23 - You still have me
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The hospital on New Year's Eve was still all white, with doctors and patients going in and out in an endless stream, like they were isolated from the outside world and completely without the atmosphere that comes before the Spring Festival.
Wei Ruxia woke up early. She went to the washroom to get a basin of warm water, and went to help her grandma wash her face. When she came out with the water basin, she found that her grandma had risen from the bed. She was wearing a hospital gown, smiling at her, and said, "I'll do it myself."
She was in good spirits today and had more energy than usual. Wei Ruxia looked at her cheeks that were rosy for the first time in so long, holding the basin by the washroom door and said, "I'll go and pour out the water."
When Wei Zishan opened the door and came in, Li Suhe was sitting by the window with a copy of Tagore's Poems in her hand and a gray woolen shawl over her shoulders. Her back was warm and serene.
Hearing the sound of the door opening, Li Suhe turned around and saw Wei Zishan. She smiled and said, "Xia Xia went to the supermarket to buy ingredients. Today we're making mochi."
Rice cakes required too many tools to make them in the hospital, but mochi was relatively simple, so they could still make it.
Wei Zishan was wearing a beige coat and he was tall, with handsome features. When holding a bunch of flowers in his arms, he carried the air of a gentleman. Li Suhe couldn't raise flowers in the hospital, so he bought a new bunch every day.
Passing the flowers in his hands into Li Suhe's arms, Wei Zishan twisted his eyebrows slightly and said, "You can leave the mochi to another day. You should take a good rest today."
Li Suhe didn't care, she sniffed the flowers in her arms and put the book on the small side-table. She motioned Wei Zishan to sit down and said, "Xia Xia is with us for the New Year for the first time. I want her to learn about the customs of Ancheng's New Year celebrations."
Hearing that it was for Wei Ruxia, Wei Zishan's eyebrows tightened.
Her son was sitting next to her and she could clearly see any changes in his expression. Li Suhe leaned against the back of the chair, holding the large bouquet of flowers, she was a little tired physically and mentally.
"You still despise her." Li Suhe said, "If you resist her so deeply, how can you understand her?"
Wei Zishan didn't want to discuss Wei Ruxia with Li Suhe when she was ill, because this topic was likely to cause a quarrel and would make her feel more uncomfortable.
"Let's not talk about this." Wei Zishan said.
"I love you more than her." Li Suhe said.
Wei Zishan raised his head. His mother's expression was calm, her eyes gleaming, this sentence was from her heart, and Wei Zishan knew it. They had talked about Wei Ruxia countless times. This was the first time that his mother had spoken like this, as if she wanted to put it to death.
"You're my son. I can't live with you forever, because I must die before you. After I die, I don't want you to be alone in the world, so I picked her up and brought her to Ancheng. I love you more than her, otherwise I wouldn’t bring her to Ancheng so selfishly and let her suffer your cold stare and indifference all day long."
She wasn't a saint, but often acted out it in the selfishness of a mother. Hearing what his mother said, Wei Zishan would seem naive and ridiculous to argue saying, 'I can live a good life by myself.'
Wei Zishan was eloquent, but he was made speechless on the matter of Wei Ruxia for the first time.
Her throat was a bit sore and after Li Suhe finished speaking, she seemed to have something else to say. Her lips moved slightly, and after a while, she asked Wei Zishan, "How long since your father passed away?"
With the change of subject, Wei Zishan's eyes shifted as he looked at Li Suhe and said, "Twenty years."
"You were older than her in that year. You should still remember how you felt at that time, and you still had me at that time." Li Suhe slowly closed her eyes and said to Wei Zishan. "She just lost her mother this year. It is better to be with you than a stranger who treats her kindly. She is more pitiful than you. Her birth ruined your life, but it was her mother who was wrong, not her. You're a kind person, you even treat the little wild cats in the community with compassion..."
Li Suhe spoke kindly, the sun shone on her face, and every wrinkle on the old lady appeared so gentle. She opened her eyes and looked at Wei Zishan, and spoke with a light tone filled with pleading.
"Be nice to her," Li Suhe said.
During the New Year in the north they always made dumplings. Mochi was eaten during the Lantern Festival, but it was basically the frozen kind bought in supermarkets, she had never made them personally.
There was a small kitchen in Li Suhe's ward, which could fit three people. The three generations worked together. Li Suhe was responsible for making the stuffing and Wei Zishan was responsible for making glutinous rice dough. When they were done, the three would make mochi balls together.
"Do you know how to cut the dough?" Li Suhe was a little surprised when she watched Wei Ruxia separate the dough, and cut it into small pieces.
Kneading the cut pieces, Wei Ruxia smiled and responded, "It's a lot like making dumplings."
Li Suhe turned her head and looked at Wei Zishan, who was making mochi balls, her expression of 'worthy of being my granddaughter' instantly turned to disgust, "How many times have you made mochi balls with me? Why are they so ugly?"
