YANSHI - Xie Guizhi came onto the stage to a burst of applause at a community concert in Yanshi City. The 58-year-old sat at the piano and played a well-known folk song called The Waves of Hong Lake, a so-called red song of China’s Cultural Revolution Era, and her own youth.

In the audience sat Wu Zheng, her husband, his eyes slowly filling with tears, the China Times reported.

Watching his wife’s fingers move across the piano, Wu Zheng couldn’t help recalling the past. Like tens of millions of other young and educated people during the Cultural Revolution, Wu Zheng was sent as a teenager far away to Xinjiang, in Western China.

Later he would meet Xie Guizhi, a pretty girl 11 years his junior, according to the West China Urban Daily.

After the Cultural Revolution era, they were not permitted to return to Shanghai, Wu's hometown, as government policy did not admit any population from the countryside. They were obliged to go to live in Xie’s hometown, Yanshi City in Henan Province. He worked as a clerk in the Cooperative and his wife worked in a factory -- they had two kids.

Sixteen years ago when Xie Guizhi inadvertently revealed her wish of owning a piano, Wu Zheng secretly vowed to make it happen. Ever since, day after day, year after year, he scavenged odds and ends out of dumpsters and rubbish bins, gradually putting aside money to purchase the longed-for piano.

The 69-year-old Wu told West China Urban Daily: “I want her to be healthy and happy. I want to listen to her piano, and keep her company and grow old together.”