When Zhang Man opened her eyes once again, it was already dawn. She was embarrassed to find herself hanging on to the youth like an octopus, with one leg still resting on his waist.

    She hurriedly took down her thigh, which was making a mess, and lifted her face to look at him.

    The youth’s eyes were closed and he was breathing quietly as if he was sleeping.

    The morning light shone through the gauzy curtains embroidered with gaudy little flowers, taking on a pinkish hue and hitting him freely on the half side of his face. The light and shadow effect makes his face look well-defined, with perfectly shaped eyebrows and nose bridge… En, every good-looking person has an excellent bone structure.

    While she was engrossed in watching, she noticed that the youth suddenly opened his eyes.

    “You’re awake? Man Man, I just checked, there are buses back to N City at noon and at night. When do you want to go back?”

    “Noon, I think, my mom should be waiting for me at home.”

    “Mm… Then we should get up. We still have two and a half hours before the bus leaves.”

    ……

    They simply packed up and checked out of the room and went downstairs for breakfast. Before checking out, the old man last night also made a special trip to the room, specifically to check whether the things on the bedside table are missing a box.

    The heavy snow stopped last night, and at the moment it is completely white outside. Z City after the snowstorm is exceptionally quiet, like the city of ice and snow in an animation movie, the streets are silver-white, old houses are covered with thick snow on top, with segments of power lines wrapped in snow when you look up at the sky…

    All is calm in welcoming this gentle world.

    The storm also seems to have passed.

    ……

    After a few hours on the road, they arrived back in N City.

    Unlike Z City, it is still snowing heavily in N City at the moment. In a blanket of snow, the road is thick with ice, every step is slippery, yet Zhang Man is not worried at all—because a certain boy in front of her has been holding her hand.

    There were very few pedestrians on the street, and the two walked from the station all the way down her place, but they only came across a few people – one of them was a gray-haired grandmother, holding a little kid in her arms, putting her to sleep while hunching her back to shield her from the wind and snow.

    In the snowy sky, there is a different kind of warmth.

    Zhang Man looked at them and felt emotional for a while, but there was something strange in her heart at that certain moment—she seemed to have a familiar feeling about those two…

    But after the two walked into the next unit, she still couldn’t remember.

    She probably felt familiar because she had seen them in the neighborhood before.

    Zhang Man shook her head, no longer thinking about it and took the youth’s hand, and rambled instructions, “Li Wei, we’re here, you go back. Go back and remember to eat the cake, okay? I asked the cake store staff to send it to your home today.”

    “What did you call me?”

    The youth was quite chagrined at her lack of self-consciousness.

    “—boy… friend… friend.”

    Zhang Man slightly lowered her head and rubbed her forehead against his chest, popping out one word at a time.

    “Boyfriend, I’m going up.”

    “En, rest well, Man Man.”

    He let go of her and pinched her in the face.

    Zhang Man turned her head three times back before going upstairs, and when she reached the second floor, her heart was still pounding. She leaned over the second floor window and peered down to find the youth still standing downstairs, looking up at her.

    He was standing next to the green belt just below the gate of the residential building, and behind him were great flakes of snow. The evergreen shrubs in the neighborhood are now covered with heavy, lush white snow which made it look gloomy but the youth, dressed in gray, wearing a black baseball cap, and has a warm smile on his clear face makes her heart flutter beyond measure.

    Snow had fallen on him—she noticed it immediately when the youth had raised his head and a playful snowflake had landed on the tip of his nose.

    Zhang Man’s heartbeat was getting more and more disturbed, she waved at him eagerly and ran down the stairs quickly, straight to him and pulled his sleeve.

    The feeling of being in love is really amazing.

    Later in her former life, she had been dragged by Chen Feier to the cinema to see a teen movie. The heroine stood at the corner of the stairs, and when she was about to leave the male lead, she took one step backwards, while saying: “I’m one step away from you… Two steps away from you…”

    She still remembers that when she saw that part, she couldn’t help but complain to Chen Feier: “It’s not like they’re never going to see each other again, so why is this even necessary?”

