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Zhang Xiaomiao said, “that’s because Grandma loves me, right? Grandma?”
He Jin’s Grandma answered with a smile, and He Jin’s mother wouldn’t let go, “since Grandma loves you, then why are you still like that?”
Zhang Xiaomiao was offended, “what am I like? At least I buy Grandma stuff regularly after earning money!”
He Jin’s mother, “it’s good that you respect your Grandma, yet it’s your mistake to still take money from an elderly, since you’re already working.”
She couldn’t go on with the conversation, yet she continued, “and about your job, is it stable or not?” He’s mother looked at her from top to bottom, “you should be a decent girl by looking for a stable job. And since you’re still young, you’d better find a honest man to get married with!”
Zhang Xiaomiao slammed with her chopsticks, “have you said enough?! I’m going to do whatever I like, even my parents don’t care, so why do you? Don’t you feel tired for controlling so much?”
He’s mother was stunned, her mouth trembled, “you…you…haven’t you realized that it’s all for your own good?!”
He Jin’s uncle glanced at Zhang Xiaomiao and attempted to end the argument, “mind your attitude toward your aunt.”
With someone defending her, He Jin’s mother even got worse, “yes. You are young and you should learn some rules. Look at you, look at your ear piercings and your dyed hair. It isn’t what a girl is supposed to look like. No wonder you’re bad at studying. And about your modelling…”
He Jin’s aunt saw that she’s obviously crossing the boundary, and she interrupted, “sister, Xiaomiao is doing that for her work, it’s not like what you’ve described.”
The atmosphere got weird, and they intended to end the conversation. Grandma finally said, “it’s the New Year. Let’s eat instead of arguing.”
After dinner, the family was watching the “Spring Festival Evening” on TV, He Jin got closer to Zhang Xiaomiao and whispered, “sister, forget what my mom said. She’s the way she is.”
Zhang Xiaomiao smiled and whispered to him, “how is it possible for you to endure her all these years? If my mom was like that, I wouldn’t be able to stand one day.”
He Jin had a wry smile, “I can’t bear it. But I have no other solutions, she’s my mom after all.”
Zhang Xiaomiao glanced at his mother, “I thought only you would be on her side.”
He Jin started wondering too. Indeed, why wasn’t he on her side either?
He didn’t know when he began to question what she said. Even if she had a thousands of strange reasons to convince him, he stopped acknowledging her ridiculous concepts…perhaps his education, teachers and classmates opened his eyes to another world, a relatively objective and correct world. Because of what he’d observed and thought, he gradually got the ability to distinguish between the right and wrong, so that he could free himself in a mental cage.
The program of the “Spring Festival Evening” was getting worse one year after another. After a while, his uncle left, and He Jin was sitting on a sofa texting Fire, while he was listening to the conversation between his Mom and aunt. Then, they talked about a girl whom they knew through some acquaintances.
Aunt, “she is a really good kid! Her father suffered from a stroke last year, and she immediately took a six-month leave from school and headed home straightaway. She stayed by her dad every day, and even helped him to clean himself, wash his feet and took care of his toilet matters…”
He Jin’s mother, “what about her mother?”
Aunt, “she died early. How pitiful…but her mom was from a rich family, and she left two apartments for her daughter. They don’t lack any money. If it’s for another girl, I’m sure she would solve the matter by hiring a maid. I’ve even heard that she doesn’t even spend a lot at school, other students spend at least $2000 a month, while she spends only $800!”
He Jin’s mother nodded continuously, which school is this girl going to? And how old is she?”
His aunt, “she’s one year older than your He Jin. Since she took a six-month leave from school, she’s repeating her third year in University. But she’s in an educational institute so she’ll be a primary school teacher. She’ll be able to get off work early, and benefit from the winter, summer holidays…what’s important is that she’ll have an impressive salary!”
He Jin’s mother frowned, “she’s one year older…”
Aunt, “it’s good! It means she’ll be capable of taking care of the others!”
He Jin found it an alert – one year older? And capable of taking care of the others? What is it to do with him anyway?
He Jin’s mother, “you’re right.”
His aunt whispered, “if you want, I can ask around for you. Since your He Jin is such a nice young man, I’m sure she’ll want to be with him!”
He Jin’s mother, “yes.”