A Lucky Coin

A Lucky Coin

Chapter 13 - Chapter 13

Yan Hang's mood was indeed not very good. To be precise, his mood could easily turn sour. Just spacing out for twenty minutes could send him spiraling down.

His emotions were quite fragile, and generally, he didn't dare to provoke himself.

After saying those words today, he originally thought he would feel much more at ease, at least having thrown the question in front of his dad, instead of the two of them tacitly avoiding the topic for so many years, pretending to ignore the thorn stuck between them.

But he didn't feel relieved. Instead, he felt a few more hints of resistance and unease.

"Why didn't you go back to eat?" Yan Hang looked at Chu Yi who was focused on cutting the meat.

"Wanted to, to invite you, to eat." Chu Yi lowered his eyelids.

"Then why didn't you say so yesterday, or this morning?" Yan Hang asked.

Chu Yi didn't speak, stuffing a piece of steak into his mouth, pretending to be very invested in chewing.

"Got blocked by someone, right?" Yan Hang clicked his tongue twice.

"No," Chu Yi shook his head, "It's to pre-, prevent getting, blocked."

"Is it that Li Dahao?" Yan Hang asked.

Chu Yi glanced at him: "Zi."

"Oh." Yan Hang didn't really remember this name, always thinking of him as Small Thug No. 1.

"Not him," Chu Yi said, "No need, to avoid him."

"Then it's another group?" Yan Hang sighed.

"From the next, building," Chu Yi said, "The missing thu-, thugs have re-, returned."

Yan Hang looked at him, and after a while asked: "They're giving you trouble?"

"If they see me, they'll want, want to find, some fun," Chu Yi was quite calm, "If they, don't see, it's fine."

"Never mind those useless classmates of yours," Yan Hang said, "If this person gives you trouble, tell me."

"You fight," Chu Yi took a sip of his drink, "Always, win?"

"Never lost," Yan Hang smiled, "I guess when I'm about to lose, I'll call my dad."

"Huh? Un-, Uncle helps you, fight?" Chu Yi was a bit surprised.

"Yeah," Yan Hang leaned back in his chair, tilting his head back, "Sometimes we're too bored."

Yan Hang had never seen this thug Chu Yi mentioned, but when he went to the small supermarket to buy groceries after work, he could instantly recognize this person from the crowd with a single glance.

Perhaps it was because he had been to too many places and seen too many people. Different kinds of people would have different kinds of gazes and different kinds of auras. If you paid a bit of attention, you could notice. It's just that most people were too busy to stop and look around.

This thug was a skinny, tall guy. He was squatting on the roadside smoking with a few buddies, looking no different from idle youths.

But when Yan Hang walked past them, he took a glance, and instantly several people all stared over at the same time.

As if they were all shouting in unison, what are you looking at, come on, let's fight!

Yan Hang withdrew his gaze and entered the supermarket.

It was normal for Chu Yi to avoid this kind of thug. They were not on the same level as his middle school classmates who were studying in strictly managed schools.

This kind of person couldn't be endured just by Chu Yi's silent response.

Yan Hang got off work early today. After buying groceries, he carried them home. Checking the time, it was just about when Chu Yi should be coming back from school.

He looked out the window.

"What is it?" Dad was playing Fight the Landlord on his phone. He took a moment to ask him, "Waiting for Chu Yi?"

"If he comes back at this time, he might have trouble." Yan Hang said.

"Go wait for him at the intersection then," Dad said, "Hero Yan."

"You wash the rice and start cooking first," Yan Hang turned to look at him, "We're having rice today. I'll stir-fry a couple dishes later."

"I want to eat Western food." Dad said.

"You might as well just say you don't want to cook." Yan Hang said.

"Our prince is so smart," Dad started laughing, "Nothing escapes your eyes."

"I want to eat stir-fry." Yan Hang insisted.

"Okay, okay, I'll go cook after I lose this round," Dad said, "You forgot to buy alcohol."

"Yeah, I'll go buy it now." Yan Hang took another glance out the window and opened the door to head out.

