Lin Qinhe glanced at Tao Xi who was still asleep on the bed, and gently walked outside the bedroom and closed the door behind him before picking up the phone.
“Qinhe, one of Tao Jian’s colleagues told me that he saw Tao Jian at Hannan Hospital yesterday afternoon.” Su Yun said over the phone.
Lin Qinhe walked to the living room and asked: “Is he alone?”
Su Yun said: “The employee only saw Tao Jian, originally planned to ask Tao Jian a few words, but Tao Jian didn’t look very good so he left without saying anything.”
Lin Qinhe thanked Su Yun. After hanging up the phone, he planned to call Tao Xi to get up, but Tao Xi had already come out of the bedroom, standing with his hair sticking up, looking blankly at him with a pair of swollen eyes.
Lin Qinhe couldn’t hold back a laugh, walked over and raised his hand to rub Tao Xi’s hair, saying, “Go wash up, breakfast is ready.”
Tao Xi nodded dully and went to the bathroom. When he saw the mirror, his face collapsed instantly. He leaned in front of the mirror and saw his double eyelids become swollen and wide. No wonder Lin Qinhe laughed just now.
It’s over, how to meet him in the afternoon.
He washed up quickly, ate a sumptuous breakfast with Lin Qinhe in the dining room, and used an ice pack on his eyes for half a day until Lin Qinhe said they were no longer swollen, and then he and Lin Qinhe spent time together on the sofa.
Tao Xi found the TV remote and planned to turn on the TV when he heard Lin Qinhe ask him: “What time do you go to Grandpa Qiao’s place this afternoon?”
He put the remote control aside and said to Lin Qinhe, “Usually it’s two o’clock, but today Grandpa Qiao is taking me to meet a senior painter, so I have to go there before one o’clock.”
Ever since Qiao Henian knew he wanted to apply to a school abroad, he had been looking for an opportunity to take him to meet some famous painters.
Lin Qinhe said, “Then I will take you there this afternoon.”
Tao Xi agreed. After hesitating, he still asked Lin Qinhe: “Don’t you have to go home for the birthday party in the afternoon?”
“Not going.” Lin Qinhe frowned, and then quickly loosened, giving a brief and concise answer.
Tao Xi pretended to make an “Oh” indifferently, but was a little happy in his heart. He took a sip of water from the coffee table and covered the corners of his mouth.
“Let’s go to your grandparents’ house with me next Saturday.”
Tao Xi’s heart jumped, and the hand holding the cup paused, listening to Lin Qinhe continue: “This week, Grandpa Fang will return to his hometown to worship his ancestors. He will probably not be back until the 30th. They will get together on the night of the 31st for the New Year.”
Lin Qinhe’s tone was very calm. This was his intention after thinking again and again, he did not want to delay this matter for too long, so as not to cause complications. It just happened that his competition would end on Friday the 30th. He could also take advantage of this week to make some preparations.
Tao Xi lowered his eyes slightly, holding the cup with both hands and rubbing the wall of the cup unconsciously with his fingers. Instead of answering quickly, he asked Lin Qinhe, “Can you tell me about my grandparents?”
He had only seen the two old people from a distance through the ward door. In that brief impression, the grandpa’s hair was mostly white, and a pair of silver-rimmed glasses hung around his neck. He looked serious. The grandma wore a bun and dressed in an elegantly clothed a cheongsam with exquisite fabrics, looking intellectual and elegant and was full of artist temperament
“Okay.” Lin Qinhe began to give him a detailed introduction.
His grandfather, Fang Zuqing, was a professor at the Academy of Life Sciences of Wenhua University, and was also the dean before he retired, bringing up many outstanding students and being the leading scholar in the field of Life Sciences in China. His grandmother, Ye Yurong, was a famous ballet dancer who had won many awards in dance competitions when she was young, and she also had many students. The two old people were considered to be full of peaches and plums.1a garden full of peaches and plum: got many students all over the world
Tao Xi listened in silence, suddenly feeling very close to his grandparents, yet very far away.
