Wang Shuxiu didn’t take Lu Lingxi’s comment about working to support her seriously. She was still hoping that Lu Lingxi would go back to school. She had been struggling in society for many years and had suffered a lot because of her lack of education, so she hoped that Lu Lingxi would not follow the same path as she and Lu Yishui. Lu Lingxi was young now, but when he got old, he would know the pain of being uneducated.
After tidying up a little, Wang Shuxiu started cooking. Although Brother Feng’s gang moved away the refrigerator, the other kitchenware was basically untouched. Wang Shuxiu looked through it and found some vegetables and meat, enough for her and Lu Lingxi to have a couple of meals.
“Are you hungry? I’ll cook right away, you go back inside and lie down for a while.” Wang Shuxiu was worried that Lu Lingxi had just been discharged from the hospital and that his body would not be able to bear the hardships, so she rushed him to rest.
Lu Lingxi was fine. He wanted to stay and help, but he hadn’t ever been in the kitchen. Knowing that he would just be in the way if he stayed, Lu Lingxi obediently retreated and continued to clean up the house.
The place was not very big, a small two-bedroom apartment. Because it was an older type of house, the bedrooms were quite large, but the living room was tiny. As the two bedrooms faced north and south, the living room that was squeezed in the middle had no windows and appeared somewhat dark.
Wang Shuxiu had already tidied up the living room briefly, and apart from the lack of appliances, it was not really in a mess, so Lu Lingxi focused on his “own” room. The original owner of this body seemed to be an avid heavy metal fan, and the whole room was decorated in a very dark and gloomy style. The walls were covered with all sorts of weird posters that Lu Lingxi didn’t recognise, and the clothes in the wardrobe were just like the ones Yi Hang and the others wore last time, either printed with skeletons or tattered and torn.
Before dinner, Lu Lingxi tore down all the posters on the walls, packed and sealed all the original owner’s CDs, and divided the clothes in his wardrobe into two piles according to what he could and could not wear. Lu Lingxi did not intend to throw away all these things of the original owner, but wanted to keep them as a memento. He knew that this idea was ridiculous, but he always felt that he had taken over the original owner’s body and even if everyone around him was used to his new appearance and had forgotten what the original owner was like, he should not forget it.
When Wang Shuxiu called him to eat, Lu Lingxi had already tidied up everything. The whole room was clean and fresh, and all the extra things had been packed up and piled up in the corner. The lunch for mother and son was very simple. Wang Shuxiu made stir-fried pork with garlic shoots and eggs with tomatoes, accompanied by steamed soft rice. Although it didn’t look rich, it aroused Lu Lingxi’s appetite.
Only after eating two bowls in a row did Lu Lingxi stop. Wang Shuxiu kept giving him meat, instructing him, “Eat more.” Seeing that Lu Lingxi had almost finished eating, Wang Shuxiu mentioned what Sister Tian had said earlier. “Mom will leave you some money. Take a nap this afternoon. When you wake up, go find Yi Hang and ask him to take you out for a walk. If you see a bookstore, buy a few high school books, and in a few days we’ll enrol you in a study class to catch up on the previous ones, so you don’t start school without knowing anything.” Wang Shuxiu had the final word, apparently already decided on this matter.
Lu Lingxi was silent for a few seconds and then said, “I don’t want to go to school, I want to go to work.”
“Little bastard, you still want to make a fuss!” Wang Shuxiu threw down her chopsticks and raised her eyebrows, “I have the final say in this matter.”
She was full of momentum, but Lu Lingxi still refused to relent, “I don’t want to go to school, I want to work.”
“Little bastard, you…” Wang Shuxiu habitually wanted to slap Lu Lingxi on the head, but halfway through the motion she met Lu Lingxi’s eyes and couldn’t slap him. “This matter is not negotiable, you must go to school,” Wang Shuxiu said bitterly.
Lu Lingxi did not say anything else, but his expression showed his persistence.
Wang Shuxiu couldn’t understand how Lu Lingxi could be so reluctant to go to school even though he had lost his memory and couldn’t remember anything. After sending Lu Lingxi to take a nap, Wang Shuxiu put away the dishes and sat alone in her bedroom to calculate her savings.
