Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 4.2

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Last reminder that if you want to say something to Mo Bao Fei Bao, please do it in this separate post before the end of March 31 (Beijing time); i.e. today.

Xixi’s first big trip somewhere. 🙂 How thoughtful Jì Chengyang would have to be in order to remember to include *that* item on the list he wrote. And you can see how much Xixi treasures even the smallest of things that she gets from him.

Chapter 4.2 — That Person of the Past has Now Returned (2)

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.

 

It was the weekend, and she went home.

Nuannuan had become obsessed with messenging in QQ[1], but sadly, because her parents were very strict with her, she could only take advantage of each weekend when Jǐ Yi was home to play to her heart’s content. Therefore, as soon as Jǐ Yi arrived home, Nuannuan showed up, reporting for duty.

“My little uncle’s back.” Her stare fixed on the computer screen, Nuannuan did not even bother turning her head.

She gave an “mm-hmm” in answer, looking over some math practice problems while biting off her apple’s skin a little at a time with her teeth. That thick stack of practice problems was covered densely with writing as well as her own annotations that she had added. Alas, though she appeared in this moment to be looking these papers over with seriousness, her nerves had actually already grown somewhat taut, and she wanted to hear Nuannuan continue saying more.

Why wasn’t she saying anything?

Flicking a glance at the computer, she discovered that… Nuannuan was in the middle of typing out the words “I miss you, too.”

“Nuannuan, you’re cyberdating?” She was astonished.

“Shh! Lower your voice.” Looking back at her, Nuannuan replied quietly, “It’s our class prefect.”

Jǐ Yi’s eyes grew wide, and bewilderedly, she thought, since when did this happen? How come she didn’t know about it?

“He’s at a cybercafé. He’s working on practice exercises while chatting with me,” Nuannuan explained in a low voice. “His replies are so slow.”

“Underage dating…” Jǐ Yi murmured.

“Oh, patooey. I’m someone who has an identity card[2] already.” Nuannuan turned around and grinned at her. “Little Xixi, if you were dating someone, that would be true underage dating. Our little fourteen-year-old Xixi, eh.”

When they were younger, she had not noticed anything, but once they started high school, the age difference instantly had become very apparent.

What was more, since entering high school, Nuannuan especially liked to call her by her childhood pet name and viewed doing so as a hugely pleasurable and amusing thing…

Jǐ Yi lowered her head and carried on gnawing at the apple skin.

Since the question of resident identity cards had been brought up, Nuannuan’s thoughts turned to the imminent winter break and also Jǐ Yi’s birthday. Every year, during either winter or summer break, Nuannuan would go to Chengdu to stay with her [maternal] grandpa for one week.

“Xixi, come with me.” Finally seeing a response from Class Prefect, Nuannuan immediately typed off a string of words with rapid click-clacks, all the while carrying on with what she was saying. “It’ll be perfect; we can celebrate your fourteenth birthday. Also, my little uncle’s going, too.” Nuannuan’s last sentence had only been spoken in passing, but the words echoed into Jǐ Yi’s ears.

“When we take the plane with [maternal] Grandpa, we won’t need our identity cards. When we come back, though, we’re going to be taking the plane by ourselves, so you’ll have to remember that.” Nuannuan did not forget to remind her at the end, “So, little kid who doesn’t have an identity card, remember to bring your hukou[3] booklet.”

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

It turned out that her exam results for this semester were particularly good.

When she got her report card, it happened that her second and third [paternal] uncles[4] had come with their families back to Grandfather’s house for dinner. Grandfather and Grandmother were very happy, and so she took advantage of that moment to put forth the matter of wanting to go to Sichuan with Nuannuan. After she finished saying it, she bowed her head and ate the rice that was in her bowl.

“Go to Sichuan? Do you need to ask your mom?” Third Aunt offhandedly asked. She had just married into the family and was not very clear on the family situation.

It was actually Grandfather who cleared his throat and asked, “What did you just say? You want the hukou booklet?”

“Mm-hmm.” She had looked through it before. Her hukou was registered to here, not her dad and mom’s home.

“Go ahead and take it. Remember to take good care of it. Be good and listen, and don’t give Nuannuan’s parents any trouble.”

