Chapter 147: The correct way to wear a green hat 2
Even in the years when the government did not carry out family planning, the Jiang family did not have many children in each generation. Even in Jiang grandfather’s generation, there were only two brothers and sisters. Hence, as soon as his aunt married away, the Jiang family basically left with no relatives in the village.
The father of the original body was also the only child. Now that Yu Hongmei has returned to her natal home, Jiang Liu and his children could only rely on their neighbours’ help.
Several families were living next door to the Jiang family. The Lin family, out of all of them, has the closest friendship with the Jiang family. Linye, the son of the Lin family and the original body, was a friend who grew up together. After getting older, both of them also went out to work together. When the original body had an accident, it was also Linye who helped the original body negotiate with the contractor and the developer regarding his medical fees and compensation despite being busy with his own business.
Additionally, Linye also sent the original body back to the village.
Linye had returned to work about a month ago. He asked his mother to look after his good brother, the original body, before he left. Yu Hongmei also left Jiang’s house without so much of a notification. Hence, as soon as this news reached Linye’s mother, Aunt Man Chun immediately took over Jiang Liu and his children’s three daily meals.
“It’s already too late today, and there’s no decent meat at the night market. I will go out early tomorrow and buy some pork bones to make soup for you. To ensure that the missing bone could form properly, you should drink more bone soup from now on.”
When Aunt Man Chun received the news, it was almost evening. She could only prepare simple home-cooked dishes with the ingredients she had on hand. The Jiang family’s two children were also due to return from school at any moment.
Fresh vegetables, fortunately, were the essential item in the countryside. The dishes were also rich, with stir-fried cold salad and thickened tofu soup.
The rice was already simmering on the stove while the dishes were being prepared. While she was cooking, the old lady also took a close look around the kitchen.
The original body was employed on the building site, and the pay was not low. Furthermore, the original body also has no lousy habits such as smoking or drinking. The majority of the money received was given to his wife. As a result, a few years ago, Jiang Liu managed to build a small bungalow with concrete floors and ceramic tiles adorning the exterior walls. This house was also one of the most beautiful houses in the region.
The Jiang family’s kitchen and bathroom were identical to those found in commercial buildings in the area. The original body built them all after studying about it from the outside. Since the Lin Family and the original body was like a sibling, their two houses’ layouts were naturally identical.
Just after using it did Aunt Man Chun noticed the differences between their home.
Homemakers often complained that there was not enough kitchen cabinet in their house. After all, apart from the necessary tableware, assorted seasonings, rice, flour, beans, and many other messy things would soon filled the space. Additionally, after frequent cooking in the kitchen, it was inevitable that the cracks in the tiles would be clogged with oily fumes and debris. Despite how many times you clean it, it was inevitable that it would be yellowing.
Jiang’s kitchen, on the other hand, was unique. There were only a few seasonings that appeared to be used. Apart from simple salt, MSG, and soy sauce, the old lady cannot locate a vinegar bottle, let alone other more interesting condiments such as green onion, ginger, and garlic. Even for the most crucial seasoning, which was salt, Yu Hongmei did not even store an extra bag in case of emergency. When she went to cook, there is just a thin layer of salt remaining at the bottom. After looking around for a new packet and failed, the old lady just returned home and brought over her own salt and put it into the saltbox.
[T/N: My family also did not have much seasoning at home. My mom frequently cooked, though. We have the essential salt, turmeric, sugar, soy sauce and chilli sauce. We also did not have an extra packet of salt. We often bought what we need when we need it. Hence, my cooking philosophy is different from my mom. I cannot cook if one item is missing from the recipe, but my mom can. I wonder if it is the INTJ in me.]
As a woman in charge of three meals at home, it was impossible for her not to realize that the saltbox at home was nearly empty. Furthermore, the Jiang family’s kitchen was too clean. It was unknown if Jiang family rarely cooked at home or Hongmei did not use much oil in her cooking, or she did not like stir fry type of dishes.
Woman in charge of a home was often thrifty. When Aunt Man Chun went shopping, she would usually buy things with long storage time in bulk. This not only helps her save money but also for the sake of unforeseen needs. Yet, she did not see the sign of hoarding in Jiang Liu’s house.
