Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
A new day began, and the whole family was busy doing their own respective tasks.
The grandmother was sitting in the courtyard enjoying the rare sunlight.
Seeing that the weather was exceptionally good and the sun bright, Guo Sufei decided to air the blankets in the house. She first took the blankets from her room and Zhang Xiaolong’s room out to hang on a rope, before heading towards the grandmother’s room to collect the grandmother and Zhang Xiaolong’s blankets. However, a while after she stepped in the room, everyone who was outside heard a yelp coming out. The grandmother’s ears were sharp and she asked, “What has happened? Sufei?” then, Guo Sufei’s voice could be heard from inside the room, “It is nothing mother, there was a rat.”
Zhang Cai who was arranging the farming tools laughed and said, “Such a grown person still being afraid of a little thing, you sure are funny.”
Zhang Xiaohua also heard his mother’s reply and he rushed over excitedly and asked, “Mother, where is the rat? I will help you, I am the best at catching rats.”
However, once he entered the room, he saw his mother who was sitting at his grandmother’s bed with this grandmother’s quilt in her hands while crying softly. Faced with the scene before him, Zhang Xiaohua carefully walked over and whispered, “Mother, what is the problem?”
Guo Sufei continued to cry listlessly while ignoring him.
Zhang Xiaohua looked at the quilt in his mother’s hands, and realized that there was a patch of black stain on it. Not understanding the situation, he asked his mother again, “Mother, are you going to sun this blanket? If it is dirty, I will help you wash it, alright?”
Hearing her obedient son’s words, Guo Sufei grew even sadder and in a hoarse voice, she said, “Xiaohua, this blanket is not dirty, it is the blood that your grandmother coughed out.”
Zhang Xiaohua felt as if a weight has fallen onto his brain. While still feeling shocked, he asked, “Then, is grandmother going to die?”
Hearing the innocent and direct words from her son, Guo Sufei felt as if her heart has eaten something bitter and she replied, “Good boy, mother does not know as well.”
Zhang Xiaohua face started to distort as he said, “I do not want grandmother to die.”
Guo Sufei extended her hands to embrace her son, and she stroked his head as she said, “Mother doesn’t wish for it to happen to. However, look at Xiaohua, he is growing up soon quickly that he will soon reach up to mother’s height. Mother has grown old, and grandmother will leave us soon too.”
Zhang Xiaohua almost burst into tears as he said, “I don’t want to grow taller, mother, I don’t want grandmother to leave me.”
By this time, Guo Sufei has somewhat managed her emotions and she hugged her son tighter and sighed deeply.
Zhang Xiaohua then thought of the conversation he had with Liu Qing, and asked, “Mother, elder sister Liu told me that there are immortals in this world that do not die. Will grandmother not need to leave us anymore if I find them?”
Guo Sufei replied, “Perhaps, Xiaohua. That is what the stories say, but no one has ever seen these immortals before.”
Zhang Xiaohua said, “Then I will go and find an immortal now, and beg them to save grandmother.”
Guo Sufei said tenderly, “Good boy.”
Then, she looked at her son, and saw his anxious expression and watery eyes, and said, “Nobody knows where do the immortals live at, where will you go to find them? Furthermore, it is too late if you only start looking for them now. Instead, you should spend more time with your grandmother, and let the old lady hear your voice more often.”
Zhang Xiaohua nodded when he heard his mother’s words, as though he understood them.
At that moment, Zhang Cai shouted, “Xiaohua, have you caught the rat yet?”
Guo Sufei yelled back, “It already ran away, how do we catch it like that?”
Then, she said to Zhang Xiaohua,“Let’s go out now. However, do not cry again, and do not let your grandmother know.”
Zhang Xiaohua nodded his head in agreement.
Guo Sufei carried the blankets as she walked out of the room, while Zhang Xiaohua followed behind her with his head lowered.
Guo Sufei continued to sun the blankets, while Zhang Xiaohua walked over to his grandmother’s side and asked, “Grandmother, are you thirsty? Can I get you some water?”
The grandmother smiled and said, “En, I am feeling slightly thirsty. Xiaohua go get grandmother a cup of water, good boy, and be careful not to scald yourself.”
It was as if in grandmother’s heart, Zhang Xiaohua was still a four to five year old boy. Zhang Xiaohua went into the house to get his grandmother a cup of water.
Guo Sufei originally wanted to hide the grandmother’s quilt somewhere, but she then thought otherwise. Thus, she took a water basin and drew some water. Liu Qing saw Guo Sufei’s actions and hurriedly went over to help, but when she saw the stain on the blanket, she stood there in shock. Seeing Liu Qing’s reaction, Guo Sufei thought a bit and said in a low voice, “Go get Xiaolong and the rest over, covertly.”
Liu Qing nodded her head, and went over to signal the men to come out. When everyone had arrived and saw the stain that Guo Sufei was washing off, they stood there wordlessly. Even the warmth of the sun was not able to melt the chill in their hearts.
Zhang Xiaohua brought the water over to the grandmother, sipped a bit to test its temperature before putting it into the grandmother’s hands. The grandmother drank the water deliciously when she received it, and a beaming smile appeared on her face as though she was drinking the sweetest honey water. She then let out a deep sigh, and her coughs became gentler.
