The original self’s memory of his father was not much. But Yan Chu thought with just a few simple letters would restore a dying man’s hope for life. For the other party, the original self might be a significant person, but unfortunately, he never saw this son until he died in the past life.
“Yan Chu, why on earth are you happy for?”
Lin Qingshan pushed Yan Chu aside, now was the time to meet the bride’s family, they could not afford to be late.
Yan Chu snapped out of it, for the time being, did not take care of that 300 points. Together with a group of educated youths and fellow villagers, they went toward the Lin household fervently and lively.
Because Yan Chu’s elders were far away in the capital, the wedding’s inside and out were all arranged by the Lin family. Many people gossiped about it in the village. They thought, on the surface, the Lin family had married off their daughter, but in reality, it was not different from accepting a son-in-law living with his wife’s family, subsidized money to pick up a drop-in son-in-law93a drop-in son-in-lawa man who is married and settles in a woman’s family.
These words were not pleasant to hear, Huang Ruhua was truly annoyed to death by those blabbermouth meddling women, she knew a normal man’s pride in her heart. She understood the truth of this known gossips and would not take her anger out on the young married woman. If she met ruthless and lacking in conscience people and heard these words, was it still not wrong to blame the daughter-in-law and her parental family?
There were plenty of people who were feeling inferior and yet arrogant in this world. She thought profoundly in her heart, I’ll remember you, and by the day I have the upper hand, you’ll be very embarrassed.
Huang Ruhua’s temper was liable to overthink, but she was not unreasonable. Fortunately, Yan Chu was not a narrow-minded person at all. Moreover, what some villagers, including some educated youths, actually said also made sense. Now he indeed seemed to be a man who was supported financially by his wife. His work was arranged by his wife’s uncle, their house was the old house of the wife’s home beforehand, and the Omega wristwatch that the original self brought with him as the only dowry. That wristwatch was merely for the spectacle. When the moment came, it would still return as Lin Dingding’s dowry.
Yan Chu heard about it and was not angry at all, evermore thought that his wife’s family was good. His father-in-law and mother-in-law were lenient and generous. All he could do was treat them better.
Time bore witness to everything. One day, others would know whether his father-in-law and mother-in-law got a loss or gain from married Dingding to him.
“Have you heard that the college entrance examination has been reinstated?”
In October 1977, shocking news spread to several nearby villages. The news brought by retinue from the county. On almost the same day, all the educated youths who got the news became wild.
There were not any educated youths who did not look forward to returning to the city, including those who had already married and had children in the village. For them, returning to the city had almost become an obsession. Their relatives and dreams were in there and compared to the barren countryside and heavy labor. Obviously, the dignified and relaxed life in the city was the lifestyle they were used to.
Lin Guangguo looked at the field that was initially assigned to the educated youths. Today, he did not see any figure. He was smoking a dry smoke pipe, profoundly raised his head, and full of melancholy.
“What’s going on here?”
Huang Ruhua had not been vigorous for the past two days straight. As soon as she stopped both cleaning the table and mopping the floor, she had a headache.
“Patriarch, you said Yan Chu, that child…” Their daughter had been married for more than half a year. Apart from not having a child yet, there was almost no dissatisfaction, even could be said to fall in the nest of good fortune. The ones that initially gossiped at their back, who did not envy her daughter now.
He was both responsible and considerate of his wife’s needs. He was currently teaching at the commune elementary school for six days a week and went home in the evening. He also helped his wife boil water to cook. Which big men in the village would help their wives do this? Lin Dingding had a simple life. Yan Chu did not let her touch the cold water. He even helped to wash the undergarments.
Their family income did not need to be said even more. He taught in elementary school, so he had 20 Yuan as a monthly salary. It was not even warm, yet he had handed all of the money over to his wife. He neither drinks nor smokes, and he did not hit his wife. In the summer evening, it was fairly often to see the young couple taking a walk at the river bank or the foot of the mountain to enjoy the cold air. Usually, it could be seen that there were a bunch of beautiful wildflowers in Lin Dingding’s hands. You needed to ask who picked it? It was not Yan Chu’s fault to specially pick them to make his wife happy.
