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It was not the first time that Tang Jinyu went back to that small northern city with Chen Suling, but every time he went back, he felt different.
When he looked at the scenery outside the car window, he always felt a strange sense of familiarity, as if the old paintings were painted with new colors. When he looked at it again, his memory deepened a lot.
Chen Suling was in the front seat and the driver was wearing a headset to talk to people, and he was alone in the back.
Tang Jinyu looked down in his hand, he was holding a small tin box.
The colored paint on the iron box was still there, with colorful balloons and blue bottles of milk. It is probably a small box left by a certain snack he had eaten as a child. He can’t remember clearly, but when he first saw the note inside, a lot of pictures poured into his mind. Memories of him struggling to stand up when he was a child, and he didn’t know if he was five or six years old, but he couldn’t jump or run; he remembered a small memory of sitting on a piano bench moving his hands and playing the piano. At the same time, he was holding a small radish in the canteen and shouting “grandfather” with a smile. He shouted very clearly, and the other side responded loudly. The old man’s figure fell into a shadow. The only thing he could see was his white beard on his chin, and there was a smile on his lips, opening and closing to say something…
That night he had a low-grade fever in the middle of the night, but did not lose consciousness as before. He got up and took pills and was sweating. He didn’t sleep all night, for fear that he would forget the fragments that came to mind. It may be because his body has grown a little bit in the past few years, that those memories did not disappear early in the morning of the next day, and for the first time, he did not have to go to the hospital because of a low-grade fever.
In the early hours of the morning, he looked over and over again at the crooked handwriting on the small note in his hand. Although the writing was very messy, it was undeniable that this was what he wrote, exactly the same as his current writing.
”Xia Ye, medicine, grandpa… go to Pingcheng… don’t take a plane…”
The handwriting at the back was vague, but a few place names can be faintly recognized, including the words “Huicheng”, and the three large characters “Remember” encircled in bold.
Tang Jinyu fumbled for the small iron box with his fingers, and the emotion that he had experienced still echoed in his heart, anxious and urgent, so anxious that the tip of his nose was slightly sour.
But he doesn’t remember. He only knows that all the family members were written on the note. The “grandfather” on the note was not his grandfather who was a professor in Qizhou City but someone else, but he can’t remember what he looks like, and can’t remember where he is.
Tang Jinyu tilted his head against the car window, looking outside, he had followed his family many times. He didn’t like flying around when he grew up. Chen Suling spoiled him and asked the driver to drive them over every time. For the first time, he bought a map and carefully marked the names of the places passing by, but he couldn’t find the names mentioned.
Pingcheng was far away, further north, while Huicheng was near a famous mountain and historic site, surrounded by mountains and sea.
They were all places he couldn’t go to independently. Tang Jinyu wanted to talk to his family several times, but every time he wanted to speak, it seemed like he was being blocked by something in his throat, and he couldn’t say anything.
After trying a few times, he gave up.
He thought, maybe this is a little secret that only he knows.
It’s like some information that pops up in his mind from time to time. It seems that he has experienced this before, but his memory is not comprehensive. He doesn’t know all the news. He only has an impression of some particularly famous social news reports in the north, and also predicted some in the future. It’s just that in the future he predicted, Internet commerce and smart phones were not as developed as they were now in a year or two. He doesn’t know why, but it seems that some technology has been advanced, and it was not exactly the future that he knew.
Tang Jinyu was a little bit ignorant about this, because his brother Xia Ye has the largest social platform, which appeared three or four years earlier than his memory. If he remembers correctly, he was not sensible when he was a child, and his brother turned out to be the same.
Now it was the largest social platform in China, and if no one wanted to play during a certain period of time, it was not only able to earn advertising fees. It also takes into account a small shopping mall and directly opens a delivery channel. Many big Vs are very active on it, and have also become a group of grass-roots stars.
Xia Ye and Chen Suling’s company held annual meetings every year. Tang Jinyu would also take advantage of this time to ask his family to take him out. He went to Huicheng twice and Pingcheng once this year. He searched everywhere for a few days, but did not find a clue.
This summer, he originally planned to go to Pingcheng again, but there was a special situation here. So he still went back to Xiaocheng with Chen Suling.