Wang Shuxiu hadn’t saved much money in all her years with Lu Yishui. Although her salary was not bad, Lu Yishui was lazy and a gambler, and Lu Lingxi used to spend a lot of money, so all her money was spent on the father and son. This time, Lu Lingxi’s accident cost her a large sum of money, which she had originally saved for Lu Lingxi’s future marriage but had to spend almost entirely on one hospital stay. There was still a little bit left, and Wang Shuxiu planned to give it all to Sister Tian, but she didn’t know if it was enough. Although Sister Tian only said that Brother Li knew people and could help Lu Lingxi get back to school without mentioning money, there was no way to find someone to do things these days without spending money. The school was not owned by Sister Tian and her family and it was Sister Tian’s kindness to find someone. Sister Tian meant well, but Wang Shuxiu couldn’t really just use her favour shamelessly.
After calculating that the money was not enough, Wang Shuxiu slapped the bed bitterly, blaming the old bastard. When she thought that Lu Yishui owed even more money, Wang Shuxiu was furious. It was all his addiction to gambling and his constant losing. No matter where she hid the money, he was able to find and steal it, and now she couldn’t even gather enough money to send Lu Lingxi to school.
It was not that Wang Shuxiu hasn’t thought about divorcing Lu Yishui over the years and getting out of this mess. But every time she mentioned it, Lu Yishui would urge Lu Lingxi to make a scene. Even though Lu Lingxi usually barely looked at Lu Yishui, when it came to a divorce, he was definitely on Lu Yishui’s side. After a few times, Wang Shuxiu stopped mentioning it. The only son she had was this one, so she endured it for the sake of Lu Lingxi.
This time… Wang Shuxiu sighed; let’s see what Lu Lingxi’s mood would be in a few days. Anyway, no matter whether she divorced or not, she wouldn’t pay a single penny for Lu Yishui. Thinking of this, Wang Shuxiu quickly found the real estate certificate for the house. Last time she forced Lu Yishui to change the title for the house to Lu Lingxi’s because she was afraid that Lu Yishui would sell the house behind her back. Later, she also told Lu Lingxi not to be tricked by that old bastard Lu Yishui into selling the house.
Across the wall, Lu Lingxi couldn’t sleep and was thinking about Lu Yishui. He couldn’t understand why Wang Shuxiu didn’t get a divorce. He had only seen Lu Yishui twice, counting the time in the hospital, but his impression of Li Yishui was very poor. Gambling and hitting his wife, either was unacceptable to Lu Lingxi’s upbringing, and Lu Yishui did both. So why hadn’t Wang Shuxiu left him? According to Lu Lingxi’s understanding, anyone who got involved in gambling would end up losing his family. Was it because Wang Shuxiu and Lu Yishui were in love? Lu Lingxi couldn’t understand. Turning over, he thought of the money Lu Yishui owed. How was Lu Yishui going to pay it back? Would Wang Shuxiu help him pay it back?
As he thought about these questions, Lu Lingxi fell asleep in a daze. When he woke up, Wang Shuxiu was already dressing up to go out.
“So early?” Lu Lingxi was surprised.
“I have to go to your Aunt Lin’s house. Oh, you don’t remember who your Aunt Lin is, right? I’ll bring Aunt Lin to have dinner with us in a few days.” The Aunt Lin that Wang Shuxiu spoke of was her colleague Lin Mei, who worked with her and sometimes switched shifts with her. Wang Shuxiu thought about where to hide the house certificate for a while, but nowhere felt particularly safe. After thinking about it, she simply messaged Lin Mei and decided to keep the house certificate at Lin Mei’s place for a few days.
After leaving the key and money for Lu Lingxi, Wang Shuxiu said, “Yi Hang will come over later” and left in a hurry. Lu Lingxi put away the key, found the tomato seeds rewarded when the panel upgraded and went to the small garden outside the balcony.
The garden was actually a small piece of land owned by the first-floor residents, with a fence around it so no one else could enter. Wang Shuxiu didn’t have the heart to take care of it before, so the small garden was overgrown with weeds and looked messy. When Lu Lingxi was in the hospital, he was thinking about where to plant these tomatoes after he was discharged, and this little patch of land seemed to be prepared just for him.
