Editor: Wahnsinniger Herrscher
Aunt Hua’s grandmother was older, in her nineties, and her ears were not very good. But she never enjoyed wearing hearing aids since she thought that they made her look unsightly like a little kid. So, she removed them. As a result, when she spoke, her voice sounded like thunder. It could even be heard several houses away.
She (Aunt Hua’s mom) was afraid that her mother’s thunderous tone would frighten Little Miaomiao. Similarly, she was fearful that Little Miaomiao’s reaction would hurt the old lady’s heart. She discussed this earlier with Aunt Hua, so she took the tablet and hid inside the bathroom to surreptitiously speak with Little Miaomiao.
After hearing her mother’s voice outside, Miaomiao’s grandmother was taken aback and whispered to Miaomiao, “My mother is calling me, I will talk with Miaomiao later.”
Then, she turned off the video call and simultaneously shouted to her mother, “Mom. Stop talking so loud. I’m coming out.”
After yelling, she realized that the video call hadn’t been turned off just now. So, she carefully said to Miaomiao, “My mother is hard of hearing. She can’t hear if not spoken to loudly.”
During this, they heard the thunderously resonant voice outside the bathroom, “Yulan! Why haven’t you come out yet? Why are you hiding inside the bathroom?”
After turning off the video call, Little Miaomiao realized that wasn’t afraid at all. She was her grandma’s mother.
She was called great-grandma because she is her mother’s grandmother.
Little Miaomiao cautiously and stealthily held Aunt Hua’s hand beside her. This was her…mother.
Aunt Hua held her hand and was relieved to see that Little Miaomiao really didn’t seem to be frightened.
Aunt Hua’s job wasn’t easy, and there were still many designs and drawings that she needed to work on. Luckily, her boss allowed her to work from home.
“Auntie has some work to do. Little Miaomiao, could you read a book until my work is finished?”
Aunt Hua put the book titled “Fairy Tales” onto her desk.
Little Miaomiao nodded.
In fact, even after letting her read the book, Aunt Hua couldn’t pry her eyes away from Little Miaomiao, who read the book and radiated a serious expression every once in a while.
Looking at the blank paper, Aunt Hua stood up quietly and departed for the study room nearby to continue working on the design.
In the living room, Little Miaomiao buried herself in the book of fairy tales. When she started to read Snow White’s story, the tablet next to her began to vibrate.
Little Miaomiao held the tablet and was about to take it to the study room and give it to Aunt Hua. The tablet stopped ringing before she even reached the study room’s door. The door was unlocked, so Little Miaomiao trekked inside the room. She noticed Aunt Hua drawing something with intense focus and acuity.
Little Miaomiao turned around and trekked out of the room. The tablet started to ring again.
This time, she trotted out to the balcony and squatted near the pomegranate plant. Then, she imitated Aunt Hua’s actions. Soon, the video call started.
A white-haired grandmother appeared on the screen. Squinting her eyes, she got closer to the screen and muttered, “Huh?”
Little Miaomiao remembered this voice. It was the voice of grandma’s mother. She summoned up her courage and asked, “Are you great-grandma?”
With each word, her voice sounded lower and lower, to the point where it became wholly inarticulate. She remembered her aunt and grandma mentioning that great-grandma was hard of hearing, and how her voice was too soft for her to hear.
“Juan’er, why are you calling me great-grandma?” Great-grandma asked incomprehensibly.
Little Miaomiao knew that Juan’er was Aunt Hua’s name. She looked at the old lady with a particularly puckered face, gathered up her courage and said, “I’m aunt’s daughter. Did something happen great-grandma?”
“Aunt’s daughter? Juan’er’s? Does she have a daughter? Oh, I remember now, Yulan told me about this. You are Little Miaomiao, right?”
Little Miaomiao replied with a hum. She felt that she should say more, but she didn’t know what to say.
On the other side, the great-grandmother continued to speak, “Yes, I came to the bathroom to start a video call with Miaomiao in secret. I am also wearing my hearing aids…how could I forget about them?”
Little Miaomiao blushed. Realizing that great-grandma specifically called to speak to her, she felt obligated to say something. But the more anxious she became, the less she knew what to say.
Great-grandma then asked, “Will Little Miaomiao come to celebrate Chinese New Year this year?”
Little Miaomiao blinked, “What is Chinese New Year?”
For some reason, nobody clarified what Chinese New Year was to her. This morning, she overheard Aunt Hua mentioning Chinese Year, and she became curious about it, but she didn’t ask.
Currently, she and great-grandma were speaking about it. Under such circumstances, she would naturally present her with this question.
Great-grandma explained, “On Chinese New Year, Miaomiao will wear new clothes. Then, she’ll eat savory food and be gifted with New Year’s money…Your mother had a hard time when she was a child…”
The old lady’s memory was a little confused. She cannot remember other people addressing Aunt Hua as aunt and not mother. She only remembers that Little Miaomiao was the daughter of her granddaughter.
Little Miaomiao listened to this information carefully.
“On Chinese New Year, when your mother was a child, she had two pigtails and ran as far as she could. She kept shouting grandma.”
Little Miaomiao digested this information carefully. She could already picture the scene in her head, but there was something that she couldn’t understand, “What’s a pigtail?”
“When the hair is braided, it’s called a pigtail.” Great-grandma continued, “Your mother liked to especially wear two braids during her youth. Does your mother comb your hair now?”
Little Miaomiao turned her head and was able to take a quick glance at her ponytail, “Mom combed it.”
As soon as she finished her statement, time froze for a bit. Because great-grandma continuously recognized Aunt Hua as her mother, Little Miaomiao did the same.
After she finished speaking, she found when she said the word “mother”, her mind formed a new image of Aunt Hua.
“Mom! Are you in the bathroom? Did you see my tablet?!” During this time, a loud knocking came upon the bathroom door.
“Don’t speak so loud!” Great-grandma shouted, “You’re going to make me deaf…”
Immediately afterwards, great-grandma said to Little Miaomiao, “Miaomiao, let’s converse again when we have time. Don’t tell anyone about this. They wouldn’t let me play with the tablet, isn’t it just a board?”
Then, Little Miaomiao watched her great-grandma, who had a puzzled expression, clicking everywhere on the screen.
Little Miaomiao stood up, and then…her legs felt numb. It’s almost as if someone was puncturing her legs with a needle.
During this time, Little Miaomiao heard her Aunt coming out of the study.
Little Miaomiao hugged the tablet and started to limp towards the sofa. But, since her legs were too numb, she fell down with a crash all of a sudden.
Aunt Hua heard a crashing sound and ran over to her. Seeing her on the floor, Aunt Hua immediately embraced her, “Are you okay? Did you get hurt?”
As Aunt Hua picked Little Miaomiao up, she still clasped the tablet in her arms. She saw that the screen was shattered into many pieces. The tears, which she suppressed until now, suddenly fell, “Broken…”
At first, she held the tablet in her arms since she was fearful that it would accidentally fall to the ground. But she never expected that she herself would fall. Because of that, the tablet was crushed under her weight and the screen was shattered into many pieces.