Chapter 6: Arc 1: Rural Love 6 – Almost Angered to Death
Li Gen spat and Huang Dan unconsciously followed and spat too.
When he was done spitting, Huang Dan covered his mouth. The pain made his vision black and his legs weak. The ground under his feet was spinning.
Li Gen picked up the paralyzed young man in time.
The young man’s face was pale and his eyebrows were furrowed, as his eyes were tightly shut. His eyelashes were laced with teardrops and his lips, tinted with blood, were trembling.
Li Gen thought of the wildflowers placed at the foot of the wall, both red and white piled together. They usually bloomed well, however when the next frost would arrive they all would die. They were very insubstantial.
He kept on staring and his mind went into a daze.
When he realized this, Li Gen felt as if he had been stabbed by something. He pushed the young man aside immediately. He saw him falling backward and reached out for him again.
“… Isn’t it just a bump on the lips? It’s all right.”
Huang Dan’s face wrinkled, the tears on his eyelashes coalesced and fell off in a line. Damn, it really hurt.
Li Gen watched the young man shed tears. The first time was an act, the second time was an act, the third time should not be an act anymore.
He pulled at his lips. “You, this problem is truly…” He commented confoundedly.
The radio changed to a new song. It was singing of tomorrow, of hope, and that every day was prosperous.
The lovelorn ox went to the pond to take a bath. It needed the cool water to calm itself and it was unconcerned of the two people on the shore.
Huang Dan stopped crying. He reached out to wipe his face and opened his mouth to say something to Li Gen.
Li Gen was shocked. “What are you doing?”
Huang Dan’s voice was hoarse and he shivered due to the pain. “Ge, would you help me see if my lips were broken?”
Li Gen looked down and saw the young man’s pink tongue. There was a little blood stain on the tip of his tongue, which was stained from the lips.
The young man’s lower lip had a wound that was formed from the knock. There was blood, a bright red color.
His throat trembled and Li Gen said in a bad mood, “Mine was broken too, all right?”
He removed his hand from the young man’s arm, turned his head and snorted, “You are so pampered!”
Huang Dan didn’t want to talk. There must be blood stasis in his mouth. The pain could not go away.
He sat on the pigweed with his face buried in his knees. His back was arched in an uncomfortable arc.
Tolerate a little more and it will be over. There was no one who could help him, and it was also hard to understand his problem.
The tip of Li Gen’s tongue swept through the inner walls of his mouth, and the saliva that he swallowed still tasted of rust, reminding him that he had touched the lips of this young man.
He kicked away the bamboo basket that was on the ground. He looked at the ox, looked at the pigweed, looked at the young man on the pigweed, and then walked away.
A moment later, Li Gen came back holding a few long stems of browses with water dripping from it.
“Chew on this, the wound will heal quickly.”
Huang Dan raised his face from his knee. “I don’t want to chew. It hurts.”
When chewing, the teeth would rub against the wound that was on his mouth. It hurt even when he thought about it.
Li Gen stared at him. “Could it be that you want me to chew this and feed you?”
Huang Dan’s eyebrows knitted, then he brought a leaf into his mouth and swallowed it directly.
Li Gen’s expression was akin to looking at a mentally challenged child, “With such a weak pain tolerance, when you get married later, won’t you still need your wife to bustle around and pamper you?”
Huang Dan continued to pull the leaves. “I don’t want a wife.”
Li Gen sneered. “Really? I’ve heard that you beat somebody, while you were outside the village, for a girl.
The wound was painful, Huang Dan hissed and his forehead was sweating. “That’s why I’ve decided that I don’t want anymore.”
He lowered his eyelids. “The people I like don’t like me.”
Li Gen clicked his tongue, “So pitiful.”
When he said that, there was no sympathy in his tone.
Huang Dan used this topic and pried, “Ge, you had two wives, they…”
Li Gen’s face sank instantly and he threw the browse at Huang Dan. He turned and left, the keys, that were hanging behind his waist, clattering.
Huang Dan caught the browse and followed the man.
Li Gen turned his head and glared fiercely at him. “You fucking mention another word, I will kick you into the pond!”
“I’ll not say anything more.” Huang Dan said, “Ge, there’s mud on your buttock.”
The haze and rage on Li Gen’s face froze.
Huang Dan went to pat the man with his hands and the mud dropped. “Done.”
Stiffened, Li Gen squeezed a few words out. “Where did you touch just now?”
