The old lady looked after Lu Jinnian till he graduated high school. Then, when he went to Hangzhou, he couldn't afford to keep the house, so whenever he came back to Beijing during the university holidays, he would live at the old lady's house.
Later on, his life got better, so the old lady also lived a better lifestyle. In the last two years, the old lady had aged: she became a little muddle-headed, and her words were a little incoherent.
Lu Jinnian was busy at work, so he couldn't take care of her all the time. She was healthy, so living in a nursing home and hospital would probably create more problems, so Lu Jinnian hired the middle-aged woman to take care of her year in, year out.
Qiao Anhao accompanied the old lady back to her home. The woman couldn't wait to go in and then immediately started to flip through boxes and cupboards. After searching for a long time, she found a very small two inch photo and brought in front of Qiao Anhao and said, "Look, you say you're not Jinnian's little wife, but look! That's clearly you!"
The old lady held up a rather old-looking piece of photo of Qiao Anhao with two pigtails. She wore her school uniform and smiled sweetly. Her face looked a little young, but it was still easy to recognize that it was her.
The middle-aged woman saw the photo and cried in surprise, "Yiiiii, Miss. It really is you."
"See, how could I mistakenly recognize our Jinnian's wife? Jinnian told me before that the person in the photo is the person he was going to marry." The old lady hugged the photo to her chest like it was her baby, then glared at Qiao Anhao angrily. "Now how are you going to get out of this one?"
From the old lady's unexpected words, Qiao Anhao and the middle-aged woman understood what she meant. Lu Jinnian had kept this photo and must've told her that he really liked the person in the photo. Seeing Qiao Anhao tonight, the old lady recognized her from the photo and stood by her word, that she was, in fact, Lu Jinnian's wife.
It was late at the time and the old lady was a little groggy. Even if they continued to argue, there wouldn't be much of a result, so the middle-aged woman went with the old lady's story. She tried to coax her like a child by submissively saying, "Yes, yes, yes, Madam. This is Mr. Lu's wife. However, it's getting late. Madam, we have to get some rest now."
With that, the old lady followed the middle-aged woman happily into the bedroom.
But before she got into bed, the old lady placed the treasured photo of Qiao Anhao safely inside a cupboard.
The middle-aged woman didn't stop the old lady, letting her be. She turned around and apologized for what she just said to Qiao Anhao. "Sorry, Miss. It was the only way to cheer up the old lady."
"Don't worry about it," Qiao Anhao said with a smile. She then went straight to the point and asked, "What time does Lu Jinnian usually visit granny?"
"In the past, Mr. Lu would come every Wednesday, but now it's been four months without to visit. The old lady misses him so much. Otherwise, she wouldn't have ran out on her own like that."
Qiao Anhao thought that she might have found a way to catch Lu Jinnian, but she never imagined to get this kind of answer. In that instant, she felt a little disappointed. "Oh, is that so..."
"You two idiots! Today is New Year's Eve. Jinnian would definitely be at his mother's," mumbled the old lady while closing the cupboard. "The cemetery by the western suburbs, he's there every year to spend the New Year's with his mother..."
Before the old lady could finish, Qiao Anhao suddenly turned around and ran out the door. She was out the house when she realized that she hadn't driven over here, so she went back in and grabbed the car keys on the table. "I'm borrowing this. I'll bring it back tomorrow," she said and then disappeared without even waiting for the middle-aged woman to speak.
Qiao Anhao got in the car and entered the destination into the navigation system. She then headed straight for the cemetery in the western suburbs. She didn't actually know where Lu Jinnian's mother's grave was, and so she stopped at the foot of the mountain and searched every gravestone.
The cemetery was still. The icy wind blew by, cooling the bottom of her heart.
Qiao Anhao was so frightened that her entire body was s.h.i.+vering, but she summoned her courage and continued walking up.
When she had reached half-way up the mountain, she finally saw a person standing in front of a gravestone.
With the light in front of it, Qiao Anhao was able to clearly make out that it was Lu Jinnian.