A Rural life in the 70s-Chapter 4
Autumn didn’t feel tired until she felt hungry and then she realized that she hadn’t eaten and slept for one day and a half. After helping Song Xiulian lay down, she ate the other cornbread with the soup.
The cold cornmeal was very hard and very thick when swallowed, and Autumn felt a little pain in her throat. She had to drink water to rush down the hard bread. Then she took the jar and bowl outside to wash them and get some hot water in the kitchen.
When she walked out of the tent, she saw a jeep parked at the entrance of the hospital. At that time, the jeep of this military green canvas hood was very rare, and there were only one or two in a county. Autumn took a look and did not care.
When she came back with the hot water, her younger brother had just woken up, whimpering weakly like a kitten.
Autumn brewed a little bit of glucose water to feed her younger brother. He had a good appetite and sipped three or four small spoons before stopping. When Autumn looked at him, he was squinting his eyes slightly, and his mouth was moving while frowning… When Autumn opened his swaddling clothes, she found that he had actually pooped.
Changing her brother’s diapers, Autumn sighed. This was the first time he pooped!
Grandma Wang and Aunt Yuhua seemed very happy as if this kid had done a meritorious deed.
Autumn borrowed Grandma Wang’s washbasin to wash her brother’s dirty diapers. The water was cold and biting in December. When her hands touched the water, they hurt very much. When she finished washing the diaper, all her fingers were frozen like carrots, all red and almost numb.
She put her fingers under her arms to warm them up until she felt better, and then she went back with the washbasin when she heard someone calling her, “Hey, that’s the girl… Autumn!”
Hearing this, she turned around and saw Zheng Qiushi, the president, accompanied by a couple of middle-aged men and women coming toward her. The man who called her was President Zheng.
Autumn walked to meet them with the washbasin and asked, “Grandpa Zheng, can I help you?”
“Are you Autumn?” Li Xi bowed as she spoke, looking at Autumn face to face and smiled gently. “We are the parents of the injured boy who was sent to the hospital this morning… I heard that you saved him. We are very grateful. Thank you, Autumn!”
Zheng Qiushi said with a smile, “Autumn, this is the County Armed Minister Comrade Wu Haigang; this is his wife, the director of the county hospital surgery, Li Xi. They knew that you donated blood to Wu Ge. They came specially to thank you!”
Wu Haigang was less than forty years old with a medium build. He was wearing a green military uniform, with a straight back and open shoulders, just like a soldier. Li Xi was younger in her early thirties. She was fair-skinned, dignified and beautiful, and she always had a warm smile.
Although Autumn was a little surprised, she still greeted them, “Hello, Uncle Wu and Aunt Li! It is not a big deal. You don’t have to bother about that.”
Li Xi unexpectedly turned back. The couple looked at each other before they turned to Autumn. Li Xi said with a smile, “What a sweet child!”
Autumn smiled and turned to look at Zheng Qiushi, “Grandpa Zheng, if there is nothing else, I am going back!”
Seeing Zheng Qiushi nod, she bowed to them and turned back to the tent.
She exchanged a blood donation for her mother, so it was not for mercy. Even if she had saved someone, it was not a big deal. Although she had a difficult time at present, she would not ask anything in return for that.
Autumn returned to the tent and found that Song Xiulian and her younger brother were asleep. She hung the diaper to dry and whispered to Grandma Wang and Aunt Yuhua about the milk powder. Unexpectedly, it was not easy to buy milk powder in this period. She needed both a certificate and the non-staple food ticket.
Autumn listened while pondering. “Zheng Qiushi could write the certificate to her, but it was not easy to find a non-staple food ticket.”
Then Autumn suddenly thought of something, and she opened her mouth and laughed silently. Fortunately, her cunning, treacherous smile was not seen by Aunt Yuhua and Grandma Wang. Otherwise, the two would change their attitude toward her.
Seeing that it was still early, Autumn told Grandma Wang and Aunt Yuhua that she was going to visit her maternal grandmother and went out of the hospital. Then she noticed that the jeep of the Wu family had disappeared.
The health centers of Taiping Town and the communal compound, primary schools, and middle schools were close together. There was a river between the town and Taiping Village. There were government units on the west side of the river, and on the east, there was a residential area for ordinary people. The division was obvious.
Because of this layout, there were not many people in the west of the river.
Autumn did not go to her maternal grandmother’s house on the east side. Walking out of the hospital through the road, she walked into the commune compound across the road. As she expected, people in the commune were assisting in the disaster relief caused by the earthquake. Even while Autumn walked through the two rows of bungalows in front and walked to the dormitory area behind, she saw no one.
Following her memory to the right, then finally, she heard someone in the east wing talking.
“Secretary, shall we send all the oils and meat to Director Qu? The Spring Festival is coming…”
The other voice sounded irritated. “No. Director Qu said before leaving that he would come back sooner or later today… Moreover, do you know if Qu has any other use for these things?”
The previous voice said, “Yes, yes, you really can read the leader’s mind!”
Autumn heard it under the window and left quietly. She went to the dormitory.
Because it was the last row of houses and behind them was the courtyard wall. The corridor behind the house looked deserted; bricks and tiles were laying about and withered grass in some places.
Autumn was short, and when she bent down, no one in the house could see her outside even standing in front of the window. She sneaked into the back of the middle of the row of houses, kneeling under the wall and waiting patiently.
Since the weather was very cold, and she was hiding in the shade behind the house, Autumn felt really cold. She didn’t dare to make a sound so that she had to curl up like a farmer.
Finally, before Autumn was frozen, some noises were sounding in a room on the left side. She glanced from the window and saw the chunky secretary entering the room, putting a bucket of oil and a heavy fertilizer bag behind the door…
Autumn had to shrink back, and then she smiled. Thanks to these two people, she found what she needed.
Waiting until Autumn heard the sound of the door, she stood up—Qu Mingqiang was the one who led people to criticize and denounce her maternal grandfather, having his legs broken as punishment!
Ten minutes later, Autumn looked at the big bucket of oil, a large piece of meat, two bags of white flour, and sighed. She turned around and jumped out of the window lightly. She had found so many things: a stack of money, clothing tickets, food tickets, non-staple food tickets, industrial tickets, and a bicycle ticket! She also found some proof that could take Qu Mingqiang down!
Autumn quickly cleaned the scene and jumped out of the window. She brushed back the traces on the window, scattering a few bricks and clapped her hands, grinning and laughing.
The next thing to do was to send a message to Director Qu’s wife!