A Story of Love and Loss

After hearing that, I could not see anything except total blackness around me… (Image:  jim jackson via   Pexels  /  CC0 1.0)
After hearing that, I could not see anything except total blackness around me… (Image: jim jackson via Pexels / CC0 1.0)

This is a story like no other, told by Ah Yi, who did not know his father who died in a car accident when he was very young.

Ah Yi remembers that when he was 10 years old, his mother took him to the markets where they saw a group of children bulling a small girl. His mother chased the children away, and rescued the girl.

It turned out the young girl was retarded, and she looked to be aged around 6-7 years old; however, she had the IQ of a 3-year-old. The children said:

Mother brushed the dust off the girl and said: “Come home with us.” She named the little girl Ah Xiu, because that name made her sound like she was my sister.

I hated her, and having her with us made us the laughing stock in the village. I asked mother why we had to keep the girl, and my mother replied:

My mother gave the little girl a bath, then cut her hair, and put some of my old clothes on her. In the spring, a doctor came to our village, and mother took Ah Xiu to see him. The doctor checked her again and again, and said to my mother:

(Image: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay)

‘The best medicine is to give her a ton of love, talk to her a lot, and never give up.’ (Image: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay/CC0 1.0)

Mother talked to Ah Xiu a lot, from the moment she woke in the morning to night time. Mother even told me that I had to talk to her everyday, saying at least 100 sentences. I was mad and talked to her really fast, which confused poor Ah Xiu. I was very unkind to her when my mother was not around, for I knew she did not know how to tell mother about me.

Mother wanted me to take her out to play, but who wanted to play with a retarded child like Ah Xiu. When other children bullied her, I never protected or helped her. When she was 8, mother wanted me to accompany her to school. I refused, for I would rather stay at home then escort her to school.

Mother had no choice but to keep her home, and Ah Xiu was OK with that. She used a stick and did drawings on the ground for hours every day.

In a few years, Ah Xiu had grown to be quite a good looking young girl, and could even help in the field, and do simple house chores. I finished high school and went on to college. The first year in college, I was so happy, like a bird with wings — I finally could fly away from home.

However, during the summer, I went home and was shocked to see mother lying in bed after a stroke. Ah Xiu had put my mother on a simple two-wheeler and pulled her to the county hospital 10 miles away. My mother told me that she had been in bed for 3 months. Because it was too expensive to stay in the hospital, she needed to go every other day; fortunately, Ah Xiu could take her.

(Image: jackmac34 via Pixabay)

‘As long as mother is not hurting, I am OK.’ (Image: jackmac34 via Pixabay/CC0 1.0)

I felt quite guilty when I looked at Ah Xiu’s blood stained marks from the rope. I asked her: “Does that hurt?” She simply replied: “As long as mother is not hurting, I am OK.”

I tried to pull my mother with the rope, but could only manage a quarter mile. However, Ah Xiu took over, she was almost running, and saying to mother:

After the hospital visit, Ah Xiu settled my mother in bed and went into her room. I tried to go into her room; however, it was locked. Mother said to me:

My sister knew how to make money, and that was incredible! My mother explained that a designer from an embroidery factory needed good designs, and Ah Xiu was being paid 10 yuan for each design. The designer brought many of her designs; Ah Xiu was pleased with that offer, as she could make more than 10 designs a day.

One day, I saw that Ah Xiu held her coloring pen the same way she had held the wooden stick when she was doing her designs. Poor Ah Xiu, I thought, no one had even taught her how to hold a pen. I felt so bad.

Embroidery designs. (Image: <a href="https://pixabay.com/en/embroidery-china-wind-jewelry-629406/">Amandacsr</a> via Pixabay)

Ah Xiu was pleased with that offer, as she could make more than 10 designs a day. (Image: Amandacsr via Pixabay/CC0 1.0)

After the summer, I told Mom with tears in my eyes that I needed to stay home, as I could not let Ah Xiu shoulder all the responsibility of taking care of her. Since we were very poor, my mother agreed; however, Ah Xiu shook her head and ran back to her room.

She soon brought out stacks of bills, and said: “Brother, money for school, money for school.”  She patted her pocket and told mother: “Here, money for hospital, money for hospital!”

In my final year of college, my mother died from a heart attack. After being told about my mother, I was so anxious to go home. But unfortunately, there was a huge snow storm and hundreds of thousands of people became stranded at the train station. I kept calling home, but no one answered.

At first, I was worried, but then I became angry. Where on earth was Ah Xiu; why didn’t she pick up the phone? I was at the train station for 10 days before I could get a ticket to go home. When I entered the house, I noticed the neighbors trying to avoid me.

In the living room, I saw a white sheet covering a body. As I slowly pulled down the sheet, I was shocked to discover that it was Ah Xiu. Where was mother?

Our neighbor shook her head, and said:

(Image: kelseyannvere via Pixabay)

‘After 7 days, we had to bury your mother because we could not wait for you to get home. (Image: kelseyannvere via Pixabay/CC0 1.0)

After hearing that, I could not see anything except total blackness around me….

Translated research by Monica Song

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