“Hey, you just want to drink my Yakult!” A boy with natural curly short hair came in with a pile of Yakult. A pair of dark apricot eyes rolled around, handing out a few bottles of Yakult to the classmates who called him in the front row.
“Yakult, congratulations on finally joining our class!” Class leader Li Xiaoyuan was polite, and unceremoniously took a whole row of Yakult from the arms of the natural curly-haired boy.
“Ei, don’t finish it for me, buy it yourself.” The natural curly-haired boy tightly held the drink in his arms and ran towards the last row quickly.
“Qinhe ge!” He placed a whole row of drinks in front of Lin Qinhe as if offering treasures. He put his school bag on Lin Qinhe’s desk randomly and said with a smile, “I can’t get up in the morning, so I just came after physics class.”
Lin Qinhe gave a hum. His indifferent expression in the past was obviously less alienated and he handed the black note book on the table to curly haired naturally.
“Ah thank you! But you don’t need to write it down for me in the future. I don’t understand it anyway. I’ll ask you when I go back.” The curly haired took the note book and closed it, wrinkling his nose.
“Hey, why don’t I know this new classmate?” His eyes rolled, as if he finally found the deskmate sitting next to Lin Qinhe.
Li Xiaoyuan happened to come with a form and took the initiative to introduce: “This is the new transfer student in our class. He’s the first place in Qingshui County!”
Curly haired said oh, nodded, and said with a smile to Tao Xi: “Hello, my name is Yang Duole. You can call me Yakult1While the nickname is because of Yang Doule always having Yakult with him, I’m pretty sure it’s also a play on his name. Yakult in chinese is yangledou. just like them.”
After speaking, he leaned over and put a bottle of Yakult on the Taoxi table. On the outstretched right wrist, there was a red string with golden beads woven into a peace knot2It’s something like this, and under the red string was a very conspicuous red round birthmark.
Tao Xi stared at the red birthmark, then stared at the boy’s face. After what seemed like a long time, Yang Duole heard he said:
“My name is Tao Xi.”
He didn’t know how ugly his face was, and it was hard to see that almost everyone next to him found that his emotions were not right.
Yang Duole seemed to think this new classmate was a little weird. He blinked suspiciously, but at this time the class bell rang and the students hurried back. Yang Duole had to carry his schoolbag back to his seat.
Class leader Li Xiaoyuan put the form in his hand on Tao Xi’s desk before rushing back, and exhorted: “I forgot to give it to you yesterday. This is the information form for all the students in our class. You can fill it in and give it to me.” After speaking, he ran away quickly.
Tao Xi looked at the form dumbly and quickly locked a name on the form.
Yang Duole, 16 years old, birthday December 25, mother Fang Sui (deceased), father Yang Zhengming…
“Are you okay?” Bi Chengfei turned his head and looked at Tao Xi worriedly. The boy sat motionless, his face was pale, and the eyes that he thought were the most beautiful were also hollow.
Bi Chengfei felt that only he knew why Tao Xi was so disheartened.
It must be because Lin Qinhe rejected him again.
Bi Chengfei sighed and aimed at the culprit, only to find that Lin Qinhe turned his head slightly, looking at Tao Xi with his head down.
But soon he withdrew his gaze and took out the English book from the drawer. His face was still expressionless.
Alas, Lin Xueshen was good with everything, but he was too cold. This hurt Little Cabbage’s heart of Qingshui County again.
“Bi Chengfei, what’s wrong with your head? Last time I asked you to go to your dad to register, what did Dr. Bi say?”
Suddenly there was a cold female voice from the podium, and Bi Chengfei, who was worrying about the pair of deskmates in the back seat, was shocked. He turned back faintly.
The whole class laughed. Who didn’t know that Bi Chengfei’s father was also Bi Aoxue’s eldest brother, and was the director of the Department of Neurosurgery at Hannan Hospital in Wenhua City.
And Grand-aunt Bi’s nickname also comes from her being Bi Chengfei’s little aunt.
“Oh, Doctor Bi said that my head cannot be saved, it’s inherited from the family.” Bi Chengfei touched his head and said calmly.
