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Banjir

Sumboo,Rovee

Dàshuǐ Guòhòu (After the Flood)

by Zhāng Lìqīng

translated into English by Thomas K. Mair

This story is also available in a Pinyin-only edition.

Note: In Pinyin, “d” and “de” are pronounced the same. However, “d” stands for an adjective, adjectival phrase, possessive, and so forth, while “de” stands for an adverb, adverbial phrase, complement, and so on.

Zhè shì yī ge lǎo gùshi. This is an old story.
Shìqing fāshēng zài 1946 nián xiàtiān. Nà nián wǒ jiāngjìn shí suì, zhù zài Sìchuān Chéngdū jiāoqū d Bǎihuā Qiáo. Zhōngguó Kōngjūn Tōngxìn Xuéxiào d jīdì zài nàli. Wǒ bàba shì nà ge xuéxiào d jūnguān. These things happened in the summer of 1946. That year, I was about ten years old, living in Sichuan Province in a suburb of Chengdu city called Hundred Flowers Bridge. The Nationalist Chinese Airforce Communications School had their base there. My father was an officer in that school.
Chéngdū xīběi d Dūjiāngyàn fēicháng zhùmíng, yǒu liǎngqiān duō nián d lìshǐ. Dànshi nà shíhou wǒ zhǐ zhīdao Dūjiāngyàn gēn shuǐ yǒu guānxi, bù qīngchǔ tā dàodǐ zài nǎli, yě bù zhīdao tā d míngqi nàme dà, gèng bù liǎojiě tā yǒu shénme tèbié gōngyòng. Dujiangyan (Weir/Embankment of the River Du), to the northwest of Chengdu, was a famous construction with a history of more than 2,000 years. At that time, however, I just knew it had something to do with water, but was unclear as to where it actually was, and didn't know of its great fame, much less its special function.
Nà nián xiàtiān, Dūjiāngyàn juédī. Wǒ jiā fùjìn chéngle yīpiàn wāngyáng. Wǒmen xuéxiào pángbiān yǒu yī tiáo hé; hé shàng yǒu yī zuò mùtou qiáo. Dàshuǐ bǎ mùtou qiáo chōngzǒu le, yě bǎ bǐjiào jiù d yī pái jiàoshì chōngkuǎ le. Yīnwei shì xiàtiān, xuéxiào fàng shǔjià, méi yǐngxiǎng shàngkè. That summer, Dujiangyan had a breach. The areas near my home became like an ocean. Off to the side of our school there was a river; a wooden bridge spanned it. The raging flood waters washed the bridge away, and also collapsed an older set of schoolrooms. Because it was summer and the school was having its summer break, so the flood didn't have an impact on classes.
Chū dàshuǐ d shíhou, bù néng dào wàimiàn qù wánr, bǎ wǒ mènhuài le. dàshuǐ guòhòu, wǒ děngbují de pǎodào xuéxiào qù zhǎo wǒ d hǎo péngyou Cài Shùyùn. With all the high waters, I couldn't go out to play and I was bored to tears. When the waters subsided, I could barely contain myself and ran to school to look for my good friend Cai Shuyun.
Cài Shùyùn hé wǒ tóngbān. Wǒmen zài Kōngjūn Tōngxìn Xuéxiào d fùshǔ zǐdì xiǎoxué niàn sì-niánjí. Tā bàba xiězì xiě dé hěn hǎo, shì wǒmen xiǎoxué d wénshūyuán; wǒ jiào tā Cài bóbo. Shùyùn d zì yě xiě dé hěn hǎo, Wǒmen bān bìbào shàng Guóyǔ lāoshi xuǎn d mófàn zuòwén dōu yóu tā chāoxiě. The two of us were classmates. We were in the fourth grade of the children's school affiliated with the Airforce Communications School. Her father wrote Chinese characters very well; he was our school's official copyist. I called him Uncle Cai. Shuyun also wrote very well; the model compositions selected by our Chinese teacher and pasted on our classroom bulletin boards were all copied by her.
