Shi Yan heard the kid’s frank and honest words and instantly felt his heart sour. He thought that He Nuo must be feeling embarra.s.sed, so he pretended to not have heard the little nephew as he finished the water in his cup, “Get me another cup.”
“Ok.” He Nuo took the cup and went to the kitchen in his yard to refill it.
Shi Yan took the opportunity to ask the kid, “Are your small uncles very amazing?”
The little guy opened his clear eyes that could distinguish black from white and looked like he was pondering for a bit, “Mama said, my small uncles are very tyrannical. She asked me not to provoke them and just play with Six uncle obediently.”
“Then is your Six uncle amazing?”
“No he’s not, Six uncle doesn’t dare to casually enter small uncles’ room. Six uncle said that now I can secretly sleep on small uncles’ bed, but once they return I can’t go there anymore.”
He Nuo handed a cup of water to Shi Yan, but Shi Yan found it hard to swallow. He felt upset; what he had heard and what he had seen made him feel very upset and stiflingly fl.u.s.tered.
When he left, Shi Yan nagged at He Nuo again to remember to drink the stuff he had brought over every day. There wasn’t much to do during the summer holidays; Shi Yan mixed around with his buddies to play poker, and one week pa.s.sed by in a flash without seeming like he had accomplished much.
Shi Yan wasn’t too willing to think of He Nuo. Whenever he thought of him, he would get frustrated and his heart would feel like it was being crushed by something heavy, which is why he hung out with his friends every day.
During one of the weekends, Shi Yan was playing cards with his buddies at the park. A hand suddenly tugged at his shirt; when he turned around he saw that it was actually the little guy.
Shi Yan picked him up, “Little guy, who did you come with?” He looked around, no He Nuo.
The little guy pointed, “With Mama, Mama is talking with Auntie, I saw you. Why don’t uncle go to Six uncle’s house to play anymore? I’m waiting for you everyday at Six uncle’s house.”
Shi Yan laughed, “When uncle’s free I’ll go over to look for you.”
“Un, Six uncle also said that uncle was busy so you didn’t have time.”
“What else did your Six uncle say?”
“Un, Six uncle said to remember that the nice sweet was given by uncle. Six uncle also said that the pretty conch was given by uncle. I want it but Six uncle doesn’t wanna give it to me, uncle, go to the beach again to pick up lotsa pretty conch sh.e.l.ls for me bei.”
Shi Yan raised his head and asked his buddies, “Who brought the movie tickets?”
Every weekend, the cinema would screen a movie so they would go watch it together as a group. The whole cinema was practically reserved by just a few large corporations, so the tickets are issued by the different enterprise units. Shi Yan and his buddies all had several tickets each, but he hadn’t brought any with him. One of his buddies handed over a stack of tickets. Shi Yan tore two off, then memorised the number on it before giving it to the little guy, “Uncle will treat you to a movie. Ask your Six uncle to bring you to the cinema, uncle will give you more sweets then.”
At night, Shi Yan took a few more bags of coconut candy to the cinema. As for changing seats, he left it up to someone else to settle—–they had always changed the seating arrangements as they wished such that they would all sit together. Since everyone’s tickets had pretty good seats, it was easy to switch with someone else. Shi Yan looked towards the seat numbers that he had memorised. He took a look around those seats, no He Nuo. He sat down and chatted with the rest, but he would turn around from time to time, then he finally saw the little guy. Shi Yan walked towards him, the little guy had seen him too and was waving excitedly at him, “Uncle, uncle.”
He saw that there was a woman seated next to him, and before Shi Yan could ask, the little guy said, “Mama, this is the uncle who gave me the tickets, the sweets from before were also given to Six uncle by this uncle.”
The woman smiled and thanked him warmly. Shi Yan handed over the sweets in his pockets to the little guy, and the woman became even more polite.
Monday afternoon, Shi Yan came to look for He Nuo. When He Nuo saw him, he opened the door to welcome him rather happily. Shi Yan made his way to He Nuo’s small room like he was familiar with the place, then saw that the electric fan wasn’t around, “The little guy’s asleep?”
