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19. Old Love Letter



  There are some things that are obviously worthless to us, but we don’t want to throw them away, and when they are lost, we can’t help but be anxious for them.

  Those things are getting older and older as day passed, so we become worried to touch them, thinking that they might turn to dust with a single touch.

  So we packed them in boxes, put in the corner, and whenever we remember them, we will open the box and review all the memories, the separation and the loving moments, like playing a movie……








  An old lady, stood in the bar with her crutches and scolded the young man while taking out a yellowing paper and shaking it in front of him, “This is what the old man wrote to me, I will read it to you. Oops! I took the wrong one, it’s the electricity bill.”

  Do you know how to speak?

  There are two kinds of style of speaking. The first kind of style refers to those people who judge the situation, divide it into categories, and say what the other person like to hear, such as Cai Congyong. The second kind of style refers to those people who talks like shooting AK47, but not a single word is tolerable, such as Hu Yan.

  Hu Yan is one of the most maverick of my friends, he doesn’t have much presence among us but his mouth is like a nuclear bomb. Whenever he speaks, people’s face blows with a loud, “bang”.

  A buddy of mine was cheated by his girlfriend, his girlfriend took the diamond ring he gave her and ran away with other guy. So we all friends gathered in a KTV to comfort him, we were afraid that he would be down so someone said, “This heartbroken love will become nothing but a memory.” When he finished speaking, Hu Yan’s voice came from the corner, “This love will become his memory of being cheated by a bitch and becoming a big fool.”

  Everyone became silent after hearing him, there was no sound in the box. Although everyone seemed expressionless, I could hear the howling laughter in their hearts with hahahahaha.

  Another buddy of mine got married, the groom’s party rushed into the bride’s room, the last hurdle was to find a shoe of the bride*. A group of men went through all the room but they couldn’t find anything, which made them sweating anxiously.


[T/N: this sentence means the game played on a wedding ceremony of many Asian countries. The game is played just for fun and the winner party will demand any amount they like to the loser party. At least in my country, feel free to comment if I’m wrong.]

  Hu Yan paced for a while and said with a frown: “It’s really well hidden. These ugly girls really know how to hide things. As soon as I saw them, I want to vomit. They can’t do anything better than being ugly and hiding things. The otters are ugly but at least they don’t trouble people and pass their day by eating and sleeping. Sea horses like to hide things but at least they don’t hide it like hiding in a pit. They are lucky that we aren’t breaking the marriage. Why don’t the country issues a “shoot the ugly law”? At least remake the “Marriage Protection Act” law. People say that some women are superficially good if you are good to them, but it seems that not getting married with these kinds of women for the rest of my life is a better choice.”

  He just finished speaking, when a small girl cried out with “wuwu” and crawled under the bottom of the bed, took the shoe from the bed frame and threw it at him before bawling and running away.

  Everyone looked at each other in dumbly before cheering furiously. The groom wiped his sweat and gratefully handed a glass of wine to Hu Yan.

  ”Thanks a lot buddy, thanks to you today, please say a few words!”

  I screamed from the periphery: “No!”

  Although I tried to stop him, I was too late, Hu Yan raised his glass of wine and said excitedly, “Today, let’s drink and celebrate as much as we want because from tomorrow, you will be the ship sinking at the bottom of the sea.”

Everyone turned quite again.

****

  To stop his atom bomb like mouth, I advised him to learn from Tsai Kang-yong*, so he watched a few episodes of “Kang Xi Coming*” and said to me.

[T/N: A host writer of Taiwaneese TV show. His name is Kevin Tai.]

[T/N: A popular TV show hosted by Kevin Tai.]

  ”Hahahahahahaha He is so funny, like a piece of tripe living and jumping, more shameless than me.”

  How the hell could tripe be shameless?

  Hu Yan’s mouth was terrible, but he had filial piety and righteousness. His father died a long time ago and his mother was almost seventy, so she dependent on him a lot. The old lady was hale and hearty Jiaxing* people, every now and then would pack dumplings for us to eat. There were many type of dumplings on Internet called sweet dumpling, salty dumpling, and whatnot, but they are actually just stuffed rice. Only dumpling from Jiaxing could be called real dumplings. The dumplings that his old mother sent were great, we would fight with each other to the last piece.


