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Father Son and Violin 2

湘悟 (窟燕晩豚:2007-03-13 09:49:40 堋響繁肝:1752 指鹸方:1)



A few Unforgettable Experiences That I Always Wish to Disremember

Every single family is a miniature of a sociality. And almost each family has at least one reactionary. I was born a reactionary to our family. The following are examples.

Part 1, Cigarette Ends Conflict

The ^cigarette ends incident ̄ happened during the end of my first elementary school year.

The distance between where I lived and the school was about 3 kilometers. It took a 7-year-old kid more than 30 minutes to walk. When I say ^30 minutes ̄ only meant in the morning on my way to the school. But in the afternoon from school back home could take me much longer time. The reason was I wanted to pick up cigarette ends to meet the need of my father. (Father was for a period of time back home from countryside errands)

When I say ^pick up cigarette ends ̄ was not in all cases actually pick them up from the ground, but to follow smokers, sometimes for quite a distance, wait until they finishing their smoking, and then pick up what was left, if there was any left.

Back home from school, the first thing for Danjin and me to do was to put our booty on the table. I always wanted to compare his with mine, to see who was the winner. The pity was he seemed to be not so enthusiastic in this kind of competition. ^OK, you are the winner again ̄ was what he said most of the time. That made my feeling of satisfaction much less. After that what we did was to separate tobacco from papers and mix the tobacco together before we hand over to our father.

Father put the ^second mouth ̄ tobacco in a frying pan insufflating a little alcohol on it and then heats it up for a few seconds, for disinfections purpose I guess. Then the loose tobacco was ready for my father to roll his own speaking trumpet shape cigarette.

One day, I invited a classmate to do the pick-up together with me. Although he was older than me but looked younger as he was smaller. Our deal was to put our pick-ups together, and 50/50 by the end. That day business was unusually bad. I put the blame on him, broke the deal by saying I could only give him 30%. He disagreed. I started to run way. He chased me tightly all the way to where I lived. By chance my brother Danjin appeared. After listening to his complain of my wrongdoing with tears and snivels, Danjin gave all his cigarette ends that he collected for the whole day to my classmate. In addition Danjin walked him back for about 10 meters comforting him by promising, ^I will report about my brother¨s wrongdoing to our parents. ̄

When I was thinking what my brother did was extremely stupid, especially towards such a small fellow, something unexpected happened. My classmate turned his head staring at me. As soon as our eyesights met he threw a cigarette end on the ground. I pounced on it like a tiger. He walked some distance and threw another. Again I dashed up. Again and again repeating like that, half an hour had past and we were not far away from where he lived. Then he laughed with victorious satisfaction and poured every thing he had left in his hands on the ground.

Though I was exhausted when I got home I showed up my achievement to Danjin with excitement. I thought I deserve a praise, yet Danjin made no comments. Later he told me coldly, ^Your classmate¨s father dose not smoke at all. ̄ I was woodened with no words, only compunction that I should not take advantage of a smaller classmate in the first place.

In the evening, Danjin kept his promise to report my wrongdoing to our parents. In result they doubled my housework as punishment. I was very ill affected, and decided to quit the pick-up business forever. Imagine father running at the nose caused by lack of smoking I could not help laughing. Somehow my heart was filled of schadenfreude.

In fact, what I really should be proud of were those speeches written by my father for some important provincial leaders, speeches such as ^the situation of our country is not only good, but also getting better and better ̄ for sure decocted out from my picked-up cigarette ends, at least a part of them.

Part 2, My Red Rain Shoes

It was some days before the Chinese New Year. 1961 was probably before the glob worming; everywhere in Changsha was covered by snow and ice. The temperature was below zero even inside. Therefore the outside temperature I dare not to remember. In spite of that bloody coldness, everyday my brother Danjin still took me walking all the way to the school.