Wǒmen gèzi dōu bǐjiào ǎixiǎo; dōu xǐhuan jiǎng gùshi, tīng gùshi. Ǒu'ěr, zài yǒu yuèliang d wǎnshang, wǒmen yě xǐhuan pǎodào méiyǒu rén jīngguò d tiángěng shàng, chàng wǒmen zìjǐ xiābiān d Chuānjù. Shùyùn shì Guǎngxīrén, wǒ shì Shāndōngrén. Suīrán yī nán yī běi, wǒmen gēn biéde tóngxué yīyàng, dōu shuō yīkǒu Chéngdūhuà. Both of us were short and small in stature; both of us loved to tell stories and listen to stories. There were times, on moonlit nights, when we would sneak into deserted places like the ridges between the fields. There we would sing Sichuan-style opera songs with our made-up lyrics. Shuyun was from Guangxi Province, I was from Shandong Province. Being one from the South and one from the North, we were nonetheless just like all the other kids: we spoke in the local Chengdu accent.
1943 dào 1945 nián, wǒ mǔqin líkāi Chéngdū, dào Lánzhōu qù wánchéng tā d dàxué jiàoyù. Tā zǒu yǐqián hǎoxiàng méiyou gàosuguò wǒ shénme; yǐhòu wǒ bàba yě méiyou gěi wǒ hé dìdi jiěshì. Suǒyǐ nà liǎng nián wǒ fēicháng nàmèn, bù zhīdao mǔqin dàodǐ qù nǎr le. Lánzhōu, tīng qǐlái shì nàme yáoyuǎn. Yǒu yī cì, bàba d yī ge tóngshì wèn wǒ, “Nǐ mā zài nǎr? Tā sǐle ba?” Ràng wǒ hěn nánguò. From 1943 to 1945, my mother left Chengdu and went to Lanzhou to complete her university education. It seems that, before she left, she did not tell me anything about the matter, and my father didn't explain much to me and my younger brother after the fact either. So those two years I was quite perplexed. I didn't rightly know where she had gone. Lanzhou sounded so far away. Once one of my father's colleagues asked me, “Where's your mother? She's dead, isn't she?” It made me very sad.
Wǒ fēicháng xiǎngniàn mǔqin. Qiūtian, yī qúnqún dàyàn gā gā gā de fēiguò tiānkōng. Wǒ cháng wàngzhe tāmen zhújiàn yuǎnqù d yǐngzi, xīnli xiǎng, “Nǐmen huì fēidào wǒ mā nàr qù ma?” Wǒ wánquán bù míngbai wèishénme mǔqin yào dào nàme yī ge hěn yuǎn hěn shénmì d dìfang qù. I missed my mother terribly. In the Fall, I watched groups of geese flying one after another in the sky with their ga ga ga calls. I often stared at them gradually fading into the distance, thinking in my heart, “Are you going to fly to where my mother is?” I was completely at a loss to understand why Mother had gone to such a mysterious and far place.
1945 nián d qiūtiān, Dì-Èr Cì Shìjiè Dàzhàn jiéshù bùjiǔ; yī ge lǎnyángyáng d xiàwù, wǒ gēn dìdi zhèng pántuǐ zuò zài zhúchuáng shàng wán pūkè, mǔqin hūrán chūxiàn zài bàba sùshè fángjiān d ménkǒu. Wǒ dāidāi de wàngzhe mǔqin wēixiào d liǎn, juéde hǎoxiàng zài zuòmèng. Dànshi wǒ gēn dìdi dōu hěn kuài jiù tiàoxiàle zhúchuáng, xiàng mǔqin pū guòqu. In the Fall of 1945, not long after the end of the Second World War, on a languid and lazy afternoon, my younger brother and I were just sitting with our legs crossed on the bamboo bed playing poker when Mother suddenly appeared at the door to father's quarters. I stared blankly towards her smiling face as if in a dream. But both I and my brother quickly jumped down from the bed and rushed over to her.
