Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 7.1

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Week 5 of 5 with three updates per week. That means there will be no more Monday evening N. American time (Tuesday morning for those across an ocean) postings. As of next week, The Healing Sunshine is reverting back to my regular schedule of 2x/week updates, on Tuesday and Friday evenings, N. American time.

Just so that she can feel valued and cared about, he is willing to go the extra distance (literally!). Regardless of whether there is any romance involved, how special it would be to have such a person in your life.

Chapter 7.1 — Night in Wellington (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.

 

Ten days later, she submitted her choice between the liberal arts and science streams: liberal arts.

In fact, the rest of her grade had already divided into the two streams after first year of high school. The students in the advanced science stream class were handled specially only because they had a different curriculum from the rest and needed to complete the entire normal high school curriculum by the end of the first semester of second-year high school. Therefore, their selection between liberal arts and science was not confirmed until after second-year high school.

In their entire class, only four students selected the liberal arts stream, but their teacher still grieved and lamented about this and managed to persuade two of them to switch.

“Don’t just look at the fact that you were second in the entire grade in the liberal arts examinations. I’m telling you, Jǐ Yi, your choices and paths that you can take are narrow if you choose the liberal arts stream. Anyone can take liberal arts. The science stream is what will provide you with big prospects.” Inside his office, the head teacher of their class lectured Jǐ Yi, so frustrated he downed some water directly. “You even got extra credits because you have a special talent. It’s such a shame! Just look at your class prefect. He was first in the liberal arts rankings, but he’s still staying in our advanced science stream class, right?”

She persisted in her own decision. That afternoon, she moved her things and went to her new class.

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

Her fellow students in the new class had all been together for a year already and were long familiar with one another, so when they saw this person from the advanced science stream class who just dropped in from the air out of nowhere, there more or less was some aversion to her. Moreover, Jǐ Yi had been in the advanced science stream class but had still ended up ranking second in the entire grade in the liberal arts examinations. That truly was quite humiliating to them, as people who had studied in the liberal arts stream for a year already.

In contrast, her new class head teacher was giddy with delight, thinking, finally, she had managed to poach this kid over.

When Jǐ Yi saw Zhao Xiaoying in the fourth row of the classroom, she was giddy with delight as well and winked at Zhao Xiaoying.

After a month of remedial lessons, the dates for the Chinese orchestra’s cultural exchange in New Zealand were set.

They would leave at the end of August and return on September 10.

In regard to this, grumbling and cries of complaints had risen from all the teachers, who were worried that this would interfere with the students’ time for their studies. However, for events like these, the school basically had no say because there were going to be some other young performing artists travelling together with them. It was actually a very large delegation going on this cultural exchange.

Prior to leaving, she still out of habit pulled out that little note from Jì Chengyang and began packing her things. Now that she was older, when she looked again at this luggage-packing list that had not a single thing missing, she even more so would discover how meticulous and thoughtful he was. Before Jǐ Yi’s eyes could reach the last line, though, she stopped them, not daring to read those words that brought a blush to her face. Carefully folding up that note, she put it back into its proper place.

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The day she headed to the airport was an especially hot day.

After Jǐ Yi checked in her luggage, she only had a backpack remaining with her. When it was nearly time for takeoff, Jǐ Yi was putting her backpack into the overhead luggage compartment. Unexpectedly, a schoolmate tugged at her skirt. Puzzled, she asked, “You have something you want me to help you put up there?”

“That handsome dude over there is watching you. He’s been staring at you for a long time.” This schoolmate from her orchestra team hissed, “That look in his eyes is like the Big Bad Wolf’s.”

Turning to look, Jǐ Yi saw someone whose presence here gave her a great surprise.

Wang Haoran?

And there was also that person beside him, Su Yan, poking her head out to look at Jǐ Yi while grinning and talking to him.

Seeing Jǐ Yi turn her head, Wang Haoran waved at her and said, “I’ll come find you after takeoff.”

