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“Uncle Du, is it like this?”
“That’s right.” I gave one more demonstration, “You did a good job, Wan Wan¹.”
Shen Wenshu smiled happily and looked at me again. “Uncle Du, how do you know that my dads call me Wan Wan? Did my dad tell you that?”
“No.” I tapped his nose. “Your dad didn’t tell me.”
“It’s Papa?! Papa told you right!” Shen Wenshu’s small face looked very excited. “What else do you know, Uncle Du?”
“Me?” I raised a brow at him. “I know everything.”
Shen Wenshu looked at me with wide eyes. He looked so cute.
“Your Papa said, because Wan Wan couldn’t stay in his stomach anymore and wanted to come out quickly, he would touch his stomach and say to you, ‘Little baby, stay a few more days. Come out later, why don’t you?’ And that’s why you’re called Wan Wan.” I put my arm on his shoulder, approached his small body and wiped his red eyes. “Papa loves you very much, so Wan Wan must be strong no matter what.”
He sniffed his nose, tidied up his feelings, and began to play the piano again.
The child’s piano was melodious and happy, but now it hid some sadness.
In order to teach Shen Wenshu how to play the piano, I left work early. Shen Junshan was still working very hard in the company. I did not know whether there were too many things in the company or he just did not want to come back at all.
The eldest son was in primary (elementary) school.
The second son was in kindergarten.
The baby Omega I once saw in the hospital was taken care of by President Shen himself.
I remember the last meeting, when Shen Junshan was holding the baby and was urinated on while still having a solemn face. At that time I really wanted to laugh, my tears also nearly came out.
The door lock turned twice. I heard the sounds and went to the door and caught the little bomb Shen Wenxin who flew to me.
“Papa… Dad… Daddy.” He liked this game very much, that is, he would never call people right. I picked him up and shook him twice.
“Call Uncle.” Shen Junshan spoke again. I cannot even remember how many times Shen Wenxin had been corrected. However, he was very insistent, and so I went along with him.
Shen Junshan still had a small one in his arms. When he entered he kept looking after the small one and threw the two big ones to me.
I took Wenxin to wash his hands and kept thinking about Nian Nian. Shen Junshan, who looked cultured, was actually simple and crude – Shen Wennian, simple and concise.
As for who I missed, I looked at the family portrait of the four people on the wall and laughed bitterly.
“How was Nian Nian today?” I settled the two and asked at the door.
Shen Junshan did not stop changing while the little doll’s clothes. He heard my question and spat two words, “Quite good.”
I asked myself for boredom, and just as I was ready to go, I heard Shen Junshan say, “Sit down.”
“Ah?… Oh, okay.”
Shen Junshan hooked his coat and put on an apron. I saw that Nian Nian had slept soundly, so I went to attend to the homework of two young masters by myself.
Shen Wenshu was always acting like little adult in front of his brother. I saw he write with his brother’s hand in a solemn way. Shen Wenxin drew one stroke by stroke, and the boy worked so hard sweat started to come out.
I sat and watched without disturbing the brothers’ great career.
“Yes?” I see Shen Wenxin turn to look at me. “What’s wrong?”
“Uncle Du.” Shen Wenshu’s face had a bit of frustration. “Little Brother, he does not understand what I’m saying.”
I looked closer, took the pencil and drew a picture on the paper. “Look… This is a big apple, it’s Xin Xin’s. Xin Xin’s brother has four. How many apples do you have altogether?”
Shen Wenxin pulled his fingers. “Fi… Five.”
“Correct.” My hand continued drawing. “If Xin Xin’s dad had four apples and gave you one, how many would Dad have left?”
Shen Wenxin muttered and thought for a long time. “No… None.”
“Why?” The child’s subtraction was just not very good. “Four, minus two… ”
“Because Dad will give everything to Papa.”
I was stunned for a long time before smiling and crying (in a way). I changed the example and at last, the little young master was able to learn.
“Yes… This is it.”
“Papa is great!”
“That’s not true.” I twisted the little rascal’s face before hearing Shen Junshan’s interruption.
“Call Uncle Du.” He looked at me for a moment, and I wondered how long he had been standing at the door. He said to his two precious sons, “Wash your hands and eat.”
I was going to leave, but ended up staying after hearing Shen Wenxin’s crying persuasion.