    But when it was her turn, she realized that it wasn’t because the heroine missed not seeing the male lead, but rather, before they separated, the heroine already started missing him.

    People who are in love are always so strange. They can’t bear to part with each other even though they will meet again on the next day.

    She took the youth’s arm and gently approached and kissed him on the left cheek.

    After the kiss, she was somewhat embarrassed to look at him and lowered her head a bit: “This time… I’ll surely go up.”

    The youth’s voice was tinged with pleasant laughter as he turned sideways and gave her a hug, responding in a low, deep voice: “Mm-hmm, quickly go up.”

    Amidst the blanket of snow, a young man painted in gray and black stood and gazed at the floor above, at a certain window, and did not leave for a long time.

    ……

    When Zhang Man returned home while smiling from ear to ear, she just realized that something was wrong.

    Zhang Huifang, her dearest mother, is holding her arms, leaning against a corner of the dining table, watching her in good humor.

    “Tsk, tsk, tsk, Zhang Man, I just saw it all in the window. You are very passionate about this relationship ah.”

    She said, grinding her teeth a little. Even if the boy is very handsome and her daughter looks good, such a feeling nevertheless should have been a little subtle ah.

    After all, she’s a good cabbage that she has raised for sixteen or seventeen years.

    Besides, a handsome-looking pig is still a pig!

    Zhang Man was embarrassed for a moment by her mother’s words.

    It was a mistake and she should have expected it. The entrance to the building was clearly visible from below the living room window. Zhang Man pretended to squat down to loosen her shoelaces and ignored her.

    But who would have thought that Zhang Huifang would continue to hit the nail on the head, not giving people any time to buffer themselves. “Say, did you two sleep together last night? I have given the word, if that boy really rushed to touch you. I am going to break his legs!”

    Zhang Man was speechless: “Mom, what are you talking about, he’s still underage…”

    She realized that she had slipped up: “You’re so impure. We’re both still underage so how can we do that kind of thing.”

    She justifiably finished, and suddenly thought of last night one after another lingering kiss, feeling a little guilty in her heart.

    They didn’t do it but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do anything else.

    She coughed to cover it up, “Well, we haven’t…*ahem* anyway.”

    Zhang Huifang saw her look, her heart probably guessed seven or eight and so while sitting, she said in all seriousness. “Zhang Man, I, for one, have always adhere to the saying that that past this village, you won’t find this shop, don’t miss it when you meet a good one. However, I still have to remind you that girls must protect themselves, it’s okay to fall in love, but don’t break through the last line of defense until you’re an adult and have the ability to judge.”

    “Don’t be like your mother, like me…”

    Zhang Man’s nerves jumped, her mother actually brought up her former affairs.

    But Zhang Huifang apparently also realized that, and quickly changed the subject: “Man Man, yesterday, your Uncle Xu… proposed to me.”

    Zhang Man was a little surprised: “So soon?”

    It’s been less than a month since the two of them got back together, and she thought the two of them would have to bond for a little over half a year.

    “Mn, don’t worry Man Man. I haven’t said… yes yet and wanted to ask your opinion first.”

    When it comes to her own matters, Zhang Huifang is not so straightforward. She walked to the sofa and sat down, and started to knit a new scarf-style woolen fabric in her hand— it seems that without touching something, the words are hard to say.

    “Mom, you don’t have to worry about me. As long as you feel that it’s right for you to be with Uncle Xu and you’ll be happy with him, I’m really fine with it. What do you say?”

    Zhang Huifang started playing tricks again, pretending not to care and waving her hand: “I’m at this age, what happiness or not ah. I just see that he is still okay and we can live together.”

    Zhang Man did not easily let her pass this time, sitting down beside her, her expression is a bit serious: “If you can’t say it, you can nod your head if yes and stay silent if not, okay? Mom, let me ask you again, are you happy with him?” 

    Zhang Huifang was stunned and dropped the messy scarf knitted in her hand and after some time, nodded her head almost invisibly.

    Zhang Man breathed a sigh of relief: “Then marry, Mom. I’ll be your bridesmaid then.”

    As long as she feels happy.

