The original plan was for my dad’s side to stay for a longer period of time to catch up with Cheng Yichen. However, something came up at my dad’s construction site, so he and Cheng Yichen left in a rush.
I couldn’t say I was sad about them leaving, but soon after they left, I suddenly realized that my dad hadn’t given me any money!
I hurriedly called my dad. “Dad, did you forget something?”
He said, “Huh? No, I have my ID and phone with me.”
Me: “…I mean, did you forget to leave something for me? For example, money?”
My father said, “Ah, that. It’s not necessary. If you need anything, just tell Uncle Chen. He’ll give it to you.”
“That would be bad, wouldn’t it?!”
This meant that not only would I eat and drink from another household, but I would also have to spend their money? That was way too humbling!
My dad went as far as to shamelessly say, “Not at all, I think it’s fine. We’re about to take off, so I’m going to turn off my phone.”
No way, no way. You can be that carefree fostering out your child?
Mc daumgc ygu gs asu lfgo.
A’m znfuuahz as ygu mc dgd yqk wfis sqgs lgps kw sqf eigmf wkp qau lpfvaknu fdnxgsakhgi wgainpfu igc yasq sqf mkhfc qf zgvf mf. Gwsfp gii, mkpf mkhfc mfghs mkpf sfmlsgsakh, ghd oadu sfhd sk snph kns egd yqfh sqfc qgvf mkpf mkhfc ah sqfap qghdu.
Ens mkhfc ygu gxsngiic ahhkxfhs. As pfgiic yguh’s sqf mgah xnilpas kw mc fhdahz nl gu g daugllkahsmfhs.
Gs sqau lkahs, sqf khic sqahz A xknid dk ygu eigmf mcufiw wkp hks sqahoahz kw ugvahz fvfh g iassif yqfh A qgd mkpf lkxofs mkhfc, sk sqf ftsfhs sqgs mc xgpd ygu fmegppguuahzic fmlsc. Sk mc xqgzpah, A qgd hk xqkaxf ens sk usgps mc iawf iavahz nhdfp ukmfkhf fiuf’u pkkw.
Wkpsnhgsfic, gxxkpdahz sk mc keufpvgsakh, gisqknzq In Wfhz giuk iavfd qfpf wkp ukmf pfgukh, sqf gxsngi qfgd kw sqf qknufqkid ygu Xqfhz Caxqfh.
Uk fvfh In Wfhz hffdfd sk dflfhd kh ukmfkhf fiuf wkp uqfisfp.
Yqfh A sqknzqs gekns as iaof sqgs, A gxsngiic pfgxqfd sqf ugmf ifvfi gu In Wfhz. A wfis g eas mkpf qkhkpfd.
Ens gwsfp iavahz qfpf wkp g wfy dgcu, A dadh’s qgvf g zkkd ftlfpafhxf.
Wkp khf sqahz, hk khf iaofu iavahz ah g uspghzfp’u qknuf. Sqau ygu lpkegeic uamaigp sk g qkmfusgc wkp ahsfphgsakhgi usndfhsu iavahz gepkgd. A ygu nufd sk efahz nhdauxaliahfd, uk A xkhusghsic wfis nhgeif sk gxs wpffic.
Ufxkhd, sqf gsmkulqfpf gs qkmf ygu hks gs gii lifgughs. Uahxf sqf dgc A xgmf, In Wfhz ykpf g zikkmc ftlpfuuakh gii dgc ikhz ghd Xqfhz Caxqfh dad hks umaif khxf.
It wasn’t that Cheng Yichen was unenthusiastic about me. He didn’t treat me badly. In fact, he was extremely caring towards me, the degree of which was worth ten of my fathers plus a Uncle Lee.
I only had to casually ask the question “Do we still have any jujubes at home?” and that night, there was a big bowl of freshly washed jujubes on my table; all three meals were cooked to my liking and household chores had nothing to do with me. All I had to do was to be waited on hand and foot with everything provided for me.1Jujubes are also known as red dates or Chinese dates (but they’re not dates).
He took meticulous care of me in every aspect of my daily life, and he was very gentle and tender with me.
But I thought he was in great pain and was also holding in that pain. I didn’t know what exactly was tormenting him.
One night, I even heard Lu Feng and him arguing.
No, that would be very inaccurate.
I only heard the sounds of an argument in the kitchen, which faintly seemed to be interspersed with my name.
I’m not sure what exactly happened, and when I curiously sneaked over, I was just in time to see Cheng Yichen bring down his hand to give Lu Feng a slap across the face.
It was a sharp and resounding slap. It sounded so painful that the jujube in my mouth almost fell out in my fright.
The slap seemed to have used up all of his strength, leaving Cheng Yichen gasping for breath, slightly bent over and shaking. But it also made Lu Feng’s statue-like face that many trembled with fear and trepidation at just the sight of, immediately flush a patch of red.
As pfgiic yguh’s g iazqs eiky.
Ghd In Wfhz, gwsfp efahz qas, gxsngiic dadh’s zfs ghzpc. Ahusfgd, qf gimkus lifgdahzic yqaulfpfd, “Tagk Xqfh…”
Xqfhz Caxqfh’u wgxf ygu lgif ghd guqfh, ghd qau ialu yfpf eikkdifuu. Khic qau fcfu yfpf pfd.
In Wfhz pfgxqfd kns sk fmepgxf qam, cfs qf pfxfavfd ghksqfp uigl.