Zhè fāngmiàn Shùyùn méiyou wǒ xìngyù. Tā mǔqin jùshuō gēn biéren pǎodiào le. Diúxia tā, tā wàipó, hé tā dìdi yóu tā bàba yǎnghuo. Tā dìdi yǒu yī cì páshù shuāi xiàlái, bǎ yī tiáo tuǐ shuāiduàn le. Yóuyú zhìliáo de bù hao, nà zhěng tiáo tuǐ jiù chángniánlěiyuè de bāozhe shígāo, xíngdòng fēicháng bù fāngbiàn. Cài bóbó hěn shòu hěn hēi, dàizhe hěn hòu d yǎnjìng. Wǒ yǒudiǎn pà tā. Tā bù tài gēn wǒmen shuōhuà, bìngqiě chángcháng āishēngtànqì d. In this regard, Shuyun was not as fortunate as me. It's said that her mother had run off with a man. That left her, her maternal grandmother, and her younger brother under the care of only her father. Once her brother fell out of a tree he was climbing and broke his leg. Because it was not treated very skillfully, that whole leg was plaster casted all year round; getting around was quite difficult. Uncle Cai was skinny and dark, he wore very thick glasses. I was a little afraid of him. He didn't talk to us much and often sighed “hai” with distress.
Fàngxué yǐhòu, wǒ chángcháng gēn Shùyùn zài xuéxiào pāi píqiú. Píqiú shì tā bàba zài chéngli gěi tā mǎi d. Wǒmen yě tī jiànzi, huòzhě tiàofáng. Xīngqītiān wǒ yě chángcháng pǎodào xuéxiào zhǎo Shùyùn. Tāmen yī jiā zhù zài xuéxiào d jiào-zhíyuán sùshè li. Sùshè zài xuéxiào dàmèn d yòubiān. Gézhe dà cāochǎng, duìmiàn shì shēngqítái. Shēngqítái hòubiān shì yī piàn zhúlínzi. Zhúlínzi hòubiān jiù shì liúguò wǒmen xuéxiào d nà tiáo hé. Dàmen d zuǒbiān yǒu jǐ pái jiàoshì hé jǐ jiān lǎoshī d bàngōngshì. Pángbiān yǒu yī ge xiāngdāng dà d huāpǔ, lǐmiàn yǒu hǎo jī kē lǎo méihuāshù. Cāochǎng d lìngwài yī biān yǒu huátī, qiūqiān, qiàoqiàobǎn, yǐjí kěyi wǎng shàng pá d zhúgānzi děngděng. Shùyùn d jiā zìrán bǐ wǒ d jiā hǎowán. Buguò yìnwei tà d jiā zhǐ shì yī jiān hěn yōngjǐ d bǎimǎnle jiù jiājù d wūzi, wǒmen zǒngshi zài wàibiān wánr. After classes let out, I would often stay at school with Shuyun. We would bounce a rubber ball which her father bought for her in the city, kick a shuttlecock, or play hopscotch. Sundays, I would also often run back to school to look for Shuyun. Her family lived in the dormitory of the school's teachers and staff. The dormitory was to the right of the main gates to the school. Separated by the sports field, to the opposite side was the flag pole platform. Behind the platform was a grove of bamboo. Behind the bamboo was the river that flowed adjacent to our school. To the left side of the main gates there were several rows of classrooms and some teachers' offices. Near these buildings there was a quite large garden, wherein there were several old Chinese plum trees. At the other end, across from the field, there were a see-saw, swings, a sliding board, and some bamboo poles for climbing, as well as some other recreational equipment. Naturally, we could have more fun at Shuyun's home than at mine. However, her “home” actually was nothing but one crowded room full of old furniture. Therefore, we always played outside.
Wǒ gēn Shùyùn hěn xǐhuan dào huāpǔ qù, páshàng lǎo méihuāshù, zuò zài zhīyā zhōngjiān jiǎng gùshi. Yǒushíhou wǒmen yě zuānjìn zhúlínzi yǒu kǒngxì d dìfang. Màomì d zhúzi zhēzhù tiānkōng, yě bǎ sìzhōu wéi qǐlái, ràng wǒmen juéde kǒngxì hǎoxiàng kě'ài d tiānrán xiǎo wūzi. Shuyun and I liked to go to the garden, climb up into an old plum tree, and each sit in a crotch between two or three branches telling stories. Sometimes we also ducked into small clearings in the bamboo grove. The thick bamboo blocked out the sky and encircled us on all four sides; we felt the little clearing was like a cute, natural room.
