English Writing IV
Whose baby is it?
“How much is this cabbage?”
“Four Yuan per kilogram.”
Tang crouched down to bargain with the street vendor, “it is too expensive. It is
just kind of vegetables, why can it sell as meat‟s price in this so called metropolis?”
He started to examine these cabbages. “In our village, one Yuan can buy 5 kilograms
cabbage. You see, it is not that fresh.” Tang murmured, holding tight the plastic bag in
his hand. Almost an hour passed he still got nothing.
The vendor didn‟t want to argue with this old man, he impatiently reminded Tang that this is “price for urbanian” then started to do his own business.
Tang stood on his feet, looked around and started his “low price” shopping again.
A month ago Tang moved to this city from countryside, living with his son Ming. Ming, a 30years old engineer who just got his little baby last year. At age of 68, Tang was supposed to enjoy his life in this big city, do some exercises with the aged in square or just take care of his little grandson at home. He thought he could, a month ago.
Carried a bag of potatoes, Tang got out from the market. Started to go home. This
time he was so satisfied with these potatoes, not for its price but because the seller is his fellow-villager. Tang felt that these potatoes were just liked potatoes in his hometown. He felt a kind of familiarity and a sense of belonging in this big city.
When he just arrived, his daughter-in-law was already waiting downstairs. Tang felt kind of flattered. “Does she come down to help carrying vegetables?” He doubted.
But later he found that he was totally wrong.
“Baby, Where is the baby?” She looked around and shouted.
“What? Baby? Whose baby? What are you talking about? Look! These
beautiful potatoes are from our hometown. How lovely they are!” he held up the bag
and smiled like sunflowers.
“Baby! Where is my baby? Did you take the baby out with you to the market? Yes! You did. You take him out. I remember. ” It looked that her face turned blue and
she started to stammer. “Where, where, baby. Baby. Where is my baby?”
That was a clear morning. The sun was blazing down on them, only in this period this big city can enjoy some tranquility. Ming had no idea about what happened. “Baby? Baby? What? Did did… I? He…he… he… is not at home? ”He
answered his daughter-in-law like an obtuse kid.
He was really confused. He has a bad memory, especially after his wife died eight years ago. He tried his best to recall what happened this morning, but his brain refused to work. He cannot make it work. “I …I …I, Sorry… I do not remember. I cannot! I don‟t know. I don‟t know where he is. I just… ”
Before he finished, his daughter-in-law ran to the market crazily. At that moment
his heart beat faster but he got a tight congestion build up in his chest. He felt like can't breathe or something. Tang felt on his buttocks. “Yes! Yes. Yes, I took the baby
down. I took the baby out this morning…I …I remember.”
“Look, look. This is grandpa.”
Tang looked up and saw his son just standing in front of him. He rubbed his eye. His son was holding the baby in front of him.
“Baby, baby, baby is here…” He took the baby over and sobbed “Baby, baby is
here.” Those potatoes rolled out from that plastic bag and fell out on the ground.
“What is going on, dad?”
“I just forgot where the baby is, I cannot find him. I… I … How useless I am!”
“You do not remember? You took the baby downstairs and asked me to bring him
to the playground this morning. ”
Tang clapped his head and said “Yes! Yes! I do remember! I do!”
Did he really remember? No he did not. He even forgot his daughter-in-law was on the way to the market, until the baby murmured “mummy, mummy.”
Ming found his wife back from the market a few hours later. She could not help but crying and kissing the baby from his toes all the way to his head. She thought that the baby had been abducted. She thought that she will never see the baby again.
After this snafu, life went back to its normal condition. Tang was sitting in the couch and watching TV himself. The baby was sleeping. Ming and his wife were talking in the kitchen. Tang supposed to be comfortable and enjoyed the TV series he watched every night. But it seemed that he cannot. He can‟t even hear the words from
the TV, the picture become more and more blurry. But he heard clearly the conversation in that kitchen. Though the noises around.
“He is too old. He had better stay in the village, you see, he is always forgets
things. He forgets everything, even our baby. ”
“But he is my father, the life in the countryside is not that comfortable. He is so lonely in there. You must understand an old man.”
“What? You mean I am not respecting him? What! I do everything for him. Even wash his socks. What else can I do? What? He almost lost our baby today! Who know what else will happen in the future. What if... If.”
“Stop! All right! All right! That‟s enough!”