As soon as Tang Jinyu arrived in the town, Han Yixing and Guo Xiaohu came to look for him.
Han Yixing was a little taller than last year, and now she was almost like Tang Jinyu. The girl has fair skin, and her eyes were as clear and bright as she was when she was a child. She was also a beautiful girl. Guo Xiaohu stood a step behind her. He has developed very well in middle school. He was now about 1.8 meters tall, with wheat-colored skin and was wearing a uniform. He was a little more handsome than when he was a child.
Han Yixing’s mouth was still sweet, so she greeted them when she saw them: “Hello Aunt Chen, we came to have fun with Xiaoyu!”
Chen Suling smiled and nodded, and said, “Hello, where are you going this time, do you want me to let the driver follow? It would be convenient to take a car.”
Han Yixing shook her head and her ponytails flicked twice and said: “No, we are going to our former elementary school. It’s very close, and I will send Xiaoyu back in the evening.”
Chen Suling still has a job here, so let her son and his friends go play. Since Han Yixing and Guo Xiaohu are with him, she can rest assured.
Tang Jinyu took two steps, then turned back and said, “Mom, I want to take my teddy bear.”
When he came this time, he brought a lot of things. Chen Suling asked him to open the trunk to find it. She smiled and glanced at her son and asked, “Why did you bring toys for?”
Tang Jinyu hesitated, looked at the person waiting next to him and said casually: “I gave it to stars.”
When Han Yixing heard him call her out, she immediately came over to help, “Yes, it’s for me, since I don’t have one I asked Xiaoyu to bring me one hahaha!”
Chen Suling took a look. The doll was not very new, it was something that Xiaoyu played with a long time ago, but seeing them act weird she was too lazy to guess. She beckoned her child to come over and gave some pocket money : “Eat out at noon. Don’t eat too much. Mom will cook for you when you come home at night.”
Tang Jinyu nodded and agreed, and went to elementary school with Han Yixing with the doll in his arms.
The elementary school they used to go to has doubled, and the former teaching building has become an old campus. The iron gate of the backyard was hidden between the courtyard wall and the flower vines, and they were able to find it in a short time.
Guo Xiaohu was particularly familiar with this and took them in soon.
Han Yixing hid a bag there, and Tang Jinyu and the others helped drag it out, only to see that it was full of her clothes.
Han Yixing took out two pieces of clothes and put them on the stone steps first, and said to them, “Sit down.”
Guo Xiaohu said oh, and immediately sat on her clothes.
The little girl was immediately annoyed, and pushed him a bit: “Who told you to sit on my clothes? You sit on the steps and help me fold the clothes. I brought them here in a hurry, I’ll send them to the dry cleaner later. I have already sold these, help me pack them and we will mail it out first.”
Guo Xiaohu replied: “You also don’t make it clear, you let me sit on it when you laid it on there.”
Han Yixing snorted: “You think too much.”
But with that said, she took a coat and put it there and let Tang Jinyu sit on the cushion, “The steps are cold, don’t you get sick.”
Tang Jinyu shook his head and smiled. He was not so squeamish. After helping Han Yixing tidy up, the three of them worked together to calculate all the money that they had. Tang Jinyu’s money was hidden in the teddy bear, and he opened the zipper and took it out of the cotton in the bear’s belly for a while.
Guo Xiaohu took out a thick stack of banknotes from his pocket. There were half-new and half-used banknotes. He frowned and said, “I sold a few pairs of new sneakers, as well as some others, and collected more than five thousand.”
Tang Jinyu also tried his best here. When he went home, he emptied his piggy bank and collected all the coins, plus the pocket money he asked his brother to bring out about 3,000 yuan.
Han Yixing has the most. The little girl took out her New Year’s money that she got every year. Whenever her brother was in a good mood, he would also generously give her pocket money. In addition, she carefully calculated and sold some personal idle clothes, which was 8,000 yuan.
Guo Xiaohu scratched his head and said, “I don’t have my New Year’s money in my own hands, otherwise I can definitely make enough. My mother said I have to save my New Year’s money to marry a wife…” When he said that, he took a peek at Tang Jinyu, but Tang Jinyu was handing over all the money to Han Yixing and didn’t notice, so Guo Xiaohu followed along with him and handed over all his money.
