Living My Leisurely Life with My Cat
Negotiation & Steamed Fish
Today, Wenmin will be separating his ties with the Chen family. He woke up, tidy his bed and clean himself. Heihei is still sleeping on Wenmins bed, dreaming of the chicken pumpkin and homemade fish wet food that Wenmin used to make at home maybe. Wenmin got out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist, he opened his closet and only found two pairs of shirts and pants made of hemp. Its the first time Wenmin wears such clothes, as he was touching the clothes he starts to miss modern-day comfortable clothes and pants.
*sob sob* Ill get used to it. As long as Im not naked! He quickly wears the clothes and dries his hair while walking towards the kitchen. He put the firewood in and lit up the fire, with his towel hanging around his neck, he starts to search for some animal fat in those clay containers in the kitchen. He only found a little bit left but figured that the fat can still last for another three to four days if he only cooks two times a day. Must make money ASAP! Wenmin thought sadly. He found some salt, mushroom-like ingredients and a few bags of rice stored in the cupboards of the kitchen. ”Heihei, it looks like Ama still left his son some food before she died. We need to visit her grave and thank her for the food and her blessings. ”
While the pot was slowly getting hot, Wenmin put another pot on another stove, filled it with water and pour in some rice to cook. Wenmin went out into the vegetable plot and tried to search for any vegetables that he recognise. ”Ah! Heihei look! I found some ginger, scallions, cabbages and potatoes! Heihei, there are also some nuts over there. Im going to make congee for breakfast. Its a pity that theres no chicken, if not I can make chicken congee. ” Wenmin said to Heihei and picked up some scallions and ginger. He went back into the kitchen, not forgetting to hang his towel on the laundry line made of bamboo in the garden.
Wenmin quickly cut the ingredients into small pieces, while he was cutting, Wenmin was still a little bit dissatisfied as there was no meat in his congee. He remembered that Ama used to store cured meat in a clay container in one of these cupboards, he quickly searched for it and found it. It was stored in the further back of all the cooking ingredients, Wenmin open the lid and saw a few pieces of meat left. He took one and keep the others back and started to chop the meat into tiny pieces. Since theres no soy sauce, oyster sauce or peppers in the house, Wenmin just uses some salt to cook the meat and the diced ginger and stir-fry them together.
While waiting for the meat to cook, Wenmit adds the mushroom to the cooking rice and closes the lid and waits for it to simmer for a few minutes. The meat is done cooking, Wenmin took out a small bowl and fills it with the cooked meat. Once the congee was also done, He scooped a few spoons of congee into his meat-filled bowl and added the scallions. Wenmin cooked a lot of congee for lunch and dinner too so he just close the lid of the pot and carries his bowl to the dining table. Ah! he also put some meat into a different bowl for Heihei to eat. I have to catch some fish for Heihei, cats can eat human food. Wenmin thought. He went back to the kitchen, grab a pair of chopsticks and started eating his congee.
”Heihei, does the meat taste good? Theres no fish right now. After I settle everything let me try and ask Xinyi if theres a river in the village. ” Wenmin said while stroking Heihei on his head. Not that Heihei will respond, hes busy eating his meat. Wenmin finished eating his food, glanced at Heiheis empty bowl and pick them up and went into the kitchen. Wenmin used the bath beans to clean the bowls, oil-stained pot and chopsticks cleanly then store them in the cupboard. He looked outside and saw that the sun is shining brightly and guessed that it was time to go to Chens family house.
He used his memories to guide him to Chens family house, while walking, Wenmin realised that his house is at the end of the village and there were lesser people around him. The only family he knew who lived near his house is Xinyis family. While he was walking, he noticed that some villagers were whispering when they saw him. Wenmin just smiled at them and greet them.
”Min geer, we heard that the Chen family is going to separate you from their family. What are you going to do? You
e living alone with no one to support you, why don you find a husband? My son is really good and hes single. ” Said a rather fat ger to Wenmin.
Wenmin only smiled and left them as he doesn remember the names of the villagers too much. Even the original bodys Wenmin seldom talks with the villagers as they like to gossip about his Ama raising him without a husband and him without a father. Whenever Wenmin asked about his father, his Ama only said that his father went out to the capital where the Li family lives in order to bring his family back and introduce Yingyue to his family. Ama waited so long but father still didn come back, eventually, Ama raised Wenmin alone at the end of the village. Xinyis Ama always come to help them since Wenmin could remember, thats why Wenmin now, is happy to start a friendship with Xinyi knowing that he and his families are good people.
Wenmin finally reached Chens family house. A lot of people gathered outside, the village head, Uncle Yichen, and the village elders are already inside Chens family house. Wenmin greeted the people outside of the house with a smile and walk through them into the house. When he entered the house, his grandparents only looked at him without any joy in their eyes. His Uncle Zimo and Aunt Lihua looked at him as if they are looking at an insect. Wenmin disregards their sinister eyes and greets the elders and the village head politely with a smile.
Grandpa Chen said ”Since Wenmin has arrived, let us discuss the separation between us quickly lest someone still wanted to cling to Chens family ” while squinting his eyes at Wenmin. Is this how a grandfather should behave in front of his grandson? not even trying to act nice in front of the village head and the elder. Wenmin hides his sneer with a cup of warm water. The people outside who heard Grandpa Chen only look at him with disdain as he throws away his grandchild like a piece of garbage. Some of them cheer for the misfortune while some of them sympathize with Wenmin. Uncle Yichen only shook his head while the elders stayed silent.
Uncle Yichen took out a piece of paper, a brush and an ink stone and asked Wenmin what he wanted from the Chen family as they are the ones who wanted to cut ties with him, and hes also living alone without support. That is the only way the village head can help Wenmin as he is a ger whos living alone at the end of the village. To their surprise, Wenmin took the brush and dip it in the ink and started to write his conditions neatly without any smudge. The Chen Family was surprised as none of them can read nor write except for Aunt Lihuas son who is studying to be a scholar. Though he failed a few times over the past few years, he is still a Tongsheng as he is one of the candidates in the county examination.
After he finished writing his conditions, he pass the paper to Uncle Yichen, he nod his head when reading it and read it out loud for the people in the house and outside could hear what Wenmin wrote, ”I, Li Wenmin, hereby agree to separate with the Chen Family with the conditions of, for the first three months of separation, the Chen Family will allow Li Wenmin to pick vegetables from their vegetable plot. Secondly, to not interfere with each others lives no matter in sickness or death. Thirdly, Li Wenmin will choose his own husband as the Chen Family is no longer the guardian of Li Wenmin. Lastly, the Chen Family will provide 10 taels of silver for Li Wenmin as an agreement of the separation. Once the Chen family agrees to these conditions, please stamp your thumbprint on this paper. ”
The people outside of the house were shocked to hear the conditions made by Li Wenmin, it was nothing out of the ordinary as they understood a ger separating from the family needs money for their dowry when they get married, but as farmers, why doesn Li Wenmin ask for a few mu of land? The Chen family owns 20 mu of fertile land and 10 mu of wasteland. Wenmin could easily get a few mu of land from the Chen Family.
The reason why Wenmin didn ask for land was that the land in his garden is enough for him to live, he can plant wheat, potatoes, and vegetables, and he can also buy rice from the villagers. As long as Wenmin can generate income, he can buy more land in the future and plant other types of plants. Around his house, Ama planted some pear trees, peach trees and persimmon trees. Ama said that with these trees, the house will have a nice smell and Wenmin can eat all these sweet fruits. Looks like Ama prepared a lot of things before he left. Wenmin thank Ama sincerely from the bottom of his heart.
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