Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
Night talk (1)
Liu Qing laid down but she could not sleep despite the darkness.
On ordinary nights, Guo Sufei would tidy up around the house before going back to bed last. However that night, she had already gone to bed before the rest, and although the men did not pick up on these details, Liu Qing did not missed any of the signs, especially when Guo Sufei’s expression when she left the grandmother’s room. However, it was obviously not in her position to intervene, so she could only bear it in her heart.
Guo Sufei was tossing in the dark, and Liu Qing could occasionally hear some low weeping sounds. After a long time, Guo Sufei finally calmed down, and she asked softly “Qingqing, are you still awake?”
Liu Qing carefully said “I am still awake, auntie.”
Guo Sufei sighed, and apologized “Auntie is sorry to let you see me like that, I had some burdens in my heart.”
Liu Qing replied “Auntie, it is okay. Who would not feel stressed once in a while?”
It was then followed by another silence. Guo Sufei then asked “Qingqing, when did your mother leave you?”
Liu Qing thought for a while, and said ”From what my father said, she had a serious illness when I was four, and even after seeing several doctors, she did not get better. I had no recollections of her when she passed away.”
Guo Sufei said “Maybe having no recollections is a good thing, so you would not miss her too deeply.”
Liu Qing replied “That is true, auntie. My impression of my mother was fabricated from the stories my father shared with me. My dad said that she came from a well-to-do family, and at that time, my father’s family was facing some financial difficulties. However, my father’s scholarly pursuits attracted my mother, and despite her parent’s objection, my mother persisted in sticking with my father and eventually left her own home. Sigh, my grandfather was quite a heartless person, I still have no idea of where they are, and they have not come even once to visit us. Father was very knowledgeable, but he disliked the politics, and instead chose to live in the village as a teacher. My mother thus followed him into that life.”
After pausing for a moment, Liu Qing continued “My mother’s body was initially weak, so the doctor advised her not to have any children. However, mother still gave birth to my brother, and much of her vitality was lost in the process, which the doctor said would require several years to recover. When she was pregnant with me, my father persuaded my mother to give me up, but my mother said that since she was pregnant, then it was a gift from heavens and she was willing to give up everything for me. The delivery was very smooth but my mother still collapsed, and she never recovered until the day she passed away. Hence, I have always thought that if my mother had chosen to give me up instead, she would still be alive today.”
After speaking up to here, Liu Qing’s voice started to quiver.
Guo Sufei comforted her and said “Qingqing, when you become a mother, you will realize that a child means the world to any mother. Even though you were still in your mother’s womb, I am sure that you had already occupied all the space in her heart, and that she never considered giving you up. She probably had already planned to deliver you safely into this world by then.”
Liu Qing replied “Yes auntie. Sometimes, I would feel extremely grateful to my mother in my heart. Even though I have no recollection of her, she was able to give up her own happiness, leave her own family and even give up her life for us, which is why I feel that a mother’s love is so common yet noble. Although I have not been here for a long period, I enjoy the harmonious atmosphere in your household. Sometimes, I would feel envious when I see how Xiaohua and the rest rely on you.”
Guo Sufei said “Qingqing, I cannot be compared to your real mother. I have been living in this village since birth, and have not learnt the words or read any books, unlike your mother who is well-read and knows many things. When your uncle married into my family, my thoughts were since the both of us have to live together for the rest of our lives, then we should try to live harmoniously with mutual love and respect, otherwise, where would be the joy in life? Later on, I had Xiaolong, Xiaohu and Xiaohua, and as I saw them grow up, my heart felt proud and contented in a way which you will not understand. Because your uncle and I do not know many things, our children had to suffer and not receive a good education unlike you and your brother.”
Liu Qing said “Auntie’s words are too harsh. Even though we have read more books than Xiaolong and the rest, but on that day in the town when my cousin and I were bullied, where did all the learned men go, and who was it that stood up for me? It is still Xiaolong and the rest who still know morality, and would not cower under coercion to fight for justice. While some people are well read, they lack the courage to act, doesn’t that make them less than the men who are not as well read?”