    Zhang Man thought of the past that her mother had just said halfway and didn’t go on, and she thought that maybe it had to do with her real father.

    She had the intention to ask a few more questions, but swallowed them at the end of her sentence.

    If Zhang Huifang does not want to say it, it is useless for her to ask anything. In her previous life, her mother was like that, and she never knew who her real father really was even in her thirties.

    Each individual has an unspeakable wound at the bottom of their heart. In life, there are many things that do not have to be released, perhaps by burying it deep in the heart, until the memories are no longer there is also not a very bad choice.

    ……

    The fierce wind and snow continued until midnight.

    That night, Zhang Man suddenly woke up from a dream. She knew where the familiar feeling came from when she saw that old grandmother today.

    In her previous life, in their neighborhood, just at this time, there was a very terrible thing that happened. The child of a family in the next unit was taken away by human traffickers.

    It was the grandmother who took her granddaughter out to buy groceries and put her in the stroller without paying attention.

    Zhang Man cannot recall the specific time and place, and only vaguely remember, it seems to be in the winter of this year.

    Why is the impression still there after so many years, you ask?

    It is because the grandmother was so devastated after that and every day she wandered around with the child’s photo in front of the neighborhood, asking if anyone had seen their baby girl.

    This was also reported on N City TV at the time.

    Zhang Man remembered that after she transferred to H City, she heard Zhang Huifang mention this incident. It was heard that the gang of traffickers later fell out of favor, but the grandmother’s granddaughter had fallen ill and died in the middle of the transaction because of several years of tossing and turning.

    Truly a tragedy.

    Thinking about it, Zhang Man suddenly could not sleep, at least today she still saw the old grandmother holding the child in her arms, she should be the child who was later trafficked in her previous life.

    ……

    Early the next morning, Zhang Man waited at the doorstep of the next unit.

    This incident happened this winter, and she still remembers the day the family lost their child, the heartbreaking cries downstairs, and the white background at the time.

    In other words, it’s winter, which means it’s not far from now, maybe it’ll happen today or tomorrow.

    Zhang Man did not know the grandmother’s door number and could only wait, but now that the wind and snow outside has stopped, it is not too cold.

    About an hour or so later, Zhang Man finally saw a familiar figure.

    The grandmother walked out hunched over, holding an environmental bag, presumably to go to the vegetable market outside the neighborhood to buy some food.

    Zhang Man has long thought of a speech and stopped her, smiling sweetly as she said, “Hello grandma, I am a student volunteer in our community. During this period of time there have been several cases of missing children in N City, human traffickers are rampant almost everywhere, so we hope that every family with children should pay attention and must keep an eye on their own children at all times!”

    The old grandmother was slightly stunned, half smiled and replied: “Thank you, young student. I will definitely keep an eye on my baby girl. These child traffickers are not human! They are hundreds of times worse than the worst evil spirits!”

    Zhang Man did not feel at ease and instructed again, “Grandma you must be sure to pay attention, that is, this winter, be more wary. Always be careful not to put her alone in the stroller since it’s easy to be carried away.”

    “Yes. I’ll keep an eye on her, young student. Such a cold day, it’s hard for you guys! I will certainly watch my baby every moment, don’t worry, there will be no mistakes.”

    Zhang Man was then relieved.

    She thought that not only did she want the people she loved to have a lifetime of peace, but since she knew some tragedies would happen, she must also try to prevent them.

    Children are special to every family, and no family can withstand that much of a shock.


Translator’s Note:

Hey guys, uh sorry for another delay. I have some things that I have to do and it may take a while so I don’t think I can do a release per Saturday for now. Until all those things ain’t done, I ask for your patience.

PS: Should I continue the per part release or you guys prefer the whole chapter per update(this would take much MUCH longer)?


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Mei
A Japanese language student that decided to translate Chinese Novels during the pandemic. If you want to support us, you can buy us a ko-fi. To maintain the site and support the translators as well. Thank you for reading!
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SRSSD

Part releases is okay with me. Prioritize to take care of yourself also.

Diana Gregory

I really don’t mind either way~~please don’t be hurried~~~

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