[T/N: A city in a province of China.]

  One day at dusk Hu Yan called me in a hurry and asked me to go to his house. He himself worked overtime and could not go, and the old lady was home alone. Thinking that something must have happened to her, I arrived at his house being out of breath. But when I entered, I saw Hu Yan was sitting in the living room with three old ladies around the mahjong table, and looking at me with anticipation.

  I was speechless, but I thought since I came here, then let’s play a few rounds. The result was that the old ladies’ gang was very smart. I tried hard but failed in the end and couldn’t help but groan in frustration. When the rest of the two ladies left, the old lady suddenly asked me.

  ”Xiao Zhang, did Hu Yan broke up with his girlfriend?”

  I was stunned but still replied, “I don’t know anything about it.”

  The old lady stared at me for a while before saying “I will send you two dumplings, now you hurry up and speak.”

  Getting a reward, I didn’t think of keeping my mouth shut and said, “Oh that girl lives in Changsha. The distance between them is too far, so they didn’t thought of keeping the relationship. That’s all I know.”

  The old lady squinted her eyes and said, “You know a fart, it must be Hu Yan’s mouth is too smelly*.”

[T/N: Terrible.]

  I agreed with her, “We can’t rule out this reason too.”

  The old lady patted her thighs in regret as she sighed, “Oh, I didn’t even have the chance to see her, that brat lost such a good girl.”

  I sweated like a waterfall sitting beside her.

  Hu Yan at that moment pushed the door and shouted, “Mom, what are you talking about?”

  The old lady also shouted, “Where is my daughter-in-law?”

  Hu Yan started to sweat: “She is an only child of her parents and they are also old. She doesn’t want to stay in the city, so she went back to Changsha to her parents.”

  The old lady was furious: “Then you should have followed her to Changsha ah.”

  Hu Yan asked with a puzzled look, “If I went with her, what about you then?”

  The old lady waved her hand carelessly and said, “I’ll stay here, Xiao Zhang will serve me on his knees every day.”

  My legs buckled at her careless words.

  In the end, Hu Yan dragged me with him and we ran after coming out the house. After running for a while, I lied down on the ground paralyzed for all the running and cried out, “Where are my dumplings? Where are they?”

  I couldn’t get my desired dumplings, so the two of us went to our buddy Guan Chun’s bar to bullshit. I could understand the reason why Hu Yan’s mother didn’t want to leave Nanjing. She had been living in this city for more than thirty years, she had a lot of friends of her age who she plays cards with, walks on the park while chatting. The old people are like this, once they establish a friend circle, they wouldn’t be able to leave them. It would be difficult for them to built another circle, in the end they would be lonely.

  We just arrived on the bar when Guan Chun led an old lady, Hu Yan’s mother in, who was crying and saying, “Hu Yan, it’s not that I don’t want to go with you. Look, I even came to coax you.”

  Hu Yan was furious: “Bullshit, you’re still carrying the dumplings in your hand! You came here for Xiao Zhang!”

  The old lady, leaning on her cane, slapped the table and said, “Shut up!”

  The whole bar became silent, everyone shut up, even the singer also jumped and stopped singing while turning off the sound.

  The old lady said loudly, as if saying everyone present on the bar not only her son, “I especially despise you young people. You are already 30 years old, you still chatter about the life is too plain and simple. Do you even deserve it? I went to the mountains to the countryside and saw how the youth there suffered in famine, which you can not experience or imagine. But look at you, you are safe and happy, playing around all day, do you think any good-hearted girl will come to you if play cool? An old monk said ‘To see a mountain, you have to go to the mountain’*, but you don’t want to go to the mountain and still want to see it? Why don’t you take advantage of the young legs and go? Go to the mountain, see the vast sea, do you think Buddha will come to take you there? My words might be bitter to hear but I can’t tolerate it anymore seeing you too lazy and afraid to face any hardship. You dog don’t dare to face the world and you still want women to come to you? Now you are putting the blame on me! Smelly brat!”

