“Yan Xun, your package.”
In the commune farm in Gansu Province, a group of 40 to 50 years old men was carrying a shovel to clean the feces in the pigsty. On a big cold day, the exhaled air seemed to form ice dregs. The exposed hands froze in red, and from many of the gaping cuts could be seen the abscess and scabs of flesh.
The farm gatekeeper was a lonely old man, from the nearby village. His only son became a martyr. To compensate him, he was given a carefree job. As long as he managed the evil elements on the farm, he would eat and live every month with 18 Yuan.
Old Man Li was unconcerned. So naturally, he would not deliberately make things difficult for those who run into misfortune, because it was useless to spend excess money. Usually, when the relatives of these labor reformers sent packages, he only glanced at it. As long as it were not hazardous items, it would be delivered unimpaired for the owner.
There was nothing good in other places. Habitually, when there were some packages and letters were sent, all good stuff already got exploited for more than half in advance. How many might be in the end? It all depended on your fate. As for the letters, most people were unlikely to open it, but you also had to get the blessing from the farm you were staying in to open it. On that farm, not many people liked to stir up trouble. Otherwise, they would get a deduction literary inquisition. It was not possible to increase the charges.
A man with a crooked back, who looked a little old, raised his hand in the crowd and looked slightly surprised.
The man seemed around 40 to 50 years old. His face was covered with traces of hardships already. His forehead had a few deep wrinkles. His hair was half-white, which was blown up by the wind in a complete mess.
He was Yan Chu’s father in this world, and also his target whose he was trying to rescue. At this time, if there were people who knew Yan Xun in the past standing in front of him, he reckoned they could not recognize this person now, the very man who stunned the whole Yenching University back then.
Counting the days, he had already been on the farm for almost ten years. He never received a letter or a package. It was not only him but also all the people who were placed here. The number of letters they had received from home could be counted on one’s fingers.
This one was the current era’s norm, and everyone yearned they could talk to settle and clear up their relationships. Besides, how was there someone out there taking the initiative to provoke others?
Yan Xun unexpectedly could not think of anyone who would send him a package. His wife divorced him as soon as he had an accident. She took away his son, who was barely seven years old at that time, and published in the newspapers that she had separated the relationship between them. During that time, those students who had not hit him who was down were already quite good. His parents had an untimely death, so there were not any siblings. Yan Xun could not recover for a short while, but he managed to not misheard it.
“Old Man Li called you. We haven’t received anything from the outside for half a year, have we?”
The man beside Yan Xun pushed him forward, which then he recovered, and followed Old Man Li outside. When he came back, everyone saw his red-rimmed eyes, carrying a not small package and a letter. They did not know who had sent it.
“My son sent me a letter. I haven’t seen him for almost ten years, the originally little white healthy plump child. I don’t know if he has grown taller or stronger right now.”
Yan Xun came in from the outside. When he walked, it was like stepping on the cotton, floating around in a distracted manner. He felt like it was a dream.
When his ex-wife took his son to leave him, he did not complain at all. Who let him in that situation in the first place? She brought her son away. At least he was not being implicated by him.
He might think so. But staying on this closed farm, Yan Xun still missed his only son all the time. He knew in his heart that his ex-wife would remarry sooner or later. His son was very young. Maybe after a few years, he might not remember him as a father anymore.
Yan Xun sometimes was afraid, afraid that his son would complain about the existence of this tainted biological father, and feared that he would not see his son in this life.
“Why are you crying? Your son wrote a letter and sent something to you. You should be happy, ah!” The man beside Yan Xun spoke to him with a smile. In his heart, he was happy for him, simultaneously he also felt a bit lonely, where were all his children at the moment?
Yan Xun nodded, though he did not open the letter and package on the spot. The farm officers often came patrolling to supervise. If they caught them to be lazy and had not worked, they would deduct their grains.
After the morning work finished, everyone took their lunch box to eat. Today’s lunch was a mixed grain chaff steamed bun and a rare bowl of porridge. This kind of meal was not filling at all. But looking at everyone, apparently seemed to be used to it.
“Look, what did your son send to you?”
Everyone had been together for so long, and also had a basic understanding of everyone’s origins. They wholly knew that when Yan Xun was sent here, he had a seven years old son who was taken away by his ex-wife. They did not expect for this son still remembered him as a father, and deliberately asked some inquiries till the other side was sent to the farm, even more, sent letters and things over.
