A few months later, the family walked into the increasingly familiar orphanage with similar expectations.
All the formalities were completed and they came to officially pick up the new family member.
Under the careful care of the aunt in the orphanage, the baby had become fatter and was no longer so thin. He had a fair and round face and when he blinked, his slender eyes flickered as if gently sweeping over people’s hearts.
Mother Lin clearly remembered the appearance of her son wanting to hold him that day but not daring to. She asked with a smile, “Do you want to try and hold Tong Tong?”
Lin Qingyan took a deep breath and solemnly took his brother from the aunt’s arm, as if receiving a more precious gift.
The soft baby fell into his arms and smiled so hard that his teeth couldn’t be seen. He waved his little hand across the ends of Lin Qingyan’s hair, creating a slightly hot wind.
Lin Qingyan had never felt that the world in his arms was so heavy.
He looked seriously at his younger brother called Tong Tong in his arms. “I will be your older brother in the future.”
His younger brother still didn’t understand and hummed a few times in a baby voice. Then he suddenly came up and kissed his older brother, who was like a little adult.
After stealing a kiss on the cheek of his brother, the little child smiled even more happily while the adults around them laughed. Only the older brother hit by the sneak attack was stupidly stunned.
This was the first time Lin Qingtong really saw the world.
His older brother, who found him in the big world, also carried him out of the orphanage.
The flowers and trees in the yard were out of season and the flowers were gone. Only the leaves of the trees remained.
Then after Lin Qingyan returned home that day, he immediately found the name of that purple flower.
As a result, the child abandoned by his biological parents had his own name.
“Lin Qingtong.” Lin Qingyan chatted with his younger brother in the cradle. “Do you like this name?”
His younger brother turned over, giggling and reaching for his fingers.
The baby’s tender palm was soft, like a ball of warm cotton.
Lin Qingyan’s left fingers were caught and played with by his younger brother. He had to write two lines of words on a brand-new notebook with his right hand alone, using his chin to occasionally adjust the notebook that accidentally shifted.
[Situation: Ask my younger brother if he likes the name.]
[Answer: Giggled and reached out.]
Lin Qingyan was still curious about why Lin Qingtong, who was tired from crying back in the past, smiled at him.
He wanted to find patterns in his brother’s daily behavior so he prepared a thick notebook for this.
Father Lin and Mother Lin supported everything their oldest son wanted to do.
He was full of curiosity about many seemingly novel things.
Only this time, the two of them couldn’t help smiling when they saw Lin Qingyan chasing after their youngest son every day with a notebook and a pen in a serious manner, recording his every move.
He was exploring one of the most naive mysteries.
Lin Qingyan thought he would gradually find this matter boring and then put it behind him. But he didn’t expect that he would write in this diary for a long, long time.
He recorded every laugh and cry of Lin Qingtong, the former more times than the latter.
Compared with ordinary babies and toddlers, Lin Qingtong was very obedient. He seldom cried and often smiled. His beautiful big eyes were full of pure joy, letting the gorgeous world flow in front of his eyes.
Lin Qingyan also recorded the first time his brother spoke.
This was the fifth month since his younger brother came to the Lin family. He was a white and fat little baby and his appearance was like white jade. His white arms were like fat lotus roots. He was so cute that people couldn’t help pinching his flesh. Then they sighed, ‘He is so soft and cute.’
One day, Lin Qingyan sat next to his brother as usual, writing in the observation diary. He made a small splint for himself so that he could write with one hand steadily.
When his brother lowered his head to write, Lin Qingtong suddenly made a vague sound when he was sitting on the small bed and playing with his fingers.
The movement of Lin Qingyan’s hand stopped and he looked up in surprise, thinking that he had misheard.
Lin Qingtong pinched his brother’s fingers with a curious look, like all adults who pinched his arm. Then he narrowed his eyes and smiled. “Ruan (soft)…”
His pronunciation wasn’t very clear but Lin Qingyan was sure that he was imitating the movements of the adults and the words that the adults had said.
Lin Qingyan tried to teach him. “Soft?”
After a few times, his brother’s pronunciation became clearer. It wasn’t very standard but he happily grabbed his brother’s fingers and kept muttering, “Ruan, Ruan Ruan—”
Lin Qingyan immediately called his parents.
The surprised Father Lin and Mother Lin took turns to extend their fingers to their younger son but he just smiled and didn’t speak. He only called out ‘Ruan Ruan’ when he grabbed his brother’s fingers.
Mother Lin immediately went to find hand cream. “Is it that our skin is too rough?”
But when they put Lin Qingtong’s little hand on his own delicate arm, he still didn’t speak.
He seemed to only say this word to his brother.
Maybe it was because his brother always let him torment him.
After getting tired of playing, the little child held his fingers and fell asleep. He muttered before falling asleep. “Ruan…”
Lin Qingyan, who had special treatment, put down his book and pen. He concentrated on taking care of his sleeping brother and carefully covered him with a small blanket.
The first word that his younger brother learned wasn’t ‘Dad’, ‘Mom’, ‘Brother’, or the ‘Tong Tong’ that everyone called him.
It was a special and exclusive word.
His heart was filled with exuberant joy.
At this moment, Lin Qingyan no longer looked like a quiet little adult.
Suddenly, he regretted that he couldn’t write a few nursery rhymes because he was never interested in them.
His younger brother liked all types of lively sounds.
He liked to listen to children’s songs.
Three or four years after Lin Qingyan had left behind the children’s enlightenment cartoon, he took the initiative to watch it with his younger brother.
Mother Lin once thought she was hallucinating.
She quickly laid out cushions on the carpet and turned on the cartoon.
The two brothers, one tall and one short, sat on the comfortable cushion. Lin Qingtong would hum excitedly along with the lively voices in the cartoon and clap his hands. Lin Qingyan watched very seriously from the side, writing down the lyrics and melody after watching it once.
