After the sporting event, it was November. Lin Xian’s birthday was also a special month for Jiangnan University, and it coincided with the 100th anniversary of the university on November 13. Since the first of November, various events had been arranged, many famous alumni had been invited back one after another, and lectures of all kinds had been held.
The night before, Lin Xian had excitedly told Xiao Yuqing that she might not be back for dinner in a few days. She was going to attend a symposium with Yu Yao, a writer she likes very much. The next night, Xiao Yuqing saw her pouting with a sullen look as soon as she returned.
When it was time to eat, Xiao Yuqing served her soup while teasing her softly, “What’s the matter today, who made Xian Xian unhappy? Your little mouth is pouting so much that you could hang an oil bottle.”
Lin Xian accepted the soup with both hands and could not keep her face still, saying embarrassedly, “Is it that obvious?” She stirred the spoon and said frankly, “Actually, it’s nothing. Aunt Xiao, do you still remember what I told you yesterday, that I was going to listen to Yu Yao’s symposium in a few days?”
Xiao Yuqing nodded her head, indicating that she remembered.
“Today, I ran to the College of Arts, queued up at noon, and when it almost came to my turn, there were no more tickets…” After she said that, she seemed to recall the time when she was exposed to the sun for a long time at noon and when she was informed that there were no more tickets she couldn’t help but wrinkle up her eyebrows again and complained to Xiao Yuqing, “I’m so angry! It’s a rare occasion so there are so little tickets. Every class in the Chinese Department has a spot, but the other departments don’t have as many spots as they do combined, it’s not fair!”
Xiao Yuqing looked at the angry girl in front of her and couldn’t help but laugh and echoed her, “Yes, it’s very infuriating. Next time when Li Changgeng comes we, from the Finance and Economics Department, will let their Chinese Department feel good under the sun.” Li Changgeng was a graduate of the Finance Department of Jiangnan University in the class of ’05, but after his graduation he entered the entertainment industry and became popular in the north and south of the country and is one of the four youngest students of today.
Lin Xian was successfully pleased by her, once again busted “pfft”, “Our Finance and Economics Department? Aunt Xiao, you don’t want any of your close classmates from the Chinese Department?”
Xiao Yuqing slightly tilted her head, smiled, and blinked innocently, “It’s enough for me to have you.”
This was just a joke that Xiao Yuqing had said carelessly. However, as soon as her words fell, Lin Xian looked straight towards her with wide eyes as if she had heard something remarkable. Xiao Yuqing raised her eyes and saw that Lin Xian’s eyes seemed to have a thousand words, but it was a complex sentiment that she had never seen before. Xiao Yuqing couldn’t help but feel baffled, did she just say something wrong? She bit her lip, with a moment of uncertainty.
However, before she could think and speak again, Lin Xian had returned to her usual bright and innocent self, lowering her head and stared at her porcelain bowl, changing the subject, “Aunt Xiao, there is a psychodrama event in our college next month and we will participate in it as a class. Now the class is collecting scripts and selecting the best candidates. I plan to take this opportunity to get in touch with my classmates more so I can integrate into the group.” She finally lifted her head again, gazed at Xiao Yuqing, and asked, “After I finish writing the script in two days, can I trouble Aunt Xiao to help me look at it?”
Naturally, Xiao Yuqing was supportive of her and agreed without thinking, “There is no trouble with that, of course I can.” She let go of the suspicion she had just had about Lin Xian’s glance and just thought it was her own illusion and said expectantly, “I heard from your mother earlier that you are also interested in literature and have published several novels in magazines since high school, so I have always wanted to read them.” This was not a courtesy. She had been curious since learned that Lin Xian had published novels in magazines from Zhou Qin, but she had not taken the initiative to ask Lin Xian for it. It is because she knows that some people’s words are the inner world that they have never opened to people they know well. She was afraid that Lin Xian was not willing to show her or let her understand and she was never willing to impose on people to make things difficult for them.
Lin Xian just stared mindlessly at Xiao Yuqing’s long, dense eyelashes and moist red lips, completely caught up in her own world. In a few moments, she seemed to have realized something more and more. After a long time, only until Xiao Yuqing called out her name “Lin Xian?” in doubt did she came back to her senses. Only to look away and glossed over to explain, “Sorry Aunt Xiao, I was a little distracted when I thought that I wouldn’t be able to go to the symposium in two days.”
Xiao Yuqing did not doubt it and looked at Lin Xian’s eyes with a little more compassion and worry. She really likes Yu Yao ah… She clasped her hands and rubbed her slender fingers unconsciously as if she was thinking.
