24 - You can always see me
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Luo Tang didn't leave, he accompanied Wei Ruxia to her grandma's funeral. It was already afternoon by the time the funeral ended and Wei Zishan arranged for the helpers and relatives to have lunch. Finally the family members also left.
The small yard became lonely and deserted, and Wei Zishan fell onto the bed tired.
Wei Ruxia couldn't sleep, so she and Luo Tang went to the stream by the vegetable garden. The south was still warmer than the north, and even at the coldest time of the year, the ice wasn't thick and you could use your feet and break it with a gentle tap. The surface of the ice was very clear and you can see the gurgling stream underneath.
Luo Tang moved a stone and Wei Ruxia sat on it, holding a wicker branch in her hand, sweeping the ice surface bit by bit. Her eyes were red and swollen from crying and her voice was a little dumb, with her cheek resting on one hand she hummed a song. The song was sung by her very incoherently, as if she was reading it without a melody.
"I want to sing, me to you. While I am young and like a flower, let the flowers bloom quietly, and decorate your years and my branches~"
Luo Tang had heard this song before. After the National Day holidays, Wei Ruxia would hum it when she could complete her homework smoothly. But back then, the humming was much happier than now. Wei Ruxia said that she learned this song for her grandma.
Wei Ruxia hummed for a while and then took the wicker branch back. She seemed to have readjusted herself and she changed back to the armoured Wei Ruxia.
"Thank you Luo Tang, I thought that I was the only one left in the world. Thank you for coming and staying with me."
She said this in a very calm tone and wanted to squeeze a smile as usual, but didn't manage it. Luo Tang looked into her eyes and pursed her lips, "I won't let the world be only you."
The girl’s newly recovered eyes turned red again and she retracted her gaze. The wicker branch hit the ice again and again, as she looked up at the noon sun. Her eyelashes were very long and dense, and her light brown eyes were illuminated by the sun. She narrowed her eyes and looked at the man who was not far away, he was the driver who came with Luo Tang.
"That man has been waiting for you for a long time."
Recognizing her meaning, Luo Tang looked at Wei Ruxia and asked, "Do you want me to go?"
This question really hit her heart directly. In fact, she didn't want Luo Tang to go. She wasn't someone who liked to be accompanied by others when she was sad, but Luo Tang wasn't just anyone.
Luo Tang could stay with her for a long time, but not necessarily today.
Today was the day of her grandma's funeral, but it was also the first day of the first lunar month, the first day of the new year, and a day of family celebrations. He shouldn't be with her today.
Wei Ruxia didn't answer directly. She folded a small piece of the wicker in her hand and said, "I'm a little tired, and I want to go back and see my dad."
Luo Tang respected Wei Ruxia's intentions and he went with Uncle Li back home. The car disappeared at the corner of Zhenzizheng Road, and it took a long time before Wei Ruxia looked away and turn back to her grandmother's house.
Wei Ruxia walked very lightly when she returned home, and the opening and closing of the wooden gate didn't even creak. Wei Ruxia entered the living room and was about to go to her room to sleep for a while, but passing by her grandma's bedroom, she stopped.
There was a very light cry coming from inside, it was her father who was crying.
Since returning with her grandma to burying her, Wei Zishan had not cried. Her grandma used to say that she was strong like her father. They did look alike but they were not strong.
Wei Ruxia stood at the door of the bedroom with her back against the wall. She remembered that when her mother died, she cried like her father did. But he was now more pitiful than her, both his parents had passed away, she still had a father, even if he didn't want to recognize her.
She remembered what she heard in her dream when she stayed with her grandmother last night, she must take care of herself and her dad.
Wei Ruxia was lying troubled on her bed. She was awakened by the sound of the kitchen dishes. Looking at the dark roof, her throat was dry and sore, she rubbed her red and swollen eyes and got up and went out.
In the kitchen, Wei Zishan was squatting on the ground, picking up pieces of broken porcelain piece by piece. There were a few random green vegetables on the kitchen counter.
