Wei & Young Wei - End
Robert J. BAUMANN
walked with Gao along the road until we reached his home.
while I helped Gao into his house with his packages. It
took a few
as Gao asked me to help him store away his food. He would
where it was placed, so he could find it again easily.
I followed his
did not have the chance to make conversation on the way
was silent, and neither I nor Gao knew where to begin
seeming to disturb the atmosphere of thought that Grandfather
absorbed in. Nothing was said about the second melon or
be refunded from it. As we stored the groceries away,
Gao spoke first.
Bin Su at the marketplace, Wei, what does she look like?"
She has a good smile. I do not think she is so young,
but I am sure
was very pretty when she was my age. Are you in love,
A blind man like me does not fall in love, Wei. If you
fall in love,
get hurt by reality easily enough. Beautiful or ugly,
no woman wants
like me, Wei. I know I will always live alone this way."
afraid to love her, aren't you?"
I should have asked Old Wei to help me inside. At least
he has no questions
has no questions for anyone. The way he walked towards
home is just the
he walked to the market. We never talk. He is almost as
silent at home.
think words bother him. If they were like Yen, he'd be
rich because he'd
them all and never use them."
is a very quiet man. He thinks but does not speak. I find
that more uncomfortable
than you. I sense people by their sound, and I am comforted
that sound. If they are silent, then they are like living
in the company
ghosts, and how can a blind man know when a ghost is in
ghost would find a way to make some noise, Gao. Grandfather
ten minutes of silence until we reach home."
think I want to ask him why we went to the marketplace
today. We bought
to carry back."
he just wanted some exercise, Wei. Too bad the melons
he bought were
good. Didn't he want you to get good melons?"
I was just supposed to get his money back."
but you never asked Bin Su for a refund. Why?"
did not buy them from her. I am sure of that."
why did he want them to be returned?"
is another one of my questions Gao. I wonder if he will
ever tell me."
nodded his head and we continued to unpack all the groceries
When we were finished I held Gao's hand and made my farewells.
began walking away as soon as he saw me close Gao's door
to run to catch up to him. I called out to him and he
paused for a moment
and then walked on. I reached his side and was breathing
did not return the second melon. I threw it away."
grunted and walked on, staring down the road and doing
ignore me. I did an unpardonable thing. I touched his
sleeve and repeated
did not return the second melon. I threw it away. Are
you angry with me?"
did you learn today?"
What did I learn today? I---I am not sure what you mean."
about it. You tell me what you learned and I will tell
you if I am
Grandfather said to think about something, he was serious.
to think about things for days before answering him. When
questions they were not the kind for immediate replies.
be answered simply did not require a question. What a
he was. I was a boy and he treated me like a man. He did
from the very
day we moved in to live with him. He treated mother the
was not his child, just his daughter. In all the days
we lived in his
I can honestly say I never knew what he felt about us.
I did not know
he felt about us. It was one of those maddeningly simple
never asked. On that day, by the road as we entered home
I wanted to
him if he loved me. I didn't. I was supposed to know the
next day at school I saw Chen Guo. His mouth was still
punch I had landed. The talkative Chen Guo, silenced by
a lucky punch
I had thrown at him when he began to taunt and annoy me.
suffer so much at not being able to talk, I felt nothing
hit him first and he never saw it coming. I was very remorseful.
I cried out, "wait a minute." He turned to see
me running toward
" I know you cannot speak. I just wanted to apologize
to you. I did
mean to do this to you."
eyes rolled in disbelief and he shook his head and began
"No, really, Chen. You have to believe me. I am sorry.
I want to apologize
to you. I---I have been thinking about what happened.
what was done to you, but please give me the chance to
make it up to
looked straight past me. " I---I was thinking that
I might go to help
family after school. If they will let me, I will ask them
to let me
chores. You will be free to read or rest. It is up to
you. I will come
your home every day, until you are better. I will not
go home until your
is done. I asked our teacher if this would be a good idea
and he said
shook his head back and forth. At first I thought he was
and my heart sank. When he looked up at me, there was
a smile on his
or at least the best smile he could manage. I knew it
hurt him, but
was amused at my offer. He gave me his hand and we shook
on our agreement.
two months, after school was out, I did all of Chen's
chores, and family errands. When they were done, I arrived
my own. The day was late when I finished. Some nights
I had no energy
study, I'd just collapse in bed.
the two months were over I told Grandfather exactly what
I had learned
that day we went to the marketplace. He put his hands
on my shoulders
and nodded his head. It was one of the few moments that
pleased him, even if he never said so.
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