In the hot summer holidays of July, the tarred roads exuded a pungent smell of lacquer under the scorching heat of the sun, as if they were melting.
The air above the ground shimmered as hot air evaporated under the heat.
On an extremely sunny day like this, the street was very quiet. Even the traffic flow was low. Everyone was in cooler places to avoid the heat.
Wearing a washed-out white shirt and pair of a dull suit pants, a woman dashed towards the Second People's Hospital.
Her hair was plastered to her sweaty face and her cheeks had an unusual flush. Obviously, she was badly scorched by the heat.
Her white shirt was wet due to sweating and she felt uncomfortable. But Qiao Nan had no time to worry about all that. She held tightly to her bag, where 100,000 yuan could be found.
She had sold all her valuables and painstakingly raised this sum of money. Her elder sister's surgery cost 200,000 yuan. She would have to find a way to raise the remaining 100,000 yuan.
Headed straight to the ward, as Qiao Nan's hands touched the doorknob, she overheard the conversation between the mother-daughter pair in the room.
"Mom, it was all Qiao Nan's fault. If not for her, Da Jun would not have divorced me." This was the voice of Qiao Zijin, Qiao Nan's sister.
"Stop crying, I've already disciplined Qiao Nan," said Ding Jiayi, Qiao Nan's mother, as she held her elder daughter's head, as her heart ached.
Qiao Nan, who was standing outside the room, was shocked. Hadn't her sister had an affair which resulted in Chen Jun divorcing her? But what did this have to do with her?
At the thought of Chen Jun, Qiao Nan felt a tinge of sadness.
Chen Jun was Qiao Nan's boyfriend. However, Qiao Zijin became pregnant with his child. Ding Jiayi chastised Qiao Nan for this. She said that Qiao Nan had malicious intent and was a small brute with no conscience as she not only snatched her own sister's boyfriend, but also forced her to abort the foetus.
Eventually, Qiao Nan had to give up the relationship with Chen Jun and allowed them to be together.
"Mom, Da Jun divorced me. My child is also not by my side and I have contracted this kind of illness. What should I do? Mom, I do not wish to die. I have not fulfilled my filial piety as a daughter to you. I really do not wish to die."
In the ward, Qiao Zijin hugged Ding Jiayi and cried. She was still so young and had a bright future ahead of her. Qiao Zijin really did not wish to die.
Ding Jiayi was extremely touched when she heard her elder daughter's intent to be filial to her despite being seriously ill.
Ding Jiayi patted Qiao Zijin's back and said, "No. Mom will not let anything happen to you. Owing to Qiao Nan, that wretched girl, Mom has already raised the expenses for you. When we have 200,000 yuan, you will recover soon."
Shortly after Qiao Zijin divorced Chen Jun, she had kidney failure and needed an immediate kidney transplant.
However, Qiao Zijin was in the wrong in this marriage as she had an extra-marital affair. Hence, she left the marriage without any maintenance or marital compensation. Now that she had contracted this illness, she had no means to pay for her medical bills.
Although Qiao Nan had been used to her mother's favoritism, she could not help but feel hurt by this conversation.
She was already 40 years old. After she broke up with Chen Jun, she never had another relationship. It was not that she was not willing to, it was because her mother would not let her.
Over the years, she had given most of her income to her mother. Her mother used the money that she had earned and bought a 150 square-meter suite for her elder sister. She had to stay in a 90 square-meter rented apartment.
She paid all her parents' household bills. Everytime her sister visited her parent's home, her sister brought something but also took away more when she left.
At this age, she was still not married and had been teased by others as being left on the shelves. Qiao Nan knew that her mother would not let her get married as she wanted her to continue giving her household allowances.
But this was her own mother. Every time she planned to attend a match-making session, her mother would make a fuss and threaten to commit suicide. Qiao Nan had no choice.
All these efforts seemed to be in vain when she heard her mother calling her a wretched girl. Especially after she heard that Qiao Zijin was pushing the entire blame of her extra-marital affair and divorce to her, she held on tightly to the money in her hand. Suddenly, she did not feel like giving the money to Qiao Zijin.
Before Qiao Nan left, she heard the last conversation which left her in utter despair.
"Mom, it's not so easy. What if I cannot find a compatible kidney even after Qiao Nan has raised the money? The doctor said that as long my next-of-kin could donate a kidney to me, the match would be better and my body would not face rejection so easily."
In the arms of Ding Jiayi, Qiao Zijin said pitifully, "If I could have a loved one's kidney, most likely I would be able to reduce my medical treatment expenses."
"It would not be so easy to find, some people died before the opportunity came!"
Qiao Zijin knew very well that money alone was not enough to solve her problem and allow her to continue to live on. She had to find other alternatives.
"Would you like me to go for the blood test?" Ding Jiayi asked with some hesitation.
Qiao Zijin shook her head again and again. Her mother was already old and her kidney was definitely not as good and healthy. Since she would be having a transplant, she might as well get a good one. "Mom, you gave birth to and raised me, I can't bear to let you go under the knives. Same for Dad as well."
"That…" Ding Jiayi thought for a moment, and her eyes lit up. "When the wretched girl comes, I'll get her to do the blood test. She is your biological sister. I am sure it will be suitable!"
"Sounds good. But Qiao Nan may not agree. After all, this is a kidney." Qiao Zijin had a scheming look in her eyes.
For the sake of survival and as a precautionary measure, she would never let Qiao Nan reject this.
"Miss Qiao, you came to see your sister. Why won't you go in?" Qiao Zijin and Ding Jiayi heard the nurse's voice at the door during the conversation.
Qiao Zijin's face changed greatly. "Mom… was our earlier conversation overhead by Qiao Nan, that wretched girl?"
Without a word, Ding Jiayi got up and ran out. She saw Qiao Nan's back and shouted her name loudly.
Qiao Nan heard Ding Jiayi's shouts. She refused to turn back or stop. Tears were rolling down uncontrollably. She was heartbroken.
For the sake of her mother and sister, she did not even have a home of her own. However, they not only schemed for her money, but also wanted her kidney.
Ding Jiayi might not have fully understood Qiao Zijin's words, but Qiao Nan did. The more she did, the more she hated. She felt that even if she had owed the Qiao family, she had sacrificed enough!
Perhaps maternal love was indeed "noble". Seeing that the younger daughter had run away, Ding Jiayi was afraid that the elder daughter's illness would not be cured. Ding Jiayi's steps quickened, caught up with Qiao Nan and fiercely grabbed Qiao Nan's hair.
"You wretched girl! You obviously don't have a conscience. You know that your sister is having such a serious illness, and you still want to leave her in the lurch. Come here…"
Qiao Nan's head hurt and just as she tried to tell her mom that this was dangerous on the street, a car came towards her.
There was a deafening crash. Qiao Nan was in so much pain that she could not speak. She forced herself to open her eyes as she wanted to see how her mother was.
Having released her hand when she saw the incoming car, Ding Jiayi was really scared. Seeing her younger daughter lying in a pool of blood, she ran over and said, "Qiao Nan, you… if you were dead, it might be a good thing too. At least you can help your sister. Zijin would have both kidney and money!"
If her younger daughter was killed, the person who hit her must compensate them.
When she heard Ding Jiayi's words, Qiao Nan gave Ding Jiayi a deadly stare. Before the ambulance arrived, she would have been driven to the grave by her!