In addition, there were also many minor faults that she could not be accustomed to.
For example, the villager still mostly used straw paper bought from the market as their toilet paper. This was the most affordable toilet paper that costs one yuan per package, which was enough to last for the entire family for a week. Yet, the Jiang family’s toilet used soft tissues as its toilet paper. A small box of such soft tissues costs one yuan each. This type of tissue was often found in the living room in the countryside, and they were used to wash their hands and mouths when visitors come to the door.
Yu Hongmei’s conduct was unacceptable in the eyes of Aunt Man Chun, who has been frugal for much of her life.
The towels in the bathroom were another example. Yu Hongmei’s and her two children’s towels were all brand new. Yet, Jiang Liu, who was the breadwinner, still using an old one. The white towels had yellowed already. The soft towel was rough to the touch, suggesting that it has been used extensively for a long time.
Yu Hongmei only knew how to change new towels for herself and her children. Yet, as a wife, she did not even consider changing her husband towel to a better one. In Aunt Man Chun heart, this was Hongmei’s fault as a wife.
The old lady’s impressions of Jiang family’s hostess in just half a day summed up to one point: Yu Hongmei, this young wife, seems to have different living patterns than old ladies like them. This woman was glamorous in appearance, but she does not seem to handle the matter at home.
“Auntie, please accept my apologies; the money for the family expense should be in that drawer. So you should deduct the money for the vegetables from there.”
Jiang Liu had no choice but to lie down on the bed and wait for the old lady to retrieve the money from the cabinet.
Aunt Man Chun was a refreshing person who does not engage in any push and pull game with Jiang Liu. She is willing to look after Jiang Liu because of the two families’ relationship. Even though her help with cooking and washing certainly would not cost money, she still has to take the money for food and other expenses of the Jiang family.
She followed Jiang Liu’s orders and opened the drawer where the money was kept, but there were just a few books in it when she looked around. Even after turning the pages of those books, she could not find a single dime.
“Did you recall the money location incorrectly, Liu-zi?”
Aunt Man Chun questioned Jiang Liu suspiciously.
Jiang Liu was perplexed as well, but he knew in his heart that it was because Yu Hongmei had taken all of the small change with her when she left.
“Maybe there is no change at home. Aunt Man Chun, look at the bottom of the quilted jacket on the left side of the closet. There should be a passbook in the pocket of that quilted jacket. My ID card should be there too. I will have to trouble you tomorrow to withdraw one thousand yuan for me.”
One thousand yuan in this time was enough to last you three to four months in the countryside.
Aunt Man Chun was unconcerned at the time. Yet, when she discovered that neither the passbook nor the ID card mentioned by Jiang Liu could be found inside the jacket, she became concerned.
Did Yu Hongmei really abandon her husband and children?
Even if she wanted to run away by herself, did she have to take away all her family’s money? She not only never consider her lame husband, she even ignores the well-being of her two children. They all said that the tiger would not eat their children. Yet, this Hongmei was more vicious than those cruel tigers, ah.
“There is nothing there?”
Jiang Liu’s face was pale. He seemed to be contemplating the worst-case scenario.
“Impossible. Hongmei is a good woman. It might be that her mother was seriously ill, so she hurried away with the money.”
Jiang Liu grinned as he said that, but it was uglier than crying.
Such an expression fell in Aunt Man Chun’s eyes, made her thought that Jiang Liu could not accept his wife’s betrayal yet still decided to deceive himself.
The old lady feels distressed. Why this time does Jiang Liu still speak for his unscrupulous wife? For this kind of man, there were still people in the village who commented that Jiang Liu was a drunkard who had been abusing his wife. Those people were indeed mean. They should have seen what Jiang Liu looks like now.
“If you believe in your aunt, Liu-zi, tell me, is all the money in your house in that passbook?”
The old lady felt that no woman would act as viciously as this Hongmei. Even if she wants a divorce, it does not mean that she could take Jiang Liu’s compensation payment. After all, Jiang Liu also earned money saved in the family. If she does not want to take care of Jiang Liu and the two kids, she still has to give Jiang Liu the money; otherwise, how could these fathers and children live?
