Chapter 36: Junior Wedding Banquet
Su Shuilian, covered with her bridal veil, was led out by a group of poniang. Immediately after, with the help of Aunt Lao, the other side of the bridal bolt was handed to Lin Si Yao who had hurriedly stepped forward.
The two, with the bridal bolt, walked to the table of offerings.
“The auspicious event has begun!” Using his loud voice, Feng Laoliu yelled while also clanking on the gong in his hands.
This quieted the noisy crowd.
“First bow to the Heaven and Earth!”
“Second bow to your elders*!”
(高堂 – honorific for one’s parents)
“Third bow to each other”
“The ceremony is complete! Bring her to the marital/bridal chamber!”
“Give birth to a son soon!*”
(早生貴子 – propitiatory compliment to the newly-weds)
During this time, Su Shuilian had felt that everything was so dream-like. With Aunt Lao and Aunt Tian by her side during the ritual, she had almost forgotten how to breathe and could only smell the light scent of the man standing near her. With the veil on her, Su Shuilian was only able to see his black shoes that she had made for him. He had genuinely and closely stayed by her side this whole time. And in the hustle and noise of the surrounding people, Su Shuilian suddenly found herself sitting on the side of the wide Babu bed.
With the veil on her head, she was unable to see the faces of the surrounding people, but from their simple wishes, it sounded heartfelt and genuine.
“Quick, lift her wedding veil so we can see your wife’s face!”
“I heard your wife is very beautiful! Big brother* Lin, I am very envious of you ah!”
(大哥[big brother] – polite but friendly term to address a man)
“You lil’ brat! So young and already so impatient!”
“Aiyo! Hey! Dad, don’t hit my head, I’ll become stupid! I’ll be thirteen this year, how is that considered little? ”
Su Shuilian also found this funny when she heard this, and her lips curved up under the veil. But with a sudden burst of light, she was forced to squint and only after adjusting to it, she reopened her eyes. Her wedding veil had been taken off by Lin Si Yao and put by the bedside. Quietly standing in front of her, in his hand was a steelyard. After a flash of fleeting amazement, his eyes were filled with tenderness.
“Wow! Big brother Lin, did you marry a fairy? But then again, the fairies at the 7th of Seventh (Lunar) Month weren’t as pretty.”
Su Shuilian noticed a young kid standing by Lin Si Yao’s side, she had accurately guessed that he was that thirteen year old kid who had just spoken before.
When he saw Su Shuilian smiling at him, instead of shying away, he returned an extremely bright smile.
“Ok, enough, the wedding feast will soon begin, everyone scatter, let the couple have a little time for some intimate talk.” Seeing Lin Si Yao’s face start to sink, Aunt Lao quickly try to disperse the unknowing crowd who were disturbing the bride.
“Aunt Lao, I still haven’t taken a good look at the fairy, why are you rushing us out?” The juvenile complained as he was dragged out by Aunt Tian. As he was being dragged out, the boy did not forget to turn back toward Su Shuilian, “Jiejie*, Fairy jiejie! I’m called Tian Dabao, I’ll come see you again later! Ow! Mom, how could you cruelly hit me like that? Aren’t I your biological son?”
(Jiejie, 姐姐 – older sister)
After everyone left, only Su Shuilian and Lin Si Yao remained in the room. Even the wolf cubs had returned and quietly slept in their doghouse.
Lin Si Yao brought over a basin of warm water, arranging his long sleeves up, he wrung a towel before he sat next to Su Shuilian. He took her sweaty palms and started to gently wipe it.
“A Yao…” Su Shuilian shyly called out in a soft voice.
“Aunt Lao said we have to exchange our cup of wine (ceremonial toast)…” After he wiped her hands, Lin Si Yao got up and brought over two cups of wine and awkwardly explained to the puzzled Su Shuilian.
After the two nervously crossed their arms and drank the wine, Lin Si Yao fed Su Shuilian three of Aunt Lao’s homemade ‘fertility’ dumplings.
“The wedding outfits are very stuffy, change and let’s go to the wedding feast.” Lin Si Yao said after wiping the perspiration off of Su Shuilian’s forehead.
“Eh? But…” Isn’t the bride suppose to stay in the chamber and not allow to leave? What is he….
“Su Shuilian, I’m not traditional. Plus,I’m worried.” After Lin Si Yao quietly said that, his face flashed with an imperceptible flush.
Worried? Su Shuilian blinked her eyes and looked at Lin Si Yao who had opened the closet to look for a change of clothes.
“Is it this set?” Lin Si Yao was not bothered by her expression as he pulled out a pair of maroon color garments. Such festive colors, it should be worn for today.
Su Shuilian nodded and got up to help Lin Si Yao remove his wedding robe, it was very complicated, cumbersome, and indeed very uncomfortable.
“You also change.” Lin Si Yao received his robe and gestured Su Shuilian to also do the same for her beautiful, but heavily layered wedding gown.
“I… I can really go out with you?” Su Shuilian looked up and asked as she helped him button up the lapel of his jacket.
“Naturally, we go together.” When Lin Si Yao put on the dark red robe with silver cloud embroidery and tied on a matching belt, he turned to see Su Shuilian still holding her outfit, dazing near the round table.
