Autumn's Concerto / Next stop, happiness 下一站幸福 Chapter 6.3



Chapter 6.3 - 6th Stop: Hua Tian Village Survivor (3)

“Mummy, Mummy!” Xiaole screamed with excitement as he placed his hands on the edge of the bus window while putting his head out. “There seems to be a weird-looking vehicle over there.”

“Be careful.” Mucheng pulled Xiaole in immediately. “Didn’t Mummy tell you umpteen of times already? It’s very dangerous to put your head out of the window like this.”

“But Mummy, that car looks really weird. It does not have a top. Is it driven by an alien?”

Alien? Mucheng paused for a moment. Then she looked out of the window too. She saw a convertible in the middle of the road. It seemed like it had broken down. A tall and strong man started to run after a bus when he saw it but the bus had already driven off.

Mucheng couldn’t get a clear look of the man’s face and she hesitated whether she should stop the driver of the bus she was taking so that they could help him. But she immediately thought of the fact that the village would be welcoming the public defender today. She already promised to help to decorate the venue. Tongues would wag again if she was late.

She didn’t want to be on bad terms with anyone in the village for Xiaole’s sake. All she asked was for Xiaole to be able to grow up peacefully and happily in this village.

“Xiaole, sit tight. That’s not an alien’s car. It’s just a normal sports car.” She coaxed her son.

“Nope, I’m very sure it’s an alien’s.” Xiaole insisted. “Did you see that man’s clothes too? His clothes look really attractive and special, Mummy.”

“It must be the fact that he knows better than the villagers on what to wear. He must be a city folk who was coming to their village for a holiday and lost his way somehow.” Mucheng thought to herself.

Mucheng smiled and shook her head. In order to appease her son, she had to convince him. The mother and son debated with each other till they reached the venue for the welcoming party today.

The village head stepped up immediately when he saw her. “Mucheng, it’s great that you’re finally here. We’ve all discussed just now. You’re the prettiest in our village. You shall be in charge of presenting the flowers to the defender later.”

“Sure.” Mucheng nodded. She’d do anything so as to get along well with the villagers. “Is the public defender here yet?”

“Nope.” The village head looked at his watch. “You can come over here and help us first.”

“Xiaole, Mummy shall go and do some work now. Be good and stay right over here.” Mucheng said to her son.

“Okay.” Xiaole nodded. He saw Tangtang and decided to join her. But he realized that it wasn’t Tangtang he saw when he ran over. He started moving around in the venue when he accidentally bumped into Aunt Hua.

“I’m sorry.”

“Oh, it’s you, Xiaole. I haven’t seen you in a while.” Aunt Hua saw that it was Xiaole and she decided to wear a look of disgust on her face. However, that didn’t stop her from smiling at him.

”Hello, Aunt Hua.” Xiaole greeted her.

“My Tuoye does go and look for your mother frequently, right?”

“Yes, he came with my Mummy yesterday to pick me up from school.”

“Is that so?” Aunt Hua frowned. She bent down, smiled and held onto Xiaole’s shoulder.  “Xiaole, do you remember what Aunt Hua once told you?”

“Yes, I do. Brother Tuoye is like my elder brother, he is not to be my father. ” Xiaole recited.

“That’s right.” Aunt Hua praised him. “Xiaole, you’re so obedient. This lollipop is for you. Aunt Hua will buy you some toys the next time round.”

“Thank you, Aunt Hua.” Xiaole happily took the lollipop from here. “Oh yes, where is Brother Tuoye?”

“He’s off to look for the village’s head unfilial grandson, Bin. That Bin is such an ingrate. He has been missing since he stole the title deed. Now, he has left us with a mess that we have to clear.” Aunt Hua nagged.

“Oh, I see.” Xiaole didn’t know what Aunt Hua really meant, but since his best buddy wasn’t around, all he could do now was to stick around and lick his lollipop. Suddenly, he saw the village head jumping onto an old tow truck while saying that he was going to go pick up the public defender whose car had broken down in the middle of the road. Out of curiosity, Xiaole got in too and hid himself up.

The tow truck finally reached its destination. Xiaole put his head out and he saw the alien that he saw just now.

He’s an alien indeed!

He got off the truck and examined the Uncle Alien who was wearing a pair of sunglasses, donning on a white suit and complaining to the village head – Wow, he was exactly like what Mummy had described his Daddy to be; tall, strong, and bad-tempered. Is it because all aliens were so?

He stretched his hand out and gave Uncle Alien’s pants a tug.

“Who was it?” Guangxi wondered as he impatiently looked down.

“Uncle, Uncle, which planet are you from? Have you seen Xiaole’s father before?”

********

Where did this little brat come from?

Guangxi got up the towing truck with the village head while Xiaole tried his best to squeeze himself between them. He started asking Guangxi many questions; questions which Guangxi found really weird. At first, he tried his best to be patient and answered them.

“Lad, I already told you that I’m not an alien. I live on the Earth, okay?”

“Are you sure? But you’re wearing sunglasses and your clothes and…” Xiaole pointed to the convertible behind the truck. “Your car is totally different from those in Huatian Village.”

Guangxi wanted to tell Xiaole that it was because his whole village was so old-fashioned; they wouldn’t have stuff like this. But he didn’t because the village head was just beside them. “Anyway, I’m not an alien and I haven’t met your Daddy before.”

“Really?” Xiaole frowned, expressing his disappointment. He rolled his eyes and suddenly saw the leather wristband on Guangxi’s wrist. “That’s so cool. This is the communicative device that you use to communicate with the other aliens, right?”