Jiang Liu has no elders, so she must be Jiang Liu’s master. Suppose Yu Hongmei really did such a shameless thing. In that case, she will tell the whole village and led them to Yu’s family in the next county, demanding them to hand over Yu Hongmei.
“The passbook contains the compensation payment from the foreman and others miscellaneous totalling 246,000 yuan.”
The construction site paid him 230,000 yuan. The remaining 16,000 yuan was the leftover money from the medical bills kept in the hospital by the real estate developer. The real estate developer wanted to eliminate the impact of this matter as soon as possible, so he paid more than 10,000 yuan to the original body.
These procedures were carried out with the assistance of Lin Ye. Aunt Man Chun was Lin Ye’s mother, so know this matter in her heart very well.
“Then, your family hasn’t saved up any money all these years?”
Aunt Man Chun pondered, “Just this Hongmei and few children, is it possible for them to spend all the money made by Jiang Liu all these years?”
“Hongmei is in charge of the money, so I have no idea. I did not earn much initially. That time, I will give her around four to five hundred yuan every month. Now my salary has increased. Apart from keeping three hundred yuan to myself every month, I give the rest to Hongmei. So, I don’t know what the family’s expenses have been like over the years.”
There were still fewer in the countryside who had a per capita monthly income of about 1,000 yuan. A construction worker like the original body might be tired and not decent, yet the payment was very high. The original body only retained three hundred yuan for himself. The rest of the money given to his wife was enough to feed several families.
Lin Ye was also a married man. Aunt Man Chun was not concerned with how much money her son earned, but she was aware of how much money his son’s family had saved. Lin Ye’s salary was comparable to Jiang Liu’s, but he enjoys smoking and sends money home every month. Hence, the amount of money in his hand was a little less than Jiang Liu’s. Lin Ye’s wife also helps the family with the saving, and now they managed to have 170,000 yuan in deposit. Yet, compared to her family, Jiang Liu gave all his money to his wife. Even if Hongmei had been spending more money than others had, it should not be a problem for their family to save at least 100 000 yuan after all these years.
Now Yu Hongmei has taken away all the compensation money that Jiang Liu asked her to hide. She definitely would not let go of her previous savings.
It’s a pity that Jiang Liu also did not know how much money the family has saved all these years. If Yu Hongmei insists that the family has not kept a penny, the outsider could not persecute her by then.
Aunt Man Chun was worried about Jiang Liu. Why is this child so sincere? Even if that person was next to his pillow, he still should not trust her unconditionally.
This also applies to Yu Hongmei. Did she think that she would find a man who would adore her unconditionally once she left him? Jiang Liu only missing a leg. The future was still uncertain. With her giving up on him now, it would be too late for her to regret it in the future.
“Auntie, I believe Hongmei will not treat me that way. It must be that my mother-in-law was too sick. It must be so.”
Jiang Liu pursed his mouth while saying this to Aunt Man Chun, also to himself. As if only by comforting himself in this way can he have the courage to face the future.
“Perhaps Hong Mei will come back in a few days. Aunt, can I borrow some money from you to pay for the groceries these few days? When my legs are well, I will surely earn money to pay you back. No, no, no. When Hongmei comes back in a few days, she will surely help me to pay you back.”
Jiang Liu began to speak incoherently. Aunt Man Chun, who had planned to take someone to Yu’s house the next day, felt relieved when she saw such Jiang Liu.
Aunt Man Chun ground her teeth and said: “Yes, I will lend you the money first. You and my second son are best friends. If I do not help you at this point, he will surely rebuke me when he comes back. Besides, your parents and I are also old neighbours and friends. What is the difference between you and my own nephew.”
Aunt Man Chun was not sorry for the money she needed to use to buy vegetables; she just felt sorry for Jiang Liu, fearing that he could not wait until that cheap woman return.
In Aunt Man Chun’s view, the possibility of Yu Hongmei’s return was almost zero.
