Proofreaders: happyBuddha, Lee, Kai, m@o, Marcia
Are they going to cross the boundary of brothers...?
Are they going to cross the boundary of brothers...?
And life is very dear to all. It is pleasant to sit in the green wood, and to watch the Sun in his chariot of gold, and the Moon in her chariot of pearl. Sweet is the scent of the hawthorn, and sweet are the bluebells that hide in the valley, and the heather that blows on the hill. Yet Love is better than Life, and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?
–Oscar Wilde, The Nightingale and the Rose
Xu Zheng was sitting at the dinner table, slowly turning the dial of the radio with his ear against the speakers.
Xu Chuan had bought the small black box for his younger son when he was shooting in Shanghai. Two AA batteries fit in the back and allowed the user to carry it along on their morning jog or a stroll in the park. It was the definition of modern in the eighties.
His brother listened closely to the static that sounded just like noise to Xu Ping. The younger boy looked like the underground communist agents as portrayed in movies, waiting to decode the enemy’s telegram.
The red bucket lay in the back of the cupboard along with the ball and shovel, slowly gathering dust.
THE WHEELS OF TIME CANNOT BE STOPPED! COMMUNISM IS UPON US!
Xu Ping had read a slogan on one of the walls in their neighbourhood when he was younger, and it made a deep impression on him. He had once imagined the entire world as a pot of congee that was being stirred by a ladle called time while the old rice melted at the bottom of the pot with new rice being constantly added in.
The great leaders had gone to their last resting place before the communist dream came true, first Premier Zhou, then Chairman Mao. Though he was only five years old, Xu Ping could not forget the white flowers and the mourners who gathered in the thousands to weep.
Before he knew it, his brother had grown up too. He wasn’t sure when the younger boy abandoned sand and began taking a passion with complex stuff like vacuum tube radios.
Xu Ping contemplated as he sped through the politics exercise given by his teacher – explain briefly the meaning of the statement “Our country is currently in the initial stage of communism” and provide evidence.
The window before the desk was open. The cool breeze of the May evening brought in the delightful smell of some flower while small bugs kept bumping into the green mesh as they tried to race to the light indoors.
The clock in the living room went tick-tock in a steady rhythm.
“…Secretariat of the Party, Wen Jiabao, was also among those who visited the students at Tiananmen Square. Today marks the seventh day of the fast at Tiananmen Square. Many students have showed signs of failing health and numerous had been hospitalized last night. This was the Voice of America.”
The voice of a female announcer from an enemy station suddenly started playing from the shortwave channel that Xu Zheng had found.
Startled, Xu Ping barked at his brother, “Xiao-Zheng!”
Xu Zheng slowly turned to look at his brother.
“Don’t listen to this,” Xu Ping explained hurriedly.
After the nine-thirty news, the station started playing Teresa Teng’s Goodbye My Love.
Goodbye my love, my love goodbye. Goodbye my love, who knows when we’ll meet again.
It was a song so gentle and dear that even Xu Zheng became engrossed and ignored his brother.
Xu Ping got up to shut the window and draw the dark green curtains.
He switched off the desk lamp and walked towards his brother.
There was only a small, dim bedside lamp illuminating the room.
He sat down beside his brother and rested his head on a hand as they listened to this song that was once banned.
I’ll always miss you, miss you with a gentle love, miss you with a burning heart, miss you with a sweet, sweet kiss. O that beautiful voice, how could I ever forget this love. My love goodbye, who knows where we’ll meet again…
Xu Ping tilted to look at his brother. His face was half hidden in the shadows, his deep-set eyes, thick brows and sharp jaw line. The younger boy turned to face his brother with a gentle and focused gaze. The dim orangey light behind him surrounded his silhouette in a halo of gold like that of an angel.
Xu Ping’s heart skipped several beats.
“Do you know what she’s singing about?”
Xu Zheng gazed at his brother without a word.
Xu Ping squinted before saying, “Well, you’ll…”
He didn’t finish. He wanted to say that you would understand the lyrics when you fall in love in the future, but then he realized his retard brother might not ever experience romantic love.
His own gaze filled with sorrow. His brother was a good-looking lad, even more so than their father in his youth. If he had a normal IQ, all the girls would go crazy for him.
Xu Ping flashed a forced smile at his brother.
Would his brother fall in love with a girl?
Was it IQ or instincts that controlled whom one liked?
But he couldn’t ask. He didn’t want to think about his brother falling in love with someone and being heartbroken from not receiving anything in response. If it was going to be like that, he’d rather Xu Zheng stayed dumb and always be happy.
Xu Zheng looked at his brother who had called his name but had not spoken.