Wei Ruxia turned her head and glanced at Wei Zishan. He covered the glutinous rice balls in his hand and he had black sesame seeds and glutinous rice dough on his other hand.
Hearing Li Suhe's words, Wei Zishan frowned in confusion, he tore a piece of glutinous rice dough and stuck it where the filling was exposed. Wei Ruxia looked at his movement and couldn't help laughing.
Wei Zishan looked up at her and Wei Ruxia's laughing stopped. He didn't show any expression, put down the dumplings in his hand, turned on the water and washed his hands, saying, "I'll go get your medicine."
It was already past seven o'clock in the evening, and after they ate the mochi, Li Suhe should take her medicine.
As soon as Wei Zishan left, Li Suhe began to laugh at him. She took the glutinous rice dough and wrapped the filling and wondered, "What's so difficult about making mochi? Your dad doesn't know anything about cooking, but he's still a picky eater."
Hearing her grandmother's complaints for her father, Wei Ruxia smiled, lowered her head and continued to wrap her fillings up.
The family of three had mochi balls, it was past nine in the evening. Wei Zishan lived at home and left after taking care of his mother and seeing her taking her medicine. Wei Ruxia helped her grandma to wash and then the two went to bed together.
It was New Year's Eve and there were sounds of firecrackers going off outside. Wei Ruxia slept unsteadily and after dozing vaguely for a while, she heard the voice of her grandma calling her.
Wei Ruxia turned around, turned on the lamp, and looked sleepily at the grandmother who was already awake. She was still in hospital and must pay special attention to her sleep. Wei Ruxia got up from the bed and said, "Is it too noisy? I'll get you earplugs."
Li Suhe smiled on the hospital bed, beckoned and said, "Come and sleep with me."
"I don't sleep properly." Wei Ruxia walked to her grandma's bed and squatted down, holding her grandma's hand on the hospital bed against her cheek and said. She also wanted to sleep with Li Suhe, but she was afraid that she wouldn't be able to sleep properly.
"Just for a while." Li Suhe opened the quilt, pointed to the time and said, "Grandma will stay with you into the new year."
At that moment, Wei Ruxia glanced at the wall clock in the room. The hands pointed to 11:50, the new year was coming soon.
An inexplicable emotion surged in Wei Ruxia's heart. She couldn't tell what it was. She took off her slippers and Wei Ruxia got into Li Suhe's bed. Her bed was a bit cold. Wei Ruxia was warm and leaned into Li Suhe. Li Suhe smiled softly when she came over, and simply took her into her arms.
She was already bigger than her, and Li Suhe who was sick and hospitalised had lost a lot of weight. Now she could barely hold her. The smell of the disinfectant couldn't cover the scent of the shower gel on the girl's body, and the scent made her squint slightly.
"This is the first time grandma is with you to see in the new year." Li Suhe said, "Tomorrow is a New Year. Do you have any wishes?"
Lying in her grandma's arms obediently, Wei Ruxia listened to her heartbeat, and the sound of firecrackers in her ear seemed to be diminished. She felt very satisfied and stable.
"I wish my grandma is healthy," Wei Ruxia said.
In the dark ward, Wei Ruxia spoke very quietly, and the shallow breathing of the two mixed together, as if she had blown away her wish.
"What about grandma?" Wei Ruxia raised her head slightly, looking at her grandma and asked.
Li Suhe reached out and patted Wei Ruxia's back, light and soft, as if holding Wei Ruxia as a child. She looked at the fireworks blooming outside the window and said quietly, "I hope you and your father can live a good life."
They were the two closest to each other by blood left in the world.
Boom. The sound of fireworks exploding outside the window startled Wei Ruxia. She hugged her grandma tightly, and said softly, "and grandma too."
When the hour hand pointed to twelve o'clock, the bell rang at the front entrance of the hospital, and cheers rang out in the isolated and deathly hospital.
"Happy New Year~"
Li Suhe looked at Wei Ruxia, who was sleeping faintly in her arms. She kissed her forehead lightly, her voice was very soft, as if the words were reaching into her dreams.
"Baby, happy new year, help me take care of your dad and take care of yourself."
In the Luo family mansion on New Year's Eve, all the street lights were on. The lights all pointed to the main house in the middle of the courtyard of the mansion like arrows.
The main house was an eight-storey villa decorated in a Gothic style.
Luo Tang was sitting on a chair, wrapping a mochi ball. Just after the end of the year, the driver Li Shu wanted to take him downstairs and set off firecrackers to welcome in the new year.
There were many servants in the mansion on weekdays, but when the Spring Festival was approaching, Luo Tao's grandma Chen Zhenshu gave them a vacation, and only five or six of the older servants were left in the mansion.
"Luo Tang is in his third year of high school next year. Have you decided where you want to go to study?" Chen Zhenshu wrapped the glutinous rice balls and said, looking at her grandson.
There were only Luo family members in the kitchen, Luo Tang's grandfather, Luo Jincheng, his grandmother, his father, Luo Qinggu, and Yang Shuru, Luo Tang's mother.
