Chapter 11: My Family Never Loved Me
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Wen Yu was carrying his bag on his back. After getting out of the car, he walked a few steps ahead then turned back and took Zhao Zheng’s arm. He said with a smile, “Uncle Zhao, we will be there soon. Look, that building, my house is on the sixth floor.”
“Happy?” Zhao Zheng asked.
Wen Yu nodded. “I haven’t come back for a semester. I’m homesick.” He swiped his card to get into the community, and the second building which was his home.
They went upstairs in the elevator and Wen Yu took out his key to open the door.
After a long time, he couldn’t open it. A middle-aged woman pushed out the door next door. Seeing that it was Wen Yu, she was stunned and said, “Wen Yu, your parents moved into a bigger house, didn’t you know?”
Wen Yu’s hand holding the key stopped. When the woman saw the confusion on Wen Yu’s face, she was embarrassed and said, “You really didn’t know. Your parents bought a new house and moved away a month ago. This apartment was sold.”
“Oh, I’ll call them. Thank you, Aunt Wang.” Wen Yu smiled and pulled Zhao Zheng away from the door.
Even then, Aunt Wang could be heard whispering, “Such bad parents. Those who don’t know might think he was adopted. They’re not like that towards the younger son…”
Wen Yu was confused and felt aggrieved. He said to Zhao Zheng, “My parents must have forgotten to inform me. It doesn’t matter, I’ll call them.”
Zhao Zheng didn’t say anything when he saw Wen Yu’s grievance. He just reached out and patted Wen Yu’s curly haired head.
“The last time I called, I wanted to inform you. I didn’t expect to make a mistake and forget it. Recently, I — I’ll tell you when you’re here. I sent the address in WeChat to you.” Mother Wen said on the phone.
Wen Yu just wanted to say that Uncle Zhao had also come, but she already hung up. There was a WeChat notification, and Wen Yu opened it to see the new home address. His grievance disappeared. He raised his head, smiled and said to Zhao Zheng, “Let’s take a taxi. My mother didn’t forget it on purpose. She may have had something to do.”
I don’t know whether I’m explaining it to myself or to Zhao Zheng.
The new home was still a long way from here and took forty minutes to get there. Wen Yu’s face paled when they got out of the car. Zhao Zheng grabbed Wen Yu’s hand and went to the nearby convenience store first. He bought a bottle of water, unscrewed it and handed it to Wen Yu.
Wen Yu took two gulps and tried to suppress the nausea that was creeping up his throat. It was almost 12 o’clock and he hadn’t eaten since the morning, but he didn’t have an appetite. He just felt dizzy and uncomfortable.
Their new home was enclosed with a gate. Wen Yu pressed the password, and he felt a little uneasy when they got on the elevator. Then he heard a ‘ding’ prompting that they have arrived. His uneasiness passed when he saw his mother by the elevator doors when it opened.
“Mom.” Wen Yu smiled.
Mother Wen patted Wen Yu on the shoulder, “Come in first.”
When her eyes turned to Zhao Zheng, Wen Yu said, “Uncle Zhao came back with me.”
Mother Wen nodded as if waking up from a dream, and smiled warmly, “Mr. Zhao is here too, please come in first.”
The new house was decorated in style, with four rooms and two halls, and bright lighting.
“Mom, the house is so nice. Where is my room? I want to put my bag away.” Wen Yu asked.
A little embarrassment appeared on Mother Wen’s face. She took Wen Yu to a small room with small windows, which seemed very dark. Clothes were piled on the bed.
Mother Wen turned on the light and said, “You didn’t say you wanted to come back, I haven’t had time to clean up. Your brother is a senior this year and he has to make up for the winter vacation. So we converted the room with better lighting to a study.”
That explained why Wen Yu’s room was small.
“I see.” The grievance flashed in Wen Yu’s eyes, and he said, “I can clean up myself.”
Mother Wen nodded and turned to the living room to make a phone call. Later, she said, “Your father said that he would come back later. Let’s go out for lunch so I can thank Mr. Zhao for his help last time with the company.”
“Thank you so much.” Zhao Zheng muttered.
They had lunch at a restaurant, Father Wen and Mother Wen were very polite and friendly to Zhao Zheng, but Wen Yu who sat next to him was hardly paid attention to.
Zhao Zheng picked up sweet and sour spareribs and put them in Wen Yu’s bowl, “Your favorite.”
Wen Yu was a little depressed. He looked down at the ribs he liked in his bowl. His eyes ached for no reason. He didn’t dare to speak and kept his head down. He was afraid that his voice would reveal his emotions.
At the end of lunch, Zhao Zheng asked to leave. Wen Yu hurriedly said, “Uncle Zhao, are you going back already?”
“No, I have business to attend to here.” Zhao Zheng ruffled Wen Yu’s head, glanced at the Wen couple behind him and said, “I’m in Yunding hotel. If you’re bored, you can come to me.”
Then he pat Wen Yu’s head again, and directly turned to get in the car, his back cold and distant.
Wen Yu went home with his parents and had to tidy up his own room. He found that many of his clothes were missing from the closet, things were in a mess, and some of the cards he liked to collect when he was a child were missing. Sitting on the bed, he felt a sense of grievance. He pushed the door and went out. Just two steps away, he heard his parents arguing in a low voice.
“… stop talking about this. We’ve said this before. It’s time…”
The voices of the two were very low and indistinct. Wen Yu had rarely seen his parents quarrel since he went to university. Now, he heard them quarrel and it was obvious they didn’t want to let him hear. He was very upset. When he went back to the room again, his grievance disappeared. He was only worried about why his parents would quarrel.