What on earth is he talking about? Guangxi rolled his eyes. “This is just a ordinary wristband.”

“You’re lying. My Mummy tells me that this is a communicative device. She even drew a picture for me and it looks exactly like yours.” Xiaole insisted. “Mummy said that there’s a memory card inside the wristband that will allow aliens to communicate with their loved ones.

“What nonsense is the boy sprouting? It’s so true that a weird son will have a weird mother too.” Guangxi thought to himself.

Guangxi took off the wristband and emphasized his point again. “Look carefully. This is just an ordinary wristband. There’s no memory card, no secret code, it’s totally as simple as that, okay?”

Xiaole took the wristband from him and started examining it. He didn’t manage to find anything too. But he didn’t want to give up so easily. So he tried to pull the wristband apart to see if there was any hidden compartment.

“Hey! What are you doing? Stop meddling with it!” Guangxi was taken aback and he snatched the wristband back from Xiaole.

“Look. You’re so nervous about it. There must be something wrong.” Xiaole stared back at him while saying it. “You’re hiding a secret from me, right?”

“Nonsense!” Guangxi rebutted. He was really upset that he was actually debating over such a silly issue with a kid. “It’s just this wristband means a lot to me.”

“Why?”

“Because…” Guangxi was stumped. Indeed, what was the reason? The truth was he had no recollection or whatsoever not of the origin of this wristband. All he knew was Yiqian was the one who put it on for him after the surgery. Yet, even Yiqian had no idea where the wristband came from.

But every time when he looked at the wristband, his heart would ache. It was as if it was trying to remind him that he had forgotten something and someone who was very important.

“Whatever it is, you can’t touch it!” He immediately kept the wristband in his pocket and away from Xiaole.

“But…” Xiaole wanted to continue but the village head immediately tapped his head.

“That’s enough then, Xiaole. Stop disturbing Uncle Lawyer. Your Mummy will be angry if she learns of this.”

“Alright then,” Xiaole said, pouting. He decided to be quiet but he continued to stare at Guangxi, making the latter feel really tensed.

Children are really troublesome and he can’t seem to handle them well, he thought. Even though his fiancee's a paediatrician, he never seemed to be able to understand how she could be so loving towards them.

Guangxi hopped off the truck immediately once they reached the destination so that he could be away from Xiaole.

***

“Xiaole, where have you been?” Mucheng was very worried after she couldn’t find her son at the venue. She was finally relieved to see Xiaole running towards her at the entrance. She hugged him and said, “Did you know that Mummy was worried for you?”

“Mummy, I saw Uncle Alien. He was wearing the bracelet that you talked about.” Xiaole told Mucheng his discovery.

What? Mucheng was lost. The village head walked up and passed a bouquet to her just when she wanted to clarify things with Xiaole.

“Hurry up, Mucheng. The public defender is here. You’ll represent us and present him with these flowers later on.”

“Yes Sir. Please don’t worry about it.” She stood up and took the bouquet of flowers from him.

The village head got onto the stage and grabbed the microphone. “Test, test.” He cleared his throat and said, “Hello ladies and gentlemen, grandfathers and grandmothers, uncles, brothers, aunties, sisters… I’m the village head. I’m here to introduce to you all the impressive public defender who has come all the way from Taipei…”

The village head rattled on but no one really cared about what he had to say. All the villagers did was to stretch their necks so that they could get a glimpse of the lawyer. But they couldn’t spot him in the midst of the entire crowd.

“That’s enough.village head, stop nagging. Please invite the public defender on stage now!” A villager protested.

“Alright then. Let’s invite Mr. Lawyer up on stage now to say a few words.” The village head signalled to Mucheng as he said.

Mucheng understood what he meant at once and squeezed through the crowd and up the stage to present the bouquet to the man who was standing next to the village head.

“Damn it! What is this?” The man cursed and sneezed at the same time. “Are you all trying to murder me with all these flowers?”

The rough voice sounded very familiar.

Mucheng paused for a moment and looked at the source of the voice. It was a face she’d never forget. It was so familiar and yet it broke her heart every time she thought of it.

“Guang…xi?”

“No way. I can’t take this anymore…” Guangxi sneezed. His chest tightened and he became breathless. Before he knew it, he fainted and fell into Mucheng’s arms.

She immediately grabbed hold of him. She was shocked by his reaction.

“Guangxi!”

***

How could it be him? It was really him!

Mucheng felt really disturbed as she looked at the Guangxi who was lying on the sofa now.

He fainted a while ago and it caused quite a commotion. The villagers decided at once to let him rest in the village head’s office until he regained consciousness. They also sent her over to take care of him.

It was a perfect opportunity for her to take a good look at this man whom she hadn’t seen for years.

It seemed like he had changed and looked more mature than he did in the past.

He didn’t frown in the past when he was asleep but now, he did, which gave her a feeling that he felt really depressed.

Why was he depressed then? Hasn’t he been living happily all these years? He has a successful career and a beautiful fiancee. By right, he should be very happy.

“You’re happy, right?” She asked softly, just like every time when she did and hoped that his answer would give her the assurance she needed.

She really hoped for him to be happy…

He moved slightly and opened his eyes slowly.

She held her breath and her heart raced while she waited nervously for him to regain his consciousness. What would be the first sentence he’d say to her? He wouldn’t still be hating her…would he?

Please, she begged. Please don’t hate me. 

He finally opened his eyes. He stared at her and she felt like he had just stuck two sharp knives into her heart.

“Who are you?”


Reactions