The classmates leaned forward and backward with laughter. They were never tired of the drama of these aunt and nephew.
Bi Aoxue sneered, stretched out her finger and clicked on Bi Chengfei, meaning “you wait for me”.
She casted her gaze to the last row, and first glanced at the newly transferred Tao Xi. The child was in a daze with his head down. She frowned, thinking that perhaps the person hadn’t adjusted to the new environment.
Then he looked at Lin Qinhe on the side.
The sun came out from the west. Not only the ancestor was not late, nor did he read other books, but instead looked at the English textbook on the table.
Bi Aoxue swept her gaze to the rest of the classroom again. Sure enough, this sweep caught another person who secretly lowered his head and sucked a drink.
“Yang Duole, why? Want to go back when you just arrived?
The boy who was named almost choked. He quickly stuffed the Yakult into the drawer, shook his head and said, “I’m wrong, I don’t want to go back.”
Tao Xi suddenly recovered, these three words Yang Duole instantly tore him from the shaky memory.
He raised his eyelashes and looked at the boy with a natural curl on his left front.
The dark eyes were filled with sarcasm that no one could see.
Guo Ping’s sorrowful face came to mind again, and said in the tone he hated most: “He was not in good health since he was born. I was shocked. I was thinking that hospitals in big cities would be better, and they would definitely be able to take good care of him.”
Last summer, Tao Xi just returned to his home in Taoxi Bay with his first rank in the town’s high school entrance examination. Tao Le went to his grandmother’s house to play. Tao Jian just finished a part-time job, but all the money he earned was lost by playing cards. He also lost his temper at home all day long.
He hid in the wood room to paint and overheard the quarrel between Tao Jian and Guo Ping.
“That’s my own son. What’s wrong with it if I’m going to find him?! That woman surnamed Fang must have money in her family. We are raising their son so much, so it’s not surprising that they should pay us compensation, ba?”
“No! You can’t go to him, you will ruin him!” Guo Ping rarely shouted in a fierce tone.
“Do you think the paper can wrap the fire3Raw: 纸包不住火. it’s from Cong Weixi “The Tenth Bullet Hole”. Meaning that facts cannot be concealed.? The blood relationship is here, and sooner or later it will be discovered! I said how Tao Xi looks completely different from me. If my mother hadn’t told me, I wouldn’t even know that I was raising a son for others!”
Tao Jian cursed and laughed for a while, and suddenly asked harshly: “What is the name that painter woman named my son?”
Guo Ping was silent and did not speak.
Tao Jian’s violent curses followed, and the movement became louder and louder. It seemed that there was a fight.
Tao Xi pushed open the door of the wood house and looked at them blankly.
Guo Ping’s numb face finally had a crack when he saw him, and her drooping and muddy eyes were filled with fear and retreat. There was also a trace of guilt that was invisible.
Tao Jian didn’t expect Tao Xi to be in the wood house. He didn’t have a deep relationship with the two children. He raised his eyebrows and looked at Tao Xi for a while, and irritably touched the curly and messy short hair on top of his head and cursed Guo Ping: “Can’t hide it now, it’s better to tell him honestly.”
Guo Ping seemed to have finally collapsed, and slowly sat on the bench, covering her face without speaking.
After a while, she seemed to be about to unload a burden that had been on her shoulders for many years, and to tell the old thing that had tortured her for a long time.
Sixteen years ago, a beautiful young woman came to the remote Taoxi Bay. She was alone with her luggage and painting tools. From her look and dress, she apparently came from a big city.
The villagers were not surprised. Although Taoxi Bay was poor, the scenery was indeed beautiful. After a young man took a picture two years ago and went back, some idle painter and photographer came one after another.
However, this woman was pregnant. It was not obvious at first, but as she lived in the village longer and longer, the villagers began to talk about this woman named Fang Sui.
They thought that she might be pregnant with an illegitimate child and was ashamed to be known by her family, so she went to hide in a poor country to paint.
Fang Sui was renting in Guo Ping’s house at that time. Guo Ping was also pregnant, her husband Tao Jian went out to work, and a capable mother-in-law was taking care of her.
