In the palm of her hand

Updated: 2014-11-28 17:18

By Zhou Wenting(Shanghai Star)

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In the palm of her hand

Yuan Lifu and her husband Li Bingsheng pose for wedding photos 48 years after they first tied the knot thanks to NGO Frame the Vow. Photo provided to Shanghai Star

Yuan Lifu and Li Bingsheng's relationship has spanned more than half a century and survived remarkable hardship. Zhou Wenting has their story.

It all started in the summer of 1958, when Li Bingsheng walked past a short-haired young lady squatting on the ground and writing in a book placed on her knees near Tian'anmen Square. Cupid's arrow hit him.

The young woman was Yuan Lifu, who had once visited a fortune-teller who read her palm and told her that one day she would meet a man that she could rely on for a lifetime. Until that moment, Yuan didn't know that man was Li.

Yuan was born in Hunan province in 1937 and was raised by her uncle. She dropped out of school several times because of the family’s poor financial circumstance, but still managed to enroll in Tsinghua University where she was Li's classmate.

Li and Yuan developed crushes on each other but never expressed their affection. Romance was forbidden in college at that time.

In 1962, they attended a dance marking their university graduation. Afterwards, Li and Yuan took a stroll through the university's dimly lit corridors. "We were walking side by side and didn't talk. Suddenly she stopped, and said, 'I need to ask my uncle's opinion first'. We knew what each other was thinking about," says Li, 76.

After graduation Li became a teacher at Tsinghua University and Yuan continued her graduate studies. They were together and enjoying the best years of their lives. But the sweet time came to an end four years later when Yuan was offered a job in Baotou in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region and she had to go.

Two months before she was set to depart, the couple decided to get married. They got registered, visited a photography studio where their picture was taken dressed in their everyday street wear, and invited a couple of friends for a dinner in a colleague's dorm.

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