Chapter 8: The First Full Meal
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Su Hua scratched his head and asked in confusion, “Dad, what’s a jinx?”
Su Sanlang’s face was filled with pain. Tears rolled down his cheeks and fell to the ground. He didn’t answer his son’s question because his heart ached and he couldn’t speak.
He was even more afraid to look at his son, afraid that they would be scared and uneasy if they saw him crying. Because he was their mountain that supported them and protected them.
Su Sanlang quickened his pace. Su Chong and Su Hua quickly forgot to wait for an answer and jogged after him.
Su Sanmei carried Su Xiaolu and walked very quickly too.
Su Xiaolu could not sleep. She was afraid that her frail sister would fall and send her flying. Fortunately, although her sister was skinny, her steps were steady.
Along the way, many people from the same village came out to take a look, but no one said anything.
Su Sanlang did not have the time to talk to anyone. The Su family’s old house was at the end of the village, and it was quite a distance away from the exit.
The house was behind the village. Behind the house were a few acres of thin land that stretched up to the mountain forest. They were covered in weeds. In the future, this would be the source of food for their family.
The roof of the old house was a little broken.
The earthen walls were also broken in many places. There was also moss on the walls, and the wooden door was so rotten that a three- or five-year-old child could have crawled right through it.
The only good thing was that the light was bright.
Around the house, the weeds were thigh-high. The old well was also overgrown with water plants and the water stank.
The old house, abandoned for decades, had once again welcomed a new owner.
There was melancholy in Madam Zhao’s eyes. Su Sanlang smiled at her and said, “Have a good rest first. You haven’t eaten anything today. Let’s clean up the house tomorrow. I’ll go start the fire to wash the rice and start cooking first. Let’s have a full meal today.”
Madam Zhao said worriedly, “Sanlang, I’m not hungry. We don’t have much food, and winter is coming. We have to eat sparingly.”
The food was distributed well, so Madam Zhao did not want to eat too much.
However, Su Sanlang smoothed Madam Zhao’s hair and said, “Don’t worry. There are many things in the mountains. Our family will definitely be able to live a good life. We have to eat our first meal and start off well. In the future, we will eat our fill every meal.”
Madam Zhao could not refute him. She could only nod with red eyes. “Okay.”
Whether they could survive through this winter or not, they were together as a family, alive and dead.
Madam Zhao was still very weak and could not get out of bed, but she was worried about her family.
She heard Su Sanlang calling for Su Sanmei to cook together. She heard Su Sanlang calling Chong and Hua to remove the weeds in the courtyard and let the two sons compete in pulling out the weeds. Whoever won would be able to eat an extra piece of meat tonight.
The brothers were competitive and worked hard.
She also heard a chicken crowing outside the house.
Soon the smell of fire rose.
Madam Zhao looked down at the sleeping Su Xiaolu gently and murmured, “Simei, we can definitely get better, right?”
The sun was setting in the west, and the red dusk was stunning. Madam Zhao looked at the light that shone in and thought that it was extremely beautiful.
In that home, the family had lived in the back room, backlit and dim, and they had never seen the glow of dusk.
After dark, Su Sanlang cooked bacon soup and fragrant white rice. He scooped a large bowl of rice for Madam Zhao to eat.
Supporting Madam Zhao to sit up and eat, Su Sanlang said guiltily, “There are two chickens, one male and one female. The hen hasn’t laid any eggs yet. Otherwise, you would be able to eat eggs. Next year, we’ll have a nest of chickens. When the time comes, I’ll kill two chickens for you to eat.”
Madam Zhao had just given birth and needed nutrition, but he could not give her anything.
Madam Zhao smiled and said, “I don’t like to eat chicken. We should keep it and sell it for money to make clothes for all of you. You gave me so much rice. Have you eaten? Do the children have enough to eat?”
Although the days were hard, with Su Sanlang treating her well, her heart was always sweet.
The couple smiled at each other.
As they spoke, Madam Zhao couldn’t eat anymore. “Go get a bowl. My appetite is small, so how can I eat so much? I’ll share half of it.”
Su Sanlang’s eyes were red. He choked slightly and said, “Eat. I cooked four bowls of rice. There’s more than enough for all of us to eat. My little girl hasn’t had any milk yet. She must be starving too, and you have to feed two people alone.”
Su Xiaolu was really obedient. If Doctor Wu had not said that she was fine, Su Sanlang would have thought that the child was not healthy.
This child seemed to know what the situation was at home. She woke up a few times and did not cry. She could continue to sleep after changing diapers and drinking some water.
Madam Zhao did not continue to decline and started eating.
But she also pushed Su Sanlang out to eat. He smiled and nodded and went out. Before he left, he said, “Just eat. If you don’t have enough, call me. There’s still plenty in the pot.”
Madam Zhao nodded with tears in her eyes.
She ate carefully, not daring to drop a grain of rice. Everyone in the family had eaten their fill.
Not long after Madam Zhao finished her meal, she started feeding Su Xiaolu.
Su Xiaolu was very cooperative. After starving for most of the day, she was finally full.
After the meal, Madam Zhao felt better. Before she went to bed, Su Sanlang brewed medicine for her to drink. Madam Zhao naturally knew that this medicine was not easy to come by, so she drank it all.
In the house with two rooms and two beds, the exhausted family fell asleep.
Late at night, Su Xiaolu placed her hand on Madam Zhao’s lips and continued to feed her spiritual spring water.
Madam Zhao woke up in a daze and was shocked. She quickly pushed Su Xiaolu away and muttered, “I’m so full tonight. Why am I eating your little hand again?”
With that, Madam Zhao got up and changed Su Xiaolu’s diaper. Then, she wrapped her small hands in it and tied her up gently with a cloth rope.
Su Xiaolu was speechless.
She had miscalculated.
Madam Zhao looked at the obedient Su Xiaolu and couldn’t help but kiss her cheek. “Simei is so obedient.”
After wrapping up her daughter, Madam Zhao fed Su Xiaolu again before she went back to sleep.
Somehow, she felt comfortable. Her body was not heavy at all.
The stuffed Su Xiaolu burped and fell asleep too.
She was still a baby, so naturally she slept most of the time.
When dawn came, Su Sanlang rose early to light the fire and cook.
There was still a winter to survive through, so today’s meal would not be as good as yesterday’s. In the rice, there were ground golden jade sticks, and the soup had little oil in it.
Su Xiaolu watched as Madam Zhao ate.
She recognized rice. It had a long history. The thing in the rice should be corn. The earliest record of corn in history was in the 34th year of the Jiajing Dynasty of the Ming Dynasty (Gong County Records). It was called jade wheat.
These were all ancient people, but she did not know which dynasty it was.