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Romance united by grief and nearly destroyed by gossip
enorth.com.cn   2009-01-20 09:06


(Chinadaily)Poor villager Zhao Xingwu and rich city girl Sui Xiaoxue married on Saturday near the temporary structure they will call home in Beichuan, Sichuan province.

The beautiful bond that tied them together proved stronger than the empty innuendo about their liaison.

Sui had previously hoped to marry her boyfriend of six years. "He died of a heart attack just before our wedding," she says.

She later met some admirers, one of whom even promised to gift her an office building and a BMW if she would be his girlfriend.

However, as a manager in a foreign company in Tianjin and with a monthly salary of more than 10,000 yuan ($1,450) herself, Sui says: "I do not attach great importance to wealth but to love."

Zhao, who at 35 is slightly older than his bride, has also known great distress. Two years ago his ex-wife ran away with another man, taking their son and all their valuables.

Neighbors in his village wished them well on hearing of their wedding plans but the gossipmongers have had a field day: A rich girl from a big city can never make it work with a poor villager, they said. Sui becomes very upset when she hears rumors that she has ulterior motives from the marriage. Some say she only wanted the attention that marrying an earthquake victim would bring.

But it was a tragedy far greater than their individual traumas that brought them together.

Sui spent a month as a volunteer in Wenchuan, one of the most seriously damaged places in the earthquake.

On June 18, she decided to go to Beichuan, where help was still desperately needed. It was dark, there were no buses and none of the locals dared drive her due to the precarious condition of the roads. One motorcyclist stopped and said he was willing to take her for 20 yuan. It was Zhao.

She became extremely nervous on the steep mountain roads but he kept cracking jokes and told her he was "the most skilful driver in the entire village". As he dropped her off, she gave him her cell phone number and asked him: "Please let me know when you are safely home."

She did not hear from him that night and early next morning called him, fearing something untoward had happened. "I was afraid of troubling you since it was so late," he said.

The two kept in touch from then on and one day, Zhao asked her to take a look at his damaged house. As they stood by it, Zhao suddenly said: "Xiaoxue, please be my girlfriend. I will treat you well with my whole heart."

Then the 1.85-m-high man squatted beside the ruins of his home, hands around his head. His sudden expression of love shocked Sui greatly but she would only agree to see how things developed.

On Oct 1, Sui was on a bus, returning home to attend her sister's wedding when a car sped up at full speed. A familiar face appeared in the window - Zhao was waving his arms at her.

He had heard she was leaving and feared she would never return to Beichuan. Her bus eventually stopped several kilometers down the road after Zhao first spotted her. Sui got out of the bus and walked toward him. There and then, on the side of the dusty country road, she decided to be his lifelong companion, deeply moved by his love.

Their new home is only built on rubble but Sui has filled it with quality furniture and household electric appliances from Tianjin that are rarely seen in the poor village. She also covered all the wedding ceremony costs. "I won't let him spend a penny," she says.

Sui has only positive thoughts about their future. "I want to invest in some projects, such as herbs and planting, as well as helping Xingwu manage his construction site," she says. "I believe that we will overcome the odds in life as long as we are of one mind."


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Editor: Zhang Jialu

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