Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 6.1

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Week 4 of 5 where there are three updates in the week.

I think it’s terribly sweet that Jì Chengyang doesn’t find there to be anything out of place at all with Xixi in his house. But, haha, if I were caught like she was, I’d be so embarrassed.

Chapter 6.1 — The Little Thought in My Heart (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.

 

Jì Chengyang became a foreign correspondent.

Only occasionally would she hear little snippets about him from Nuannuan or Nuannuan’s mother. Her school did not have a television, so she could only watch when she returned to Grandfather’s home on the weekends. Every time, she would fixedly watch just the news. In particular, when a significant event occurred somewhere outside of the country, she would not switch channels for the entire night and would only want to listen to the live audio feed of the news from site or perhaps watch live onsite scenes.

There was only one time—she remembered it especially clearly; it was in the middle of December—that she saw Jì Chengyang on the television screen.

The scene in the shot was one that was late at night. The wind was howling, and torrential rain poured down. Jì Chengyang, wearing a black raincoat, stood in a shelter of some sort, and his hood appeared to have just been pulled off. His entire upper body was sodden, and even his hairs were dripping water.

He was describing this site behind him that had been the scene of a bomb attack. “I trust that you and our viewers are like me now and can see these buildings behind me after they were subjected to a bomb attack…”

Bomb attack?

Hearing this, Jǐ Yi felt a little panicky, and she dashed up in front of the television, studying him carefully and trying to determine if he had injuries anywhere on him.

In reality, it was only his upper body that was showing, and she truly could not see it clearly.

Her eyes were riveted to the screen, but she was not listening too closely to what he was saying.

It suddenly struck her that this was the first time seeing in the television someone who was close to her. Only a screen separated them, but yet he was in a war zone hundreds of miles away. With her hand, she caressed the television screen, but the instant contact was made, she unexpectedly felt embarrassed and hurriedly pulled her hand back.

Inside the television, he was making his concluding remarks. “… Regarding this question, I reckon that everyone in the world who is following the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would have thought of it. From the looks of things now, the Hamas has become the greatest variable in the state of the Middle East.”

The picture on the screen abruptly switched back to the news anchor, who began to transition to the topic of the state of unrest in Argentina

 

The him she saw that day was different from the him she had seen one year ago.

All of a sudden, she understood the meaning of those words that Nuannuan had used to describe Jì Chengyang, that he had “that type of seductive draw”… His eyes were so striking to behold, because hidden behind those eyes were many thoughts and ideas. His light smile, his low chuckle, or even his bright, cheerful laughter did not really have anything to do with other people.

It was as if…

He never cared what other people’s views of him were, what other people’s definitions of success were.

Deep in this night, he, in the furious deluge of rain, wearing a muddied black raincoat, walked through those ruins that had just been left behind after an explosion… She shut off the television, went into the kitchen, and pulled out the newly-bought and still-unopened coffee from the cupboard. Still strictly following the instructions he had given her years ago, she made some coffee. And then, bringing her head down beside the coffee mug, she took a small sip.

Warmth permeated outward and infused her arms and legs.

 

In May, summer arrived abruptly.

There were even people in her class who began wearing their summer school uniforms. Someone also took advantage of a moment when the teacher was not present to turn on the fan earlier than normal.

The funniest part was, because the dust that had accumulated over the winter had not been wiped off first, when the electric fan started spinning, dust had filled the air of the entire classroom.

Caught between being annoyed and amused by this, Class Prefect went to their teacher and put in the request that everyone be dismissed from school half an hour early. He, though, rolled up his sleeves and, leading several of the class committee members, began to clean up the classroom… Jǐ Yi stuffed the practice exercise paper that needed to be done into her schoolbag. While her mind was still thinking about the big exam question that had been on the previous year’s National College Entrance Exam[1], Nuannuan had already dragged her to the door.

Class Prefect happened to straighten back up at that moment and ended up directly facing Nuannuan. Something peculiar flashed across his eyes.

“Class Prefect, see you later.” Nuannuan beamed.

“Mm. See you later.” Class Prefect was somewhat awkward in his reply, but still, he did not forget to remind her, “Don’t forget to go back and do your chem homework.”

“I know.” Towing Jǐ Yi with her, Nuannuan hightailed it out of there.

