A Rural life in the 70s-Chapter 5
Autumn returned to the hospital before dinner. When she approached the ward tent, she heard Aunt Yuhua’s loud voice, “…Hey, you all missed it. The head of the Revolutionary Committee was devastated like a blood gourd by his wife. Qu Mingqiang looked very decent, but he is a beast rather than a man. I heard that he is keeping dozens of women’s underwear in his house… Phew, how dirty…”
There should be only five… unexpectedly, they already became dozens in less than a half day. The gossip spread so fast.
Autumn smiled silently and lifted the curtain to walk in.
“Yuhua!” Grandma Wang stopped Aunt Yuhua who was talking excitedly and then said to Autumn with a smile, “Autumn, come in. Is your maternal grandfather better?”
Autumn pretended not to have heard the wonderful speech just now. She smiled and said, “I was not able to go to my maternal grandmother’s house… because when I passed by the supply and marketing agency, they were promoting expired milk powder without needing non-staple food tickets… I tried to squeeze in, but unfortunately, I did not have enough money, so I only bought one bag.” At this time, no one paid attention to the expiration of food. They even ate moldy steamed buns and rice when they were hungry.
“Oh, you got the milk powder? Your brother finally has food! I just told your mother that if she still had no milk, we could find a wet nurse.” Aunt Yuhua was surprised, and she could not help asking, “Autumn, have you seen the accident in the commune courtyard…”
Grandma Wang glanced at her daughter-in-law and smiled slightly. She said, “One bag is good enough… when your mother gets better, she will have breast milk, and your brother won’t have to drink the powdered milk. Breast milk is the best!”
Autumn answered with a smile. She went to Song Xiulian’s bed, took out a bag of milk, and put it on the bedside. Then she showed a flat oval bottle to Song Xiulian and said, “Mother, I managed to buy a milk bottle. The Aunt in the sales and marketing agency said that it was necessary to feed the baby.”
“Hey, Autumn is so thoughtful to buy a milk bottle on her way back!” Aunt Yuhua smiled and praised.
Autumn smiled back and shyly said, “This didn’t need a ticket… The bottle has a crooked mouth, so the Aunt discounted it. I only spent 23 cents!”
A brand-new glass bottle needed an industrial ticket and 80 cents. This price now was really low. Grandma Wang and Aunt Yuhua both praised her.
When Autumn blushed, her little brother woke up. She took the bottle to brew milk. Her little brother finally could have his first meal.
After dinner, Song Xiulian had a low fever.
Autumn had to find Zheng Qiushi and got her mother a few sets of Chinese medicine.
Then she went to the doctor’s office tent to prepare the medicine. To be exact, she was watching Zheng Qiushi brew the medicine because she only washed the jar in the beginning and took out the leaves in the end.
After drinking Chinese medicine, Song Xiulian began sweating, and her temperature was brought down. She had a good sleep without any fever relapse.
In the morning, Song Xiulian woke up and felt that her chest was hurting. She felt rejoiced when she untied her clothes and saw milk.
Autumn came back with breakfast and was very happy to know that Song Xiulian had milk. With milk, her younger brother would not be hungry and would grow up healthy.
After breakfast, Zheng Qiushi came to the house and informed that Grandma Wang and Song Xiulian were allowed to go home.
Autumn was happy, but she began to worry. Grandma Wang lived in Taiping Village, and they could go back with a large handcart.
Her house was in Sanhe Village, which was five or six miles from here. Moreover, she had no one else around. If her mother was discharged from the hospital, how could they go home?
While she was worried, the sky suddenly darkened and earth began shaking—It was a relatively large aftershock. Autumn caught the milk bottle quickly, but the empty jar had fallen on the ground and broke.
It didn’t last long and stopped in about ten seconds.
Autumn put down the bottle and picked up the enamel jar on the ground. She touched the crack and sighed. She felt very sorry for Doctor Hu… The porcelain bowl could be fixed but this could not.
Aunt Yuhua packed up their things and was ready to go. Before leaving, she told Autumn that she could come back soon and send them home.
Hearing this, Autumn became happy, but she felt a little sorry. Grandma Wang and Aunt Yuhua had helped them a lot during the past two days. In the cold weather, she didn’t want to bother her anymore.
“Thank you, Aunt Yuhua. I will go to my maternal grandmother’s house later to see if my uncle is at home. I will ask him to take us home…” Autumn said to decline Aunt Yuhua’s kindness.
“You shouldn’t be courteous with me. Just wait for me to come back!” Aunt Yuhua was resolute. She put on her scarf and left.
Grandma Wang smiled and said to comfort Autumn and her mother, “Well, don’t be so shy. My daughter-in-law has a big mouth, but she is enthusiastic. She will be uncomfortable if you treat her like an outsider.”
Autumn could not say anything anymore. Song Xiulian smiled and said, “We have brought you so much trouble these two days…”
At this time, Autumn’s younger brother woke up. She changed his diaper and fed him a little milk. After that, Autumn went to wash the bottle and the enamel jar. Although it was broken, she had to return it and apologize to Doctor Hu!
“Auntie Hu, I’m sorry. The jar fell on the ground when the earthquake happened, and it broke…” Autumn handed the jar to Doctor Hu and apologized.
When Doctor Hu saw her apologizing in such a serious manner, she could not help smiling. She said, “Don’t be silly. It is only a jar. It doesn’t matter. Hey, Autumn, you… you don’t have to buy a new one.”
Autumn was stunned, looking at the jar, and instantly widened her eyes… Where did this new jar come from? Where was the big crack? The small defects on it had gone as well.