Luo Tang had decided where he would go to school from the beginning. Although Luo Tang was usually taciturn, he was actually a very thoughtful person and his parents hardly needed to worry about him.
"He wants to go to the house in Northern Europe." Yang Shuru replied for him, and then reminded Luo Tang, "It is okay to go to school there, but you must return to China after your studies."
He was his grandparents' grandson, and his parents' sons, and the Luo family's roots were in Ancheng.
Putting down the mochi balls in his hand and placing them aside, Luo Tang glanced at his grandmother and mother, and replied, "I want to study in China."
With a word, the eyes of the other four people all turned to him.
Luo Tang accepted their gaze, but before he could speak, his phone rang, it was Wei Ruxia who called. The corners of his eyes raised slightly and Luo Tang patted the glutinous rice flour off his hands and walked out of the kitchen with his mobile phone.
He walked to the window sill in the living room on the second floor. The fireworks lit up the sky, and Luo Tang answered the call.
Amidst the sound of firecrackers, a quiet voice came over from the other end of the phone.
"Luo Tang, my grandma is gone."
Li Suhe's body was transported back to Yizhen from the hospital that night. It was now three o'clock in the morning, she would have a wake at dawn the next day.
Wei Zishan's hometown was in Yizhen. When Li Suhe's body was returned home, various relatives also came. The funeral was a major event, but only relatives and good friends of Li Suhe attended.
The mourning hall was quickly set up. The living room that was neatly cleaned by Li Suhe, now only had a table and a coffin. There was a portrait of grandma on the table, and her body was placed in the coffin. Wei Ruxia was wearing white mourning clothes and knelt in front of the coffin with her relatives.
This kind of thing happened too frequently, so frequently that Wei Ruxia thought she was in a dream. Maybe she was asleep now and would wake up tomorrow, still in Dongzhen, her mother wasn't dead, and her grandma wasn't dead.
Next to her was the howling of relatives, Wei Ruxia's eyes were too dry to shed tears. Wei Zishan was busy dealing with the funeral and was busy greeting others outside all the time. He left her to cry, but she couldn't cry.
The howls of relatives went from deafening at the beginning to intermittent by the end. At around six o'clock in the morning, the darkest hour before dawn, everyone stopped. But it was still noisy inside and outside.
The people kneeling on the side noticed Wei Ruxia after they had mourned. They looked at Wei Ruxia and whispered, "This is the child our sister brought back? Didn't Zishan not want her?"
"Her mother is dead, can Zishan avoid her? Hey, it's weird to say that she was with her mother when she died. Now after only half a year since she was brought back my sister is also dead."
"Wasn't it also said that my sister hasn't been healthy recently, so why do you have to say that?"
"Ai, sometimes you have to believe in evil. Next time, it might be Zishan's turn."
When Wei Ruxia heard the words of those around her, her heart gradually fell. A figure suddenly came over. Wei Zishan looked calmly at the people who had just spoken, and said, "If it's my turn to die, I will die. She is my daughter, and it isn't your place to make up nonsense."
When they heard Wei Zishan say this, they fell silent.
Wei Ruxia looked up to find Wei Zishan was looking down at her. The man's face was haggard, only his pair of light brown eyes still had energy. He handed the bread in his hand to Wei Ruxia and said, "Eat something. We'll be busy all day today and you won't have time to eat."
Wei Zishan was busy preparing all of the funeral affairs, and he had no spare time to take care of her. Wei Ruxia took the bread, unwrapped it and stuffed it into her mouth.
The sky was getting bright, and they were about to prepare for the burial. In their funeral customs, it was necessary for the grandchildren to light up the candles at the front. Wei Ruxia was called out by Wei Zishan and listened to the funeral director.
After hearing her directions, Wei Ruxia looked up and saw a young man standing outside the yard about to enter the door.
He was dressed in plain clothes and stood among the flowers at the edge of the yard. The faint sunlight cast a layer of light and shadows around him. His eyes were picturesque, his thin lips were ruddy, his white and slender neck was exposed and flushed by the cold wind.
Wei Ruxia stayed up all night, and she was in a daze. When he approached, a hint of surprise flashed in her misty eyes, and she asked, "Why are you here?"
She looked even worse than she thought she did, her thin body covered in a wide white mourning dress, like an ice cube gradually being melted by hot water, as if she would disappear at a glance.
Luo Tang looked at Wei Ruxia and didn't answer her question. They were separated by a low wall and a camellia that had just bloomed.
"You still have me." Luo Tang said.
Luo Tang, my grandma is gone.
You still have me.
In her mind, these two phrases were connected in turn.
The mist covering her eyes seemed to be pierced by a needle, and it hurt and itched. Wei Ruxia laughed. She grabbed Luo Tang's clothes and leaned her forehead on his chest, tears falling from her eyes.
The author has something to say:
Tangtang: I'll never leave you.
Don’t scold me orz. This novel focuses on healing. The relationship with her father is also a very important part.
The next chapter will be fine orz