Walking was not the worst. The worst was the only pair of old rain shoes that I had. Because the shoes were without insoles, my mother put a little haulm in instead. Also because I possessed no socks, my father found two rags to wrap my feet. Again because the shoes were too old and a little too small for me, I had to fill my feet in by a little force. That caused one of my dear old shoes open its mouth like a dead fish´

Counting the days the New Year finally drew near. I bowed to my mother with my big toe. Immediately Mother replied without taking a good look at my polite toe, ^I know I know, I¨ll do something before the New Year. ̄

At last the day before New Year came. Mother handed me a pair of red rain shoes when I got up in the morning. I threw myself on them with great joy and happiness. But when I held the shoes on my hands, I felt they were not new. After second observing, to my great disappointment they were the same broken shoes I had worn for years. Why they looked new at first glance? Because a layer of bicycle inner tube being glued on them. A romantic description could be, ^ my black shoes were wrapped around by red coats.  ̄

Nevertheless, still I could not help the excitement, put the shoes on at once and ran out from home. Outside everywhere was iced as I described. When I found a place with comparatively thin ice, I hit my heel on the ice to break it. And then very bravely I trampled my right foot totally into the water with satisfactory thoughts, ^ water, water, I¨m no longer afraid of you from now on. ̄ And yet to my enormous despair, the water immersed into my shoe as always. Pathetic, isn¨t it?

I lamed back home. Mother tweaked my painless frozen ear ^Among the four brothers, your shoes were the only ones I could afford to repair this time of the year. How could you step into water with such good pair of rain shoes? You deserve no valuable thingsfrom now on you go out with your bare feet. ̄ At the same time mother removed my red shoes. She did it very gently with my shoes but not my feet, and tried to dry the wet one carefully by putting it at a not-too-far not-too-near place of the coal stove, and adjusted the distance back and forth for a couple of times.

The whole day my brothers were out to see friends and in with friends frequently, but poor me had to be in bed to keep my feet warm, although sometimes I did get up and jump with one shoe inside home.

The New Year Eve¨s family dinner has been the most important event among the Chinese for ages. It is our tradition to get every one of families sitting together around the dinner tables by that specific day at that particular moment. In Chinese it is called ^Tuan yuan Fan ̄ meaning ^reunion meal ̄. No matter how terrible we were in poverty, our stomachs deserve to be fed fully, once a year.

But that evening father received a party invitation held by the Communist Party. The party took place at Xianjian Hotel, which was the highest building (as high as 9 floors) with elevator being built after the liberation in Hunan province. Father read the invitation proudly in front of the whole family, and at the same time he announced there would be no family dinner in that evening because of the much more important party. Everybody was cheered up. They all went out for the party with father except me.

When they were at the party eating drinking singing laughing, I was hopelessly dazing at my half-dry half-wet shoe by the stove with desolation. All I could do to comfort myself was by fantasizing, ^I¨m not particularly fancy about parties. But about the elevator, hen, when I grow up, I¨m going to live in a higher building with better elevator. Everyday I shell take the elevator up and down up and down all the time. You folks will not be welcome to visit me. ̄

By mid-night after I got over my hunger my people came back with full stomachs. Immediately I decided not to give them chance to show their penitence to me. I covered my head with quilt pretending in deep sleep. May be my performing grunt was better than real, everybody seemed to be amused. Father deterred their laughing; spoke with a loud-enough-low voice ^don¨t wake him up. ̄ Soon after that I heard some sound of opening a package. Father¨s voice again, ^Look at this, the Party leader gave it to our family. ̄

^Rice-cake! My goodness! We haven¨t had it for a long time. Thanks the great Party! ̄ my mother¨s voice with excitement and gratitude.

^We only have a little for taste now, and leave the rest for tomorrow. ̄ Father indicated.

Followed I heard the chewing sounds of my brothers.

^How about Danjiu? ̄ Mother reminded.

^He should wake up if he would like to join us. ̄ Father teased.

A piece of cake to a 7 year-old boy, what a cruel temptation! Suddenly I felt my mouth full of hands. From the bottom of my stomach, I would like very much to join they guys. In one word ^eat, eat ̄ I really want to eat, but what about my face, my pride, my self-respect? Yes, I stood the lure like a piece of cake by swallowing my constantly flowing sour slobbers.

Until everybody went to bed and the room was dark, Danjin filled a bit of rice-cake into my mouth. The wonderful tastes kept me awake the whole night.

Next morning though my shoe was dry I volunteered to be home alone again. When the whole family was out to do New Year¨s greeting to our neighbors door by door, I called one of my diehard pals to come to my home. Together we broke the lock of the only food box our family had, and shared all the rice-cake left in it.

Part 3, Tenghao, That Changed The Destiny of Our Family

Tenghao is a kind of eatable wild plants (similar to grass).

Apart from picking up cigarette ends for our father, Danjin and I spent much time every day looking for Tenghao. The tool that we used to cut Tenghao was our father¨s old shave blade.

One day, Danjin and I went to the usual place searching for Tenghao out from all other wild grasses. When I was busy working, our neighbor Wang-Pang, a fat boy 3 years elder than Danjin came over to me. (His father was provincial minister Wang, my father¨s superior. Be precisely my father was his father¨s secretary.) He said to me, ^Jiu boy, work harder. But when you finish you must give me half what you get from this area. ̄ I ask him why? He explained to me yesterday he declared the ownership of the Tenghao in this area by putting a wooden sign here. Therefore anyone who picks up Tenghao from this area ought to hand him half.

What he said was totally against communist ideology that his father fought for. But I was too young to reason about that. All what I could do was to walk away. Of course he wouldn¨t let me. The fighting occurred. Wang-Pang was not only 4 or 5 years elder than me, but also much larger. Therefore in no way I could be his rival. Soon he was riding on me.

I called for help by shouting, ^Danjin, elder brother. ̄(In that period of time I would call Danjin as ^elder brother ̄ only when I was cornered.)

Danjin rushed over to us. Tried his best to drag me out from Wang-Pang¨s body. Beyond my expectation Wang-Pang gave me up; instead he replaced Danjin to be his horse, and punched my brother¨s face again and again. At the same time he yield, ^How dare you to call your brother! Call your brother for what, for being beaten? ̄ The situation made me mad. I decided to fight with him death or alive. I dashed up and bit his arm like a wild dog. Wang-Pang overcame the pain, punched me down. Now Danjin and I both were under him.

It must someone who told our father what was happening down there. Father ran to us hastily. He pulled both of his sons out from the fat boy.meanwhile Danjin started to cryUnthinkably Wang-Pang was not afraid of adult, not a bit at all, on the contrary he became more overbearing, he chased us all over to continue his beating. Our father could only use his body as a shelter to prevent his sons from being beaten.

Meanwhile our mother also arrived. When she saw such a little fat boy dare to attack all the three men of hers, she tweaked the boy by his back collar and lifted him up to the air, ^How overbearing you are! Let¨s go see your mother. ̄ Not until then, Wang-Pang, ^Wa´  ̄Burst out into crying.

I felt I was in a safe hand, felt the power of mother¨s backing. To take the advantage I ran away from father towards Wang-Pang, ^fuck your mother. You son of bitch. ̄

Immediately mother reworded me with a big blow on my head.

At exact that moment, Wang-Pang¨s mother also entered. She must also have heard my words ^son of bitch ̄. She dragged her son back home with snivels and tiers.

The same day at dinner hour, mother was working overtime. When I washed the Tenghao I got that day in a public water place (by that time the most Chinese homes were without water supplying) and got home, I saw minister Wang (Wang-Pang¨s father) was sitting on the only chair with a back in our home. His right leg crossed on his left with toes pointing to the ceiling. Watched me walking in Wang did not stop playing with a box of cigarettes in his hand.

My father was sitting on a small wooden bench looking up to his boss like a, a´(if he were not my father, I would have described him looked like a Pekinese dog)

Minister Wang must be quite disappointed when he saw me was not so frightened. He looked at me again, very slowly he said, ^Jiu boy, how dare you to call your fat brother (his son) names. If your fat brother is a `son of bitch¨, what am I? Bitch? ̄

I looked at him asquint and did not say he was not a bitch nor explained to him that ^bitch ̄ is a she-dog therefore he was not qualified.

Wang continues, ^Suppose I¨m a bitch, what would be your daddy? Bitch secretary! Your mam would be bitch secretary¨s wife. And you all would be sons of bitch secretary. ̄

Not knowing what to say my father¨s smiling face appeared more ugly than crying.

ThenWang turned his face to father, talked with a rather official tone like he always did at office, ^this, this, You, not only the children, you should also criticize your wife, you, should not be afraid of wife, and, and, this, this, kids quarrel, adult get involved, what is that? This, this´ ̄

Father clapped his hand with adulation, ^Today I discover that you, respectable minister Wang can give considerably good speeches without my manuscripts. ̄

^Well, well´ ̄ Wang was obviously very pleased. He took out two cigarettes from the cigar-boxes, clipped one between his lips, and flipped one towards my father.