She was finding it somewhat difficult for her mind to catch up. As she took her seat, her schoolmate beside her whisperingly asked in follow up, “You really do know him? I remember our teacher said earlier that most of the people on the plane are part of the cultural exchange group. That person isn’t also part of our group, is he?”

She actually did not really know what Wang Haoran did. They had only seen one another a few times in total.

Afterward, when the plane had taken off, Wang Haoran really did come over to her, and she also finally learned that he and Su Yan were indeed part of the group of young performing artists who were going on this cultural exchange.

“You didn’t know? Your Little Uncle Jì and I met because, back then, he beat me in a competition,” Wang Haoran explained with a smile. “But losing to him is nothing to be ashamed of. What’s a pity is that he’s already given up the piano.”

Wang Haoran played the piano, and Su Yan played the violin.

Jǐ Yi suddenly clued in to the fact that everything she studied was so patriotic—the dance she had taken was traditional Chinese dance and the instrument she learned was the guzheng[1]… There really were no commonalities with Jì Chengyang that could be spoken of.

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

This time was an orchestra and band trip, so the performances were group ones and not any sort of solo performances.

Actually, since that time when she was eleven years old and had humiliatingly run off the dance stage, she was very fearful of going up on stage alone. There were several instances where, even for only little internal celebrations in the school or within the district, she had declined her teachers’ requests for her to give a solo performance. Even so, each time prior to going up on stage, she would need to listen to music to help herself not be nervous; for example, this time, the song playing in her CD player was “Suddenly.”

It was from Karen Mok’s album released in 1999. The following year, Zhao Xiaoying had bought it for her as a birthday present.

Watching her orchestra classmates conversing excitedly in front of her, she hopped anxiously on her feet and listened to Karen Mok sing huskily and tenderly. While she was staring blankly off into the distance, her teacher suddenly appeared before her, saying to her with a smile, “How did we manage to forget to put some lipstick on you? You won’t look nice at all going up like that.”

Performances for exchange purposes were not as strict and rigorous, but they were still required to wear makeup. Stage makeup, in particular, was a little heavier and thicker than everyday makeup. Her teacher applied a thick layer of lipstick on her that felt very uncomfortable. When they were done performing and had left the stage, she at once changed into her school uniform and went to the washroom to wash her face.

The nearby washroom was packed with people. She tilted her head up to look at a sign, continuing to search for another washroom. Right as she had turned and walked up a few stair steps to head upstairs, without warning, someone grabbed her arm. In alarm, she cried out.

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She turned around.

All of a sudden, she felt as if she had stepped into a dream.

The lyrics of that song that was still lingering in her mind were all of a sudden brought perfectly to reality: the world could suddenly be empty of everything…

And only have Jì Chengyang.

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

“The performance was really successful.” He led her by the arm down those few stair steps. Then, bending forward, he wiped away the lipstick on her lips with his fingers. “Except your lipstick was too heavy. Your teacher’s taste in colours is really bad.”

The pads of his fingers were stained red.

So it actually was really ugly? Her face instantly flushed with these words of his, but still, she stammered out, “You… Why… New Zealand…”

Jì Chengyang smiled. “I came to watch you perform. Is it really such a surprise? It’s not like it’s the first time.”

Of course she was extremely surprised, so surprised that she was about to die from shock.

This isn’t some random performance hall in Dongcheng District. This is Wellington, you know… She suddenly thought of Su Yan. He wouldn’t be here because he wanted to watch Su Yan perform, right? That wouldn’t be it, right? This is just a cultural exchange performance, not some sort of international competition…

Where they stood happened to be at a corner of the staircase on the first floor.

There was no one.

As she stared at him, countless question marks flashed through her mind, while at the same time, immeasurable amounts of excitement, elatedness, and joy from receiving a wonderful surprise also flooded over her.

He, however, realized he had only wiped away a portion of the lipstick. Gazing at her eyes that were shining even brighter due to happiness and also those lips that still had half the lipstick remaining on them, he wanted to wipe away the rest of the lipstick. He hesitated, though.

He was actually no longer unperturbed and without apprehension.

Because the little girl was beginning to grow up?