“Dummy!” Xu Ping rubbed his brother’s head roughly. “Don’t listen to stuff you don’t understand. Listening at home is okay, but you’ll get arrested for listening to it out in public. Got it?”
Xu Zheng shook his head.
“If you like Teresa Teng, I’ll buy you a few tapes. Don’t listen to the stuff on the radio again.”
Xu Zheng turned his attention back to the radio and spoke with a little lisp, “Good song. I like it.”
Xu Ping chuckled and put an arm around his brother.
How could Xu Zheng possibly understand the rules of the outside world when he lived in his own tiny one? The only ones who could protect him were Xu Ping and their father and no one else. But in this moment, Xu Ping didn’t want to disrupt the lovely song playing in his brother’s peaceful world.
“Dummy,” he replied quietly.
After several Theresa Teng’s songs was the late night programme teaching English. The host was a man with a raspy voice. Xu Zheng didn’t like his voice and changed the channel in a slightly dissatisfied manner.
Xu Ping stood up for a stretch. “Time to wash up and go to bed.”
Xu Zheng carefully put the radio back into its case like the good boy he was.
It only took the newly installed boiler five minutes to get the water to a nice, hot temperature.
Standing outside the tub, Xu Ping instructed as he rolled up his sleeves, “Quick, take your clothes off. The water’s almost ready.”
Then he heard the soft rustling of fabrics from behind.
Xu Ping had his pant legs all rolled up when he turned to find his brother naked on top but struggling to unzip his pants.
“Here, let me,” Xu Ping offered.
Thick, blue jean pants had become popular among the younger crowd recently and bell-bottoms became a style icon. With his height and long legs, Xu Zheng looked great in jeans.
Xu Ping tugged on the zipper, but it did not budge even a little.
After taking a closer look, he shouted almost immediately, “You asshole! How many times do I have to tell you? Always wear underwear before wearing jeans! Underwear, you understand?!”
Xu Zheng stared dumbly at his brother. “Oh.”
Xu Ping wanted to drive his fist in the wall. “Oh? You say that every time! But you forget it as soon as you do! You’re doing this on purpose, aren’t you, Xu Zheng?!”
His brother made an innocent face like a puppy, “Too tight. Uncomfortable.”
Xu Ping felt frustration beyond description. “And getting your hair stuck in the zipper is comfortable?! You’re just asking for it, aren’t you?!”
A silly smile appeared on his brother’s face.
“Ugh, alright. You wait here.” Defeated, Xu Ping went searching for the scissors.
He finally got the pants off after struggling with the hair and the pants. While he was battling with the zipper, he brushed his brother’s genitals several times, and soon it was erect. The penis was thick and long, the head a healthy pink. It made a small tent in the pants and peeked its head out from the top of the zipper.
Although his brain was that of a child’s, Xu Zheng’s body had matured. His testicles could produce sperm and was driven by hormones to reproduce like every other male on this earth.
Sweat dripped down Xu Ping’s forehead. His brother’s member was only inches away from his face, and he could smell the strong odor from Xu Zheng’s groin.
It hit Xu Ping that it wasn’t the pants that were too tight. It was his junk that was too big!
He glared at his brother only to meet the intent yet pure gaze of the younger boy, who was acting as though the swollen erection was not his.
“What are you looking at?” Xu Ping barked angrily.
Xu Zheng couldn’t sense that his brother was upset and replied seriously, “You’re good-looking.”
If he didn’t know his brother’s IQ, Xu Ping would have thought the younger boy was teasing him. His face flushed at the words, but he didn’t even know how to retort.
In the end, he commanded his brother to hold his hand in front of his own crotch. “Hold it!”
Xu Zheng held his own member while observing his furious brother struggling with the pant zipper.
Xu Ping had never been in such an awkward situation. He cursed silently as he yanked downward.
The zipper flew off and the pants could finally come off.
Xu Ping pushed the pants down to the floor. “Feet up.”
“The pants broke.” Xu Zheng sounded a bit sad.
Xu Ping wiped his sweat off with the back of his hand. “No, it’s not! I’ll put it back for you later.”
Xu Zheng was happy again.
Water began spraying out. Xu Ping grabbed the yellow showerhead and tested the temperature with a hand.
“Okay, get in.”
A naked Xu Zheng stepped into the tub.
Xu Ping quickly sprayed his brother’s torso. He looked up at his brother.
A bit angry, Xu Ping grumbled, “Put your head down.”
Xu Zheng crouched down with his arms around his knees.
Xu Ping wet his brother’s head before scooping a chunk of Seagull shampoo from its blue plastic container. He slapped it on his brother’s hair and began scrubbing.
Xu Zheng’s hair was short, but it was black, numerous and stiff, staying spiked even when wet.
