Chapter 16: Oden
Translated by Kollumceti of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Lin ShuYi poured a glass of water for Old man Yang, who took it before slowly speaking. It turned out that the house mentioned by Yang JianGuo and Yang Xiao was the house where Old man Yang currently lived in.
This house was bought by Old man Yang and his wife back in those years. Yang JianGuo lived in this same house before he bought a house in the city. Old man Yang’s wife died very young and Old man Yang was left alone early on. This house bore all the memories of Old man Yang and his wife. Everything in the house had been around for some years. In other people’s eyes, this was a worthless old house. However, the house was the only place for Old man Yang to reminisce about his wife.
Originally, he was very happy when the Yang JianGuo and his family asked him to stay in the city for two days with them. After all, they moved to the city such a long time ago but had never suggested such a thing. When he went over, his daughter-in-law was smiling and laughing all day and as she served tea and drinks. Old man Yang thought they could finally get along and have a good conversation. Yet, at the dining table the next day, his daughter-in-law made several expressions at Yang JianGuo, and he began to talk about selling the house.
Old man Yang was the clearest about his own son’s character. He had been obedient since he was a child. However, his only flaw was was he was like a doormat. Old man Yang’s daughter-in-law has been overbearing since she married into the family and Yang JianGuo basically listened to her about everything. Old man Yang thought that it did not matter who was the one calling the shots in the life of a young married couple and had never said anything about it. He always felt that her heart was in the right place even though his daughter-in-law had a strong personality. Thus, he never said a bad word about her despite her repeatedly finding faults with Old man Yang.
When his daughter-in-law later said that she did not want to live in Old man Yang’s home and wanted to buy a house in the city, he took out all his savings and helped them raise enough money for the down payment even though he was reluctant to part with them. Regardless of this, t ithey had never mentioned anything about asking him to move to the city together even if Old man Yang had no wish to do so because of this house which he was reluctant to leave. He felt that leaving here was as if he was abandoning his wife here and this made Old man Yang feel miserable.
Yang JianGuo said that his wife saw a shop in the city and wanted to set up a beauty salon. Old man Yang’s daughter-in-law had studied cosmetology for several years, but since she got married, she had stayed at home to take care of her children and never went out to work. When Yang Xiao grew older, this daughter-in-law did not want to go out to work and cater to the moods of others, so she decided to open a shop and be a boss herself. It just so happened that she had learned cosmetology and heard that recently beauty parlors were earning a lot of money. Thus, she set her mind on it.
However, since she was not working, the family’s income depended on Yang JianGuo alone. Although he earned enough that they did not need to worry about covering their living expenses, it was totally not enough if she wanted to open a beauty parlor. It was not known how she thought until she remembered Old man Yang’s house, leading to her getting Yang JianGuo to talk to Old man Yang.
Old man Yang naturally disagreed. Not to mention that the house was of great significance to him, he was not very supportive of the idea of opening a beauty salon in the first place. It was not because he looked down upon his daughter-in-law, but that his daughter-in-law had been idle at home for so many years and had done nothing. She didn’t even know how deep the water was in this line and wanted to open a shop and become a boss. Old man Yang felt that this was truly unfeasible.
After a polite refusal at the table, Old man Yang found his daughter-in-law was looking very surly. After sulking for a whole day, she finally had a throw down with Old man Yang at noon on the third day while they were eating.
Yang JianGuo had softly spoken two sentences and was scolded. Old man Yang then came back from the city with an scowl after seeing this. He did not even have the mood to eat. He had thought that that this matter was over and done with after he had returned. Who knew that Yang JianGuo would actually come to find him at his house and even bring a Yang Xiao along this time.
“I wanted to leave this house to them, but that was after I died. Now that I’m still alive, I can’t let them sell it away. This house was what his mother and I painstakingly saved to buy. It contains memories of our whole life. How could we sell it like that?” Old man Yang lamented as he remembered the past. His eyes were a little red. Lin ShuYi quickly handed over a piece of tissue. Old man Yang took it and clenched it in his hand, “My son is too credulous. How can this house be sold just because she said so?”
