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The next day, when Dai Li was on his lunch break in the dining hall, his phone suddenly rang. It was an unknown number.
Is it from a delivery service? I haven't bought anything recently, Dai Li thought to himself as he picked up the phone.
"Hi, is this Coach Li? This is Lin Yang."
"Academician Yang, hi." Dai Li was a bit shocked. He had not expected a call from Lin Yang.
"I got your number from Professor Mao," Lin Yang said. "Coach Li, I wanted to call you to say thanks. I had a long conversation with Sijie Yang last night."
"Is everything settled?" Dai Li asked.
"Yeah, Sijie told me how he really felt. I support him!" Lin Yang said proudly. "It was my fault for pushing him so hard. When I was young, I paid too much attention to my work. I had him when I was 35 years old—kind of late, you might say. I cherish him, and kind of spoiled him. I want to make sure he gets everything he wants.
"People like us who spend a lot of time in the laboratory sometimes don't come home for months. I neglected communicating with my son. He is a grown-up now, and he has his own ideas and plans. I was neglecting this. I am not a good father."
Lin Yang paused, then continued, "Coach Li, thank you for your kind reminder. Otherwise, I wouldn't have known that Sijie Yang and I had such a gap between us."
A gap! Dai Li felt that was the perfect word for it.
The relationship between parents and their children was the most intimate relationship in the world, but the two could find it hard to understand each other from time to time; sometimes they might even misunderstand each other because of the different social backgrounds they were born in. Not many parents would sit down quietly and listen to their children to see what was on their minds.
In traditional Confucianism, responsibility and obedience were valued more than communication. Parents were expected to shoulder the responsibility, while the children were expected to obey. As the old Chinese saying went—"If a child misbehaves, his/her parents are to blame." Ideally, parents were supposed to take on the responsibility to take care of their children. If their children failed their exams, the parents would blame themselves; if they didn't find a decent job, the parents would blame themselves; if they broke up with someone, the parents would blame themselves. This was a lifelong responsibility, and even if the children were middle-aged men, their parents would still worry about them; it was their responsibility.
Children, on the other hand, had to obey their parents' word. Before they became adults, it was natural to listen to their parents; however, once they got older, they were still expected to obey their parents' demands. If a child didn't listen to their parents, they were considered to be going against the filial piety, which was unacceptable. Children who broke this rule would seem as if they had no morals. As a child, you had to listen to your parents and do whatever they told you to do.
If you wanted to make the connection healthy, however, you had to communicate with each other. Orders and obedience would not be useful when it came to parenting. Even if you were family, if you did not communicate with one another, you would eventually lose your loved ones.
Dai Li thought about Haiquan Fang at this moment.
Dai Li felt there were many similarities between Haiquan Fang and Sijie Yang. They both had pushy fathers who loved them so much and had arranged their futures; yet, at the same time, both of them lacked communication with their fathers. The difference between them was that Haiquan Fang had fought back against his father, while Sijie Yang had chosen to do what he was told.
The next minute, Dai Li suddenly remembered his own father.
Dai Li had not lived at home since he had graduated from college. It had been a long time since the two of them had last sat and spoken to each other.
I haven't been home for ages. I wonder if my old man alright.
Dai Li grabbed his phone. He hesitated for a second, then dialed his father's number.
After a few rings, his father picked up the phone.
"Son, what happened? Is everything alright? What made you call?"
"Dad, I'm alright. I just thought about you, and…I wanted to hear your voice." Dai Li's eyes turned red as he realized he was getting emotional.
Sijie Yang held his new camera, smiling happily.
He had just had a sincere conversation with his father not too long ago. This time, he had finally built up the courage to tell his father about his real dream—being a photographer. He thought his father was going to be furious, but to his surprise, he had gotten support from his father.
Sijie Yang had been excited for days. He was so in love with his new camera that he could not stop playing with it. When weekends came, he would run outside with his camera and take numerous photos to practice his photography skills.
Huajing was a historic place with a lot of tourist attractions, many of them photo-worthy. They attracted many famous photographers, which meant a new photographer like Sijie Yang could not stop capturing all the moments that could be seen in every corner.
By the time it was noon, Sijie Yang's camera storage was almost full.
Not enough space, this memory card is almost full. Sijie Yang sighed as he read the alert. He hadn't brought another memory card with him, so he would have to stop shooting and put his camera away.
It's lunch time. I guess I'll eat something before I go home. Thinking of this, Sijie Yang took out his phone and searched on his map to see if there was anything good to eat in the neighborhood.
As he was doing this, Sijie Yang could hear someone shouting behind him.
"Freeze! Don't run! Police! Stop running!"
Sijie Yang turned around. Suddenly, there was a young man dressed in black that quickly ran past him. Two men were chasing him, one dressed in street clothes, and the other in a police uniform.
The next second, almost unconsciously, Sijie Yang took off and started running. It took him ten seconds to catch up to the young man. Finally, he grabbed the young man with his hands and dragged him down.
The young man fell to the ground. He got up immediately and tried to keep running. Before he could, however, the two policemen caught up them and put him on the ground. The undercover policeman took out his handcuffs and cuffed the young man.
"Try running again! I have been waiting to catch you for three days, and I finally got you!" the undercover policeman said. Then, the undercover policeman looked at Sijie Yang.
"Thank you so much, young man. There aren't many people like you nowadays. I really appreciate your help. I can't catch criminals without your help."
"You're welcome, it was my pleasure." Sijie Yang breathed heavily. He was still catching his breath.
Next to them, another policeman in uniform said, "Young man, you are such an amazing runner! We had run almost three blocks, but we still wouldn't have caught him unless you showed up! You ran so fast! Are you an athlete?"
Sijie Yang said subconsciously, "Yeah, I am an athlete. I'm a sprinter! I run for…"
Sijie Yang suddenly stopped talking. He touched his camera bag.
I almost forgot; I am no longer an athlete!
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