“Grandma, if you push me so hard, are you not afraid to force me up to that tree?” Facing grandma’s unreasonable trouble, Dong Ni was already furious, but she couldn’t hear the slightest anger in what she said.
“Don’t be afraid, I will cut down that tree.” Grandma was also sullen, but she was still so calm when she answered.
Two people who depend on each other for life, even the quarrel is peaceful.
But there was a storm brewing in every word. Dongni knew it, and so did Grandma.
Dongni didn’t dare to say anything more, she left the sentence “I’m going out for a walk” and walked out the door.
When they came back, Dongni was a little uneasy, standing outside the door, twisting her body and looking in through the crack of the door.
What came into view was a knife. The blade is gray and white, shining with cold light.
The knife is an old knife and hammer that has been used at home for more than ten years. In the past, a hatchet was common in the countryside. The body of the blade is nearly two feet long and four fingers wide, and the back of the blade is thick and heavy. After the family switched to gas for cooking and cooking, the old knife and hammer disappeared for many years. Now that it has been found, it is still so white that it takes a lot of work.
The sharpener put one end of the knife on the aluminum barrel beside him, with the blade facing up, and his left thumb repeatedly scraped lightly horizontally at different positions on the blade. The knife was obviously not sharp enough, she shook her head slightly, straightened her waist, freed up her right hand, clenched her fists around behind her, and beat her waist back and forth briefly with the back of her fist. He punched back and forth a few times, then loosened his fist, shook his wrist, put his five fingers together, concave it into a spoon, reached into the aluminum bucket, scooped up water and sprinkled it on the thin whetstone, and continued to bow his waist to sharpen the knife.
Dongni did not dare to enter the house, so she went to the work team to get two pairs of high-top water shoes, and went to the Rainbow Embankment to find Yiren.
Rainbow Embankment is the first completed rural revitalization project. The new seawall, more than two meters wide, is covered with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and seven-colored bricks. It extends gracefully for nearly four kilometers along the edge of the mangrove forest.
Wearing a white steel-rim cloth cap, Yiren sat on a big rock on top of a mound next to the Rainbow Embankment, staring at the mangroves beneath his feet.
It seems that Yiren is caught in that story again.
The story was originally from the past. The past was hidden in the heart of the old man, and it was strictly for more than 40 years. When he was dying, when the old man poured out the past and tears, the past became a story, hot and strong.
In the mid-1970s, the old man was still a hot-blooded young man of seventeen or eighteen years old.
After listening to a passionate speech, he burst into tears, wrote a letter of determination overnight, packed his bags, said goodbye to his upcoming high school career, and squeezed into a pig cage with several classmates. A small remote fishing village.
When he first arrived, he struggled to do everything, and he was always better than other classmates.
Only can’t get on the boat. I have also been on board, but when the boat moved, I felt the world was spinning, and my stomach turned upside down.
He was ashamed and unwilling. He stole a large bamboo pole from the team, cut it into small pieces, put it in a sack, and fastened the mouth of the bag. When I have time, I sneak to a remote part of the bay, lie down on the sack resting on the water, and paddle with my hands and feet, which is a bit like rowing. The first few times, I was cautious, and I came back after half an hour in the shallow water. Later, the courage gradually grew, and the row was a little farther out, but it entered the ocean current. The ‘boat’ under him seemed to be dizzy and out of control.
He panicked, wanted to cry out for help but was afraid of being laughed at by others, sometimes “Wang Wang” like a dog bark, sometimes “Meow” pretending to be a cat, hoping to attract someone’s attention and quietly rescue him.
But when it really caught someone’s attention, he was even more flustered. He was wearing only shorts, but it was a girl who came to save him.
The girl dragged the sack to the shore, and he stayed in the water and refused to get up.
“The tide will come up soon, and it will take you down. I won’t care whether you become a cat or a dog.” Her voice was so nice, and she kept hooking her head when she spoke.
“How do I get back in this way? My clothes are under the first stone slab at the head of the Broken Bridge. Bring them for me.” He begged.
“I won’t help you.”
“Then you might as well not save me.”
“I thought I was saving a cat or a dog, but who would have thought it was a person?” She still hooked her head, pointed to a tree not far away, and said, “You wait under that big tangerine tree and put it in the basket if you’re hungry. There is food.”
After speaking, she suddenly turned her head back, her smiling face was dyed red by the sunset, it was so beautiful.
After she left, he hurriedly picked up the sack to block his lower body, looked forward and backward, tiptoed, and quickly ducked under the big orange tree.