Dàshuǐ guòhòu, cāochǎng hěn nínìng. Guòle yī duàn shíjiān, lànníbā mànmàn biàngān, cāochǎng zhōngyú huīfùle yuánzhuàng. Bùjiǔ, zhúlínzi qiánmiàn, shēngqítái pángbiān chūxiànle hěn duō mùbǎn duī. Mǔbǎn yǒu liù-qī chǐ cháng, dàyuē sān cùn kuān, bàn cùn hòu. Nà shì yào nálái xiūjiàn xīn jiàoshì yòng d. After the flooding, the sports field was muddy. Before too long, however, the messy mud slowly dried, and the field returned to its original state. Shortly after that, next to the flag pole platform and in front of the bamboo grove, many piles of wooden boards were placed. The boards were about 6-7 foot long, three inches wide, and a half inch thick. They were going to be used to construct new classrooms.
Yī tiān xiàwǔ, wǒmen zài mùbǎn duī pángbiān wánr. Bù zhīdao shénme shíhou, wǒmen kāishǐ bǎ yīxiē mùbǎn pū zài dìshang, pūchéng yī ge chángfāngxíng. Wǒmen zuò zài shàngmian, hěn déyì, yīnwei hǎoxiàng zuò zài dìbǎn shàng. Nà shíhou, xiāngxià d fángzi jīhū dōu shì píng d. Wūzi lǐ yībān shì hěn yìng d nítǔ dì, hěn shǎo yǒu dìbǎn. One afternoon, we were playing near the piles of wood. I don't know when, but in the course of our games we started laying the wood boards on the ground, forming a large rectangle. After they were laid out, we sat on them, very proud of ourselves because it was like sitting on a real floor. At that time, virtually all country houses were flat, and the ground levels were hardened dirt; very few had an actual wood floor.
Guòle yīhuìr, wǒmen náqǐ liǎng tiáo mùbǎn; yī tiáo pū zài dìbǎn d qiánbiān, yī tiáo zài hòubiān. Ránhòu yòu yòng lìngwài liǎng tiáo mùbǎn jià zài zhè liǎng tiáo d shàngmian, pū zài zuǒbiān hé yòubiān. Zhèyàng yī céngcéng de wǎng shàng jiā, bùjiǔ jiù jiàqǐle sì dǔ qiáng. Wǒmen bǎ qiáng shàngmian d dàbùfen gài qǐlái, dàngzuò wūdǐng. Nà méiyǒu gàizhù d bùfen jiù chéngle yī shàn mén. Zhǐshì zhè shàn mén shì cháo shàng d. After a while, we picked up two boards and put one at the front and one in the back of the “floor,” then we placed two more pieces on each of the corners of those boards to the left and right. Then we took two more boards and put them on top of the left and right above the front and back boards. In this way, adding up one level at a time, before long we had constructed four walls. We went further and covered most of the top of the walls, making a little roof. That part that we didn't cover served as a door. However, this door faced upwards!
Wǒmen gàile yī zuò xiǎo fángzi, fēicháng xìngfèn! We had built a little house. We were extremely excited!
Wǒmen cóng cháo shàng d mén pájìn xiǎo fángzi; liǎn duìzhe wūdǐng, tuǐ zài wūdǐng xià shēnzhí, kàozhe yī miàn qiáng zuòzhe. Yǎngqǐ liǎn, wǒmen kěyi kàn tiānkōng; shēnti zuòzhí, bǎ bózi shēn de chángchang d, kěyi kàn cāochǎng sìzhōu. Bùguo suīrán huì xīshēng bǐjiào kuānchǎng d shìyě, wǒmen háishi bǎ tóu suōjìnle xiǎo fángzi lǐ. Zhèyàng wǒmen kěyi cóng qiángfèng kàn wàimian, biéren què kànbujiàn wǒmen. We climbed into the little house through the door facing up, our heads towards the ceiling, our legs streched out under the roof, and our backs leaning against one of the walls. Turning our faces upward, we could see the sky from where we were sitting. If we sat up very straight and stretched our necks as much as possible, we could see the sports field all around. However, despite the expansive attractions outside, we drew our heads back into the little house. This way we could see outside through the narrow spaces in the walls, but others could not look in and see us.
