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Zhao Jinge was very tired and went to bed early that day, so he didn’t know that Jiang Zhen actually knocked on his window that night.
After knocking on the window several times and still not getting any response, Jiang Zhen thought that Zhao Jinge might have gone to bed early, so he went back. But the next morning, he got up early and waited for him on the side of the road.
Jiang Zhen saw Zhao Jinge, but he didn’t talk to him. Instead, he winked at him and asked him to pick up the bamboo tube on the side of the road.
Inside this bamboo tube was some fish soup that Jiang Zhen had made last night and heated this morning.
The two of them were now in regular contact with each other, which was similar to cheating. Jiang Zhen had some regrets, but he also found it quite interesting.
Zhao Jinge took the bamboo tube and looked at Jiang Zhen from afar. When he walked towards the Zhao Dahu house with the bamboo tube in his arms, his steps inevitably became much lighter. After walking for a while, he opened the bamboo tube and began to eat slowly.
This bamboo tube was still hot; it was obvious that Jiang Zhen wanted him to eat this while it was still hot, so he must not waste it.
The fish soup in the bamboo tube was cooked by Jiang Zhen. After the fish bones were removed, he cooked the remaining fish meat with eggs. Not mentioning the taste, at least it was nutritious and there was a lot of fish meat to supplement proteins.
Because the fish soup was cooked last night, it tasted a little fishy, but Zhao Jinge did definitely not dislike it. He soon drank it all up, cleaned the bamboo tube with the boiling water that he brought with him these days, and then drank all the water that had been used to clean the bamboo tube.
When he got up in the morning, he had a dry meal at home, and now he drank fish soup. He felt his whole body warming up and was full of enthusiasm. He didn’t even feel tired when he worked that morning.
In the morning, because it wasn’t raining, Zhao Dahu went to the field for a walk. Seeing Zhao Jinge like that, he nodded in satisfaction.
At first, everyone thought that he was muddle-headed to hire a ger to work as a long-term worker. But now, after several years, everyone envied him. It was true that Zhao Jinge worked hard like a man and took his work seriously.
But he didn’t know that after he left, Zhao Jinge began to get distracted.
It was almost noon; it was almost time for Jiang Zhen to come . . .
Although Zhao Jinge felt a bit embarassed eating Jiang Zhen’s food, he was still looking forward to Jiang Zhen coming . . . Although he was still working, Zhao Jinge’s eyes couldn’t help but aim at Jiang Zhen’s usual path.
However, he didn’t see Jiang Zhen for a long time. Instead, an old woman of fifty or sixty who he was familiar with suddenly showed up.
Zhao Jinge looked at her for several seconds before he realized that it was a friend of Zhao Liu’s. However, Zhao Liu and this woman had had no contact for a long time, so he didn’t recognize her for a while.
“Jinge!” When the woman saw Zhao Jinge, she immediately walked towards him with a smile on her face. “Jinge, long time no see!”
“Aunt Li,” Zhao Jinge greeted the woman. The woman’s name was Li Xiu. She was from the nearby Lijia village and married in Qiaotou Village where Zhao Liu’s family lives.
Before Zhao Liu married, she had a good relationship with this woman surnamed Li. After her marriage, she still kept in contact with her. Later, the reason for cutting off contact was because the woman surnamed Li told Zhao Jinge about a marriage alliance.
It was her who told Zhao Jinge’s mother that her neighbor had a son two years older than Zhao Jinge, whose name was Li Zugen.
Just by this name, one could imagine how precious this Li Zugen was at home . . . and the reason why he was treasured was because three generations of the Li family would be passed to him alone. But Li Zugen’s body has never been very good, and he was very thin.
The Li family had a very ordinary condition. Li Zugen’s health was never good, and the Li family wanted to arrange for him an early marriage, and it would be better to have a strong ger who could help with the family work in the future.
When Zhao Jinge was a child, he was very strong and lovely. Once Zhao Liu took him to Lijia Village to see a play, and Li Liushi, Li Zugen’s mother, was attracted to him. She was also a person from Qiaotou Village. After she returned home and inquired about Zhao Fugui’s and Zhao Liu’s situation, she was even more satisfied with Zhao Jinge. Then she asked Li Xiu to help her with the matchmaking.
The Li family came to the Zhao family several times and showed great sincerity. Zhao Fugui and Zhao Liu looked at Li Zugen and found that, although he was a little skinny, there was nothing wrong with him, so they agreed.
Their family’s ger was a little too strong, so they were afraid that he won’t be able to marry well in the future. Although the Li family had little money, Li Zugen had no brothers, so there was no need to divide the family lands in the future. The Li family’s son was also thin and small, so he wouldn’t be able to beat their own son.
The marriage between the Li family and the Zhao family was settled. Zhao Jinge had a fiancé, but that fiancé, who was shorter than him, didn’t like him very much.
Of course, Zhao Jinge didn’t know what he liked or didn’t like at that time, but he felt a bit lost occasionally.
Later, when Zhao Jinge’s situation changed when he turned twelve—his older brother died and his mother got seriously ill—the Li family withdrew from the marriage arrangement.
They didn’t want to bear the burden of the Zhao family, and the 14-year-old Li Zugen fell in love with a girl his age age in Lijia Village as well. The girl was the child left by a married ger in Lijia Village. The ger died early, and his husband’s family didn’t want to support the girl even though she was a step-child, so they threw her to her grandma’s house.
This girl’s life in her grandma’s house was very bad. Li Zugen often helped her by giving her things, so she fell in love with Li Zugen and was willing to marry him.
After annulling his engagement, Zhao Jing no longer cared about the affairs of the Li family. At first, someone would mention Li Zugen in front of him with ulterior motives. But later, probably because he was pitiful for not being able to get married, no one mentioned it in front of him again.
Because of this, Li Xiu and Zhao Liu, who were really good friends, ended up in a quarrel for Zhao Jinge’s sake. Then she felt ashamed to face Zhao Liu and stopped coming to the house of the Zhao family.
Because of the bad relationship between Zhao Liu and her maternal family, they hardly went back these years, so both sides seldom saw each other.
Edited by : Faro