He kept his head down until Lin Qinhe reached out and gently held his chin, making him lift his head. He pinched his cheek and said to him, “They will love you.”
Tao Xi rested his chin on Lin Qinhe’s palm, lifted his eyes and asked, “Really?”
Lin Qinhe said with certainty, “Of course, no one will dislike you.”
Tao Xi knew that Lin Qinhe was reassuring him. He took away the uneasiness on his face, rubbed his chin in the palm of Lin Qinhe’s hand, smiled and said, “I am not RMB.”
He finally promised Lin Qinhe that he would go to his grandparents’ house with him next Saturday.
This was something he had to face, and only he could face it alone.
Today, the snow finally stopped. After lunch, Tao Xi followed Lin Qinhe out the door and saw that the garden in the community was covered with silver. Seeing that many children were making snowmen on the snow in the garden of the community, he had itchy hands and wanted to play, but there wasn’t enough time, so he had to withdraw his gaze and follow Lin Qinhe to the outside.
Lin Qinhe glanced at the child who was making a snowman and said to Tao Xi: “You can go skiing during the New Year’s holiday.”
Tao Xi’s face was half wrapped in a scarf, revealing a pair of bright eyes looking at Lin Qinhe. Just as he wanted to say “Okay”, the light in his eyes suddenly dimmed.
The thought of meeting grandparents on the 31st made his stomach cramp with nervousness.
Lin Qinhe put Tao Xi’s hand into his pocket and said, “Don’t always think about it during this time, everything will pass naturally.”
Tao Xi let out a breath and gave an “en”
The two rode a car to the entrance of the Qiao family house. After getting off, Tao Xi couldn’t help but jump on the edge of the flower bed, stepping on the fluffy snow to make two deep footprints, and asked Lin Qinhe, “Where are you going this afternoon?”
Lin Qinhe reached out to hold Tao Xi’s arm and led him down from the edge of the flower bed, saying, “I’m going back to my uncle’s house, come pick you up when you’re done.”
Tao Xi nodded, stepped on the snow and walked into the Qiao family house, turning around and waving at Lin Qinhe before entering the door.
Lin Qinhe watched Tao Xi close the door before he turned around and stopped a cab, even Christmas songs were playing in the cab on Christmas Day. The driver casually asked, “Where to?”
“The road may be a bit congested today, plus it just snowed, I won’t drive too fast.”
“It’s okay.” After Lin Qinhe finished, he took out his phone with the intention of making a call to Su Yun, but he received a call from Luo Zhengyin first.
There was a faint sound of people on the other side of the phone, signaling that the villa was bustling with activity. Luo Zhengyin seemed to be walking a little farther away and said after getting through.
“Qinhe, aren’t you coming back this afternoon? The birthday party has already started. Many of your classmates and friends are here, Lele’s grandparents also oame over, they asked me why you are not here.”
Lin Qinhe looked out the window, his gaze was calm: “I have something to do this afternoon, please say hello to Grandpa Fang and Grandma Ye for me.”
The sound of a door closing came from the other end of the phone. Luo Zhengyin seemed to close a door, and the noisy voices were immediately isolated. She hesitated for a while, and said softly:
“Qinhe, although I know you’ll be upset if I say this, but today is after all Lele’s birthday. From zero o’clock until now, you haven’t made a single phone call to him, not even a happy birthday. He asked me where you’ve been, I don’t know how to tell him.”
Lin Qinhe held the phone in silence, his heart suddenly caged with a layer of deep sadness.
His mother felt it was unacceptable that he didn’t wish Yang Duole happy birthday. What would she think if she knew that Fang Sui’s real child had lived very hard in a remote mountain village for so many years, and no one had ever said a happy birthday to him today?
At that moment he even wanted to question Luo Zhengyin, but he knew that this poor woman had actually never really gotten out of depression at all. A life lived in obsession, only to transfer the obsession from a dead person, to another wrong person.
In the end, Lin Qinhe just said, “The gift for Lele is on the desk in my room, you can give it to him for me.”
“Here.” After the driver parked the car near Hannan Hospital, he handed the printed QR code to Lin Qinhe.