Jìbuqīng shì Shùyùn háishi wǒ (duōbàn shì wǒ ba), hūrán tíyì zài wǒmen zìjǐ gài d xiǎo fángzi lǐ zhù yī wǎn. Zhè ràng wǒmen gèng xìngfèn le. Wǒmen jījigūgū de shāngliangle yīzhèn. Shāngliang hǎo le yǐhòu, wǒ fēipáozhe huídao jiā. Yī jìnmén jiù duì mǔqin shuō, “Ma! Cài Shùyùn d wàipó shuō wǒ jīntiān kěyǐ zài tāmen jiā shuì. Wǒ yào yī tiáo xiǎo tǎnzi.” Wǒ mǔqin yīdiǎn yě méiyǒu fǎnduì, zhǐ yòng tā d Shāndōnghuà zhǔfu wǒ, “Zài Cài Shùyùn jiā yào tīnghuà.” Tā zhǎochūle yī tiáo hěn báo d jiù xíngjūntǎn gěi wǒ. Wǒ yòu shuō, “Wǒ yě yào yīdiǎn qián, wǒmen yào mǎi táng chī.” I don't clearly recall if it was Shuyun or if it was me (probably mostly it was me) who sparked the idea to spend a night in the little house we had built ourselves. This made us even more excited. We bubbled with talk of our plan. After consideration, I flew home. As soon as I got through the door I said to my mother, “Ma! Cai Shuyun's grandma says I can sleep over at their place tonight. I need a blanket.” My mother didn't fuss one bit; she only cautioned me in her Shandong accented words, “At Cai Shuyun's home you must be obedient.” She found an old, thin army blanket and gave it to me. I added, “I also would like a little money. We want to buy some candy to eat.”
Názhe xíngjūntǎn hé qián, wǒ yòu fēipáozhe huídào xuéxiào. Shùyùn yě gàosu tā wàipó wǒ mǔqin shuō tā kěyǐ dào wǒ jiā guòyè. Tā yě cóng tā wàipó nàr nádào yī tiáo hěn zhǎi d jiù xízi hé yīdiǎn qián. Wǒmen bǎ tǎnzi hé xízi fàngjìn fángzi lǐ, jiù yīqǐ pǎodào zài wǒ jiā hé xuéxiào zhōngjiān d yī ge xiǎo diànzi, mǎile yīxiē táng, liǎng gēn xiǎo làzhú, hé yī hé huǒchái. Nàshí, tiānsè kāishǐ mànmàn de ànle xiàqu. Holding my blanket and my money, I again raced back to school. Shuyun had also told her grandma that my mother had said that she could come to our place to spend the night. She had also gotten an old, narrow [bamboo] mat and a little money from her grandma. We put the blanket and the mat in the house, and together ran to a tiny shop halfway between my home and the school. We bought some candy, two small candles, and a box of matches. Then the sun slowly began to set.
Wèile bù rě rén zhùyì, wǒmen zài xiàoyuán xiánguàngle yīzhèn; děngdào hěn wǎn le, tiān wánquán hēi le, cái pájìn wǒmen d fángzi lǐ qù. Wǒmen yībiān chī táng, yībiān jiǎng gùshi; duōbàn shì Gélín tónghuà gùshi. Mǎntiān yǒu píngcháng bù róngyi kàndao d shǎnshǎn fāguāng d xīngxing, hǎoxiàng shǔbuqīng d zuànshí. Wǒmen jiǎng gùshi jiǎnglèi le, jiù bǎ xiǎo làzhú diǎn qǐlai. Làzhuguāng shuō bu chūlai de měi. Wǒ gǎndào fēicháng xìngfú. So as not to attract attention, we lingered about the school grounds, waiting for it to get later. Only when it was completely dark did we crawl into our house. We were eating and gabbing our stories; most of them were fairy tales of the Grimm brothers. The whole sky sparkled with stars which were rarely seen; they were like countless diamonds up there. After tiring of telling stories, we lit the candles. The candlelight was indescribably beautiful. I felt very happy and contented.