When Yi Hang came over in the afternoon, he saw Lu Lingxi squatting on the ground in the hot sun, pulling weeds little by little. He had already cleared half of the small patch of land in their backyard. Across the fence, Yi Hang called out to Lu Lingxi, “Lao San, what are you doing?”
When Lu Lingxi saw Yi Hang, he patted the soil off his hands and walked over. “I want to grow some tomatoes here.”
Yi Hang: “……”
Speaking of which, he was really a bit confused. How could a person change so much after losing their memory? It didn’t matter that Lu Lingxi’s personality changed, how come his hobbies had changed as well and he had acquired a love for gardening? Yi Hang had a headache watching Lu Lingxi pluck the weeds. He was too lazy to go around to the front door, so he directly climbed the fence and jumped down.
“Hurry up, I’ll help you finish, your mother still wants me to take you out for a walk.”
The two of them worked together and it took half an hour to clear the rest of the weeds. Yi Hang wiped his sweat and urged Lu Lingxi to hurry up and change his clothes and go out.
Lu Lingxi looked at him hesitantly, “You’re just going out like this?”
Yi Hang was puzzled, “What’s wrong?”
Lu Lingxi hesitated for a few seconds and said in a low voice, “Don’t you think it’s strange?”
Yi Hang’s outfit was similar to the one he wore when he went to see Lu Lingxi at the hospital that day, a big black skull t-shirt, ripped jeans, his face and hair were all colourful; he almost looked like a person walking out of the poster Lu Lingxi had packed earlier.
Yi Hang’s eyes fell on Lu Lingxi’s light blue t-shirt and white shorts. Thinking about the image of the two walking together, it was like a punk holding a good student hostage. It was really out of tune. Yi Hang helplessly scratched his hair, took a shower at Lu Lingxi’s house and haphazardly put on a pink t-shirt that Wang Shuxiu bought for Lu Lingxi at some point. Still wearing the jeans from before, with his face clean, he looked at Lu Lingxi bitterly.
“Is this alright?”
Lu Lingxi nodded.
As the two went out, the neighbours around poked out to take a look. They had seen Lu Lingxi in the morning, but who was the young man next to Lu Lingxi?
Yi Hang’s father was playing poker in the small shed outside the neighbourhood. When he looked up and saw Yi Hang, he was so surprised that he forgot about the cards in his hand.
“Lao Ma, look, is that my family’s little brat?”
Lao Ma glanced indifferently, “Isn’t that Wang Xiaohua’s little boy? Are you seeing things?”
Yi Hang’s father looked and looked again and again, doubting if he had really been mistaken.
Yi Hang stood by the road with Lu Lingxi waiting for the bus, uncomfortably pulling on his clothes and asking, “Where do you want to go?”
“The bookstore, I want to buy a book.”
“No kidding?” Yi Hang gave an exaggerated shout, “What your mother said is true, Lao San, you really want to go back to school! Aren’t you too old?”
Lu Lingxi was amused by his reaction and laughed, “No, I’m going to buy a book on how to grow tomatoes. I also think I’m a bit too old to go back to school and I want to get a job.”
“A job?” Yi Hang became interested and looked at Lu Lingxi with a strange smile, “I do know of a job that is quite suitable for you now. You still remember my cousin, right? The one who studied horticulture and couldn’t find a job after graduation and opened her own gardening shop. She’s pregnant now and is looking for someone to look after the shop for her. I think you’ll have no problem looking after the shop for her if you have the dedication to pull weeds all afternoon.”
“Are you serious?” Lu Lingxi said earnestly.
“Crap! Lao San, you’re serious!” Yi Hang blinked, completely speechless. Couldn’t Lu Lingxi hear that he was teasing him? A big man fiddling with flowers and plants every day, didn’t he think it was boring?
Lu Lingxi nodded. Of course he was serious.
Yi Hang: “……”
Twenty minutes later, Yi Hang could not resist Lu Lingxi’s insistence and took him to his cousin’s gardening shop. Yi Hang’s cousin’s name was Du Lin, and she was a very bright and cheerful girl. Her shop was not very big, just about ten square metres, and the name of the shop was Tiny Garden.
