Who’s conning who now?
Cheng Jia Yang
In September, the country had a big meeting, towards foreign propaganda, attending the reception of foreign guests, news and foreign comments had to be interpreted. We were busy for a month. Qiao Fei also got high grades after going through learning and training. During the meeting, Qiao Fei also participated in the translation work; her level really had a great improvement, people sat up and take notice. After October 1, we will be based on their performance assigned, and Qiao Fei will stay in the high turnoff. She has basically become fixed, of course, this is not what I only think.
An interesting event took place during the meeting, and Qiao Fei even caught the attention of our Director.
As an observer of one of the French representative, a mother came with her to China. The old lady was deaf, we were not prepared in advance, the reception process was very troublesome. Qiao Fei had to work at the meeting site. When she knew the situation, she rushed to the hotel to save the scene, and in the next few days, she accompanied the representative and her mother while they went around. The foreign guest was impressed by her, when she left to the Ministry, she expressed deep gratitude to Qiao Fei.
I heard of this matter later. The director asked me, Is this maiden new? How does she also know sign language?
I said: “You forgot. I mentioned her to you before, from the Institute of Foreign Languages. Last year, it was the one we sent out with cooperation from the Ministry of Education.”
“Really?” The director was pretty happy, “This maiden is pretty good. It seems her French is also good. Jia Yang, lets let her stay, one person for two translations.”
“You can also do business, what’s the starting salary?” I laughed.
I thought sometimes. This young, new person. Her body’s enthusiasm and vigor made one admire it. There were always infinite kinds of possibilities in front of her. Some opportunities entered like shooting light. She said she wanted to thank me, but I was clear. With me would have been the same as without me. Whether she was in the Ministry or in another place, she was always an outstanding person that no one could ignore.
The weather cooled. Xiao Hua got a cold in this time. Originally, it was only some light symptoms. She worked with her sickness and it became heavier, and she got acute pneumonia.
Fortunately, I was busy over the General Assembly, so I had a little breathing space. I had time to take care of her, she didn’t live in the hospital for too long, and I took her home.
At night, I boiled some porridge for her to eat. I blew on it and sent it to her mouth. Xiao Hua opened her mouth, but didn’t eat. Her tears began to flow.
“What is this for? As for?” I put the porridge down, “Isn’t it just leaving a few days of work. Just take it as you’ve celebrated October 1 . You are busy from the beginning of the year to now, and now you can rest. Isn’t this great?”
-  PRC national holiday
She shook her head: “No, Jia Yang, it isn’t because of this.” Her tears multiplied, as she looked at me under the light, holding my hand, pressing it to her own face, “Thank you. Without you, I don’t know what I would do.”
Xiao Hua’s words- I could understand them.
People like us, we had a life of luxury, a famous name outside, but our hearts were weak. We wanted warmth. We wanted comfort in times of pain.
I supported her up, helped her wipe her tears, feeding her porridge with soothing tones.
Like, the other person who had done the same thing for me.
Before October 1, Xiao Hua’s body had generally recovered. She discussed wanting to go to Dalian for vacation.
When I heard her words, I was drinking water. A gulp of water clogged my throat. I swallowed it, resisting the urge to cough.
“Time is so abundant, why do you want to go to Dalian? It’s too close.” I said.
“I remember the last time you went on my show, I asked you where you liked to travel the most. You said it was Dalian. You don’t remember?”
I didn’t speak. My impressions seemed to hold what she spoke about.
Last time I went to Dalian, it already been two years. That time I went with Qiao Fei. The time passed quickly, it had been two years.
“You are unwilling?” Xiao Hua said.
“No, we can do whatever you want. If you want to go, we can go. It’s Dalian ah, the scenery is really very good.”
She was very happy: “Then we’ll settle it like this, Jia Yang.
In the cafeteria, I ran into that class of new students. When they were ordering their meal, I saw Qiao Fei speaking. She seemed very vivid, everyone listened carefully, and then a burst of laughter emerged. She was saying jokes again.
They called me over to eat with them.
Xiao Zhao said: “Qiao Fei, say the joke you just said again, for senior brother.”
Qiao Fei said to them: “You repeat it. I want to see if you remember it.”
I said: “I’ll say one then.”
They all had abundant enthusiasm.
“A said: I recently had a part-time job.
B asked: Where?
A said: A mental hospital.
B said: What do you do?
A said: I was studied.”
Everyone laughed. Qiao Fei said, poker faced: “Then what? Senior brother.”
The laughing got bigger. I also laughed, watching her.
While we were eating, everyone discussed their plans for October 1. According to tradition, the Ministry planned for them to go to the nearby reservoir to play.
A female classmate asked: “Senior brother, are you going?”
“Me? I won’t go.” I said, “This is something arranged for you guys who have just entered the Ministry.”
“Oh. Then senior brother, how are you going to celebrate October 1?”
“I, am going to Dalian.”
Qiao Fei focused on eating, eating very fragrantly.
“You aren’t going by yourself right?” Someone asked.
I laughed, shook my head, not answering.
“Ah, I graduated from Dalian’s foreign language department.” A girl said, “Do you need a tourist guide, senior brother?”