Huang Dan was innocent. “I didn’t touch anything.”
Li Gen gave a cold smile. “Do you think your Ge is an idiot?”
Huang Dan narrowed his eyes and stared. That serious expression was nothing like a joke.
Li Gen was going to die of anger.
He went into the pond and pulled the ox ashore. He fished out the radio, unbothered about the person behind.
Huang Dan felt his pain vanishing slightly and went back to mow the pigweed.
After cutting till a basket was full, Huang Dan automatically went home and saw the ox on the path. But Li Gen was not next to it.
Going closer, Huang Dan then saw that Li Gen was talking to several women that seemed to be his acquaintances.
Those women were wearing leather shoes and white stockings. They were from outside.
As Huang Dan withdrew his sight he heard Li Gen’s shout, “Dong Tian, take the ox back!”
Huang Dan went to pull the ox. “Your owner is picking up girls. He entrusted you to me. Let’s go.”
The ox was reluctant.
Huang Dan pulled with effort, “I’m not very happy either. Let’s both make concessions, finish up early and part ways.”
The ox walked very slowly.
Huang Dun was coercing and luring the ox as he walked. He presented all methods, but in the end, he could only exert all his strength to pull the ox, spitting out a few rude remarks.
Passing through Huang Dan’s door, the ox left a big pile of cow dung.
Huang Dan was dumbstruck. The cow had a heart full of retaliation. It would be better to deal less with it in the future.
Putting down the bamboo basket, he went back to the house to get his broom and tried to sweep the cow dung into the ditch.
Chen Jin Hua was screening the rice with a sieve that she took from the rice bed. When she saw what had happened, she quickly stopped her son with a shout, “Get some ash from the pothole and pour it onto the dung before you sweep.”
Huang Dan did as she said, and the cow dung was wrapped in the ashes burned up by the firewood. It was no longer sticky.
Chen Jin Hua asked, “Why did you pull the ox back?”
Huang Dan simply recounted what had happened before he took the ox to Li Gen’s house.
Wu Cui Ling was sweeping the door front. When she saw Huang Dan, she was stunned for a moment.
Huang Dan observed Wu Cui Ling’s emotional changes secretly. “There were several women looking for Ge.”
Wu Cu Ling just uttered an “oh” and pulled the ox into the shed.
Huang Dan deliberately walked very slowly, kicking stones as he walked. Wu Cui Ling’s voice echoed from behind. “Dong Tian, how many?”
The stone flew out and Huang Dan turned his head. “It seems to be four.”
Wu Cui Ling uttered an “oh” again. She continued sweeping with the broom. “From the river farm?”
Huang Dan shook his head and said, “They wear skirts and shoes.”
He expressed his surprise. “They are not Ge’s colleague from the big city, are they?”
“They could be his college classmates.”
Wu Cui Ling hung her head as she swept the floor. The dust drifted all over the area. “Maybe it’s something important. Dong Tian, do you know what it is?”
Huang Dan said, “I didn’t hear it.”
Wu Cui Ling’s hair on her cheeks was blown up by the hot wind and it was pasted with some sweat. She put down the broom and placed the hair to the back of her head.
Huang Dan looked at the woman, her face was white with a tint of red. “Sister Cui Ling, it looks good when you put your hair behind.”
Some people were born white, there were genetic factors, but there were also other reasons.
Although Wu Cui Ling could not be said to have grown outstandingly, her figure and skin, both were good and when compared with others, it was even more so.
Wu Cui Ling’s mouth slipped into a smile when she heard the young man say that, feeling a little embarrassed.
Huang Dan went back after he was had greeted them, but he went around the front of the house and hid in the bamboo forest.
Not long after, Li Gen’s figure appeared. He was accompanied by a woman, who was the only one with long straight hair.
The other three were not with him.
At the gate, Wu Cui Ling’s hair was pinned behind her ear, revealing her face.
The blue jacket and the grey trousers she had donned, together with the cloth shoes on her feet were all simple and dirty compared with the dress of the woman who came over.
Li Gen gave a brief introduction.
The one with the long straight hair gave a sweet smile. Acting like she was familiar, she called Cui Ling ‘little sister’.
Wu Cui Ling had a face full of embarrassment that she could not hide, and she passively gave a response.
“Stop standing at the door and come in.”
Just as Li Gen was about to step into the threshold, he suddenly turned to look at the bamboo grove.
The woman with the long straight hair asked with curiosity, “Li Gen, what’s wrong?”
