The notice of enlistment for Jianfu soon came down, and it was scheduled for March after the spring.
There was less than a month left.
It was more convenient in the County than in the countryside.
There was no need to get stamps to buy cloth at regular intervals because the commune was always open.
Ah Jin had a discount to buy cloth as a weaving factory worker.
She did not make green clothes for the children this time.
Instead, she chose a dark blue material that was resistant to dirt and wear.
Everyone was given a new set of clothes.
Jianfu's new uniform was also issued to his hands.
This time there was no need to bring beddings to the army.
The army provided ready-mades.
On the day Jianfu enlisted, he was dressed in a green military uniform with a big red flower on his chest.
Ah Jin took her two younger brothers to the station to see him off.
She held Jianfu's hand and instructed him, "Behave well in the army. Be smart. You graduated from senior high school, which gives you an advantage over others. So try to join the political party early, okay?"
Jianfu nodded and answered, "Yes, eldest sister."
Ah Jin added, "Write home often! Do not send back your monthly salary. Keep it for yourself. We have enough for ourselves."
Jianfu nodded again, "Got it."
"And ah, you are not allowed to forget about your studies. We do not know when you will be able to take the university entrance exam. I still want you to get a military school!"
Jianfu did not retort for the first time.
He simply nodded his head.
Ah Jin shoved some money at him, "Take this money. Don't expect me to give you money in the future."
Jianfu lowered his head and did not say anything.
His tears fell on Ah Jin's hand.
Ah Jin reached out to wipe away his tears.
"You silly boy, what are you crying for? To be a soldier is a good thing."
Jianfu looked at his elder sister, whose height was equal to his own shoulders, with a thin figure and her usual white-washed clothes, but her small shoulders held up a family and raised her three brothers.
He put his head on Ah Jin's shoulder and began to cry bitterly.
Jianyun and Jianman also hugged him, and they cried together.
The scene was the same for every family in the station now.
There was no need to be afraid of losing face.
Ah Jin heard the conductor urging them to board the train and hastily dried his tears.
"Hurry up and go. Don't be late. When you settle down, write back. Tell me whatever you need, and I'll send it to you!"
Jianfu reluctantly said goodbye to his family and got on the train.
He got on the train in a hurry, found a seat, and then opened the window and looked out at Ah Jin and his two brothers.
"Jianyun, Jianman, you take good care of eldest sister at home. You've grown up, don't let eldest sister worry!"
"Second brother, I will remember. You also need to be good!"
The train started to depart.
The windows were full of heads of children who joined the army.
Looking at these young faces, who were about to be taken by train to an unknown place to accept a crueler world, Ah Jin's eyes also got somewhat wet.
The children on the train were desperately trying to stick their heads out of the window just to see their families.
People on the platform were also chasing the train just to get one more look at their children.
This scene happened in every place and at every station in the 70s.
Trains and trucks were filled with these young lives, going to infrastructures, defending the country, and everywhere they were needed.
Jianfu got back in his seat and opened the thing he held tightly, which was the money Ah Jin gave him before he left.
Seeing the 30 yuan in his hand, Jianfu's tears dropped again.
Really working on this on my emotional days of the month is so hard. OMG! Looking at the table of contents is very heartbreaking. We are almost at the end of this arc, my friends.