The girl asked, “Brother Yu, will you still be this good to me in the future? Will you rub my knees and catch big fish for me to eat?”
The boy proudly patted his chest. “Definitely! Whatever you wish to eat, I’ll get it for you!”
“Then… what if someone bullies me?”
“With me here, no one will bully you.” The boy continued patting his chest, speaking with confidence.
At that instant, the young girl smiled happily, her eyes curving into crescent moons.
“Let’s carve that into words. No one is to go back on those words!” squealed the girl.
The boy agreed. They carved the words ‘Yu Guanghua will protect Liu Fangfang for life’ on a birch tree. Then, they carved the same words on two other trees. Finally, the boy peeled off the bark of a birch tree with a tiny knife. He made a tiny card for each of them.
The scenery changed. A dirt road of a farming village, the girl had grown up. However, the situation was terribly. She had a bag of flour snatched from her by a fat man after she was pushed down by him. She wailed out of anxiety.
The boy appeared. He grabbed a cake of earth and rushed over to fight the fatty. How was the boy to beat the man several sizes larger than himself? Yet the boy had an unyielding spirit. No matter how many times he was beaten down, he would crawl up and continue fighting.
The fatty became frightened by the boy’s tenacity. He turned and ran off, spilling the flour across the ground.
The girl wailed loudly when she saw the flour scattered on the ground. “I’m doomed! Mommy will beat me for losing the flour, boo hoo…”
The boy gritted his teeth when he saw this. “Fangfang, wait for me.”
“Don’t fight any further. You are already bleeding,” said the girl with concern.
The boy had already left. He went home and got a cleaver before rushing to the fatty’s house. Not long later, he took out a bag of flour from the fatty’s home and stuffed it into the girl’s hands.
The scenery changed again. The girl was grown-up. She stood tall and beautiful. She was no longer in the village but had entered the city.
It was still the same boy now taller and muscular. He smiled bashfully. As they walked down the street, they encountered a poster hung on a wall. It was a drawing of a woman dressed in a white qipao. It accentuated the woman’s figure perfectly, making her look gorgeous.
The girl looked at the poster and could not help but marvel, “What beautiful clothes. I want to buy one when I start earning money.”
The boy was taken aback but did not say a word.
The scenery changed once again.
The boy suddenly rushed into the factory the girl was in. He stuffed a package into her hands, then with a face flushed red, ran off.
He did not turn back regardless how much she called out to him.
When the girl opened, she covered her mouth in disbelief. It was the white qipao she had admired! It was beautiful!Where did he get the money? How did he buy such a pretty qipao?
The girl chased and found him. She pushed the clothes back at him and said angrily, “Brother Yu if you do not tell me where you got the money. I won’t accept it!”
“Ah?” The boy was taken aback as he scratched his head, unsure of an explanation.
At that moment, the boy’s friend came over and asked, “How else? He earned it? Old Yu worked several jobs a day, working day and night. He has been saving for half a year.”
The boy quickly sent his friend scurrying off and pushed the clothes back to the girl, “It wasn’t that tiring. Take it…”
The girl looked at the boy with her heart aching for him. “Why did you do that? It’s not like the clothes are a necessity…”
“Heh heh…” The boy chuckled in a silly fashion. He was not that good with words.
The scenery changed. The girl was about to marry. Her family had betrothed her to someone she did not know. Only then did she realize she had grown. She was no longer the young girl from before. The person she held in her heart was an adult like her now. That night, she wanted to elope with the boy.
The boy rejected her proposal because he could not give her the life he thought she wanted.
The girl cried with him. The next day, the boy left Black Mountain City. The girl fled without her family knowing. She did not know where to go. Eventually, she returned to her old home, returning to the birch forest . There she saw the boy. The boy was in a daze under the birch tree where they had carved their vows.
“You said that you would protect me your entire life,” uttered the girl softly with tears flowing down her cheeks.
The boy gave himself three slaps before hugging the girl. “I will protect you for life. With me here, no one can harm you.”
The two spent their days with each other. A simple life but for them just holding hands meant everything.
The scene changed once more.
It was still the same birch forest. The boy held the girl’s hand but she was a weeping wreck. “I don’t want you to go…”
“Silly girl, I’m not leaving. I’m fighting the invaders! I’m protecting the country!” The boy wiped away the girl’s tears.
“There are many people in China. They don’t need you. Why must you go? Isn’t it voluntary?” The girl cried even more.
“I’m doing it voluntarily!” the boy told her, filled with deep emotions.
“With you gone, how are you to protect me?” The girl began to act shamelessly as she pointed at the newly carved words on a tree. “You aren’t keeping to your word!”
The boy looked at the girl with a deep, meaningful look. “Silly, I’m going to protect you! Back when Japan invaded the northeast, it resulted in suffering. I definitely will not allow for it to happen again. Now that another country has invaded, I have to step up. I will keep them outside our borders. Only then can I ensure your safety. For you and for our country, I have to go!”
“But… but… aren’t there others…” The girl refused to accept the situation.
“They are not me. I swear I will protect you. Believe me. I will return!”
The scenery changed. With a loud whistle, the boy joined the army. He was dressed in a military uniform, the girl found him especially handsome.
The scene shattered. On the old dock by the river, the girl stuffed a picture she had recently taken into the boy’s hands. On the back of it was her name. “Wife of Yu Guanghua: Liu Fangfang!”
Up to this point, they had yet to apply for a marriage certificate or had a wedding. The words expressed her feelings beyond a doubt. She, Liu Fangfang, was and always would be Yu Guanghua’s wife.
“I will wait for your return until the end of times. I will wait for you here, by this dock. No matter when you return, you will see me here. I will take a look at every boat that returns. I will wish for you to be on it.” whispered Liu Fangfang.
A command was issued as the boy boarded the boat with the rest of the troops. They were going somewhere far away to gather the rest of the troops. They would then pass the Yalu River, fighting to protect the country. No one knew if they would return but all of them yearned for it. Even so they feared not death for they knew that as long as they kept the enemies from crossing their borders their family and loved ones would be safe.