“Un.” He Nuo nodded and pointed at the adjacent room, “Thank you for your movie tickets.”
“Thanks my a.s.s, you didn’t even go.” Shi Yan replied unhappily.
He Nuo smiled, then went to get a cup of water for him and came back, “My Dage’s on a business trip. If I had brought him to the cinema, my sister-in-law would have been bored at home by herself.”
“Then just tell me ah, I still have a lot of tickets. Stupid.” Shi Yan scolded. How would he know that on the weekends He Nuo’s sister-in-law would bring the kid back to her family’s house. After they had b.u.mped into Shi Yan in the park, He Nuo’s nephew and his sister-in-law ate at her maiden family’s house, then had immediately taken the tickets to go watch the movie. He Nuo only knew about the tickets when his nephew came over today.[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
“If someone dares to s.n.a.t.c.h your ticket again, call me!” Then he realised that He Nuo doesn’t know his home phone’s number, so he asked He Nuo to write it down.
The weather had entered the three periods1. He Nuo saw that beads of sweat were starting to form on Shi Yan’s forehead so he stood up, “I’ll go get the fan for you.”
Shi Yan stopped him, “Let the little guy sleep comfortably ba.” He saw a handheld fan by the side of the pillow, then picked it up and started to fanned himself fiercely a few times before he thought that it was too tiring and troublesome, so he threw it back onto the bed. Shi Yan wasn’t used to sitting on a stool without anything to lean back on. He walked to the bedside, “I want to lean against something, it’s uncomfortable sitting on the stool.”
He Nuo stood up to let him sit on the bed so that he could lean against the headboard while he went to sit on the stool. Then he said softly, “Delicate.”
Shi Yan wasn’t angry, he replied, “O, if I don’t sit on the stool I’m delicate, and you falling sick all the time isn’t considered delicate?”
“Falling sick is beyond my control, so of course it can’t be considered delicate.”
“Nonsense! Then why don’t I fall sick. I probably can’t even fall sick if I wanted to, not everyone’s as sickly as you. Do you think you’re Lin Daiyu2?” When he said this last sentence, he looked He Nuo up and down cheekily, “You’re so white and skinny, you can actually act as Lin Daiyu eh.” After he finished talking, he even laughed wildly.
He Nuo’s eyes widened so much his eyebrows almost stood up. He fumed, “You can’t even sit on a stool, so you’re Jia Baoyu3 — the rich playboy!”
When Shi Yan saw He Nuo’s angry appearance, he actually felt happy and wanted to spite him even more, “Then Lin Meimei should hurry and come over to fan Bao Gege~”
“Go get your Bao Jiejie to fan you!” He Nuo reactively responded, then suddenly realised how wrong his words sounded so his face immediately burned like it was on fire. In one of the chapters in “Dream of the Red Chamber”, when Jia Baoyu was taking his afternoon nap, Xue Baochai sat next to him to fan him. When Lin Daiyu saw this, she used this to make fun of Jia Baoyu with a jealous undertone. This is why He Nuo’s face had turned completely red.
But Shi Yan’s words dispelled any sort of awkwardness. This Dage asked with a puzzled look, “Why should I look for Bao Jiejie? Aren’t I a couple with Lin Meimei?”
He Nuo stared at Shi Yan flabbergasted, then suddenly burst out in laughter. He laughed so hard he held his stomach and had to cover his mouth as he was afraid of waking his little nephew.
1. Three periods forming the hottest periods of summer, from mid-July to mid-August, namely: 初伏 (mid-July), 中伏 (late July to early August), 末伏 (mid-August)?
2. Author’s note: At that time, TV stations often played “Dream of the Red Chamber”, Shi Yan didn’t like to watch it, but he did see a few scenes from the show. T/N: Lin Daiyu is the show’s female lead. Looks like this:
3. Jia Baoyu is the princ.i.p.al character in the cla.s.sic Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber.