This two- week excursion was finally coming to an end. On the last day, we all got together for one final dinner.
The cook excelled himself and made a full fish feast for us. Steamed fish, stewed fish, grilled fish, fish head soup… all of these were on the table. When I looked at the delicious food on the table, I immediately forgot all my feelings of disappointment.
Miss Fourth was also a foodie. In her eagerness, she accidentally got a fishbone stuck in her throat. These fishbones were hard, and it was very difficult for her to swallow. When we were all panicking, Lu Zijian, with the aid of a flashlight, calmly reached down her throat with two fingers. In a low voice, he assured her , “ Don’t be nervous…!”
Li’l second came to me and whispered, “ Lu Zijian is so cool..”
I was speechless.
In the next moment, Lu Zijian pulled out a fish bone with his fingers. It was approximately two centimetres in length. Everyone was shocked at his skill. I was the only one who was looking at the whole event with silent sadness… this was the nth time that Lu Zijian as a hero saved the beauty. But the beauty was once again not me.
While every one was eating, Lu Zijian carefully deboned a piece of fish and placed it in the dish of Miss Fourth
I was saddened so much that I no longer felt anything
The next day, all of us packed our stuff. The two brothers went straight to the train station while the others went to the bus terminus. Miss Fourth was taking the flight to B city. Lu Zijian chose a silly reason to accompany her to B city.
As I looked at Lu Zijian and Miss Fourth in the car and waved good bye to them, my heart hurt tremendously. Suddenly, Miss Fourth got down from the car and came running to me. I thought she was going to really miss me and wanted to hug me. But as I bent forward to hug her, she grabbed my collar and pulled me close to her. In my ear, she whispered, “You better let go the idea of Lu Zijian. Otherwise I will kill you!”
I was so shocked that cold sweat flowed down in two rivulets to her shoulder.
After Miss fourth and Lu Zijian left, Zhong Yuan and I were the only ones left for the ride to the interstate bus terminus. I scratched my head and looked at Zhong Yuan in surprise. This guy was supposed to fly to Shanghai in the evening, I thought he was going to be in the same car with Lu Zijian. But he refused to go with them and I had no idea why. Zhong Yuan was neither shy nor sensitive, so everyone knew that he would never forgo the taxi just because he would was worried about being a third wheel between the two of them.
Zhong Yuan looked at me and smiled, “ Suddenly, I feel like travelling.”
I scratched my head, “ Travel? Where are you going?”
Zhong yuan said, “ I am tired of going to touristy places. I want to go to the countryside and enjoy nature in all its untainted glory.’
“Oh ok, good bye”.I held up my ticket and started to look around for the bus I was supposed to take. Where Zhong Yuan was going had nothing to do with me after all.
But I heard him muttering to himself , “ I have no idea how much a hotel in the countryside costs. How much do you think it would be per day ?“
My ears perked up, “ Where are you planning to go?”
Zhong Yuan shook his head with a blank look.
This time I said, “ This year, farmhouses are the in thing. Hotels in the country are too expensive. What’s your budget?”
Zhong Yuan put up two fingers.
“ Twenty? “ I asked, my arms over my waist, “ Are you dreaming?”
Zhong Yuan smiled,” Two hundred”.
I was speechless.
Zhong Yuan continued, “ So can you recommend somewhere nice?”
I grabbed his wrist and confidently said, “ Just follow me!”
Miumiu – ha ha I love how she falls in his trap. I know someone commented on NU that she hated the female lead as she seems so dumb and is always swayed by ZY when he flashes his money. But to me, she isn’t dumb. After all, she did get admitted to one of the prestigious universities. She is just wary of relationships and playing dumb. What do you guys think?
But soon I regretted bringing Zhong Yuan to my house. Truthfully, although in my opinion, our village was the prettiest, but I was surely biased. Zhong Yuan was a well-travelled tourist. How much of the simple beauty of the village would he really appreciate? Of course, I was’nt really concerned about his likes and dislikes. I was just worried about his money. He was not going to pay me if he was not satisfied.
So I decide to be a bad person. Before we even got off the bus, I stretched out my palm to him, “ Give me one week’s money as advance.”
Zhong Yuan looked at his wallet, “ I only have a thousand yuan. Will you accept a card?”
“ That’s ok. Just give me a thousand since we are friends.”
Zhong Yuan handed over the money and smiled at me, “ Is that so?”
My guilty conscience meant I could not meet his eyes. My career prospects as a bad person were already withering away!
My dad knew that I was coming back today. He did not go to Zhang Sanye’s house to the east of the village. Instead, he was sitting alone under the big poplar tree near our house. When Zhong Yuan and I reached , he waved the fan in his hand rapidly and stared at us. His eyes moved back and forth between me and Zhong Yuan for a long time. Finally, he said, “ Kiddo, is this my son-in-law?
I was speechless.
Sometimes my dad had these terrible brain freezes, although he was normal most of the time. At this moment, I wiped my sweat and said to him, “ Dad, this person will just stay with us temporarily. You don’t need to worry about it.”
Zhong Yuan had already stepped forward. He bowed his head to my dad with respect and said, “ Uncle.” In every way, he was behaving like a good primary school student.