Li Gen didn’t say anything.
Huang Dan, who was hiding in the bamboo grove, was getting wet in his back. He gasped and fled from the place without stopping.
After entering the house, Wu Cui Ling quickly poured water for the long, straight-haired woman. She beckoned Li Gen aside.
“Big brother, mother is lying down.”
The implication was that it was not good to go in and wake the person up and ask for money to buy food from a small shop.
Usually, the expenditure of the house was managed by Wang Yue Mei and she placed the money under her pillow. She gave Wu Cui Ling as much money as she needed to buy the food.
If she wanted to buy something else, she would have to say it in advance, and it was not always an agreement from her.
Wu Cui Ling had no money with her.
Li Gen said, “There are two or three big carps in the jar. Fish one out and braise it. Stir-frying one or two more vegetables will do.”
Wu Cui Ling hesitated. “Ge, that girl came from far away.”
Li Gen drank some water. “She went to Village Yin to visit her relatives and conveniently came here.”
Wu Cui Ling placed a strand of hair that fell, to the back of her ear.
“It’s getting late. Is she staying overnight? I don’t know if she would be willing to house with me. Should I go and tidy up first?’
Li Gen said, “She will be sleeping in my room.”
Wu Cui Ling asked, “What about you, Big Brother?”
Li Gen said, “I’ll sleep with Dong Tian.”
“That’s all right.”
Wu Cui Ling said, “Big Brother, I see that your lips are cracked, I will not put chili peppers in the fish.”
Li Gen said, “It’s nothing serious.”
Wu Cui Ling stopped talking and went to the kitchen to prepare dinner.
The long, straight-haired woman held her chin, “Li Gen, your brother’s wife has graduated from XX University, why did she marry your brother?”
She realized that she had spoken incorrectly and laughed, “I don’t mean anything else, I mean…”
Li Gen interrupted her. “The older generation set the marriage.”
The long, straight-haired woman said no wonder and she added: “Your brother’s wife is very virtuous.”
Her mother-in-law was paralyzed, and she had to wait upon her in front of her bed. Clean up the house, cook and wash clothes and also get busy in the fields. If it was her, she would not be able to do it.
When she caught a glimpse of the plaque, the long, straight-haired woman was startled. The jar she was holding fell to the ground.
The commotion outside woke Wang Yue Mei up.
“Take a seat in the living room. I’ll go and talk to my mother.”
After that, Li Gen pushed the door and went in.
Wang Yue Mei heard a woman’s voice in the hall, and it was not Wu Cui Ling’s soft tone. She insisted that she wanted to go out and have a look after hearing who it was from her son’s mouth.
The bracelets and gold jewelry pawned from last time were enough for her oldest son to get married. It was even enough to build a house.
Li Gen said, “Just a classmate, she has a partner.”
He talked about it in two or three sentences.
Wang Yue Mei was disappointed and did not have the heart to go out anymore. She laid back and said, “Mother was happy for nothing.”
Li Gen fanned his mother. “I’ will curse my wife. It’s better not to harm others.”
Wang Yue Mei’s face turned cold. “That’s someone chewing the root of their tongue.”
“The first one died on her own, and the second one was heaven’s harvest. It has nothing to do with you.”
Li Gen murmured, “If I didn’t marry them, maybe nothing would’ve happened to them.”
Wang Yue Mei took the cattail leaf fan from her eldest son. “Do you think you are the King of Hell? Can you manage other people’s lives?”
“There’s a book in the hell prefecture. It says when and how someone will die. When the time comes, the King of Hell sends the devil to collect the lives.”
Li Gen laughed. “Mom, you’re talking nonsense.”
“What’s nonsense? That’s the truth. Each has their own life.”
Wang Yue Mei looked at her eldest son with a loving face, as if he was the greatest and the brightest spot in her life. No one would dare to disagree that her eldest son could study well, was handsome, was competent, was filial and had a bright future.
“Don’t dwell on the past. Those two had short lives.”
“You should just marry. Don’t mind the gossip. Mom is an experienced person. How can someone else’s mouth be blocked? Let them say that until they’re satisfied. When they’re finished, they won’t have anything else to say.”
Li Gen was not enthusiastic, “We’ll see, it’s not easy to meet someone agreeable.”
After dinner, Li Gen sat in the hall for a while, and when Wu Cui Ling and they went back to rest, he went out with a cigarette in his mouth. He was looking for the young man to get a place to rest.