Shen Fu stood at one side and did not speak. There was no room for them to talk about this matter. What’s more, no matter how much they expressed their opinions, it all depended on the intention of Old man Yang.
Lin ShuYi obviously understood this, so he just reached out and patted Old man Yang on the back and said nothing.
Old man Yang felt better after he finished what he wanted to say. This matter had been bottled up in his heart these days. Now he felt lighter after speaking of it. Anyway, he was determined not to sell the house no matter what they said.
“All right, let’s not talk about these unpleasant things. I’ve already said all I wanted. I don’t think JianGuo and Xiao Xiao will come again.” Old man Yang pretended to be relaxed as he said that but everyone could see that he was hurt when the motive behind his son asking him to live with them was actually because they wanted to sell the house. He did not care about money. He really did not want to sell the house and could not sell it.
Seeing that Old man Yang had finished all he wanted to say, Lin ShuYi passed the oden he had just bought to Old man Yang as if he was changing the subject, “Grandpa, we bought it from outside. Try some.”
Shen Fu also laughed, “Yes, he put a lot of chili peppers in it. So much so that his face turned red when he ate it. Grandpa, look, it’s still red now.”
Lin ShuYi rarely cooperated with Shen Fu, but this time he raised his head and asked Old man Yang to see.
Old man Yang knew that they were both trying to amuse him. He gave a forced smile, “Clean up the shop and open for business. We scared off some of the customers who came today.” Although it seemed ridiculous, it was the truth.
Shen Fu and Lin ShuYi helped to clean and disinfect the chopsticks and chopstick basket Yang Xiao had knocked down. The water spilled on the table was wiped clean and the floor was mopped again before opening the door and starting the business.
There were two sides to the story. On the end of Yang JianGuo and Yang Xiao, who were rejected by their father and grandfather. Yang JianGuo actually disagreed with his wife’s idea. His mother died early and he was very clear how much the house meant to Old man Yang. Therefore, he disagreed with this idea at the beginning.
However, he was so timid and cowardly that he dared not say a word to his wife even when he knew that the idea was not right. He never had any position at home. If Zhao XueMei said one thing, he did not dare to say another. The first reason was that he was afraid that Zhao XueMei would become more furious and to make a terrible scene after he refuted her. The second reason was that he was afraid of this spreading out and shaming him. Whenever Zhao XueMei raised her voice a little at home, he had to think about whether he was the one who committed some wrong. Yang JianGuo knew that he did not have any guts at all.
Zhao XueMei had been overbearing for a lifetime, and he had been cowering for a lifetime. He had become used to listening to Zhao XueMei’s orders a long time ago. So he had to force himself to say it even though he knew that Old man Yang would not agree with this idea.
It was a matter of course that Old man Yang would refuse and he had been secretly relieved. Who knew that Zhao XueMei would not drop the matter at all. “No! Go talk to him again! What’s so great about that shabby house? It can be sold, can it? Zhao JianGuo, let me tell you, I’ve been looking forward to that shop for a long time and we’ve come to an agreement about the price already. After this spring, the shop will be off the market. If you don’t gather the money, you’d better watch out!”
Even Yang Xiao was on his mother’s side. “That’s right, Dad. Isn’t it just a house? What’s the big deal about it? At worst, just ask Grandpa to move in and live with us in the future. It’s not like we don’t care about him. Why on earth are you treating that run-down house like a treasure? And there’s that noodle shop that’s so poor and destitute, how much can it make…”
Yang JianGuo glared at Yang Xiao, “You shut up!”
Zhao XueMei scoffed and stood up in the next moment, “What shut up?! What did Xiao Xiao say wrongly?! He can’t even afford to buy a house after so many years of running the restaurant! He even had to pinch and scrape in every way for the down payment and borrowed more than fifty thousand from my mother’s house. Even now he’s still sticking to the house and won’t even sell it. I already asked, now someone wants it. If it’s two years later, nobody would want to buy that shabby house!”
Thinking of the conversation that took place at home the other day, Yang JianGuo had a headache. Zhao XueMei would be pointing at his nose and cursing him again after returning.