A shadow crossed the door of the kitchen and Wei Zishan looked up to see Wei Ruxia standing at the door, looking at him.
Both of them had taken off their mourning clothes, only the cuffs were still sewn with a white strip of cloth from the funeral director. The father and daughter looked at each other. Wei Zishan stood up from the ground and said, "Are you hungry? The meal will be ready in a while."
He overestimated his cooking ability that his mother had been complaining about. When she watched him drop the vegetables directly into the pot, Wei Ruxia walked in from the door and stood in front of the stove and said, "I'll do it."
It was the first time that the father and daughter had been so close, Wei Zishan was 1.83 metres tall and Wei Ruxia was 1.7 metres. She was like him, very thin, tall and slender, with unfading baby fat on her immature face, but despite her bold eyebrows, she was still a child.
His mother often told him what Wei Ruxia did. He didn't listen very much, but he could recall a sentence or two. She told him one time that Wei Ruxia had bought a cookbook to learn how to cook for him from the cookbook.
Wei Zishan's eyebrows moved slightly, he straightened up and let go, and said, "Okay, be careful."
After that, Wei Zishan didn't leave the kitchen. The father and daughter stayed silent for an hour in this small place filled with similar memories.
Wei Ruxia finished the meal and went to the living room. She handed the chopsticks to Wei Zishan, and he picked some food into his mouth and chewed twice.
"Does it taste bad?" Wei Ruxia asked when he saw him stop using his chopsticks.
Wei Zishan raised his eyes to look at her, and after another mouthful was eaten, he lowered his head and said, "It's delicious."
For every cook, every dish had a different taste. Wei Ruxia's dishes tasted very messy, but within the mess, there was a hint of the taste of his mother's dishes.
After eating, the father and daughter cleaned up the dining table. The two worked together to wash the dishes and left the kitchen together.
Wei Ruxia wiped the water off her hands and wanted to go back to her room, but Wei Zishan stopped her from behind. Wei Ruxia turned her head and Wei Zishan looked at her calmly.
The two people sat under the flower lattice the held the climbing rose. The wind at night was very cold, but it also woke them up. The father and daughter sat side by side, looking at the flowers and plants in the yard.
"Did your mother tell you about me?" Wei Zishan spoke first.
Wei Ruxia responded, she squeezed her thumb and said, "My mother only told me that you didn't want children. I was born by her design. She was very happy with you but she touched your bottom line in order to continue to have this happiness and ruined your life. You're innocent."
Her mother knew that she was selfish, so she took responsibility for her selfishness and took Wei Ruxia out of Ancheng and returned to Dongzhen. She asked Wei Zishan to act like he didn't have a child. However, contrary to her wish, she had a terminal illness and she couldn't let her daughter be alone in this world, so she contacted his mother.
All mothers were like this, they worried about the birth of their children, and worried about their future after they died.
Song Suyun contacted his mother for her child Wei Ruxia, and his mother took Wei Ruxia back for him. The worries of the two mothers aligned, and in the end only he and Wei Ruxia were left to follow their whims and accompany each other for live the rest of their lives.
He and Song Suyun were classmates, and they had both been clear about his DINK's ideals and principles before they got together. Song Suyun didn't hesitate and had agreed completely.
The two of them had a wonderful time together, and he even recognized her as his future wife. Unexpectedly, Song Suyun, who had agreed to not have children without hesitation, replaced the contraceptive pill she was taking, pierced the condom they used, and succeeded in getting pregnant.
Wei Zishan didn't know what Song Suyun did behind his back. He even thought that his own protective measures had failed. Although it was contrary to his principles, he still chose to be responsible for Song Suyun and her child.
Song Suyun couldn't get past the guilt in her heart, and a showdown with him caused a fierce quarrel between the two. Finally, Song Suyun left without saying goodbye.
He had his own principles and didn't want children. Song Suyun deceived him and went against those principles at the same time. The psychological shadow caused by such deception was so huge that he still didn't dare to associate with women.
