Today is New Year’s Eve, the most solemn day of the year in Ch*na. On this day, everyone’s faces are filled with smiles. It’s the children’s favorite day because in the evening, they receive lucky money and brand-new gifts, including new clothes.
People who work outside, no matter how hard their day has been, return home on this day. They hug their wives and children, celebrating the New Year happily as a family.
Early in the morning, Gu Xia was awakened by the constant sound of firecrackers. However, Gu Xia pulled the quilt over his head, curled up under it, and continued to sleep.
It wasn’t until almost noon that Gu Xia finally got up to eat. After lunch, he decided to go for a walk. Outside, the streets were bustling with people.
Many clothing stores had clerks standing at the door, announcing discounts and other offers through loudspeakers. The stores were packed with people eager to buy new clothes for the New Year.
Gu Xia strolled to the Central Park of Xinj*an District, where he lay down on the grass, basking in the sun and feeling very comfortable. The weather was still pleasant, but he knew it would change on the second day of the lunar new year, bringing rain, sleet, and the chill of New Year’s greetings.
Gu Xia took out his mobile phone and dialed Tu Sisi’s number.
“Hmm…no answer. She’s probably busy.”
Am*rica, New Yo*k.
It was nighttime, and there was a light drizzle outside, making the weather quite chilly. Pedestrians hurriedly rushed home along the streets.
Tu Sisi was at Professor Smith’s place.
“Professor, my condition should be cured! I haven’t fallen sick in the past two months, and even though I miss my child, I’m still healthy,” Tu Sisi said in English.
“Oh, this is a good sign, Miss Sisi. But I think you should remain vigilant. If anything feels amiss, please contact me immediately.” Professor Smith said with a smile.
“Alright, thank you for your time, Professor.” Tu Sisi expressed her gratitude.
“Oh, you don’t have to, it’s my duty to treat illnesses and save lives. I’m genuinely delighted that your condition is improving.” Professor Smith replied, waving his hand.
Tu Sisi stood up and bowed to Professor Smith. “No matter what, without your careful guidance and treatment, I wouldn’t have recovered so quickly. Thank you.”
“Haha…” Professor Smith chuckled.
Next, Tu Sisi listened to Professor Smith’s instructions before leaving the hospital.
After exiting the hospital gate, Tu Sisi hailed a taxi to go home. Hu Chao likely had something to do today and hadn’t accompanied her. Tu Sisi cherished the solitude.
Upon arriving home, Tu Sisi decided to take a shower. She had just been caught in the rain, and she didn’t want the rainwater on her hair and body to make her uncomfortable.
“Who do you think of when you’re lonely…”
Tu Sisi lay in the bathtub, her entire body enveloped in the warm water, playing with the bubbles, humming a song…
Suddenly, her face turned red as she recalled the time she and Gu Xia had bathed together in this very bathtub.
“Oh right, today is New Year’s Eve; I really want to go home for a group photo!”
With her condition nearly healed, Tu Sisi yearned to return to Ch*na immediately. However, Hu Chao had reminded her that as long as she passed the assessment, she could join V*ctoria’s Secret. The opportunity was enticing. V*ctoria’s Secret held considerable influence in this era, and Tu Sisi didn’t want to miss it. She thought that after participating in V*ctoria’s Secret, she’d have more time and could return to Ch*na.
Tu Sisi reached for her mobile phone on the nearby table and dialed her mother’s number.
“Sisi! Are you still awake.”
“Yes, I’m taking a shower. Mom, what are you doing? It’s so noisy,” Tu Sisi said with a smile.
“I went shopping with Fangfang, and she dragged me out early in the morning,” Tang Chunhua said with a helpless smile.
“Mom, let me talk to Sisi,” Tu Fangfang interjected, taking the phone with a smile. “Sisi, have you ever thought about your sister?”
“I think about her all the time, of course,” Tu Sisi replied with a smile.
“After the Lantern Festival, I’m coming to New Yo*k to see you. I also want to experience what New Yo*k is like in the Un*ted States,” Tu Fangfang said with excitement.
“Haha, I’ll show you around when you come,” Tu Sisi replied with a smile.
“Haha, then we’ll be together again as sisters,” Tu Fangfang said.
“Yes, I haven’t seen you, Mom, and Dad for so long. I miss you all so much,” Tu Sisi sighed.
“Haha, when we come to visit, your parents will be here too. You’ll get to see them, and they’ll stay in New Yo*k for a couple of days. You’ll have to host them,” Tu Fangfang suggested.
“Really? My parents are coming too? I’m so happy,” Tu Sisi exclaimed, barely containing her joy.
“It’s true. If you don’t believe me, ask Mom.” Tu Fangfang handed the phone back to her mother.
“It’s true, Sisi! It just so happened that your dad mentioned taking me on a trip for a few days. I thought of you and suggested going to New Yo*k, and your dad agreed,” Tang Chunhua confirmed with a smile.
“Yeah, Mom, I’m really… really happy,” Tu Sisi said, overwhelmed with happiness.
“Haha, we’ve already obtained our passports.”
“Mom, it’s been so long since I’ve seen you. I miss you so much, Mom,” Tu Sisi said with heartfelt emotion.
“I miss you and Dad too…”
Tang Chunhua and Tu Sisi continued their conversation, growing increasingly emotional. Tears flowed uncontrollably. Tu Fangfang, too, was moved.
“Mom, look at you; you started crying while talking,” Tu Fangfang consoled her mother after she hung up the phone.
“I was just thinking about how much Sisi has endured at such a young age. My poor Sisi!” Tang Chunhua said sadly.
“Mom, didn’t Sisi just say that her illness is cured? This is a good thing! We should be happy,” Tu Fangfang reassured her.
“That’s right. Let’s go home and share the good news with your dad. He’ll be overjoyed.” Tang Chunhua said, smiling.
Tu Sisi lay in the bathtub, tears still glistening in the corners of her eyes. She couldn’t help but feel remorseful.
In her previous life, she had married early and had children, leaving little time for her parents except during holidays. In this life, she had fallen ill again and was busy buying a house for her family. She felt even more unfilial.
Tu Sisi broke into tears as these thoughts overwhelmed her.
In Ch*na, laughter and joy filled the air. The President of Ch*na had extended his New Year’s greetings to the Ch*nese people, leading to a
flurry of reposts on the internet.
At night, families gathered together, sharing meals and watching the Spring Festival Gala on TV.
Gu Xia watched the familiar faces and programs on the Spring Festival Gala, particularly the perennial hosts who appeared year after year.
Gu Qin sat nearby, counting her New Year’s money with a smile. Originally, their grandparents and parents had wanted to give Gu Xia New Year’s money, but he had firmly declined, having earned his own money. Gu Xia had also given his sister 660 yuan as a lucky gift, symbolizing good luck in 2009. He hoped it would bring good fortune to his sister’s college entrance examination that year.
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