This year, Lin Xian’s birthday on the lunar calendar is on November 5, which happens to be on a Sunday and five days earlier than her date of November 10 according to the new calendar. Every year, Lin Xian’s birthday was celebrated twice, once with her family and once with her classmates and friends. The family, according to tradition, has always given her a birthday according to the lunar calendar, while to the public, it was announced on the new calendar and used to celebrate with classmates and friends, but it was also convenient for them to remember.
As usual, except for the time when she was eight years old when she just entered elementary school and it coincided with the family’s housewarming celebration1, but all the other times, Lin Xian’s birthday was just a family with her grandparents getting together for a good celebration. Lin Xian’s original intention was to do the same this year, with the family plus Xiao Yuqing, and then go out for a meal together to celebrate. However, Zhou Qin ruined her plan and told her that this year was different, it was her first birthday as an adult, coupled with the happy event of her admission to Jiangnan University, she and Zhan Lin had discussed it and were going to host a big event, inviting friends and family to celebrate.
Lin Xian actually doesn’t like to socialize with friends and students of her parents and elders, especially when her family is full of teachers, and the whole world is full of peaches and plums2. There are tables after tables of elder brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts she doesn’t know at all. This one pulled her to say a few words, and the other pulled her to ask two sentences. She had to nod her head and pretend to smile and do all the etiquette. After the greeting, she felt that she was going to lose her skin.
On a regular occasion, she would be embarrassed to tell her parents openly that those occasions that should be obligated, with polite manners, and everything should be done well, but this was different. This one was her birthday. She really didn’t want to toss herself around like this again. So, she and Zhou Qin exchanged words with each other and she finally convinced Zhou Qin to book three or four tables at a hotel and invite some close relatives and friends to come together to celebrate.
On Friday, Zhou Qin did not go directly to school to pick up Lin Xian to go home, but with the intention of inviting Xiao Yuqing to celebrate Lin Xian’s birthday party on Sunday. Before coming, Zhou Qin actually had a few ideas in her heart, but Xiao Yuqing would most likely still refuse to go. The circle was very small and most of the people who were coming were acquaintances of the Xiao family from the past. But, Zhou Qin couldn’t help but hold some hope. After so many years, people can’t be bound by the past all the time. She still hopes that Xiao Yuqing could gradually come out and be able to bravely face everything that had happened with the past.
However, Xiao Yuqing’s face had a gentle smile as usual, and she refused as Zhou Qin had expected, “Sister, I will not go, I will celebrate with Xian Xian when I wait for the new calendar.” She lowered her eyes and saw that Lin Xian was also biting her lips and looking at her, a little disappointed, so she reached out and rubbed her soft hair, softening her voice and coaxed her, “I have prepared a gift for you, I will give it to you at that time, okay?”
Lin Xian’s eyes, which had been dulled by her refusal, suddenly lit up again, and her tone was one of undisguised anticipation and eagerness, “Okay.” Saying that, she was unusually embarrassed for her lack of reserve and added in a small voice, “It’s actually fine if you don’t have a gift.”
Xiao Yuqing had long known the young girl’s occasional duplicity, but she still raised her eyebrows slightly and teased her in a serious manner, “Really? I don’t have to give it to you?”
Zhou Qin slapped the back of Lin Xian’s head and said to Xiao Yuqing with a smile, “Ignore her, don’t give her a gift. She’s too old to treat herself as a child, don’t spoil her.”
Xiao Yuqing did not agree with Zhou Qin, but her beautiful eyes were full of brightness as she gazed at Lin Xian, brimming with radiance. Lin Xian looked into her eyes and for a moment her eyes were also tinged with laughter. She raised her eyebrows, responding back to her domineeringly, “I lied to you, you can’t have nothing. Even if the gift is just a happy birthday, I will still be happy.”
Xiao Yuqing reached out and gently scratched her nose, promising her, “En, fooled you. There will be something, I’ll save it for you, when you come back.”
Zhou Qin sighed, ” Xiao Yuqing, you just spoil her and breaking your bank again.”
Xiao Yuqing shook her head and said, “No problem, I’m just spoiling myself, I feel happy to see Xian Xian.”
Lin Xian listened to her soft voice, and in her eyes, which no one had noticed, grew more and more tender.
Lin Xian and Zhou Qin left the house and Xiao Yuqing watched them walk into the elevator before closing the door. She looked at the room that seemed to be suddenly quiet and empty, being stunned for a moment, and then, as usual, went to her study to work.
She turned on the computer, checked her emails one by one, reviewed the manuscript bit by bit, her long, thin fingers dancing on the keyboard, making a crisp, rhythmic “pada pada” sound.
However, at the end of one paragraph, Xiao Yuqing’s fingers suddenly rested quietly on the keyboard and stopped moving for a long time…
She felt that something was not right….
Xiao Yuqing turned her head sideways and looked at the empty seat not far away from her, where the familiar figure was no longer present.