Even if her mother was really ill, was it really hard for her to even spend a few minutes knocking on the neighbour’s door, asking them to look after Jiang Liu and the children for a few days?
Even if her mother was gravely ill, do you have to squander the family’s savings and declined to give the father and children any money?
If it were not for someone who happened to come over to visit the injured Jiang Liu with pastries and milk today, she was afraid that they would have to wait until the two children of the Jiang family came home to discover Jiang Liu, who had been left in hunger for the whole day.
Therefore, Aunt Man Chun felt that Yu Hongmei would not come back. Yet, Jiang Liu’s mood was already down because of his lameness. If she were to tell Jiang Liu that his wife does not want him, will he survive the shock?
“You still have the twin, Liu-zi.”
Thousands of words were condensed into a single sentence. Aunt Man Chun hoped he would not do something dumb for the children’s sake.
“Hongmei will be back.”
According to the memory of the original body, in two days, Yu Hongmei should figure out that her action without saying goodbye was a wrong move. By then, she would rush home to play a good wife and mother. Therefore, Jiang Liu would not let these people run over to the Yu family to uphold justice for now. On the contrary, he has to play the role of an infatuated husband who is waiting for his wife to return home.
He wanted to see who had the better acting skills and who was more capable of turning the story around.
Aunt Man Chun had nothing to say to such an enamoured Jiang Liu; all she could do was to curse Yu Hongmei a thousand times in her heart.
“Man Chun, have you cooked dinner for Liu-zi?”
As soon as Aunt Man Chun came out of Jiang’s house, many villagers surrounded her.
“How about it, what’s wrong with Liu-zi?”
It was true that a few of the people who surrounded Aunt Man Chun was watching for the excitement, but most of the people present stayed at the door of Jiang’s house out of concern. At this moment, they looked at Aunt Man Chun with worry and asked.
“Why do you mean by okay? I think things are getting too serious.”
Aunt Man Chun did not conceal the things that Yu Hongmei did. “Yu Hongmei took away all the money from the family. She did not even let go of the small change that was originally in the drawer. You said, if she really went home to take care of her mother, did she need to take away all the money in the house?”
“What, the money is taken away? How shameless is she? Liu-zi’s legs have not been healed yet, and there are still two children in the family. What should they use to pay for their study and meal?”
“This is too much. I have never thought that Yu Hongmei would act like this before. She looked so gentle and soft-spoken. I didn’t expect her heart to be so cruel and poisonous.”
“We can’t let her take the money like this. Let’s go to Yu’s house to find her. Even if Yu Hongmei is not there, Yu’s family should explain. After all, they are the ones who raised such a daughter.”
Everyone started to get anxious for Jiang Liu.
“Ei, Liu-zi doesn’t believe that Yu Hongmei really doesn’t want him and the children anymore. He still feels that Yu Hongmei will come back. He would not let me go and find Yu Hongmei. He said that he would wait a few more days. In my opinion, this child is too foolish. If you do not follow his wish and ended up letting him suffer several blows in succession, how would he be able to live in the future? Let’s wait a few more days for Liu-zi to slowly accept the fact that Yu Hongmei will not come back.”
Aunt Man Chun looked at the villagers as he said that.
“Liu-zi is also our junior who we watched grew up under our eyes. Now that Liu-zi has been robbed, we have to help him support his family. Let’s wait for another three days. If Yu Hongmei does not even call back in those three days, we will visit her house. If anyone wants to come with us then, we will meet at the gate of the village committee. We won’t let people from other villages bully our own people.”
If Yu Hongmei really did something to sorry Jiang Liu, then she was no longer a member of their village. The Jiang family’s affairs can also be escalated into a matter between the two villages. As soon as Aunt Man Chun said this, many people responded. Everyone started to discuss what kind of farm tools they should bring to avoid being crushed by Yu’s family.
At this time, Yu Hongmei, who had returned to her family home in Shima’ao, Jianghua County, didn’t know that Jiang’s family affair was already spread to the outsiders by her husband. At this time, her mother held her as they sat in the bedroom that she used before her marriage. They were discussing the matter of her marriage to Jiang Liu.
