Chapter 55 Farewell
“Huang Jingyang, the money deposited by Teacher for you has aggregated to around a hundred and twenty-six thousand kuai. There should be some interest on top of that also. If you want to construct a house, then you should be able to construct a good house in Ba Jiao village. Now the prices are rising year by year, you should plan on constructing the house as early as possible. The interest it accumulates lying in the bank would definitely not match the inflation in the cost of construction of a house.”
It was summer vacations, Teacher Lin also had to return to the city. She didn’t know whether she would be able to return in the second half of the year so she wanted to thoroughly deal with my matters beforehand.
“Then I will construct the house.” My thoughts were very simple.
However, Grandpa didn’t support it completely. He drew a puff and thought for a bit before saying: “Constructing a house is a good thing. However, you must first discuss this with your father and mother. After all, construction of a house is an important matter.”
“Then I will call them.” I said.
Father had already bought a cellphone. I also knew his number, though he only rarely called back.
Grandpa and I went to Village Branch Secretary Huang Lisheng’s house.
Huang Lisheng upon noticing our arrival, was very cordial: “Yangyang, you want to use the telephone? Can you dial? Even though you can call, but the telephone charges these days are quite expensive.”
I dialled Father’s phone number. The familiar and yet unfamiliar voice came through from the telephone: “Hello, who’s this?”
“Father, It’s me Yangyang.” I said.
“You this child, don’t you know Father and Mother are working so hard outside? In order to give you two brothers something to eat and drink. Is it easy for your father and mother? It’s not year end nor a festival, why did you call? Whether to ask for money to go shopping? Where would your father and mother get that kind of money?………..”
Father spoke as if not wanting to give me the opportunity to speak. I didn’t know what I should do.
Grandpa wrested the phone from me and shouted into the telephone: “Yangyang hasn’t even said anything, and you have even gone on to a tirade speaking so much nonsense?”
On that side, Father somewhat embarrassedly said: “Father, I am also looking out for Yangyang’s good? You see how big he has become, just knows how to call Father and Mother to ask for money, later……”
Grandpa became even angrier: “He is your son, so what if he asks for money? He is already grown so big, did you ever ask if Yangyang was wearing warm clothing or eating nicely? Why did you think that this phone call was just to demand money from you? I am telling you when it comes to money, you won’t even be able to surpass this son of yours with that sycophancy of you husband and wife! Yangyang had called you to ask about the matter of construction of a house. You listen clearly, your son Huang Jingyang on his own has made enough money to construct a house!”
Grandpa after speaking to this point slammed the phone down with a bang which actually frightened village head Huang Lisheng to come see what was the matter. After running over, Huang Lisheng somewhat awkwardly said: “This Zhengyou is really unreasonable. Yangyang is such a good child, ai.”
“Lisheng, I want to ask you something. Yangyang wants to construct a house, would you approve land for him?” Grandpa asked/
“Second Brother, what are you saying? If it comes to family hierarchy, I too am Yangyang’s grandpa. If Yangyang wants to construct a house, then I would definitely support it. How big of a land do you need, I will allocate! Later, I will go measure the plot for you and then even send it for approval.” Huang Lisheng readily agreed.
My face had remained overcast ever since leaving Huang Lisheng’s house. I didn’t speak a word. Grandpa knew that I was hurting inside but he didn’t know how he should console me. He could only hold my hand while sighing with despair all along the way.
“What happened?” Teacher Lin seeing me return with Grandpa stopped immediately.
Grandpa shook his head. Teacher Lin naturally knew that the result was not good, so she tenderly looked at me and pulled me into her embrace. At that point, I started crying.
“Ai!” Grandpa let out a sigh and sat down beside the kitchen stove to stoke his tobacco.
Teacher Lin was about to go home in the coming two days. However, seeing my downcast mood, she decided to stay back and planned on going once I became better. She also didn’t know if she would be able to return to this place after leaving this time. Therefore, without arranging for matters, she couldn’t really feel relieved in leaving.
What was very unexpected was that three days later, my parents hurriedly returned from Guangdong.
Even though I had seen them many times in my dreams, my parents appeared somewhat unfamiliar. I was not an average person so I could still recall a lot of things from before the incident of me entering the Dao. At that time, I was treasured by my parents just like any other child.
“Yangyang.” Mother’s feelings as she looked at me, I was able to perceive, but I was also able to perceive that sort of artificialness. I faced mother once more and was pulled into an embrace but I couldn’t feel the familiar warmth. The voices that had once cried out hysterically to hear my voice when I had entered the day, had already drifted away.
This time Father and Mother had brought many things for me. Several new clothes, and even many things to eat.
“Your younger brother is in the kindergarten over at Guangdong. Since this time we came in quite a hurry so we couldn’t bring him along. He is under the care of your Grandma. Actually, he also misses you, his elder brother, very much. Grandma also misses you very much. Do you want to come to Guangdong with us over this summer vacation?” Mother was simultaneously stuffing packets brought from her travel bags into my hands.
“Hongmei, you should go to the kitchen and help out Teacher Lin. She has is a city-person, but has all along been taking care of our Yangyang, and even coaching Yangyang’s studies. You should properly thank her.” Grandpa said.
