[In the future, only your mother and you will be left. She will take good care of you as a child but when you get older, her knowledge will make her powerless. It will be your turn to teach her the principles of life. These principles are all in the book and you have read them.]
[Perhaps you still can’t fully understand these words but just remember two points: If you blame her for being weak, please be more considerate. If she does something wrong, you must solemnly point it out and ask her to correct it.]
[She is a mother for the first time and you are also a child for the first time. You should be equal to each other and hope to tolerate each other and grow up together.]
By the time the disease was detected, it was already at the advanced stage. The doctor estimated that the remaining time would be almost the same as Luo Xiuyun’s delivery date.
The gadgets that Lin Rongsheng bought for his unborn child were placed together with the large number of pills prescribed by the doctor for him. It was white and colorful. New life was coming while another life was about to die.
With little money left, he decided not to buy medicine any longer.
His wife often cried behind his back so Lin Rongsheng started to buy her candy again.
This was until he couldn’t get out of bed at all.
The thick candy wrapper in the tin box would never increase again.
[Terminal illness and unforeseen disasters are the cruelest fates. They couldn’t be countered by manpower, nor could they be deliberately avoided. I could only wait for them to come. In this increasingly difficult period, I always lamented the injustice of heaven and the luck of others. Then once time really ran out, I regretted that I couldn’t put together an extra box of books for you and write a few more pages for you if I didn’t waste time on self-pity.]
[Come to think of it, I don’t have time to regret it. I immediately picked up a pen and wrote a letter. When I wrote this, I wasn’t sad. I just deeply missed the bowl of steamed eggs that my mother often made for me and I am going to look for her.]
[So I named you Qingyan, hoping that you will also encounter a bit of abundance and leisure. I think your mother will like the name too. Unfortunately, I can’t get up and take care of her any longer, nor can I take care of you.]
In the line waiting for the birth certificate of her child, the young woman came alone. She was distraught and it was very different from the joy of others.
When it was her turn, the staff member took the form filled out in advance and asked her with a frown, “What isn’t the field for the child’s name filled in? What is the name?”
The woman opened her mouth and said incompletely, “His name is Lin…”
She clearly remembered that day. The new baby was crying beside her and she was crying as well as she listened to the relative who helped take care of her husband telling her what he said when he was dying. He apologized for the teacup he accidentally broke, for leaving her alone with their son and also told her to take good care of her body after giving birth.
In addition, the name he gave the child.
The Qing of qingjing (peaceful), the Yan of yanxi (banquet/feast).
She had never heard the word ‘yanxi’ but she could hear the beauty full of anticipation.
Seeing her hesitant expression, the staff member impatiently tapped on the table with the cap of the pen. “Have you thought about it? If you haven’t thought of it then let someone else register first.”
“I’m sorry, I’ve thought about it!” She took a deep breath and hurriedly said, “It is Lin Yan.”
“The Yan of yanyu (words).”
The words came out and the dust was settled.
She received the thin certificate and walked into the crowd around the hospital, not knowing where her fate would go.
[I can’t hold the pen any longer, so I’ll write here first. I can’t see you in real life despite thousands of words but I hope to meet you in my dreams.]
[Life is a sharp blade hanging high. Don’t be afraid of the unfathomable cold light. Don’t stand still and obey orders. Just remember, when you can still walk then walk forward. Don’t lose your heart.]
[Qingyan, you must live without regrets.]
Pei Qingyuan saw that at the end of the letter, yellow spots appeared on the brittle paper. The last inscription was his father’s name, Lin Rongsheng.
At the same time that he finished reading, there was a gentle knock on the door.
He looked up and saw his young lover standing by the door.
“It is ready to eat.”
Ji Tong smiled as usual. His eyes were bright and he counted the gifts of life to him. “I just ate a delicious orange.”
Pei Qingyuan stood up. His thoughts were racing as he thought about the letter his father wrote 24 years ago. He thought about the sighs and hopes that emerged from the pages and the pale dreams about lovers he had a few years ago mixed together. They were like leaves drifting in a strong wind, sweeping and turbulent.