Since Lin Xian first approached her and sat beside her and later on, when it turned out that almost all the evening hours that were spent in the study, Lin Xian was with her, residing in the position next to her. Every time at the end of a short passage of her work, she would be slightly distracted and rested. When she turned her head, she could always see the look that Lin Xian cast at her. When she faced her, she showed her white teeth and smiled slightly. It was a kind of silent and heartwarming tacit understanding…
Obviously, Lin Xian hadn’t been here for long, but before she knew it, she seemed to have become accustomed to the life of Lin Xian by her side.
Now, the silence in the room that she should have been accustomed to, with the cold light in the room, on the contrary, made her feel a little uncomfortable and a little lonely.
Xiao Yuqing couldn’t help but lose her smile, getting used to it was really a terrible thing.
Her eyes swept across Lin Xian’s tidy desk and her eyes fell to the psychodrama script that Lin Xian had brought back with her after school.
Xiao Yuqing rubbed her eyebrows, closed her computer, got up and went out of the study to get a cup of hot water, stood by the water dispenser, looked at the dark and empty living room, and slowly drank the water little by little. Then, she went to the bathroom, washed her hands, returned to the study, sat at the table again, and reached for the thin script.
Lin Xian mentioned to her that the theme of this psychodrama was literary and elegant, but the essence was still the same old gratitude. Lin Xian analyzed at the time that if it was easy to impress people and can easily resonate with the audience, it was necessary to be close to everyday life and close to reality. It is nothing more than family affection, friendship, love, and the object is nothing more than parents, teachers and friends. Xiao Yuqing agreed. Although these topics are old-fashioned, they have always been mainstream hotspots no matter how many years have passed.
On this basis, Lin Xian put forward a deeper level of analysis, she said that during the competition, the judges were the leading teachers of this college and the senior students of the drama school together, but the scoring weight of the teachers was relatively heavier. Therefore, she felt that since most of the leading teachers were relatively older, it might be harder to move them with friendship and love, while affection might have more advantages. Especially when most of them are playing the role of parents and children at the same time, so it is easier to have a sense of empathy and resonance. So, she decided to write about the theme of gratitude to parents.
She said, since she participated, of course she still wanted to go for the prize.
After Lin Xian’s analysis and these words, Xiao Yuqing was slightly surprised at first, and then deeply admired her. At that time, she said, “Lin Xian, if you can think to this level, you have already won half of the competition.” She has been publishing for so many years and knows the importance of market and audience positioning, but not every fledgling contributor can realize it. Lin Xian was able to realize this. Not only was she half-successful in choosing the subject matter, but even more so, in the process of writing the script, she would unconsciously become inclined.
The truth is actually the same. No matter what you do, positioning your target audience well and understanding and doing what you like, is always easier to get twice the result with half the effort. However, young people are mostly arrogant and are more willing to act according to their own minds and hate to do such humorous things. Lin Xian is just as proud, but the most valuable thing is that she also knew herself.
But Xiao Yuqing still had to beat her to remind her, “But it’s difficult to write new ideas on this topic, and it’s also difficult to shine. It’s mostly useless.”
Hearing this, Lin Xian’s eyebrows were filled with the unruly complacency of a teenager. She blinked and smiled gallantly, “It depends on everyone’s ability to refill old wine in new bottles.”
“Ability…” Xiao Yuqing recalled the girl’s open and pleasant voice, muttered softly, and couldn’t help softening her face.
She opened the cover of the script titled “Father” and began to read it carefully.
The narration of the story’s preface is from Long Yingtai’s “Musing”, the so-called parents and children are one only means that your fate with him is to keep watching his back in this life and gradually drifting away. You stand at this end of the path, watching him gradually disappear into the path where it turns and with his back, he silently tells you: You don’t need to chase.
In the beginning, as Xiao Yuqing had expected, it was the common generation gap and conflict between parents and children. The leading female character was a sophomore in college and her family was the usual Chinese model of strict father and loving mother. The mother is kind and proud of her daughter and the father is quiet and strict. As she grows older, the father and daughter have almost nothing to say to each other.
The first scene was the daughter who returned home from vacation and her parents had prepared a sumptuous dinner. The mother was busy all afternoon, but the daughter was busy chatting with friends on her cell phone during dinner, absentmindedly playing with her cell phone while eating casually, and the father felt that the mother’s feelings were not taken seriously and reprimanded her. A quarrel soon broke out between the two, with the daughter dropping her chopsticks and shouting “I don’t even have the freedom to play on my mobile phone at home?”
The daughter then returned to school after the argument with her father, complaining to her classmates and not wanting to go home for a long time. The mother called the daughter, the father implied that the mother turned on the speaker, silently and carefully eavesdropping on the daughter’s long-awaited voice. He prodded his wife to ask her when she would be back, he missed her. After his wife hung up the phone, the father sighed heavily and looked longingly at the call log that showed a year ago, that was the only call his daughter made on his birthday after she went to college.
