Friday, August 15, 2008

6,000 Over Steps of Love

Over 50 years ago, Liu Guojiang was a 19 year-old boy
when he fell in love with a 29 year-old
widowed mother named Xu Chaoqin.

In a twist a lot like Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet,
friends and relatives criticised their relationship
because of their age difference and the fact that

Xu already had children.

At that time, it was unacceptable and 'immoral' for
a young man to love an older woman.
To avoid the gossip and scorn of their communities,
the couple decided to elope and lived in a cave
in Jiangjin County in Southern ChongQing Municipality.

In the beginning, life was harsh as they had nothing,
no electricity nor even food. They had to eat grass and roots
they found in the mountain. But with his two hands,
Liu created the necessities to build a home.

Xu had always felt that she had tied Liu down and
repeatedly asked him, "Are you regretful?"
Liu always replied, "As long as we work hard,
life will get better."

It was also during this time (year 1949) Liu began and
continued to hand-carve steps on the mountain
so that his wife could get up and down the mountain easily.

Half a century later, in year 2001, a group of adventurers
were exploring the forest and were surprised to find the
elderly couple and the over 6,000 hand-carved steps!

Liu MingSheng, one of the couple's seven children said,
"My parents loved each other so much, they have lived
in seclusion for over 50 years and had never been apart
for even a single day.

He hand-carved more than 6,000 steps
over the years for my mother's convenience,
although she doesn't go down the mountain that much."

The couple had lived in peace for over
50 years until one day,
in year 2002, Liu returned from
his daily farm work and collapsed.

Xu sat and prayed with her husband
as he passed away in her arms.

So in love with Xu was Liu, that
no one was able to release
the grip he had on his wife's hand
even after he had passed away.
He was 72 year old.

"You promised me you'll take care of me,
you'll always be with me until the day I died,
now you left before me, how am I going to live without you?"

Xu spent days softly repeating the above sentence
and touching her husband's black coffin
with tears rolling down her cheeks.

In 2006, their story became one of the top 10
love stories from China, collected by the
Chinese Women Weekly. The local government
has decided to preserve their '6,000 over steps of love'
and the place they lived as a museum,
so that their love story can live forever.

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