Alright, peeps, shoot me all your natural cough remedies. I’ve done the honey water and waiting it out, but I’m just not getting better so I will try anything to be able to sleep at night. 😦
Love shouldn’t be about tactics or maneuvers. Seize the moment. Shi Yi has such an ability to filter out everything unnecessary and seize what is important to her. ❤
Chapter 8.2 – Inevitable Times of Parting (2)
There was sunlight shining on her arm. So warm.
His hand followed the contour of her shoulder and slid down to her wrist. He gripped it gently. “You should eat more.”
She gave an “mm,” her cheeks so red they seemed rather hot.
“I may have to leave the country for a period of time.”
“Because of that incident?”
“No.” Zhousheng Chen let out a chuckle. “The intention behind that incident was, indeed, to make me leave this place. However, my purpose for leaving is actually for my research project.”
“Halogen-free flame retardant silane-crosslinked POE composite materials?”
Shi Yi had truly forced herself to strictly memorize that awkward to pronounce name.
Zhousheng Chen had not expected that the name would roll off her lips so smoothly and, with a bit of surprise, gave her a brief intense gaze. He seemed as if he wanted to ask her something. Several seconds passed, though, and he decided to let it be. “That is Xi’an’s research project, not what I have been working on these last several years.”
She looked at him puzzledly.
“To explain it simply, these last few years, I have been in one of the core cities of Europe reproducing the environment of Venus to study the feasibility of human habitation.”
She gave an “oh.”
Hearing it this way, it was easier to understand than that other name.
But why did it seem even more distant from her? “Feasibility of human habitation on Venus? People can live on Venus?”
“The surface temperature is scorching, approximate 480oC, and its atmospheric pressure is nearly 90 times that of the Earth’s,” he answered simply. When he spoke about these things, his voice sounded like one from a science audiobook. “However, its diameter, mass, and even position are most similar to Earth’s. In the solar system, it can be considered our twin. Therefore, in the future, there is a chance that humans can inhabit it.”
She gave another “oh.”
He laughed, “Is this boring to listen this?”
“No.” She shook her head. “It’s kind of interesting. It’s because I don’t know any of it, that’s why it’s interesting.”
He continued to tell her a little more.
She had quite a good memory, so although she basically did not understand what he was saying, she could remember it all. For example, with its atmospheric circulation, the cloud layer would do a complete rotation around the planet in approximately four days; it had polar vortices; and so on, as well as his study on the distribution of atmospheric trace compounds. In this period while he would be away, she wanted to secretly study up so that when he occasionally mentioned the topic, she would not have to sit there foolishly in the sun and just listen.
“So then… when are you coming back?”
He replied, “In three months.”
She nodded, thinking three months would pass quickly.
She responded with an “mm.”
She did not understand. “Why?”
“In Baiyun airport, why did you want to know me?”
As Zhousheng Chen spoke, his hand inadvertently grazed the eighteen prayer beads on her wrist. The slightly cool feeling to the touch from those green jade beads produced some peculiar sensations in him… He furrowed his brows, not quite accustomed to that momentary feeling of dazedness. It seemed as if something was about to emerge in his mind, yet he could not at all even decipher where it was headed.
As it turned out, Shi Yi, too, had fallen into a short moment of silence and after a while, finally answered, “It was love at first sight.”
She was unable to explain those things of the past that existed now in history books.
And so, she could only use this as a way to describe the beginning of their story.
After Zhousheng Chen had finished briefly making arrangements for matters that would require attention during this period, the next day, he really did depart.
He only told her approximately when he would return, but the whole time, he never once mentioned about bringing her along.
She speculated, this project he had spoken about was perhaps only one of the reasons for his departure. The family he was born into and its existence was so mysteriously abnormal. Such a serious incident had occurred, yet it did not seem to have caused any tremors in the family. Besides those uninvited guests that late night and a series of explosive allegations of being connected to and a suspect in a crime, no one mentioned any more of that girl, Tang Xiaofu, who had so easily lost her life.
That family clan seemed to be in a separate world that followed its own set of rules.
If she had not had him in her memories, how could she even dare come close to a family such as this one?
Soon after he had left, summer made an early arrival.
Aside from three telephone calls each day, he seemed far removed from her world.
To increase the exposure and influence of the company, Mei Lin had spent the entire month organizing recruiting events. Since she had won an award, Shi Yi had no choice but to be cooperative and do some work for the events. Actually, she only needed to record a promotional piece, and she was still firm that she would not participate in any of the events themselves.
