Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 2.1

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. I realized I have no green in my wardrobe.

Longer time readers are likely aware of this but just wanted to clarify. The way chapters are divided up follows how this novel was originally released online by the author. That’s how I know half a year ahead of time how I’m segmenting this, even though we haven’t gotten to those parts yet. LOL. (The actual content, though, follows the published hard copy, and there may be some differences between it and the online version.)

We see here that Jǐ Yi very much values whatever relationships she does have (or thinks she has). My heart aches for the little girl who waits longingly for her parents but never gets to see them. 😦 Thankfully, her childhood is still filled with the joy of friendship.

Chapter 2.1 — Hazy Memories (1)

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or reposting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.

 

When Jì Chengyang carried Jǐ Yi, who was in a muddled, half-conscious state from the fever, into his own home, his second sister-in-law[1] happened to be walking out from the kitchen, and the instant she saw him, she laughed. With his personality, he was not even willing to give his own niece a hug, so this picture was truly very much worth storing away.

“She’s running a fever. I wanted to bring her to the hospital, but no matter what, she wouldn’t go. Since there’s no one in her home, I decided to carry her back here first.” Jì Chengyang carried her into his own room and gently set her onto the bed.

Then, stretching out two fingers, he tested her temperature again.

“It’s normal for no one to be in Xixi’s home.” Second Sister-in-Law did not really think anything of this. “In their household, their policy towards children is to give them a lot of psychological pressure but let them go free-range when it comes to life.” While Second Sister-In-Law spoke, she began helping him get some medication.

“Xixi” was Jǐ Yi’s childhood pet name. Second Sister-In-Law was the principal of the primary school for the children of the compound. Furthermore, the homes of the two families were one above the other, so they could not be any more familiar with each other.

Jǐ Yi was afraid of the dark, and hence it was a common occurrence for her to come upstairs and sleep with Jì Nuannuan sometimes when there was no one in her home.

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“Psychological pressure? Free-range when it comes to life?”

“It’s hard to explain clearly in just two or three words. I’ll just give you an example. ‘Psychological pressure,’ as it would be called, means that they care completely about the way the child is cultivated. Xixi started primary school when she was four and half years old, so even though she’s younger than Nuannuan, they’re actually classmates. In the beginning, she couldn’t keep up, which showed in her grades, and she even once got only fifty on a math exam. Later, she bit by bit began catching up, and very soon her grades became the top of the class, which she has maintained to date. In regard to this, Nuannuan truly cannot compare to her.”

Four and a half? That was a little early, indeed.

“But when it comes to the child’s everyday life, they aren’t really particular and don’t put much attention into it.” Bringing over some warm water and the medicine, Second Sister-In-Law handed them to him.

He tried feeding them to Jǐ Yi. Though the little girl’s mind was muddled, she was very easy to take care of.

Whatever was fed to her, she would eat it…

“For instance, during the school’s spring outing, the kids of other families at least have water and an apple, right? In her family, they just put fifty kuai[2] on the table and that was it. I don’t even know what they were thinking. You say, you’re on the road for two hours. If a kid doesn’t have anything to eat or drink, what good is it even if you pack more money than that? Good thing I was on the vehicle and gave some of Nuanuan’s food to her.”

After listening to a few sentences, he recalled how the little girl had taken the medication this afternoon.

And then he thought of his little niece, who seemed to be very good friends with her. Every time Jì Nuannuan mentioned Jǐ Yi on the phone, her voice would brim only with idolization.

“My Jǐ Yi started primary school when she was four and a half. She’s younger than me by two years, but she’s always been the top of our class.”

“Little Uncle, did you know? Her dance, calligraphy, and Chinese painting are all really awesome! Why am I so dumb?”

“Little Uncle, Little Uncle, aren’t you really good at piano? Jǐ Yi promised me she wouldn’t learn piano. I’m counting on that to beat her!”

So, was she considered a model example of a successfully-raised child? Or one of failure?

But, it seemed that none of this really had much to do with him.

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only

He offered up his own room for Jǐ Yi to sleep in while he went to the study to sleep on the floor. When he awoke in the middle of the night, he evidently had already forgotten about Jǐ Yi’s existence. While he was heading to the kitchen, Jǐ Yi coincidentally had woken as well, and opening the door of his bedroom, she looked around blankly.

Jǐ Yi could not really remember how she had gotten upstairs here, until she saw him.

In the glow of the kitchen lights, Jì Chengyang was wearing a pair of gold, wire-framed glasses and looked very refined and cultured. He was stirring the cup of strong coffee that he had just made. As he caught sight of Jǐ Yi, he was also taken aback.

Slowly, Jǐ Yi walked up to him and said in a soft voice, “I’m going home now. Little Uncle Jì, bye.”