He couldn’t find a suitable sentence to respond with, so he could hold the white and warm palm of the person beside him.
Ji Tong was a bit surprised. “What’s wrong?”
Pei Qingyuan stared at him for a long time before saying in a low voice, “If he was still here, he would definitely like you.”
Ji Tong smiled again. “I also like him very much.”
He approached Pei Qingyuan’s ear, as if to convey a secret. “Auntie showed me a photo. It turns out that you look like your father.”
It was an extraordinarily sumptuous dinner with talking and laughter. The evening news played on the television and it was brilliantly lit.
The photo album that Ji Tong had flipped through was temporarily placed on the coffee table. On the page spread out was a photo of a young couple in front of a scenic spot.
Both of them were in their early 20s. Luo Xiuyun’s eyebrows were delicate and she was timidly holding her husband’s arm. Lin Rongsheng was quite tall and thin. He wore a pair of glasses and was smiling. He looked bookish but not thin and weak. There was a restrained stubbornness in his eyes.
At that time, Lin Rongsheng hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer yet and Luo Xiuyun hadn’t made her second bold and extremely wrong adventure in her life.
They stared expectantly at the road ahead.
The night outside the window was getting darker.
After the meal, Ji Tong and Pei Qingyuan cleaned up the table together.
Pei Qingyuan took the letter but didn’t take away the two suitcases of books. They were so heavy that they seemed to belong only to this room.
He took out the books inside, wiped them down one by one and put them in the empty bookcase.
Ji Tong was in the kitchen again. This time, Luo Xiuyun refused to let him help. He had to watch her wash the dishes and help her turn on the warm water.
Luo Xiuyun took advantage of the sound of the water to tentatively ask Ji Tong, “Can you thank him for me? The supermarket job is very good. I like it very much and I can’t bear to let go of the friends I met there.”
Ji Tong was stunned before reacting. “Okay.”
Luo Xiuyun knew what she had guessed correctly. She smiled and her wrinkled eyes were full of pride. “He is very good now… you are all excellent.”
She had found these two suitcases of books for a while but she hadn’t gathered up the courage to ask her son to come back and get them.
This was until she learned that the poorly run supermarket suddenly stopped laying off employees again. Everyone stopped planning to find another livelihood and sighed with relief.
If there really were layoffs, Luo Xiuyun felt that she must be the first unlucky one. After all, she had a criminal record. Such a person would always be at the top of the list of those who were fired. She was wondering where to go next but the crisis was somehow resolved.
The supermarket was no longer short of funds and no employees were laid off. The business was still the same as before, but there were higher wages and better treatment.
Among the ordinary employees, including Luo Xiuyun, no one knew the reason. They were just glad that everything was as usual and they were lucky.
However, Luo Xiuyun now watched the news every day and collected all the reports related to her son.
She dared to guess a reason.
She guessed right.
Pei Qingyuan’s temperament was the same as in high school. He was silent and restrained but didn’t like to express things.
That was when she misunderstood him.
Now she slowly learned how to get along with him.
Being a mother was also a lifelong lesson.
When parting, Pei Qingyuan’s expression was still indifferent and he wasn’t close to her. “Goodbye.”
Ji Tong was more enthusiastic. “Auntie, see you next time.”
“Okay, come back to the house next time.” Luo Xiuyun stood at the entrance of the stairs and waved his hand repeatedly. “Be careful of the road.”
When could she call him Qingyan?
When would she be called ‘Mom’?
Maybe wait for next time.
Luo Xiuyun sent them out. She stared at the window for a long time until the two figures disappeared completely.
She had an extra box of good-looking dumplings in her refrigerator and it wasn’t known what type of filling it was.
She decided to use it for tomorrow’s lunch.
Under the moonlight, Ji Tong and Pei Qingyuan walked out of the community. They walked through the lively streets and walked home together.
They always held hands like there was no one else there. This time, they walked together and Ji Tong quietly let go of his hand.
Pei Qingyuan looked sideways and saw his somewhat embarrassed expression. “It is a bit difficult to peel oranges with one hand.”
Ji Tong spread out his palm and revealed a small orange.
“Wait until I peel an orange,” he said. “This one is sweet. You haven’t eaten it yet.”
Ji Tong lowered his head and carefully peeled the orange. Pei Qingyuan wrapped one arm around his waist and led him forward.
The orange peel was like a hazy lamp.
He couldn’t help sighing. “So your father is like this.”
He was more vivid than the fictional single father, President Ji in a suit. He was also warmer than the artificial intelligence master brain representative with a white ponytail who patted him on the shoulder.
Ji Tong had learned a lot from the senior system, Fu Yinyin. In other such worlds, Pei Qingyuan’s life experience might have other secrets, such as his biological parents being from a more wealthy family and he would get more family affection in the past. This would make the protagonist’s background innocent and noble enough.
The story line calculated by the AI was perfect. It was perfect good and perfect evil. There was no need to think too much and too deeply.
But human feelings were also so complicated and disorderly. They were weak and tenacious, longing and evasive. Both right and wrong, love and hate.
This was a contradiction that AI could never handle.
Ji Tong preferred an ordinary father like Lin Rongsheng, whose appearance filled a certain gap in his distant and blank imagination.
He also loved this ordinary world.
He pinched the orange peel in the palm of his hand. He pulled out a few scattered strands of whiteness from the orange, broke off a piece and handed it over. He expectantly waited for Pei Qingyuan’s reaction.
Pei Qingyuan didn’t disappoint him. He ate this orange and his voice was gentle. “It is very sweet.”
Ji Tong’s eyes contained an extremely bright light. “Right? It is delicious.”
He would always remember the taste of this orange and the memories associated with it.
It was just like he remembered Xiao Mei, the mushroom, the cat and all the happy tastes.
He had never owned anything and no longer wanted to own them. He just tasted those flavors without distraction, remembering them seriously. Then he told the person around him how much he liked them.
That was enough to be happy.
Pei Qingyuan took the pieces of the orange that were handed over one after another.
Luo Xiuyun gradually understood his wishes and he gradually understood Ji Tong’s wishes.
After the little orange was eaten, the street lamps overhead cast a bright halo of a similar color, shining brightly in the misty night.
They walked side by side in the direction of home, passing the neon lights on the corner. Shadows overlapped on the pavement and their fingers interlocked.
Pei Qingyuan realized it later. “You only ate one piece.”
“I have already eaten two whole oranges before dinner.” Ji Tong remembered it very well. “I also ate a lot of crayfish at dinner. I can’t eat any more.”
“But we should’ve eaten half,” Pei Qingyuan said. “You and her also ate half of one.”
Ji Tong couldn’t help laughing. “But there are no more oranges. What should I do?”
Pei Qingyuan stopped. “You close your eyes.”
Ji Tong was a bit surprised and couldn’t help looking at the other person’s pocket. He thought that Pei Qingyuan, who looked serious, had also secretly taken an orange.
He pondered on it for a while but couldn’t find any clues from the expression of the person around him. Therefore, he followed the instructions carefully. “I closed my eyes.”
Ji Tong closed his eyes and tilted his head slightly. He instinctively held his breath and waited for the magic to appear.
This was until a kiss with an orange aroma fell on his cheek.
A smiling voice entered his ears. “This is also one half.”
Ji Tong smiled and his eyes curved. “You just wanted to find a reason to kiss me, liar.”
He opened his eyes and the vivid scenery flowed into them again. There was also his lover who was close at hand.
The world flickered with neon lights and he was embraced in familiar arms.
“If there are any other possibilities.”
He heard a mixture of a throbbing breath and a fast heartbeat.
“I want to meet you when you first see the world.”