Chapter 2 – Selfish Biases
Xia Shao was reborn back in the winter of this year, but after adapting to the fact of being reborn, she could only carry a small bench and sit at the door of the old house. Looking at the snow that’s floated down like goose feathers outside the door, she sighed at the snow.
As the New Year approaches, it will be 1992 after the New Year. It was a year where the country’s economy turned rich, with important speeches from the country’s leaders advocating reform and opening up to deeper economic development. It was also from this year that more and more talented people began to give up their so-called stable jobs and daring people began to go into business. Thus, creating some of the wealthiest merchants!
“Ugh!” She had lost count on the number of a sigh she had for today.
This year was an opportunity for many people, but for Xia Shao, with her small body and short arms and legs, she will only be ten years old after the New Year, so what can she do?
“Xiao ShaoZi, you little child! Why are you sitting at the door on such a cold day? Come over here and try the chicken soup that Grandma has just made.”
The sound of her grandmother’s voice sounded behind her, and Xia Shao turned her head to see her grandmother’s benevolent face. At this time, her white hair was not too much and the wrinkles on her face were still light, but the kindness in her eyes and love she had for her were the same as ever.
Ever since Xia Shao had fallen into the icy water, her grandmother had been treating her very preciously these days. She even killed the little hen in the courtyard and fed her soup every day, fearing that she would develop the root of coldness and became afraid of the winter cold.
It was not like ten years later when chicken, duck, fish, fruits and vegetables could be easily bought in supermarkets whenever you wanted them. Right now in the north, the vegetables for winter were not so abundant, and the cabbages and radishes had to be stored in the cellar. For ordinary families, chicken and duck, were considered abundant dishes, and only served on the table during the New Year holidays.
Now was not even New Year’s Eve, and three hens had been slaughtered in the past two days. Xia Shao knew how difficult it was, so whenever she picked up the bowl these days and drank the familiar taste, a mist would always form in her eyes.
Perhaps being reborn as a child was a blessing from the heavens. After all, not everyone could experience their childhood all over again. Going back to childhood means that she was back at the life starting point and everything had not yet begun.
She wanted to change her fate and there was always a chance!
With this in mind, Xia Shao smiled, no matter what, this was the first family reunion after rebirth, and she must have a good New Year!
On the 29th day of the New Year, Xia Shao’s parents came back from the city on holiday and entered the house with a large pile of items. Among them were chickens, ducks, fish, meat and a dozen kinds of vegetables, all of which were to be eaten during the New Year’s days. Xia Shao happily pounced over and started to help to carry things, her small body looks awkward and cute with the big bag, which made her parents laugh and praised her for being so understanding.
Grandfather was in the house listening to the radio, and after her parents went in to greet him, her mother started washing her hands and helping grandmother to boil the chicken and duck in preparation for the New Year tomorrow.
The village in her hometown was called Ten Mile Village, which, as the name suggests, was only ten miles away from the city, so it doesn’t take much time to travel back and forth from the city. But in Xia Shao’s memories, every New Year’s Eve in her childhood, her youngest uncle and aunt would only arrive when it’s dark. By that time, both her grandmother and mother had been on the floor all day circling around the stove and were so tired that they couldn’t even stand up straight.
Grandfather Xia GuoXi had five children. The eldest of the five was called Xia ZhiWei and was born to Xia GuoXi and his ex-wife. His ex-wife died of disease during the war years. The eldest son, Xia ZhiWei, got married early and went to work in the provincial capital city of Qing city, but his work didn’t go well. Later, he had somehow gotten involved with some people in the gang and acted so arrogantly and domineeringly, which made the old man very angry. The two father and son were both like powder kegs and didn’t get along when they met. Afterwards, Xia GuoXi just pretended that there was no such son.
Later on, Xia GuoXi married again and had four children, two sons and two daughters. The eldest was her father, Xia ZhiYuan, the second was her elder aunt, Xia ZhiMei, the third was her younger aunt, Xia ZhiLan, and the fourth is her youngest uncle, Xia ZhiTao.
