of grievances that she was already unable to control.
However, student Huang Shulang still hadn’t given an account to everyone of his happy life of eating better than an emperor and sleeping sounder than a pig.
“Teacher Lin, I haven’t spoken yet.”
Teacher Lin was already in a bad mood. Girls’ mood is always fickle like the weather. She snapped at classmate Huang Shulang: “Today we’ll stop the family topic here, later, when we have time, we will continue again.”
Therefore, Huang Shulang scowled miserably, in the whole class only he didn’t get a turn. Teardrops looking like string of pearls kept falling down towards the ground.
Later on after a while, classmate Huang Shulang was still obsessed with his leftover turn. Constantly inquiring from time to time from Teacher Lin: “What time will we continue?”
My life had fallen into a set routine. Every afternoon, I returned home along with Teacher Lin and helped her carry the thick bunch of homework. Teacher Lin had become a part of the family. There was a time, when she and I went to pull out hogweeds. Amongst the villagers there were very few people who pulled out hogweeds. They all fed their pigs with pig fodder. However, the pig fodder was very expensive, with one pack costing two hundred yuan. Grandpa had already used up all his money one time this year. I did not want to see him look embarrassed. In the hogweed, I put some rice bran and also put in some boiled porridge.
Grandpa was beginning to worry. If not even the least bit of fodder is fed, pigs would grow slowly, however what was strange that my family’s pigs didn’t look even the least bit dissatisfied. Having fed the pigs a week or so, they had already began putting on airs. While eating, they would all fight ferociously. As if those hogweeds I was feeding, were like some kind of heavenly delicacies.
I often looked at those three spotted pigs eating, and would think: Huang Shulang should look like this while eating dinner, right?
With regards to the Chicks, Ducklings and Geese, I made some superficial changes, but did not deviate from the original plan, and similarly used finely cut hogweed, adding to it rice bran and corn porridge. They also jumped for joy similarly.
Grandpa had raised me as a grandson like this, slowly succeeding in melting my heart.
Actually, I also had my own tricks, as I knew these domestic raised poultry and livestock were all fond of primordial qi. Every day as far as possible, I would insert some primordial qi into their food. Although at first I had thought that the primordial qi wouldn’t stay in these meals for a long time, I didn’t think that it would turn out to be very effective.
But Grandpa attributed these variations in these poultry and livestock to boil down to my strangeness.
Every day when I returned home, Black bean would always come welcome me from very far away, but he would always just pounce on me, always ignoring Teacher Lin. This made Teacher Lin jealous.
“Black bean, come to me! I have snacks here.” Teacher Lin’s last resort tricks also didn’t work. The attractiveness of her snacks was much smaller compared to the attraction Black bean felt towards me.
If Teacher Lin continued to entangle, then Black Bean would immediately begin barking in protest.
“Huang Jingyang, how is it that Black Bean likes you so much?” Teacher Lin grumbled.
“Is Black Bean like me? I am not a dog.” I said dissatisfiedly.
“Heh heh. That’s not what I am saying. I am saying, pfft.” Teacher Lin herself was also unclear, and couldn’t help but giggle, trembling incessantly from head to toe, making me look somewhat blankly.
“What are you looking at, stinky brat.” Teacher Lin straightened her clothes, thinking that she had exposed herself.
The thoughts of an adult are always complex. At that moment I was just thinking, that if my Mama were home, and she were to be laughing, then she ought to look just as beautiful as Teacher Lin.
In the night, after finishing with the homework, with great difficulty I had managed some spare time. However, Teacher Lin called me to her side.
“Huang Jingyang, you see you are so good-looking, but the words you write are so ugly. Starting from today, you must practice calligraphy. Start practicing calligraphy with the Ink brush.” Teacher Lin said.
[TLNote: Ink brush https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ink_brush%5D
Since Teacher Lin had told me to practice calligraphy, calligraphy I shall practice.
I took out my bronze medal, I had always thought that there were some depictions of things, seemingly looking like characters, then I brought the bronze medal to Teacher Lin for her to see: “Teacher Lin, Are these characters on top of it?”
Teacher Lin nodded: “This is seal script. A very ancient calligraphic style.”
[TLNote: Seal Script: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_script ]
“Can you tell me how to write this kind of characters?” I asked. This bronze medal, from my point of view, was just like a mystery. It had completely changed my life and I wanted to be more clear about actually what kind of a thing it was.
“I can. However, you must first complete the ink-brush writing practice everyday. Only after that will I teach you how to recognize seal script, and as soon as you are able to recognize all of it, I will teach you how to write.” Teacher Lin herself did actually not recognize this seal script, much less was she able to write it, so before teaching me, she had to first know herself and then she would teach me.
There was an additional reason for me wanting to learn seal script, it was when I looked at the bronze medal, I would always feel that there was some close connection between the characters in the pictures. However, I was unable to write, so this kind of connection I could only feel, I was unable to distinctly appreciate it.
As there was a woman in the house, there was always someone who would ask me to take a bath every day, so from the day that Teacher Lin came to live at our house, my body remained much cleaner, even the clothes on my body very rarely got dirty. I had become Ba Jiao Village’s cleanest child.
Teacher Lin’s jade pendant was always a major concern on my mind, as even my house’s poultry and livestock disliked that aura on Teacher Lin’s body, and would maintain some distance at all times from her.
Whenever I would come, the poultry and livestock would immediately surge in, surrounding me in a circle. This was not only because I had to feed them everyday, but also because they very much liked the aura on my body. However, as long as Teacher Lin appeared, they would immediately flee.
Teacher Lin was a very careful woman, and she soon discovered this point: “Why are these animals afraid of me so much?”
I wanted to speak but stopped.
“Because of this Jade pendant?” Teacher Lin was also clearly aware of the problem.
“Why?” Teacher Lin asked.
“It’s scary. They can feel it.” I said.
“Is it also because of this Jade pendant that I continue to have nightmares?” Teacher Lin proceeded to ask.
I once again hesitated before I nodded.
Teacher Lin’s facial expression became somewhat unwell, she could already feel that her boyfriend was in a wrong place.
“Why do you know?” Teacher Lin asked curiously.
“Because I am abnormal.” I lowered my head, and pursed my lips after speaking. I was not really willing to say this in front of others.