Everyone saw the heartwarming scene in front of their eyes which melt the chill in their hearts as they realized they should do next. Then, they all walked to the grandmother’s side and continued with their tasks while looking at her, as though they wanted to carve her smiling face onto their own hearts. The grandmother was unaware of the actions of the rest of the family, and she remained seated peacefully on the chair while enjoying the warmth of the sun, feeling very fortunate for herself.
Guo Sufei hurriedly washed the quilt and sun it, before sitting beside the grandmother and said warmly, “Mother, what would you like for lunch? I will prepare it for you.”
The grandmother pondered for a while, and then replied, “Five spiced meat.”
Gruo Sufei asked curiously,“Mother, don’t you usually avoid such oily dishes?”
The grandmother said, “I am feeling hungrier today, so I want to eat a little.”
Guo Sufei then said, “Fine, I will got out to the village to buy some meat later.”
Zhang Xiaolong immediately said, “Mother, let me go instead. I should exercise more body more.”
Guo Sufei agreed, and Liu Qing added, “I will follow you along. You should stop carrying heavy things with your arm, or it will affect you recovery.”
Zhang Xiaolong laughed, “I am only buying two jin* of meat, why wouldn’t I be able to carry it?”
Liu Qing smiled wordlessly, and the couple both went out together.
The grandmother squinted her eyes as though trying to imagine the scene of them walking out together. Then, she turned to Guo Sufei and said, “Sufei-ah, I have something to say.”
Guo Sufei replied, “Sure mother. Wait a while, I will help you get some water to smooth your throat.”
Guo Sufei then poured another cup of water for the grandmother, and moved the stool and sat in front of the latter before asking, “Mother, what is the matter?”
The grandmother asked, “Sufei-ah, was there something I spat out on my blanket?”
An expression of shock appeared on Guo Sufei’s face, and she immediately said, “No, mother. There was nothing, it was a little dirty so I washed it clean.”
The grandmother sighed again and said, ”Sufei-ah, you do not have to hide it from me. It was something I vomited out, how could I not know what it is. I was just unable to ascertain it, but you let Little Cai and the rest see it just now. I heard so and naturally I can understand what happened.”
Guo Sufei reassured her, “Mother, you do not have to think too much. Your cough will definitely get better.”
The grandmother smiled as she said, “You silly child, how could you be like Xiaohua. You are already forty to fifty years old, yet you still try to comfort your mother like this.”
Guo Sufei wiped her tears which were beginning to form again, and said, “Mother…..”
The grandmother continued, “Sufei-ah, you need to learn to let go. Illness and death are unavoidable matters. When your father left us, I was also upset for a long time before I broke out of my despair, and you were neglected by me during that period. Now that I am leaving, I have caused you to feel upset again, sigh. However, there is not much I can do about it. You father and I have worked our whole lives yet we were unable to give you much. With Xiao Cai looking after you, and Xiaolong, Xiaohu and Xiaohua being such sensible children, I would feel more relieved leaving you behind. After I am gone, do not let them miss me too much and concentrate on their own fields, I will beg the gods from below to look after all of you.”
Zhang Xiaohua listened to his grandmother until his heart melted. He hugged his grandmother and said, “Grandmother, do not worry, I will take good care of mother.”
The grandmother stroked Zhang Xiaohua’s hair and said tenderly, “I know that Xiaohua will grow to become a good strong man who will protect this family.”
Then, the grandmother said, “Sufei-ah, I do not have many wishes in my whole life. Seeing you have Xiao Cai living happily without any arguments has made me appeased already. However, not being able to see Xiaolong get married, or to hold my great grandson makes me regret leaving you all. This Liu Qing is a very good girl, you must find ways to get her to marry into our family, and it will be to our Xiaolong’s fortune.”
Everyone surrounded the grandmother to listen to her words, and they were so distracted by their sadness that they did not notice two people walk through the courtyard entrance. When the two people heard the two words, “Liu Qing”, they stopped in their tracks and strained their ears to listen to the grandmother’s speech.
Guo Sufei continued to say, “Mother, you are right. Li Qing is a very good child, there is nothing to pick on her mannerism and behavior, and her appearances are one in a hundred. If she would be willing to marry our Xiaolong then we would have to thank the karma from his previous life, but…..”
Guo Sufei broke off in the middle of her sentence, she did not want to dash her mother’s beautiful dream. However, there was indeed a large difference in their families’ backgrounds, if she promised to fulfill her mother’s wish but was unable to see it through, then wouldn’t her mother become unhappy after she passed on?
The grandmother seemed to know what she wanted to say. She patted Guo Sufei’s hands and said, “Sufei-ah. Liu Qing is not a girl who looks for riches and comfort; if she likes our family’s Xiaolong then she would have married him. Teacher Liu is also a reasonable man, and I believe that he will approve their union. You should find some time to listen to Li Qing’s opinions. If she is uninterested in our family’s Xiaolong then we can drop this matter, and let her return home as soon as possible. Otherwise, it will not be good for her to spend so much time with us, we may have saved her but her debt has already been fully settled, and teacher Liu’s household would need her too.”
Guo Sufei replied, “Okay, mother. I will ask Liu Qing tomorrow, and let her go home immediately.”
Upon listening, a sad expression appeared on the grandmother’s face.
At this moment, a person ran in from outside and said, “Qingqing is not going home.”
*TN: 1 jin= 0.5kg