At this time, a few students had already started passing by on the street. Yan Hang looked towards the supermarket. That thug was no longer squatting there. He was strolling towards the intersection with a few buddies.

The way he walked made Yan Hang very uncomfortable, like a crab with a limp leg, as if afraid that if he walked with his legs tucked in, people wouldn't be able to tell he was a thug.

Two high school-looking boys passed by them. The crab flicked his cigarette butt towards one of their faces.

The boy turned his head in anger. The crab's group immediately turned around. It was clear they were in high spirits. As long as the other side showed the slightest resistance, they would pounce.

The boy's classmate pulled him, and the two left.

The conflict didn't escalate, probably making the crab unhappy. He continued walking forward, swinging his legs and cursing.

Yan Hang arrived at the intersection before them. More and more students were heading home now. Yan Hang searched for Chu Yi among these students.

No need to look at the groups of students. Chu Yi would only be among them when he was being bullied. These past few days, Li Zihao's squad hadn't given him trouble, so he must be alone.

But after looking for a while, he still didn't see Chu Yi.

If Chu Yi hadn't passed by yet, then it could only be because he was too short to be seen.

The crab also arrived at the intersection, leaning against a signpost and chatting with people.

The intersection was quite wide. Yan Hang stood on this side. The crab didn't see him. Otherwise, with his boredom, he'd probably come over to give him trouble.

Just as he was about to call Chu Yi, his phone beeped with an incoming message.

It was from Chu Yi.

-What are you standing there for?

Yan Hang raised his eyebrows. This kid turned invisible?

He lifted his eyes to look around. The intersection was a T-junction. Heading out was a bustling main road with many people and cars. Chu Yi could only be hiding somewhere across the street, but after looking for a while, he still couldn't find him.

"You turned invisible?" Yan Hang sent a voice message.

-I'm behind a tree

Tree? Yan Hang was stunned for a moment. There was a row of trees across the street. When he looked at the fourth one, an arm suddenly stretched out from behind the tree and waved.

"What the hell?" Yan Hang couldn't help but laugh. He put his phone back in his pocket and crossed the street.

Chu Yi didn't want to get into a conflict with the crab. As long as the crab didn't actively cause trouble, Yan Hang had no intention of sticking his neck out for him. So after crossing the street, Yan Hang stood by a tree, looking straight ahead at the store windows along the road.

"How long are you going to stand here?" he asked.

"If I wasn't waiting for you, I would have left long ago." Chu Yi faced the tree.

"Where are you heading?" Yan Hang asked.

"Taking a detour is fine," Chu Yi glanced at him, "Are you grocery shopping?"

"I'm done shopping, just out for a walk," Yan Hang said, "Let's go together, I'll see how we can detour."

Chu Yi didn't say anything. He peeked out from behind the tree with one eye to look at the crab across the street, then turned and continued walking along the road.

Yan Hang followed, "Is there a supermarket around here? I want to buy some alcohol later."

"Yes, I'll take you there." Chu Yi nodded.

Yan Hang followed Chu Yi as they circled more than half way around this residential area, returning to the road they always passed when jogging.

"So this is where we end up after going around?" He looked at the surroundings.

"Amazing, right." Chu Yi said, pointing to the side, "Supermarket."

"How long are you going to keep running and hiding like this day after day?" Yan Hang went in and bought two bottles of erguotou*.

*T/N: A brand of Chinese wine.

"Once I graduate, it'll be fine," Chu Yi smiled, "I'll go find work."

"They don't allow hiring child labor now," Yan Hang said, "You can only get a fake ID, but looking at you, it's obvious you're underage, definitely won't work."

"Oh." Chu Yi was stunned for a moment.

"At least finish high school," Yan Hang said, "Any vocational school or technical school will do."

"Makes sense," Chu Yi suddenly seemed a bit excited, "If I test into a technical school far away, no one will recognize me there."

"What do you want to study?" Yan Hang asked.

"Don't know." Chu Yi didn't seem to care much what he studied.

Yan Hang felt that as long as it allowed him to leave his current environment, Chu Yi probably wouldn't mind even if he went to study manual labor.