He came because he had the ability to do so. Six years ago, it was in Beijing; now, it was Wellington. Last time, he had taken a half a day; this time, he had merely needed to use a few additional days. If he wanted to travel just to relax and ease his mind anyway, why not choose this place? That way, she could feel she was valued and cared about.

<>Please read this translation at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

 

“You… really came here to keep me company?” Her voice was a little tight, but still, the joy and delight in it could not be concealed.

“Really.” In the end, he chose to pull out a packet of tissues and hand it to her. “It just so happened that I wanted to see some emerald waters and blue sky.”

A city like this could more easily allow him to forget those bloody images.

In only a split second, crimson had completely flooded her face. She could not hide it at all or cover up for it. She could only drop her head, pull out a tissue, and swipe relentlessly at her lips, rubbing firmly and vigorously.

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

While she was still head down and engaged in battle with the lipstick that he did not like, a dozen or so people were already coming down from upstairs, so very naturally, they discovered Jì Chengyang. What was even more surprising was that they all knew him. These young performing artists, who, like Jǐ Yi, had come for the cultural exchange performance, were actually all acquainted with him.

“Jì Chengyang, it’s honestly been a hundred years since we last saw each other! I still remember that time in fourth year primary school when you snatched first place.” A man threw an arm over his shoulder and teased with a grin, “To this day, the picture in my wife’s wallet is still the one that the five of us took together after the competition. You’re basically the first-class enemy to my wife and me. You’re a wound in our hearts that will never heal for all our lives!”

Later, through their conversation, she was able to approximately deduce the reason.

In that era of his, these people must have also competed in citywide, national, or maybe international competitions from a young age. Children born in the seventies had fewer privileges than children of the eighties like her. To begin with, not many would have studied such things since childhood, so probably even less would have participated in competitions together? This was what was meant by “competition rivals” becoming good friends?

Jǐ Yi felt that, amid these men and women who were chatting very cheerfully, she had become the one most out of place here.

Furthermore, these people had also just finished their performances and were all garbed in very formal evening gowns and suits.

On the airplane, these dozen or so people before her had been the focal point of their entire group. The men were elegant and suave while the women carried themselves with grace and class that was striking, and they had chatted and smiled easily. Even now, they still created admiration and envy in people.

Wang Haoran grinned. “Stop the jokes. You’re not even as good as me, so don’t bother trying to be all smug in front of Chengyang.” Once he finished saying this, he spotted Jǐ Yi, and straightaway bending into a slight crouch, he asked her, “Why did you wipe all your lipstick off? When I was watching you from down off the stage play the guzheng earlier, you looked especially beautiful, like you had stepped out of a traditional Chinese painting.”

Jǐ Yi had never been praised with words like these before, and moreover, it was in front of so many respected veterans who had won all sorts of titles and awards …

“Thank you.” It seemed that apart from this, she honestly did not know what she should say.

“Eh? Wang Haoran, I feel like there’s something not quite right with the flavour of your words.” Su Yan suddenly moved in close to him. “What kind of bad things are you thinking?”

“What are you talking about? I always tell things as they are.” Wang Haoran was never really ruffled, so when everyone’s nosy gazes fell on him, he simply stated in a half-joking, half-serious tone, “This is my future little girlfriend.”

Su Yan, though, knew that he genuinely did have such thoughts. Laughing, she said, “You’re finally willing to admit it?”

… Those several people around them paused with surprise, then all at once burst into chortles.

Jǐ Yi had not expected that the conversation topic would turn in this direction. Regardless of whether the words had been said in jest or not, she was already a little anxious.

She saw that the man who had spoken earlier had thrown an arm around Jì Chengyang’s shoulders, and they were talking about something. Seeming to hear the laughter, Jì Chengyang glanced in her direction. Her eyes met his. Even more flustered, she threw out a “Goodbye!” and then dashed upstairs.

<>Please read this translation from  the original site on which it was posted, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com

 

“You’ve scared off your future little girlfriend,” someone mocked. “Hey, wait, something’s not right, eh? Wasn’t that little lady with Jì Chengyang just now? Chengyang, is that your niece?”