Jǐ Yi could still remember how half a year ago, Nuannuan had described that first kiss between her and Class Prefect that had occurred behind the teaching building after evening self-study time. In the blink of an eye, six months had passed, and the male lead had been switched out for another. Other than still showing Nuannuan a little bit of extra special care, Class Prefect did not appear to have any pains of a broken heart after the breakup. Jǐ Yi was particularly fearful of hearing about the details of these types of breakups, and hence, once she learned that they had split because Nuannuan felt their personalities were not a good match, she did not ask any further questions.

As it was Friday, the front gate of the school was long since occupied with all sorts of sedans that had come to pick up the students who were now dismissed from school. Nuannuan tugged Jǐ Yi into the car. “Go to Xinjiekou Opening[2], to my little uncle’s house.”

Jǐ Yi paused blankly. “Your little uncle?”

Nuannuan was gleeful. “Yup. He was back three days ago, but I didn’t tell you the whole time just because I wanted to give you a surprise. Oh, man, that was hard keeping it in. Don’t you like playing with him the most? Don’t think I don’t know.”

… Was it that obvious?

But when their vehicle really did drive up to the gate of the community compound, Nuannuan unexpectedly handed her a key. After telling Jǐ Yi the address, she waggled her brows, saying, “I’m going to go buy some yummies for my little uncle to eat and also a gift and stuff. You go up first. No one answered when I called just now, so he shouldn’t be home right now. You just hang out there in the home. If you need to eat, eat; if you need to drink, drink. Don’t be shy. If he doesn’t come back the whole time, then just wait for me to get there and have dinner with you.”

Jǐ Yi did not know whether she should cry or laugh at this.

She totally understood what Nuannuan wanted to do. Since breaking up with Class Prefect, Nuannuan had started dating someone else, and this boyfriend attended another school. However, because their telephone calls and meet-ups had been too frequent, Nuannuan’s mother had grounded her. So, though she was saying today that she was bringing Jǐ Yi to see Little Uncle, this was likely just an excuse that she had found, and in reality, it was so she could go see her boyfriend.

If there really were no one at home…

Jǐ Yi surmised, she would end up going hungry until eight or nine o’clock at night before she would get to eat dinner.

 

But, Nuannuan’s way of just tossing over Little Uncle’s home key to her, an outsider—was that really okay?

She knocked on the door for some time, but nobody came to open it.

Finally, using the key, she unlocked the door, pushed it open, and entered his home.

This was… her first time stepping into Jì Chengyang’s home. Supposedly, this apartment was empty most of the time because he was always out of the country. But now as she looked it over, it did not feel as if it lacked life and the sense of people being in the space. It should be, then, that someone came often to clean it? The entire space was decorated in a main colour scheme of blue-gray and white tones. The door between the living room and the balcony was not closed, so the setting sun in the west could be seen.

Using some common sense, she found a pair of slippers from the shoe cabinet and then stepped inside.

She discovered, though, that the bedroom door was half open.

She peeped in through the crack of the doorway.

To her surprise, Jì Chengyang was there, hugging a blue-gray blanket, his body curled up slightly as he lay in deep slumber. And on the couch inside the bedroom, the person who was fast asleep with his own jacket covering him was his friend named Wang Haoran. They were in such deep sleeps that neither had heard the knocking on the door?

Standing at the doorway, Jǐ Yi gazed at him.

It suddenly hit her awareness that she was still wearing her spring-autumn school uniform with its colours of blue and white intermixed together, and her sleeves were rolled up because they were too long—a little ugly… If she could switch this out to the black-and-white checkered skirt of the summer uniform, it would look much nicer.

Wake him, or not wake him? While she was thinking this, Jǐ Yi inexplicably, as if compelled by a supernatural force, removed her uniform’s jacket so that she was wearing only the white, short-sleeved, button-up shirt that had been inside and the uniform’s blue pants, and treaded noiselessly into the room. As she stood between the couch and the bed, she hesitated for a while. But then, she quietly crawled onto the other side of the bed and carefully observed him.

Long time no see, Jì Chengyang.

 

Compared with when she saw him on the television half a year ago, his hair was a little long now, and it fell down softly from his forehead to conceal those eyes of his that were tightly closed. Beneath the corner of his left eye, there was a tiny, faint, brown mole. A tearstain mole[3]? This was so remarkable. She had actually never noticed it before. She felt the corner of her own left eye. There was a tearstain mole there, too.

Zhao Xiaoying’s mother particularly liked studying these sorts of things and therefore had told Jǐ Yi, this was called a tearstain mole, and people who had one cried often.

When she was small, she did especially like to cry. Could it be, he was the same?