He bent down lower and, also using a soft voice, asked her, “Will you be afraid of the dark when you sleep alone?”

Jǐ Yi was dazed. How did he know she was scared of the dark?

So remarkable.

She shook her head. “I’ll turn on all the lights. I’ll just be scared for a little while, and then I’ll fall asleep.”

“How about you stay here to sleep?” He tried as best as he could to put on a look like one would use when coaxing a little child.

She shook her head. “My mama is coming home tomorrow morning, very early in the morning. She’ll be back really quick and then she’ll be leaving again. I need to wait for her at home.”

From the looks of it, she was very insistent about this?

So, he did not say anything more. Touching her arm, he found that her fever had already broken.

Jǐ Yi, in contrast, was very curious. She pointed at what he was holding in his hand. “What’s that?”

“Coffee,” he answered.

In China, there were still very few people who drank this. This was especially so in families like this one with revolutionary roots[3], where plain, boiled water and tea were sufficient; they truly would not know about coffee. Jǐ Yi gave an “oh,” her eyes flickering over to glance at the liquid in the mug. Smiling, he quietly handed it to her and motioned that she could have a taste.

And so, this was Jǐ Yi’s first drink of coffee. No sugar, but there was a rich taste of cream.

Anyway, it was weird.

After she finished her drink, her expression was very peculiar.

Jì Chengyang suddenly thought of a serious question: This was the little girl’s first time drinking coffee. Would she be unable to sleep tonight?

Sure enough, he was not suited for coaxing little kids…

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only

Indeed, Jǐ Yi did have a sleepless night, all the way until the sky began to brighten. Early in the morning, she crawled out of bed and tidied herself up in preparation for welcoming her parents back home. However, although she waited all the way until noon, no one ended up showing up. She received only a brief telephone call that said they were postponing things by four days, and then they would be back to see her. Very disappointed, she wandered several times around her room. With nothing to do, she then went and took out the books on Grandfather’s shelf, intending on re-reading them all one more time.

The books were all old ones. Her favourites, Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Grimms’ Fairy Tales, were both printed in traditional characters in vertical columns that read from top to bottom[4].

Perfect for passing the time.

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Four days later, during noontime when the sun’s rays were strongest, Jì Nuannuan, who had been away travelling, unexpectedly came back earlier than planned. Dashing down from the fourth floor to the first, she banged on the front door of Jǐ Yi’s home with all her might, and using her customary method of continuously harassing until she got her way, she dragged Jǐ Yi to the outdoor pool. By the time Zhao Xiaoying showed up, Jǐ Yi was already nearly sunburned.

Jì Nuannuan did not know how to swim. Hugging her swim ring, she floated on the surface of the water while holding on to Jǐ Yi and chatting away with her. Eventually, after taking in all that sun, Jì Nuannuan stuck out her tongue. “The sun’s too strong today.”

Jǐ Yi gave a “mm-hmm.” Holding her breath, she dove underwater for more than a minute until she floated back up on the other side of the pool and released a long exhale. Finally, she felt a lot better.

When she had swum back, Jì Nuannuan suddenly thought of her own little uncle. “Jǐ Yi, you saw my little uncle, right?”

“Mm-hmm.” Jǐ Yi hooked an arm through Nuannuan’s swim ring and pulled her along to swim a little faster.

“Doesn’t my little uncle look like, you know, in the videotape that we watched some days back, Naoki Irie in Itazura na Kiss? Taka something[5]?”

“… Not really?” Although she knew that Little Uncle Jì was Nuannuan’s idol and Naoki Irie was also Nuannuan’s idol, those two were still very different. They were both really good-looking, but the feel was very different.

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only

Jǐ Yi continued correcting Nuannuan’s posture, patiently teaching her to swim.

As the sun was too intense during this hour of the day, basically there were only children in the pool playing, and all the adults were standing on the deck. It was nearly two o’clock, the time when the pool shut down for cleaning, before Zhao Xiaoying finally made her appearance. What was more, she arrived with reddened eyes. Jǐ Yi and Nuannuan found this very strange, but even after asking her for a long time, they were not able to get a reason from her for this. When they saw the group of boys not far away, though, they finally understood.

The haughtiest and most insolent boy of that group, Wang Xingyu, was Zhao Xiaoying’s [younger] half-brother who shared the same father with her.

Back then, right after Zhao Xiaoying was born, her parents had divorced, and the reason was that her father did not want a daughter. However, as a member of the military, he was required to abide by the one-child policy, so if he wanted a son, he could only divorce and marry someone else… After the divorce, Zhao Xiaoying took her mother’s surname, and her mother went from being a military dependent to simply a miscellaneous person of society. Fortunately, her mother was a teacher at the primary school and hence could still continue to live in the compound.

