Locals knew that there was a Qixia Mountain in Qixia Town. Every year, when the spring flowers bloomed, people would go to the mountain to relax. In people’s eyes, Qixia Mountain was just a few ordinary barren hills linked together. The scenery was not unique, it was not steep, and there was no comparison with the real majestic mountains. Even climbing it was not a challenge.
But this inconspicuous mountain forest was where Lu Ying and the others were born and raised, and every blade of grass and tree in the mountain was so familiar that in the darkness of the moonless night, Lu Ying’s footsteps were so swift as if he was walking freely in daylight. After he’d walked in the woods for a while, a warm light appeared in front of him.
A large, rustic house stood in the middle of the mountain forest. The land in front of the house and behind it was neatly tended and full of medicinal herbs.
The door was half hidden and Lu Ying knocked on it, then pushed it open. It was very lively in the hall. Ji Xiaofeng and Lu Zaizai were playing with blocks together, and next to them, on the wooden sofa, a man reading a book was lying lazily.
As soon as Lu Ying saw the man, he straightened up and greeted him respectfully, “I’m sorry to bother you, Doctor Hu! Thank you for taking care of Zaizai, Doctor Hu, I’ve come to take him home.”
The man didn’t even lift an eyelid and continued to flip through his book.
“Dad!” Lu Zaizai ran over and hugged his father.
Ji Xiaofeng’s eyes lit up and he smiled as he approached Lu Ying, “Guess who I met today?”
Lu Ying shook his head and asked, puzzled, “What do you mean by the message you sent me?” Who would have thought that the handsome young man in front of him was none other than the shamate guy. Before washing his face and after, Brother Ji was a different person.
Ji Xiaofeng enjoyed keeping the listeners in suspense, “Think about it more, and guess.”
How could Lu Ying guess? He knew some people, not too many, not too few, and he had had many colleagues from all walks of life over the years.
“A hint for you, Guanlan City.”
This hint was equivalent to giving a direct answer, and Lu Ying was a bit confused for a moment.
Until he heard Lu Zaizai say, “We met two grandmothers today, ah.”
Lu Ying came back to his senses with a start, “…grandmothers?” He let out a sigh secretly.
Lu Zaizai nodded: “Yes, they are better looking than any other grandmothers and smell good. That grandmother said 100 million to Uncle Hu to treat someone. Dad, how many zeros are in 100 million? Godfather made me confused!”
Ji Xiaofeng was immediately annoyed: “It’s obvious you’ve confused yourself, confused little fool! Confused fatty! Confused cub! Confused little pig!”
Lu Zaizai was unhappy and muttered in a low voice, “I am not confused, I will count again, ten million, one hundred thousand… million…”
Lu Ying stroked his head with a sigh. Being Zaizai’s father, he knew very well that it was definitely his son who was confused in maths. After all, Zaizai was his own son, just like him.
“Teaching your son maths makes me mad!!!” Ji Xiaofeng glared angrily at Lu Ying.
Lu Ying immediately corrected, “No, that’s your godson.”
“Forget it!” Ji Xiaofeng waved his hand helplessly. Could he disown this godson now?
Lu Ying smiled, “So, who did you meet today? I don’t know many people at the grandmother level.”
Ji Xiaofeng raised an eyebrow and smiled, “It’s Mrs. Qin.”
“……” Lu Ying was genuinely surprised.
“Back then she was still at the auntie level, but now she’s certainly a grandma.”
“…she…you…” Lu Ying was curious but didn’t know how to ask.
Ji Xiaofeng said bluntly, “She didn’t recognise me. Guess again what she came to see our Doctor Hu for?”
“She came to see Doctor Hu, of course she needs a doctor?” Lu Ying speculated, somewhat disbelieving that Mrs. Qin, who was always full of combat power, could also become old and sick.
“Oh, she is not sick. It’s to ask Doctor Hu to visit her family to see a patient.”
Lu Ying immediately said, “Her father-in-law, right? He’s very old.”
“Wrong wrong wrong, guess again.”
Lu Ying fell into silence for a moment.
The Qin family in Guanlan City was a large family, but in the real direct line, the patriarch of the Qin family, Elder Qin, only had one son who had died suddenly when he was in his prime. Elder Qin’s wife also died shortly afterwards, and since then in the large mansion there was only Elder Qin, his widowed daughter-in-law and his grandson Qin Zhuopu.
If it was not the old man who was ill, yet Mrs. Qin personally went out to invite Dr. Hu, the only Qin family member worthy of her running around like that was… her only son.
Lu Ying felt goosebumps on his arms.
Qin Zhuopu, how old was he?
“Lu Ying? Little piggy Lu!”
“What?” Lu Ying looked at the sulking Ji Xiaofeng in a daze.