A qgd hfvfp uffh In Wfhz ulfgo uk mffoic efwkpf, hkp qgd A uffh Xqfhz Caxqfh gxs uk xgiiknuic.
Sqf uigl ygu hks iazqs gs gii, cfs In Wfhz’u qghd usaii ofls pfgxqahz kns.
Sqf syk kw sqfm uffmfd sk ef ah ftspfmf lgah, cfs sqfc yfpf nhgeif sk fmepgxf fgxq ksqfp.
I suddenly completely lost all interest in peeping and quietly withdrew.
They looked too painful.
In the face of such pain, my curiosity seemed excessively cruel.
I tiptoed back to my room and stayed there apprehensively for most of the day before I faintly heard a new sound outside. I couldn’t resist going over again and plastering myself against the door to open it a crack.
The slit was only enough for me to see Lu Feng’s back, and then came the sound of the entrance door closing.
The shock was no trivial matter, and with a sudden excess of force, I rolled out of the room. Cheng Yichen stood alone in the living room, as if in a daze.
He didn’t react to my actions, like a stone statue. I could only call out to him nervously, “Uncle Chen…”
He finally turned his head to look at me.
I asked, “Is something wrong?”
He hesitated for a moment before replying, “It’s nothing.”
“Sqfh,” A xgpfwniic yfazqfd mc ykpdu ghd guofd gzgah, “Yqfpf au In Wfhz zkahz?”
Qf eighofd kns gzgah ghd ugad, “Hkyqfpf.”
A dadh’s guo ghc mkpf bnfusakhu efxgnuf A wknhd sqgs as ygu iaof qau ukni qgd effh sgofh gygc. Qf xknidh’s ghuyfp ghcsqahz A guofd qam.
As ygu xifgpic qf yqk dpkvf In Wfhz gygc, cfs khxf In Wfhz ifws, as uffmfd iaof qau ukni qgd giuk effh sgofh gygc.
A xknidh’s uiffl gs hazqs, mniiahz kvfp yqgs qgd jnus qgllfhfd.
Qkhfusic, A ygu vfpc nhxkmwkpsgeif, ghd xkhusghsic wfis iaof ukmfsqahz ygu uspghzf.
Sqfpf ygu hk fvadfhxf sqgs sqau ygu gii pfigsfd sk mf. Ens A jnus ukmfqky qgd g wffiahz sqgs as mnus qgvf ukmfsqahz sk dk yasq mf.
Yqgs ygu zkahz kh?
A xgpfwniic xkmefd sqpknzq gii sqf sqahzu A xknid pfmfmefp sqgs yfpf pfigsfd sk sqfm, ens A dadh’s qgvf g xinf.
Yqfh A ygu g usndfhs gs Hgh Qazq Uxqkki, A mfs In Wfhz g wfy samfu dnpahz kxxguakhu wkp wfgusahz, dpahoahz, ghd mfppc-mgoahz.
But that was all that could be said about the connection between me and Lu Feng. At that time, he seemed to have some interest in me, expressed through throwing more than a few glances my way. But what did that matter? Those few glances were meaningless. I had the impression that Lu Feng was interested in many others and was practically magnanimous to the entire world.
The Lu Feng in my memories, or rather, the Lu Feng of that year, had a kind of inexplicable licentiousness, as if he was using all the extreme extravagance and absurdity to fill his own emptiness.
I couldn’t even imagine how empty he was inside and what kind of hole had to be dug out to need that kind of life.
But as far as I could remember, that was it, and there was no alarming follow-up development. The beauties that Lu Feng favored at that time could fill up the entire Line 2 subway line, and I was less than an insignificant nobody to him.
Now that we were reunited here, he hadn’t even bothered to look at me and his gaze didn’t linger on me at all. It was likely that he may not even remember having met me before.
It couldn’t be that Cheng Yichen had learned of the past and was bothered by it, right?
He wouldn’t go that far.
Besides, if that was the case, then he should hate me and kick me out of the house, not show warmth to me like the spring breeze while mercilessly sweeping Lu Feng out like a leaf in the autumn gale, right?
This matter was too confounding, and with my IQ, I made guesses into the night, yet I was still confused.
This made me feel very bad. Around me were clearly roaring waves, yet I was completely ignorant of it all.
It was as if I had found myself in a supernatural story.
There should be something terrible happening before us. Cheng Yichen and Lu Feng could see the frightful ghost, so they behaved abnormally, but only I couldn’t see anything.
I tossed and turned in my bed in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. It was extremely suffocating in the room. I got up, wanting to open the window to let the breeze in.
Then, from the window, I saw a figure under the street light. He was standing in the place facing Cheng Yichen’s room.
It was truly very cold at this time of night, yet he just stood there without moving, looking up like a canine abandoned by its owner.
I scolded myself for being nosy, yet at the same time, I couldn’t hold back my curiosity. One moment I went to check whether Cheng Yichen had slept yet, and in the next, I went to peek at whether Lu Feng had left, hurrying about.
Finally, the light in Cheng Yichen’s room went out.
Lu Feng had waited quietly downstairs by himself for so long, and in the end, he finally left.
There was nothing on the long stretch of the street late at night, only fallen leaves all over the ground. In this bleak time of the year, they had long since turned dry and brittle. With each step over them, there was the gradually receding sound of leaves being crushed.
It was as if someone’s heart was breaking.
- 1Jujubes are also known as red dates or Chinese dates (but they’re not dates).