Roughly around nightfall, before dinner, a customer came to the club.
A ragged old woman was carrying a large gray-white sack and a thin bamboo pole. At the first glance, Luo Qiu guessed that she was a junkman or a vagrant.
Her face was wrinkled with hardships, her slightly hunchbacked body looked pretty thin.
"You Ye, what’s the dinner for today?"
"Fried duck breast with orange juice, French corn mushroom soup with small bread."
Luo Qiu nodded, ordering, "The customer has bad teeth, serve her some thick soup and small bread."
Of course, this conversation took place when the Aeolians bell rang while the old woman was standing at the doorway. Seeing that the old woman had difficulty in moving, Luo Qiu went to help her sit down.
"I, I have no money."
The old woman’s voice showed some uneasiness.
She never thought of spending money here. Although she couldn’t see clearly what this place was, it felt like that the person that held her was dressed extremely tidy.
And very polite.
Was this some high-class place?
"Aunt, don’t worry, we don’t charge."
The name ‘aunt’ might comfort this old woman.
Luo Qiu sat in front of this aunt. You Ye acted quickly, the dining cart with a portion of soup and a small basket of bread were already pushed and placed in front of this aunt now.
Her eyes were unable to see clearly, but her nose smelled the strong flavor. She couldn’t remember for how long she hadn’t smelled such flavor that impressed her tongue and mouth.
The last time she ate it might be at the family reunion dinner that took place during Spring Festival many many years ago.
"What’s this?" the aunt couldn’t help asking.
You Ye answered softly, "Aunt, this is truffle and corn soup, the small bread is from the bakery, but it’s freshly baked today."
"These… are all for me?" the aunt was shocked, "I, I can’t afford them."
"Don’t worry, aunt, this is the treat from our boss." You Ye smiled, "There’s a lot in the kitchen."
"Sister and brother, thank you!" The aunt showed her appreciation.
Perhaps she was really hungry.
Although there were still some steamed buns in the bag, the flavor of the soup made her unable to resist.
Luo Qiu asked for a glass of water while looking at this old woman drinking soup and biting the bread.
When all the food was finished, the aunt expressed her slight anxiety, "Brother, I, I really don’t have money. I’m homeless and can’t go back home…"
"That’s OK, this is just how we treat our customers." Luo Qiu put down the glass, pressing slightly on the aunt’s hand on the table.
In just one second, the aunt drew her hand back with fear.
At this precise moment, she realized where she had come to.
Exchanging something except money for whatever one wanted to get, only if they could afford the price.
But it was still inconceivable to her.
Luo Qiu now waved his hands and sweep faintly in front of the aunt’s eyes. The gray and cloudy eyes became clear abruptly.
While sensing her long-lost clear eyesight, the aunt’s trembling hands touched her eyes gently, which turned moist all of a sudden, "My eyes, my eyes… how come… it’s incredible! Incredible!"
She saw the beautiful servant girl clearly, and of course, the boss of the club who was in a neat outfit … because of the sudden recovery of her eyes, she didn’t appear to be too frightened even though she saw the boss’s uncanny costume.
The aunt looked at her hands unwittingly… It turned out that her hands were so old and rough, the dirt attached to the palm print looked like lines of black strings.
Yet her eyesight turned blurry slowly again, as if all of this was simply a reflection in the pan.
"My, my eyes!"
"It’s just an experience." Luo Qiu said softly, "To let aunt know, we’re able to achieve something that you cannot imagine. This place is only for people who have some desires. Then…"
He stood up, facing the aunt with one hand in front of his chest, saying while bending down his waist a little, "Dear customer, what can I do for you?"
The aunt didn’t hesitate at this moment. She fished out a leaflet from her cloth bag quickly before putting it on the table.
She flattened this seriously plicated leaflet again and again using both hands, as if she was afraid of any folds and dog-ears left there.
"Him! Him! My son, my son, can you help me to find him? 20 years! He had been kidnapped for 20 years… I beg you please! Help me to find him!"
The aunt said while holding the table, kneeling down at that place, "Brother… no, you’re immortals! I kowtow to you! Please! Help me to find my son!"
Luo Qiu glanced at You Ye.
The thoughtful servant girl bent down to help the aunt up and sat back on the chair again.
Luo Qiu said, "Aunt, your name is Yang Ping, and your son went missing 20 years ago. You’ve been looking for him by yourself for these years, heading southward from your hometown Hebei Province. You’ve only gone home for three times. The last time was 7 years ago. You got cataracts and your body is not as strong as before. Yesterday you fell down by the roadside and were sent to the hospital by kind people, and the doctor said you’ve got cataracts. Are these correct?"
"Yes, these are all correct!" the aunt couldn’t stop nodding.
"If you want to find your son in such a large population by relying only on a childhood’s photo, it might be impossible to find him in your remaining life unless an accident occurs."
Based on her health condition, she might not live through this year.
"I, I just want to find my son." Yang Ping raised her head, "There are too many people like me who are looking for their sons and daughters through these 20 years. We met on the way and cried for a whole night when we talked about our kids… I saw many many despairing people giving up. But we know… even though there’s only a dog chance, we are willing to do everything. Therefore, no matter what I have to pay, I only want to find my son back!"
Luo Qiu nodded. Since the customer said she was willing to do everything, the old goat skin started to slowly unfurl in front of her. What the aunt could pay to meet the requirement was only her old and lonely soul.
The fair-sounding sound of a violin was heard, coming from a small yard of the duplex apartment of this housing estate.
The fencing and trees couldn’t destroy the melodious sound. Fang Jiping practiced playing the violin as usual in the yard of his apartment after dinner.
Suddenly the phone rang, Fang Jiping put down the violin, glancing at the CID, then took a glimpse at the inside.
Fang Ruchang was now reading newspapers on the sofa.
Fang Jiping stepped away a little, out of Fang Ruchang’s sight. He then answered the phone and chatted with the girl on the other side in a low voice.
They knew each other for one year. In one of the past concerts--- she was not his audience but just a staff in a concert hall--- a girl who was ordinary but working hard for her life.
They should not have had any interactions in life essentially, but the chord in Fang Jiping’s heart was suddenly stirred. He entered into a relationship with the girl for over half a year without his family’s knowledge.
"Are you playing the violin again?"
"Yeah, have you finished work?"
"Yeah, just now! But I’m working part time in a convenience store."
"Didn’t I tell you not to work so hard? "
"No! If I don’t work hard, I can’t save enough money to watch your violin competition in Belgium next month! I’ll be an audience in the first row!"
"I’ve said that I’ll arrange everything for you."
"We have a promise that you only take charge of the entrance ticket, and I’ll prepare the traveling and accommodation expenses! Stop talking about this, or I’ll be angry!"
Fang Jiping shook his head reluctantly, looking at the sunny sky of summer evening while chatting about something interesting with the girl, in the hope that she wouldn’t be bored on her way to the convenience store.
Outside the fencing.
Yang Ping, who held Luo Qiu’s arm, could only see a shadow vaguely with the help of the light… who seemed to be talking.
Her eyes were not in good condition these years but her ears were trained to hear more clearly.
The aunt’s hand that was grasping Luo Qiu’s arm suddenly turned firmly, "Is he really my son… he, he’s talking, right?"
"Fang Jiping, 25 years old." Luo Qiu said fishily, "20 years ago, Fang Ruchang bought a kid from other people …"