“Called you several times but you didn’t hear, what’s the matter with you all of a sudden?”
“I…” Lu Ying wanted to say something but couldn’t.
“Don’t know what you’re up to but I won’t bother to scare you! Don’t worry, Mrs. Qin’s son is not sick, he’s doing well.”
Lu Ying sighed in relief.
“People travel for thousands of miles just to beg for a precious grandson, and the consultation fee offered is 100 million, huh, 100 million!”
“Beg, beg… for a grandson?”
“Can’t imagine it, hahaha, Qin Zhuopu, who has nothing wrong with him, is actually infertile. Mrs. Qin spent a lot of money on in vitro fertilisation abroad without success.”
Lu Ying was speechless.
“Have you finished? Lu Ying, you have three minutes to leave my territory with the child. And don’t look for Ji Xiaofeng again, or you will never be allowed to buy pills from me.” The man on the sofa suddenly spoke out.
In less than three seconds, Lu Ying flew out of the house with his son in his arms.
Inside the house, Ji Xiaofeng yelled angrily: “I haven’t finished talking, why do you kick my godson out? Do you want to fight again?”
Before going to sleep, the father and son in their pyjamas lay side by side. Lu Ying was reading a picture book story and Zaizai was listening happily, not noticing his father’s absent-mindedness.
Lu Ying was a little confused and more than a little frustrated.
How could it be that after six years of not seeing each other, the memories were still so clear when he thought about it now?
Time was forever moving forward, and his age had changed from his early twenties when they first met to his current age of twenty-seven or twenty-eight.
On the track of the Chinese zodiac, dogs, horses, oxes and sheep galloped past, and in the blink of an eye, the Year of the Pig was already before his eyes.
This life was a constant march through the wheel of the Chinese zodiac. The years had not left traces on Lu Ying’s face, but they had planted seeds in his heart, the seeds that blossomed and borne fruit.
“Dad, what are you smiling at?”
Turning a page of a brightly coloured picture book, Lu Ying couldn’t help but curl his eyes in a smile.
“The coming year is the Year of the Pig, Dad’s lucky year.”
“What is the Year of the Pig?”
“Of the twelve Chinese zodiac signs, the pig is at the end of the list. The Year of the Pig means a fat year, a year of good winds and rains, abundant grains and prosperity of six animals(1).”
Many years ago, in the Year of the Pig, he was born in Qixia Mountain.
Since then, he’d gotten a name, family and friends, a lover and the most favourite person in his life.
On the 28th of December, the shopping mall and the supermarket were making arrangements for the New Year’s Day event starting on the 29th. Lu Ying and his colleague were pushing a heavy trolley when Manager Zhang suddenly appeared, her slender hand pointing straight at Lu Ying and the other man: “You go to the garage now and help unload the goods. You are not allowed to get off work until you finish unloading today. The goods will be used early tomorrow morning.”
Lu Ying’s expression didn’t look good and his colleague was shocked: “We haven’t finished here yet.”
Manager Zhang glared: “Just do what you’re told!”
As soon as Manager Zhang left, the colleague muttered, “There are special porters to unload the goods, why should we be ordered there just because we’re young?”
Lu Ying asked Supervisor Li: “If we go to unload the goods, will we be paid separately like the porters?” He didn’t mind being a porter as long as he got more for more work. His first job in Guanlan City with Brother Ji was as a porter in a construction materials market. It was all hard work, but in fact the salary was quite considerable. At that time, the two of them worked for a few days and played for a few days. One person was full and the whole family was not hungry, and they were quite happy and carefree.
Three months after Lu Zaizai was born, Lu Ying’s savings bottomed out. In order to earn money for milk powder, the first job he came to town to find was also a porter. At that time, he worked hard to unload the goods, and sometimes he got a salary of more than a thousand a day. Later… later, he was ostracised by his colleagues and had to leave the portering circle. He was too good at loading and unloading things by himself, and with him around many people had no work.
“Yes, is it a separate wage?” His colleague also asked.
Supervisor Li was quite frustrated. Why did Manager Zhang always target the people under her, while Lu Ying was the employee he liked the most. Supervisor Li gritted his teeth: “The money won’t be bad.”
Everything was fine until they saw the extra-long truck in the garage, and Lu Ying’s colleague exclaimed, “Damn! How many tons is this?”
Lu Ying was more experienced than him and knew that you couldn’t just look at the length of the truck, but also at the load-bearing of the tyres. He took a look at it and estimated that the truck was about 30 tons. He didn’t know what was inside. In the past, in the construction materials market, the most unloaded items were ceramic supplies, floor tiles, marble tiles, and bathtubs and toilets. It was laborious to move, not to mention that you needed to be extra careful not to fall. It was much easier to carry timber, steel and other items that were not afraid of being dropped; but of course the price was also different.