With her head down, Jǐ Yi gave another “mm-hmm.”

After dinner, she went straightaway to call Nuannuan. Before long, Nuannuan came running downstairs with a light-blue suitcase. “My mom said you’ve never travelled far before, so you definitely won’t have one of these.” Saying this, Nuannuan even stuffed her a piece of paper filled with words handwritten on it. “On here is the stuff you need to put inside the suitcase. My mom told Little Uncle to write it.”

A very… unique script.

Actually, since she was a child, all the adults whom she knew had very beautiful handwriting.

She had once curiously asked Third Uncle, why did people in the military all have especially nice handwriting? Third Uncle had laughed and, as if it was only natural, told her it was because during their free time, they really had nothing to do, so everyone would practice writing and calligraphy… Later, after entering the advanced science stream class and seeing that most of those students in her class, who all were strong in the sciences, had handwriting that carried no strength or character, she understood. It was because everyone was too busy, all occupied with working on practice problems and test papers.

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But Jì Chengyang’s writing had less of the firm vigor and strength that came from the pen of soldiers, and carried more softness and a graceful and unfettered style.

Wasn’t it said, “A person’s character is reflected in his writing”? Why did it not really seem like him? …

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

“Down jacket, gloves, hat…” Two items were listed on every line.. She read through, one by one, and then, on the very last line, she saw “… sanitary napkins.”

Oh God.

As she held that piece of paper, it suddenly felt searing hot in her hand, and she could hear her heart going thump, thump, pounding away in her chest.

Nuannuan had brought this note with the list down to her. She wouldn’t have seen that, too, would she? … Jǐ Yi unexpectedly felt a trace of disconcertment, like she might be found out about something, as well as extreme embarrassment. When she went herself to buy those, she would always do it during times when there were less people in the supermarket. Sometimes, if she went to pay and there was a boy working the checkout, she would even quietly stand for a long time somewhere far away, waiting until a girl came to take over the shift, before she would have the nerve to step forward…

But he just wrote it out like that…

And on top of that, he had written it for her.

Because of this little incident, for the entire night, Jǐ Yi dwelled upon it and felt twisted together inside herself. She even had many dreams of scenes from her childhood, and also re-experienced countless times that awkward scene of the very first time she went to buy sanitary napkins. The next day when she crawled out of bed, she stared at that note for a long while. In the end, that piece of paper was still put into the drawer together with the kite and locked up.

These nevertheless were gifts that someone had given her.

And furthermore… were things that she could not let other people see.

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From the time she finished packing the suitcase, she realized she had actually made a serious blunder. She had already packed away all of her favourite things that she normally wore and used. With all the work it had taken to get the suitcase packed, she did not want to open it up again, so she could only awkwardly bear through until it was the day that they were to leave.

Wearing her backpack on her back, she waited for Nuannuan to come get her, but the one her waiting brought instead was Jì Chengyang.

“You have a lot of things in your backpack?” Jì Chengyang brushed his gaze over her bulging bag, somewhat puzzled.

She already had a suitcase. Why was there still so much packed into her backpack as well?

“It’s all papers of practice problems,” she quietly explained. “Math practice papers.”

Why was it, when she saw him, she thought of that note? …

It was only after he helped her carry her suitcase downstairs that Jǐ Yi learned that their group consisted only of Nuannuan’s maternal grandpa, Nuannuan’s mom, Jì Chengyang, Nuannuan, and herself.

The north wind was blowing especially ferociously and whipped her short hair into a terrible mess.

“Little Xixi, your bangs are all messed up. You’re not pretty anymore.” Nuannuan was in an extremely good mood and helped her smooth her blunt-cut bangs. “We’re going to conquer Chengdu! Also…” Nuannuan’s voice dropped lower. “I just heard my mom and Little Uncle talking. Little Uncle’s also going to go to Daocheng Aden[5]. I’m totally going to be just thick-skinned and stick to Little Uncle and have him bring us along.”

Daocheng Aden?

That sounded like the name of a castle in Europe.

Jǐ Yi did not even have a chance to ask before she was getting into the vehicle with them.

