I was four years old, and you were sent to a remote mountain village to teach. When you left, your father and you had a very fierce quarrel. He said you would rather go to the backcountry to teach strange children than your own sons. Dad also said that if you must leave, he will divorce you.
Afraid of my pain, you didn’t pull me, you really went away. When you left, you hugged me and took off the necklace around your neck and put it on me. When I asked you when to go home, you thought about it and drew a horizontal line on the wall. You said, when you grow so high, your mother will come back.
I believe your words, standing upright in the wall every day, looking up at the horizontal line. One day, I found it missing and crying. My father hit me in anger. He said I would never grow up to the height of the cross line and say that you didn’t want me.
Half a year after you left, Dad brought an aunt home. He asked me to call her mother, and then I called.
When I was ten years old, you came back, you were black and thin, as if you were covered with dust. How can I connect you to your mother? She was so beautiful, young, with a faint fragrance.
But you called out my name, and I pushed you like a conditioned reflex, saying aloud, who are you? You are not allowed to enter my home.
Dad came to buy vegetables from the supermarket and he looked at you in a daze. Dad said, call mother quickly.
I opened my mouth and blurted out my aunt.
Later, you came to the door again, and I put it on the door to eavesdrop on your conversation: composition has always been his weakness, I want to coach him. Once a week, the time is on Saturday afternoon.
I thought you would use the weekend to do a tutorial class. There will be many children listening to you, but actually I am the only one. You rented a small house. When I entered the door, I saw a big picture hanging on the wall. It was our group photo. You held me in your arms, and I cried so loudly as I opened my mouth. This is the only photo you took with you for many years.
You take out a lot of snacks, I really want to eat, but hesitate. I said, dad didn’t let me mess around with other people’s things. When you were stunned, tears came into your eyes. You say, am I “other people”? I silently opened a package of plum, containing one, very sour, always sour to my heart.
To tell you the truth, you were terrible in that class. You left me a worse essay topic: my mother.
I handed over the written composition, your eyes were bright, and I couldn’t wait to open them. One line looks down, and the light in your eyes becomes dim. I am not writing you. You smile very reluctantly, you ask, is it true?
I nodded. You sigh lightly, then I feel relieved. You said, actually I envy her, I want to do things that can not be done, she has done all.
You were sent to teach in the West and came back three years later. You were afraid that I was sad, so I left without saying goodbye.
I studied hard, just to get together with you at an early date. Two years later, I entered Beijing university with high marks. I am eighteen years old, half a head higher than my father, and I have grown into a strong little man. I think, I finally grow up, I can take care of you later.
That summer vacation, I could not restrain my anxious mood any longer, pestering my father to take me to the west to see you. Then my father came to tears. He silently led me to a low mountain, pointing to a raised pile of earth, saying, “your mother is here.”
I recall an old legend that two identical women say that their children are their own. They hold their children’s arms separately, and nobody lets go. God said, you grab it. Whoever pulls the child over is his mother.
Finally, God looked at the empty woman in her hands and said, “child, she is your mother. Because she is afraid of your pain, reluctant to pull you hard.
I also understand why, for so many years, why didn’t you argue with dad for me at one time? You gave all the pain to yourself, leaving me only the light handwriting printed on the letter paper and the olive-shaped pendant on my chest.
I picked it up and buried it in the dirt pile. It sticks to my heart for many years, ironing my body temperature, ironing all my miss for you, all my love. Mom, I call softly, do you hear me?