The villagers might have felt that Yan Chu was not quite masculine for doing*22doing*from 干 [gàn] that can mean as to do or to f*ck (vulgar) something like this. Was it necessary for a wife to give birth to a son in marriage? Since she was not obedient, she should know how to serve her man. He was so good to his wife, and it made people think that he did not have a man’s pride.
The women scoffed at this. What a group of heartless oldmen knew? They did not like to take a bath, and yet smoking and drinking, and those stinking men thought of getting into bed every day. A good husband like Yan Chu was practically comparable with the god.
In the beginning, they were secretly jeering at Lin Dingding’s blind eyes to look for an impressive-looking but useless man and wasted her good family background. Not to mention the regret, if they had known that Yan Chu was such a considerate husband, they would go on their own.
Coupling with this husband, who was famous for his handsome looks, plainly made people feel jealous. They tossed and turned, could not sleep.
“Don’t think about it, Yan Chu is a high school graduate. How can he isn’t participating in this reinstated college entrance examination? Today, the unified team will help them to sign up, his and Dingding’s name are on the top.”
Although, Lin Guangguo surprised his daughter actually signed up for the college entrance examination. However, he still had a lot of thoughts about his daughter’s scores. He estimated that she was going to join in for fun. On the contrary, Yan Chu was a high school graduate from the capital city. The hope of passing the college entrance examination was great. By the time he was a college student, the other was a young village girl in the countryside. Even though Yan Chu remembered to contact his wife and without becoming a Chen Shimei94Chen Shimeia Chinese opera character and a byword in China for a heartless and unfaithful man, as the days went by, the gap between the couple was getting bigger and bigger. Perhaps, this tolerable life was also difficult.
Huang Ruhua’s worry was real. She put the rag on the table. Like her husband, she did not feel that her daughter had the hope of passing the college entrance examination.
“Patriarch, doesn’t that list get through your hands? How about you take hold of our son-in-law’s name? Quietly, quietly…”
Huang Ruhua still was not good at speaking straightly to let him remove their son-in-law’s name from the list. After all, this was too sinister. She was an ordinary farmer woman, although she was worried about her daughter, she could not say anything like this frankly.
“Do you want your daughter to live well?”
Lin Guangguo glanced at his wife. He knew to be within the limits of blind ideas. If he took his name out from the list and waited until the time to take the exam, then when others received the admission ticket, and only Yan Chu did not have one, what thought would he had? He was not a fool, anyhow.
“Don’t worry. Our son-in-law isn’t that kind of person.” Lin Guangguo frowned tightly. He looked at Huang Ruhua, who erased the twitch at her mouth. While talking about their son-in-law, who was not such a person, not knowing who had the big night, they tossed and turned, could not go to sleep.
“Lin Dingding, your man is here to pick you up.”
After the marriage, Lin Dingding tried to find a job to support family expenses. They were relying on the sea here, and some factories would divide some works, letting women in several nearby villages help weave nets. A group of women would simultaneously work and chat. Lin Dingding’s limb movement was fast. She could earn 2-3 Mao a day. There was not much money earned in a month, but it also could reduce some family’s burden.
Because the location of weaving nets was set at the house with a relatively large yard in the village, every day when Yan Chu came back from school, he would pass by and pick up his wife to go home. Everyone in the group was used to this young married couple who were still intimate after being married for almost a year. Most of their jokes were also well-meaning.
Lin Dingding put away her more than half weaved net. She looked at her husband, who stood at the door and waved at her. She smiled sweetly and ran over briskly to him.
“What’s she proud of? The college entrance examination has been reinstated. Educated youths might still be willing to stay in this small village. I’ve been watching Yan Chu for a while, he becomes more loving now. When it’s time for her to become a faded old woman, how she can tie him with that face?”