Xia Shao’s father, Xia ZhiYuan, was honest and simple, while her youngest uncle, being the youngest in the family, was favoured since childhood, and had a bad temper and was idling during his youth.
In Xia Shao’s memory, the youngest Uncle Xia ZhiTao just married two years ago and he doesn’t work and when he ran out of money, he would go home and ask her grandparents. The Aunt-in-law Jiang QiuLin was no pushover either. It’s not uncommon for her to whine and cry about poverty, and every time she returns home to complain about married a useless man and then took handfuls of money from her grandparents before returning home. The relationship between the both was not very peaceful either, and quarrels were a common occurrence.
Later on, Xia ZhiTao and someone partnered up in the construction business and made some money. However, after that he had a mistress out there and only until the mistress showed up pregnant, the couple had a big fight and divorce. Her cousin went to live with her father along with her stepmother and stepsister which she suffered a lot afterwards.
Of course, these were memories from the previous life.
According to Xia Shao’s memory, now the situation didn’t seem to be that serious yet. Calculating the time, it had only been a short duration since young Uncle and Aunt-in-law had gotten married, and it seemed that Aunt-in-law had just gotten pregnant during this year?
Sure enough, when it was nearly evening, Jiang QiuLin came back with her big belly and with Xia ZhiTao. The two of them didn’t bring many things, and when they entered the house, Xia ZhiTao called out: “Dad. Mom, LinLin is a bit unwell, so we are late.”
“What? She is not feeling well?” A loud voice came from the inner room, Xia GuoXi was originally listening to the radio in the house, even Xia Shao’s parents came back, and he didn’t even come out to take a look. Yet now when he heard this, he rushed out from the room and asked: “You’re in the city, close to the hospital, haven’t you bring LinLin to see it? Don’t be afraid to spend money. If you don’t have enough, just tell me. We shouldn’t delay any issue with my eldest grandson!”
The moment he said this, Aunt-in-law laughed and secretly elbowed Uncle Xia ZhiTao, who rubbed his hands and laughed: “You’re right Dad. For the sake of your grandson, your son wouldn’t dare to be negligent, would I? But you’re right, it’s the Eve of the New Year, and tomorrow is the actual New Year, so if we go to the hospital and meet the doctor on duty, we have to show our sincerity, right? Otherwise, they’ll be in a hurry to go home for the celebration, then they won’t have the patience to consult us properly.”
When grandfather heard that, he went back to his room without saying another word and came out a moment later with a thousand yuan in his hand. He shoved it into his youngest son’s hand while saying: “Take it and spend it first, and ask from us if you don’t have enough.”
Uncle Xia ZhiTao and Aunt-in-law Jiang QiuLin stared at the money with smiles blooming on their faces and replied: “Thank you, Dad.” At this time, the monthly salary of an ordinary worker in a small third-tier town was just over two hundred yuan, and prices were also very low. A thousand yuan seems very little now, but back then, it was almost four or five months’ salary for a person who didn’t eat or drink! The couple were naturally happy to see this amount.
Xia Shao’s mother looked at the money and her expression changed slightly. Although she was gentle, a rare filial daughter-in-law, yet her father-in-law obviously favoured his youngest daughter-in-law in front of her as the eldest daughter-in-law. No matter how gentle she was, it was still slightly uncomfortable. Moreover, that money was what they had passed it to the elderly today as a tribute, and it turned around and gave it to their youngest uncle and sisters-in-law.
Her mother glanced back at Xia Shao’s father, who laughed and patted her hand to reassure her. As far as he was concerned, the money was meant to be a tribute to his parents, and since it had been given to them, they were free to use it as they wished.
Her mother sighed secretly and then glanced back at her, with a hint of sadness in her eyes.
It was as if these events were repeating themselves, as they had indeed happened in Xia Shao’s memory. However, during that time, Xia Shao did not quite understand the underlying feelings between the adults, nor did she understand why her mother glanced at her with a hint of sadness.
Yet now, with the soul of a nearly thirty-year-old adult, she can’t help but hold her breath when she looked at what happened back then.