“Happy families are similar. Unfortunate families, on the other hand, have different types of misfortunes.”
Lin Dongqing had a good memory, but he couldn’t remember novels with millions and thousands of words that he had read before. Nonetheless, he remembered that quote forever. Perhaps the quote comforted everyone who lived a misfortunate life and continued to struggle. It was comforting as it suggested there were people similar to oneself in the world. However, it was sad as it meant one was alone in their own misfortune.
If a simple introduction for Lin Dongqing was possible, this would be it: Lin Dongqing was an ordinary child. Very, very ordinary. He was born into an ordinary life. His parents were ordinary blue-collar workers. He was born in an ordinary hospital on an ordinary bed and an ordinary nurse carried him. He couldn’t be any more ordinary as a child. There was nothing special about him. There were no twists and turns in his life at all. He would grow up normally, get a normal marriage, have his own family and live that way until his final days. That was how it was supposed to go.
After that car accident, however, he lost that normal life. Lots of people consider their ordinary life to be a burden of sort. They believed it to be a waste of their lives. They felt ordinary lives required meaning or some or to do something meaningful to the world. To Lin Dongqing, who witnessed a group of adults arguing as a kid, however, being able to have an ordinary life was a luxury. An ordinary life was beyond him.
Everyone tried to take from his parents. To them, those were free things that would be wasted if they didn’t fight for it. If they could take a cushion, then they profited. Said people were his relatives. Lots of people were wealthier than his parents, but it frightened Lin Dongqing, who was a mere child, when they fought each other for his parents’ belongings before their bodies had even turned cold. He was only around four or five, but he began to ask himself, “Why do people do this? Why do they not even have feelings for my parents? Why are people so greedy? Are these things worth more than familial love?”
Nobody bothered with Lin Dongqing. The sole remaining member of the family was kicked around as if he was a soccer ball. None of them wanted to take custody of him despite having taken so much from his family. Not one person was willing to share any responsibility.
“We have a child in our family; where would we find the spare energy to take care of another one?! Your family doesn’t have children, so take him in. I’m your uncle at the end of the day. You can’t do this!”
“We have our own lives, too. What’s the point of raising someone else’s child?! Plus, our house is so small. If he uses a room, where does our child stay? Your family is rich, and you have a big home. What’s so hard about raising another child?”
“Stop, stop, his parents have just passed away. Is it right for you to push the child back and forth that way? You all have your difficulties, so let’s all spend an equal amount of money to send him somewhere and done, right? That way, we’ve taken care of him and saved ourselves trouble!”
Human nature. That was human nature.
When the boy still believed in fairy tales, he had already seen the ugliest side of human nature. He was pure and was still ignorant of many things. He had still yet to realise that he was witnessing human nature. He was just afraid. He curled up in a corner. He never thought about going to an orphan. He had just lost his parents. He lost his voice from crying in a corner, but nobody spared any effort on taking care of him. Only a nurse wiped his tears and gave him food. Nobody else bothered with him. He was still only a child, yet had become a burden to others.
People looked forward to the things they could obtain more than him. He went from his parents’ most cherished treasure to a burden that people tried all sorts of ways to get rid of.
He was face to face with his future. The argument decided his future, yet nobody spared a thought for his opinion or feelings. A group of grown adults audaciously yelled at each other. Their shadows on the wall resembled hideous monsters. Lin Dongqing was just a child, not a hero. All he could do was watch the adults and await his judgement. He couldn’t even plead for nobody cared about his opinion. They treated him as though he didn’t exist. It was akin to an individual struggling in the water, yet nobody was willing to help. Everybody would just stand there at the edge, enjoying the picturesque scenery and their bright lives, ignoring the child struggling for life in the water. Nobody would lend a hand or even spare a glance.
“Come, child, come.”
Someone gently grabbed hold of Lin Dongqing’s hand. The hands weren’t pretty. They were wrinkly and dry as tree bark, but he felt a warm sensation and strength that could stop his tears in his small hands. Lin Dongqing blankly looked up at the woman. The woman probably had the roughest life among the people present. She wore ordinary clothing; in fact, the colour had begun to fade. Behind her was a young girl who fearfully, yet curiously, surveyed him. She seemed slightly afraid but also sympathetic. She didn’t have money, and she had a child, but she adopted Lin Dongqing.
If that was how Lin Dongqing’s life was fated to be, if Lin Dongqing’s life was an endless sprint, a futile struggle, restructuring himself, turning himself into the version of himself that he liked and loved, then there was only that period of time, where his adopted mother relied on her stall at night to feed him and his sister, who was a few years younger than himself, that he considered to be a heart-warming memory.
Lin Dongqing helped countless people in his lifetime but also destroyed countless others in order to help others. He had no standards or guidelines when he did things. He didn’t respect the rules of the game, either. His brain wasn’t used for creation but destruction. He was dynamic but also frightening. He had no kindness, sympathy or will to care for others to speak of. His actions were simple and aggressive, tearing down, gnawing, crushing and sucking them dry before spitting out their remains. He didn’t mind how others evaluated the way he looked as he gobbled others. His behaviour left people disgraced and terrified.
When a player has no bottom line, all the players of the game have to fear him. However, those who cursed at him, cursed him and even those who got revenge on him never knew and would never know that that was how life treated Lin Dongqing…
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