We squeezed onto the bus and he finally said to me: “I’m leaving on the 11th. I’m in the advance party.” Despite the fact that I was expecting to leave each and every day, when I heard this news it was like catching a thunderclap over my head. In a few days it would be Mocun’s sixtieth birthday, we had already arranged everything: when the day arrived we would both sit down to eat a meal of “longevity noodles” to celebrate. We were afraid his seventieth birthday would not arrive for us. But now we were going to miss it by a few days. He would be going down to the cadre school.
“Why do you have to go first?”
“Because I have you. Other people have to take their families, or make arrangements for them to stay here; I can leave that all to you.”
The cadre school was at Luoshan, Henan province, their entire department was leaving on November 17th.