Chapter 131: Asking for Ration Money
Old Madam Zhang gritted her teeth in anger when there was no further activity after the two children entered the house.
“Then you don’t have to go back to the city! Just spend the rest of your lives in the countryside with your mother! Be a villager for the rest of your life!” Old Madam Zhang shouted towards the house.
The two children hesitated at the door. To city dwellers, the countryside meant an uncouth place with no prospects, a place where people could not afford food or clothes. It was a symbol of backwardness.
“Hear what you’re saying. Haven’t you always said that the two children are villagers, when did they become city dwellers?” Qiao Mei said as she looked at Old Madam Zhang.
How did Qiao Mei know about this?
Old Madam Zhang had suffered many losses today. She thought that it was Li Gui who told her daughter, otherwise Qiao Mei could not have known about something like this. Old Madam Zhang glared at Li Gui, certain that Li Gui had gossiped a lot since she returned to the village.
Of course, it was not Li Gui who mentioned these things. For her, whatever Old Madam Zhang said would go in one ear and out the other. If she remembered all these things, would she still be able to survive in the city given that she would be so angry every day.
“Your household register is in the village so you must have been bullied by the children in the city. Now that you’re returning to the village to study, the kids will be so envious of you. Your results here might even be better than your results in the city. Tell me what’s so bad about being in the countryside,” Qiao Mei said as she looked at the two children.
In the city, their classmates all bullied him and his younger brother, saying that they were from the countryside and were inferior. Now that they were in the countryside, not only would their results improve, but they might even become the best or second best in class. They could even have meat for every meal and more rations than they could finish, and they also would not get beaten and scolded. Given the choice, anyone would choose the second option. There was nothing good about being in the city when the most important thing was to have enough food to eat. Otherwise, why would their grandmother and father come all the way to the countryside to ask for food and money. Right! Stay in the countryside then!
“We’re not going back!” Zhang Wei held on to his younger brother, Zhang Chao, and said to Old Madam Zhang.
“Alright! Alright! I finally see your true colors! You two little ingrates! You forget your surname after others feed you a few mouthfuls! If you don’t want to come back, then get lost!” Old Madam Zhang stomped her feet in anger and clenched her fists to stop herself from reaching out and hitting the two children.
Old Madam Zhang said that the two children were ingrates, yet she did not even think about how she had treated them all these years. Not only did she beat and scold them, but she also did not give them food from time to time. As Li Gui was from the countryside and all her children followed their mother’s household register, they did not get any rations in the city, what more having rice to eat. The only time the children might have a bite of meat would be during the major holidays or when Old Madam Zhang was in a good mood and offered them a bite. However, the good stuff would never be given to Zhang Qin and Zhang Miao given that they were girls. Old Madam Zhang felt that girls were useless and just needed to be married off.
Old Madam Zhang assessed the situation in front of her. She had returned Li Gui’s children but she did not get the money. She was not going to give up today and said to Li Gui, “You have to give me the ration money for the food that your children have eaten for the past few years! Not a single cent less!”
“You must be joking. It’s not as if these children have taken Li Gui’s surname. Don’t they have the surname Zhang, yet they need to pay when they eat food from their family,” Auntie Zhou said laughingly.
“You old melon skin, shut up! Who do you think you are to interrupt when I’m talking to my daughter-in-law! Pfft!” Old Madam Zhang scolded angrily, feeling agitated when she saw that her son had already gone off into the distance.
“Hey! You!” Auntie Zhou wanted to go forward and argue with Old Madam Zhang but Qiao Mei stopped her.
“They all have their household register in the countryside and don’t get any food stamps in the city at all! They don’t get any rations! What they eat is the food meant for me, my husband, my son and my eldest grandson! What’s wrong with paying me! Hurry up and give me money!” Old Madam Zhang said.
This time, no one had anything to say. What Old Madam Zhang said was indeed the truth. After all, food was in short supply now and every bit was precious. On this issue, Old Madam Zhang was right and no one felt able to speak up for Li Gui.
“Tell me how much you want.” Qiao Mei looked at Old Madam Zhang.
Old Madam Zhang looked at Qiao Mei’s wealthy appearance and said, “600 dollars!”
Everyone gasped. 600 dollars! That was not a small sum, and this Old Madam Zhang had the audacity to ask for it.