Because of Lin Luoran’s presence, Mr. Qiu dealt with these kids with leniency. He considered the “fight” as a “quarrel” and let the kids go.
Mr. Qiu wanted to invite Ma Ming’s parents to the school to talk about their son’s bad behavior. Lin subtly turned down the head teacher’s undue favor. Since this was just a quarrel, why was there the need to notice the kid’s parents? Mr. Qiu came up with a final solution — these kids must clean the classroom for half a month!
From the incident today, Lin Luoran can assume what Luodong had been through. She feels sorry about his old life and happy that he has grown up so much.
Therefore, Lin Luoran waits for Luodong to finish cleaning and takes him home.
Seeing that Lin Luodong gets on a BMW with his “movie-star” sister, Ma Ming spits on the ground with disdain.
“Yuck. They are just rich rednecks!”
The second after Ma Ming said this, he sees his father, who is wearing a huge gemstone ring and a tight suit. Ma Ming’s father looks exactly like an older version of Ma Ming. He comes to pick Ma Ming up unexpectedly.
Unfortunately for Ma Ming, his father is driving a BMW.
Wei Xue bursts out of laugh when Ma Ming’s father calls out to him. Ma Ming is embarrassed. He gets on the car and disappears into the street before saying goodbye to his minions.
Due to all the cleaning, these kids are the last ones to leave the school. Wei Xue waits for her mother to pick her up and then sees Huang Weijian walks out of the school. He keeps his head down, holding the book which is in pieces.
Wei Xue looks to the other way to show her disappointment.
Light of the dusk pours down on the introverted boy, making him look even more pitiful.
At the corner of the street, Lin Luoran sits in the car and stares at the direction which Huang is heading to. Seeing that she is in a daze, Luodong calls out her name. Lin Luoran comes to her sense and says with a smile, “This boy is interesting… Luodong, you don’t have too much homework today, do you?”
Lin Luodong shakes his head. He doesn’t understand why his sister is suddenly interested in Huang Weijian.
Also, what does this have to do with homework?
Lin Luodong is confused. However, he is guilty that he started the fight today so he feels uneasy to ask more questions.
It’s already autumn. Night has turned longer and the day is shorter now. The neon lamps in R City are already on. The young boy, whose eyes are covered by bangs, walks into an alley like a swift cat. He doesn’t even hesitate when he smells the fragrance of dishes along the street.
He stops at an old building.
This residential building is beside the wholesale market of the R City. All kinds of people work in or visit the market, which makes this area quite dangerous. Huang Weijian walks through the crowd and goes up to the seventh floor on his own.
There is only one room made of iron sheet on the seventh floor. The paintings of the walls are off, which indicates that this room has been there in years. In fact, this kind of “rooms on top of the building” is illegal. The owners of the building build the rooms secretly and they rent these rooms to non-native people who work in the city.
Huang Weijian doesn’t light up the fire and cook the meal as usual. In the dusk, he takes out half a bottle of glue from a pile of rubbish and starts to put the pieces of his book together. There are lots of waste paper and plastic bottles neatly placed by the walls of the room.
Huang is relieved when he finally puts the pieces of his book together. “Happiness” crawls onto his childish face.
Then he starts to do the homework. His school supplies and his bag are just as shabby as the room is. Even his notebook is made from the leftover pages of many used notebooks.
The night falls. Huang Weijian bends over his desk. The dim light gives him a hard time seeing the words on the book, but he insists not to turn on the light. Everything in the shabby little room made of iron sheets can be seen at a glance. A single bed made from wood board, some clothes, a broken cupboard, a wok, some bowls and chopsticks, a plastic basin, and… There is nothing more.
The only thing that can be called an “electric appliance” is a lamp base without a light bulb. Clearly, Huang Weijian is broke.
Luckily, like Lin Luodong told his sister before, kids in Class Three, Grade Six don’t have too much homework today. Before the sunset, Huang Weijian finishes his homework. He packs the books and notebooks up and takes out the wok. Huang seems to live in the room alone, without parent.
Huang has a simple dinner. He makes some rice and eats the rice with pickles and chilly. This twelve-year-old boy is able to make perfect rice with the cooking bench made by three pieces of brick and the small fire lighted by rotten wood. Huang cherishes food so much that he thinks his dinner is nice.
Huang eats some rice first. Before his chopsticks touch the pickles, he hears the sound of footsteps coming from the stairs. A chubby middle-aged woman shows up at his door. Seeing that Huang Weijian is having dinner, the woman hesitates. Then she walks in.
“Ms. Liu…” Huang Weijian puts down the bowl and stands up.
“Don’t be shy. Keep eating your dinner. Your room will be too dark a few minutes later.” The woman waves her hand and tells Huang to sit down. She seems to know some inside information about Huang.
Huang doesn’t sit down. He says, “Ms. Liu, the rent…”
The chubby woman blushes, “Huang, I’m not here to ask for the rent. We have been neighbors for so many years and I know you well… The thing is, I have to pay the tuition fee for my daughter, Xinxin. I really…” Though she said she wasn’t here for the rent, every word of hers was indicating that she also needed money. Huang Weijian understands immediately.
“Ms. Liu, I know. Hold on a second!” Huang Weijian takes out a wad of cash from the bed. There are a few 100 yuan bills and some changes. He gives them to the woman.
“Did you make these money by selling waste?” Though Ms. Liu is here to ask for the rent, she feels embarrassed. This is the hard-earned money of the little boy. Ms. Liu can’t say the words she prepared to say before coming here.
Huang smiles shyly, “Yes… Ms. Liu, please take it. I’ll pay back the rest of the rent as soon as possible.”
Ms. Liu becomes too embarrassed to say anything more. She sighs, “You are such a good kid, yet fate is against you… Your grandfather…”
Huang Weijian lowers his head, “Grandpa said he would come back soon. He wouldn’t lie to me.”
Thinking of the fact that this little boy is in the same age as her daughter, Ms. Liu’s heart gets soft. She stops talking about Huang’s grandfather, and she even forgets to urge Huang to pay back the rest of the rent soon. She says some nice things and goes downstairs.
Huang Weijian is relieved after Ms. Liu is gone. He murmurs to himself, “It’s fine that grandpa has disappeared for months… He didn’t have the money to pay the rent. Why did he transfer me to the new school? If the tuition fee weren’t so high, my life wouldn’t become so hard.”
Huang certainly feels betrayed by his “disappeared grandpa”. Eventually, he turns these complaints into appetite and eats the rice clean.
He washes the bowls and wok at the tap. He puts away the leftover chilly and sits on the worn stool for a while.
There is only a few rice left. Even if he only eats rice for the next few days, he won’t last for long.
He must go to school because the tuition fee is already paid and he can’t get a refund… Huang can’t let himself starve to death. He whispers to himself, “Where can I get a large pile of money?”
He thinks and fails to find an answer to the question. Huang shakes his head and smiles bitterly. Then he takes the gunny bag he uses to pick up the waste and pinchers, locks the room, and goes down the stairs.
Ms. Liu, who lives downstairs, sighs, “That boy is heading out to pick up waste again. He is so pitiful…”
A man beside her says impatiently, “Who is not pitiful in these days? The price of commodities rises and our salaries don’t. Aren’t we also pitiful? If he doesn’t pay the rest of the rent back soon…” It seems that something covers the man’s mouth.
Nevertheless, Huang Weijian hears what the man says clearly. He grabs the gunny bag in his hand tighter. Eventually, he decides to spend more time picking up waste tonight. It will be ok if he sleeps later.
A cat jumps into Huang’s room. It can smell the fragrance of food. However, Huang Weijian doesn’t leave any food out. The cat gets angry. It scratches the table and plans to take away Huang’s bag. Something tinkles and the cat is scared away.
Two people are on the rooftop of the building next to Huang’s. It’s already late in the night, or else their sudden appearance may seem scarier.
Lin Luodong is embarrassed after knowing the poor condition of his classmate. Huang Weijian seems to be an orphan… No wonder Huang is so much like the old me.
Luodong suddenly feels closer to this boy who just went out with a huge bag. Though he doesn’t understand why his sister wants to follow Huang, Lin Luodong feels that this little trip isn’t useless.
“Sister…” He calls out.
Staring at the bag on Huang’s table, Lin Luoran laughs, “This is interesting… Luodong, this new classmate of yours is not ordinary.”
Of course he is. He lives in such a shabby room and he is still tough and independent. Lin Luodong now understands why his sister leads him here. However, Lin Luoran pats him on the head and takes his hand and leaves.