Chapter 69 – After going home

After a long journey of six hours, I finally arrived in Xuzhou, my long-lost hometown. I remember the last time I came back was before the New Year last year, and more than half a year has passed in a blink of an eye.

Carrying my luggage, I walked out of the train station, immediately blinded by the afternoon sun. The air still had the familiar scent, a unique smell that belonged only to Xuzhou.

In front of the train station square, I followed the crowded crowd towards the rows of fruit stalls by the roadside. I opened my wallet, only to find a little over 100 yuan left. This last bit of money was the material gain from my two years in Suzhou.

I bought some fruits and two packs of cigarettes. The fruits were for Mr. Ban and my mother, and the cigarettes were naturally for myself.

Carrying the fruits, smoking a cigarette, with my luggage on my back and the remaining 36 yuan in my pocket, I walked along the left side of the road towards the bus stop. These were all I had to show when facing my mother and Mr. Ban.


After a 20-minute ride on the bus, I finally stood at the door of my home. I raised my hand twice but couldn’t press the doorbell, because I didn’t know how to face them or explain why I came back.

“Zhao Yang?” A voice, unsure if it was mine, suddenly rang in my ear.

I turned around and saw my mother standing behind me with a basket of vegetables. She must have gone to the supermarket to buy discounted vegetables in the afternoon.

I laughed and said, “Mom, your son is back.”

My mother smiled, opened the door, and asked me, “Why did you suddenly come back? Do you have a long holiday recently?”

I still used a feigned relaxed tone and said, “Mom, I won’t go back to Suzhou this time. I’ll stay in Xuzhou and accompany you. It’s about time I fulfilled my filial duties!”

My mother is a person without a temper, but my words still made her frown. She put down the basket and asked me, “Weren’t you doing well at work there? Did you quit your job? Why can’t you settle down?”

“Mom, it’s not about whether I can settle down or not. Besides, haven’t you always wanted me to come back to Xuzhou? Now that I’m back, shouldn’t you be happy?”

“If you had come back two years earlier, your father and I would definitely be happy. But now you’re not young anymore, and you don’t even have a girlfriend… How can we be happy?” My mother’s tone was very displeased.

“Mom, my dear mom, stop nagging me. I came back this time to settle down and enjoy life. I promise to work hard, find a girl to date, and let you hold a grandson in a year or two! You and dad will be so happy!”

My mother looked at me with a mix of annoyance and amusement, and after a while, she said, “You’re still not serious. Wait until your father comes back, I want to see how you explain to him.”

I still laughed and said, “Maybe Mr. Ban can’t wait for me to come back. He might even bring out the old Chen wine he’s been saving for over a decade to celebrate!”

“I doubt it!” My mother said, picking up the basket and heading to the kitchen. She asked me, “Have you eaten yet? I’ll make you a bowl of noodles.”

“No need, let’s wait for Mr. Ban to come back and have dinner together. I’ll just eat some fruit for now.”


Before dusk, I had settled my luggage and made my bed. Feeling the warmth of home, I gradually forgot the heaviness in my heart, but I was still worried about my future life. After experiencing the setbacks of life, I no longer looked forward to the future as I once did, but was more worried. For example, if my mother now introduces a girl to me through someone, I don’t even have the money to invite her to dinner. How can I look forward to the future in such a predicament!

After a short nap, I heard the sound of the door opening, and then my mother called out to me, “Zhao Yang, your father is back. Get up and eat.”

I responded and ran to the living room in my slippers, and sure enough, I saw Mr. Ban carrying a fishing rod and a fish basket.

I quickly took the fishing gear from Mr. Ban’s hand and said with a smile, “Mr. Ban, you caught quite a lot of fish today. Let’s have my mom cook the fish and make a dish to go with the wine.”

Mr. Ban nodded, then asked with confusion, “Why did you suddenly come back?”

“You ask my mom.”

“Did your mom ask you to come back?”

“No, I’ve already told my mom why I came back. We have a generation gap, you and my mom communicate better.” I laughed nervously. The reason I didn’t want to tell Mr. Ban myself was that I was afraid he would get angry. Although he seemed dull, he was actually a temperamental middle-aged man.

Mr. Ban looked at my mother again, and my mother succinctly said, “He quit his job. He said he wants to stay in Xuzhou and accompany us old folks.”

Mr. Ban didn’t care about me quitting my job, but frowned and asked, “I thought you were getting along well with that girl. What will she do if you come back to Xuzhou?”

Mr. Ban suddenly mentioned Mi Cai, and I felt a strange feeling in my heart. But I comforted myself, thinking that every cloud has a silver lining. Although I indirectly lost my job because of her, maybe it’s a new beginning in Xuzhou, and I can live a decent life from now on.

I rarely called Mr. Ban “dad”, and said with a bitter face, “Whether I come back to Xuzhou or not has nothing to do with her. We are just normal friends. You’ve been to Suzhou twice, and I’ve emphasized it twice. How could you forget?”

Mr. Ban was silent for a while, then said, “I don’t understand you young people!”I didn’t respond to Mr. Ban’s words, and he didn’t seem as upset as I had imagined about my decision to quit my job and return to Xuzhou. This was understandable, after all, they were my parents. How many parents in the world wouldn’t want their children to stay by their side? So, I could rest assured and live a good life in Xuzhou.


During dinner, the whole family sat together. Mr. Ban even took out his treasured old Chen wine, and both of us poured a glass.

I toasted Mr. Ban with a glass of wine, and then cautiously asked, “Mr. Ban, you’re not upset that I quit my job and came back to Xuzhou, are you?”

“No matter how good the job is, it’s useless if you can’t save money. It’s the same in Suzhou or Xuzhou.”

Mr. Ban’s words made me feel a bit ashamed, so I quickly made a solemn promise, “Xuzhou and Suzhou are not the same. With you and mom supervising me, I will definitely not waste a single penny. I will hand over my monthly salary to you two for safekeeping.”

Mr. Ban and my mother both remained silent. I didn’t know if they were skeptical about my future or dissatisfied with my past.

I had nothing to be embarrassed about with my own parents, so I took the opportunity to say, “Mr. Ban, could you possibly arrange a job for me at your workplace?”

Mr. Ban put down his chopsticks and looked at me. Without a moment’s hesitation, he said, “You’ll have to figure out the job situation on your own.”

Mr. Ban’s rigid attitude made me a bit flustered, and I said, “You’re my real father, can’t you consider it before giving me an answer? After all, you’re a deputy section chief. Even a job managing documents in your section would be fine! I promise to work hard and not embarrass you. Isn’t that acceptable?”

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