Peanuts: Lu Jun won’t show up today because my laptop has virus 😦
I actually planned to translate and post one chapter every week but I actually got addicted to translating and managed to translate the whole novel…
I know I am crazy… not doing what I should do = study. I will still be replying comments but hopefully *cross fingers* I can go back to studying, prepare for my upcoming examinations and stop getting affected by TBT.
Please do comment! I would love to hear your thoughts and views on TBT… which is actually the main reason why I decided to translate TBT. 😛 Chapter 3 will be the last chapter. You know, just to keep the suspension up for the last chapter.
As I have said in the comment section, I think the charm of TBT is mainly because the pace of the storyline is perfect and not draggy. This is due to the fact that it is a very short novel. I also like the approach Fei Bao took in writing TBT. I thought it was a very fresh idea to interweave the past events together and how it actually built up together to result in the divorce. They did not just get a divorce just for one reason, but because many factors played a part.
TBT uses simple words to narrate the story but it just makes the right punch in your heart. Sometimes, the simplest thing is the most beautiful thing! I also like how it reflects the reality of life. People come and go, but you don’t lament and cry. It is the fact of life. I like how Dan Xin took control of her life over again. She pulled herself up, made her own decision and regained control of her life. She admits she is hurt, but she knows that life still have to go on.
I can actually say that Dan Xin is actually my favourite female character. She is emotional, but rational at the same time. She does not let her emotions get in her way though it took quite a long time for her to make a decision… But judging by the way she loves Cheng Rui, I am sure it wasn’t an easy decision to make. She loves Cheng Rui a lot, but she did not waver the moment she decided to get a divorce.
I went to the bedroom to pack his things.
When I opened the wardrobe, I saw the coat which I bought for him. Back then, we just started dating. I knew that the cream colour and cutting of the coat would look good on him when I saw it in a designer shop. I bought it and ended up spending about a month’s worth of my salary. It was as if a spotlight was shining on him when he donned the coat. At that moment, I knew that it was just a matter of time that he would become very popular and successful.
The thought of how a man like him was being forced to take upon the role of a husband was pretty unbearable. I could now somehow understand the feelings of his fans and their hatred towards me. It was a ‘waste of natural resource’.
I took out the clothes that he used to wear and folded it. In a TV drama serial, whenever the husband wanted to leave the house for good, the wife would desperately pull him back and beg him not to leave. But here I was packing his luggage. If Mom saw what I did, she would definitely hit the roof. She had always led a straight and upright life. If she saw how her daughter was degrading herself, how could she not bite her tongue.
The house that we used to stay in was only fifteen square feet in area size. The window faced a vine-covered wall and the ceiling fan gave off a ringing sound whenever it was switched on. In the summer, there would be a lot of mosquitoes and I would light up the mosquito coil. I would read my documents and he would sit on the bamboo mat, play his guitar and hum songs that were specially written for me. He was the Siren who sang in the sea. I was the young girl on the boat, lured by him.
We were poor at that time. Whenever we went out, he would wear his washed out jeans and I would go out bare-faced. We would rush to the park early in the morning on weekends to buy a pair of half-priced tickets. We would wander from dawn to dusk. Later, when the park started charging the tickets at full price, we would stealthily climb over a wall. There was once when a security guard caught us doing that and we ran almost three stretches of streets before we managed to escape.
All these memories were memories that my parents, his friends and his fans did not know about.
He later became famous. Of course, he would be famous. Those who have listened to his songs before would definitely agree with me. It was not long before his posters were all over the streets and he soon started appearing on television. I would have fallen asleep by the time he came back but he never failed to give a light peck on my cheeks with his cigarette smelling lips before he turned around to sleep.
All these memories were memories that other people did not know about either.
His female fans shouted and proclaimed their love for him. To them, I am just ‘that woman’ – the woman without a name. The Siren was still the Siren but the young girl had now become an unsightly woman and a hindrance to his career.
In their eyes, I was a spoiled and pampered woman who drove a red Ferrari, swiped credit cards to buy luxury goods and had servants attending to me at a wave of my hand. I was the woman who wore a leopard print jacket and had her nails painted red, covered with a strong stench of perfume that one could smell even from ten miles away.
I stopped what I was doing. To move and pack the five cabinets filled of clothing was easier said than done. I went on to pack the table and drawer and saw our wedding ring.
I froze for a few seconds before taking the ring out of the box. I was in a daze and did not know whether I should let him take the ring as a memento.
Sigh. After the papers were signed, I would think twice before I speak for fear that we would become enemies. My friend once confided in me that she merely complained about the faulty pen and the man shouted back at her, “Why? You are that eager?”
I know that Cheng Rui would not do that. He is righteous, consideration and righteous. It is my honour to be married to him for six years. He might not love me anymore, but he is still a good man.