[T/N: To understand a situation, you have to experience it.]

  She waved her cane, almost hitting Hu Yan’s head as she asked us, “I’ve never even met his girlfriend, have any of you?”

  Most of the people in the bar nodded their heads like pounding garlic.

  The old lady said with a sigh, the anger still remaining on her tone, “I can’t help it, although I don’t know anything, but when I see others suffering, I can’t help but slap them on the face to wake them up. Those who only know to hide in the corner and put two arrows to say that they are pretentious are cheap. Yuck, they make me want to vomit. They can’t do anything all day except for calculating against others. Spent all their hard earned money and when they suffer any loses, they blame others. How can you young people be like this? You don’t even know how to fight but you still look down on soilders when they make a mistake? Do you have the gut to talk? Then talk. Go to Chengsha and ask her hand in marriage to her parents.”

  The old lady took out a yellowing piece of paper and said aloud while shaking it in front of us, “This is what my old man wrote to me, I’ll read it to you.” She opened it and suddenly said, “Oops! I got the wrong one, this is the electricity bill. Xiao Zhang you like to write, you temporary make a piece of love letter.”

  I hurriedly recited on the spot: “I believe in youth, the older the age, the deeper love, so you must love. You have the courage to sacrifice, so die or live, you must come. From the low valley to the top of the mountain, you will find the cloudy courtyard. One day, when your feet will be full of mountains terraces, you will find the peace you’ve been waiting for. If you want the peace to remaim, you have to leave the skeleton of past behind and pass by 10,000 scenes of beauty.”

  The old lady slapped me and said, “You are saying skeletons in front of a seventy-year-old woman? Roll.”

  She looked at Hu Yan quietly and said, “A few months ago, you talked to her over the phone when I heard you. You persuaded her to stay in Nanjing and not go to Changsha. You even cried while persuading her. I really wanted to rush and beat you at that time. Crying for what ah? The girl is so good, she abandoned you for the sake of her parents and you still didn’t chase her? And from that day onwards, you stay out every night excusing it as overtime. Are you a coward? You are doing this because you didn’t want to come home and think about her, right?”

  The old lady sighed, her voice becoming gentler, “I’m getting old, I wanted you to get married and wrap dumplings every day for you two to eat and leave when you get tired of eating. You are my son, I’m not afraid you will choose the wrong path but wrong home. As your mother, I wouldn’t able to die in peace if you aren’t happy.”

  She finished while wiping her tears and walked away with her head held high. Guan Chun hurried to see her off.

  I looked back and found that everyone in the bar had tears in their eyes.

  I suddenly understood where Hu Yan’s language skills came from, his mother isn’t far behind from him, this is definitely genetic ah.

  Later, Hu Yan still didn’t go to Changsha. The old lady was so angry that she didn’t talk to him for days, she also didn’t play mahjong with her friends. She called me to teach her how to use the Internet for something. After that, she went somewhere without telling anything to her son.

  When the old lady came back, she gave Hu Yan a stink look and was ready to get well and continue to running wherever she wanted. Half a month later, she suddenly had a heart attack, fortunately she was taken to the hospital in time and had a bypass surgery. Our group of buddies took turns in keeping an eye on her, the old lady’s eyes were closed and couldn’t utter a word.

  One day, while Hu Yan was in guard, he fell asleep beside his mother’s bed. I just came in with a plastic bag and wanted to take Hu Yan’s place on the shift.

  The old lady suddenly spoke with difficultly, “Yueyue, Hu Yan is a good boy.”

  I couldn’t stop the tears that fell from my eyes.

  Yueyue was HuYan’s girlfriend, who went to Changsha. The old lady was probably talking in her sleep.

  How did the old lady know her name?

  The fact, the mother knows everything is really true.

  Later, the old lady couldn’t have the operation and had a second heart attack, but this time, she was not resuscitated.

  Hu Yan became silent and stopped speaking.