Their entire drive to the airport was smooth and unimpeded, and then they boarded the plane. On the airplane, there were only a few older uncles dressed in military uniforms, and one after the other, they rose and greeted Nuannuan’s maternal grandpa. When one of those uncles, whose age was relatively older than the others, caught sight of Jì Chengyang, he was taken aback briefly but then immediately broke into a smile. “This is the youngest son of the Jì family, yes?” Jì Chengyang seemed to know this older uncle as well, and with a polite smile, he greeted the elder.

Nuannuan wanted to sit next to her little uncle but her mom pulled her over beside herself instead, and she ended up only able to look lamentingly in Jì Chengyang’s direction. She told Jǐ Yi, who was preparing to sit alone, “Hurry over and sit next to my little uncle so he won’t be bored.”

……

Sitting with her would actually make him bored, wouldn’t it?

Walking over, Jǐ Yi sat down directly beside Jì Chengyang. She had only just opened her schoolbag and pulled out a paper of practice problems to continue looking through when she sensed him stretch out his hand. Then, with a click, he had fastened her seatbelt for her.

“Don’t look at your practice exercises now. It’ll be really easy to get airsick that way.” His voice came from above her head as it told her quietly, “Wait for half an hour after the plane has taken off and then you can look at them.”

She nodded.

“Those practice exercises are the winter break homework our teacher gave her.” Nuannuan, whose head the entire time had been twisted in their direction to watch them, immediately explained, “The top ten students in our class were all called one by one into our teacher’s office and given a nice dressing down of criticism, and then they were all left with a ton of homework. Even our class prefect, who came out top of the class in our exams, was told off, saying that out of all the subjects, his chemistry was the worst one of all, and if he didn’t improve, he could just take himself out of the advanced science stream class. He’s the top of the class, and he still got yelled at. Darn it, will he even just let people live? …”

“Your class prefect?” Nuannuan’s mother searched through her memory. “Is it that especially tall boy who is quite cute when he smiles?”

Nuannuan paused for a moment from surprise, and then with guilty discomfiture, she skirted away from this topic about the class prefect. “Jǐ Yi’s weakness is math, and she was berated for half an hour. It’s such an especially sad, pitiful state for us in the advanced science stream class. In the first semester, we take first-year high school courses, but by second semester, we’ll already be taking second-year high school courses. Little Uncle, how about you hurry and explain some exercise problems to Jǐ Yi?”

Nuannuan’s mother burst out first in chuckles at this. “You’re talking like you’re not in the same class as Jǐ Yi. Why aren’t you asking Little Uncle to explain exercise problems to you?”

“Even if he did, I wouldn’t understand anyway.” Nuannuan nuzzled herself against her mom’s arm. “Mom, even if I don’t do well in school, you won’t look down on me and not want me, right?”

The smile Nuannuan’s mother wore was particularly resigned. “If you don’t do well in school, in the future, you’ll only be able to go to the military academy for military dependents.”

“… I don’t want to, aaaah. I don’t want to have to get up every morning for training and drills, aaaah…”

……

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

Nuannuan’s recount had been slightly exaggerated. Jǐ Yi, the person who had received the berating, actually did not feel much about it.

It was not until after the airplane took off that she finally realized what Jì Chengyang had said about airsickness was true. She and Nuannuan had both been too excited the night before and had not slept well, so now the effects of that were coming on.

Nuannuan lay on her side and had soon fallen asleep in her mother’s arms, no longer creating any ruckus.

Those older uncles were all saying in jest that the little overlord had finally quieted down for a moment. Clasping a pillow against herself, Jǐ Yi closed her eyes and tried to find a position suitable for falling asleep. Suddenly, she felt a warm palm cover her cheek, and then she was gently pulled in a hug toward Jì Chengyang’s shoulder. Stunned by this, she dared not open her eyes, and feigning a sleepy, befuddled state, she simply allowed momentum to take her until she was leaning against him.

“Have a good sleep.” She heard him say this. This time, the voice truly was very, very near.

She did not utter a sound. Amidst the discomfort brought about by airsickness, she slowly drifted off into slumber.

Her sleep was not very sound, and midway through, she even vaguely sensed that he had draped one more layer of blanket on her. Before long, she was already so hot her palms were a little sweaty. Groggily, she pulled out one of her arms and lightly grasped the sleeve of his shirt, wanting to say that she was hot. But before she finished saying anything, she had already fallen into another dream.

