Translator: Guy Gone Bad
On the third day of the Spring Festival, Yu Qinghuan and Huo Qu boarded the plane to Qinghuan’s hometown together with Yu Xin and Zhao Qingyuan.
When he heard his good friend was going back to County Tao, Zhao Qingyuan immediately claimed that he would follow for he was quite idle for the time being.
The relationship between him and Yu Qinghuan was no more than friendship. So Zhao Qingyuan’s agent didn’t give a shit about his artist got so close to Qinghuan. He even felt happy to keep away from that big trouble.
Zhao Qingyuan was obsessed with the canned yellow peaches from County Tao. From their departure, he had begun to pour out words about yellow peaches in Yu Qinghuan’s ear. Yu Xin, who felt bored about his nagging, distanced himself from Zhao Qingyuan.
They bought an early flight and arrived at the airport before dawn. After boarding the plane, Zhao Qingyuan, the verbal diarrhea, swallowed his words, pulled down the shade and released the seat to catch up on sleeping.
County Tao was quite an isolated hamlet. At first, Yu Qinghuan planned to take them to the downtown first after getting off the plane, and then departed from the city center to the village. Surprisingly, Zhao Qingyuan happened to have a friend there, so he made a call and asked his friend to give them a ride.
“He owns a private cafeteria.” Zhao Qingyuan wore a mask and scarf, covering his face tightly. He turned to Yu Qinghuan, “It’s almost noon. We could have a meal in his cafeteria.”
Yu Qinghuan nodded and agreed, “OK.”
His own house had been abandoned for many years, and now, it was not suitable to live in, let alone cook. Moreover, during the New Year vacation, every family had to go to relatives, so it was not good to bother his neighbors.
Yu Qinghuan wanted to set off after the meal in the city, visit the old village chief after sweeping his parents’ tomb, and then go back.
He told Zhao Qingyuan what he thought.
“That’s better. I’ll borrow his car and you can show me the way.”
After the deal was made, they led by Zhao Qingyuan’s friend to the cafeteria.
“You are welcome. Please take a seat. Feel free to order whatever you want. Qingyuan’s friends are mine.” Zhao Qingyuan’s friend wore a smilingly look, taking them to the balcony and said, “I’ll go and get you some fancy things.”
Zhao Qingyuan warned, “Chen Qi, don’t do anything strange again.”
“Don’t worry,” Chen Qi laughed and said to his ear, “Believe me, my friend. I’ll get you some Xiaoba fish.”
Hearing this, Zhao Qingyuan’s eyes immediately lit up.
When Chen Qi left, Yu Xin could not help but ask, “What is Xiaoba fish?”
Zhao Qingyuan rubbed his hands, “Pufferfish.”
Every February to April was the best season to eat pufferfish. A large number of people were willing to take risks in order to taste the legendary delicious flavor.
When Yu Xin heard this, his interest also soared up. He joined Zhao Qingyuan, waiting for the pufferfish to be served with their hands rubbing.
Their long-awaited pufferfish was the last to serve, and it was made into two dishes, Pufferfish Skin and Fried Pufferfish.
Those hungry wolves couldn’t wait to reach out their chopsticks as the dishes lay on the table. Yu Qinghuan had no appetite after rushing about. Seeing Pufferfish Skin not so oily and looked refreshing, he ate the dish first.
The first bite did not give him any special feeling. His second try still fail to please him.
Delicious, but not impressive.
Zhao Qingyuan and Yu Xin, however, had a special preference for these two dishes and frequently reaching out their chopsticks at them, making Yu Qinghuan almost think that he and they were not eating the same dish.
Huo Qu was still the same as before. He had no special preference for food and ate whatever he saw, so he did not need much attention to food.
Since they needed a driver to County Tao, all of them didn’t have alcohol. Being afraid of returning too late, they set off immediately after dinner.
Yu Qinghuan felt dizzy on the way, thinking it was airsickness plus carsickness, so he didn’t pay much attention. He closed his eyes and rested on the back seat.
However, the feeling of chest tightness and vertigo had not been relieved but increased.
Yu Qinghuan frowned. Just as he was about to ask Yu Xin if he had any plastic bags, Zhao Qingyuan suddenly shouted, “Qinghuan, you look serious. But, hey…”
He winked at Yu Qinghuan in the rearview mirror, looking very obscene.
“What?” Yu Qinghuan felt his heart throbbed faster and he felt uncomfortable all over. He pressed down the window and let the cold air from the outside blow in. Only then did he reply to Zhao Qingyuan.
“Look down at your neck,” said Qingyuan.
What did he mean?
Yu Qinghuan lowered the head inexplicably and immediately got a fright. A few little red dots crept on his neck neither rhyme nor reason.
Was it an allergy?
But he hadn’t been allergic to anything since he was young.
Afraid of Zhao Qingyuan’s brain thinking of some messy things, Yu Qinghuan tore open the collar and said, “Don’t talk nonsense, I may have a rash.”
After much pondering, he attributed the reason for climate sickness.
“What’s the matter?” Hearing this, Yu Xin immediately became nervous and looked back frequently.
Artists could never have rash cause they would never know how the media would picture them after being photographed.
“It’s okay,” Yu Qinghuan held Huo Qu’s hand and said with a smile, “I have been pampered these days and haven’t been back for many years. It must be climate sickness.”
Hearing this, Yu Xin breathed a sigh of relief. “If you feel bad, tell me, I’ll drive directly to the hospital.”
They had good luck. Although they left on a busy vacation day, the road conditions were quite good. They drove to County Tao in an hour and a half.
While in the city, Yu Qinghuan had already bought long incense and yellow paper and asked the clerk to help fold up the yellow paper, so he went directly to the cemetery.
According to Yu Qinghuan’s hometown custom, people who have died in an accident cannot have tombstones. Among the rows of dense tombstones, the two small tombs of Yu’s parents were extremely desolate.
Yu Xin and Zhao Qingyuan didn’t follow, leaving space for Qinghuan and Huo Qu.