Jiang Wang did not expect that carrying his own father would be comparable to carrying a quail.
Father Peng had been bullying the weak and cowardly for so many years. It was the first time he had been humiliated and lost face, especially in front of a bunch of children. When he fell back to the ground, he raged and cursed several times.
Jiang Wang raised his hand emotionlessly, and the latter immediately closed his mouth and shrank back his neck.
“I am a relative that his mother asked to come over.” He decided to give a simple explanation, “I am here to ensure the child gets basic care. ”
“When you are able to live normally, come to me again and you can take Peng Xingwang away.”
Father Peng glared at him and left, his face still unnaturally flushed from his hangover.
Not long after the whole farce, the head teacher rushed over. The old lady surnamed Xu had always been known to have a bad temper. When she saw the surrounding people, she directly split Teacher Ji’s head first, and sprayed out scoldings.
“How did you become a teacher? Can’t you even maintain the basic discipline properly? Just letting the two parents fight and having the children watch like it’s a joke?”
Jiang Wang straightened his back habitually when he saw her. He coughed to attract her attention and stepped forward to explain.
Old Lady Xu looked him up and down, “Are you Peng Xingwang’s new guardian?”
“The tuition and miscellaneous fees amount to 236 yuan, and the lunch fees cost 150. His father has been dragging it out and won’t pay. Are you here to pay?”
Jiang Wang didn’t talk anymore nonsense, and handed the money in full.
He hesitated for a second when he handed it over.
‘Peng Jiahui came here with a leather bag today. Did he come to pay the fees on purpose?’
The old lady expressed her satisfaction after receiving the money, and then greeted the child to give him a lecture.
“Now that you have multiple people to take care of you, you have to study hard and listen carefully. Do you understand?”
Peng Xingwang nodded quickly, “Thank you, Big brother! Thank you, Teacher Ji!”
The English teacher smiled and touched his head, “I’ll go first.”
Jiang Wang didn’t plan to stay any longer either. He cut off the old lady’s words after two or three more sentences, and walked out with the child, blending in with the vast flow of people.
One hand held the child’s hood, and the other hand in his pocket. Jiang Wang kept walking, a little distracted.
Ironically, he still hoped that his father had actually turned good.
Even as he saw the young version of himself being beaten with his own eyes, this extravagant hope was not extinguished from his mind.
Peng Jiahui was only in his early thirties. If he could become a better person and find a stable job…
Jiang Wang took a deep breath and left the absurd thought behind.
‘It was already too late for Peng Jiahui to be a father to my child-self, and now I’m rushing to be a father to my own father, come on.’
The room in the hostel lasted for one more day. Jiang Wang took a bath with the child and washed himself all over, suddenly he slapped his forehead coldly.
“What’s the matter?!” Peng Xingwang looked around, alerted.
“The cake… f*ck, I forgot it there.”
Peng Xingwang raised his head quickly as if he had smelt a phantom scent.
“The stall should already be closed, so I’ll buy it for you another day.” Jiang Wang turned to pick up his clothes and walked out. When he saw that the child was still looking at him, he asked one more question, “I will be going to the new house to put up the wallpaper. If you are afraid of being alone, you can come with me, but there’s no TV there.”
Peng Xingwang jumped out of bed and put on his shoes, “I already finished my homework back at school, I will go and help you!”
It was pitch black in the Tongzilou, you could see a small man hunched over in a ventilated place with his rickety body, burning honeycomb briquette. The smell emitting from this scene was choking.
Jiang Wang didn’t expect that there wasn’t even a night light here, so he took a hold of Peng Xingwang’s hand as he went upstairs.
The child’s head trembled but he smiled very brightly.
They turned on the lights of the new house, it was dirty and stuffy, and the night wind outside poured in bitterly.
“I wanted to paint, but no matter how environmentally friendly the paint is, the fumes would not be good for children.” Jiang Wang pulled the wallpaper tube out of his bag and explained to Peng Xingwang how to use it.
So far, the child wasn’t tied to his lifeline yet, but if he didn’t take care of him, he could get serious illnesses such as leukemia.
The wallpaper needed to be pasted from top to bottom and from the inside out, and the glue smelled particularly bad. In addition, it was a summer night without air conditioning, so the surrounding doors and windows were all open. Even ordering two mosquito coils would not be enough.