I lost my mood to pack and headed back to the living room.
I recalled how we first met. At that time, I broke up with my then-boyfriend and three years of relationship evaporated into nothing. I drank a lot that night. A foreigner came over and started to babble some foreign language. It was embarassing because I was a student who majored in foreign language but I could not understand a single word. That foreigner started to touch me and Cheng Rui suddenly jumped down from the stage and yelled, “Don’t touch my woman!” He grabbed me by my hand, pulled me out of the pub and shoved me into a cab.
I could not stop laughing. Now that I had reminisced about that past, I realised that I remembered every word he had said to me. This was a premonition.
After his second album was sold out, he was finally relieved. He finally turned back to see me and my melancholic smile. His features were outstanding so he wore a hat and a turtle neck shirt out. I could feel the heat emitting out from him. We ran to the Tian’anmen Square together as cars drove past us, illuminating the dark night. We were intoxicated with joy and as we embraced each other, it felt as if we were each other’s first love all over again. The excitement was overpowering as it felt like we were having a secret affair unknown to the world. But suddenly, I was weighed down with grief. I missed walking hand in hand with him along the street after finishing our dinner. I missed him dedicating the last song to me under the dimly lit stage. I missed the simple happiness of being together day and night.
The clock on the wall struck ten. I decided to go to the kitchen to grab a bite but there was only a bottle of wine left in the refrigerator . I poured a full glass for myself and finished it in one gulp. I walked towards the living room and sat down on the sofa. The whole place suddenly came to life when I switched on the television.
My mobile phone rang. I jumped up, recalling that I have pulled out my telephone line.
Cheng Rui raised his voice, “Dan Xin? How come I can’t reach you by phone? I thought something happened.”
“Nothing! Nothing!” I quickly said, “When are you reaching?”
“There is a car accident and the road is blocked now. I will be slightly late.”
I laughed. Being late again. Even after getting a divorce, he is still playing the same trick.
I do not know since when, I began to live in waiting. Waiting for the man to come home, waiting for the man to call me, waiting for the man to remember me. I cannot remember how many times I have slept on the sofa waiting for his return, nor can I remember how many times I have waited in the restaurant for someone who will never come. It was then I finally understood that marriage is not the end, but another beginning. The story of ‘happily ever after’ continued to exist in fairy tales. How many girls have these romance novels harmed?
A girl in the television shouted, “Qian Wen!” I woke up in a state of panic.
That woman is still as ravishing and dazzling. For a period, rumours of her having an affair with my husband spread throughout the city.
I have seen her at a movie premiere. I wore a white dress while she wore a black halter dress, as if a battle against justice and evil was about to begin. We exchanged handshake and all the cameras were on us. The reporters tapped on the shutter button continuously, the bright flashlight blinded my eyes. I attempted to dodge but she had already started posing confidently in front of the cameras.
On the way back home, I asked Cheng Rui, “Do you find her attractive?”
Cheng Rui knocked my head with his finger, “Don’t talk nonsense!”
I always made jokes about them. I have a dark sense of humour. I find pleasure out of pain. Newspapers frequently reported about how compatible they are. I laughed at it as I read and chewed on my apple. Of course they did not use me to spice up the story. They never bother.
Later, I went online and saw the fans encouraging Cheng Rui to get a divorce. “Divorce that hag and get together with Qian Wen!” It was then I realised that the whole thing was no longer fun anymore. I did not know when I became such a distasteful and unlikeable character, being described as uncouth countrywoman. Cheng Rui became the talented scholar who married the wrong person while Qian Wen became his soul mate and confidante.
I felt terrible. I am just a kind-hearted and harmless woman. Why was I portrayed like an evil and ugly woman?
I knew him at his lowest point of life. Was it wrong for me to appreciate a hero? But I got together with him, so I was wrong.
I suddenly felt tinge of bitterness spreading in my mouth. I tilted my head back and drank another mouthful of wine. Cheng Rui have not arrived yet, but I have enough patience to wait and to keep on waiting.
The only time Cheng Rui got a break was after our marriage. It was the one and only time we travelled together but we went to a lot of places. At the foothills of the Alps, we stayed at a small but cosy inn. We covered ourselves with a big fleece blanket and huddled together in front of a fireplace next to the window as we looked out of the window. The scenery was beautiful. The mountain and meadow were covered with snow, and the sky was deep blue in colour.
As I gazed at the fleeting snowflakes against the backdrop of the sky, I wondered what lay behind this magnificence.
Cheng Rui asked me why I was not talking.
“When I was young, the adults always said that everyone has a star that belongs to them. For a period of time, I would look up the sky every night, thinking that there will surely be unique star that belongs to me only.”
He hugged me tightly, “I belong to you, to you one person only.”
But he was wrong.