Xu Ping clawed his brother’s scalp.
His brother had really grown up. His shoulders had become wide and muscle tone was starting to show on his back. Two years ago, Xu Ping could have easily won in an arm wrestle, but this year on Chinese New Year’s Eve, he had lost even after using all the strength he could muster.
Xu Ping glanced at his brother’s strong arms and then at his own. He sighed.
He raised the showerhead and rinsed the lather out of his brother’s hair.
“What did Dad say to you on the phone?” Xu Ping tried to make conversation.
Xu Zheng had his eyes tightly shut as the water splashed his head.
“Hi, Xiao-Zheng? It’s Dad. Did you have dinner? And what did you have? Did you like the ribs? Haha. Well, you have to thank your brother for that. I’ll be home in two or three days. You have to listen to your brother while Dad’s away, okay? Your brother’s busy these days, so don’t go bothering him. He needs to study for his exams. I’ll take you out to play when I come back. I’m in Yan’an right now, the place where our great President Mao stayed. I’ll bring back some local paper cut outs and you can stick them up on the windows. They’re really pretty. What pattern do you like, Xiao-Zheng? They got everything; cat, dog, donkey and even tree peony….”
Xu Ping listened to his brother repeat every word that their father had said like a tape recorder. He didn’t know how his brother did it. Aside from the lack of emotion, the sentences were almost exact replicas of the original.
How could anyone say he was stupid?
He patted his brother’s cheek lovingly. “Alright, the bubbles are gone now. You can open your eyes.”
Xu Zheng opened his eyes slowly and added unhappily, “Dad lied. I asked for one of gege. Dad said there are none.”
“Alright, don’t be mean to Dad.” Xu Ping chuckled. “I’ll cut one for you with some red paper and you can stick it up on the windows.”
“Okay.” Xu Zheng nodded delightfully.
All the feelings of frustration vanished at the sight of his brother’s adorably dumb expression. Xu Ping pulled his brother by the arm. “Stand up. Let’s clean the rest of you.”
His brother straightened up and held his fists on either side, keeping his body tense like an army drill.
Xu Ping clapped his shoulder, laughing. “Relax!”
The last bar of soap had been used up. Xu Ping took out a new bar of Bee & Flower sandalwood soap from Shanghai that was given to his father by the event organizer of a performance. He ripped open the paper packaging. The soap inside was a brownish red colour and exuded a strong and rich fragrance.
Xu Ping sprayed his brother with water again before rubbing the soap bar on the younger boy.
From the neck to the collarbone, from the chest to the stomach.
The abdomen muscles began twitching.
Xu Ping shot a look. “What’s wrong with you?”
Xu Zheng was standing with his body taut and his fists on either side. “It’s ticklish, Gege.”
“Tsk, what are you complaining about?” Xu Ping scolded. “Suck it up!”
He turned his brother around and began lathering the back.
Xu Zheng had the perfect body shape, an upside-down triangle made of broad shoulders, long arms and a slender waist. His butt was firm and round, and his thighs were strong and muscular.
As Xu Ping worked with the soap bar, he noticed that wherever he went, the muscles would start twitching. It was like throwing a pebble into water and watching the ripples spread.
“Are you really that ticklish?!” Xu Ping exclaimed.
He turned his brother around again to find his member standing up again.
With his hands full of lather, Xu Ping stared at the erection for a moment.
It seemed to have sensed his gaze and jerked joyfully, spitting out a few drops of clear liquid. One went as far as Xu Ping’s pants.
Xu Ping was quiet.
Veins were bulging out on Xu Zheng’s neck, and his face was red too.
“Gege,” he called.
“Do you feel bad?” Xu Ping asked.
Xu Zheng took a second to think before nodding.
“Do you know what to do?”
His dumb brother shook his head.
Xu Ping leisurely wiped the foam from his hands while replying, “I’ll help you.”
He pointed the showerhead at his brother’s crotch and opened the cold water.
“AGH!” Xu Zheng shot up like a spring. His little guy had already shrunken back into its bush, and the balls looked smaller too.
Xu Ping pushed his brother’s head down and showered him with cold water, making Xu Zheng howl.
Xu Ping didn’t care and held onto his brother’s neck while he scolded, “You damn little rascal! Don’t you ever dare do that again!”
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Bee & Flower sandalwood soap
Live performance of Goodbye My Love (note the glamorous appearance that the communist party thought promoted capitalism)
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ayszhang: NSFW but not really xDDD I'm alive and suffering through jetlag =.=zzZZZ but it's been busy meeting with family and friends! Will be a bit slow with replying comments and stuff <3
Brother - English Translation by ayszhang is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.