Looking at the handsome, straight, tall man carefully guarding his wife’s back, that young wife who was about the same age as Lin Dingding muttered jealously. The people on the side looking had ‘you look at me, I look at you’ and moved a little far away from her with tacit understanding.
The person who patronized resentment did not realize this, but still tried in vain to give a sympathetic response to others.
“You guys watch it. Isn’t it because Lin Dingding’s father is the leader of the production team that Yan Chu is good toward Lin Dingding? Her uncle is the deputy director of the commune, right? When he got into college and became a college student, see how much he is still able to favor this wife.”
She made a solemn vow. If her life was indeed so bad that she became jealous of others, she wished that all the others’ happiness was false and only pretended it.
“Today, I went to the county to report the task. I bought your favorite steamed meat buns and cut five taels of meat. I went back to you in the evening to cook the steamed egg with meat and then gave Dad and Mom some.”
Yan Chu pulled out a steamed stuffed bun from a tightly sealed oil paper bag in his embrace. Because it was placed close to his skin, even if the weather had turned cold, the buns were still warm.
“Let split it in half between us.” Lin Dingding took the steamed meat bun with delight and thought that she would not want to split the meat into two halves, stuffed the other half of the mincemeat into Yan Chu’s mouth.
“It’s a state-run steamed stuffed buns shop, right? The stuffing of the buns is richer and more fragrant. Unlike the two other stores, the meat is thin.” Lin Dingding loved eating buns that her husband specially bought. Her brows and eyes bent in happiness. Obviously, it was just an ordinary meat bundle, but she seemed like she had eaten some exotic delicacies.
“Yan Chu, what do you say if I can’t go to college?”
She did not know what to think. The little girl, who had always been very energetic, suddenly dropped her shoulders. Even though she was eating her favorite meat bundle, it seemed to have no taste.
Lin Dingding knew her own level in her heart. Although the two were married, Yan Chu often gave her remedial lessons. After the news of the college entrance examination was reinstated, the intensity of the remedial classes increased.
It was just that Rome was not built in a day. Lin Dingding’s foundation was there. If she was not there to ask Yan Chu for help, his results could be advanced by leaps and bounds. Her educational background was just a junior high school. Even though she fundamentally gave the instructor the knowledge she had, let alone wanted it, not to mention now she had to make up for a few years of high school courses, getting into college was like a dream.
“Yan Chu, if you get into college, go ahead, okay? I’ll wait for you at home.”
She raised her head and looked over at her husband, who could make her blush at all times and said firmly.
She knew that he should not stay in this small village. Yan Chu was talented and had a broad future. She should not be the one who bound him and also saw Yan Chu’s great efforts. Even if the surrounding arguments made her flustered, she did not want to leave each other selfishly.
Yan Chu finally understood why she always had no appetite these days. She was thinking about it.
“You scold me.”
The current Lin Dingding was a treasure within her husband’s hand palm, but she also had some spoiled temper. Once he listened to her painful sacrifice, she actually changed back to a fool and pouted her mouth, not wanting to take care of him.
“Even if you didn’t go to college, would you be willing to let me go to school alone? If I’m thirsty and hungry, what should I do? If I’m going to sleep on a cold night, what should I do? My little wife is truly heartless. She right away abandons her husband like this no matter what.”
Yan Chu helplessly touched at the little girl’s nose briefly. From the beginning to the end, he did not want to leave her alone when going to college. Even if he got accepted into college, he would take her away.
“What, what do you mean?”
Lin Dingding’s eyes widened, and then cheered happily.
“It’s getting dark. Let’s go home and cook dinner.” Lin Dingding put the remaining bun in her mouth. Where was her previous melancholy? Her light footsteps seemed to fly up, and she did not dare to look at Yan Chu’s expression at this time. She always felt just like acting in the bitter drama of her own. It must be silly in Yan Chu’s heart.
Yan Chu shook his head and looked at his little wife, who was still like a child and went immediately after her.