After roaming in his happy imagination for a while, Chu Yi took something out of his pocket, "For you, to take a look."

"You want me to look at it?" Yan Hang took it, "I thought you were giving it to me, your stuttering is quite skillful."

"Giving you this would be too shabby." Chu Yi said.

Yan Hang looked at the small object in his hand. It was a small black stone, ground into a hexagonal shape, and surprisingly finely polished.

"Impressive," Yan Hang scratched the stone with his fingernail, it was quite hard, "What did you use to grind this?"

"On the ground." Chu Yi said.

"...You squatted on the ground and rubbed it?" Yan Hang was quite surprised, "You have a lot of time."

"Took me a week during self-study periods." Chu Yi smiled.

"What material is your school's classroom floor made of?" Yan Hang asked.

"Outside," Chu Yi said, "When there's self-study with no teacher, I go out."

"Oh." Yan Hang responded, roughly able to guess why Chu Yi was like this.

"Do you like it?" Chu Yi asked a bit hesitantly.

"Didn't you say you weren't giving it to me?" Yan Hang said.

"If I polish it a bit more, it will look good." Chu Yi scratched his head.

"Then give it to me when you're done polishing it," Yan Hang said, "I'll drill a hole and make it into an anklet."

"Okay." Chu Yi nodded quite happily and glanced at Yan Hang's ankle again.

"What are you looking at," Yan Hang grabbed his pant leg and lifted it, revealing his ankle, "Perfect, even a bottle cap would look good on it."

Chu Yi didn't say anything and applauded him.

"Jerk," Yan Hang pointed at him and patted his shoulder, "Alright, it's safe now, hurry home."

After waving goodbye to Chu Yi, before even turning the corner, Yan Hang's mood had already slid all the way down, anxiously shrinking at rock bottom.

But carrying the alcohol back home, as soon as he entered the door and saw his dad sitting on the sofa picking vegetables, with the fragrance of rice in the room, he felt a sense of reassurance.

This alternating tense and relaxed mood made it a bit hard for people to control.

"Can you make another meat patty, baby?" Dad asked.

"Sure." Yan Hang put the alcohol on the table and went into the kitchen.

"Add curry--" Dad called out from the living room.

"Okay--" Yan Hang responded.

He didn't know when he started to enjoy cooking, both Chinese and Western cuisine. Standing by the counter looking at the ingredients in front of him, what each one tasted like, what kind of aroma they would have together, what colors they would create when combined, what flavors you wanted, it could all be foreseen and controlled.

Compared to many other things, it was much more simple and straightforward.

Making the stir-fry dishes today was quite effortless. Before long, he had prepared three dishes and a soup and brought them to the table.

Curry meat patties, three cup chicken, sweet and sour pork ribs, except for a seaweed and egg drop soup, it was all meat.

Dad took out two glass tea cups and filled them both to the brim with alcohol.

Yan Hang sat down. As soon as he put a piece of pork rib in his mouth, Dad had already picked up his cup and downed a big mouthful of alcohol.

"Slow down." He glanced at his dad.

"Eat big mouthfuls, drink big bowls, we only live these few decades." Dad smiled.

"Aren't our goals to live past a hundred?" Yan Hang picked up his cup and took a sip of alcohol.

Compared to erguotou, he preferred beer, but Dad's favorite was erguotou, and the cheapest kind at that.

Dad laughed and took another sip, then slowly ate a piece of meat patty. After a long while, he said another sentence, "I've held you back."

This inexplicable sentence made Yan Hang's chopsticks, ready to pick up food, pause in midair, "Why are you talking like your daughter can't get married off?"

Dad immediately laughed, looking at him, "It would be great if you were a daughter."

"Why didn't you have two kids back then? Maybe if you had another, it would have been a girl." Yan Hang said.

Dad's smile froze for a moment. Yan Hang felt that his words may have been inappropriate, but he suddenly didn't know how to take them back.

He could only lower his head and take a sip of alcohol.

"Yeah," Dad picked up his cup, "It's mainly... there was no chance anymore."

Yan Hang looked at the alcohol in his cup without speaking.