In the third act, the mother secretly called her daughter to remind her daughter to remember to send a text message to her father on his birthday, and the daughter promised to do so. Nevertheless, the father turned his cell phone ringer to the loudest, looked at his phone once every few minutes, and waited until the day was over but did not receive a call from his daughter. Because, the daughter had gone to the nursing home to do volunteer work to visit the elderly and orphans, and then participated in club activities later in the evening and forgot about it.
The fourth act was that the father had gone to his daughter’s university city on a business trip and would stay there for a day. He wanted to take his daughter out for a good meal at noon and asked her mother to call her daughter, but she was busy watching Korean dramas with her roommate. As usual, her mother just asked a few questions about her life, before she got to the point, her daughter hung up the phone on the excuse that she had gone to the library and was going to study. When she called again, the phone was turned off. The next day, the father arrived at his daughter’s school, called his daughter hoping to have dinner with her, but the daughter said she was now outside attending a classmate’s birthday party, it was not convenient to leave. The father asked her furiously, “Are you that busy?” and the two of them got into a fight, ending with the daughter yelling at him, “Don’t you know how to eat by yourself?” At noon that day, the father ordered a table of food alone at the restaurant outside his daughter’s school, and finally, after sitting for two hours, he left without eating a bite.
That night, the father died of poisoning due to a disulfiram reaction between his cold medicine and the alcohol he ingested at the party. When he had chest tightness and had difficulty breathing, he immediately dialed the shortcut key 1 and dialed his daughter’s phone, however, until he hung up, his daughter did not pick up the phone…. Then he called 120 and braced himself to get out of the room and collapsed at the elevator door…
In the hotel, the father bought a bag of fruit, bread, milk, snacks that he wanted to bring to his daughter, and she complained with her mother about the heat so he had bought her a small electric fan for her bed… alll scattered on the father’s bed….
The daughter did not see her father for the last time, crying heartbreakingly, but she couldn’t get her father to look at her again. She had never thought that leaving after the last quarrel would be a farewell, her roar would be the last word she said to him…
She always thought that he was not someone else, they would always have infinite time to pacify and no matter what, he would always be standing behind her…
The past was recaptured, in her childhood her innocent childish words said, “Daddy, when I grow up, I will give you….”
At the end of the story, it was written that we always think that the world was big, the sky was blue, the road was long, and there was still a lot of time. But you don’t know that their world is small, the food is cold, the night is getting late, the head has turned gray, and they have been waiting for your precious favor…
It turns out that some people who thought they would never go, one day, will also leave, but you don’t know that the one turn is eternal…
A simple and unadorned story, but because of Lin Xian’s delicate and moving writing, it touched the hearts of people in an extraordinary way.
Xiao Yuqing’s throat was choked with pain, her nose was sore, and her red eyes were filled with crystal drops of water…. that hanged without falling.
In the eyes of the teary haze, she seems to recall that year. She had dragged her luggage and clenched her fists when she turned away, her father’s face was blue with anger, and her mother’s face was full of misery and helplessness when they chased her out.
She had no fear at that time, rushing to the footsteps of her lover, stepping so resolutely. Because she knew her parents loved her, there would come a time when they would give in and compromise… It was just a matter of time.
She remembered that her mother finally held her in her arms, stained with blood still warm, called her her favorite shrimp dumpling3 that she always loved…. Tears came out of her eyes, wetting the thin pages of the paper.
She reached out, trembling to take out a small blue note sandwiched in the middle of the page. Unfolding it, it was Lin Xian’s clean and elegant handwriting.
But he did not blame her.
If there was any regret, it was that he didn’t have time to tell her not to be sorry.
Xiao Yuqing upper teeth tightly bite her lower lip. She gazed longingly at the few short words on the note, covered her face with both hands and finally cried out uncontrollably…
The author has something to say:
Author: Irrelevant, what does it have to do with me.
Lin Xian took a bite of Aunt Xiao.
Author: Where is my torch!
Thank you Aiya for supporting this novel! Enjoy!
1 “Housewarming celebration” a term used for moving so when they move it usually comes with blessing the house. I don’t know about you but my parents will bless the heck out of a house. Oh, and there is usually food being served as well because we also invited friends and relatives to help us bless it too.
2 “Peaches and plums all over the world” just means students of the younger generation who became great and are spread out everywhere in the world. It’s just a metaphor.
3 I’m thinking that that might have been an endearment for XYQ by her mother
Translator: My eyes!!! Now I’m going to be sad this whole week and my emotions are going to be out of wack and I’m going to have an anxiety attack now. I can already tell. My emotions have already been out of sync lately. Why must you do this?????