Han Yixing collected all the money, took out the previously prepared bags and installed them in different categories. She counted them and was a little disappointed, “What should I do? These are not enough. I went to the hospital and asked what Ji Yuanjie’s father takes, and the medicine is very expensive, and it takes a long time to get it. There is still a long time before he’s discharged from the hospital. The second repair operation costs at least 20,000 to 30,000…” She said, feeling sad and couldn’t help but wipe the corner of her eye with the back of her hand, but tears fell down her face, and said in a choked voice, “Xiao Ji has it hard right now, it was not his father’s fault. It was the other party’s fault for drinking and driving. The driver hit them and ran, and it’s not easy for them to catch him back and make him pay….”
Tang Jinyu sighed as he listened. He had been paying attention to this matter since before hiz entrance exams. The ups and downs eventually became the ending they didn’t want to see.
Ji Yuanjie’s father had a serious car accident. Mother Ji sold her family’s shop to save her husband’s life and had the operation first. The money was spent and she was in debt. But at least his life was saved, but after the operation, dozens of metal plates, people lying there are basically useless, and the money for the next treatment has not yet been paid, and his whole family was plunged into the most difficult situation.
Two months ago, Ji Yuanjie had enough energy to raise more than a dozen places in one breath. He hoped to rush into the city’s high school. However, after an accident at home, he kept running to home and school, and barely managed to get through his entrance exams, and he didn’t come to school anymore, and even the transcript and graduation certificate were sent to him by Han Yixing.
Han Yixing was still crying while holding her leg, and said dully: “Xiao Ji said he is no longer studying, and he wants to help his family. His mother is now taking care of his dad, and he was working to earn money. When I went to see him last time, the place he works at kills fish, he used to be very timid, and he would be scared when I would show him a bug…”
Guo Xiaohu felt uncomfortable when he heard this, and sat there silently.
Tang Jinyu was silent for a moment and asked her, “Stars, I also have a lot of clothes here. Why don’t you try to sell my clothes online? Many of them are new and I haven’t worn them.”
Han Yixing thought for a while, shook her head and said, “Your clothes are not good. You don’t have any hang tags on your clothes, and your name is embroidered on them. If someone buys them, and what if they are seen by Xia Ye and Aunt Chen later on.”
Once Tang Jinyu thought about it, his clothes were all custom-made for him by his mother. From childhood to adulthood, it was obvious that it couldn’t be sold.
Guo Xiaohu eyebrows furrowed and said, “Or I will go to my house to get more things.”
”No, Xiao Ji wouldn’t want it at all. I already told him that we could pool money in to help him, and he nodded in agreement, but he would never take it home.” The little girl’s voice became quieter, “Little Ji already has it difficult enough, and I don’t want to let him think that we would ever look down on him.”
Tang Jinyu was still wringing his brows and thinking, and said, “Should we go to work and lend him the money earned as an emergency?”
Guo Xiaohu immediately said: “This is good. I will stay here to work during summer vacation. I will give the money I earn to my brother’s head office, right?”
Han Yixing entangled: “But what can we do?”
Guo Xiaohu was lost as well, he was quite strong, but in these years, apart from reading and playing, he really didn’t do anything else, and occasionally cleaned the floor and his mother would be overjoyed. Han Yixing’s situation was similar to his, and she considered this in more detail, “We are still underage, and we only work for a month or two, no one would want to hire us.”
Guo Xiaohu said, “Why don’t you let Xiaoyu play the piano? Didn’t Xiaoyu get a lot of prizes in the piano competition? I’m sure many people will like it!” He likes it himself, and he can’t wait for the whole world to like Tang Jinyu.
This time, Tang Jinyu shook his head and said helplessly: “No, you might not know but this year a particularly famous piano artist has already tested this on the street. He moved his most expensive piano and put it on the street and played it in public, but only one person stopped and listened, and no one cared about him at all.”
Guo Xiaohu didn’t quite understand: “Was he particularly good?”
