In the dark mud room, a man sat on a bed staring at the worn-out roof beams, not knowing what to think. By the edge of the kang, eight large mahogany boxes were stacked in two rows of four, making the room, which was already not very big, even more crowded. There was a big red ‘Xi’ on the wall by the bed and big red bedding under the man’s buttocks, but it was still not enough to hide the shabbiness of the room.
*Kang: The kang is a living and sleeping platform, a heated bed; (especially in northern Chinese houses) it is a masonry or earthen platform at one end of a room, heated in winter by fires underneath and spread with mats for sleeping.
From time to time there was movement outside, but the man paid no attention to it. Tired of tilting his neck, he simply laid down with an uncertain look, as if he was in daze. Time passed while he was in a daze. He was hungry, but he didn’t bother to get off the bed to look for food. No one came in to look for him for a long time. Just when he was ready to dwell until the end of time, he heard a loud shout from outside.
“Brother, the Shao family is making trouble again. Go over there! Mother is going to be pissed off!” A fat woman shouted outside the courtyard. Hearing the shrill voice, the man frowned.
In the dirty yard, Wang Shijing, wearing a black blindfold, put down his bamboo strips and stood up. The woman, Wang Guo, the second younger sister of Wang Shijing, shouted again. “Mother, I told you to call your family as well. They are all from his mother’s family. He has to go over there.” At this point, the woman’s eyes were filled with disgust. Since she came, she never looked at Wang Shijing, who she called ‘Big Brother.’ Wang Shijing ignored her and said to the two children hiding beside him, “Stay at home.” Then he walked out.
“Hey! Brother, call him! There are so many people in their house. What’s the use of going there alone?” As he said that, Wang Guo called out to his younger brother. “You inside, come out! Look what you’ve done to our family! Come out!”
“Shut up!” Wang Shijing gave a low roar. Wang Guo who got scared immediately said resentfully, “What, do you mean that I was wrong Big Brother? If it weren’t for him, our family wouldn’t be so restless! My brother Zheng was so disturbed by him, that he didn’t even go to class!”
Wang Shijing’s remaining eye stared coldly at the woman, making her swallow her remaining words. Wang Shijing was tall and strong, with a black eye patch on his left eye. But the eye patch could not cover the deep scar that ran from his forehead to his chin. The eye patch and scar also made Wang Shijing look very ugly and gloomy, so no one dared to look at him. Even his own parents and brothers, let alone his first wife and his own children, who were frightened by him.
Hearing a loud ‘bang,’ the two children shrieked together at the doorway of the cookhouse in fear. Wang Shijing turned around while Wang Guo whispered to his younger brother, “I thought he was dead.”
The man who appeared was Shao Yunan, who had obviously kicked the door open, still looking unwell. “Your family is here.”
Glancing at Wang Shijing and the ugly fat woman, Shao Yunan said expressionlessly, “I’m hungry, is there anything to eat?”
Wang Shijing went into the kitchen, while Shao Yunan who followed him said nonchalantly, “I’ll get it myself.” His hands were dirty. Wang Shijing also did not intend to please him, so he just pointed at the bowl on top of the stove and said, “There are two nests inside.”
The frown between Shao Yunan’s eyebrows could kill a mosquito, but he still went up and uncovered the bowl. If he hadn’t been so hungry, he definitely would have dropped the bowl and left. The nest was made from corn flour, but was definitely not the usual golden yellow, sweet corn nest. The black and yellow color at first glance made people think that it absolutely couldn’t be food, but some kind of excrement.
“Nothing else?” Shao Yunan asked hopelessly.
“Nothing more.” The tone without any ups or downs mercilessly shattered Shao Yunan’s hopes. Shao Yunan wanted to grab the other party’s collar and curse, ‘You’re a big fu*king man and you can only give me that stuff to eat?’
Taking one deep breath after another, Shao Yunan grabbed a nest and gritted his teeth. “Pour me a glass of water.” Wang Shijing turned around. “Wash your hands first!”
Wang Shijing’s footsteps paused as he opened the lid of the water jar and scooped up some water before handing it to Shao Yunan. Shao Yunan looked at the other party’s dirty and muddy hands before grabbing the water scoop, spilling the water on the ground, and then scooping a new ladle of water, before eating two nests reluctantly.