The citrus trees next to it are mostly bushes one or two meters high. The tree in front of me has grown into a stalwart tree, and only the side branches are taller than the tree next to it. What is especially special is that this big tree whose pillar roots have been cut off has two strong trunks, one big and one small twisted together, like a pair of lovers who are glued together. There are several stones of different sizes under the tree, the tops of which are smooth, and I don’t know how many sea chasers have sat there. Later, he and she often came to grind these stones, until the stones were stained with greasy love words and exuded a strong sweetness.
There is a bamboo basket on the larger stone, which contains half a basket of flat citrus fruits the size of copper coins. He chose a fruit that was close to a heart shape and looked at it over and over, wondering if it should be peeled or not. After hesitating for a moment, he decisively rubbed off the fluff on the fruit, threw it into his mouth, bit it hard, and immediately spit it out again, wishing to spit out his tongue.
When she saw this scene, she couldn’t stand her back with laughter, threw her clothes to him, and said out of breath, “The raw citrus fruit is bitter and astringent, and you can’t eat it, this is delicious food. .”
She picked up an ugly little taro from the basket, peeled it off, and handed it to him, who was dressed in a random fashion.
“Come on, the black mosquitoes are coming!” Before he could finish eating, she suddenly shouted, picked up the basket and walked away.
He didn’t know why, so he picked up the sack and threw it down, and caught up with the handle on the side of the basket.
Behind them, black mosquitoes, one after another, swept across the tangerine forest, and rushed over with a “buzz”…
The appearance of Dongni pulled Yiren out of the story.
She threw the water shoes in front of him, said nothing, put her head down and put on the water shoes.
He didn’t ask anything, and put his head down and put on his water shoes.
“Go!” she said, staring at the deep mangrove forest.
“Hey!” He felt her faint sadness and replied softly.
Along the rainbow embankment, they walked silently, until they reached the end of the mangrove forest, got off the embankment, and came to the beach.
It was dry tide and the waterline had receded below the roots of the mangroves. The tiny waves were like naughty children, lining up to climb up, taking turns to gently lick the toes of the mangroves that burrowed out from the bottom of the sand. The roots of the mangroves are very deep, and they are afraid of suffocating themselves, so some of the roots burrow out of the ground to breathe, just like the fingers of the mangroves standing on the beach.
Dongni took Yiren and stepped into the soft semi-silt alluvial soil, along the waterline, carefully avoiding the breathing roots of the mangroves, and walked inside with one foot deep and one foot shallow. After about ten meters, she turned to the mangroves, picked up a low leaf bush, and got in.
There is a hidden path in the woods! The pillar roots of mangroves are very developed. These pillar roots that grow from tree trunks and branches, and then plunge into the soil, are densely packed, filling the gaps between trees. How many pillars have to be cut down on this road that is as wide as one person? Yiren followed Dongni, circling between the trees, walking on the path that became more and more firm and loose, feeling a little distressed.
At the end of the path, turn left and see the tree.
The tree he had been looking for. The tree is the female sea oleifera, a population of mangroves known locally as tangerine trees. The tree is not as majestic as the old man described, and it is not much taller than other trees. Perhaps, it has already reached its limit and no longer grows taller. Just like some people who leave suddenly, they will always be in memory.
The stones under the tree are covered with bird droppings, and they are no longer smooth. There is no trace of love and sweetness, but the two tree trunks are still as gluey as knees.
Yiren stroked a knot on the trunk, looked up at the large umbrella-like citrus tree, and said with emotion, “This is really a love tree!”
“No, it’s a heartless tree.”
Yiren turned around in astonishment, looked into Dongni’s eyes suspiciously, and waited for her to continue.
Dongni’s eyes warmed, she raised her head, took two steps forward, left her back to Yiren, and said, “Someone died on it…”
Yiren seemed to be electrocuted, his hand bounced off the tree trunk, and froze in the air. No wonder, when I asked the villagers about this love tree before, everyone was evasive and kept a secret. Dongni was no exception. They had made troubles several times because of this.
“When was that?”
“Forty years ago, the girl in your story died on this tree.”
Yiren looked at Dongni puzzled, and it took a long time to say a word: “She? Why?”
“Why?” A voice was repeating Yiren’s question, which did not belong to Yiren, nor did it belong to Dongni. The voice was old, plaintive, and sudden, as if it had fallen from a tree,
Donnie was visibly terrified. She had hooked her head, fiddling with a red leaf that had just been torn from the tree. The backs of the leaves secrete some salt grains, thin and flickering in the light spots leaking from the leaf gaps. When the sound suddenly fell, her whole body trembled violently, she instinctively turned around, and threw herself into Yiren’s arms.