“Is your little brother picking on you again?”

“He’s not my brother.” Tears once more began falling from Zhao Xiaoying.

“I’m going to go get even for you.” Holding on to her swim ring, Jì Nuannuan kicked at the water with all her might, trying to get over to the pool deck. Her swimming was slow, though, and she was truly so frustrated her face had gone red.

So silly.

Jǐ Yi all of a sudden grabbed ahold of the swim ring and whispered by her ear, “Let me do it.”

Saying this, she swam to the pool’s edge and hopped onto the deck.

Going according to memory, she found a rope beside the door of the administration office, and nonchalantly, she tied a knot in it.

After a short while, she jumped back into the water with a plop. She had very good underwater swimming skills, particularly today as the water had just been changed, and even without goggles, she could keep her eyes open for a short period and still see. Very soon, she had swum up beneath Wang Xingyu’s feet and nimbly wrapped the rope around them. Once she had pulled the rope tight, she swam away without a backwards glance.

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By the time she surfaced again, she saw off in the distance the normally arrogant and overbearing Wang Xingyu begin to shout desperately, crying continuously that there was a water monster.

However, he was clutching a swim ring and could not swim away at all, nor was he able to free himself of the rope. He was in such a wretched state he was about to cry…

At last, with a “pffft,” Zhao Xiaoying let out a giggle.

Jǐ Yi pulled in a deep breath, replenishing her oxygen. Seeing that Zhao Xiaoying’s tears had turned to laughter, her own eyes also curved into a smile.

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only

After getting this little piece of revenge for Zhao Xiaoying, they soon went to rinse themselves clean. Then, changing into some clean garments, they stepped back out. They followed the road with its hot pavement along its way, their sandals in hand, and grinningly, they bounced and skipped about as they headed back toward the residence area. But they had only just walked past the 800-metre training ground before Wang Xingyu and his gang caught up to them on bicycle and obstructed their way.

Jǐ Yi looked at the two people beside her.

Oh no. It was going to be bad for them.

They—three girls—honestly could not do anything when faced against five or six boys… Nuannuan signaled at them with her eyes, wanting to run. But they were barefoot; how could they outrun bicycles?

Jǐ Yi shook her head, unable at this moment to think up any ideas.

“Jǐ Yi, it was you, right? Huh?” Zhao Xiaoying’s younger brother turned his gaze directly onto her. “Out of the few of you, you’re the only one who can swim.”

Not uttering anything, she continued trying to come up with a plan…

But in only the space of a thought, a boy had already snatched away the bag in Zhao Xiaoying’s hand that contained her swimsuit and towel. Wang Xingyu’s grin was cocky. “Zhao Xiaoying, your mom is the stingiest person ever. If I throw away your towel, sandals, and swimsuit, you’re going to get a wicked tongue-lashing for sure, and on top of that, there’s no chance you’re ever going to get to swim again in your entire life.”

Zhao Xiaoying’s eyes instantly turned red. Her words choking in her for a long time, she finally snarled, “You jerk!”

Wang Xingyu’s words were indeed correct. If her mother really did find out about such a scenario, Zhao Xiaoying would definitely get a beating from her. Moreover, Zhao Xiaoying would never be able to even think about coming out to swim again…

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Jǐ Yi at last opened her mouth, saying, “I was the one playing with you. You can do whatever you want, just hurry and give the stuff back to us.”

All she wanted was for Zhao Xiaoying to be spared a thrashing. However, even after she finished stating it, she did not actually understand the implications of this sentence. It was only when Wang Xingyu led the three of them to the 800-metre obstacle training course that she truly became frightened. She did not know what this little ruffian of a boy would do to her. This was a training ground for military cadets. On the 800-metre track, there were barbed wire, high walls, ladders—in short, there were all sorts of obstacles that children like them had no way of getting through…

Eventually, Wang Xingyu came to a stop in front of a square sand pit and pointed at it. “I can give the stuff back to all of you, but, Jǐ Yi, you have to jump in there.”

Jump in there?

A three-metre-deep sand pit?

Standing beside the pit, she looked over at Zhao Xiaoying, who was crying uncontrollably, and Jì Nuannuan, who was helpless and unable to do anything. Then, she turned her gaze back to that three-metre-deep pit. It would be difficult for even the average adult who jumped inside to climb back out. Only trained military cadets were able to do it…

“Do you promise you’ll give us the stuff back?” Jǐ Yi fixed her eyes on Wang Xingyu.

“What a waste of words! I promised you in front of so many of my bros!”

Jǐ Yi steeled herself with resolution. And then, truly, just like that… she jumped in…

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only

[1] 二嫂 “er sao.” 嫂 “sao” means the wife of one’s older brother. The 二, which means “two” means that she is the wife of his second [older] brother, and he would address her as Second Sister-In-Law.

