Fiction logo

Farewell, my old house

by SondJam 6 months ago in Excerpt
Report Story


The old house is "gone". "Gone" is the dialect of the old house, which means dead and gone. The old house is more than fifty years old and has finished its life's journey this spring.

The old house was built in the early 1970s, when my father was in his thirties. By the spring of 2006, my father asked the village people to help repair it again. At that time, the old house is not old, but like an old man sick and ill. This is also in line with the old saying in the countryside: the house is used to live in, the house can protect people, people can raise the house; to live without people, the house will rot quickly. The matter of repairing the old house, my father valued more important than anything else, and did not let our brothers intervene, nor did he need our money. When it comes to money, he said: "I have a retirement salary, wipe the house also can not spend anything. Who said money, with whom anxious."

After six years, in 2016, the brother again proposed to pick up the old house. Parents have died five years ago. I knew his intention was to clean up the house, paint the walls and level the floor. I agreed to let him go to Zhang Luo, only to give him a message: "the house old look can not be moved, like waist nest (that is, a square opening in the wall of a small room, put on the kerosene lamp at night both sides can be illuminated) what to be in."

Two times to repair the old house, I have written articles "spring, in the old house of those days" and "old home", included in the collection of essays "after the sting". The right to the old house this old man had two surgeries, leaving a "medical history".

Three or four years ago, my cousin was engaged in folklore development in the village. I was told that he would pay for the demolition of the old house and build it into a bed and breakfast, leaving me with a bedroom and study, and using the rest to receive tourists. The old home has beautiful mountains and clear water, listening to birds during the day, watching the sky full of stars at night, is the city people aspire to the fairy days. I didn't think twice about it, I said no, and a little angry: "The old man is gone, the old house is a memento, no one is allowed to move." The words were so heavy that my cousin was humiliated, and subsequently, never mentioned the matter again.

From the time my brother picked up the old house to now, but six years, I suddenly agreed to demolish the old house again, how I am a guy who has gone back on his word and become a "traitor" who sold out the old house?

Last year, when I returned home, my brother told me that the roof of the old house had sunken in the middle and became a "concave" shape from the outside, and the stretcher was lifted more than ten centimeters from the back wall. He said, this "work" shaped stretcher, the strain are on the stretcher, a long time, the stretcher a bad, or the house will collapse. He also went to ask experts to identify, the conclusion is also the old house is not safe. Either to replace the stretcher, or to the stretcher under the top of a pillar, it is best to demolish. My brother's idea was to tear it down and rebuild it. I was silent and speechless.

Friends and family advised me to listen to my brother. A good friend, who retired, was also tearing down the old house and rebuilding it. He also advised me: "Brother, I know you are a person of great affection, to be able to afford the elderly, to build a good house, the old people there also feel at ease. I used to be the same as you, when it comes to demolishing the old house, I was anxious. Now I've figured it out. The old house left behind by the old man's hard work all his life, in our hands to become a new house, to leave a strong old house for our children."

After thinking it over, I told my brother, "I don't care how to do it, you can see how to do it."

It was decided to take advantage of the May Day holiday to move the things in the old house. My brother drove to pick me up early in the morning. In the car, we said very little, my heart is still heavy. The first thing I did was to buy some steamed buns, and I went to buy them. The car into the mouth of Chenjiagou, after the master temple, is the landscape of Miao Gou. The acacia trees on both sides of the road are full of white acacia flowers, like piles of snow. The mountain streams have the sound of murmuring water and the chirping of birds. The slopes were tender green and glistened with oil in the sunlight. Usually I would be excited to see these, but today my heart is as still as water.

When I arrived at the doorstep, my brothers were moving a bunch of old rafters from the house. They work, I can not intervene, a person ran to the back of the room, to the parents' grave sat for a while, the heart is indescribable taste. From the waist-deep grass, I walked to the south side of the temple ditch. There was no longer the small road that I used to take to cut grass in the mountains, and it was full of trees. The pine trees in several fields are all thicker than the old bowl. The one that was half as thick was planted with me by my grandfather. Grandpa has been gone for more than 40 years. The two straight ones, three or four feet high, were planted by my mother and me together. The dried leaves on the slope, when you step on them, do not reach the neck of your feet, and they become humus on the ground. Suddenly, how is the grandmother there, her old man carrying a basket, holding a bamboo rake, with small footsteps, from the ditch with the dried leaves, carried back as firewood. I remember once, when it was dark and my grandmother was not back, I went up the hill to look for her and saw her fall down in a pile of rocks, with dried leaves stuck to her forehead where she was rubbed. I went up to help her, but she threw her hands away and struggled to pick up her basket and swayed down the hill.