That day, Mei Lin gave her more than a dozen different recordings to listen to. Most of these were from scripts the contestants had written themselves.
“That year, the Buddha sat in Lotus position below the Bodhi tree. He used forty-nine days to attain enlightment. He understood then, that the four Great Elements are void, and he emptied himself of love, hate, and ignorance. I believe, even if we should know each other for 490 days, 4900 days, 49000 days, I still would not have the courage to take up the Lotus position and to choose to have a golden body but, in exchange, forget you…” As she listened to the demo, she suddenly was moved by it.
Mei Lin smiled. “It’s a similar feeling to when I listened to your demo. There were so many demo tapes, but only your recitation of ‘Rhapsody of the Imperial Park’ made us feel that this voice was truly pleasant to listen to, despite us all being left in a fog over what you were reciting.”
Shi Yi laughed, “I’m most familiar with ‘Rhapsody of the Imperial Park’ so when I read it, I have the most feeling.”
“That scientist fiancé of yours…”
She turned around, held out her hand, and wagged it in front of her. “Take a careful look at which finger the ring is on. Status: married.”
“Married?” Mei Lin could not believe it. “These last two months, you’ve been hanging out with me. That’s considered ‘married’? Where’s the house? The car? What about the honeymoon? And most importantly, where’s your Mr. Chemistry?”
“He’s at the National Institute for Astrophysics in Rome…” Shi Yi answered truthfully.
“Astrophysics?” Mei Lin repeated somewhat blankly. “Doesn’t he do chemistry?”
“The dividing line isn’t that clear cut. Right now, his main work is to investigate trace components on the surface of Venus and do semi-micro analysis…” She tried as much as possible to talk in layman’s terms, and in reality, she would not be able to speak about this very technically anyway.
Mei Lin was soaking in the jargon and terms, still unable to comprehend what Venus had to do with Shi Yi’s wedding.
“I never knew that your type was a scientist whose aspiration is the progress of mankind. Such a great, selfless love, eh? That type of person probably views romantic love – the type that’s between a man and a woman – very lightly.”
Great, selfless love?
Her gaze drifted away and fell on the large, open space in front of the building. “Maybe. Sometimes, when I’m reading something historical, I will think, if I lived in ancient times, I would definitely fall for a man who held the wellbeing of mankind in his heart. A man, ultimately, should do something in his life that has nothing to do with fame, money, or romance. Being lovey dovey everyday… doesn’t really suit me.”
Mei Lin said something else but she did not pay attention.
She saw, out in that open area, a familiar-looking couple. It was his younger brother, Zhou Wenchuan and Wang Man. In the hustle and bustle of the throngs of people, the two of them looked like any other ordinary pair of lovers as they talked softly to one another and quickly got into a car and left.
Shi Yi was too intent in her watching so that even Mei Lin noticed them.
She unexpectedly remarked, “Hey! I know that man.”
“You know him?”
Mei Lin gave her a brief narration: a graduate fresh from university had come to work at the company, but the direct supervisor was very harsh and the new graduate was reprimanded everyday. Suddenly one day, the man they just saw came to the company wanting to discuss some matters with the highest boss. Of course, Mei Lin had no knowledge regarding the specifics of their discussion, but the only thing she did know was that after their big boss kept bowing and scraping as he showed the man out, that new graduate was then transferred directly into the high performance project group.
“Afterwards, Boss sighed and said that Hong Kong is called ‘Li Family City’, the city that belongs to the Li family, but the family behind this man is even worse to mess with. His background is by no means limited to a certain place or city…” Mei Lin continued, but it was to herself, “You say, why is that girl bothering to stay in our company when she has such a strong backing? Well, I guess, she just feels like it and likes hanging around here for fun…”
Shi Yi remembered that night.
Faced with all those sudden allegations, Zhousheng Chen’s responses and how he had resolved the matter had been unassailable.
She thought silently, this description by Mei Lin was not an exaggeration. This surname of theirs seemed very common, and people normally would not even bother to look for any gossip or media scoops on them.
Their existence seemed as if it was a secret, and before, she never would have even had any opportunity to come in contact with them.
Even now, Shi Yi still did not dare tell her parents that she and he, according to the law, were husband and wife now and her citizenship had been changed as well. If too many unimaginable things occurred, she was afraid that her parents would feel even more aversion towards his family.
After lunch, she was forced to stay and help Mei Lin review demos.
The two of them listened and discussed them until soon it was two o’clock. Zhousheng Chen’s phone call promptly came in. She motioned with her hand, then jogged into a small room and closed the door. Their conversations were quite a bit longer now than when they initially started their phone calls. Sometimes, as entertaining stories and tidbits for her to listen to, he would even talk about things that had nothing to do with her.