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When Nuannuan’s mother turned around for a glance, a little laugh escaped from her. “Xixi’s face is all red. You’re going to make her too hot.”

Tilting his head down, he carefully examined her face. Sure enough, it was already slightly flushed from overheating.

He offhandedly touched his hand to her forehead—there was sweat.

……

He was always described by people as having both high IQ and EQ. But when it came to Xixi… it seemed that no matter what he did, he would always make some sort of mistake.

He simply wanted to be nicer to her, to treat her well, but he had no experience taking care of children. As Jì Chengyang pulled off his gold, half-frame glasses and lightly kneaded his brow, he could not help chuckling. Loosening slightly the seatbelt that was around her, he lifted up the armrest between them, set a pillow on his lap, and laid her down on top of it.

He was about to peel the outermost blanket layer off of her, but after hesitating for a moment, he merely pulled it half open.

“Mm-hmm. I was just going to remind you about that.” Nuannuan’s mother was also finding this amusing. Putting on a show of seriousness, she praised him, “Taking away the blanket right away will cause her to catch a cold. This time, you really did do it right and like an uncle should.”

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

[1] Tencent QQ, otherwise known as QQ, is an instant messaging service in China with features such as text messaging, file transfers, voice and video chats. This here is the late nineties, early 2000s and hence would be the early, simple forms of instant messaging.

[2] 身份证 “shen fen zheng.” Every citizen of the People’s Republic of China must have a resident identity card from the age of 16 and is required to carry it in public at all times.

[3] 户口 “hu kou.” The hukou, or household registration system is a system in China to identify its citizens. The hukou booklet is a piece of identification in a passport-style document that contains identifying information and also states the location where the household and its members permanently reside. Without an identity card, Jǐ Yi will need to use her hukou as her means of ID to ride the plane.

[4] Her uncles are her 二叔 “er shu,” which means “Second Uncle,” and 三叔 “san shu,” which means “Third Uncle.” 叔 “shu” is how you would address the younger brother of your father.

[5] 稻城亚丁. Daocheng Aden (also known as Daocheng Yading, but I will use “Daocheng Aden” to fit with Xixi’s thought that it sounds like the name of a castle in Europe) is located in the Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the western part of Sichuan province. It is in high altitudes, on the eastern part of the Tibetan Plateau, and contains picturesque scenery of snowcapped mountains, virgin forests, highland grasslands, tranquil lakes, serene meadows, and idyllic valleys. Daocheng is the name of both a small, remote county in Sichuan and a small town. The Yading (Aden) Nature Reserve, is located at the southern edge of Daocheng county.

Location of Daocheng Aden (circled in blue, annotated in the map as Daocheng Yading) within the Sichuan province. Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan and also the city where Nuannuan’s maternal grandfather lives, is also boxed off in green. (Image credit: modified from http://courses.washington.edu/belab09/Taoping-location-Sichuan_Province.jpg)

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:

“Mom, even if I don’t do well in school, you won’t look down on me and not want me, right?” This was said by Nuannuan, Xixi’s best friend, someone who should be very similar in terms of family backgrounds to her. But this is something Xixi can never say to anyone in her family. A person only says this like Nuannuan did, pouting and cute, when she is confident the answer is, “I won’t.” But in case of Xixi’s family, what will their answer be? *Sigh*

 

Completed:
8 of 69 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

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12 thoughts on “The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 4.2

  1. with all these training, JCY can soon be a great father XD
    thank you

  2. Where was my JCY when I was young? *sigh*

    The attentiveness and gentleness of JCY always reminded me of Xiao Nanchen prince to Shi Yi. Thanks for another beautiful chapter dearie~! ❤ ❤ ❤

  3. Thank you Hoju.. my heart is also thumping for JY 😄

  4. I forgot .. joyeuse pâques. .. happy easter

  5. JCY is so caring. I keep forgetting that Ji Yi is only around fourteen.

    Thank you for the chapter, Hoju.

  6. Such a romantic chapter 🙂

    Thank you hoju

    • I’m absolutely certain Ji Chengyang has no thoughts of romance on his mind. 😉 But for Ji Yi’s heart…
      You’re welcome!

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