Gā--- d yī shēng, duìmiàn jiàoyuán sùshè d yī shàn mén hūrán dǎkāi le. yǒu yī ge rén chūlái shuāyá shùkǒu. Wǒ néng tīngjiàn shuǐ zài tā hóulóng lǐ gūlū gūlū de xiǎng; yáshuā zài tā d tángcí cháguāng li pènglaipèngqu. Wǒ yě tīngjiàn tā bǎ shùkǒushuǐ tǔdào dìshang. Hūrán, nà gè rén yòng Shāndōng kǒuyīn shuō, “Āiyà! mùtou lǐ yǒu huǒ!” Yuánlái shì wǒmen d měishù lǎoshī Liú lǎoshī. Tā yě shì Shāndōngrén. Dì-Èr Cì Shìjiè Dàzhàn chūqī, Rìběn jūnduì zhànlǐngle Shāndōng. Liú lǎoshī gēn wǒ fùmǔ yīyàng, yě cóng Shāndōng táonàn dào Sìchuān. Wǒ hé Shùyùn pū d yī shēng, tóngshí bǎ làzhú chuīmiè le. Liú lǎoshī dàshēng de shuō, “Yǒu guǐ!” “Gaaaar” came a sound of the door of one of the teacher's dormitory rooms across the sports field suddenly opening. Someone came out to brush his teeth and rinse out his mouth. I could hear the gurgling sound of the water in his throat and the toothbrush knock on the enameled-metal mug. I could also hear him spit out the rinse water to the earth. Suddenly that person said in a Shandong accent “Aiya! There's a fire in the wood!” It turned out to be our art teacher, Teacher Liu; he was also an old Shandonger. Japanese troops occupied Shandong at the beginning of the Second World War. Teacher Liu, like my parents, had also escaped to Sichuan from Shandong. “Puff!” Shuyun and I simultaneously extinguished our candles in one breath. Teacher Liu exclaimed very loudly, “Ghosts!”
Wǒ bù zhīdao Shùyùn zěnmeyàng. Wǒ d xīn pū-pū-pū de tiào, tóupí fāmá, nǎozi li yīpiàn hùnluàn. Zhèshí kěyǐ tīngjiàn xiàtiān gèzhǒng kūnchóng fāchū yòu dà yòu cáozá d míngjiàoshēng. Dànshi chúcǐyǐwài, sìzhōu yīpiàn jìjìng. Wǒ hé Shùyùn yīdòng yě bù dòng; sìhu lián hūxī yě tíngzhǐ le. Wǒ kànzhe mǎntiān d xīngguāng, zhōngxīn pànwàng Liú lǎoshī kuàikuài huídào tā d wūzi lǐ qù I don't know what Shuyun felt, but my heart was skipping beats, my scalp was tingling, and my mind was swimming! At that time the chirps and calls of the various summer insects could be heard loudly. But other than that, to all four sides it was quiet. Both Shuyun and I didn't even move a muscle; it seemed like we even stopped breathing. I looked up at the sky full of stars, and earnestly wished Teacher Liu would quickly return to his room.
Dàyuē yī liǎng fēnzhōng ba, dànshì cháng de ràng rén nánshòu. Wǒ xiǎng: Yěxǔ Liú lǎoshī huídào wūzi lǐ qù le. Wǒ zhèng sōngle yī kǒu qì, juéde wǒmen yùnqi zhēn hǎo, Liúlǎoshī què bùshēngbùxiǎng de zǒudàole wǒmen d fángzi biān lái. Tā wānyāo wǎngxià kàn. Tā d zhēng de hěn dà d yǎnjīng, zhízhí de duìzhe wǒ hé Shùyùn yě zhēng de hěn dà d yǎnjīng. Liú lǎoshī hěn chījīng de shuō, “Yí, zěnme nǐmen zài zhèr?” Shuōwán, tā jiù zǒukāi le, méiyou zài shuō biéde huà. Probably only a minute or two later, which seemed uncomfortably longer, I thought: “Perhaps Teacher Liu has already returned into his room.” Just when I heaved a sigh of relief, thinking that we were so lucky, Teacher Liu silently walked up to the side of our house. He bent over from his waist and looked down. Our art teacher's two wide-open eyes pressed straight into mine and Shuyun's which were also wide open. Teacher Liu said with a start, “Huh? What are you doing here?” After saying this, he left without another word.
