Like a sudden evil, you lie on the bed with blank eyes, but your hands are dancing in the air, like messy branches in the wind. Ying 仂, Ying 仂. You shout my name. Regardless of everything, one after another. Ying! Ying! Like an arrow, shot from the chest, thrown high, and then fell back. Throw it up again, and then fall back down. Sad, but also fanatical, like lightning and thunder.
It was the early 1990s, when you were 18 years old, you suddenly fell into epilepsy in my house, and no one knew what caused you.
More than twenty years later, your shout passed through the thick years and sounded in my ears again, hitting me like a heavy hammer. There has never been such a fierce and decisive situation in my life.
It’s just that it just passed by in my youth like that, and no one stopped for you.
You are from the village next door to me. Before you entered my life, I had never had any contact with you. That year, when I was fourteen, you came to my house and studied obstetrics and gynecology with my mother. In the early 1990s, when women in the village gave birth to children, they were all called local midwives. My mother is a village doctor who is in charge of delivering babies in eight villages around ten miles away. She is very skilled and her business is booming, so she is somewhat famous. In order to learn your skills, your family arranged for you to learn from your mother.
I can’t remember exactly what you looked like at that time, it was the kind of look that you can forget at a glance, with a flat face, a flat figure, and short hair. He speaks in a hurry, with a loud voice, and loves to laugh, reminiscent of the morning glory on the tree behind the house. You are four years older than me, and you are a big girl, but you don’t have the gentleness and delicacy of a girl at all. Fortunately, you are hardworking and honest, which pleases your mother very much.
I am also happy, because suddenly there is an extra sister. I am the eldest daughter in my family, and I have always been bound by my elder sister status. I have been asked by my father to set an example since I was a child, to take care of and be humble to my younger siblings. No one knows, I actually just want to be a sister. You are literally sent from heaven to rescue me. Because of your presence, I have escaped some of the responsibilities that my sister needs to take on, such as doing housework. My mother was busy with work, and my grandmother’s little feet were inconvenient to work, so I had no choice but to intervene early in the housework. I remember that I was always sitting in the hall, staring at the big basin of clothes in a daze, feeling hopeless like the old house with poor convection for a long time. The whole family’s clothes are crowded into a wooden footbath, coats, trousers, socks, and underwear. They lay collectively in the turbid soapy water, without dignity, disgusted with each other, but had no choice. I buried my head, soaked my hands in the gray and white floating sewage, and rescued them one by one, as well as myself. My hands will suddenly touch some unknown mucus in a woman’s underwear, entangled. I never got to the bottom of it, just filled with disgust.
I have to describe it, these scenes that I will never forget, it is the background color of that period of time. My adolescence was a mass of depressed gray, with textbook knowledge that could never be learned, housework that could never be done, cramped town streets, dim kerosene lamps, a home blocked by neighbors, sudden quarrels between parents, A future with no direction… I feel like those bubbles in a basin, in a messy environment, dazed and chaotic, at the mercy of fate. I’m so tired of all of this.
Perhaps, you are the only bright color.
You walked into my darkest time, became my sister, and gave me all the warmth of a sister. You took all my housework as a matter of course, loved me, smiled at me, and kept the house clean and tidy while following your mother to the countryside to learn art. Your big voice always follows me, ying yu, ying yu. Wherever the sound fell, it was bright. What an energetic person you are, with a strong body, you are always neat and powerful when you work, you look heartless, desireless, and your face is always full of sunshine, as if you are full of everything in the world. Kindness and love.
I enjoy the love of your sister who fell from the sky. We play together, we sleep together, we become the closest of friends, but we are not the same kind of people. You can’t understand “Jane Eyre” and “Pride and Prejudice”, and you can’t understand my dreams and sorrows, and I can’t understand your choice even more. Why would a girl who is not yet married go on such a path and learn how to midwife from her mother? What an embarrassing and hopeless profession that is.
As a bystander, I once followed you to a learning scene. It is a woman in the same village. I still remember that scene, the airtight room, filled with damp and unspeakable smell, the woman on the bed, naked, like a frog waiting to be slaughtered. The air seemed to freeze. The woman was screaming, cursing, writhing, with a hideous face. The mother seemed to have turned into a witch, chanting scriptures in her mouth, and put her hand into the frog’s body. Sharper screams, pungent bloody smell, one wave after another… I saw you, standing next to your mother, concentrating on it, your face was tense, your hands were trembling slightly, and your forehead was full of sweat. I don’t know how I escaped from that room. My hands and feet felt cold and my stomach was overwhelmed. I am suddenly full of sympathy for you.