Tang Jinyu nodded, “Extremely powerful. He is a Russian piano master. His solo recital just ended the day before he went to the street to perform, and all of them were full, one ticket would cost a thousand dollars.”
Guo Xiaohu smacked his lips with an incredible face, but soon he was pleasantly surprised: “Xiaoyu, would it also be expensive to see you play the piano in the future.”
Tang Jinyu said, “I’m still far behind, and what’s going on in the future won’t help me now.”
Several people became dejected again, and finally Han Yixing waved her hands and asked them to help carry the clothes to the dry cleaner, and got some courier bags to start sorting and packing. It was already more than four o’clock in the afternoon when they were all set. Guo Xiaohu was not hungry, but there wasn’t that much money in his pocket, but he was wearing a brand-name sportswear, he went to buy two steamed buns and came back to share with the three of them.
The little girl was also hungry, and she asked him while eating, “It’s so fragrant, I think I can eat another half, why don’t you buy one more?”
Guo Xiaohu said: “I have no money, I spent the last of my steel pegs.”
Tang Jinyu had a small appetite, and broke another piece of his own steamed bun to her, “I’ll give it to you.”
Han Yixing saw that he was really full, and only then took a bite or two.
Guo Xiaohu deliberately gave Tang Jinyu a little bit more, and now he can’t help but feel sorry for him: “Xiaoyu, you eat too little, so it’s no wonder you don’t grow up like this.”
Han Yixing immediately guarded and said, “Who do you think is short!”
”I didn’t mean that, I just want him to eat well and eat more…”
”Have you ever planted flowers? You don’t know how to accumulate energy. Why don’t you know that this is an accumulation of energy? Maybe when Xiaoyu is in high school he will be as tall as 1.9 meters! And as tall as Brother Xia Ye!”
Tang Jinyu didn’t say a word, and the two of them had been arguing for several rounds. He stood aside and looked at Zhile, and corrected Han Yixing, “My brother is now 1.95 meters, and he has grown taller again.”
(T/N: 1.95 = 6’4 O.O)
The little girl raised her chin and said, “Did you hear that! Look how good Xiaoyu’s genes are!”
Guo Xiaohu said, “Brother Xia Ye is not a Tang!”
Han Yixing waved her hand, “Hey, the two of them don’t distinguish each other like that, they are still family, you should know that!”
After a few people were busy with their work, they went to see Ji Yuanjie together.
The Ji family’s house has now been sold, and a small house was rented in the old city. There were mixed people living there. Han Yixing has a lot of money with her and was a little frightened for a while. Guo Xiaohu and Tang Jinyu guarded her one after another. When they were looking around, they bumped into Ji Yuanjie who came down to carry water.
Ji Yuanjie was a bit thinner, wearing a half-worn large undershirt and shorts. He has just come out of work, his skin is still fair, but there are red marks on his shoulders. It was easy to see at first glance, he has never done heavy lifting before. He was a little stunned to see them coming, but he quickly smiled and said, “Xingxing, Xiaoyu, you are here, welcome, do you want to sit at my house? It’s just a bit messy, and quite embarrassing.”
Han Yixing was to talk while on the road, and didn’t fight with Guo Xiaohu, but when she saw Xiao Ji, she was much quieter and only followed him in. There were four or five families living in a house here. Ji Yuanjie’s family rented a room on the third floor and a small utility room. There were a lot of things around in a mess, and it looked like they were in a state of moving in. They had not had time to clean up the rooms, there was a desk, a big bed and several chairs in the room. Ji Yuanjie took it out and wiped it for them. He was embarrassed and said, “Sit down, my family has been very busy recently, and I haven’t had time to clean yet.”
A few people sat down, Han Yixing didn’t dare to say a word, Guo Xiaohu sat there and looked around. Tang Jinyu touched his knee before immediately retracting his gaze, and he didn’t dare to speak.
Tang Jinyu sighed and said first: “Xiao Ji, we want to help you.”
Ji Yuanjie said: “I have already donated money. The streets and schools have given us some. My dad’s operation has been completed and it was quite successful. The stars came to ask last time, and I told her this.”
