Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Brother Wolf had a habit of driving in silence, concentrating and never talking.
Li Du liked to have discussions with others when he looked through the documents,
especially when the information was unclear.
All he could do was talk to Sophie, who was making him frustrated in many ways.”Wow,
this guy has big specs!”
“Wow, he’s so cool!”
“Wow, that handsome boy’s legs are so long!”
When Li Du stopped talking to her, Sophie kept laughing.
Li Du’s parents' flight arrived in the evening. Sophie’s parents showed up, both of them
dressed very formally. Mr. James wore a suit with a jacket, and Mrs. Martin wore a suit
with a long skirt.
After meeting them, Li Du hugged them, gave them welcome gifts and said with a smile,
“I’m really sorry that I didn’t accompany Sophie to pay you a visit when I came back
His gift to the Martins was two rings. One of the rings was as red as fire and the other
was black with colorful reflections. The first was a fire opal, and the second a black one.
The faces of the two rings were shaped like wings, but each had only one side.
Mr. James laughed brightly. “You young people have a fast pace of life. Get busy with
your own things. Don’t worry about us, we are busy too.”
Mrs. Martin was a collector of art, and she knew the value of the gift.
Although the gems used in the rings were small, their texture was very good and the
color particularly clear, which signified the best quality in opals.
In addition, the wing carving was excellent. The edge had platinum inlay, and the
feather pattern was very clear. The ring itself looked like a tree with branches around it
and the lines of bark etched into it.
She looked at the gift happily and said, “They are so beautiful, Li. Why are their wings in
opposite directions? What’s the story in here?”
Li Du smiled and said, “There is a famous poem in our culture. It goes, in the sky…”
“In the sky let us be two lovebirds flying ever together, and on earth, two trees with
branches interlocked together. I know this poem. It’s beautiful, even more than these
rings,” Sophie interjected.
Li Du nodded and continued to explain. “Yes, the lovebird is the bird god in our ancient
legend. This bird has only one eye and one wing, and the male and female stay side by
side to fly, so this image is often used to praise a loving couple.”
“And the interlocking branches, that’s an image more familiar to Americans. This is an
acacia, and the branches of two trees grow together…”
Mr. James nodded and said, “I know how this happens. Between the bark and the
xylem, there is a layer of cells called cambium. If two tree trunks collide in windy
weather, the cambium of both comes in contact, which causes the proliferation of new
cells, and the trees continue to grow together.”
“Why is there no romance in your explanation?” sighed Mrs. Martin.
Mr. James felt wronged and said, “You have to let me show off my knowledge. Oh, I
forgot. You are an expert in biology.”
He patted his forehead with a look of chagrin.
She held up her ring and said, “Is this a combination of a lovebird and a tree, then? It is
Sophie mumbled, “This is an impressive gift… more than any you had ever given me,”
She added with a smile.
“It is not worthy of you,” Li Du whispered in her ear. “I’m trying to think of something that
The words made Sophie happy and she put her arm around Li Du, smiling sweetly.
Mr. and Mrs. Martin were pleased with Li Du’s gift, and they were even more satisfied
when they learned that he had found both of the stones himself.
The couple exchanged their wedding rings for the new rings on the spot, saying that
these rings were more meaningful than their old ones.
In the evening, they left the hotel for the airport.
At the VIP exit, a few laughing and talking JP Morgan uniformed staff members turned
up, leading Li Du’s parents were among them.
Mr. Li carried a mountaineering bag and pulled a wheeled suitcase, while Mrs. Li had
suitcases in both her hands.
Li Du’s father was dressed in a suit and tie, and Li Du’s mother wore a camel knit vest
with white trousers and shoes.
They were looking around. Li Du excitedly waved and said, “My parents are looking for
us, they must miss me!”
Mrs. Martin smiled. “Yes, it’s the heart of all parents.”
Even though he waved as hard as he could, Li Du’s parents did not see him. Both of
them were looking around and whispering to each other but did not see him.
Only when both parties came close did Li Du’s parents see them. They walked over,
carrying their luggage and wearing a surprised expression.
Li Du went up and gave each of them a big hug. Sophie followed suit, hugging them
Li Du’s father’s arms were rather stiff as he hugged Sophie.
Li Du was entertained upon seeing this. He smiled and said, “Father, are you imitating a
Li Du’s father was embarrassed and said in a low voice, “Isn’t it off-limits to hug my own
daughter in law?
“You’re so old-fashioned, that’s American etiquette,” Li Du’s mother said mercilessly.
Mr. and Mrs. Martin shook hands with them, and Li Du translated as they greeted each.
Sophie also brought flowers and gave them to Li Du’s parents. “Welcome to America,
Mr. and Mrs. Li,” she said with a smile. “Li and I have been missing you so much.”
“Oh, Sophie, you speak better Chinese now. Your Mandarin is so good,” said Li Du’s
When they video called each other, Sophie spoke Mandarin, so it didn’t surprise them
Li Du’s father coughed and winked.
Li Du’s mother quickly opened her backpack and took out a box with two jade statues.
One was a statue of Guanyin, the other a cross with an image of Jesus.
Li Du’s father said, “Sophie, we did not bring anything much for you. We only brought
the statue of the god that we prayed to in the temple for you and Li Du. An extra
blessing, extra peace of mind, yes? The two of us have no other thought than hoping
that both of you are safe.”
Li Du clapped and gave a thumbs-up. “Dad, what a great speech!”
Li Du’s father smiled shyly, while his mother mercilessly revealed, “Your father had
been rehearsing this for the past two weeks.”
“Don’t talk nonsense, it was just a few days,” her husband argued.
Sophie smiled and accepted the cross. She also took out a gift bag and gave two
parcels to both her parents. She said, “This is a small gift I prepared. It doesn’t cost
much. Hope you will like them.”
Mr. James heaved a sigh of relief and said, “Fortunately, we have come ready. Come
on, let’s get our presents.”
Mrs. Martin took the presents they had prepared for Mr. and Mrs. Li from her handbag.
Finally, with a jolt, Li Du realized that he had not prepared any presents for his parents.
However, with a presence of mind, he took Sophie’s arm and brought her forth. “This is
my present for you, your daughter-in-law.”