Chapter 30: The Mermaid
Tan Xilu once had a conflict with his mother over one thing, their choice of college majors after the college entrance examination. Initially, Tan Xilu’s first choice was not a teaching degree; he wanted to study veterinary medicine.
When Tan Xilu was in junior high school, he found a stray cat named Ah Miao. When he brought Ah Miao home, it was lively, running around everywhere, which was quite different from Tan Xilu’s reserved personality at the time. Ah Miao had caused quite a bit of chaos at home during the first week, breaking numerous vases. Tan’s mother was furious and even thought about throwing Ah Miao out. However, she couldn’t bear to separate them when she realized that Ah Miao was the only companion Tan Xilu had. Fortunately, Ah Miao became less rambunctious over time and even started catching mice in the house.
Ah Miao stayed with Tan Xilu until his senior year in high school. Tan Xilu’s career direction had been decided long ago by his parents – he would major in teaching for a stable job and an easier time finding a partner. Tan Xilu had the same thoughts, but in that year, Ah Miao fell ill.
When he found Ah Miao, the cat was already six or seven years old. While it was lively when he first brought it home, it had clearly aged by the time Tan Xilu entered high school. Normally, when Tan Xilu came home in the evening, Ah Miao would excitedly grab his pant leg and try to jump on him. But one day, when Tan Xilu returned, he saw Ah Miao slowly limping towards him. At that moment, Tan Xilu felt like something precious was slipping away from his grasp.
As it turned out, that was indeed the case. Ah Miao grew weaker day by day, and by the time Tan Xilu entered his senior year, Ah Miao sometimes wouldn’t even be waiting at the door. Still, Tan Xilu would first go and stroke Ah Miao’s fur when he came home every day.
One day, when he returned home, he went to find Ah Miao as usual but couldn’t locate him. Even someone as composed as Tan Xilu panicked. He searched all around the neighborhood, going to places Ah Miao might have gone. It wasn’t until seven or eight in the evening that he received a call from his father, who said that Ah Miao had been found, but the situation didn’t look good.
Tan Xilu rushed to the pet hospital. The driver who had hit Ah Miao explained that the cat had suddenly darted in front of his car, and he couldn’t avoid the collision. Ah Miao appeared in bad shape, lying on a small operating table, barely breathing.
When the doctor came out, he shook his head and said apologetically, “I’m sorry, we did our best, but the cat’s liver damage was too severe.”
Tan Xilu rarely shed tears. When he was a child, crying would result in his nanny withholding food, so despite the hardships and sadness he faced later in life, he refrained from crying. However, at that moment, he couldn’t hold back. He hid in his father’s embrace and cried quietly, tears soaking his father’s shirt. His father had never seen his son so devastated.
What no one had expected was that on the second day after being declared critically ill, Ah Miao escaped from the pet hospital, despite its painful condition. Perhaps it knew its time was running out and didn’t want to cause grief to the one who loved it. Ah Miao limped away from the entrance of the pet hospital and Tan Xilu never found it again.
Afterwards, Tan Xilu dreamt countless times that Ah Miao was in some hidden corner, licking its wounds to console itself, and patiently awaiting death.
It was this experience that led Tan Xilu to choose a major in veterinary medicine, and for this, he had many arguments with his mother.
Tan’s mother knew what was always bothering Tan Xilu – why couldn’t he save Ah Miao? Ah Miao still had some life left, and it could have lived for several more days, but it chose to leave on its own. She understood that Tan Xilu was tormented by this thought.
Despite her constant efforts to console him, Tan Xilu was determined to pursue veterinary medicine. What ultimately changed his mind was a remark from his father. He said, “On the day Ah Miao was on the operating table, you cried and wet my shirt. What if you’re the one performing surgery on a small animal on that table? Will you cry then? Who will you turn to for comfort?”
Tan Xilu was always a timid person. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have refrained from hinting to his parents when the nanny mistreated him, even if it meant giving away some clues. They would have noticed that something was wrong with Tan Xilu, despite being inadequate parents. Tan Xilu didn’t know how to protect himself.
So, in the end, Tan Xilu compromised and applied for a teaching degree.
Tan Xilu stood by the bed and called out softly, “Mom.” His mother, with her back turned, remained wrapped in the blankets, motionless.
“Mom,” Tan Xilu walked to the other side of the bed and called out again.
His mother had originally had her eyes open, but she closed them when she saw Tan Xilu approaching.
Tan Xilu crouched by the bedside, reached into the blankets, and held his mother’s hand. Due to years of holding a pen, there was a thick callus on his mother’s middle finger. When he was a child, Tan Xilu thought this callus was unsightly, but he didn’t realize that he would have one too when he grew up. Now, he understood that this callus was a mark of honor for a teacher.
He rubbed his mother’s palm and coaxed her, saying, “Mom, please don’t be angry. Can you open your eyes and look at me?”
His mother withdrew her hand from his grasp and didn’t open her eyes. She only said, “Then break up with him.”
Tan Xilu suddenly froze in place.
“Mom…please don’t do this,” Tan Xilu bit his lip, his voice starting to tremble, “I…I really can’t live without him.”
His mother opened her eyes, sat up, and stared at Tan Xilu, saying emotionally, “Why can’t you live without him? Wasn’t everything fine before he came back? Didn’t you say you wanted to live well? Why can’t you live without him? Xiao Lu, what’s wrong with you? It’s been seven years; if he wanted to find you, he could have come back a long time ago! Why did he come back now?”
A barrage of questions overwhelmed Tan Xilu, and he didn’t know which one to answer. In the end, he could only call out, “Mom.”
His mother, looking at her obedient and seemingly content child, moved her lips but didn’t respond.
What went wrong? Why couldn’t Tan Xilu be with anyone other than Xu Huaiming? He had clearly moved on, and things were finally getting better. Why did Xu Huaiming have to come back and take her beloved son away?
Sometimes, Tan’s mother would wonder if she had made a mistake by spoiling Tan Xilu so much back then. Maybe she should have taken the initiative, gone to see the man who had stolen her son’s heart when Tan Xilu was in love. Instead of following Tan Xilu’s wishes, she should have found out who that man was and prevented Tan Xilu from experiencing such heartbreak.
She also regretted being too busy with work at that time, not having time to take care of the young Tan Xilu. It allowed the wicked nanny to mistreat him. So, when Tan Xilu, covered in wounds, found solace in someone’s embrace, he obediently followed them. But the cost was too high, and she didn’t want to see Tan Xilu hurt again. He was her flesh and blood, and she couldn’t bear to see him in pain.
“Xiao Lu, can you please listen to Mom? Can you make Mom happy and break up with Xu Huaiming?” Her voice choked, “I’m begging you. During those years when you almost couldn’t make it, I was suffering too. I even thought that if you couldn’t make it, I would go with you. Fortunately, you only stepped one foot into the abyss, and you managed to come out on your own. But Mom really can’t bear to see you jump back in. I can’t take it, Xiao Lu.”
“Xiao Lu, please, can you and Xu Huaiming break up? Mom is really begging you.”
T/N: Wishing you all a good September and welcome to Bad End month! There is plenty more where that came from, so stay tuned! And stay healthy! Straighten your posture, so some stretches and drink some water before continuing hehe~
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Also, check out the other series we have on HoH!
If you like cats, check out Revenge of the Garfield
What about the perfect, most non-toxic male lead ever? Laws of Love
How about MC nursing ML back to health? Forced into the Deep
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