Jiang Wang carefully stepped on a ladder. The child was very sensible and helped clean the house. He collected the bottles, cans and plastic bags left by previous guests. After collecting a large bag of trash, he stepped on some flip-flops and went to throw it out.
Peng Xingwang would sing loudly when he was in a good mood, half of which were various nursery rhymes taught in the music classes in school, and the other half were messy advertising songs.
As the child ran out, the song floated away like a kite, pulling at the thread, and drifting away. After a while he came back and the song once again floated inside the building.
Jiang Wang listened to his out-of-tune songs while brushing glue on the wallpaper, and didn’t bother scolding him about it.
Children were always very noisy, and if they said a few more words, they would be comparable to summer cicadas and make others’ heads ache.
But after listening a bit more, it would make people laugh, and their mood would become a bit better.
The singing floated up from the second floor, and stopped suddenly when it reached the entrance of the stairs on this floor, then there was only silence for a long time.
Jiang Wang had already finished pasting the whole piece of wallpaper in his hands but he still had not heard or seen the child come back. He wiped the glue off his hands and walked out the door, quickly walking toward the stairs.
‘He couldn’t have been kidnapped by the Paihuazi?’Paihuazi, (basically child traffickers) a group of people who kidnap and sell children. They use deceptive drugs to make unattended children obediently follow them.
Then Jiang Wang saw Peng Xingwang walking in front of Teacher Ji.
“Haha! Teacher, look, let me tell you!”
Jiang Wang blinked, and later realized what the landlord meant when he said, ‘Many teachers also live here.’
He was currently wearing a ragged apron, and his shoulders and thighs were covered with wall ash, his current appearance had absolutely nothing to do with the word decent.
“Mr. Jiang also moved here?” Teacher Ji laughed, “I stay on the fifth floor, what a coincidence.”
The child cheered and chatted with Teacher Ji, then picked up the broom and dustpan and ran to the bedroom.
The two of them were left facing each other at the door.
“Here… it’s more convenient to go to school.” Jiang Wang wasn’t very good at talking to such people alone.
If he met a ruffian, a gangster, or a customer’s acting superior, he could come at them hard and oily.
However, Teacher Ji was gentle and clear, this was not within his scope of experience.
Teacher Ji first took a look at the living room that hadn’t been properly cleaned yet, holding a book in one hand, he helped remove a poster that had not been taken down with his other hand, and casually said, “Smoke.”
Jiang Wang suddenly felt guilty.
He rarely felt this way. How many years has it been since he graduated, how could he still seem to be a student standing in front of this person.
The man stepped forward and rushed to work, he touched his nose with his fingers stained with wall ash, and incidentally gave himself a flowery face.Hualian(花脸); literal meaning is simply a dirty face; but it also refers to a type of painted face/facial makeup of a male role in Chinese operas.
“I seldom smoke, I’m not addicted.”
Teacher Ji gave a snort, and swept his yellowed knuckles at the end of his eyes.
Jiang Wang shook his hands twice, and simply turned both hands back, “It’s just that there have been too many things to worry about recently…”
Teacher Ji laughed.
He smiled, as if everything had been forgiven, but he would still continue to observe.
“Have you eaten yet?”
“I ate a bowl of fried noodles just now, so I’m not hungry.”
“I stewed mushrooms and chicken soup for lunch. Can I bring you a tube?”
Jiang Wang swallowed his saliva, his mind already preparing an answer, ‘No need, but I appreciate your offer.’
But a villain came out of his heart and said that they really wanted to drink the soup made by the teacher.
Peng Xingwang popped out of the bedroom, “What! Teacher, you can even make soup! I am so hungry!!!”
Jiang Wang turned his head and replied back fiercely, “You can eat tonight!”
“But I feel hungry now!”
“Wait a moment.” Teacher Ji waved his hand and went upstairs to get them hot soup.
Jiang Wang waited for Teacher Ji to leave before glaring at the child. The latter stared back, “If you don’t drink, I’ll have to drink two bowls!”
Once again, he felt extremely irritated with himself.
The house had a small area and the wallpaper was quickly put up.