Did they rehearse a drama there? What‟s going on in this house ? Tang could not
believe what he used to worried just happening…“It just happened.” He murmured.
Tang heard everything, every single word, every single letter. These words just like scars carved in his heart. He knew he will never forget. Never, never forget this time.
He went back to his bedroom, walked to the bed and plumped himself right down. He hung his head in despair and sat there without moving. That night he did nothing just stared at the ceiling. All night he cannot even close his eyes for a second. He knew that this was the last time he lying in this bed. Tears trickled out from the corners of his eyes.
All of a sudden, something occurred to his mind. He got up immediately and walked like a cat towards that old suitcase lying in the corner. This suitcase is the only
thing that actually belonged to him in this house. He opened it gently like shaking hands with an old friend, and pulled out a photo album. An album that contained all the happiness they have in the past thirty years. “Wang‟s first birthday with a big
birthday cake marked „To my dear Baby.‟
"Home, I am back." he murmured with a smile. He knew that this city is just not
to leave tomorrow. his cup of tea. He decided
Next morning, Tang told his son he‟s going to leave for his farmland work in
hometown. Ming knew that is not the point, but he knew no one can change his father‟s mind after he made a decision.
“Oh! That is all right. I can take care of the baby myself. Don‟t worry, dad you can do your farming as long as you want…oh, the baby will miss you, we will miss you, you will come back soon, will you? ” His daughter-in-law is good at acting, good
at reciting lines, always, always.
“Well, well, I will miss you all.” He can‟t help but join in her acting.
When the farewell moment came, standing in the train station Tang held the baby‟s hands. The baby was sleeping in Ming‟s arms. That moment, time seemed to
had stagnated, the air also embodies.
“Chugachuga chuga chuga choo choo!!” the train was coming. Tang had to get
on the train.
“I…I…I will…” Tang tried to say something.
“What? Dad.” But the whistle of the train drowned his voice. Ming heard
nothing, just asked the baby to say goodbye to his grandpa.
“I…I…I will m…m…” Tang tried his best to shout, but just the first word. He can‟t. He knew he can‟t say that word, he even forgot its pronunciation. But he spelled it in his heart “M-I-S-S”.
Looking from the window of the train, Tang waved his hands gently. Murmured “goodbye, goodbye…”his voice was trembling.
was a little teary. But a picture came into his watering eyes clearly. In that Tang
picture they were saying goodbye on the platform.
That day his son was going to this big city to further his college study. Holding a bag of tea eggs, he was worried about his son cannot adapt the new life in this unfamiliar city. Although he cannot remember the exact date for that day, but he did remember and would never forget the conversation with the conductor.
“Is this your baby?”
“Yes, he was admitted to Tinghua University.”
“Wow, good for him. How excellent he is. You must be so proud of him.”
“Yes, he is a good boy. Thank you, thank you.”
“Good boy. Come on. The train is moving soon.” The conductor patted the boy
on the shoulder.
“Everything is there? Anything needed? Do you hungry? Water, water. Thirsty? Some more eggs, eggs?” Tang hold Wang’s hands like there are superglue in his hands. He couldn’t let it go. He couldn’t.
“That’s enough, daddy. I am fine. I can do it. Believe me. Don’t worry daddy. I
can handle it. I can take care of myself. I will miss you. Come on. I am going…”He
spoke rapidly or he was actually reciting and shook him off.
His eyes were sparkling with a kind of hope. Yes, it is a kind of hope. Hope for his new college life. Hope for everything in that big city. Making new friends, eating new food, even living without parents’ supervision. To think of these new things, Wang
totally forgot the man on the platform. He got on the train without looking back to his old father.
“Take it easy. He is a good baby, he can do it. Aha, he must become a very successful man in the future, and, eh, you can go to that big city to live with him at that time. How wonderful! ”
At that time, he thought he could. He was so proud of his brilliant son. He enjoyed others flattering him for bringing up such excellent baby.
“Sir, ticket, please.”
Tang looked up and the collector was already in front of him.
He had no idea when they can meet again. A week, a month, a year or never
Suddenly Tang was thrown back against the chair. The train wheels started to roll. He looked through the window Ming and the baby were still there. But they became more and more blurry. He could hardly see them through his tearful eyes. It is not the matter of the geographic distance that made this picture blurred, but the distance in their hearts. Tang dabbed his eyes and turned around.
“Your family?” the woman besides Tang asked.