Tang Jinyu had a bad feeling in his heart, he still remembered that when he first became friends with Xiao Ji, this person was really as friendly and kind as before. Even if he suffered hardship, he still only remembered that everyone was kind to him.
Tang Jinyu said: “The three of us collected some money, and we all saved some by ourselves, and you can use it for emergencies.” He called out Han Yixing’s name, and the little girl hurriedly took the money out of her backpack and handed it over, and she moved quietly, and said: “Xiao Ji, these may not be enough, but don’t worry, we can get together and we will definitely help you think of a way…”
It took a long time for Ji Yuanjie to take the thick bag of money in the little girl’s hand, and accept it: “These are enough. Since I have borrowed from you, I will pay it back later.” He said this very solemnly.
Han Yixing still wanted to say something, but Xiao Ji laughed and said to her: “Our family has gone through a difficult period. My dad woke up yesterday and will get better in the future. Stars, you don’t have to help me raise money anymore. Leave the money to those who need more help than me.”
Everyone understood Xiaoji’s meaning, but no one was willing to give up like this.
Even though they knew in each other’s hearts that saving it for an emergency would not save the poor, they couldn’t bear to see their best friend fall to this state.
After coming out of Ji Yuanjie’s house, Han Yixing was in a deep depression for a long time. After leaving the alley, she finally couldn’t help crying. She had never cried so sadly and felt wronged. “Xiao Ji is so good, so good…, why? You have to encounter… something like this! It’s so unfair!”
Tang Jinyu also frowned and said nothing. He didn’t know that the situation was so serious before he came. He wanted to take a look before making plans. But now it seems that Ji Yuanjie’s family situation has it hard. They can no longer help, so he needs to ask for help from his family.
They walked to the nearby commercial street. Tang Jinyu called and asked the family driver to pick them up. They were tired and hungry and couldn’t go back on foot.
Guo Xiaohu’s previous house was still there, so they sent him there first. Han Yixing and Tang Jinyu lived in the same community, but on the way, the girl in the car was still crying, so the driver couldn’t help but glance at the rearview mirror.
Tang Jinyu drew a tissue for her, and whispered comfortingly: “Don’t cry, star if you keep crying, everyone will think I’m bullying you.”
Han Yixing took the tissue and blew her nose loudly, and choked, “No, you have never bullied people since you were a child.”
Tang Jinyu sent her off, and was a little dazed after returning home.
The house was clean and tidy. He opened the door and smelled the scent of food. He changed his shoes while thinking about other things. Chen Suling called him twice before he reacted and looked up.
Chen Suling smiled and said: “What are you thinking about? Seeing you think about it so deeply, go wash your hands and eat, today I made your favorite sweet and sour fish, usually your dad cooks at home, but today you’re trying mothers craft.”
Tang Jinyu agreed, washed his hands and sat at the dining table. After taking two bites, he asked, “Mom, is your company still hiring people?”
Chen Suling put a piece of fish, dipped it in sweet and sour sauce, and put it on the small dish in front of him, “What kind do you want to hire?”
”Well, it’s the kind of job that gives more money…”
Chen Suling was pleased, “You mean like a designer? Did Uncle Xiaoding tell you something recently? Don’t listen to him. He just wants to ask for fabrics from your design, so he deliberately teases you.”
Tang Jinyu grew up a bit, and Chen Suling changed the previous children’s clothing department, and recruited new designers. The treatment was still good, especially since the company has the priority to choose the fabric of the season, and the number of times they had to fly abroad to investigate the market was also better, and there were many other departments. Ding Yanzhao has always been deeply jealous of this department, but now it was no longer called the children’s clothing department. Everyone privately calls this “East Palace”, which specializes in serving the little prince.
”It’s not the design department, but is there anyone working here?”
”Who do you want to introduce to the job?”
Tang Jinyu told her about Ji Yuanjie’s family affairs, and tried his best to plan the work needs. “It’s best to work at night, and with shifts. Xiao Ji and his mother can take turns, but they can’t work too hard. They have little energy. …If there is more time during daytime, Xiao Ji can still go to school. His test scores this time have improved a lot, and it’s really much better than before, and he can focus on the key points.”