[2] 块 “kuai.” The renminbi (RMB) is the official name of the Chinese currency, but in daily life, it is referred to as the “yuan.” “Kuai” is the more informal term sometimes used in place of yuan. (Similar to how “bucks” is used in place of “dollars” in the United States.)

[3] Referring to families that have military roots, where the older generations would have taken part in the Cultural Revolution with Mao Zedong.

[4] Traditionally, Chinese characters were written in vertical columns read from top to bottom, right to left. 繁体 “fan ti” characters or “traditional” Chinese characters are currently used in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, whereas Mainland China uses simplified characters. Simplified Chinese characters were created in the 1950s and 60s by decreasing the number of strokes in a large number of traditional characters as a way to increase literacy. Nowadays in Mainland China, printed books mainly use simplified characters that are read horizontally from left to right. Vertical columns of traditional characters are not commonly printed there anymore.

[5] Referring to Takashi Kashiwabara, who played the role of Naoki Irie in the 1996 Japanese drama, Itazura na Kiss, an adaptation of the manga series with the same name.

Takashi Kashiwabara as Naoki Irie in the 1996 adaptation of Itazura na Kiss

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or reposting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.


Additional Comments:

I know Jì Chengyang is still only twenty years old in this part of the novel, but I have to agree with Jǐ Yi. Takashi Kashiwabara is nothing like my mental image of Jì Chengyang; the feel exuded from him just isn’t what I get from Little Uncle Jì.

 

Completed:
2 of 69 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

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15 thoughts on “The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 2.1

  1. Thanks hoju for this chapter..
    At first i feel little hesitant to read this book because you already said that this was more melancholy than together forever..
    So i’m asking my self if i’m ready for this kind of book again but i just cant ignore your beautiful work (thats why i’m here) so hoju count me in😂😂

    And i find that ji yi and ji chengyang interaction is so cute and unique in their own way😍

    Ps: sorry for my eng tbh

    • I feel there is more of an overarching feeling of melancholy compared to Together Forever, but it’s not awful because the story is written from Ji Yi’s perspective, and as a young girl, she did not really understand her family situation. When she finally realizes it after she is older, she already has Ji Chengyang in her life, so she has ways of dealing with it and someone to support her. Whereas Together Forever starts with a more mature Tong Yan who is good at focusing on the happy stuff, but when the sadness hits, it hits hard and we, as readers, go through that with her.

      Happy you are joining in! Come back often to say hi to me. 🙂

      P.S. I understand your English just fine. 🙂

  2. Hoju and Peanuts, thank you again for more of MBFB’s and Gu Man’s wonderful stories. Looks like this year I will be occupying the comp. more than my hubby. hehehhe!
    I thought I would wait for a few more chapters to be translated before reading but I could not stop myself from jumping in!
    Looking forward to each postings.

  3. Ah, now that I re-read this novel, I recalled the other reason why I slipped and fell hard for Ji Chengyang! Solemn, studious, smart, softhearted with physical features similar to Takashi Kashiwabara = My total weakness.
    I even still remembered how my heart bled when Kashi married years ago… *lol*

    And little Ji Yi, ahh, my heart ache a lot reading her lifetime trauma, of not feeling loved and wanted. Her pure heart and sweet soul are what others outside her own family sees in her. A good soul is always saved. This character reminds me of someone dear to my heart who able to rise above the tests and struggles and be a person who stood tall and be proud of.

    Thanks for a wonderful translation, Hoju~!

    • In reality, Ji Chengyang is softhearted only to Ji Yi. 🙂 But I like that even more.
      Ji Yi differs with you that he looks like Takashi Kashiwabara. But regardless, he is handsome.

      Three postings now (well, I’ve prepped the 3rd one), and I’ve cried three times for Ji Yi. This is a foreshadow of what’s to come for the next half a year and more for me.I always feel things deeper when I’m translating. Ji Yi does rise, but as she said herself, without Ji Chengyang, she wonders whether she would have been able to do so. He is her beacon of light that she always pointed herself at.

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Being younger than her friend she sure is mature enough to sacrifice for them….

    • Nuannuan has been coddled her entire life. Ji Yi has had to fend for herself all her life. On the outside, they should be from similar families, both raised as military children, but in reality, theirs are like night and day.

  5. hope JCY will be able to come in and teach those boys a lesson
    thank you

    • You’ll have to understand Little Uncle Ji’s personality a bit more. 😉 But he does come in at some point in time…
      You’re welcome!

  6. Wow, small Ji Yi is such a good friend 🙂.

    Thank you for this chapter 🙂.

  7. Thank you. … my heart ache for her already …

  8. Little Uncle Ji’s personality 🙂

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