Why do people have children? It’s not easy being a woman. Once you sighed with me, in fact, I don’t like this profession, and I don’t like being a woman either.
So why are you learning this? I ask you.
I don’t know, people have to do something. you say.
why don’t you read Or, go out into the world, the bigger world.
My mother wouldn’t let me read or let me go out. People are different. Yingyu, I have been like this all my life, but you have to study hard, I just hope you are well, you are my best friend and sister, as long as you are good, I will be fine. You looked at me and smiled, your eyes sparkling.
That was the only in-depth communication between us in memory. When I thought about it again, my heart was filled with sadness and shock, but at that time, I didn’t chew your words carefully, nor did I try to understand you. Only your smile flashes in the memory, bright, clear and moving.
I can’t remember much more about you. When I tried to salvage more information about you from the past years, looking for some clues, but found nothing. That period of youth is a blur in my heart, both real and illusory. I seem to be deliberately forgetting that period of time. In the end, you were just a passing visitor when I was young, and I never put you in my life.
Only that incident, like a nail, stuck deeply into my memory. If that hadn’t happened, I don’t know if our fate would have changed.
The occurrence of that incident, like a sudden huge wave, overwhelmed us all at once. Two
It was a bitter summer.
My life fell straight into a black hole. The night when the memory was locked was the foreshadowing of the black hole.
That night, the next night of self-study, all the classmates dispersed, and I was left alone. The way home, about 500 meters, is straight and single. Along the road are some shops, barber shop, grain and oil shop, grocery store. I go back and forth every day, and I know where they are with my eyes closed. I was walking alone on the street, holding a kerosene lamp and holding a book. There is a 40-point physics test paper in the book. In the evening self-study, the head teacher just announced the news that the school will immediately conduct a preliminary test, and the ranking will be made public. In early summer, the night is very cool, and I am not tired. It was very dark, and the whole street was empty, like a huge and boundless black house. The road under his feet was swallowed up by darkness. There are only one or two faint lights, struggling like a gambler’s eyes.
Anyway, it is black, it is better to be black to the end. On a whim, I closed my eyes, played a game with myself, and groped forward in the deeper darkness. About ten steps away, suddenly, the soles of my feet were empty, and I really fell into a black hole-I went astray and fell into a puddle on the side of the street. As if waking up from a nightmare, I got up with a bruised nose and a swollen face, and sat alone on the side of the sleeping street, crying. I remember, when I got home, my mother was already asleep. It’s you, in the dead silence, in the boundless darkness, with the light on, sitting in the house waiting for me.
You were frightened by my messed up appearance, you frantically brought me a basin of hot water, went to my mother’s pharmacy to get red medicine and cotton wool, wiped my face, and then helped me treat the wound. The cotton wool dipped in the potion was cold, and you carefully wiped my bruises, elbows, knees, and back, with slight tingling pain. I couldn’t help grinning. Does it hurt? The skin was scratched and oozing blood in several places. you say. I remember, your eyes were red.
I can only vaguely recall these. It was an unusual night in my life. Like a joke, I fell into a sinkhole myself, which made me feel ashamed and annoyed, mixed with inexplicable depression. As for you, like the dim kerosene lamp in the cramped room, I am used to neglecting you. No matter how hard I try to brainstorm, I can’t evoke more subtle memories from your flat face.
What about that night? In countless nights other than that night, you guarded the door for me, kept the lamp, and warmed the bed. During my teenage years of turmoil, you, my sister, once guarded me like a door god.
That night, as weird as dreams and jokes, seemed to be an omen.
After the test was over, the headmaster personally announced the list, and the whole school watched. My name suddenly appeared on the expulsion list. I got an unexpectedly low score in the test, because the composition was off topic, and even the Chinese I was best at could only pass the passing line.
I was crushed by reality, fell into unprecedented frustration and pain, and shut myself at home to think about my mistakes. Father was furious. He has been disciplined and strong all his life, and he can’t accept this fact even more than me. I knelt down in front of Chairman Mao’s portrait and begged my father for forgiveness. I suddenly realized that my life might really be sliding into a black hole, a real black hole. I’m only fourteen years old, if I don’t study, where will I go? All the pride and self-esteem were torn to pieces by that paper bulletin board. I was surrounded by panic all over the sky, and I desperately wanted to return to a righteous path, a great way. I cried and said to my father, I want to study! Help me transfer, I want to repeat!