The thing that they called porridge had already completely been cold, and there merely nothing could be done in this heavy cold weather. Fortunately, this farm’s keeper was not bad. He gave a stove that was not used on the farm. For the firewood used to make a fire, they had to pick it up by themselves on the nearby mountains. With this stove and the crock that the gatekeeper Old Man Li sent, they could drink hot porridge and water in the big winter.
In a house, seven elderly would divide all porridge and steamed buns, which were put in the crock that slowly boiled. On the Kang, there was a plate and the package, which was waiting for Yan Xun to open it.
Yan Xun handed the big package to the people on his side, and let them slowly open it. He could not wait to open the letter from his son.
“Dad, these days, I’ve been dreaming of you, remembering my life as a child.”
“My mother isn’t my own mother now. She used my name instead of my step-brother’s. Now, I am an educated youth who goes to the countryside to support the farmers. Every day, I have to work in the field, with sore shoulders and back every time. I couldn’t help but wonder if you are more tired and work harder than me.”
“It’s just a year in a blink of an eye. I miss the taste of the bunch of candied fruits that you bought when I was a child. I miss the big winter days that you took me to throw the ice for amusement. Dad, I miss you.”
Yan Xun was very upset to the point he could not breathe. He covered his face to prevent his tears dripping onto the letter. He thought that his ex-wife, even if she took her son and left, was at least still the biological mother of his child, and unlikely to go so far as to treat the child unjustly. But after reading the words in the letter now, that child might not seldom feel wronged.
This one made Yan Xun distressed, but at the same time, he also complained about his ex-wife. His son was still small during that time. Perhaps unknowingly, when he first had an accident, his ex-wife already filed for divorce, taking away the child, and separated herself from a relationship with him. Then he gave his wife a small box of gold bars left by his parents as a token of his inability to fulfill his responsibilities as a father in the future.
That small box of gold was enough to bring a child up in the courtyard. In the end, that woman treated his son in that way, let him become an educated youth instead of her step-son.
Yan Xun’s heart torn into pieces, wishing he could rush to his son’s side now, telling him that his father was still there and would protect him well in the future.
“Little Xun, ah, don’t be too sad.”
The old man beside Yan Xun patted his shoulder. He was considered the eldest in this group.
“Look at how much your son cares about you, ah. This glove and knee pad are essential at the moment. He has prepared these things for you, and he is considerate too. Just a moment ago, when I was making porridge, I listened to the Executive Secretary Lin as they conversed. They said that we are not far off from the Hongbing Farm. Two labor reformers, who had violated political rehabilitation, already go back. The Gang of Four has fallen from power, on top of those very concerned about the fake and false charges in those years, so probably we also have to go back, one day.”
He cheered on Yan Xun: “Think about your son, he is only seventeen, right? Don’t you want to see him take a wife and have children? A stepfather is always inferior to a father.”
The old man's words instilled in Yan Xun with an unprecedented determination. He clutched the letter in his hand. Yes, he was going to live well.
“Ding— The completion of the side mission is 80%. My dear, please keep the good work!”
At this time, Yan Chu, who was currently in the county’s supply and marketing agency, was surprised by the sudden pop-up message.
“What’s up?” Lin Qingshan looked at Yan Chu’s eyes straight, which looked into the midair. Looking past his line of sight, he did not see anything.
“It’s nothing.” Yan Chu shook his head and realized that his letter played a role.
He wanted to give it a try. The bet was his degree of care for this son, the original self. When he expressed his thoughts in the letter, at the same time, he also concealed his current situation. If he had a good life, then it would let Yan Xun put his heart down to come, and he was no longer worried. If he had a sad story, then Yan Xun would not be relieved and summoned his will to fight and stand up.
Now it seemed that he won, but the system automatically prompted with it acting cute.
“We have to speed up. Brother Dingnan is still waiting outside the county. I think they're almost finished with the New Year goods, so it is time to go back.”
Lin Qingshan conversed with Yan Chu. It was not surprising this was the last time they went to town. In addition to some life’s necessities, the educated youths also needed to buy some New Year’s things. He and Yan Chu considered being representatives.
The necessary things had been bought according to the list. Now the two men wandered around, buying private supplies.
Yan Chu nodded, and when he passed the counter selling rouges, his footsteps paused.
Although he did not have a girlfriend in his previous life, he certainly also heard about the cure to all diseases. Any girl should like bags, lipsticks, cosmetics, and the likes, right?
Yan Chu was not sure he could not buy those things this time. Looking at a few boxes of beautifully packaged cream on the counter, he eventually picked up one of the small boxes and paid the bill.