And furthermore, his eyes were very deep set. She had learned only recently that this was called “European double eyelids”…

 

As if she had just discovered the New World, she very carefully and thoroughly scrutinized him. His earlobes were especially nice-looking; they were very thin. But… his face was what Zhao Xiaoying’s mother would describe as having a physiognomy that indicated the face’s owner would be without good fortune in life. She at last gave up on examining his facial features and allowed her gaze to glide downward. His shirt collar was open, with three or four buttons unfastened, revealing his collarbone. So slender… She was actually able to get such a clear view of his collarbone.

A black string that began behind his neck followed the contour of his collarbone and hung down. At its lowest point, it passed through a silver bullet.

Something that had been hidden for a long time in the deepest reaches of her heart seemed now to slowly stir and ferment until it formed into a secret little thought.

A very little thought in her heart.

 

Jǐ Yi wanted to furtively slip off the bed, but without warning, Jì Chengyang stretched out his arm, seemingly to pull his blanket against himself. His arm, however, inadvertently ended up hooking around her right arm that was propped beside him…

While she was caught in a moment of panic, he woke up.

 

Instinctively, he loosened the blanket he had been clasping. Leaning against the back of the bed, he sat up.

“Xixi?” He was somewhat taken aback, his voice fuzzy from sleep.

Jǐ Yi felt so embarrassed she could die. She wanted to jump off the bed, but with her hands and feet moving about flusteredly, she fell backwards instead. Luckily, Wang Haoran stretched out an arm in the nick of time and caught her, helping her stand firmly to her feet. “Look how you’ve scared the little girl.”

Oh, gosh. This was really just so humiliating…

 

Jì Chengyang got off the bed and fastened up two of his buttons. There was no need to ask; it was very easy to guess why Jǐ Yi would have the key to this place. So, he really did not ask much in follow up. It was as if he was accustomed to treating Jǐ Yi as one of his family and did not mind that she had suddenly barged into his place. Only when he was washing his face in the bathroom did he finally inquire, “Where’s Nuannuan?”

As he spoke, he cupped some cool water in his palms and splashed it onto his face.

Water slid down his face. Casually, he wiped away most of it with his right hand, leaving only a little behind to fall, a droplet at a time, from his chin onto the collar of his shirt…

“She… went to buy a gift for you.”

This excuse that even she did not believe… evidently was not very convincing to him.

Jì Chengyang lowered his head to look at her. After observing her for a while, he still did not unmask the excuse. Rather, he suddenly said something that was completely unrelated. “Xixi has grown quite a bit taller in this last year.”

“Yes.” She breathed out in relief. “I grew 6 centimetres. I’m 1.55 metres tall already.”

This was the first time anyone had cared about her height.

However, she still needed to completely tilt her head back to look up at him. He looked to probably be around 1.87 metres?

Jǐ Yi was randomly making guesses. Soon after Jì Chengyang and Wang Haoran both seemed to have completely awoken from their drowsy states, she was asked what she would like for dinner.

“I’m okay with eating anything. Oh—” Jǐ Yi remembered there was a Hui Muslim snack foods eatery in Xinjiekou Opening. When the words came to her lips, however, she swallowed them again.

“You’ve thought of what you want to eat?” Jì Chengyang very easily saw through her thoughts. Running his index finger down her nose, he told her, “You don’t need to be polite with me.”

That gentle force slid down the bridge of her nose to its tip. And it carried the smell of cigarettes. She could feel her ears had grown slightly warm.

“It’s not particularly expensive.” Jǐ Yi had to explain. “I just want to eat the snack foods in that Hui Muslim place in Xinjiekou Opening. The chicken gizzards there are especially tasty.”

“Xixi,” Wang Haoran suddenly broke in with a laugh, “you really are easy to take care of and keep.”

 

And so, those two grown men truly did decide that the matter of dinner would just be casually taken care of at that little Hui Muslim eatery in Xinjiekou Opening. From the community compound where Jì Chengyang lived to that place, it was at most a twenty-minute walk. It was dinnertime, and the eatery was especially lively.

Wang Haoran carried over the zasui soup, which had portions enough for three people, and grabbed some chopsticks.

Zasui soup, which is a soup of mixed lamb, or sometimes oxen, entrails. (Image credit)

Jì Chengyang had already bought a tray of various dishes of snack foods and set them on the table.

“Jì Chengyang, how come I never realized before that you’re especially good at your own little way of making little girls happy?” As Wang Haoran looked down at all the things on the tray, he immediately chortled. “Hey, you weirdo uncle[4], you wouldn’t have some sort of hidden, sinister intention, right?”