When they went over there, there were already seven or eight porters untying the ropes, and when they opened the truck, the colleague started shouting again: “So many cabbages and potatoes! They’ll be selling them until the Year of the Monkey!”
Caifeng City was in the south. It was cold and damp in winter. Ordinary people were not used to hoarding vegetables at home. There were no cellars and except for the refrigerator, there was no place to store something for long. Therefore, the selling power of vegetables was not great. There were too many old grandmothers and grandfathers who went to the supermarket to buy just a few scallions and some garlic.
Lu Ying had also done this before.
When cherries first appeared in the market, the price was more than one hundred yuan per catty(2), which was expensive beyond reach. However, Zaizai’s favourite fruit, as well as Lu Ying’s, was big red cherries. So in order to satisfy his son’s craving, he bought… two.
One cherry for the father and one cherry for the son was just right.
Only when summer came and big cheap cherries could be eaten did he and his son have a good satisfying meal.
You can’t think about it, you can’t think about it, you’ll crave for it again if you think about it!
Making money is the most important thing! As long as you have money, you can eat a lot of cherries, eat them one by one, chew and swallow them one by one, oomph ╭(╯^╰)╮.
Lu Ying took off his jacket and started to unload, wearing only a thin short-sleeved t-shirt.
It didn’t take his colleague half an hour to start panting, “No, this money is too hard to earn, my back is going to break!”
The professional porter laughed at him, “Look at you, you’re so skinny, how can you come here and grab the job from us?” He just joked casually; he didn’t mind them two coming to steal his work. They had a lot of work at the end of the year and were short-handed everywhere. They were afraid they would have to work all night to finish unloading the goods, so he wished someone would come to share their work even if they got paid a little less.
“Let me die… I don’t want this money anymore!” The colleague leaned against the wall like a dead dog with two weak arms hanging down.
Lu Ying didn’t say anything, jumping out of the truck, working with the others. He had a bag on his left shoulder and a bag on his right shoulder and he was walking like flying. The most important thing was that after working for an hour, he didn’t even start gasping for breath and didn’t sweat.
Several porters were amazed again and again, “I can’t believe that such a pretty young man is as strong as an ox.”
“Whatever, I’ll go first.” The colleague waved his hand and left.
Lu Ying continued to work in silence. He calculated that he would get at least two hundred after the truck was unloaded. In the afternoon, he worked even harder, hoping to finish early and get the money home quickly.
As a result, as Lu Ying wished, the whole truck was emptied by four o’clock in the afternoon.
Supervisor Li paid the money to the team leader in one lump sum according to the rules, and the team leader readily gave three hundred to Lu Ying, “Your strength is really convincing. I hope we’ll have the opportunity to cooperate again in the future.”
At four o’clock, Lu Ying was ready to leave work, carrying a lot of snacks. He wanted to surprise his son with an extra profit today. He walked so happily that he didn’t expect to run into Manager Zhang again. Without waiting for the other side to find him something to do again, Lu Ying just pretended not to see her, held his head high and turned a corner in a few steps to escape Manager Zhang’s line of sight.
“Lu Ying, do you not want to work here anymore? Believe it or not, you’ll get sacked tomorrow!”
Lu Ying straddled the electric moped, read and deleted the threatening text message sent by Manager Zhang, blacklisting her. He was not going to work at this place anymore in any case.
When the new year comes, there must be a new atmosphere!
Never let nasty people and things affect the New Year.
He picked up his child and went home. Just as he reached the entrance of the community, a familiar courier boy immediately called out to him, “Mr. Lu Ying, there’s a package for you.”
Lu Ying had a question mark on his face and thought, “I don’t think I’ve bought anything recently.”
When the two of them returned to the rental apartment, Lu Ying used scissors to cut open the huge cardboard box.
The glistening cherries were so dazzling.
Round, smooth, pretty cherries, so lovely!
Red cherries: ……
“Oh my goodness! Dad, are you rich?”
Lu Ying: “……”
Mr. Qin: Are the cherries delicious?
Lu Ying: Wow, so delicious~~ I can finish another box.
Mr. Qin: That delicious?
Lu Ying: What do you think of when you smell this smell?
Mr. Qin: … your body fragrance?
Lu Ying: Stupid! It’s the aroma of money!
Liu Dichuan: What is love?
Ji Xiaofeng: Love is to quarrel together every day, hahaha.
Brother Yang: You will understand when you meet it.
Dr. Hu: Love is to make your loved one happy and worry-free.
Lu Ying: Love is… when someone gives you a lot of cherries, it’s love!
- Six domestic animals, namely: pig, cow, sheep, horse, chicken and dog
- Catty – 500 grams