“Uncle Du has decided to stay, so you have to eat properly.” Shen Junshan said to the tear-eyed Shen Wenxin with a solemn face.
Shen Wenxin put out his short arm to me. “Here… Sit here.”
I looked at the empty seat beside Shen Junshan, and looked at his expressionless face.
I had to talk to Shen Wenxin, “Come here Xin Xin, why don’t you sit next to Uncle instead?”
He was a little unhappy, but still dragged his small bowl to sit beside me.
“Papa, eat vegetables.” This little fellow happily ladled me a big spoonful of celery.
“Eat it yourself.” Shen Junshan spoke, still very patient to correct his young son, “Call Uncle Du.”
When Shen Wenxin heard his father’s words, he became unhappy and poked his rice with the fork. I smiled and gave him shredded carrots.
“Then Uncle will eat the green one, and Xin Xin will eat the red one, we’ll settle with this. ”
“The red ones taste worse than the green ones.” Shen Wenxin cried out and muttered with a mournful face. “I want Papa to tell me a story.”
“Sure.” When I spoke out, I then realized. I looked up and saw Shen Junshan looking at me with furrowed brows. It was somewhat awkward now. “Why don’t Uncle come by another day to tell Xin Xin a story in the daytime?”
Shen Wenxin was as stubborn as his old man. “Listen after taking a bath.”
Sure enough, I could not pull back this little stubborn donkey. Shen Wenxin was very righteous and vigorous. “Papa promised, no buts!” ”
“If you don’t eat properly, you have no stories to listen to.” Shen Junshan, the tyrant, finally compromised, and I was relieved.
I was supposed to be a tutor for the young master, but now I am the little young master’s book caddy.
I stood in front of Shen Wenxin’s small bookcase, turning over the colorful books.
Shen Wenxin, wrapped in a quilt, asked me with wide eyes in bed, “Papa, Papa. Have you chosen yet?”
I have never been able to choose storybooks, so I just sat down beside the little bed and said, “What does Xin Xin want to hear?”
“Want to hear… Fishtail Princess!”
“That’s the Little Mermaid.” I pinched his face. “Okay, let’s read that.”
“A long time ago in the big sea, the sea god had a little daughter whom he loved most…” I patted his little body while reading this rotten street story. “…Eventually, the little mermaid turned into foam on the sea surface and disappeared in the early morning sunshine.”
I yawned, but Shen Wenxin was still in high spirits. He tugged at my sleeves and said, “Why did the mermaid turn into bubbles?”
I held my head and coaxed him, “Because the Prince did not say he loved her.”
“Why didn’t the prince say that?”
I thought for a bit, “Because nobody mentioned it.”
Shen Wenxin’s small head is filled with 100,000 different why’s, “Why didn’t the mermaid ask?”
“Because she can’t talk.” I pursed my lips as if in distress. “She swapped her voice for human legs.”
“She can draw or draw.” Shen Wenxin’s small face showed excitement as if he had uncovered some big secret. “If she drew and told the prince, the prince would fall in love with her. The mermaid won’t become bubbles and can be happy with the prince. The mermaid is too silly.”
I smiled because of his naive idea and touched his head of soft hair.
“That’s right, our Xin Xin is smart.”
The child’s excitement passed, and soon he was tired and fell asleep unexpectedly fast.
I pressed the quilt for him, and could not resist kissing his face.
“Have a good dream.”
I went out of Shen Wenxin’s bedroom. The children went to bed early. I looked at my watch, it was half past eight.
Shen Junshan saw me come out and stood up from the sofa. I could not think for a moment, “What are you doing sitting here?”
“Sorry for troubling you.”
As if waking from a dream, I was stunned a little, “It’s nothing. That… It’s not too early, so I’ll go back now.”
“I’ll see you off.”
“No, no.” I saw he was going to pick up his clothes and quickly refused. “There are still cars here. Don’t bother.”
I took advantage of his silence, tidied up and went out. As if afraid that he would chase after me, I went downstairs as if I had been chased by a ghost. It was not until I saw the unlocked iron door that I breathed a sigh of relief.
On the way to the bus stop, I suddenly remembered what Shen Wenxin said.
I smiled like a madman. How could the little daughter of the sea god be a fool? She did not ask because of fear. She was afraid that the prince’s true love was the human princess. She was afraid that the prince’s feelings for her, could not overcome his fear and disgust for mermaids.
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