No one would have thought that it was you who reacted more than me. You knelt with me, begging your father, as if you were the one who did the wrong thing, as if all my grief was grafted onto you. You hugged me and cried. Your tears were so real and turbulent, like a hole had been stabbed in the depths of your body. Afterwards, you couldn’t stop crying and passed out.
You suddenly fell ill. The whole person went crazy, crying, calling my name over and over again. Ying, Ying, your hands are more eager than your voice, constantly waving in the air, looking for me among the crowd. A few women surrounded you and slapped your face, but no matter who called you, you didn’t move. You only know me, and you only remember me. We are all terrified of you. Grandma said, what’s the matter, okay, is it haunted by ghosts? Tell people to call out their souls at night.
However, the soul has called out and the doctor has seen it, but you still don’t feel better.
Everyone was talking about it, thinking that you walked at night the day before and encountered something dirty. Must be bewitched. The women onlookers said, otherwise, how could he suddenly go into epilepsy?
However, your illness did not stay in my heart for long. I was shocked, so I stopped paying attention to you, and locked myself in the room every day, completely immersed in my own sadness.
You have been sick for a while, as if you have really lost your soul, your whole body is listless, you don’t like to talk, and you can’t cheer up. Your mother took you home after several urgings from my mother. You have stayed at my house for more than half a year, because of this inexplicable illness, your art learning path hastily ended. You left my life as quickly as you came suddenly.
We rarely communicated after that.
I walked through the haze of growing up, and my life gradually became clearer. That elimination incident that happened in my blooming season, yes, for me, it is definitely an incident, and it has almost affected my entire life. It’s like an ugly birthmark on my body, I just want to hide it deep and never show it. I climbed up from the black hole of my life, corrected my steps, and stepped onto the right track of light. I was admitted to a technical secondary school, and later became a national public official, got married, had children, wrote, and had a glamorous life and identity. I seldom recall those old events as if they never happened.
I seldom think of you anymore—the sister who was deeply involved in my past and shared deep grief with me. In the smooth life after that, I gradually forgot about you.
Three I heard about
your later life by chance from my friend Z. Z is your cousin. You went out to work, and through someone’s introduction, you married a man from the same village. After several years of marriage, she has not had children. She was rejected by her husband and suffered domestic violence, so she divorced. Later, through someone’s introduction, she married a divorced man in a neighboring village and became the stepmother of a boy. Fortunately, a few years later, you also gave birth to a son, and finally lived a stable life. Z Summarize your somewhat tortuous life experience in a few sentences. These years, my sister has had a hard time. Z sighed. I listened indifferently, not particularly sad or happy. Whose life is easier?
We are walking on completely different life trajectories. Maybe we also had a short meeting and intersection in some scenes at a certain period of time, but I don’t remember it at all. In my memory, we met again after twenty years of our acquaintance.
That day, my husband and I went to the supermarket, and saw a familiar flat face in front of a group of shelves not far away. After so many years, I recognized you at a glance. You’re in your overalls and your supermarket apron, and you’re sorting. Although you have experienced a lot of hardships, your appearance and manner are still the same as in the memory, with the same short hair, flat and strong body, and neat movements. I called you, you looked up and saw me, startled for a moment. Ying! You call me, with a certain emotion on your face. You said, Ying Yu, why is it you! The voice was hoarse. You came over and took my hand eagerly. Your palm is wide and warm. I haven’t seen you for many years. I didn’t expect to meet you here. Just said a few words, your eyes suddenly turned red, and you actually shed tears. This is my brother-in-law, that’s great. You looked at my husband, smiled, and seemed to want to say something more, but choked. You turned your back, your body shaking.
Sister, what’s the matter with you? I ask you. It’s all right, nice to see you. I’m going to be busy. You grinned hastily, then turned and left. I looked at your back, you were wearing neutral supermarket work clothes, walking with your head buried, short hair disheveled, sluggish footsteps, you looked like a man who was squeezed by life and lived a sloppy life. I suddenly feel sad.
The husband asked, why did she suddenly cry?
I do not know either. I said.
I think, maybe it’s because I met a friend I haven’t seen for many years, maybe I just suffered a little setback in life, maybe it’s excitement, maybe it’s embarrassment, maybe it’s all of them. In the world of adults, there are always some unexplainable sorrows and sorrows.