After Mother passed away, my younger brother and I agreed that we wanted to have a step- mother. We hoped that Father could find a younger wife who could take care of him. Unexpectedly, he found a woman almost the same age as him, who looked even older than him.
When we had a meal with that woman, my brother and I intended to express our disagreement at the table, but to be polite, we did not say it out loud and waited to talk to our father alone after the meal.
Everyone at the table chatted as we ate. My chatty aunt told us about the past of Father and that lady. It turned out that she had been Father’s first love.
When they were young, both of them worked for a well- digging team. During work break, they always talked a lot with each other. When they finished work
in the evening, they walked home together. Talking about this, Aunt said to Brother and me that our mother would have been that lady if our grandfather had not died early, which left Father in poverty. We both frowned at Aunt’s words.
The old lady, Father’s first love, afterwards married a soldier, who, after leaving the army, became a worker and died two years ago.
After the meal, Father came to ask for our opinions. Both of my brother and I were in a dilemma. Originally, we wanted to express our disapproval, but she was our father’s first love, how could we disapprove seeing them so deeply attached to each other?
There seemed to be no way out, so we only confessed to Father our worry that the lady might be too old to take care of him. Hearing this, Father assured us that she would be able to take good care of him. Hence the marriage between them was settled.
The old lady had a house in the neighboring county, and Father has his own pension, so he relocated to live with her.
A few months later, my brother and I made a special trip to visit Father in the neighboring county. We were surprised to see our old father who used to be dressed slovenly wearing new clothes that were clean and tidy and a top hat typical of elderly urban gentlemen. His face was rosy, and his eyes shining.
My father turned eloquent and excited when talking about his life after the relocation. He told us that his new wife made three nutritionally balanced meals for him every day and bathed his feet before going to bed every night. As he talked, his face was beaming.
(From NewHorizon , September 2017. Translation: Chen Jiani)