“Boss, get me one more order of the wonton noodle soup!” One of the customers sitting near the door shouted.
“Coming right up!” As Boss Gao shouted back to the customer, he pointed his finger to the bag of the wontons that barely had any left.
Lu Xiyun, who was standing by the stove to make sure the pot of soup would not be overboiled saw the gesture. He walked to the door that was on his left. This was the storage room where the boss stored all the ingredients.
After walking to the freezer at the corner which contained the wontons, Lu Xiyun slightly frowned when he tried to open the freezer door. It seems to be stuck. He put all his strength to open it which he pulled for three minutes, but it was not moving at all.
Suddenly, Lu Xiyun felt a tap on his shoulder and jolted. He looked back. It was the other waiter, Du Ping. “The boss told me to see why you are taking so long.”
Du Ping saw both Lu Xiyun’s hands were on the handle of the freezer door and guessed it was stuck again. He told Lu Xiyun to move over and placed his hands on the handle putting all his strength to pull the door. After 15 seconds of pulling, the door finally opened.
As Du Ping took out a bag of wontons in the first row, he talked to Lu Xiyun who was standing beside him. “The door of the freezer will get stuck sometimes. The boss saw it is still working, so he's not planning to get a new one.” Lu Xiyun nodded his head.
They walked out of the storage room and Du Ping placed the bag on the counter. He also took the bowl of wonton noodle soup to the customer while Lu Xiyun checked the soup to see if it was ready.
It was dinner time, and a lot of customers were coming into the noodle restaurant. Boss Gao, Du Ping, and Lu Xiyun were so busy that they didn't even have time to drink a sip of water.
Finally, it was 7 p.m. Everyone cleaned up the restaurant for closing. Boss Gao locked the door. The three people walked to the back alley and opened the door to the stairs leading up the 2nd floor.
Boss Gao owned the two floors building. Although it looked a little run-down which the walls had chipped paint and the original colors were fading, it was already good in the area around here. The 1st floor was a small noodle restaurant. It was an open kitchen restaurant that a person can find in an old neighborhood. The 2nd floor was the apartment that had a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and two bedrooms. He rented one of the smaller bedrooms to his employees, Du Ping and Lu Xiyun.
The boss looked at Lu Xiyun while pointing to the bathroom. “Xiao Lu, you can go wash up first. I will go heat up the leftover dishes from yesterday.”
“Mn.” Lu Xiyun grabbed his shower supplies in his room and walked to the bathroom.
The full-length mirror inside the bathroom reflected a 1.5m teenager who had black hair with strands of loose hair hanging. Long eyelashes fluttered as he blinked his brown eyes. Blue veins can faintly be seen on the delicate, pale skin. There were no extra fats on his body. He was so thin that anyone could see he was underweight.
While Lu Xiyun showered, Boss Gao and Du Ping were talking in the kitchen. “Boss, did you tell Xiao Lu that you were going to sell the building?”
Boss Gao had been living in this neighborhood for a long time. He was 58 years old now. His wife had died early in a car accident leaving him and a daughter. The daughter had married a few years ago and had moved to W city. She tried to persuade her father to come with her, but Boss Gao didn't want to go because this place was filled with memories of his wife.
A week ago, the daughter called Boss Gao to persuade him to live with her again. He was about to reject her as usual.
However, her daughter told him the news that he will become a grandfather. She wanted her only family to be with her.
After thinking a while, Boss Gao decided to move to W city as he also wanted to see his daughter and grandkid. He was getting old, so maybe it was time to retire.
The next day, Boss Gao had found a real estate agent to sell the building. He was planning to sell it off as early as possible. It was fine if the selling price was below the market value.
“The restaurant closed early tomorrow. I will tell him in the evening. It has only been a while since Xiao Lu starts working, but he needs to leave already...”
One month ago, Boss Gao was cleaning up as usual to close the restaurant. Du Ping was off today. When he was about to lock the door, he saw a person sitting at the side of the door.
The person was curled up like a ball with his head resting in his arms. He was wearing a dark blue sweater, black jeans, and grey sneakers. The clothes looked worn out. Yet, you can see the owner had tried to keep the clothes as clean and neat as possible.
Boss Gao wondered if the person was sick, so he asked. He called out a few times, but there was no reaction. With no choice, he tapped him on the shoulder.
The person jolted, and a young teenager looked up. Based on the face and the stature, he should be about 14 to 15 years old. His eyebrows were furrowed while his eyes were showing a mix of emotions including fear, confusion, and doubt. His hands that were resting on the knees were now holding tightly on the jeans.
“Hey, are you okay? Do you need me to call your parents?”
The young teenager just stared at Boss Gao. He asked one more time. There was still no answer.
Boss Gao scratched his head and then squatted in front of him.
"I don't know why you are sitting here, but you should go home. It's getting late. Your parents are going to be worried about you. It's not safe lying around at night."
There was still no reply. Boss Gao was about to give up talking to him until the young teenager slowly moved his right hand.
The young teenager pointed his index finger to his ear and shook his head.
".....Ah, no wonder."
Boss Gao finally understood why there was no answer.
The young teenager cannot hear. Naturally, he cannot reply since he does not know what he was saying.
Yes. Lu Xiyun had been deaf since he was a young child.