When I came home at noon, I saw my father rolling out dumpling skins with his sleeves rolled up and his apron tied, while my mother was wrapping them. I couldn’t help but snicker, “The old couple is working well together!” My mother heard me say, “Two people living together is to be considerate of each other.”
When I was young, we were a family of six or seven people, and my mother had the heaviest burden. Every farming season, just after dawn, my mother got up to make the rice, told us to get up and wash up, she grabbed a few bites of rice and went to work in the field.
At noon, my mother came back dripping with sweat. When she entered the door, she dropped her farming tools, washed her face, scooped up a scoop of cold water from the well, tilted her head and drank two mouthfuls of “gulp, gulp”, then rushed into the kitchen to make lunch.
My father was an elementary school teacher and was very busy at work. He never asked about the chores at home, and often brought colleagues to the house for dinner. My mother was busy in the kitchen without complaining, while my father accompanied things in the house, drinking tea and chatting. A few of us were outside playing like crazy. When my mother made the meal, she ladled it into bowls and stood at the door shouting at the top of her lungs, “It’s time to eat.” Only then did we scramble into the kitchen to serve the food.
One night, my father got drunk outside and was brought back with the help of his colleagues. My mother hurriedly helped my father to bed, took off his shoes and covered him with a towel quilt. Just a moment after my mother left, my father rolled over, lying on the edge of the bed, and vomited on the floor, splashing the sheets and floor everywhere, filling the room with the smell of alcohol. My mother heard the sound, rushed to bring a basin of water, with a wet towel to wipe my father’s face and mouth, and then make a cup of tea on the bedside table, and began to clean up the sheets, cleaning up.
I always disliked my father’s drinking, I went over, tugged my mother’s arm and said, “Leave him alone, let him drink, let him drink later!” My mother looked at my father in bed and said, “Look, your father has passed out from drinking, how can I not take care of him? He’s really tired too, so relax.” I had no choice but to help my mother clean up together.
Year after year has passed, my parents are getting older every day, our sisters have started their own families, my father is retired at home and has quit drinking. In recent years, my mother’s high blood pressure and bad heart problems have popped up. My father always forgot to give my mother a hand, no matter if it was cooking or other household chores. In the evening, my father walked with my mother under the street lamp and gave her some advice on how to maintain her health.
My parents’ life in their old age was just as plain as water. They did not have sweet words, but only the mutual support in the quiet of the years.