Of course, this was at her request.
After all, there were not many common points between their two lives, so it was inevitable that they would often not have any topics to talk about. One day, however, Shi Yi finally could not help suggesting, “Actually, you can tell me about some little things that happen to or around you. For instance, what did you eat today? Or where are you feeling unwell? Or the weather. Anything you want, really. That way, we’ll have more things to talk about, and I can learn more about you.”
She thought, normal couples all did that, communicating and interacting through trifling, little matters and not finding it boring.
In the beginning, Zhousheng Chen was not accustomed to this, so she would ask and he would answer. Gradually, though, it started to feel more natural. Conversing with him like this made her feel like she was very close to him, but she also selfishly believed that Zhousheng Chen had never interacted in this way with anyone before.
“This following week, I will be in Bremen, Germany.” Although Zhousheng Chen’s voice was insipid, he tried as best as possible to speak gently to her. “Would you like to come?”
“Yes,” she answered without any hesitation. “Approximately when are you thinking?…… But will there not be enough time to get a visa?”
“No,” he laughed. “You won’t need to do any paperwork to go to Germany.”
She suddenly comprehended. She had forgotten that he had changed her citizenship.
For the first time, she discovered a benefit of this change. It allowed her to see him anytime, anywhere.
Zhousheng Chen explained briefly that the purpose of his trip was a conference, a Scientific Assembly of the Committee on Space Research, that would be held from Monday through to Sunday, and his schedule would be very full. While Shi Yi listened to him tell her that he may not have too much time to spend with her, her mind was already beginning to wander, wondering what she should prepare and what she should say when she saw him.
After their phone call had ended, she very quickly informed Mei Lin that she would be leaving for one week.
When Mei Lin heard her reason, she was very displeased with Shi Yi’s eagerness. “Shi Yi, you know, the relationship and interactions between a man and a woman require technique. Even if, legally, you are already husband and wife, you still need to use some tactics when appropriate. Don’t always just blindly accommodate him…”
“Mei Lin, Mei Lin,” Shi Yi laughed, stopping her from preaching further, “I was 26 before I finally met him. Even if I am lucky enough to live until I’m 80, that’s only another 54 years left, 19710 days. You said yourself, he’s in research. It’s very easy for him to need to leave like this and be gone for several months. That means, the actual amount of time we have together may be less than ten thousand days.” She was half-serious, half-joking as she informed Mei Lin, “I don’t have time. I don’t have time to use tactics, to use techniques. I need to seize every minute and second and just be with him, do you understand?”
四大皆空 “si da jie kong”. The four Great Elements in Buddhism are earth, water, fire, and wind and represent, respectively, the sensory qualities of solidity, liquidity/cohesion heat/temperature, and mobility. Buddhism views the world as nothing more than these elements arranged in space, and our perception of the world is a mental interpretation of these things. The concept, therefore, that “the four Great Elements are void” can be interpreted, very simplistically, as the world is merely an illusion. Note: I am not the least bit informed in Buddhism, so please do not take this as proper Buddhist doctrine.
爱恨癫痴 “ai hen dian chi.” In Buddhist teaching, these are the “Three Poisons” considered to be the cause of suffering. 爱 “Love” or “attachment” is referring to the mindset of attachment to loved ones. 恨 “Hatred” or “aversion” is referring to the mindset of hatred to enemies. 癫痴 “Ignorance” is the root from which attachment and aversion arise. Note: Again, please do not take this as proper Buddhist doctrine, just something to help you in understanding the story’s context.
 The Lotus position is the meditative position of the Buddha, a cross-legged position with the ankles on the opposite thigh and hands in lap. When Buddha achieved enlightenment, his enlightened body was said to have skin that was luminous and golden-hued. The meaning of this particular recording be paraphrased to say, “No matter how much time should pass, I don’t think I would ever have the courage to choose to forget you in order to attain enlightenment.”
 李家城 “Lǐ jiā chéng.” Literally, this means the city of the Li family. In Mandarin (and Cantonese), it is prounounced exactly the same as the name of Li Ka-shing李嘉诚 (Mandarin pinyin is also Lǐ Jiā Chéng), who is a Hong Kong tycoon and (I believe) currently Asia’s richest man. Li’s companies make up a significant portion of the Hong Kong stock exchange.
 Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) is an interdisciplinary scientific organization concerned with space research on an international scale.
1 of 1 Prologue
26 of 56 Main story segments
0 of 3 Epilogues