However, rural women could still work in the fields even if they were pregnant. On the contrary, the mother-in-law took care of Fang Sui more. After all, she could get a lot of money.
Fang Sui was very beautiful, Guo Ping still clearly remembered her face. She was the kind of rich lady who had been spoiled since childhood. She had white skin and had not been tanned even after spending so long in the country. Especially those eyes, like peach petals dripping on the Qingshui River, the slightly raised eyelashes were moisturized, and they always looked innocent and affectionate when looking at people.
There were a few bachelors in the village who were a little eager to move, and they were all driven back by Guo Ping who had a fierce personality. When Fang Sui was sitting in the field and painting, Guo Ping was doing farm work nearby to guard her at all times.
When resting, Guo Ping sat on the ridge, weaving all kinds of things with grass, rattan or bamboo strips, and then she gave it to Fang Sui. Fang Sui would show her a simple and happy smile.
There were always people in this world who were born with compassion and love, and both men and women would develop a desire to protect them.
Fang Sui spoke very little. Guo Ping had lived with her for so long and only knew that she was from Wenhua City and was a freelance painter. She was even more secretive about the child’s father and her parents, and would always look gloomy when it came to them.
Guo Ping guessed that she might have eloped with her lover without the permission of her parents, but the lover did not come to her.
As the two approached the child birth, the weather was getting colder and colder in the autumn. Fang Sui no longer went out to paint, Guo Ping no longer did farm work, the two were idle and had nothing to do at home.
Guo Ping taught Fang Sui to weave, and Fang Sui was very dexterous in painting, but it took a long time to awkwardly weave a peace knot with a red string.
Speaking of the child’s name, Fang Sui looked at the peaceful knot in her hand with a gentle expression: “I thought of a lot of names before, and I think they all have good meaning. After thinking about it, I only hope that the child will be safe, disease-free and disaster-free and have a lot of happiness, so I still think the name Yang Duole is the best. Both boy and girl can use it.”
That was the first time Guo Ping knew that the child’s father’s name was Yang. The children’s names in their village were all simple. It didn’t matter what Fang Sui thought so much, so she said, “I’m too lazy to think about it, just pick one at that time, it’s better to have bad name to feed4So there’s actually a saying in Chinese that bad name is easy to feed..”
Fang Sui smiled and said nothing. She went to the table and sat down before she picked up a pen and wrote on the letter paper.
Guo Ping took a look and said curiously: “You finally want to write to your family?”
Fang Sui shook her head and said, “I will write to my child, and I will show it to him when he is eighteen.”
Guo Ping felt that the people in the city were just paying attention to it. It was not like the child would not be able to see her when the child grew up. Was there anything that she couldn’t leave until then?
It seemed to be a truth, Fang Sui had a very difficult day when she gave birth. Guo Ping hadn’t been full-term, so she was anxious about giving birth.
That day was December 25, and it was Christmas that people in the mountains didn’t know or cared about. It snowed early in the mountains, and the white snow fell all over the half-mountain.
The mother-in-law hurriedly invited midwives from two villages, but the three old women almost couldn’t cope with them after busying themselves.
On the contrary, Guo Ping gave birth to a boy, because he was born premature, he was thin and he didn’t cry too loudly. There was an obvious red round birthmark on his right wrist.
At that time, a midwife sighed to Guo Ping’s mother-in-law in a low voice: “This child doesn’t look good to feed.”
Guo Ping heard it, gritted her teeth and did not speak. She looked at Fang Sui who was about to faint in pain.
Fang Sui finally gave birth to the child after 8 o’clock in the evening. He was also a boy, crying loudly. Fang Sui glanced at the child, smiled and called out “Le Le” softly before fainted.
Immediately after Fang Sui suddenly started bleeding, everyone in the room was terrified. A villager hurriedly used a tricycle to send Fang Sui to the town, but when he arrived at the clinic, Fang Sui was already out of breath.
Guo Ping never wanted to think about it in those few days. She didn’t go with her because she had just given birth. When she saw Fang Sui again, it was the corpse that was dragged back, quietly, holding a not-so-good-looking red peace knot tightly in her hand.