Bùjiǔ, Liú lǎoshī yòu huílai le, hòumian gēnzhe Shùyùn pàngpàng d wàipó. Wàipó jǔzhe làzhú, yīlù dàshēng de dūnangzhe shénme. Wǒ gēn Shùyùn xiàng liǎng ge mù'ǒu, bù gǎn chū yī shēng. Shùyùn d wàipó yòng Guǎngxīhuà duì wǒmen shuō, “Nǐmen yào sǐ a! Dàshuǐ bǎ shé chōng chūlai; nǐmen bù pà shé lái yǎosǐ nǐmen a?” Not long after, Teacher Liu came back, and following behind him was Shuyun's fat grandma. She was holding up a candle in one hand, all the way loudly mumbling to herself. Shuyun and I were frozen like wooden puppets, not daring to make any noise. Shuyun's grandma said to us in a Guangxi accent, “You want to die! That flood washed up all the snakes. You don't care if you find your death of a snake bite?”
Nà tiān wǎnshang, wǒ zhēnde zài Shùyùn jiāli shuìle yī wǎn. Suīrán gēn Shùyùn, tā wàipó, hé tā dìdi jǐ zài yī zhāng dà zhúchuáng shàng, wǒ shuì de hěn xiāng hěn tián. That night, I really did sleep at Shuyun's place. Even though I shared a bamboo bed with Shuyun, her grandma, and her younger brother, I slept deliciously and soundly.
Dì-èr nián chūntiān, Shùyùn yī jiā huí Guǎngxī qù le. Xiàtiān, yīnwei nèizhàn yuèlaiyuè jīliè, wǒmen yī jiā gēn xǔduō biéde jūnrén jiātíng dou yóu zèngfǔ yīqǐ bānqiān dào Táiwān. Yuánlái yǐwei zhǐ shì zànshí d tíngliú, dànshi yīzhuǎnyǎn jiù jǐshí nián. Shùyùn hé wǒ zài yě méi jiànguò miàn. The next spring, Shuyun and her family returned to Guangxi. In the summer, my family, like many other military families, was moved to Taiwan by the government due to the fact that the Civil War was growing more and more intense. It was supposed to be a temporary stay, but several scores of years have passed in a blink. Shuyun and I never saw each other again.

Hòujì

Postscript

Shíwǔ nián qián, wǒ qī suì d wàishengnǚ Wáng Chí-Fāng (Qífāng) cóng Bōshìdùn jìle yī fēng Yīngwén xìn gěi wǒ, wèn wǒ Fèichéng jiāoqū háoyǔ dáilai d dàshuǐ yǒu méiyou gěi wǒ jiā yǐnqi shénme máfan. Tā yě yāoqǐng wǒ qù Bōshìdùn wánr. Yǐhòu wǒ jīhū měi nián dōu dào Boston qù. Fifteen years ago, my niece Chi-Fang Wang, who was 7 years old at the time, sent me an English letter from Boston. She asked whether the flood caused by a torrential rain in the Philadelphia suburb had given my family any trouble. She also asked me to go to Boston, which I did almost yearly.
Jīnnián (2007) 6yuè, Chí-Fáng cóng Máshěng Lǐ-Gōng Xuéyuàn Wùlǐ Xì bìyè. Tā xǐ'ài Pǔtōnghuà, ye shuō de hěn liúli. Zài tā yǒu shíjiān chōngfèn zhǎngwò Hànzì yǐqián, Pīnyīn kěyi zànshí zuòwéi tā yuèdú Zhōngwén d gōngjù. Wèile zhùhe tā bìyè, wǒ yòng Pīnyīn xiěle “Dàshuǐ Guòhòu”. In June this year (2007), Chi-Fang graduated from the Department of Physics at MIT. She loves Chinese language and speaks Putonghua very fluently. However, before she has enough time to fully master the characters, Hanyu Pinyin can temporarily serve as a tool to help her to read Chinese. So I wrote “After the Flood” to celebrate her graduation.
Hànyǔ Pīnyīn lǐ, “d” hé “de” fāyīn yīyàng. Bùguò “d” biǎoshì xíngróngcí, xíngróng piànyǔ, huòzhě suǒyǒugé děngděng; “de” biǎoshì fùcí, fùcí piànyǔ, huòzhě pǔyǔ děngděng. In Pinyin, “d” and “de” are pronounced the same. However, “d” stands for an adjective, adjectival phrase, possessive, and so forth, while “de” stands for an adverb, adverbial phrase, complement, and so on.
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