Despite her 'hiding in Tibet', he knew in his heart that Wei Ruxia's existence was nothing but a ticking timebomb. When his mother brought her back, the bomb exploded, blasting his life into a mess, and making him remembered the deceit he suffered 16 years ago.
Earth-shaking changes had taken place in his life, and subverted all of his principles. He didn't accept it, but had to accept it.
After Wei Ruxia finished speaking, Wei Zishan didn't speak any more. She looked at him and asked, "Do you hate me?"
The girl's voice wasn't loud, but it was enough for him to hear. His thoughts pulled away from the endless memories, and he faced the question squarely.
An innocent person often made things difficult for another innocent person. He couldn't find a culprit, so he could only vent cowardly.
"I'm sorry." Wei Zishan said.
She lived with Wei Zishan in Yizhen for seven days. After giving her grandma the first seven days of the year, the father and daughter returned to Ancheng. When her grandma's body was sent back to Yizhen, they hadn't had time to clean up the things in the hospital. After returning to Ancheng, Wei Ruxia went to the hospital with Wei Zishan, retrieved the clothes left there, and by the way also retrieved her winter homework.
There was less than a day before school started again, but Wei Ruxia's homework had hardly been touched. Luo Tang hadn't returned from the mansion yet, and still had to use video calls to ask him about the homework.
"Luo Tang, are you full?" His grandma, Shen Zhenshu asked, looking at the unfinished rice in his bowl.
Luo Tang nodded lightly, pushed his chair in holding his phone, and said, "I'm going to do my homework."
After speaking, the boy turned and left the dining room.
Seeing the young man's tall back, Shen Zhenshu smiled with relief and helplessness, "I've never seen him be so concerned about homework before."
"Ruxia from our neighbour's house is just going to ask him to tutor her again." Yang Shuru smiled and explained to Shen Zhenshu, "Don't pay attention to him, he will come back to eat when he is hungry."
"Is she the one who moved over during the summer vacation?" Shen Zhenshu didn't go to Luo Tang's house very often, but Yang Shuru told her everything. The mother-in-law and daughter-in-law had a good relationship and often called to chat.
"Yes." After Yang Shuru finished speaking, she said with a sigh, "On the first day of the year Ruxia's grandma passed away, Luo Tang went to keep her company."
The young boy’s thoughts weren't hidden from the adults, and Shen Zhenshu wasn't an antique. She didn’t pierce the veil though but just asked, “How is that girl?”
Yang Shuru smiled and replied, "A child with a very good personality."
Wei Ruxia looked at Luo Tang's draft paper and calculated the problem again. Luo Tang was a good student and a good teacher. He could even tell where she got the wrong idea, and then pull her back from there.
After finishing the question, Wei Ruxia looked at the steps written on the paper, and said with satisfaction, "Done, take a look."
After she finished speaking, she lifted her working up to show Luo Tang, only a pair of eyes were revealed behind the test paper. On the screen, Luo Tang didn't look at the calculations. He leaned back on the back of his chair and was looking outside. The boy's profile was clean and smooth, with a beautiful chin connecting to his slender neck, full of youthful air.
"What are you looking at?" Wei Ruxia asked.
Luo Tang heard her voice, glanced at the steps on her test paper, and said, "You got it right."
After speaking, he got up from his seat, Wei Ruxia noticed the screen shaking. In the video, Luo Tang's face was close to the screen, and then she heard the sound of a window being pushed open.
As soon as the line of sight on the screen turned, Luo Tang switch the camera to the rear camera. With a 'bang' a firework burst into the dark night sky.
Wei Ruxia had never seen such a big firework before. She gave a 'wow' and said with emotion, "It's so beautiful."
This firework seemed to be part of a firework show and the fireworks exploded into the sky in an endless stream, floating down like shooting stars, illuminating the sky in red.
Looking at the fireworks, Wei Ruxia forgot the math problems. She lay on the table, looked up at the fireworks on the screen, and called, "Luo Tang."
Luo Tang's voice came from the video, light and clean.
Wei Ruxia smiled, she thought he put the phone on the window sill and then ignored her.
