3. The second step towards destruction
The days of dying with dignity and live with endurance passed one by one. When the school term ended, the two of us brought back our report cards. No one could tell that she was actually very smart. But once she concentrated on studying, her grades rose up very quickly. At the end of the term, she actually tested to be second place in the grade. Comparatively, I was average; didn’t even make it to top 50.
Grandma, Dad, and Mom were very happy and praised Mei Mei for being smart. But Mei Mei had an expression like she had just found her idol in the trashbin, and said, “How can this be? How can this be? Ge Ge is so smart, how can he not test higher than me?”
I couldn’t stand it, but I had to! It had to do with a man’s honor! With my purple face, I blathered, “Of course I can, it’s just that my stomach wasn’t feeling well on the day of the test, so I didn’t test well.
Grandma, Dad and Mom all had shocked expressions on their faces. Only that stupid Mei Mei suddenly nodded with understanding, “That’s right. Like I said, Ge Ge is extremely awesome.”
Grandma and them were all snickering. I couldn’t hold my expression any longer, so escaped from everyone’s eyes, but was still reluctant to admit my mistake, “Just wait, next term, I’ll definitely surpass you.”
*Sigh*, that hateful honor of men! During the new term, in order not to lose honor in front of Mei Mei, I made an all-out effort in studies and eventually got first place on the podium at the end of the term. This shocked everyone. Only Mei Mei had on a fame follows merit — that was the way things ought to be — expression.
Spurred on by that expression of hers, I didn’t have time to go out and be mischievous. The neighborhood all praised me for turning over a new leaf. Finally, I graduated top of the class and tested into a highly ranked middle school. Mei Mei also hovered around first and second place. The two of us, Li brother and sister pair, became legends of Yan Lin Elementary School. At parent conferences, there were always a bunch of people trying to learn from my parents.
The most hateful thing was, even though I was clearly the one improving, my dad and mom liked Mei Mei even more. But she always followed behind me like a little believer, making it so that I couldn’t even get angry at her.
With such difficulty, I got into junior middle school. The school was in another district so I only saw the little believer when I went home, and the pressure on me suddenly decreased. Remembering my triad boss career that I had abandoned for so long, I felt that I had to resume my preparations. By the second year at junior middle school, I became connected with the hooligans around the school. At that exact time, I had just started puberty and had much hormonal rage to vent out. I started building a domain outside of the school. Afraid that Mei Mei would hear about it, I didn’t dare go near Chessboard Street. I didn’t dare abandon my studies too much either, afraid that Mei Mei would show that expression of finding her idol in the trashbin again.
I now knew that being overly worshiped by someone was great pressure. I really regretted provoking Mei Mei and was even more fed up with that strong sense of honor of men that I had.
Of course, the so called building a domain is inseparable from fighting. A few times, I went home with a colored-up face. I thought I had covered it up really well, but it could not escape the excessive attention of Mei Mei towards me. When I was grimacing in the bathroom, trying to apply safflower oil on my back in front of the mirror, Mei Mei followed me in. With a sky-fallen expression, “Ge Ge, what happened to you?”
I quickly covered her mouth, “Don’t be noisy, do you want Grandma to worry?”
She understood at once and nodded. I let go of my hand and handed the safflower oil to her, “You came in time, help me apply it.”
With red eyes, Mei Mei took the safflower oil and said while applying it, “Ge Ge, you’re so good. You still remember to not worry Grandma even when you are injured. I’m really too thoughtless. Ge Ge, were you injured because you tried to stand up for a just cause?”
I actually really wanted to take advantage of that chance and tell her the truth, and walk off the alter. But when I saw her red nose in the mirror, I could only make two ambiguous “Mmm mmm” sounds. *Sigh*, that annoying honor of men!
After that I didn’t fight anymore and broke it off with the hooligans. It wasn’t just for the honor of men. There was another embarrassing reason. When Mei Mei’s small hands rubbed on my back that day, I had a peculiar feeling in my lower abdomen. After that, I even had an erotic dream. The female lead was, unexpectedly, Mei Mei.
For goodness sake! I was simply a beast! How could I have such thoughts towards my own younger sister? I wanted to become a bad person, not a beast!
I didn’t dare to fight anymore. She only helped me apply medication once and I had an erotic dream. If it happened again, it was hard to say that I wouldn’t behave immorally.
I felt ashamed for Mei Mei’s worship. To make up for it, I tried my best to be a good older brother. And she followed me even closer; always thinking of me first for anything.
It would have been fine if she thought of me only when there was something good to eat or something fun, but when she got her first period, she also came to find me? That day, Mom and Grandma were clearly both home, but she came, all flustered, to find me. She said while crying, “Ge Ge, Ge Ge, did I get cancer? So much blood has come out of me.”
I hurriedly asked, “Where?”
She pointed to her butt.