A boy and a girl huddled in the corner outside the door and kept stealing glances at Shao Yunan. The older boy hugged his sister tightly, lips pursed. The girl’s face was full of fear as she kept biting her lips and trying not to cry. Shao Yunan, who was in a bad mood, did not pay special attention to the two children. He was feeling terrible.
“Brother, hurry up!”
Shao Yunan threw the ladle into the jar. Since Wang Shijinghad not said anything yet, he yelled, “Call your mother! I feel like throwing up when I hear your voice! Believe it or not!” His roar not only made the flesh of the fat woman tremble, but also frightened the villagers around him. Not to mention the two children who had already been afraid all this time.
Wang Shijing frowned. Wang Guo was also startled, before opening his mouth and howling. “Oops! As soon as he entered our house, he started bullying people! Eldest brother! Look at the good man you married! You guys!”
The annoying voice that pierced through the brain stopped abruptly and the villagers who were watching backed away in shock. Shao Yunan walked step by step towards the woman, who was shivering all over. When she saw clearly what was flying past her ear, she screamed even louder and ran away. That speed was very surprising for how big she was.
Shao Yunan did not stop because of the woman’s departure. As he walked out of the yard, the onlookers scattered in a hurry, while Shao Yunan picked up the firewood axe from the ground. He then turned his head and looked at Wang Shijing, whose muscles were tense and said irritably, “Let’s go over and take a look.” Wang Shijing turned back to the two terrified children. “You two go inside.”
The weak-legged boy went inside the room with his crying sister in his arms. Seeing them close the door, Wang Shijing went outside. When Wang Shijing locked the courtyard door, Shao Yunan directly said, “Lead the way.”
Wang Shijing walked silently to Lizheng’s house, while Shao Yunan took a step away from him and said, “I’ve been confused these days. I’ve just figured out what’s going on. I will take care of my side later, so take care of your side now. If you can’t handle it, we’ll break up and you can do whatever you want. What the fu*k is all this shit!“
Shao Yunan said the last sentence to himself. Wang Shijing stopped in his tracks and turned around. Shao Yunan tilted his head and saw flames in his eyes. Since he came back with this face, few people dared to look him in the eye. Even friends who used to be close to him, were now afraid of him. Shao Yunan’s direct gaze at Wang Shijing at least made it a little easier. It was not only Shao Yunan who was upset about this marriage, it was just that Wang Shijing had not shown it.
Wang Shijing could not fully understand Shao Yunan’s words, but he still could figure out what he meant. He lived in a place that was remote and after what Shao Yunan said, no one dared to come forward. The man simply spread his arms and said, “I know that you were also forced. If you want to leave, I’ll make peace with you. I also don’t want the things you brought.” There was a moment of silence. “But if you are willing to stay, as long as you do not embarrass my two children, I will try my best to support my family and support you. I’m not saying you’ll be rich or famous, but I won’t starve you or freeze you. I just split up from my family and didn’t have time to buy anything. When I’m done with these things, I’ll take care of everything that needs to be done.”
When he said these words, Wang Shijing’s face was expressionless. There was not even a flicker of emotion in his one eye. But these few words let Shao Yunan, who was uneasy, relax a lot. In this world, people who were disowned were much more miserable than those who were divorced. With this sentence alone, Shao Yunan felt some affection for Wang Shijing. Shao Yunan rubbed his face hard and exhaled before looking at the tall and strong man who was more than half a head taller than him and said, “You and I will talk more about it when we get back. I kind of married you, so I can ignore my side of the family, but what about you? I think filial piety is the most important thing here. If I stay, I won’t be able to give them face.” The man turned around and lifted his foot. “I’ve already separated. I’ll take care of what’s mine to take care of and what’s not, I don’t care.”
‘I hope you can do it.’ Shao Yunan did not intend for Wang Shijing to make a promise now. They were simply not familiar with each other yet, but they will talk after the immediate matter is settled.
Shao Yunan already knew where Lizheng’s house was, without the man leading the way. Looking at the courtyard surrounded by three houses, coupled with the distant noise, as long as you were not blind or deaf, you would have known that something had happened. Shao Yunan still had the firewood axe in his hand, but Wang Shijing didn’t want it back.
Some of the onlookers saw the two men and immediately shouted, “Shijing is here. Shijing came!”
Edited by: Jaisland