“Ai, I had been deliberating along the way how best to properly thank Teacher Lin.” Mother caressed my head and then walked towards the kitchen.
“Yangyang, you should go to the fish pond to catch some fish. Your father and mother have returned. We must eat fish today.” Grandpa through this wanted me to go out. He had some things to discuss with Father.
I put the things in my hands back into the travel bag and then went outside to walk while holding a pail.
Even though I had walked to our fish pond, and the conversation between Grandpa and Father wasn’t loud, but I could still hear them clearly.
“How are you planning on constructing the house?” Grandpa asked.
“My thoughts are like this. Right now the villagers are all going to Guangdong to look for work. In the future, when Yangyang grows up he will have to leave Ba Jiao village. There is absolutely no need for constructing a house here in Ba Jiao village. Our foundation here still quite solid, there is no need for overhauling it for the time being. We might as well buy a commodity flat over at Guangdong. This sum of money in our house coupled with our savings over these years would just about be enough to buy a flat. After we obtain an apartment, we would be able to register it as our permanent address. We would even be able to stand firm in Guangdong. The future issues like going to school can also be solved in Guangdong.” Clearly, Father hadn’t come back this time to construct a house.
I blanked out, and putting down the pail in my hand I sat down in the shade of the tree beside the fish pond.
“Then what about Yangyang? Are you prepared to bring him along or you will be leaving him here?” Grandpa’s tone carried a trace of discontent.
“The prices over at Guangdong are higher compared to here at home. It would be too much pressure for us to have both children going to school over there. Isn’t Yangyang getting good results here at home? We also wouldn’t feel relieved leaving you alone in this house.” Father said in a very suppressed voice. His tone carried a slight guilt.
“Dongdong’s your own son? Yangyang’s not your own? So many years, did you even perform your duties as a father? This money is what Yangyang earned! You don’t even have the slightest shame in using his money?” A loud sound resounded from the house, it was Grandpa angrily slamming the table.
“I didn’t perform my duty over these years, but earlier when Yangyang fell ill, at that time I wished if it was possible for me to sell my blood to cure him. Afterwards, it was you all who had said that we should have another one. It is not that I don’t want this son, if he was like an ordinary child, then even if I were to die of exhaustion, I would still bring him up. However, I am afraid, if some day……Dongdong is our only hope. I cannot let Dongdong walk Yangyang’s path.” Father’s state of mind was also agitated.
I pulled myself up from the ground and thrashed the pail into the fish pond. After a while, the fishes in the fish pond came swimming. A four-five jin grass carp, at last, swam towards me. I guided it gently and it obediently went into the pail. I pulled up the pail to the shore and whilst holding the fish dumped the remaining water in the pail back into the fish pond before throwing the fish back into the pail. Throughout the entire process, the grass carp didn’t struggle.
I entered the house holding the fish. At that time, the house was very peaceful. I could only hear Mother chatting with Teacher Lin in the kitchen, that too only some day-to-day matters. Both parties were strangers after all without any topics to talk about.
Grandpa was sitting on a small backless stool smoking, while Father was also silently smoking his filtered cigarette.
Seeing me enter while holding the pail, Father stood up. When he saw the fish in the pail, he was quite startled: “Yangyang, did you catch this fish from our fish pond?”
I nodded, “En.”
“Yangyang, return this fish back to the pond. This fish is not for them to eat.” Grandpa snorted.
Mother came from the kitchen and said with a smile: “Yangyang, your Grandpa and Father are in the middle of an argument. Come with your Mother into the kitchen. Teacher Lin was just now praising your intelligence.”
Mother seeing the big fish in the pail in my hand was also very startled: “Yangyang, tell Mother, how did you manage to catch this fish?”
“Our fishes are quite stupid. I just lower the pail into the pond and they enter it by themselves.” I said.
Mother thought I was joking so she pinched my cheek and brought me along with the pail into her arms as she walked towards the kitchen.
“Son, Father and Mother didn’t come back for so many years. Do you hate your Father and Mother?” Mother felt somewhat sad as she spoke.
“No, I only missed you a lot. Even missed you in my dreams.” Actually, that was a very old thing. Ever since past half a year or so, I have rarely had such dreams.
Mother hugged me and forcefully kissed me on my cheeks and brought her hand to hug me tightly as if afraid of losing me: “Son, you must not blame your Father and Mother for being heartless. Must not blame……”
I felt some wetness on my face. Only then did I discover that my mother was crying incessantly. Don’t know why, but I also felt my heart ache.
Teacher Lin decided to return home the next day: “Your parents have returned. I also feel relieved. Later if there’s anything, you can just call Teacher Lin, or even write a letter. No matter where Teacher Lin is, I will always keep in touch.”
I went along with Father to the town to transfer money, while at the same time accompany Teacher Lin to the bus stop. Seeing Teacher Lin board the bus, I started bawling for some reason unbeknownst to me. I could feel a deep pain in my heart.
[TLNote: Can I just say that these last few paras or rather this whole chapter was really difficult for me to translate? I mean I knew this was coming but not like this.]