As soon as Lu Lingxi entered the shop, he felt in a good mood for no reason. Although Du Lin’s shop was small, it was neat and tidy inside. There were several shelves on the wall, filled with lush green plants of various shades. In the centre of the shop was a circular stand with several pots of begonias in full bloom. Their bowl-sized flowers in rich colours placed amidst the bright green foliage made them very eye-catching. On the left side by the wall there was a variety of blooming flowers, beautiful, fragrant and dazzling.
“Welcome, do you need…” Du Lin greeted them and suddenly froze halfway through her greeting.
Yi Hang grinned, “Cousin.”
“Yi Hang.” Du Lin hesitantly looked at Lu Lingxi and said cautiously, “Lu Lingxi?”
Lu Lingxi nodded. Du Lin couldn’t believe her eyes, “So this is what you look like after washing your face.” She couldn’t help but joke, “If I had known, I wouldn’t have married so soon.”
Lu Lingxi: “……”
Du Lin laughed and invited the two to sit down on the wicker chairs in the shop. “What brings you guys here, is there something wrong?”
Yi Hang poked Lu Lingxi and gestured, “Lao San wants to find a job, aren’t you hiring, Cousin?”
Hearing Yi Hang’s words, Du Lin looked at Lu Lingxi critically. To be honest, she had met Lu Lingxi a few times before and had a very general impression of him. It was mainly because Lu Lingxi and the others were too non-mainstream, and Du Lin could not stand their aesthetics. This time when they met, Lu Lingxi gave her a completely different feeling. How to put it? The Lu Lingxi in front of her made her feel very comfortable, not because Lu Lingxi was good-looking, but because Lu Lingxi had an aura about him that put people in a calm mood.
But all this only proved that Lu Lingxi easily made people feel good about him; it did not mean that he was qualified for the job. Although Tiny Garden was small, it was Du Lin’s heart and soul. Every blade of grass and flower in it was painstakingly cultivated by Du Lin herself. Not to mention that she had worked hard to get a firm foothold in the street and become popular, she simply liked these flowers and plants and didn’t want to find someone ignorant to ruin them.
Although Lu Lingxi had no social experience, he also knew that this did not seem to be the way to find a job. He thought about it and said seriously, “Sister Du Lin, I really like this job. You can test me to see if I can meet the requirements.”
Du Lin thought about it for a second. It was fine. She gestured to Lu Lingxi to look at the corner, “Do you know that potted flower? Can you tell what’s wrong with it?”
Lu Lingxi followed Du Lin’s line of sight and saw a dozen little, oddly shaped flowers clustered together in a small white porcelain pot in the corner. The yellow flowers had slipper-shaped petals, also somewhat resembling an ancient purse. The petals were littered with small red spots and looked very fresh and interesting. However, the flowers did not look very energetic and were a little wilted.
Lu Lingxi had never seen this kind of flower before, and he did a mental scan almost immediately.
Plant name: Lady’s purse
Plant needs: Root rot treatment
Plant viability: Medium
Lu Lingxi gave Du Lin a sheepish glance and whispered, “It’s a lady’s purse, isn’t it?”
Du Lin was slightly flabbergasted, not expecting Lu Lingxi to know it. The lady’s purse originated from Mexico and Peru and had not been cultivated in China for long, only seen on the market in recent years. Du Lin thought of planting one because in the flower language the meaning of the lady’s purse was prosperity.
“Can you tell what’s wrong with it?” Du Lin asked.
Lu Lingxi walked up to the lady’s purse, reached out and touched the soil in the pot, looked carefully and hesitantly said, “Maybe the root system is a little rotten from too much watering.”
A hint of surprise flashed through Du Lin’s eyes as she deliberately asked, “Sure?”
Lu Lingxi glanced at the white panel and nodded.
Du Lin smiled, “Alright, you pass, when can you start working?”
As Du Lin said that, Lu Lingxi’s mood that had been tense finally relaxed. Yi Hang looked at Lu Lingxi dumbfounded, “Lao San, ah, I didn’t even know you actually knew this.”
Lu Lingxi smiled sheepishly, thinking that he would have to buy a few more books when he went to the bookstore. Du Lin was about to ask Lu Lingxi to sign a contract when a customer hurried in, “Boss, take a look at my flowers.”