Guo Ping breastfeeds the two children by herself. She found a notebook in Fang Sui’s belongings with some phone numbers in it. She went to a home in the town where there was a phone and made a call. The one who answered the phone was a middle-aged man. He should be Fang Sui’s father.
Later, Fang Sui’s parents rushed over and cried bitterly when they saw Fang Sui’s coffin. Then a handsome young man rushed over. He remained silent, his eyes were red, and his chin was full of stubble.
Guo Ping had packed all Fang Sui’s relics, including hundreds of paintings she painted in Taoxi Bay, a letter to her child at the age of eighteen, and the bunch of red peace knots.
However, when the child was handed over to Fang Sui’s parents, she obeyed her mother-in-law’s words.
“She named the child Yang Duole, and hoped that he would be healthy and happy.” Guo Ping relentlessly gave them his son with a red birthmark.
The young man who had been silent heard these words and burst into tears and choked silently.
They did not stay longer in Taoxi Bay, and soon took Fang Sui and their children back. Before leaving, the Fang family wanted to give Guo Ping a large sum of money. They thanked her for taking care of Fang Sui during the time, but they also meant to shut her up. After all, this matter was not glorious.
Guo Ping felt suffocated. When she breastfeed her baby before they left, she quietly held her son and wiped her tears.
The Fang family never came after this, all the matters were buried under the winter snow in Taoxi Bay year after year in December.
The child who was left behind, Guo Ping named him Tao Xi.
“Tao Xi, mom only asks you one thing, don’t go find him, okay? Or, maybe you wait until he grows up to reach an adult, then go find him, okay?”
Tao Xi looked at Guo Ping, who was squatting on the ground and crying bitterly.
From the start until to the end, Guo Ping never said sorry to him.
In the end, the thing that worried and scared her the most that he would go to her biological son named Yang Duole, and that he would ruin his good life.
For a moment he wanted to ask Guo Ping, Yang Duole hadn’t grown up yet, but had he already grown up when they were born on the same day?
He finally understood why Guo Ping was so afraid of him painting and all his outstanding performances since he was a child, why his grandmother never got close to him but loved Tao Le so much, why did a midwife who had passed away in the village whispered to him before her death: “Child, you shouldn’t be here.”
He finally understand why he was called Tao Xi and his sister is Tao Le.
His “mother” hoped that he would stay in Taoxi Bay forever, and she would always miss the child who was blessed with happiness.
When he was young, he often wondered why both his mother and grandma preferred his sister.
It turned out that he was not unfavorable, but he had never been loved.
“Tao Xi, you read the paragraph I just said aloud.” Bi Aoxue tolerated it for a long time and finally couldn’t hold it back, frowning at the new student in the last row who was obviously distracted.
Tao Xi returned to his senses again. He slowly stood up, but bowed his head in silence and didn’t know what to say.
He didn’t listen, how to answer?
He was about to honestly admit that he hadn’t listened to the lecture when he saw a slender hand pushing an opened English textbook over. On the clean pages, there was a paragraph of English text framed abruptly using black ink.
Tao Xi was stunned, and subconsciously read the paragraph out.
But while he was reading it, several students in the class laughed quietly.
Because his spoken English was very substandard.
Bi Aoxue glared at the few snickering students. After Tao Xi finished reading, she let him sit down and didn’t continue to embarrass him, even if she knew that Lin Qinhe had helped this kid in an unprecedented way.
After Tao Xi sat down for a while, he realized that the English book had been taken back. He later turned his head to look at Lin Qinhe who was beside him, and said “thank you” softly.
Lin Qinhe didn’t say anything, but closed the English book again, then lowered his head and pulled out the physics competition book to read.
- 1While the nickname is because of Yang Doule always having Yakult with him, I’m pretty sure it’s also a play on his name. Yakult in chinese is yangledou.
- 2It’s something like this
- 3Raw: 纸包不住火. it’s from Cong Weixi “The Tenth Bullet Hole”. Meaning that facts cannot be concealed.
- 4So there’s actually a saying in Chinese that bad name is easy to feed.