Sunday 1st of October 2000
Nice weather on this 1st of October. It is the national holiday. Cao Yu is attending the festivities at the Language Institute of Sichuan, where she has taught since 1994. She has forgotten the episode of Lanzhou. With Weina, they have rebuilt their lives in Chongqing. The bad memories are buried. When they arrived in Chongqing they were received well. She must admit that the Iron Tiger and Wang Gang did things quite well. Nobody ever asked about their previous life. They live together in a small apartment in Ciqikou, actually a small house at the end of an alley, 400 m from the main street. Their house overlooks the Jialing River. Her son Zhen has grown considerably. He is beautiful even if some days he reminds her of Wang Jun. Wang Jun, she prefers to forget. Officially Zhen is the son of a soldier killed during the riot in Lanzhou! It gives him advantages. He is the son of a revolutionary hero died in battle. Their life is calm! Cao Yu's mother comes from time to time. She didn’t ask any questions when her daughter came to Chongqing. She also knows the price of silence. She saw her daughter come home. That's all that matters. She is happy: a grandson who will not experience the problems of her own children born from an enemy of the revolution with a poor social background. Finally, all is well. Even if this girl, Wang Weina, she has a lowly style. Sometimes some of their friends come from Beijing: girls heavily made-up and a Tibetan from the Aba district. But all is well. Life goes on. She would like her daughter to have a husband and stop living with Weina. She spoke to Cao Yu. The response was quick and clear:
"Mom! No! I do not want a husband. Mine is dead! I am a widow and Weina is my best friend, my sister. You cannot know what she did for me. We are real sisters, only death can separate us!"
She did not insist. She has seen too much in her life. Her grandson is lovely. He studies very well in school. He is very sociable. Today is the First of October, National Day.
Cao Yu spent the day at the Institute of Languages. Her son accompanied her. She would have liked Weina to have accompanied her also but the Hotel Yudu asked her to do extra work. Tourism is developing a lot in Chongqing. Weina has become a sort of leader of the receptionists. She speaks English perfectly now. She also has learned German and Cantonese to welcome the many customers who come from Hong Kong.
Cao Yu remembers all these years. Her life with Weina. Everyone thinks they are real sisters. Nobody asked questions. The only one who knows the truth is a special agent of the Office of Public Safety. He summons them at times to see if all is well. He is a man of sixty. He is very kind to them. He himself suffered during the Cultural Revolution.
She loves Weina. Sometimes they sleep together, their arms around each other. They have both decided to no longer have men in their lives. They are inseparable. Cao Yu sometimes asks:
"Don’t you regret your life of before? In Beijing? Was your life better? You earned more money! Could you go back?"
The answer is invariably the same:
No! We experienced some very difficult things. I am with you and your son. I have a job that I like!"
They are the same age. Today, Cao Yu is 32 years old. Ten years already! Wang Zhen turns 10 on Oct. 23.
The weather is so nice today. Weina has just returned from work. All three settle on the couch in their living-dining-all purpose room. In their small house there are just three rooms: the living room overlooking the street (bedroom for Cao Yu), a bedroom for Weina and another for Wang Zhen plus a kitchenette-bathroom. Concerning the toilet they have to go to the public toilets at the end of the lane in which they live. They dream of a real bathroom. Some neighbors are more comfortable. They have shower-toilet combination.
Weina puts the TV on. It is an old Sony device but it works well. Crackling sometimes but the picture is good.
There are all three of them there. The outer door is left open as usual in Chongqing.
It's time for the news on CCTV1, live from Beijing, their only link with their former life.
The anchor is very classy and pretty. Make up with flashy lipstick and a gray flowered blouse. First of October in Beijing. Some pictures of the festivities. A quick interview with the Chinese President. A few words from the Mayor of Beijing. More images of celebration, children in the parks, the crowds of October 1 when all the parks are free for everyone. The camera zooms in to a reporter from CCTV at the Summer Palace. He speaks about maintaining order during the day, the hard work of police officers. Then, a long tracking shot of the camera to two police officers working traffic at the entrance of the Summer Palace. The reporter follows the movement of the camera and heads for the two agents. Nothing very unusual. But something intrigues Cao Yu.
The journalist is now close to both officers. He will question them. The camera zooms in on the first. Cao Yu opens her eyes wide. She does not believe her eyes. That's him. It is Wang Jun! The emotion is too strong. Suddenly she cries:
"Wang Jun! Wang Jun!"
Her son and her friend do not understand. Weina takes her by the shoulders.
"What’s happened, do you know this officer?"
Her son is close to her.
She is crying now. Great sobs. She finds it difficult to articulate, to say a few words:
"He's alive! He buried me alive!"
On the screen, the journalist continues his interview. Cao Yu hears nothing. She doesn’t see anything. Wang Jun is alive!
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