Under the watchful eye of Teacher Ji, one adult and one child washed their hands three times seriously, and then sat around and drank the freshly heated chicken soup.
Teacher Ji’s parents were from the province next door, but he was assigned here after graduating from normal school, and had already stayed for six years.
In this era, promotion and transfer had a lot to do with building relationships with superiors. He didn’t like to do this kind of thing, so he never did.
“How about you?”
“I used to do business in Shenzhen,” Jiang Wang drank the soup very slowly, and his voice warmed a bit as he held the bowl, “With the arrangement of his mother, I came over to take care of Xingwang, and I guess I’ll be opening a shop here or something.”
“By the way,“ he looked at him, his voice deliberately casual, “Teacher, what’s your name?”
“Linqiu临(Lin) – to arrive, 秋(qui) – autumn, two words that mean autumn is coming.”
Jiang Wang seemed startled, thinking that this name was really nice.
After the two of them finished eating, they went to wash the dishes tacitly, and sent Ji Linqiu to the top of the stairs.
“I’ll take him to a physical examination tomorrow, it should be fine.”
“Okay, thank you very much.”
When they parted again, Jiang Wang was still thinking about this person.
Obviously it was just a matter of duty, but he wanted to say more thanks.
Peng Xingwang ran back to the house and went to see his new room first.
“Big brother! Why is my room with little pink stars!”
Jiang Wang stepped on a cockroach with his heel, “Because it’s cheap.”
Peng Xingwang ran to his room with a thud again, “But your room is dark blue!”
“Then you want to change with me?”
Peng Xingwang looked aggrieved, “You clearly know that I dare not.”
Jiang Wang finally looked at him, “Isn’t pink beautiful?”
Early the next morning, the two of them went to the city hospital to get their bodies checked.
Jiang Wang also went to get himself a queue number, thinking that he had been hit and flew 50 meters away. It would be very troublesome to have gotten even a little internal injury.
On weekends, the hospital was crowded with people, and there were children littered around crying.
The summer heat outside made the skin hot, and the scent inside smelled of urine everywhere.
The pediatrician had a general understanding of the situation, and ordered Peng Xingwang to get on a scale first, and then check the blood after.
“35 pounds 15.87 kilograms, so thin at the age of seven, he is obviously malnourished.”
Jiang Wang frowned, “How many catties do I have to feed him?”
The doctor thought to himself, ‘The child was not a pig, could you pay a little more attention to the way you speak.’
“He should reach at least 42 cattiesAround 21 kilograms. Average normal weight for seven-year-old boys is around 20-23 kilograms, it’s okay to be fatter.”
Peng Xingwang still hadn’t woken up properly this morning, so he didn’t clearly hear the conversation while standing on the scale.
He hadn’t realized the point made regarding his nutrition before he made a conclusion with the words that were said, so he woke up suddenly as the conversation continued.
‘Big Brother, why did you bring me here?!’
Then Jiang Wang’s words fell into the ears of the child.
“…So thin, what do I have to feed it, I can just give it meat, right?”
“You have to educate your child scientifically, so you can’t mess around.” The doctor was very helpless, “You can’t just feed him meat, but you have to supplement him with calcium and zinc. He is currently in the early development phase, if he continues to lose weight his organ functions would not be able to keep up.”
“I see, you can prescribe the medicine, and I will supervise him to take it on time.”
Jiang Wang didn’t expect that he would have to learn how to add fat to a child at such a young age, sigh.
“You should strive to meet the standards at the end of the year, being too thin is not good.”
The child’s expression became horrified.
It turns out that the eldest brother wasn’t a human trafficker!
‘Big Brother wants to fatten me up and sell my organs!’
My dear Xingwang, it’s not… it’s not what you think pfft— (΄◞ิ౪◟ิ)
|↑1||Paihuazi, (basically child traffickers) a group of people who kidnap and sell children. They use deceptive drugs to make unattended children obediently follow them.|
|↑2||Hualian(花脸); literal meaning is simply a dirty face; but it also refers to a type of painted face/facial makeup of a male role in Chinese operas.|
|↑3||临(Lin) – to arrive, 秋(qui) – autumn|
|↑5||Around 21 kilograms. Average normal weight for seven-year-old boys is around 20-23 kilograms|