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    Posted February 25, 2014 by
    Manassas Park, Virginia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Life in China

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    By Ligongshang

    After retirement, Jun Wang who twiddled his thumbs at home always aches with desire to know how his friends are, especial his old friends such as schoolfellows of high school and alumnus of university in China. These couple years, his wife always sighs with emotion that most of his friends in China were better in situations than his.

    He found out an address book he saved carefully for 30 years, and tried to call his friends up in the list. All the telephone numbers in the list had been corrected several times with small and neat handwriting during the past years, but significantly fewer could be reached in the past.

    He still dead set to phone up the numbers with full confidence.

    The number for Ye Sun is always his first try for every once, though he never got through to him. Ye was his classmate from high school to college. Both of them entered into a department of Chinese Central Government to do as junior clerk after graduate. Jun come to US for studying as graduate student later due to he considered he could attempt and accomplish nothing in a bureaucracy.

    The call was put through, Jun was overjoyed and felt a little bit worry soon; he had got though the cell phone once several years ago, but Ye’s secretary answered the phone: “deputy minister is busy right now; I will transfer your message for him”, then cut off and no more get through.

    Ye’s wife answered the phone this time. Jun Wang introduced himself; Ye’s wife was irritable to complain: “This is the first call in the past three months after his retirement……he always flies into a tantrum for no calling these days……” Ye’s wife was three grades below Jun Wang and Ye Sun in college. Jun is quite familiar with her since she got marriage with Ye. After exchange of conventional greetings, Jun wanted to talk to Ye, Ye’s wife enjoyed grumble: “The doctor injected Phenobarbital for him, hope to he could sleep longer……” a dog-tired male voice answered the phone in a rush: “How come you didn’t call me till now……”Then snore thunderously.

    The second number he dialed to was Jianshe Yin, who was another classmate in university. Jianshe was a Chinese chess fan and champion chess player in collage, Jun Wang was well matched in rivalries with him then. Both the chess friends often contested day and night during school vacations. 5 years ago, Jun Wang went to China on a business travel, met him in Beijing where he was a president of a state owned transnational corporation.

    A lady voice answered the phone; it must be Jianshe’s wife, Jun Wang felt a little encouraged. Jianshe’s wife once was his sweetheart in collage, but Jianshe grabbed her as assiduous as the early bird catches worm. He spoke with the greatest care: “Is Jianshe at home?” The other side of the phone seemed to be struck dumb by the asking, saying not a word for a while, and suddenly throw a fit: “wrong number”, cut off the phone.

    Isn’t Jianshe contracted relocation stress syndrome of retirement too? Jun Wang got through the phone again and told who he was very cautiously; the opposite said nothing for a long while, and then grumbled with great grievance: “How come you didn’t call me till now?” Jun Wang was startled by her mood, blurted out: “Is Jianshe Ok……” The lady nasalized with laugh grimly: “You look for Jianshe Yin? Don’t you? That bastard son of bitch, we had divorced for 5years. That bastard abandoned kid and me, married with a girl, younger than my daughter……none of your men folk is good thing…… ”

    Two phone calls made Jun Wang crestfallen. But the nostalgic blend of the old address book flavors with his mood in yearns for past was more than he could stand. The second day, he plucked up his courage to get through another old friend Zhiqiang Lin.

    Zhiqiang Lin was an assistant governor in a province, and Jun Wang met him two years ago in his office, where he talked about going to US meeting Jun after his retirement. That day, he entertained Jun accompanied by his beautiful secretary. After feast, they went to sing Kara OK together, When he song “Beside a successful man, there must be a virtuous woman”, he corrected to “Beside a successful man, there must be a lots dissolute women”. Right now, Jun thought, he should enjoy his retirement and only his wife beside him.

    Sure enough Zhiqiang’s wife answered the phone. She is indeed a virtuous woman, and loves his husband with heart and soul, Jun Wang thought, but Zhiqiang was so “dissolute”, who knows he didn’t abandon her like Jianshe Yin did? People always change when they get power.

    Jun spoke carefully: “This is Jun, Jun Wang……” Miserable sobs transmitted from the other side of the phone when he has hardly finished speaking.

    Fortunately didn’t mention Zhiqiang Lin, Jun thought, this guy really gave up his family. “Please don’t be so grieved……every thing will be Ok……” The voice of cry was sounder from the phone. Jun comforted her: “Anyway, that bastard sex maniac is not worth your sad.”

    “What are you talking about?” Zhiqiang’s wife muttered.
    “I knew he is lecher, when we were in collage, he always chased after girls everywhere……” Jun tried to ingratiate with her.

    Zhiqiang’s wife flied into a rage: “How dare you talking him like that?” She cried loudly.

    Jun was a little bit resentful for her infatuation to her divorced husband, he soothed her: “both of you got divorced already, why do you still torture yourself? Just think he was died, and you are still young……”

    Zhiqiang’s wife shouted at him: “We are not divorced; he was in jail for his crime of corruption……”

    February 24, 2014
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