Beyond the gates, Xiao Guan’s guard booth sits on the left. Take a few more steps and you’ll find Lao Huang’s fruit stall.
Xiao Guan has been a security guard his whole life. When he was younger, an angry glare and a loud yell were enough to inspire fear in anyone. After some of his teeth fell out, his voice lost its menacing edge. His authority seemed to wane even by the gate he’s dutifully watched all these years. But one particular altercation over parking fees when his angry yells echoed across the complex reminded people that, despite his age, it’s best not to cross him. That is until a dispute with a motorcyclist blocking the path resulted in Xiao Guan receiving a vicious beating. It turns out that—to a hotheaded kid—a balding, toothless old man deserves about as much respect as a misbehaving dog.
As for Lao Huang, he’s witnessed each and every one of these happenings. Since he started this fruit stand, he’s seen it all. Many of the minor events have all been forgotten, but some of the more memorable events have been passed down via word of mouth.
As it turns out, there isn’t much of a difference between the history of a community and the history of our world. No one can say for certain how many people were there, how many games have been played, how many arguments have taken place, or how many scandals have taken place. Some stories are constantly retold, some stories change over time, and some stories are slowly forgotten.
Learn more about 90s-born author Wang Zhanhei on our magazine.