Xu is the son of my uncle’s daughter. Graduated from a medical school, he is a doctor in the capital city. I know of him, but rarely talked to him until the spring of 2016. He is tall and has a figure of over 1.8 m in height. His eyes are small, and hidden after a pair of big glasses, they flickered with an air of melancholy. Sitting by my side in the dinner table that night, he was very reticent. But the exchanges between us were amicable enough, and I remember him as a young kind kid.
His melancholy, contrary to his sister, who is more gaily, reminded me of the family’s past. Xu’s mom, my cousin Ying, was married off to the son of the cadre, the best family in the village at the time more than 30 years ago. Their marriage was coveted and complimented by the villagers, as the family was well-respected and wealthy in the village. The bridegroom was tall and handsome, an image Xu looks much after. They had some good time together. Ying later gave birth to two children, Xu and his elder sister Yue. Then the dad started his own small business. But it did not last long before it went out of business, and fell under heavy debt to the creditors. Misfortune did not come singly. The dad had a stroke from chronic heavy drinking, and was paralyzed and bed-ridden when Xu was about ten years old.
Mom told me that in early years, Xu and his sister were sent to his aunt’s home in the city for better education.
I don’t know how much impact his childhood experience had on his personality, or if his dad’s decadeslong paralysis steered him into the medical course.
The second time I saw him was also at a restaurant, on the second day of Chinese New Year in 2019. Out of the four tables in a large lounge, we were sitting on the same table for dinner. He was quiet across the table, drinking and eating, and by the middle of the dinner, his face was as red as a boiled lobster from the alcohol. Then a niece approached us, putting a picture on the table. It was a picture of a pretty young girl. Everybody was craning for a peek, joking and complimenting. She turned out to be the daughter of my high school classmate, who also works in the capital city in Chinese medicine field. Amid the comments and laughter, Xu remained placid. His red face was nonchalant. He took a mere look out of politeness and said nothing afterwards. When pushed for a reply, he said dryly that he would consider it after he was back to work in the city.
Upon leaving the restaurant, I told his mom his reaction to an attempted matchmaking. The mom, well aware of his attitude, sighed in dismay, telling me that he already turned down quite a few girls who are in possession of houses in the city.
Was he being choosy? Promising or enviable his career may look, he is not paid well in the first few years, unable to afford the hefty house in the city. His life is hectic too, bombarded with heavy clinic and research activities.
I added him to my Wechat. In his Moments, I found copious traditional Chinese poems, so well-versed and rhythmed that I was left in awe. He is also an amateur photographer, traveling around with his backpack and a camera. He trekked out alone to the mountain top to watch the midnight sky. Pictures of operated chickens or pigs were taken, blood veins analyzed under the microscope. In a world where most young people go with the fad and trend, he clings to his own belief or liking. He might sound like a loner, a young man of few words, but his inner world is as bountiful as the starry sky he likes to gaze upon.
回复 '7grizzly' 的评论 :You are welcome, my friend. Oh, good that you like his style. I did not read any novels recently, except some short stories of O Henry.
回复 '暖冬cool夏' 的评论 : Thanks again. I just started reading Maugham and enjoyed his style.
回复 '7grizzly' 的评论 : Thanks, my friend, for reading and comments. Actually, I don't know his English level, and if he likes reading English literature or not. I understand you as we both benefit from learning the second language.Your last post is really great! Happy reading and writing!
> as red as a boiled lobster
Like the analogy.
Xu might like English in addition to the Chinese poems. They might open a door for him, as English literature did for me.