“Mom, I really can’t get through this life anymore. Did you know that now Jiang Liu was basically lying on the bed? He even needs to use a plastic potty to poop like a baby. I have never done such a disgusting thing after I grew up.”
At first, Yu Hongmei did not expect to get a divorce. Since marrying Jiang Liu, she had been raised too delicately by him. Before she got married, she was also a woman who was used to spittoons. Now that she has used the flush toilet for several years, she has begun to dislike the use of spittoon for shitting and peeing.
“Additionally, when Lin Ye brought Jiang Liu back, he said that his leg is likely to have sequelae. It was unknown what he will do in the future. I’m still young, and I don’t want to live a hard life.”
Did Yu Hongmei ever have any feelings for Jiang Liu? That must be true. After all, Jiang Liu spoiled her and gave her all money he had earned. Regardless of where the money in her hand was spent, such a good man was hard to find.
Yet, she loves herself more than she loves Jiang Liu. Besides, he was not her only choice now.
Thinking of this, Yu Hongmei’s eyes darkened. Jiang Liu worked outside all year-round, and she was also a normal woman with need.
“Mom knows that it’s not easy for you, but Hongmei, you are too impatient. You shouldn’t take the family money back to your natal family at this time.”
Fan Fang felt sorry for her daughter. She also thought that she should not live with a lame man for a lifetime. It was just that a woman’s reputation was also important. Even if she was reluctant, she should not run back to her natal home just a few days after Jiang Liu returns home. Not to mention that she also emptied all the money in the family.
“You never thought, what kind of reputation will you have when this incident spreads? Is it possible that you still plan to remarry to another province?”
What kind of a good man can a woman who divorced her husband immediately after an accident could find in the local area? Unless she marries a place no one knows, there will be many problems that she has to face. Fan Fang could not bear letting her daughter married so far away.
“Also, what is your plan with Fugui and Huakai?”
Fugui and Huakai were twins. These were those children’s nicknames. The elder brother nickname was Fugui, and his real name was Jiang Fu. The sister nickname was Huakai, and her name was Jiang Hua. The two children were cute and intelligent. They were also Yu Hongmei’s treasures before her husband’s accident.
“Mom, how can I remarry with a child?”
Yu Hongmei was helpless. Of course, she was reluctant to give up her children. Still, it was already an embarrassing thing for a woman to remarry. Did she still need to bring over the oil bottle? She had no choice but to leave her two children.
“Listen to your mother. Even if you want a divorce, you have to grab the Huakai.”
Fan Fang was much more intelligent than her daughter was. No matter what, if her daughter filed for divorce after Jiang Liu was injured, she would definitely be pointed at her back. If she did not have a child with her, those people spits would surely drown her to death.
So after thinking about it, Yu Hongmei still has to raise a child.
Daughters are better than boys are. You did not need to prepare a house for her in the future. You also could earn a bride gift. Additionally, by raising a child by her side, her daughter Hongmei would also have the right to speak when sharing the property.
The old lady helped Yu Hongmei analyze her current situation. Yu Hongmei was immediately awakened.
“Mom, you are right. Then I am going back now.”
Yu Hongmei stood up and said anxiously.
“Wait, you silly worm. If you go back now, won’t people become suspicious of you? If someone calls tonight, I will ask your sister-in-law to answer the phone, saying that I am sick and cannot get out of bed. You have come back to take care of me for a few days. Only then did you go back. If no one calls you, you have to stay at home for a few days; we should at least play the whole trick.”
The old lady’s eyes stared at Yu Hongmei like an eagle falcon: “Remember, even if you want to get a divorce, you can’t take the initiative. At the very least, you have to make others feel that you were forced to leave.”
Although she was feeling very sorry for Jiang Liu, who made Yu Hongmei her daughter? Fan Fang could only wrong this son-in-law. She hoped he could regard it as if he was doing a good thing for his wife to the end.
This old lady was Yu Hongmei’s backbone. The facts have proved that the big issues faced by Hongmei had been solved perfectly by her mother several times. Hence, this time Yu Hongmei also believed in her old mother.
Yu Hongmei’s heart settled as she thought of the plan she had just discussed with her mother.
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