He could teach his younger brother children’s songs and teach him more words.
For this reason, it was necessary to watch the enlightenment cartoons.
Moreover, his younger brother liked to watch it.
Father Lin, who came back from grocery shopping, saw this scene and marveled. He whispered to his wife, “It is the first time I have seen Ruan Ruan so happy.”
“Yes.” Mother Lin, who was brainwashed by the cartoon, also hummed a children’s song. “Our Tong Tong is very talented in music.”
Due to the ‘Ruan Ruan’ words, which were becoming more and more proficient, the over five years old Lin Qingyan had a new nickname that was very inconsistent with his temperament.
He occasionally protested when his parents called him that but his heart seemed to soften when his younger brother called him that.
This ordinary world gradually became brighter.
Tong Tong’s birthday was coming. According to the custom, Father Lin was ready to take the annual, commemorative group photo for him.
Lin Qingtong was born in the spring and Lin Qingyan was born in the autumn. When it was his brother’s first birthday, Lin Qingyan was six and a half years old and he was a stable first grader in elementary school.
In the pile of plush dolls provided by Mother Lin, Lin Qingtong crawled around before finally grabbing one in each hand. He returned with a full load and happily gave one to his brother.
Lin Qingyan looked at the doll stuffed into his arms and was silent for a while. Then he asked with a subtle expression, “Can I not wear this?”
Lin Qingtong didn’t understand. He just blinked and called out softly, “Ruan Ruan—”
So on his brother’s birthday, Lin Qingyan cooperatively put on a blue and white dinosaur costume.
Lin Qingtong, who was sitting next to him, was dressed up as a white, fat and cute mushroom.
It was because his younger brother grabbed two dolls. One was a mushroom and the other was a dinosaur.
Their parents were dressed relatively normally. They wore aprons and boots and held watering cans and shovels. They looked like two gardeners.
At the very least, they were human.
The family of four stood together and the photo had more of a sense of story than the photo on his birthday last year.
Father Lin set the photo countdown. He put the camera away and ran back to pose.
Three, two, one, click.
The little mushroom staggered and launched a surprise attack, jumping into the arms of his dinosaur brother.
The camera froze everyone’s vivid expressions.
Tong Tong could walk now.
He was a little mushroom who wrestled with his teeth and claws.
He didn’t cry when he fell down. He would just grab his brother’s hand with a smile and try to stand up again.
After this birthday, Father Lin’s black camera changed owners.
Lin Qingyan asked his father for the camera in order to record his younger brother’s growth.
Talking for the first time, walking for the first time, growing white baby teeth…
Photographs appear on every page of his notebook along with text.
Tong Tong was also a smart child and gradually said more things.
“Mom.” He pointed to his gums. “Teeth.”
“Dad.” He poked his dad’s chin. “Beard.”
“Brother.” He opened his small arms toward his brother. “Hug.”
When his brother picked up Lin Qingtong, Lin Qingtong would laugh in his brother’s ear and call out with satisfaction. “Ruan Ruan!”
Lin Qingyan thought that this was the most coquettish child he had ever seen.
Fortunately, his brother came to his home.
His appearance brought new colors to everything familiar around him.
Lin Qingyan, who grew up every day, finally found that he actually wasn’t happy enough in the past.
It turned out that this type of small and vigorous joy that filled every corner of his body was his favorite happiness.
His world really started turning from this smile.
This was even though he still hadn’t found the answer about why his younger brother smiled at him during their first meeting.
Not only was Tong Tong the most coquettish child he had ever seen, he was also the cutest and most mysterious.
He could concentrate on watching the small flowers swaying in the wind in the potted plant on the balcony for a long time without being in a daze. When Lin Qingyan asked him what he was doing, he would simply say, “It is so beautiful.”
“Where is it beautiful?”
“The flowers, leaves, earth, sun…” He pronounced every noun he had only recently learned, his voice brisk. “They are all beautiful.”
So the elementary school student Lin Qingyan also moved a small stool, sitting next to him and watching together. He accompanied him to wait for every slight tremor of the petals in the breeze.
Lin Qingtong seemed to be able to give brilliant meaning to all ordinary little things.
This type of meaning could infect everyone around him.
On the way home from school, Lin Qingyan saw strange flowers on the roadside flower beds and would take the initiative to take photos with a camera, taking them home to show his little brother.
This was something he wouldn’t have done before.
His younger brother looked excitedly at the appearance of the flowers he brought and said, “I want to be a flower pot.”
When the camera caught the butterflies flying in the flowers, he would say with bright eyes, “I want to be a butterfly.”
When Lin Qingtong grew up a bit more, Lin Qingtong started to ask him, “Why?”
“It is because you can fly very high when you become a bird.” Tong Tong was wearing cute overalls and a little yellow hat. He was about to go to kindergarten. “You can be the first to check if the sky wants to cry.”
At this time, it was raining endlessly outside the window.
The eight year old Lin Qingyan reached a consensus with his parents.
His younger brother was a sensitive, clear-minded genius with a rich imagination and a natural love of everything.
Then God almost deprived him of the right to embrace the world.
When Lin Qingtong was two years old, his family found that he had an unexplained cough and fever. They took him to the hospital for a detailed examination, only to discover a congenital disease that wasn’t detected during the physical examination in the past.
It was a rare genetic immune disease that wasn’t routinely screened for.
Thankfully, his condition wasn’t severe and belonged to a milder subtype that could receive intervention and be improved with treatment.
For this reason, Lin Qingyan once hoped that he could become a doctor in the future.
He couldn’t imagine his younger brother, who sat on the balcony and watched the flowers bloom all afternoon, would have to stay in a sterile ward all day and not go out.