Chapter 10: A parent is summoned
When lunch break was almost over, the three flipped over through the hill adjacent to the school field.
They rushed hurriedly into the classroom.
Just having sat down, the class chairperson came over, “Xu Tingsheng, your father has come; he’s in the student affairs office now. The student affairs chairman is calling you over.”
Xu Tingsheng nearly collapsed, “This is… parents getting called over?”
Xu Tingsheng remembered that in the 4 years that he had been a form teacher in his previous life, he had called over parents to complain to them about their children at least 20 times. At this moment, he thought of a word: Revenge.
When Xu Tingsheng hurried over to the door of the student affairs office, his father, Xu Jianliang, was current standing before the office table, the student affairs chairman opposite him, along with a vice-chairman also seated there.
Mr Xu’s body was bent slightly, his expression a little awkward.
The student affairs chairman narrated the mistakes committed by Xu Tingsheng rather exaggeratedly in one go, finally staring at his palm as he said in a somewhat threatening manner, “We are currently considering whether or not to expel Student Xu Tingsheng.”
The punishment had clearly already been decided. Still, the student affairs chairman was still saying such things before Mr Xu. Xu Tingsheng basically understood what he was doing. Most of the time, the school would make the matter seem more serious before the parents, from there better grasping the initiative.
Mr Xu was silent for a moment before he lowered his voice, his tone carrying a bit of pleading,
“Sir, the child is about to take his university entrance examinations. Expelling him at this time, it would be a real pity for him, and for us parents too…”
Mr Xu was someone who loved face a lot, yet he was willing to lower his head for his child now. Many parents were like that, stubbornly refusing to lower their heads outside no matter what, yet willing to compromise and beg others for the sake of their child.
Xu Tingsheng’s heart suddenly ached.
“Sadly, it isn’t like this,” The vice-chairman squinted as he said from the side, “I myself am also a twelfth grade teacher. I have also seen Xu Tingsheng’s results. Just like how they are now, he might not even be able to get into a specialist school. Parents like you, with your child already like this, still treating him like a treasure…”
Xu Tingsheng knocked on the door, breaking off the vice-chairman’s words.
Xu Tingsheng entered the room, standing by his father’s side, pulling on his father’s sleeve.
Mr Xu turned, directly slapping Xu Tingsheng’s face.
Xu Tingsheng was rendered dazed.
He was not sad; he was…happy, happy to the point of wanting to cry.
In his previous life, after his father had died, Xu Tingsheng had yearned for two things the most.
The first was wanting to fall sick around Mr Xu once more. Xu Tingsheng had often had stomachaches when he was young. Every single time, Mr Xu would sit by his bedside, using his warm, rough, strong hand to hold his, pressing down on his palm and his Hukou acupoint. That had felt very warm, very safe, very solid. Xu Tingsheng had often dreamed about this, always wishing that his father could hold his hand once more.
The second was wanting to be hit once more. When he had been young, his father had possessed a very violent temper. Xu Tingsheng had suffered at his hands quite a few times when he was young. However, in his previous life, after he had turned 16, his father had not hit him anymore. After his father had died, every time Xu Tingsheng thought back on those rebellious, ludicrous days, amidst his pain and regret, he also wished that he could be hit by his father once more.
With one of his wishes having been fulfilled, Xu Tingsheng lowered his head, wanting to laugh whilst also wanting to cry.
Drinking, skipping lessons, fighting – Xu Tingsheng had indeed done much wrong this time, furthermore with the university entrance examinations looming on the horizon. It was only right for his father to be angry. Xu Tingsheng knew the strength of his father’s hands. This time, he had not exerted full force.
However, the wound at the corner of Xu Tingsheng’s mouth had not yet recovered. With this slap flying over, the scab on the wound cracked once more, blood trickling downwards.
Mr Xu looked at the blood trickling from the corner of Xu Tingsheng’s mouth and then at his own palm, temporarily nonplussed, regret and pain visible within his eyes.
The two chairmen exchanged gazes, one of them saying, “It’s fine, you don’t have to hit your child in front of us. Frankly speaking, we’ve seen this being done too many times…we will still let him take the examinations, but with his results and attitude…”
Mr Xu said, “Even if he can only get into a vocational school, we will also send him there.”