Lin Qinhe said “No”, then took out his wallet, took out the money from it and handed it to the driver.
The driver was surprised to receive the money and jokingly said, “Nowadays, young people are all paying by phone, there are almost no more people who give cash like you.”
Lin Qinhe didn’t answer, but only said “thank you”. He looked down at the photo in the transparent compartment of the wallet, closed the wallet before he opened the car’s door and walked out.
Tao Xi followed Qiao Henian in his classic car. Qiao Henian carried the parrot cage, teased the parrot for a while, and after finding nothing good coming out of the parrot’s mouth, he threw the cage to Tao Xi and asked, “Have you handed in the painting of the contest?”
Tao Xi took the cage in a hurry and was scolded by the parrot for being a “little brat”. He quickly replied: “It was submitted a long time ago, and it seems that the works selected in the first round will be publicly displayed online soon.”
Qiao Henian turned on the radio and played an old tune, hummed along a few times and then said indifferently: “You’ll be fine in the first round, Old Zhong said so last time, he was a judge in the last session.”
Tao Xi finally calmed down the cursing parrot and jokingly said, “Thank you grandpa for taking me to see senior Zhong. If I win the prize, I will use the prize money to buy grandpa a parrot that can compliment people.”
Zhong Qiusheng was an old friend of Qiao Henian for many years, an old man with deep seniority in the Calligraphy and Painting Association. He came to Qiao’s house as a guest one Sunday before, and Qiao Henian brought Tao Xi to meet with him.
Qiao Henian laughed and scolded: “This brat is not learned from me, but if that Tang girl is obedient, my parrot can also win the community civilization award.”
The car drove to a private courtyard on the outskirts of the city. Qiao Henian took Tao Xi to meet with his old friend Zhong Qiusheng, who had met Tao Xi last time and had a good impression of the child. He smiled and patted Tao Xi’s shoulder, saying, “My incompetent grandson is here today, named Zhong Shan, about the same age as you, go play with him. “
Tao Xi looked through the floor-to-ceiling glass outside the courtyard, a boy in a thick down jacket was cowering in the snow, building a snowman.
He answered “okay”, knowing that the two old men would be drinking tea and chatting in the tea room, so he consciously put on his shoes and went out.
Qiao Henian and Zhong Qiusheng sat down in the tea room. Zhong Qiusheng could be regarded as half a tea master. This tea room was elegantly furnished and all the utensils were of great value. He brewed the tea slowly, poured a cup and handed it to Qiao Henian, saying:
“This student of yours is indeed very similar to your previous female student named Fang, I was a bit surprised last time I saw it.”
Qiao Henian was not accustomed to the tea ceremony. He smothered the tea in one gulp, sighed in Zhong Qiusheng’s glare, and said: “Unfortunately, my female student left early. I have also met her son. Professor Fang once tried every means to send him to me to learn to draw. I asked the child to paint a few times casually, and it was obvious that the child didn’t inherit any of his mother’s talent and refused to accept it anyway.”
He had always been impartial. Many of his friends’ children wanted to learn art, so they would put their children in his care, but as long as he felt that they couldn’t do it, he wouldn’t accept it, so as not to ruin his reputation.
“That is quite a pity, the mother’s talent is not inherited.” Zhong Qiusheng no longer poured tea to Qiao Henian, and sipped the tea slowly by himself, “But there’s no telling about heredity, my grandson didn’t inherit anything from me. “
Qiao Henian was angry when he talked about grandchildren. After scolding his granddaughter with an old friend, he suddenly remembered his business, and hurriedly said with some kindness: “You haven’t forgotten what I told you last time? Just the recommendation letter.”
Zhong Qiusheng hummed and laughed: “You really worry too much about the student. It’s certainly enough with your recommendation, and you still have to drag me.” He said so, and put a letter that had been prepared a long time ago on the table.
Qiao Henian took the letter, read it from start to finish, and nodded in satisfaction.
Tao Xi picked up a big snowball on the ground and put it on the snowman’s body. Zhong Shan, who was on the side, quickly inserted the carrots that had already been prepared on the snowman’s head, then handed two grapes to Tao Xi and said with a smile, “You can do it for the eyes.”