Although he was not bad-mouthing his grandfather, Yang Xiao was still there swearing while talking, “Where did those two people come from? Our own family’s affairs are not their concern. They even dare to start a fight with me?! If Dad hadn’t stopped me, I would have simply killed him!”
Yang Jianguo glowered, “That’s enough! Where did you learn these indecent words?!”
When Yang Xiao saw Yang JianGuo staring at him, he finally exercised some restraint. But he was still unwilling to let it drop, “I say, Grandpa is too much! He’s so reluctant to sell his house that he went as far to call two outsiders. Am I still his grandson?”
Yang JianGuo rubbed his head. “Stop talking. That house has a different significance for your grandfather.”
Yang Xiao retorted belligerently, “What difference? Isn’t it just that Grandma bought it together with him? But Grandma’s already dead and we’re still not allowed to sell the house. It not like Grandma won’t come back if we sell the house…”
Yang JianGuo was furious, “How can you say that?!”
Yang Xiao turned his head and muttered, “Isn’t that how its like?”
Yang Xiao was already twenty two years old, but Yang JianGuo has been busy with his work so he did not take charge of his upbringing much. Yang Xiao’s character was simply a hand down from Zhao XueMei as he had always been taught by her. Zhao XueMei was extremely protective of Yang Xiao. Even if Yang Xiao did something wrong and was scolded for more than two sentences, let alone being beaten, Zhao XueMei would argue with Yang JianGuo in a shrill voice. This repeated day after day and Yang JianGuo no longer not be bothered to care about it, which was how Yang Xiao’s current character had been raised.
Each of them returned home with his own thoughts. Zhao XueMei was cooking. When she saw the two men coming in, she asked, “How was it? Did he agree?”
Yang JianGuo shook his head. “Dad still disagreed.”
Zhao Xuemei threw the pot onto the gas stove with a ‘bang’ and strode out. Her voice became shriller by several octaves, “What?! Disagreed?!”
Yang Xiao then came in. He changed his shoes and said, “Not only did he disagree, but Grandpa was absolutely furious. He even called two outsiders to drive me and Dad back.”
Zhao XueMei’s whole face was black and as Yang JianGuo had expected, she raised a finger and pointed at him, “Yang JianGuo! Your father is really good! Treating a rotten house is like a treasure! He refused to sell it when we were buying a house. Now I want to open a beauty salon and we’ve even decided on a place, yet he still refuses to sell it?! What’s he keeping it for?! Who else does he want to give to other than Xiao Xiao?!”
Yang JianGuo helplessly explained, “That’s not so. That house was bought by him and my mother…”
Zhao XueMei interrupted him with a screech, “So what it they bought it together?! Is it so amazing to buy a house together?! Do you want to say that this house belongs to your father and we don’t have a share in it?! Let me tell you, Yang JianGuo. What did he do for us even after I’ve married you for so many years? Don’t mention us, he has never even tried to do anything grandfatherly for Xiao Xiao! If he’s unwilling to sell his house now, he can forget about entering our door in the future!” Then she turned to Yang Xiao and asked, “What do you mean by an outsider? What kind of outsider?”
Yang Xiao shook his head, “I don’t know, just two men. I don’t know whether they are waiters or what at Grandpa’s restaurant. They even have the guts to want to start a fight with me.” It was clearly that he had wanted to shove others, but now he inverted right and wrong and said that others wanted to start a fight with him.
Zhao XueMei coldly snorted, “His shabby noodle shop can even afford to hire a waiter? How old are they? They even dared to start a fight with you?”
“They’re not old. The younger one is a little younger than me. They even called him grandpa, like they’re very close.”
Zhao XueMei looked askance at Yang JianGuo, “Could they be some bastards that came from your dad?”
Yang JianGuo was so angry that he was trembling all over, “What nonsense are you talking about?!”
Seeing Yang JianGuo’s ghastly pale face, Zhao XueMei snorted, “I’m just joking, what are you so agitated for? Who told him to dare to pick a fight with Xiao Xiao? Xiao Xiao, come serve dinner.” She walked a few step forward before turning around, “Yang JianGuo, let me make it clear. I will open this beauty salon no matter what. As for the money, you go think of a way to get it. If your father is unwilling to sell his house, tell him not to call us anymore.”