The student affairs chairman laughed disdainfully, “You have the right to do so; we can’t ensure that all of our students get into key universities, right? Since the parents are unwilling to hear the truth, we can also not talk about it, just that…”
Xu Tingsheng raised his head, directly meeting the student affairs chairman’s eyes, smiling as he said calmly and politely, “Chairman is speaking of key universities, right? If I eventually manage to get into one, I hope that these two chairmen will apologise to my father for what you have said today.”
Having finished, Xu Tingsheng smiled bashfully.
The chairman was momentarily taken aback before he mocked, “Alright then, we will await it with bated breath.”
“Of course, from the perspective of the school and as teachers, we also hope that you will be able to achieve good results,” The vice-chairman substantiated.
Xu Tingsheng sent his father over to the school gates. Mr Xu had originally wanted to send Xu Tingsheng to the hospital, but Xu Tingsheng’s wound had already stopped bleeding. He refused a few times, and Mr Xu no longer insisted on it.
Mr Xu sighed, saying rather awkwardly, “Tingsheng, originally, on your 16th birthday, dad told himself that he would never hit you again. Just now…”
Xu Tingsheng laughed whilst also crying, saying, “It is only right for a father to hit his son. Moreover, I was the one who did wrong. Dad, don’t keep this on your mind.”
Mr Xu looked bemusedly at his son. According to his understanding of his son, with that stubborn, rebellious personality of his, Xu Tingsheng would at least be showing his dissatisfaction for half a month this time.
“Dad, if you think that you hit too hard and are embarrassed… let me hug you,” Xu Tingsheng smiled craftily.
Xu Tingsheng had awoken upon his rebirth in his home, spending a day and a night there. The intense emotions within his heart upon seeing his father once more were hard to express in words – this was the greatest regret and pain of his previous life. Therefore, when this man who was like a great mountain, who had given everything he had for him, had appeared before him once more, Xu Tingsheng even felt like maybe he should thank that speeding Audi of that time.
Amidst his frenzied joy, he had wanted to hug his father who had just returned from the fields back then. In the end…he had been pushed away, a baffled Mr Xu looking for a while at his son who was suddenly both laughing and crying as he scolded, “What craziness has overtaken you today.”
Seeing that craziness had overtaken his son once more, Mr Xu smiled, “Don’t do these incomprehensible things with you father. Your father is a farmer, and not used to this.”
Xu Tingsheng could only leave it like this as he smiled awkwardly, “Dad, I’ve grown up. I was insensible in the past, but I won’t be any longer. I will properly work hard, you can rest easy on this. I will definitely make it into a key university, and make you proud.”
Mr Xu nodded reassuredly, “Then, I won’t ask you about where you went off to. After all, you are indeed no longer a little kid. Whatever you do, you should have your own considerations. Let’s not force things about key universities; dad just doesn’t want you to let yourself down. Dad knows that you have been intelligent since young.”
The two conversed for some time more, Mr Xu finally asking, “Today is Friday; you will be returning home tonight, right?”
Xu Tingsheng answered in the affirmative.
“Do you need me to wait for you?”
“There’re still 3 or 4 hours; dad, you should go home first.”
“Okay then, let’s talk again when you get back tonight.”
Mr Xu got onto his bicycle, Xu Tingsheng watching his father’s back gradually disappearing into the distance.
Xu Jianliang belonged to the earliest batch of people to have started a business after the liberal reforms. When he was 18, he opened his own factory along with his friend. While that had just been a small brick factory, at its peak, more than half of the entire village had worked in it. If that factory had continued operating, a tide of passion for construction would very soon have descended, and his father’s life would have gone off on a completely different direction.
However, back then, because his father had been sick, the factory had been fully handed over to the friend he had been in a partnership with to manage. With his partner being someone who loved to gamble, he had very quickly been set up, the entire factory being lost.
Because of this incident, Mr Xu lost his verve. Also not having any money with which to start a business, he had therefore gone back to farming till he had died in an accidental death, in a life of despondence.
“The factory is already no more, and dad has already been in the farming business for over ten years. The things of the past cannot be changed, but I can change our future fate, not letting bad luck descend, not letting dad get into an accident…it’s best if I can let dad return to his high-spirited, domineering self he was at his peak.”
“That way…I can be a rich second gen.”