Guo Sufei felt heartened as she said “Talking about them, I really do feel proud that they have such kind hearts and sensible minds. Even though they can be mischievous, they do not hurt anyone, and knowing our family’s financial situation, they do not cause any trouble. Since young, our fellow villagers have always praised them for their helpfulness. As their mother, I really can’t help but feel proud. Sometimes, I wonder if our family was more financially stable, would they still turn out this way?”
Liu Qing agreed “Yes, auntie. Sometimes, a person’s fate is decided by the heavens. While they have turned out to be good people in this environment, the same cannot be said if they grew up in a different environment.”
Then, Liu Qing noticed Guo Sufei’s spirits being recovered, and she asked “Auntie, it seems that you have not told me about what happened earlier. If it is troubling you inside, it may be better to get it out and share it with someone else.”
Guo Sufei laughed forcefully “Look at me, when talking about my children, I would be derailed from the topic easily. These children are truly inseparable from my life.”
Liu Qing did not carry on, so Guo Sufei continued “As a mother, I have always put my children s my priority, always caring if they are feeling warm or cold, if they are full or not, in doing so, I have forgotten about my own mother. When I was still a child, my mother would take care of me carefully, she has also seen me grow up and get married. Even though I still take care of her, prepare her lunch and make new clothes for her, we would seldom talk and I would ignore her feelings. Now, I feel that I should have treated her better.”
Liu Qing also felt anxious in her heart. Indeed, every mother under the sky would love their children, but the children themselves would often forget about their own mother. She comforted Guo Sufei, saying “Auntie, grandmother would also be happy as she watches you look after your own children. She does not mind that you neglect her feelings, instead, she will transfer the love she gave to you to her grandchildren. Furthermore, grandmother is still by your side, isn’t that better than me who has no mother to look after?”
Guo Sufei replied sadly “However, when you want to repay your mother and realize that you no longer have much time left to do so, wouldn’t you regret not realizing your mistake earlier?”
Liu Qing took a long sigh, and said “True, the parents will not wait for the child who wants to repay them. However, grandmother has lived for so long, and seen you form your own family, it can be said that she has led a fortunate life. Even though you had not directly looked after her feelings, you have still been taking care of her all these while. I believe that grandmother has never blamed you before.”
After a moment, Guo Sufei said “Qingqing, it feels good to have someone who has read and learnt to talk to. Hearing these words of yours, my heart has become less unsettled. Sometimes, we village folks will not be able to think through things as clearly as you. “
Liu Qing replied “Stop praising me like this, auntie, I am also a person from the village.”
Guo Sufei said “Qingqing, you do not have to be so humble. I at least know enough to tell that there is no village girl in these areas as smart as you. Oh, about the words this afternoon, I hope you do not take any offence to them.”
Li Qing replied “I won’t, auntie.”
Guo Sufei remained silent for a while, before she finally said “However, Qingqing, this is her very last wish, and since she likes you especially, I have been meaning to ask you, how do you feel towards Xiaolong.”
This time, it was Liu Qing’s turn to remain silent.
Liu Qing did not know how to answer; although she has a good impression of Xiaolong, the period they have known each other was too short to make a conclusive statement. However, a couple will meet from a thousand li apart if fate exists between them. Fate is a very complex thing, some people can leave a deep impression in each other after a few days of interaction, others can remain only friends despite knowing each other all their lives. As for the fate between her and Xiaolong, while he had saved her light a knight in shining armor, and she had pledged to repay him with her body just like how a romantic tale would proceed, she still needed more time to consider before entrusting her lifelong happiness to him.
Grandmother did treat her well, and the family treated her well too, and she herself did like Zhang Xiaolong, and she did like the harmonious and warm household that they have. This household members had mutual respect and love for each other just like the dream household she wanted, and she would like to fulfill the old woman’s wish before she departed from this world, but everything was still too early, and she needed more time to think and reflect.
Thus, Liu Qing found it difficult to answer.
After half a bell worth of time, she said “Auntie, it is getting late, let’s talk about this at another time.”
Guo Sufei grunted softly and she stopped talking thereafter.
The moon shone brightly on the courtyard in Zhang’s household, yet how many people have yet to fallen asleep?