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After the New Year’s Eve celebration, they played in the square for a while, but not wanting the Yu family to worry, Ji Rang sent Qi Ying home.
She hid her slender body under the red cloak, like an elf sneaking into the world from the night, holding the corner of her clothes and asking him: “Will we go to see the panda tomorrow?”
On the first day of the new year, she wanted to look at pandas.
Ji Rang smiled and touched her furry hat brim: “Okay.”
Walking downstairs in the community, the innocent moonlight sprinkled from the dead branches of the Begonia and fell on her. She waved to him, her eyebrows were like crescent moons in the sky, “I’m leaving, see you tomorrow.”
She could always make him look forward to tomorrow.
On the way home, he flipped through his phone and received a lot of congratulatory text messages and red envelopes. Qu Dazhuang sent a lot of them in the group:
——Brother, I heard that you went to see your in-laws?
——How was it? Is your father-in-law satisfied with you?
——Yu Zhuo, that kid didn’t trip you up, right?
——The brother-in-law is the most difficult to deal with!
Yu Zhuo who was pulled into the group by Yue Li: Qu Dazhuang, rubbish.
Little cute Qu: Who is this white lotus??? Why do you call me rubbish??? There is a single opportunity for take-backs!!!
White lotus Yu: middle finger.
The group made a lot of noise, Ji Rang turned over, shook his head and smiled and cursed. When he got home, he washed up and went to sleep. After all, he had to accompany his baby to see the panda tomorrow.
The phone rang at four o’clock in the morning.
Ji Rang was confused, thinking he was dreaming, and ignored it the first two times.
The third time he realized that the phone was ringing. He was so impatient that he was disturbed by the ringing. He half-squinted and opened his eyes, and said angrily: “Hello?”
Ji Qian’s trembling cry came from the earpiece: “Arang, Grandpa is going to die.”
Ji Rang immediately became sober, turned over and sat up from the bed. On the phone, Ji Qian was still crying and told him the address of the hospital.
Before dawn, everything was silent, he hurriedly put on his clothes and rushed out.
The hospital was as bright as day.
In the corridor outside the ward, the people of the Ji family were all there, along with many comrades in military uniforms and subordinates.
Ji Qian waited at the elevator entrance with red eyes. When she saw him coming out, she immediately rushed up. Ji Rang felt his throat tighten and asked in a low voice, “Is he still there?”
She nodded and said in a low voice: “The old man seems to…have something he has on his mind and so keeps hanging on his breath.”
Ji Rang ignored the people in the corridor and went straight into the ward.
There were only doctors and nurses inside, as Old Man Ji drove everyone out.
There was a strong smell of disinfectant in the ward, and the heartbeat device was faintly audible. The old man on the bed half-squinted his eyes, hearing the sound of footsteps, and slowly opened them.
Ji Rang stood still by the bed.
The old man’s eyes were muddy. The military body he once was so proud of was now so thin that he could almost see the bones. The vitality had been slowly drained from him, and he kept looking at the grown-up boy next to the bed.
He tremblingly stretched out his dry fingers and tried hard to pull the juvenile’s fingers.
He remembered that when he was a child, his baby grandson liked holding his hand like this the most.
Ji Rang moved for a while, and slowly held his hand.
He opened his eyes hard to see what the young man looked like now, but he couldn’t see clearly. There was only a vague outline in front of him. The young man walked away from him many years ago.
The temperature of the boy’s palm was transmitted to his heart through his thin fingers.
Fortunately, the boy’s hands were still so warm.
He opened his mouth, and his hoarse and faint voice seemed to squeeze out of his throat: “Arang…” The light and shadow began to scatter in front of him, and the old man didn’t even have the strength to open his eyes, but he still stubbornly looked at the light and shadow. He wanted to see that vague figure clearly for the last time.
His whole life flashed in his mind.
A life full of honor, and a life of regret and gloom.
A wry smile overflowed at the corner of his mouth. Only when he was about to die, did he realize that there had been all kinds of mistakes, but there was no chance to make up for it now.
That boy had already gone so far away from him.
The old man slowly closed his eyes: “Arang… Grandpa was wrong…” A drop of muddy tears slipped from the corner of his eyes, and Ji Rang’s hands fell weakly in his palms.
The heartbeat monitor made a sharp beep, and everyone outside the door rushed in.
Ji Rang just stood there, watching the old man on the bed let out his last breath.
The hospital in the early hours of the morning began to get busy again.
Ji Rang didn’t want to talk to anyone and couldn’t hear anyone talking.
He walked out of the ward alone, walked along the corridor for a long time, walked out of the hospital building, and sat down on the edge of the flower bed downstairs.
It was not light yet, and the cold wind in the early morning was very cold.
He put his elbows on his knees, and slowly covered his face with his hands.
He did not cry, just felt a little uncomfortable.
——What is the family motto of the Ji family? Come out, grandpa will buy you a gun.
——Loyal and brave! Always do good! I will serve the motherland with my body, and protect it with my blood!
——Arang is so smart, let’s go, grandpa will buy you a gun. With a gun in hand, you are a small soldier. You must protect your country and family. Remember?
——I will remember! Grandpa, I want the most powerful gun.
——Hahaha good, what does Arang want grandpa to buy!
That majestic toy gun accompanied him for many years but was later crushed by him.
The phone rang.
It was from Qi Ying.
Ji Rang retracted his thoughts and coughed dryly, so that his voice didn’t sound so dumb: “Why did you wake up so early?”
The little girl’s voice was dim and soft: “I had a nightmare, and I’m a little scared.”
He chuckled softly: “Don’t be afraid, I’ll stay with you, so sleep for a while without hanging up the phone.”
She hummed obediently, as if she had changed her position, and there was a rustling low voice.
She said: “Then I will sleep.”
“Well, go to sleep.”
A shallow breath gradually came out of the receiver, and once again, through the phone, it brushed his heart.
It didn’t seem so uncomfortable anymore.
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