"When your mom died, you weren't even two years old. I wanted to wait until you were a bit older, but didn't have the chance." Dad smiled.

It seemed Dad had no intention of eating tonight, just drinking was enough.

Perhaps to speed up the "chat", he ate a small half of the meat pie and had already drunk most of the glass of wine, refilling it for himself.

"You are indeed my son, you really know how to keep your cool," Dad said, "It's been so many years and you're only asking now."

Yan Hang didn't say anything, just kept his head down drinking a few sips and continuing to eat.

"When I was young, life was quite hard," Dad said, "I can't even remember where your grandparents were from, I only knew that I was worried every day about how to survive, daring to do anything for money."

"If you had known earlier that life would be quite good now, there would have been no need to worry back then." Yan Hang said.

Dad started laughing, reaching over to pat him on the head: "You little rascal."

After taking another sip of wine he sighed: "Is life good now?"

Yan Hang was silent.

"Your mother, actually wasn't very good-looking," Dad curled his lip, "She was quite tall, had white skin, really not good-looking."

The topic suddenly changed without any warning, Yan Hang raised his head, looking at Dad.

This was the first time in all his life that he heard Dad mention Mom.

Indescribable feelings surged in his heart, a bit of excitement, but not as excited as he imagined, because he had no concept of Mom, no emotional attachment, he even for a moment had a kind of curiosity as if exploring a stranger.

But underneath all this, there was still a faint aura.

This quite tall woman with white skin who wasn't good-looking, was his mom, his closest relative.

Once this kind of feeling welled up, everything changed.

He suddenly felt like crying a little.

"But her personality was especially interesting, like a wild donkey." Dad laughed.

"Is it appropriate for you to describe your wife like this?" Yan Hang also laughed.

"It's fine, I say this to her face too," Dad held his glass, the wine already half gone again, "Wild and stubborn..."

Dad's voice lowered: "Insisted on marrying me."

"Have you no shame?" Yan Hang said.

"No more shame," Dad said softly, "With her, what more shame do I need."

Yan Hang didn't say anything.

There was a slight tremble in Dad's voice.

After a good while, he tilted his head back and drank all the wine in the glass, while pouring more wine he spoke again, his voice steady once more: "Your maternal grandparents, they treated me quite well, I helped deliver goods for the supermarket downstairs from their home, and helped them move an old fridge, that's how we met, the two of them loved to lecture people, every time they saw me they would lecture me over and over, forcefully lending me books to read."

Hearing this Yan Hang laughed: "That bit of knowledge in your belly, it was all stored up from that time right?"

"Yeah, your mom was uneducated, unwilling to read, all the books in her home were read by me." Dad said with a smile.

"Then what happened?" Yan Hang asked.

"Then we had a falling out, said we would never see each other again until we were old and dead," Dad's smile disappeared, "And we really never saw each other again until they were old and dead."

"Why?" Yan Hang asked again.

"Because I married your mom," Dad sighed, "It would have been better if I hadn't married her, she wasn't good-looking anyway, if I had just gritted my teeth and not married her it would have been better."

Yan Hang looked at Dad's hand gripping the glass, his knuckles white from the force, the wine in the glass gently rippling with tiny waves, it was clear his hand was shaking badly.

"Do you want to know how your mom died?" Dad asked.

"Yeah." Yan Hang softly replied, suddenly feeling a bit of regret.

"That day you were sleeping especially well-behaved, so the two of us hurried out to eat some barbecue, when we finished eating and were heading back," Dad turned his head to look at him, "Someone stabbed a person on the street, and robbed them too."

Yan Hang's heart suddenly sank.

"Your mom just charged over, especially fierce, she was always especially fierce, she wasn't a donkey, a donkey couldn't compare to her," As Dad spoke he started laughing, "I hurried over too, this kind of thing I should be the one handling."

Yan Hang sat frozen in his chair listening to Dad's laughter slowly disappear.

"I was stabbed a few times," Dad said, "When I woke up your mom was lying beside me, when I held her hand she was already completely cold..."

"Did they catch the person?" Yan Hang asked with some difficulty.

"No," Dad looked at him, "But I remember what that person looked like."


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