This made my dad so happy he could not stop smiling. This was too much for Zhong Yuan. I suspected he must have read Passerby’s ‘Complete X manual’ and must have been very familiar with it. I ignored the small interactions between them and dragged the suitcase to the front yard.
The house that my dad and I lived in now was very luxurious, but this was not our home. My father had a close friend who had set up his own business. In the last few years, he had made a fortune in business and built this house. The house was well decorated. After staying here for a few days, the family bought a villa in the nearby town and moved there.This house was empty. Since they were close friends, uncle and my father shared everything except their wives. So he strongly urged my father to move in. This is what led us to finally abandon the two huts that were so old they could be categorised as cultural relics.
Actually, my dad had led a very unlucky life. It’s just that he was surrounded by noble and generous friends.
My dad used to be a mason when he was younger. Once, while building a house, he fell off the construction frame and broke his arm. This meant he could not work for a long time. There was no insurance at that time, nor did he have a permanent contract, so he was left with no earnings as he recovered. Later, my dad’s wife, not my mother, felt that he had no future. She eloped with the son of the barber. While leaving, they robbed my dad of all the money and valuables in the house, But this was still not the lowest point in his life. He was a simple man, able to support himself; a bachelor who would not go hungry. The unluckiest thing that happened to him was when God threw an unwanted child to him, one that added unnecessary complexity and responsibility to his life.
That little unwanted child happened to be me.
It looked like my father and I were really destined to meet. One day, nineteen years ago, my father was working in the field. Suddenly, there was a violent wind, followed by lightning and thunder, then heavy rain. The sky had turned pitch black and a person could not even see his own fingers. My dad had seen ‘ Journey to the West’ a dozen times. Thinking that monsters were going to descend to earth, he dragged the hoe and started running home. And this is when a miracle happened. In such heavy rain and thunder, it was impossible to hear the mewling cry of an infant. But my dad did. And he discovered me by the road side.
He took this unlucky child home. That child was me.
My dad never even picked up money from the street, but he decided to keep this child with him. He did not report me to the police, instead, deciding to rear me as his own biological daughter. People say that my father was very happy the day he found me. Once home, he cooked a few dishes and called a few of his close friends home to celebrate. Someone asked him what he would name the little baby. He was eating mushrooms at that time. So he waved his big hand and decided to name me Mu.
So that was my story. I dare not call it as legendary, but it was miraculous. Even the monkey king Sun Wu Kong knew that he had emerged out of a stone. But I had no clue where I came from.
Ok, my mind had wandered off quite a bit. Coming back to the present, I saw that my dad had led Zhong Yuan to the house. Very uncharacteristically, Zhong Yuan was being extra sweet with every sentence starting with ‘ Uncle this’ and ‘uncle that’.
His room was next to mine. After we settled down, my dad started chatting with Zhong Yuan in the living room. I sat on the small bench and ate watermelon and watched TV.
Zhong Yuan pulled a large satin box from his suitcase and handed it to my dad. “Uncle, I am meeting you for the first time, I don’t know what to give you. This is just a small gift, I hope you will like it.”
My dad took the box with a smile. He praised Zhong Yuan for being so polite and well behaved.
I was completely taken aback and pulled Zhong Yuan aside, “Hey, why are you giving my dad a gift?”
Zhong Yuan replied blankly, “ I am trying to establish a relationship with uncle.”
I warned him, “ Don’t think you don’t need to pay for the food and accommodation if you give my dad a gift.”
Zhong Yuan frowned, “ Mu er, do you like money so much?”
I blushed, “ It’s just a matter of principle.”
Zhong Yuan continued, “ If someone gives you two million, will you marry him?”
I yelled at him, “ Do I look like I am that kind of a person? And anyway my dad has forbidden me to marry a rich guy.”
Zhong Yuan looked at me in astonishment, “ Why?”
Just as I started answering, I spotted my dad looking curiously at us. It was impolite to leave the old man all alone. So I pulled Zhong Yuan back. I knelt beside my dad and opened the box. There were two walnuts lying inside looking like two gems. I took the walnuts out and stroked them, making sure they were indeed walnuts.I sighed in relief. I was sure these two walnuts were not very expensive, so they could not be redeemed against food and accommodation expenses.
Of course, my dad was someone who was well aware of antiques and knew how valuable they were. At that time, he was glad I did not throw them away.
Thanks to Zhong Yuan, my dad did not go to Zhang Sanye’s house for a whole afternoon. My dad isn’t normally a boastful person, but he liked to talk about me ever since I had made it to a good university.Of course, I knew about this through my aunt. ( Zhang Sanye’s wife) Today , as he held the two walnuts that Zhong Yuan gave him, he was very excited. He immediately went to Zhang Sanye’s house. I was very worried that he would tell them his son in law had gifted him these.
After my dad left, Zhang Xu, who was just a few months older to me, came to our house to chat. Actually there was a story between Zhang Xu and me. From elementary school, we had always been classmates. Usually, he would be the squad leader while I would be a member of the study committee. When I was in high school, I did not study hard as I was not interested. So he always ended up as the squad leader.
Then something happened and we were no longer as close as we were earlier. Today, he had apparently come home to chat but hardly spoke to me. After some time, he left. After he left, Zhong Yuan looked at his back and asked me , “ Is he your childhood sweetheart?”