I looked. The blood had already soaked through her pants. I cried out in fear, “Mom, Dad, hurry! There’s something wrong with Mei Mei!” I have never cried out so miserably before.
Dad and Mom hastily ran over. Grandma also followed. They also became panicked by Mei Mei’s crying and quickly asked what happened.
I urgently told them, “Hurry and call an ambulance. Save Mei Mei!”
But Mom, with a relaxed look, blamed herself, “Ah, I’ve been careless. Mei Mei should have gotten to this age already.” And then she lead Mei Mei to the bathroom, beaming.
Dad and Grandma also had looks of realization. Only I didn’t understand and still asked Dad anxiously, “What is wrong with Mei Mei? Don’t not take care of her just because she’s not your biological child!”
Dad laughed and in a slightly mocking tone, “Stop panicking, son. Is your old father that kind of person? It’s nothing. Mei Mei has just grown up.”
Grown up? What kind of growing up is that scary? With blood coming out? Slowly, slowly, I remembered seeing in a science magazine that when a girl becomes 12 or 13 she would get her period; then would be able to have kids. Thinking about the fuss I made about nothing just then was truly embarrassing.
At dinner time, Mei Mei kept her head down with a red face. I looked at her body in puzzlement. She still looks like a child no matter how you look at it. I couldn’t understand where she could hold a child?
After that, Mei Mei suddenly kept a bit of distance from me. She continued to worship me like before her eyes always following me. But she would lock her door and require me to knock, not letting me go in as I wished.
There were also some things she wouldn’t tell me. For example, one day after school, I saw her holding her abdomen with a pale face. I asked her what was wrong, but she shook her head and said nothing. She ducked into the bathroom and stayed there for a long time before coming out. And then she went into her bedroom, holding her abdomen, without paying any attention to me.
With my stubborn temper, I had to understand. I went into the bathroom and investigated for a long time before finding clues in the wastebasket. This time, I didn’t panic. After last time’s lesson, I quickly understood. That thing came for Mei Mei.
Why was Mei Mei in so much pain? Dad and Mom weren’t off work yet and I didn’t want to ask Dad and Mom either. Ever since the period event last time, Dad, Mom, and Grandma would always look at me as if they understood something about me. I didn’t want to go bring embarrassment upon myself.
I went on baidu to search and quickly found the answer. The explanation on there was very thorough and detailed. It even suggested a few ways to alleviate the pain; one of which, red bean soup, was easy to make.
I overturned everything in the kitchen to find red beans and then added a bit of water to start cooking.
As I was cooking, Mom got off work and came home.
When she saw me in the kitchen, it gave her a scare, “Hao Ran? What are you doing in the kitchen? Where’s Mei Mei? Why isn’t she with you?”
I had already made preparations. I held up the forefinger of my left hand. I had made a fake red scar with red dye on it, “My finger is bleeding. I’m making red bean soup to enrich the blood. Mei Mei is in her bedroom.”
Mom clearly didn’t really believe me, but miraculously, she didn’t question me more. She went to Mei Mei’s bedroom door, knocked, and then went in. After a while, she came out with a look of understanding something and entered into the kitchen. She looked at the pot and said, “There’s too little water, red bean soup should be cooked like this…”
Mom very carefully taught me how to make red bean soup, and then prepared dinner on the side. Every once in a while, she would look at me and smile. Her smiles made the hairs on my head stick up.
After the red bean soup was ready, I stammered and said, “I think I made too much. I’ll go bring a bowl to Mei Mei.”
Mom only smiled, “Mmm, go ahead.”
I knocked on the door and Mei Mei said weakly, “Come in.”
I went in and saw Mei Mei curled up in her covers. I brought the red bean soup over, “Mei Mei, drink this bowl of soup.”
I didn’t know when Mom followed me over, “You have to drink this. This was personally made by Hao Ran. I’ve raised him for more than ten years and haven’t even drank a sip of tea poured by him yet. Mmm, a son grows up and leaves his mother.”
With a flushed face, I disputed, “I made it because I was bleeding. It’s only because I accidentally made too much that I’m giving it to Mei Mei.”
“That’s right.” Mom said those empty words, “You guys slowly enrich your blood. I’ll go cook dinner.”
Mei Mei sat up. Her pale face flushed a bit red. Her bright eyes looked at me.
When did Mei Mei become even more beautiful? I was pretty much dumbstruck.
Seeing me dumbstruck, Mei Mei pursed up her lips and laughed. She took the bowl from my hands and lowered her head to drink the soup. After she finished, she handed the bowl back to me and said in a soft voice, “Thank you, Ge Ge.” Hearing this made my body go soft.
After that time, I would get a small injury on a few days each month and require blood enrichment. And I would always accidentally make too much and give Mei Mei a bowl. Sometimes I couldn’t even believe my excuse, but Dad and Mom did. My skills at making red bean soup became better day by day.
Mei Mei would always happily drink the red bean soup and those eyes that looked at me became brighter and brighter.