Father failed to catch the cigarette from his boss. And the cigarette rolled under a table.

Father hurried down under the table picking up the cigarette, blew dust once, twice, and handed it back to Wang, ^This is not strong enough. It would be waste for me to have it. ̄

Wang took the cigarette without hesitation and put it back into the box again, ^That¨s right, that¨s right, to save every single coin, for the sake of the war and revolution. ̄

I was glad that father did not take his cigarette, a sugar coat covered bomb.

Then, Wang turned his tone to be much more personally, slowly he said to my father, ^this, this, I mean the one, your sister-in-law (Wang¨s wife) who is in charge at home, still be angry with me. She is from North, not being educated, ill tempered, nothing I could do. Perhaps, may be, we could invite comrade Xiwan (my mother) coming to my home, give a self-criticism, that could calm her anger, the affair would be over. Otherwise, she is very stubborn, would be endless with me. Hai, after all kids quarrel, no big deal. ̄

My father echoed, ^Right, absolutely right, kids quarrel, no big deal. ̄ At the same time father must be thinking that ^your wife stubborn one inch, my wife stubborn one meter. If my wife could make a self-criticism to your wife, she wouldn¨t lift your son up at first place. ̄

While in my mind I was laughing, laughing at those pair of old fellows afraid of wives one worse than the other.

Hence, father must come up with an idea, an idea of losing minor to save major. He stood up from the little bench, turned to me and ordered, ^Bring the bunch of Tenghao to uncle Wang¨s home and give it to aunt. Don¨t forget to apologize. ̄

By then I was still in great grievance. Father¨s unbelievable order was like pouring oil to my burning heart. It is human nature (anima nature too) to protect one¨s own children, while my father not only spoke no justice; on the contrary he stood by the enemy! I jumped up to the bench to make myself taller, ^Why should I apologize? Why should I give my Tenghao to them? What are they? Landlord? Collecting rent? ̄

Wang must be quite chocked. He ^pa ̄ stood up, stared at my father, ^you see, you see, such a son you have, scolded me, an old revolutionary `landlord¨, This, this, lack of domestic education. Let¨s forget it old Chen, I did not come here. We see each other in the office tomorrow. ̄ Wang said with despair walking toward the door.

Father quickly followed him. On the way he slapped my face loudly and shouted at me, ^How dare you to talk back. Go, hurry up. ̄

I knew though father looked terrible, but if it were not because of saving his face as minister secretary, he would probably rather kneel down to me.

I was not born as a patient man in nature. My father¨s unusual action pushed me to the limit. To step higher I jumped up to the table, like flood breaking a reservoir I roared with fury, ^You are working for what? Bread winner, ha? Can¨t give us enough to eat, in addition force me to give the wild grass picked up by my hands to others. ̄

I got off the table and place myself before father, ^Beating your child to please your landlord, what a father are you? Beat me, beat me again, and better beat me to death. I¨m not afraid of death. Having a father like you, I would be starving to death anyway´ You, no more than a running dog slave. ̄

Father woodened.

Wang was outraged. He trembled walking to the door. Repeatedly, ^fie-fie, fie-fie ̄ he opened the door.

Father caught the last chance, picked up a piece of bamboo lashed my bottom. I moved my bottom quickly enough to avoid being beaten. The piece of bamboo hit my heel; a small piece of flesh was sliced off, not totally but connected to my foot with a piece of skin.

That stopped Wang from going out. He had a look at me half stunned.

Father kept his eyes on his boss, raised up the piece of bamboo towards me again. He stopped there as if waiting for the order from his boss. Wang quickly responded by holding father¨s hand, ^Stop, old Chen´ ̄

At that very moment, Danjin got up from bed with all the pain and injuries all over his body, took the bunch of Tenghao and went resolutely straight to Wang¨s home´

From that on, our brothers had no tough with Wang-Pang for a long time.

Later, The area where we used to pick up Tenghao was divided piece by piece equally to all families. As our little bit of land had no Tenghao left, father grew some vegetables. Even that, was later forced to be shared with some other Party members.

About a year after that, my mother was removed from her working position and transferred to a much lower working unit far away from where we lived. Though there was no hard evidence that mother¨s transfer was my credit, but everyone in the family knew it in the bottom of our hearts. In my memory, all that period, father¨s only facial expression was to scowl tightly.

