Chapter 145 – Reply
In her letter, Lu Xia portrayed herself as pitiful as possible and complained about her rural life extensively. She depicted the daily toil, lack of food and warm clothing, and the difficulty of dealing with villagers who treated them poorly. Some single men even pestered her.
Later, she couldn’t bear it anymore and got married. However, her husband was often ill and couldn’t do much work. Their lives became very difficult, and the money they brought with them was almost spent. Additionally, since she had only been there for half a year, she hadn’t earned many work points, resulting in insufficient food.
She then pleaded for help in various ways, requesting cloth, cotton, and various items that were in short supply in the village, asking her family to mail them to her.
At the end of the letter, she expressed how happy she was to receive letters from her family, which made her believe that they still considered her part of the family. She trusted that her family wouldn’t abandon her and believed they would support her through this difficult time in the countryside.
Lastly, she hesitantly mentioned that since her marriage was rushed, she didn’t get a chance to tell her family beforehand. If they could send her a dowry, it would be even better as it would help her establish her position in the village.
After finishing the letter, Lu Xia nodded contentedly.
With such a shameless writing style, she was sure that her mother would be infuriated upon receiving it.
Of course, they might suspect that she was deceiving them, intentionally making herself sound so miserable.
Perhaps they would investigate.
After all, some of their neighbors’ relatives were part of the same group that went to the countryside. While they were distributed to different villages in the Northeast, the distances weren’t too far apart. If they made some inquiries, they might find out.
Then they would know if she was lying or not, considering she was indeed married, and her husband was not in good health.
Now she would have to wait and see if they would reply to her letter.
Lu Xia smiled, satisfied with her plan.
After writing the letters, they sealed them in envelopes.
Jiang Junmo didn’t ask what she wrote, but Lu Xia took the initiative to tell him.
After listening, Jiang Junmo couldn’t help but sigh. “You, huh!”
Lu Xia chuckled. “As long as you’re not angry that I depicted you in such a miserable way.”
Jiang Junmo smiled and shook his head. “It’s not entirely false; my health was already poor.”
In the past two months, Jiang Junmo’s health had improved to almost normal levels. He had gained strength, wasn’t afraid of the cold anymore, and didn’t feel physically exhausted during daily exercises.
He felt like he had been reborn, becoming more cheerful and less silent. He had gained some weight, and he looked more handsome.
Lu Xia had experienced similar improvements. After a winter of good food and exercise, she even went through a second growth spurt. She grew taller, gained some weight, and her previously flat chest had developed into small peaks.
Moreover, her skin had become fairer, her hair black and shiny, and she looked even more beautiful.
Fortunately, they now wore more clothing when going out, covering their whole bodies; otherwise, others would be surprised by the changes.
However, Jiang Junmo could see these transformations. At times, when they got too close, he felt too embarrassed to look at her, making her a bit shy as well.
Lost in thought, Lu Xia and Jiang Junmo hadn’t decided when to send the letters yet when the next day some people from the educated youth spot came over and asked if they wanted to go to the county to take a bath.
“Bathing? You mean the bathhouse in the county?” Lu Xia was surprised. “Don’t you need a ticket there? We don’t have a ticket.”
Chapter 146 – Going to the County to Bathe
Then, other educated youths explained, “We don’t have such facilities in our village. It’s too cold here in winter, and bathing is inconvenient. However, before the Lunar New Year, every household will take a good bath, so the town government prepares a lot of bath tickets for each village. If you want to bathe, you can buy them in the village; they are not expensive, but they are only available a few days before the New Year.”
Lu Xia and Jiang Junmo exchanged a glance and nodded, saying, “That’s a good thing. We’ll definitely go.”
“Okay, then let’s go to the village chief’s house later to buy bath tickets and get an introduction letter. The county’s inspection team is strict before the New Year, so it’s better to be prepared.”
After agreeing with the other educated youths, they all went to the village committee in the afternoon to buy bath tickets and get the introduction letter.
Upon returning, Lu Xia felt happy.
Bathing in winter was inconvenient here, and to avoid catching a cold, she dared not use the washbasin too often. She usually did a simple cleaning, but it never felt refreshing. If she could go to a public bathhouse, it would be great.
However, she realized that at this time, the public bathhouse might not have private rooms, and everyone would bathe together. She had experienced such situations before, so she would not have a problem adapting to it. She recalled that the original host had also been to a bathhouse in the capital city, where many people bathed together, being open and honest with each other. It was probably the same in the northern region.
So, that evening, after preparing their things, Lu Xia and Jiang Junmo got up early the next day and went to the town with the other educated youths.
Besides them, many of their fellow villagers also joined the trip, most of them going to buy some things for the Lunar New Year and to bathe at the public bathhouse.
The bus was crowded because of the large number of people, and they had to stand since there were no seats available. Everyone was bundled up, making the ride uncomfortable.
Lu Xia felt suffocated, swaying in the crowded bus, but Jiang Junmo noticed her discomfort and used one hand to support her, creating some space around her, which allowed her to breathe more easily.
Even so, when she got off the bus, she almost vomited.
Jiang Junmo was concerned. “Are you okay? Should we find a place to rest for a while?”
Lu Xia shook her head. “It’s fine. Thankfully, you were there to help; otherwise, I might have thrown up on the bus.”
After saying that, she envied him a bit. How could he not get carsick at all?
However, they didn’t chat much. Just after getting off the bus, they encountered the inspection team, something they had never experienced before. It was probably because of the strict supervision during the Lunar New Year period, and they were waiting right at the bus station.
Lu Xia and the others showed their introduction letters to the inspectors, who glanced at them before letting them go. Afterward, they all went to the public bathhouse together.
It was still early, around eight o’clock, and they planned to get there when the bathhouse opened. They had heard that it would be less crowded at this time, and if they came later, they might have to wait for several hours. Also, if people stayed inside for too long, they would be chased out.
Lu Xia felt she had been ignorant; she didn’t realize that bathing would involve so much trouble.
After waiting for about half an hour, the bathhouse finally opened, and they paid the fee and entered.
As they were among the first batch, the bathhouse was clean and not too crowded, with only a few villagers who had arrived early.
After undressing and being doused in hot water, Lu Xia couldn’t help but sigh in comfort.
Ah, if only she could bathe like this every day.
However, she knew it wasn’t possible. Enjoying the soothing bath for a while, she was told by Shen Qingqing to hurry up, as it would get crowded later, and that would be annoying.
Lu Xia picked up her pace, wanting to finish quickly before the place got too noisy.