Feeling the rustling behind him, Yiren turned his head first.
The knife sharpener held the old knife and hammer in his hand and slowly turned it out, staring straight at them.
“Grandma…” Yiren and Dongni exclaimed almost simultaneously.
“Heartless and unrighteous, always abandoned, but also embarrassed to ask why?” Grandma reprimanded word by word, “That unconscionable, who jumped the queue here decades ago, who is your family?”
“Grandma, there are no conscienceless people in my family.”
“The dead duck has a tough mouth. You touch your tragus, and they all have exactly the same tie rods. You are not a family, ghost letter.”
“That’s my uncle, but he wouldn’t be the kind of person with no conscience.”
“No? Yes, everyone in your family has a conscience, but none of us can afford it! Come here, Dongni, we can’t imitate your aunt. We can’t fall into the same quagmire twice.”
“Your aunt? That girl?” Yiren let go of Dongni and looked at her in astonishment.
Dongni’s eyes filled with tears, she nodded, and then lowered her head, daring not to look at Yiren or grandma.
“Why did Auntie commit suicide? My uncle has been a bachelor all his life because of her!”
“Deserving it. It made my daughter shameless and killed two lives. He deserved to be a bachelor for a hundred lifetimes. Under the banner of rural revitalization, he was looking for a love tree, and he coaxed my granddaughter behind his back. You are a volunteer like you. Right? A person like you should be a bachelor for a hundred lifetimes like your uncle.” Grandma was a little excited and shouted, “Go away, I want to chop down trees!”
“Grandma, no! This tree is protected by the state, and it is illegal to cut it down.”
Grandma said indignantly: “Go, call someone to arrest me. Tell you, I have cut down a lot of citrus trees, and I cut down this road. Besides, everyone has cut down trees before, and you need to It’s not because they were unlucky later, they have already cut down the trees, where is there such a large forest? What is the point I cut down?”
“Grandma, don’t say that you can’t cut down this tree with your current strength, even if you cut it down, it’s useless. If I really want to die, there are other trees. It doesn’t have to be a tree, drinking pesticides, jumping off buildings, throwing into the sea, Which one won’t die?” Dongni looked at her grandmother, took a deep breath, and continued, “But I won’t look for short-term views. I can’t bear to see you, grandma, righteousness, and all the beautiful things in front of me.”
Dongni walked to Yiren, took his hand, and begged: “I and Yiren are sincere, we will not be separated, don’t force us, okay?”
Grandma’s eyes dimmed all of a sudden, like a match thrown into the water, the flame disappeared as soon as it touched the surface of the water, and there was not even a shred of smoke.
“How can you be as stupid as Auntie! People are from the city, and we can’t keep them in the countryside. His service period will soon be full, and then just like his educated youth uncle, pat on the buttocks and leave, you can How to do?”
Yiren became anxious and said, “Grandma, don’t worry, I have already filed a report and applied to stay. Besides, where is Dongni, where are you, where is my future home, don’t leave!”
Afraid that grandma would not believe it, Yiren said: “Grandma, the educated youth went to the mountains and the countryside to let the scholars in the city go to the countryside to exercise and exercise. When they have the opportunity, they always go back. Rural revitalization is different. Our work is not for training anyone. , but to make the countryside more beautiful than the city, so that people in the city will envy us rural people. Grandma, if one day the countryside is really revitalized, I will leave the people who are envied by others and run back to the city. When you are envious of others, isn’t it the same as picking up sesame seeds and losing watermelon? Don’t worry, grandma, I’m not that stupid.”
Grandma pondered for a while, then raised her head and looked straight at Yiren and said, “You dare to swear to stay here forever?”
“Dare!” With a serious face, Yiren turned to the love tree and made an oath: “I swear, if I don’t stay here, I will… I will…”
Grandma is very dissatisfied with Yiren’s hesitant appearance. She walked to Yiren’s side, raised the dazzling knife and hammer, and said bitterly: “You just…you just…, what about you?”
“Grandma!” Dongni shouted, stepping forward and protecting Yiren with her body.
“Tuk”, with a crisp sound, the knife and hammer chopped down on the big orange tree, peeling off an oval bark.
Grandma glared at Yiren and said, “If you dare to run, you will be like this tree and eat me with a knife.”
Grandma threw the knife and hammer on the ground, touched the painful mouth, turned around and walked away slowly, muttering softly as she walked, “Fighting for you to go to college, so you can marry a city man, how could you end up marrying back to your hometown? down…”
Yiren and Dongni smiled at each other and looked back at the injured love tree.
The wound of the love tree had turned reddish-brown at some point, like a red eye, as if it had just cried.