After ^Tenghao ̄ occurrence, the position of me as family¨s ^apple of discord ̄ was in unprecedented consolidation.

Now when I think the whole thing back, I have no complain but sincere appreciation for my father¨s chopping a slice of flesh off my foot, for if it were not that ^piece of meat ̄ saved father¨s job, we all could have ended dead from starvation ages ago.

Part 4, My Competition with Brothers

As I mentioned before my younger brother (the third son of our patents) was sent to mother¨s hometown since he was born, therefore in everyday life we had only three brothers at home.

Both Danjin and Danfeng had a little privilege. So did me.

Besides the home key on the neck and taking care of Danfeng and me, Danjin¨s privilege was to receive a reword of 2 fen money from mother every evening. He established himself a small private treasury by means of a section of thick bamboo. Everyday after he put a coin through the cut into the bamboo container, he always shook it for a little while. The sour sound caused my constant toothache.

My youngest brother Danfeng¨s privilege was to have a bottle of milk every morning. Every time when he drank the milk he made a kind of ^xu,xu ̄ sound. That ^xu,xu ̄ too, was as sour as Danjin¨s bamboo container shaking. Every time after Danfeng finishing his drink, I always wish to use my own tongue to clean up his white mustache.

My privilege was simple. It was to boil Danfeng¨s milk. The reason that I shot for doing that was of course not for Danfeng¨s sake, but my own interest of monopolizing the surplus alimentation out from the pot washing. Perhaps because of the concept of milk formed then, no matter what brand milk that I drink today, they are all too dense to me.

I always wanted to be the number 1 at home. The sadness was every time after I exchanging blows with Danjin, I had to hope for my victory next time. Though the great Chinese teaching says, ^For real man to revenge after 10 years is not too late. ̄ But when the time really came that I was confident enough, I also became an adult too embarrassing to perform such kid¨s games.

Although I was not strong enough to beat Danjin for that time being, I always had a weaker one to fight with, my youngest brother Danfeng. Besides six years younger than me Danfeng was very weak during his childhood because of the disease, therefore to conquer him I need only a little finger. However, the pity was there was a mountain as a powerful backing behind that small monkey. The mountain was our mother. Every time if I laid my finger on him, he would fall apart on the ground crying like a packman huckstering his bones until our mother came back from work, then inescapably I would be pressed by the mountain for quite some time. That resulted to lay a finger on Danfeng was worse than fight-and-lose with Danjin.

Where is oppression, where must be resistance. I did not want to believe that I could only be clamped between sandwiches. Thus I decided to win the battle with my brothers and to be the number one at home by some other means instead of physical fighting.

First of all, I wanted to be taller than Dabjin. For that purpose I often hanged myself on a horizontal bar as long as I could. I sometimes also tied my feet on one bedside and use my hands to pull the other, in order to stretch myself longer like a twisted dough-strip before being put into an oil pan.

I remember it was during my second grade Danjin brought back a horizontal bamboo flute from school, immediately I borrowed a vertical bamboo flute that was longer than his from a friend.

Sometime later Danjin brought an Erhu (a two stringed Chinese musical instrument) home; I look up everywhere and found myself a Sanxian (a three stringed Chinese musical instrument) to compete with him. The extra string made my victorious feeling last quite sometime.

Followed, I saw Danjin was leaning how to ride a bicycle on a field, soon I appeared on the same spot with a tri-cycle that I borrowed from a little kid with a bit of his reluctance. I waved at my brother with pride, ^What do you think, even by riding, mine is one wheel more than yours! ̄

Finally, one day Danjin had a terrible fever. Even fever I wanted to be higher than his. I took the thermometer and put it into a glass of boiled water. When mother came over I quickly put the thermometer into my mouth and lay down on a bed. After examining the thermometer mother said I must be at once sent to the hospital, not exactly inside the hospital but somewhere behind the hospital, the corpse building behind the hospital precisely.

All those day I had been thinking of doing something big, world-shaking if I could, for that would make me very special among the family members, make Danjin to call me ^elder brother ̄, make my father look at me in a respectable eye. That¨s right, ^RESPECT ̄ was what I longing for.


 指鹸[1]:  敷 (2007-03-13 10:30:35)  
  > I took the thermometer and put it into a glass of boiled water.


楳くても、あるべきものを、牝仭徨。 - by 暗酋

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