The hill was full of arms-thick branches, so if I wasn't careful, I would trip and fall. I casually picked up one as a walking stick, just a crutch, it broke into two, has rotted useless. If placed in the past, cutting such thick firewood, you have to run more than ten miles, and often stolen to cut others.

Up to the top of the mountain, the surrounding mountains undulating, like a green sea. I wanted to take an "aerial" shot of the old house, but the trees covered the village so that nothing could be seen, only a green, a wisp of smoke. Under the pine tree at the top of the hill, there was a pile of hay with a small hole in the side, and I was just about to step over when a pheasant "clucked" and flew away. I sat under the tree to rest, a cool breeze blew, like my grandmother stroking my face with the back of her hand. A dozen steps north along the ridge, a clearing with few trees, full of fistula buds. The scientific name of the buds is Shangzhi, also known as Zizhi. When it first grows out, it looks like a small child's half-clenched fist, hence the name. When the Four Hao fled the Qin turmoil and lived in the mountains of Shangluo, they used the buds to feed their hunger. "The high mountains, the deep valleys, the purple ganoderma, can cure the hunger" is the song they sang. Nowadays, Shangzhi meat is a famous local dish with medicinal value. I was carefully picking, and when I turned around, I saw my mother behind me, smiling at me while picking. When I looked at it, it was a fistful of leafy buds. I went back to picking. The buds were very tender, and when I pinched my fingers, there was a "boom" and crystal juice flowed from the tender pole. It is best to pick the buds before the sun comes out, otherwise when the sun shines, it will soon open its little hands and get "old" and can't be eaten. I picked a small pile, bundled it into a small bundle, and put it in my left hand.

When I went down the hill, I had to tug on the branch with my right hand, otherwise I would slip and fall. I walked to the platform behind the house, which was a farming area back then, growing wheat and bush. Later, when the land was divided into households, walnut and dogwood trees were planted. Now, these trees are surrounded by weeds. No one picked the dogwoods, and a dark red layer fell on the ground.

When I returned to the yard, the old house was filled with things that had been moved out. When folks saw me picking the fistula, they praised me, saying who in the village had sold thousands of miles of fistula alone. They told me to blanch them in boiling water and dry them in the sun. I knew all this. I also moved things with them to the neighbor's house. When I saw the loom and spinning wheel, I felt like I saw my grandmother and mother busy again. The hand-woven straw cushion was made by my mother. Sitting on it, I can still feel the warmth of my mother.

The demolition of the old house was scheduled for two days later. I did not want to go back, but the village people said that the eldest son should slip the first page of tiles. This day I arrived at the old house, the old roof tiles, has been removed a lot. A dozen people divided into two groups, one in the upper room, one on the stove. Room uncovered a good tile, handed to another person, three or five pages of tile along two steel pipes, "giggle", and slipped into a pile of wet soil on the ground. In this way, the tile down quickly, but also not easy to break. The people on the ground are casually loaded onto the wheelbarrow. When the car was full, it was pushed to a neighbor's nephew's vacant field, where several people then turned the tiles into a cylindrical shape, one layer at a time, large at the bottom and small at the top.

I couldn't bear to watch the process of tearing down the old house, and I didn't want to help. In my mind, tearing down an old house is as cruel as performing an autopsy on a lost loved one.

At two o'clock in the afternoon, the tiles were finished and ready to be removed from the rafters and purlins and stretchers. I returned to the city, sitting in the office, like a lost soul. Ball players called to play badminton, played a hard game.

In the evening, my brother sent me a photo of the old house where the rafters had been removed, and it was already a wreck. I can't bear to look at it, my heart secretly weeping ......


About the author


Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.