“Still lost in thought?” Lin Si Yao chuckled and took the clothes in her hands before leading Su Shuilian to the dressing room as if he was to help her change.
“Yah! I’ll do it myself.” Su Shuilian tugged back her change of clothes in embarrassment. She then pushed him out of the dressing room, provoking a low chuckle from Lin Si Yao.
In turn, Su Shuilian’s face became even more red, thinking to the upcoming wedding festivities, Su Shuilian held onto her burning cheeks. Her fast beating heart seemed as if it could almost jump out of her chest.
“Just look at that A Yao, he really knows how to cherish his wife.” Looking at the couple who arrived side by side with matching outfits, Aunt Lao could not help but nudge at Aunt Tian who was beside. But her words were directed at her husband who was behind her, smoking a pipe.
“Yeah, that girl is really lucky.” Aunt Tian swept a glance at her unknowing daughter, Tian Niu who made no reaction to the entering Su Shuilian. She helplessly sighed, she hoped that her future husband would treat her well. She only had two children, her son… there was no hope for him, and she wished her daughter would have a smooth future.
Just as she had wanted to call Tian Niu to speak a few words, she heard her senseless son call out, “Big brother Lin, Fairy jiejie! You came! Come, sit here, I reserved two good seats for you!”
Aunt Tian silently kneaded her forehead. The currently twelve year old Dabao fell in the pond when he was nine. He was rescued and displayed no external injuries, but his mind was now stagnated and remained with a mindset of a nine year old. The older he got, the more noticeable it became, ai, she really didn’t know what to do in the future.
“Dabao, you little rascal, come over here and sit with you dad.” Aunt Tian came up to him, dragging Dabao by the ear, pulling him to the table with Tian Dafu.
“Aiya, mom… mom… I just wanted to ask fairy jiejie a question! I just wanted to know if fairy jiejie had a younger sister…. Ow, hey!”
“Hahaha!…” The surrounding seated villagers all started to laugh.
“Dafu, I say since your Dabao has already spoken, seems that you should start arranging something for him next year! Haha…”
“Tian sis had always said that Dabao was still small and is still child-like, but I don’t think so anymore, it seems Dabao wants his own wife!” He-shi, the wife of Shi House, had a outgoing personality as she smilingly joked with Aunt Tian. This made Aunt Tian heavily blush, in her heart, she silently scolded her inept son.
Come to speak of it, it was quite strange, no other villagers were able to talk to Lin Si Yao directly. Even Feng Laoliu who had gotten close to him recently still feels some tension. But her own uncivilized son, after pestering Lin Si Yao about the two dogs during the ceremony, started to efficiently call him out as “Big brother Lin”. However, they don’t seem to be previously acquainted. Even at the Wu time (11am-1pm) New House Toast, he wasn’t there because he was visiting her family. There was no time for them in between either… Aunt Tian silently lamented.
On the other side, Su Shuilian and Lin Si Yao greeted their village neighbors as they made their way up to the main table.
“Are you and Aunt Tian’s son, Dabao, well acquainted?” Su Shuilian saw that even though Dabao had been forced to sit next to Tian Dafu’s side, he was still looking at them. When he saw her curiously looking at him, he returned a grin and laugh.
“Don’t know him.” Lin Si Yao unhesitantly answered, he was a bit sour, knowing that she was not thinking about himself. Immediately he found it laughable, the other was a foolish child almost half his age, why is he jealous of him?
When Su Shuilian heard this, she no longer pestered him, thinking maybe it was because of that child’s outgoing personality that he could treat strangers like them so warmly.
“Come, girl, A Yao, Aunt Lao can’t drink much, so just this small cup of wine, I toast you! I wish you two old age in conjugal bliss!” Aunt Lao came holding a cup filled with sorghum wine, she smilingly congratulated the two.
Su Shuilian and Lin Si Yao returned the smile as they got up, toasted and drain the cup in one gulp.
“Me too! Me too!” Aunt Tian came up with a small bowl full of wine as her wine tolerance was higher. “Come! I wish you to give birth to a son soon! ….Drink!”
“Aunt Tian…” Su Shuilian was rendered speechless at the small bowl of wine given by Aunt Tian. She could not be more clear of her own alcohol tolerance. Not to the mention the later on-coming toasts of wine, with just this bowl full of high leveled sorghum wine, she was bound to be drunk.
“Aunt Tian, Su Shuilian is not a good drinker, I’ll drink for her, ok?”
Lin Si Yao asked the currently smiling Aunt Tian. Reaching his hand out, even before she could answer, he drained the bowl.
“Great! Like a man! Brother, come, we shall continue to drink!” Feng Laoliu already had a fair share of wine as he slurred some words. And therefore, he was no longer as tense, bringing over a large bowl of burning liqueur, wanted to toast with Lin Si Yao.
Seeing this, Su Shuilian worriedly tugged on Lin Si Yao’s sleeve.
Lin Si Yao turned and gave her a smile, assuring her not to worry. He turned back to receive the bowl and proceed to drink it.
“Like a man!”
“Ok ok ok, now it’s my turn.”
“Me too, don’t forget me….”
“Don’t rush, one at a time! We have the wine! Dabao, go home with Uncle Liu (Feng Laoliu) to bring more wine!”
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