  On the day of the first seven days, everyone was at Hu Yan’s house. At eleven o’clock in the morning, the front door was pushed open and a girl rushed in, her make-up messed up as she shouted at us, “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

  She cried as she knelt in front of the old lady’s photo and said, “Auntie talked to my parents, they said I should stay in Nanjing. They were relieved seeing Hu Yan has such a good mother.”

  We were dumbfounded and speechless, unsure of what had happened.

  The girl’s name is Yueyue and she worked in Changsha, but she is now in Nanjing.

  Yueyue was crying so hard she couldn’t breathe. She looked at the old lady’s photo in front of her, who was smiling at everyone.

  I received a phone call at noon that day, the day Hu Yan’s mother died, it was Yueyue who called me. She asked me how Hu Yan’s mother was doing. I said why don’t you ask Hu Yan, she said his phone was switched off. I didn’t dare to talk nonsense, so I asked, “Why are you looking for her?”

  Yueyue told me that the old lady actually went Changsha alone. That day she was working, the old lady suddenly ran to the counter and deposited 200,000 and asked her how can she deposit it. Yueyue explained the whole process but she was puzzled when the old lady asked her how would she get promoted. Yueyue still explained that you have to pull in a certain number of deposits every year to get promoted.

 
  The old lady muttered, “Yueyue, get promoted quickly and make that jerk Hu Yan regret it.”

  Only then did Yueyue understand that she had run into Hu Yan’s mother. She hurriedly took half a day off and took the old lady to dinner.

  The old lady asked, “Yueyue do you like Hu Yan?”

  Yueyue cried and said she liked HuYan very much, but her parents were not well and she was relieved to stay in Changsha. She was sorry to let the him down.

  The old lady smiled and said, “Then you stay in Changsha and get promoted quickly so that when Hu Yan comes to Changsha, he couldn’t bully you.”

  Yueyue asked in surprise, “Hu Yan is willing to come to Changsha?”

  The old lady nodded and said, “He will come, I’m just coming over to familiarize myself with the environment. When the time comes, I will come and stay for a while, and then I will go back to Nanjing when you have settled down.”

  The old lady stayed in Changsha for three days, making dumplings for Yueyue to eat.

  Later, when Yueyue sent her off, she found that the old lady was staying in a very cheap hotel, with some vegetables and rice piled up on the table with a cheapest rice cooker on the table.

  I then realized that the reason why the old lady learned to read Internet on the computer. She wanted to find Yueyue ah. When I realized this, I couldn’t stop my tears and said, “Yueyue, come to Nanjing, aunt has passed away.”

  Yueyue kneeled in front of the photo, took out a dumpling and said while crying, “Auntie, the dumplings are delicious, I didn’t want to eat them all, so I left one in the refrigerator. Today when I brought it out, I saw it got rotten. Auntie I’m sorry……”

  We all sobbed with her.

  After a year, Hu Yan and Yueyue got married. That day there was no big banquet, and the guests were only the friends. Yueyue’s parents also came from Changsha without any other relatives.

  Yueyue was wearing a wedding dress and looked incredibly beautiful.

  However, she has been crying since she entered the venue.

  Hu Yan’s suit was straight, holding Yueyue, he took out a yellowed piece of paper and read it carefully. The letter was only a few short sentences, but he was being interrupted by his own sobbing.

  Dear Liu Xue*, I have applied to the leadership for a transfer to Nanjing but they didn’t agree. So I resigned. Now I’m thinking of transferring to Nanjing, what do you?

[T/N: Hu Yan’s mother’s name.]

  Please be prepared to receive me in Nanjing.

  Dear Liu Xue, I’m not much of a talker but I have a message from my heart to tell you.

  I want to live with you forever.

  A scene comes to the mind of all the friends.

 An old lady, stood in the bar with her crutches and scolded the young man while taking out a yellowing paper and shaking in front of him, “This is what the old man wrote to me, I will read it to you. Oops! I took the wrong one, it’s the electricity bill.”


We couldn’t help but wonder, was it really the electricity bill recipient?







T/N: Sorry for the late and rushed chapter.

 

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/angrybird


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