“Thank you, thank you,” I said, “If I need one, I will definitely find you.”
Qiao Fei said: “Oh Zhao Peng Yuan, you aren’t going to drink your yogurt? Give it to me then.”
But Xiao Hua and I didn’t go to Dalian for vacation. She changed her plan. She wanted to go to a seaside island.
“Why do you not want to go to Dalian anymore?” I said.
“For October 1, there will definitely be many people in Dalian. Going to an island will be so good, it’ll be quiet, and the air will be great.”
“Well whatever you want.”
“I know you are willing to go anywhere with me.” She said, she tried on a custom-made hat in a famous shop, “This is very important to me.” She smiled.
“Oh Jia Yang, look, this hat doesn’t look right.”
I looked at her: “It’s pretty good. What’s wrong?”
“Look, this side is a little oblique.”
She put down the hat and called that shop. After a few sentences, the other side said that it was currently the season. The master was too busy, and could not come out, and let us send it in to be fixed.
Xiao Hua was mad: “They made it badly, and even want us to send it back.”
I said: “That’s enough. Don’t go, your body just recovered. I’ll go.”
Xiao Hua said: “How is that good. But, Jia Yang, you don’t need to wait. Let them send it in.”
On the way, my car was very slow. The September sun was too good, making people lazy and scattered when it shone upon them.
That famous shop was in an old commercial street in the alley, I found it, and was just about to stop, when I saw see Qiao Fei. She was carrying a handbag, wearing a green skirt, looking from left to right, shopping in the street.
I looked at her from far away, smiling.
This was the person in my heart.
I pressed the car horn and got off the car, she saw me.
“Let’s find a place to sit. Do you have time?” I asked.
“All right.” She said, looking at me, her eyes bright, “But where?”
“Are you hungry? Let’s eat hotpot.”
“Let’s eat Maodu hotpot . I know a small restaurant. I’ll treat us.”
-  Maodu hotpot- Traditional hotpot of the Han Chinese in Chongqing
“Ok, you lead.”
When I saw her, it really made one happy. I helped her open the car door. She pointed inside and looked at me.
In the copilot’s position was Xiao Hua’s expensive hat box.
I quickly took it out and put it in the backseat.
Fei brought me to a place that wasn’t far, not big, but very clean. Maodu hotpot’s fragrance was really very good. We got a lot of things to eat and a little bit of pure grain liquor.
I was hungry, she was also hungry. We didn’t speak much, and first solved the stomach problem.
Fei drank a lot. I remembered she had a high alcoholic intake.
I poured a little for myself, but was pressed down by her hand: “Oh, don’t drink it, you can just drink Sprite. Later you still need to drive.”
I didn’t know how my hand could be pressed down by her hand. I didn’t speak, my heart jumped around wildly.
But, the good part was that she didn’t take back her hand.
I looked at her, she looked at me. We were in the midst of the hot oil steaming from the hotpots.
Fei’s small face, was red, her eyes, dense with fog.
“Fei, I have something to ask you.” I slowly said.
She watched me.
“That day, when we made an appointment, you went to Paris, right?”
“Why did you trick me, and say you didn’t go? Why didn’t you go see me? How did you meet up with the explosion?”
Today, I must understand everything.
She didn’t immediately reply. She slowly flipped the hand pressing on my hand over.
I looked at it. There was a red scar on it, on her white palm, startling.
“I went to Paris. But, I was with another person. Jia Yang, a boy. We used to be very good in Paris.” She clearly spoke, little by little breaking my heart, “At that time we were at the Lyons Train Station. The explosion happened. To save me, he died. I cannot forget him.”
“Zu Zu Ferlande, gendarmerie, his body was buried by the flag. You must have seen this name in the newspaper. Everytime I think of him, I feel he has never left. Did you see the scar on my hand? It is he that is accompanying me. Jia Yang, I am just like this.”
I let go of her hand, I felt after my internal organs were frozen, Qiao Fei used a hammer to hammer them apart.
Qiao Fei drained the small cup of liquor, smiling gorgeously: “Let’s go home, Jia Yang.”
I returned home. Xiao Hua seemed to ask about the hat matter. I don’t even know what I said. I fell asleep the moment I hit the bed.
Xiao Hua didn’t ask about the hat matter again. On October 1, we went to a nearby city on an island. The island was sparsely populated, its environment was pretty good. There were only resorts for high ranking officials.
Our room was on the third floor, facing the big sea and the black reef.
Xiao Hua looked at the seaside scenery with me. She leaned against my embrace and said: “Jia Yang, I hope we will forever be like this, together, only us two.”
I held her hand: Okay, Xiao Hua, okay.
But that night, I dreamed I was not here.
At Dalian, at the beach, it was raining. I was with Qiao Fei; but suddenly, this place changed into the Lyons train station. The woman I loved had a man next to her with an obscured face. I knew this place was about to explode, but I couldn’t let him be there. I was about to run over there. If anyone died, it should have been me. To save her, I would die, but I didn’t run far, I couldn’t run faster than the explosion. The sound boomed, and the heat escalated. I yelled loudly Qiao Fei!
I woke up, thinking I was still in my dream.
I only saw the room burning, smoke and fire pervading the air.