“What was that for?” The man turned anxious.
“What are you glaring back at me for? Don’t you see the young lady with a child? Aren’t you going to give up your seat? What happened to being cultured and polite? Are you retarded?” the middle-aged woman shouted.
The man was stunned when he heard that as he looked in Ouyang Fenghua’s direction, dazed.
Ouyang Fenghua’s face blushed as she felt a string of curses run across her head. Did she appear that old? With a child?
Fangzheng was also rendered speechless. What the heck?
The man quipped, “How long have you not gone up the mountain? This is Venerable One’s child”
“Ah!? Venerable One, you got married? Aiyah, Lady, you have good taste. Eh, that’s not right. Can monks get married?” The middle-aged woman was a little ditsy, but she was not slow to react.
Fangzheng wore a bitter look as he quickly clarified. “Amitabha. Patron, this is This Penniless Monk’s disciple. This patron is This Penniless Monk’s friend. They are accompanying This Penniless Monk to Sunglow Monastery today.”
The woman was enlightened when she heard that. “I see. I knew it. How can a child this young have a child. Why didn’t you guys say so earlier”
Fangzheng, Ouyang Fenghua, and the entire bus were rendered speechless. She had shot her mouth like a Gatling gun. When had she given others a chance to explain? Why was she shouting randomly without understanding the situation?
The man added, “Babble away only when you understand the situation. That slap of yours leaves the back of my head burning.”
The moment he finished his sentence, the woman slapped him again.
“What? What are you doing now?” The man felt peeved.
“Nothing else. Why that look? Even if the child isn’t the Venerable One’s, can you sit so at ease when someone is with a child?”
The man looked innocently at Ouyang Fenghua and Red Boy, whose expression seemed to goad him into giving up his seat. He rolled his eyes. “Fine, fine, fine You are the best. I’ll give it up, alright?” The man stood up and added, “If you have a chance, leave the mountains and broaden your horizons! This child? F**k, he’s stronger than me!”
With that said, the man headed further behind.
The woman did not understand what the man meant, nor did she think too deeply about it. She immediately called out to Ouyang Fenghua and Red Boy. “Here, don’t just stand. Have a seat.”
Ouyang Fenghua could only thank the woman profusely. Although all of that appeared like an amusing skit, to the point of it not matching the various principles and etiquette that she learned in school, to the point of many actions being very impolite, Ouyang Fenghua realized that she did not hate such acts. She even liked this direct, honest, and simplistic show of passion.
Ouyang Fenghua could not help but sigh. “It’s indeed true that it is better not to believe in books at all rather than to believe in them implicitly. What the books mention might be right, but in terms of speech and actions, there are times when that cannot be strictly determined. Goodness that stems from the heart is true goodness. That is true beauty! Those dogmas with courtesy for the sake of courtesy are inferior in comparison.”
Unknowingly, Ouyang Fenghua looked at the simply dressed villagers, with some even wearing mud-laden boots, differently now. When viewing them from a different angle, these people were less dirty and more honest and pure. They did not have the soft voice and quiet demeanor of scholars. Most of the time, they were shouting at the top of their voices and were not talking about elegant matters. Instead, they talked about matters of national importance, reaching that of international affairs at times. As she listened, Ouyang Fenghua even had the illusion that the bus was not filled with villagers, but civil servants
Of course, there were times when the topics steered away, but no one mentioned any sordid matters or dirty jokes. There was no meaningless mocking, only talk about family matters or international trends. Ouyang Fenghua sat there and listened quietly. She suddenly realized that she began liking this feeling. She liked such raw conversations.
At that moment, a cloud of smoke wafted towards her. She could not help but cough twice. The thick smell of smoke caused Ouyang Fenghua to wince her brows. She originally wanted to request the person to not smoke, but when she saw that almost every man had a cigarette in hand, and no one seemed to mind it, she immediately put up with it. She thought to herself, “This is everyone’s lifestyle. They can’t change just because of me. Just endure it. Treat it as a smoking experience.”
Although Ouyang Fenghua did not say a word, the man who had given up his seat spoke out. “Hey! Snuff your cigarettes! The young lady is clearly a child from the city. How can all you smoking addicts blacken such a clean person like her? Snuff it out!”
Ouyang Fenghua blushed when she heard that. That was a weird way of putting it. Blacken her? However, the words were filled with kindness which warmed her heart.
Ouyang Fenghua immediately said, “There’s no need. I’m fine Cough!”
“You are fine? You are already coughing. You smoking addicts, quickly snuff out the cigarettes. Be cultured and polite!” the woman declared.
The smoking men chuckled and put out their cigarettes before stuffing them back into their pockets.
Ouyang Fenghua’s heart warmed even more when she saw this. She even felt touched and could not help but stand up and bow. “Thank you, Uncle. Thank you, Auntie.”
The villagers were collectively dumbfounded when they saw this. They felt that it was only right for them to take care of a young girl and never expected her to be so polite. Immediately all of them who were bragging, talking about international trends or major domestic affairs were stunned. The sudden bow and thanking left them blushing and flustered.
When Fangzheng saw this, he chuckled. “Patrons, goodness is a two-way street. Since you took care of her, it is only right for her to thank you.”
“No But we are a bunch of boors. We are just a little stunned with this.”
“No one has bowed to me my entire life. Not even that wastrel son of mine has done so. As expected, children from the city know courtesy”
“Yea, studying is a good thing. That darn kid of mine only knows how to run around all day. I can’t even catch him.”
“I know, right?. If there’s a chance, throwing them in school and locking them up would be good.”
The topic veered off again as everyone turned into a chatterbox. Without the smell of smoke, Ouyang Fenghua leaned back into her seat as she listened to their teasing of each other with loud voices. It sounded heavenly to her. She thought to herself, “How nice”
As the bus circled the villages, some of the roads were in ill disrepair. It was bumpy and only half an hour later did they enter a main road. The bus stopped shaking, and it also began going fast. It truly dashed for Songwu County with smoke on its tail.
After they alighted the bus, the villagers formed groups to buy items before they bade Fangzheng, Ouyang Fenghua, and Red Boy farewell.
The bus driver poked his head out. “Venerable Fangzheng, our bus does not have a fixed pick-up spot. If you are taking the bus back, come here at 2.30pm. I remember everyone. Once everyone is here, we will return.”