Jì Chengyang seemed as if he could not even be bothered to say anything. He nudged the entire tray so that it was in front of Jǐ Yi. The meaning of that was very simple: everything on there had been bought for her.

An entire paper bag of fried chicken gizzards, four skewers of fried lamb, two candied ears, two yellow pea cakes… This was an amount of food that she would never be able to finish, even if you beat her to death to do it. She bowed her head and glanced at the bowl of zasui soup in front of her as well. “I can’t eat this much.”

“Did you hear? Xixi said she can’t finish it all.” Wang Haoran jumped on this opportunity to mock him.

Not even bothering to lift his eyes, Jì Chengyang set down off to the side the ceramic spoon he had been holding. Wang Haoran grinned at him. He thought there would be a back and forth battle of words for a bit, but to his surprise, the other party merely said to Jǐ Yi, who had already picked up a bamboo skewer and stabbed it into a chicken gizzard, “I seem to have forgotten to tell them to put spicy seasoning powder on it.”

“It’s okay.”

Standing, he picked up the paper bag of chicken gizzards, strode back over to the doorway, and handed it to the person who was grilling some skewers. Seeing that there were many people, he arbitrarily added to their meal another two “rolling donkeys,” which he bought from another snack foods window, and grabbed a bottle of cola. Only after the seasoning had been re-sprinkled on the gizzards did he return to the table.

Traditional Beijing snacks. Top: 糖耳朵 Candied ear, which is a sweet bread twisted into a shape that looks like an ear and then fried (image credit). Bottom left: 豌豆黄 Yellow pea cake. A sweet cake with a dense texture, made mostly from mashed, yellow split peas and bright yellow in colour (image credit). Bottom right: 驴打滚 “Rolling donkey.” A glutinous rice roll with red bean filling (image credit).

Wang Haoran gave a slight lift of his eyebrows and snorted out a laugh.

The meaning of that: People say you’re fat, so you’re even gasping now to prove it[5]? Hey, young master, you really want to stuff the little girl until she’s so full she’s going to burst?

Jì Chengyang simply pretended he did not see anything. Dropping a straw into the bottle of cola, he told her, “Eat slowly. There’s no rush.”

Jǐ Yi answered with an “mm-hmm.” She could plainly see that, at the neighbouring table, two seven or eight-year-old boys were gawking at all the food in front of her. With envious eyes that seemed to say, “Wow, big sister, you sure can eat!” they stared at her with incomparable reverence…

 

[1]高考 “gao kao.” The National College Entrance Examinations, or gaokao, are annually held, unified national examinations on various subjects, usually for students in their final year of high school and are a prerequisite for any post-secondary education at the undergraduate level.

[2] 新街口豁口 “Xinjiekou Huokou.” Xinjiekou is a subdistrict in Beijing. In the 1950’s, a portion of the old Beijing city wall in this district was torn down to allow easier flow of traffic. The area where this “huokou” or “opening” was made is called “Xinjiekou Huokou” or what I’ve translated as Xinjiekou Opening.

[3] 泪痣 “lei zhi.” A mole that falls beneath the corner of the eye and above the highest part of the cheekbone is called a “tear mole” or a “tearstain mole.”

[4] 怪叔叔 “guai shu shu.” Literally means “weird/strange uncle.” This is a slang term used to describe an older man, insinuating that he may be a pedophile or have other eccentric “interests,” such as cross-dressing, etc.

[5] 说你胖你还喘. This is a joking phrase that is usually thrown out between friends. The meaning is, you’ve been praised or critiqued about one thing, so you do something to take it even further, like a person who has been given the comment that he is fat and so that person then gasps and pants to prove how out of shape he is. Wang Haoran had said Jǐ Yi could not finish the food, but then Jì Chengyang even went and bought more.

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

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.

Completed:
12 of 69 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

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4 thoughts on “The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 6.1

  1. oh could it be that brief hold of JY’s arm was not meaty enough for your taste!!? indeed guai shu shu haha
    thank you

  2. Thank goodness for unknowingly playing Cupid, Nuannuan. Little Xixi is growing up!

    Thanks for the chapter, hoju! Hope you’re enjoying your trip!

  3. “The Little Thought in My Heart”
    What a befitting the title is this chapter. A small thought that stirred a heart is always intriguing, fascinating.
    Cannot wait to take another glimpse of Ji Yi’s heart. Or, perhaps, next is JCY’s? I truly hope so…

    Many thanks for another chapter, Hoju!

  4. Thank you Hoju 😄

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