Chapter 6: Childhood Sweethearts

There would be a group of students who would pick on Xiaodi and they had become addicted in doing it as this had become their source of fun and laughter. They would tease and provoke Xiaodi as they taut their faces and wobble exaggeratedly, showing a very lame image. “Xiaodi, do I look like your father? From today onwards just call me Dad ok? Haha!”

There were also students who would attempt to roll their eyes to show their sclera while making all kinds of facial expressions. “Your Mom look like this right?”

Xiaodi was angered and immediately cried. Usually, Yonggang would suddenly appear out of nowhere at this time. He would frighten and deride those bunch of mischievous children. Sometimes a fight would break out.

After everyone had dispersed, Yonggang would go to Xiaodi’s side and patiently comfort her. “Xiaodi, don’t cry already. Just ignore those bad people. In the future, if there’s anyone who dared to bully you, I would beat him up.” While saying, he pulled Xiaodi’s small little hand and together went home.

For the sake of protecting Xiaodi from being bullied, Yonggang would often have a fight with those bullies and as a result, it was a common occurrence for injuries to appear on his body. However, Yonggang would not allow Xiaodi to talk about those incidents. “Xiaodi, about the fight, you must never tell my family, especially my parents. You must never ever say anything. Do you remember?”

Though Yonggang was young, he was particularly mature and thoughtful. He was afraid that his parents would lecture him and blame all those injuries he suffered onto Xiaodi. He was even more afraid that his parents would not allow him to continue helping Xiaodi. Even though Xiaodi did not understand Yonggang’s reason behind his actions, she still obediently adhered.

Yonggang did not understand why from the very beginning, at a very young age, he would like this neighbor’s daughter. He likes to watch her happy expression and is willing to help her to accomplish anything. Moreover, as he grew older, his intentions of protecting her became stronger and irresistible as his actions also became even more obvious.

During lunch break, those children who lived near the school would go home to eat while those who lived far from school would eat food which was prepared in the early morning by their mother. Xiaodi on the other hand, never had the idea of eating lunch as her family’s two meals did not happen during noon. However, Yonggang came to Xiaodi’s class at noon. “Xiaodi, come out for a while.”

Xiaodi obediently followed Yonggang to a quiet place. Yonggang took out his food, a big white steamed bun. He split it in half and handed one-half over to Xiaodi, “Hungry right? Let’s eat together!”

At first, Xiaodi was embarrassed. She secretly swallowed her saliva but still rejected the offer, “I’m not hungry. You eat finish.”

Yonggang seriously said, “I, myself, can’t really eat finish such huge steam bun and the leftovers would have to be thrown away. If you eat, there wouldn’t be any leftover to be thrown, so quickly eat up!”

Like this, Xiaodi took one-half of the steam bun but her face was blushed with embarrassment as she at this point understood Yonggang’s meaning. So both of them sat facing each other eating the delicious steam bun.

To Xiaodi, the white steam bun was like an exquisite food. All year round, her family could only eat corn cakes and occasionally they could eat sorghum rice. To her, she would already be satisfied if she could fill her belly. The reason behind it was because, very often father would only finish half his bowl of rice before stating, “I’m full!” The rest half of the bowl of rice was then split among her mother, brother and she herself.

Although mother could not see, her heart knew that even if her man was edacious, he would not be able to satisfy his hunger this quickly. She knew that he was worried that she and their children would not have enough to eat so he deliberately ate less to save more. This made her unable to continue eating.

She did not know what her husband look like but she could feel that he is a good person, she could feel that he treats her very well. She really believed her man. In her heart, she felt that her man was the most handsome, considerate and outstanding person.

She cherished him but she loved their children even more. She purposely ate two small bites before splitting the rest among her two children. As they are still in their growing period, it did not matter if she was to eat one more or one less bite, but she could not have her children go hungry.

At this point, Xiaomei would always angrily put down his bowl and said, “Stop giving me. I’m already full and can’t eat anymore.”

Father looked at small and skinny daughter and said, “Xiaodi, eat more. You are already so skinny as if there’s only skin and bones. My daughter should grow to be fat and lively.”

Even though Xiaodi was still small, she also understood. Every time this happened, she would lower her head and her eyes would turn red. Only with great efforts could she be able to clear the food in her bowl as father was watching her, brother was also watching her and even mother strained her ears to ‘watch’ her.

She had to live up to their expectations and not allow them to feel disappointed in her.


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