Tao Xi shook his head with a cold expression: “You can get it yourself, I’m going inside.”
Because of Zhong Qiusheng’s face, he greeted this man named Zhong Shan friendly, and ended up being entangled here and piled up three snowmen in the afternoon. He didn’t even have time to see Zhong’s gallery.
Tao Xi stepped on the snow and walked to the villa while asking where Lin Qinhe was on his phone. Lin Qinhe quickly replied “almost there”.
He looked down at his phone, his face could not help but smile, but suddenly he was grabbed by a hand. Zhong Shan approached him and said with a smile on his face: “Friend, add a WeChat.”
Tao Xi didn’t have any expressions: “I don’t have WeChat.” He felt that this person was a bit strange, and always looked at him with an ambiguous gaze when stacking snowmen.
“…” Zhong Shan glanced at the WeChat interface on Tao Xi’s phone, thinking that the refusal was him just being polite.
At this time, the sound of footsteps on the snow approached, Tao Xi turned his head to look, and saw that it was Lin Qinhe.
It was almost dusk, the sky was a bit gloomy. In the snow-filled pine forest, Tao Xi felt the whole world brighten up, he broke away from Zhong Shan’s hand, stepped on the snow and ran quickly to Lin Qinhe.
“You’re not almost there, you’re already here.” He smiled and said to Lin Qinhe. If there weren’t outsiders around, he would have jumped over and pounced Lin Qinhe into the snow.
Lin Qinhe glanced at Zhong Shan, who was following him, and then at the three shapeless snowmen not far away, and asked Tao Xi, “Can go back?”
Tao Xi nodded and said, “I’ll just go and talk to Grandpa Qiao and Grandpa Zhong.”
“Lin Qinhe?! Why are you here?” Zhong Shan looked at Lin Qinhe in disbelief, then glanced at Tao Xi, “Do you know each other?”
Zhong Shan was in the same school as Lin Qinhe in junior high school, so it was impossible not to know this famous genius. Not to mention, the elders of the two also had contacts, but he and Lin Qinhe were not acquainted.
Lin Qinhe took off his scarf and handed it to Tao Xi, saying in a flat tone, “I’m here to pick him up and take him home.”
Zhong Shan’s mouth opened wide in shock and he didn’t react for a long time, but when he did, the two boys had already walked away side by side.
Tao Xi bid farewell to the two old people before following Lin Qinhe back to their home by car, but on the way Lin Qinhe had not said much. When he asked a few questions, Lin Qinhe would answer, but he was not very interested.
When they returned to the community, the sky was completely dark. On the way through the garden, Tao Xi suddenly said to Lin Qinhe, “Shall we build a snowman?”
Lin Qinhe paused in his steps, then continued walking, saying indifferently, “There’s not much snow.”
It didn’t snow much during the day, so there really wasn’t much snow left in the garden, and in some places, it was trampled on so often that the snow was even a little dirty.
Tao Xi ignored Lin Qinhe’s words and directly held Lin Qinhe’s hand, pulling him to find a quieter corner where the snow was still clean.
He squatted down, picked up a pile of snow with both hands, compacted it into a small ball with his palm, and said to Lin Qinhe, who also squatted down, “This is the head, I’ve already made it.”
Lin Qinhe also picked up a pile of snow, made a bigger snowball, cupped his hands on the snow, and then looked at Tao Xi.
Tao Xi put the small snowball he made on the big snowball, picked up a few twigs and a few small stones, and put his eyes and hands in the snowman. Lifting up the little snowman from the ground, he said to Lin Qinhe:
“You can give it a name.”
Lin Qinhe frowned as he looked at the snowman with crooked eyes and slanted lips: “It’s ugly, forget it.”
Although it was too ugly, the snowman was taken back by Lin Qinhe and carefully placed in the freezer of the refrigerator. Tao Xi saw Lin Qinhe quietly open the refrigerator every day to observe whether the snowman had melted.
- 1a garden full of peaches and plum: got many students all over the world