Shi Yan poured a cup of hot water for He Nuo. He faced He Nuo whose gaze was patrolling every inch of his body, then said, “Upset?”
He Nuo stood up and walked to the window, he looked outside with his back facing Shi Yan. He wasn’t the type who liked to shed tears in front of other people, and he was especially unwilling to let Shi Yan see him like this. But just one word from Shi Yan had shaken the place that He Nuo hid in his heart for many years: he actually knew that from the moment he was born, he would face many types of helplessness that he wouldn’t have the power to change.
Shi Yan quietly looked at He Nuo’s back, but he didn’t move. He waited until He Nuo adjusted his mood and walked back before he said, “Talk to me. It’s rare for our young master to have a temper, that grandson was pretty lucky to have seen it.”
“It’s nothing much. I was late, then he said a lot of unpleasant words. But when he talked about my parents, I couldn’t endure it anymore.”
“Why do you need to endure it? He Nuo, if we aren’t wrong, we don’t need to endure it.”
He Nuo looked at Shi Yan, then smiled bitterly.
“Why did you get so angry?” Shi Yan has never seen He Nuo get angry before. He had always been a rather gentle and subdued person. He wouldn’t be this stubborn if he hadn’t been pushed to the extremes.
“I don’t want my mother who had already passed away to still have to endure other people’s scolding,” He Nuo stopped, then turned around, “Although it’s true that I have a father but no mother to guide me, that’s only cause my mother had died because of me.”
Shi Yan’s hands had already been clenched into fists a long time ago. He did wonder if He Nuo had been provoked into reacting so strongly because of his mother, but he hoped that his guess was wrong. Because if that really was the reason, then He Nuo must have always shouldered the guilt of his mother’s death in his heart. That was the last thing that Shi Yan wanted to see, and he had paid attention to it before, but He Nuo had always been able to conceal it deftly. But now, he didn’t need to guess anymore. He Nuo probably understood very clearly why he was so detested at home, he just never talked about it.
Shi Yan decided to get rid of that damn burden of his once and for all. He grabbed He Nuo’s arms and forced him to look at him, “He Nuo, let me ask you. If your current mother passed away when she gave birth to your younger brothers, would you call your brothers murderers? Murderers who killed your mother?”
“I won’t, they would be too pitiful if I did.”
“He Nuo, listen carefully, and you need to remember this in the future. You are not a murderer who caused the death of your mother, and you did not kill your mother. You’re not allowed to say that your mother died because of you ever again in the fucking future.”
He Nuo’s eyes reddened instantly. For so many years, ever since he vaguely knew that his mother had died giving birth to him, he understood what kind of gaze other people were looking at him with, so he understood that no matter how he tries to not cause trouble for other people, he would still be hated. Shi Yan knows that with his personality, he wouldn’t like it if others saw him cry, so he said in a cheerful voice, “If you’re a fucking man then don’t smother yourself because of this. Did you read too many Chiung Yao novels1? Didn’t I say that you’ve been reading too many lousy books?”
“Then it must be because you watched ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’. And here I was wondering why you’re so narrow-minded.”
“I,” He Nuo wasn’t as eloquent as him, so he couldn’t refute that.
“Look, your mother already passed away so many years ago, yet you’re still blaming yourself like a fool here. Just think, would your mother really want you to think that you’re the one who caused her death? I think your mother would rather you think this: that she loves you, and that she hopes you can lead a happy and healthy life.”
“Of course. Our parents would definitely wish for our happiness, and to have a good life.”
He Nuo wore a bewildered and helpless expression on his face. He asked Shi Yan, “My mum thinks that way too?”
“Definitely. Your mother would definitely want to see you happy, and to see you laugh all the time.”
“But she has already passed away.”
“Which is why you’ll have to take her place and see all the things that she couldn’t see, have all the fun she couldn’t have, eat all the things that she couldn’t eat — especially the meat, prawns and crabs that she hasn’t tried………” And now Shi Yan was beginning to tease He Nuo as he saw his expression clearing up, “…marry the wife for her that she couldn’t marry…”
He Nuo punched him, “What kind of nonsense are you spouting, you’re making fun of my mother.” But a faint smile had already began to spread across his face.
Shi Yan caught his fist, then borrowed the momentum to pull on it and said sternly, “Tell me that you didn’t kill your mother.”
He Nuo understood Shi Yan’s intention and felt very moved, “I didn’t kill my mother.”
“You’re never allowed to even think that way in the future!”
With that answer, Shi Yan was relieved. He had just stood up to go get some water when He Nuo said, “Can you promise me one thing?”
He turned around to look at He Nuo, and with just that one look he knew. Shi Yan smiled, “Don’t worry about it.”
“I don’t want you to settle my affairs for me, don’t bully people again. I was at fault too.” He Nuo walked over.
“You weren’t wrong. That bastard needs someone to teach him how to talk like a human sooner or later.”
“Don’t go ma. Do you want him to not be able to face other people in the future?” He Nuo was worried that if Shi Yan went to teach that teacher a lesson, then his group of buddies who were eager to see the world plunge into chaos would go as well. Then the consequences of that would be unthinkable.
1. Chen Che, best known by her pen name Chiung Yao, is a Taiwanese writer and producer and often regarded as the most popular romance novelist in the Chinese-speaking world. ↩