"I can't see you anymore."
As soon as Wei Ruxia's voice fell, the camera reversed, and his face appeared in front of the screen again. The two people's eyes were facing each other, and they were very close, as if they were really only separated by a thin screen, and if it were broken, they would almost be touching.
"I can't see the fireworks anymore." Wei Ruxia's eyes curved, as she spoke to Luo Tang.
The image on the screen turned again, with a 'bang' another burst of fireworks exploded in the sky.
Wei Ruxia smiled and squinted her eyes.
As soon as his mother's matters were dealt with, Wei Zishan went back to work. He'd delayed his performance during his mother's illness, and now he had to make up for the lost time.
There was only herself at home. Wei Ruxia went back to her study after dinner. Yesterday, during the video with Luo Tang she got through a lot of the homework. She didn't want to interrupt Luo Tang's time with his family, so she planned to only disturb him at night.
As soon as Wei Ruxia went up to the second floor, the sound of the doorbell went off. The doorbell was crisp and monotone. Wei Ruxia was puzzled and went downstairs to open the door.
As soon as the door opened, Wei Ruxia let out an 'ah' and her eyes widened when she saw Luo Tang standing at the door.
Luo Tang wore a black overcoat and a checkered scarf of black, white and gray. His white face was exposed, his thick eyelashes and his eyes were black and shiny.
"I want to take you somewhere." Luo Tang said, looking at Wei Ruxia, "dress warmer, it's a bit cold."
Wei Ruxia still didn't react much, she took a light brown coat from the hanger at the door, changed her shoes, and followed Luo Tang out the door.
There was a black car parked at the door. Inside the car was the man who sent Luo Tang to Yizhen last time. Wei Ruxia got into the car with Luo Tang and asked in confusion, "Where are we going?"
"Houshan." Luo Tang said.
The nearest suburb to their community was Houshan, which was called a mountain, but in reality it was just a small hill. Standing on the peak you could see a view of Ancheng.
This was also a villa area and few people went up there. After the car drove up, Wei Ruxia got out and watched Luo Tang move the things around in the car.
There was no light on the mountain so Wei Ruxia turned on the flashlight on her phone and saw clearly what Luo Tang had brought out.
They were fireworks.
Wei Ruxia remembered last night.
Luo Tang took the match that Uncle Li handed over. He looked up at Wei Ruxia and told her, "Stand back."
Knowing what Luo Tang was going to do, Wei Ruxia smiled, then responded and stood back. Luo Tang lit the fireworks, the core creaked, and after a momemt, the first firework burst into the sky.
"Wow." Without the barrier of the screen, it was even more beautiful to see the fireworks in real person.
It wasn't that Wei Ruxia had never seen fireworks, but she just felt that tonight the fireworks were much more beautiful than the ones she had seen before. Sparks exploded in the sky, illuminating Luo Tang's face beside her.
Wei Ruxia smiled and asked, "Do you just come back to take me to set off fireworks?"
She only wore a coat when she went out, and her hair was draped around her ears, not quite covering her slender neck. The fireworks exploded, illuminating the girl's white cheeks, her lips were smiling, and her light brown eyes were bright and beautiful.
"Mm." Luo Tang took off the scarf from his neck, and he wrapped it around Wei Ruxia's hair and neck.
Through the mint-scented scarf, the body temperature of the teenager was continuously transmitted to her body through her skin. She looked up at the teenager and the fireworks bursting behind him and heard him say, "Now you can see me and the fireworks."
The author has something to say:
Tangtang: In order to let you see me, we will only use a fixed posture in the future.
Wei Ruxia: What posture? Use a fixed posture when doing what?
I love the heights of "very tall" people in Chinese novels. I'm 1.72m and I'm one of the shortest people I know, most of my friends range 1.8m-1.95m.
The author actually wrote a really long spiel about Wei Ruxia's dad in her author's note. I was lazy so I didn't translate it but it basically went into why she didn't think her dad a bad man for not wanting a child, even if he hadnled things poorly sometimes.