At ten o’clock in the evening, the fragrant smell of stewed chicken soup wafted from the kitchen. At noon, Wen Yu hadn’t eaten well. He slept through the entire afternoon and didn’t know whether there was any food at home. This time, he went to the living room and saw that there was only his mother in the kitchen. He could not help but to smile and said, “Mom, it smells delicious.”
“I made the chicken soup for your brother. He is under a lot of pressure now. He will be able to have some soon after he comes back.”
Wen Yu nodded his head. His parents had always preferred his younger brother from childhood to adulthood, which was also normal. He was the elder brother and had to give way.
Shortly after, the door opened and he saw his father coming back with his brother. Wen Yu’s younger brother, Wen Le, was eighteen years old. He was not that tall and fat. He ran towards Wen Yu when he saw him, he gave his younger brother a hug and ruffled his head. “You’ve gained a few pounds.”
“It’s all Mom’s fault. I’ve been trying to lose weight but she keeps giving me tonic soup every day. Brother, please advise mom, if she keeps feeding me tonic soup, I’m going to have nosebleeds.” 1In traditional chinese medicine, over consumption of tonic/herbal soup will cause excessive heat in the body, hence the nosebleeds. Usual tonic soup contains herbs that are heaty.[/efn_note.] Wen Le complained.
Mother Wen came out of the kitchen, took her son’s school bag, and said, “Stop spouting nonsense. You’ve been studying hard and need to make up for it, and mother doesn’t think that you look fat at all.” She turned to blame Father Wen, “The bag is so heavy, you should have helped carry it.”
“Mom, I’m a grown-up. I don’t need father to take it for me. Otherwise my friends will laugh at me” Wen Le then pestered Wen Yu, the eldest brother, “Brother, let’s play games. A new one came out recently.”
Before he finished, Mother Wen was in a hurry and said to Wen Yu, “Don’t you dare play with him.”
Wen Le was not happy. Mother Wen said, “I made you chicken soup.”
Hearing this, Wen Le’s face fell.
Father Wen said, “First, change your clothes and wash your face. If Little Le doesn’t like drinking it, don’t force him.”
Mother Wen raised her eyebrows and voice. Seeing Wen Le, she backed down and said, “He must drink the soup.”
Wen Yu saw everything from the beginning to the end, and his gaze moved toward his parents. He had a strong feeling that his parents were hiding something from Little Le.
After drinking chicken soup every night, his brother was tired of it. He gave Wen Yu half a bowl of his chicken soup. Wen Yu was a little uncomfortable and felt that it was too greasy. No wonder his brother didn’t like it. He didn’t know that his palate was influenced by Zhao Zheng and he woke up from his sleep groggily from gastric pains. Wen Yu stretched his arm around the headboard and grabbed air, then he remembered that he was back home.
He lifted the quilt and put on his slippers, ready to go out. He planned to drink some warm water. He heard footsteps through the door. His head suddenly thought of his parents’ quarrel in the afternoon. He didn’t know what he was thinking. He held the handle and dared not open it.
The low voice outside the door was his mother calling his dad…
“…you stand right there.”
After that, a series of footsteps shuffled towards the direction of the living room, Wen Yu opened the door, and saw two figures in the dark living room, standing opposite to each other.
“Li Shujuan, what do you want? We’re divorced. Stop controlling what I do.”
Wen Yu’s eyes were wide.
In the living room the whispering quarrel continued.
“Are you crazy? Xiao Le can’t hear about this. We said we will tell him the truth after his college entrance examination.” Mother Wen lowered her voice. “I’m warning you to keep your mouth tight.”
Father Wen nodded his head perfunctorily, his voice burning, “Okay, I know. It’s just that I feel sick when I’m in the same space with you. I don’t know which man has slept in that bed.”
“Look who’s calling the kettle black. Don’t you also have a woman outside?” Mother Wen sneered and ran her fingers through her hair. “You have to accompany Xiao Le for one more week. Once he gets back to school, wherever you want to go, I will not stop you. Besides, Wen Yu is also —”
“Wen Yu?” Father Wen ridiculed, “Haven’t you told him the truth? Are you sure Wen Yu is really just a child we adopted? Maybe he’s just a bastard child from an affair you had with some man.”
Mother Wen swore, “Wen Zhibin, you were there when we adopted Wen Yu from the orphanage.”
Father Wen knew that he said something wrong, and was silent for a while. Mother Wen also calmed down. She said, “I will tell Wen Yu personally. I have raised him after all this time. Now that he is an adult, he can take care of himself in the future. I have another child here to raise, so I can’t keep him.”
“I don’t want him. He looks like that. I’m not even sure if he’s a m—”
“Wen Zhibin, shut up, get out of here.” Mother Wen whispered coldly.
Father Wen sneered, “Stop pretending. When we first found out about his body after adopting him, didn’t you want to abandon him? Now you’re acting virtuous.” And with a sneer, he pulled the door open and left.
Mother Wen stood at the back and didn’t know what to think. She went back to the second bedroom and pushed the door to see Wen Le sleeping soundly. Then she went back to the main bedroom.
In the cramped room, Wen Yu’s face was full of tears. He sat down in the same place, his mind full of the conversation he had just heard.
Can’t keep him.
I don’t want him either.
His stomach was burning and caused him pain. The fragments from his childhood life started piecing themselves together.
No wonder father never hugged him. No wonder all the good things from childhood were for younger brother first.
No wonder his mother sometimes looked at him with full of pity and sympathy…
But never love.
He had always blamed himself for his physical defects and felt guilty for making his parents feel sad. So he did everything perfectly. He loved his younger brother, studied hard, shared housework with his mother, and never talked back to his father.
But he never thought that he was flattering himself.
He no longer had a home.
No one wanted him anymore.
The author has something to say:
Even without intervening, the Wen couple would have divorced later.