Jì Chengyang ended the conversation he had been having. Gazing after Jǐ Yi’s backside as she ran up the stairs, he answered, “A friend’s kid.”

Jǐ Yi hid on the staircase at the second floor, watching them walk away into the distance.

“A friend’s kid” …

In reality, there was nothing wrong at all with what he had said. To him, she was a kid. With a slight sense of disappointment, she stared after those people, who all seemed to have a halo of glory about them, feeling that it was so very difficult for her to even come close to them.

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

That evening, it was time for the group dinner. When the teacher leading this team from Fuzhong saw Jì Chengyang, she, too, was very keen and incessantly introduced this very well-known alumnus of Fuzhong to people.

Jǐ Yi was holding her fork and staring out the window at the trees that stood in the gusting wind, when all of a sudden, she noticed that, coincidentally, he was standing outside the window, having a smoke… Making up an excuse, she ran outside. He had just stubbed out his cigarette.

It really was a little chilly here. Hugging her arms around herself, she asked, “Why are you having your smoke out here? …”

Jì Chengyang answered, “Smoking’s not allowed inside.”

He could see she was cold, so he beckoned to her. She walked over. This place happened to be where the wall turned a corner, so it was a good shelter from the wind and was also out of the view of everyone.

“There’s a large temperature difference between day and night here. You need to dress a little warmer at night.” Seeing that it was tiring for her to have to tilt her head back to talk to him, he sat down on the stair steps and had her take a seat beside him. “Your teacher said that the day after tomorrow is free time. Where would you like to go?”

“They say it’s pretty small here?” she asked with curiosity.

“Mm.” He replied, “Next time, if we get the chance, we can go to Auckland. There’s a bit more for good eats over there, too.”

Next time…

As she gazed at him, she felt more and more that these two simple, ordinary words were so wonderful.

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Far away, out in the open air, sat those old friends of his. As she watched them carousing so freely and to their heart’s content, she suddenly said with a heartfelt sigh, “Why are you and all your friends just so outstanding?” She had never felt that she could ever have such confidence, that in any country in the world, she could still be as confident and at ease as if she were at home.

“Are we?” Jì Chengyang questioned.

“Of course you are.” She gazed at him in earnestness. To her, his existence and life were so very remarkable, so amazing.

He smiled. “There are many people in this world who live a life of brilliance. What you need to learn is merely how to push open that door for yourself. For instance…” He fell silent for a moment. Then, in even simpler words, he told her, “There are many universities in the world, and each one, each year will cultivate many talented people. Having a doctorate in philosophy is not some sort of rare species. One day, you will find out that Jì Chengyang is just an ordinary person, too.”

That won’t happen.

She silently refuted that.

Not everyone could say words like these. This included the teacher of her advanced science stream class, from whom she had never heard such words that were so ordinary, yet so magnetic. He was telling her, “There is a door waiting for you to push hard on it and open it.”

And he was already standing on the other side of that door as proof to you of these words he had spoken.

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

“As for them.” He smiled, glancing toward those good friends of his from the past. “You study the guzheng. You know how much hard work goes into practice. Those people there, not one of them learned what they did without being beaten or scolded when they were kids. They needed, day after day, to have greater determination and perseverance than the average person before they were able to become what they are today.”

“Was that the same for you, too?” She asked this question that she had been curious about since she was a child.

Why had he started a later age than all of his peers, yet also had such great talent?

“Me?” He was quiet.

In the end, he did not answer this question.

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The wind was very strong. Out of the blue, he asked her, “Do you want to go look at the ocean?”

Of course she did, but free time was not until the day after tomorrow…

“Can I?” she asked tentatively.

“You should be able to.” He removed his jacket and handed it to her. “I’m really well acquainted with the teacher who’s leading your group.”

She did believe these words.

So, in the whipping wind, the two of them strolled along until they came to the seashore. From far, the night’s ocean looked black as ink. As she stood on the sandy beach, she felt her heart rising and falling with the rolling waves from simply watching them.

This… was the first time she had ever seen the real ocean.

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

[1]古筝 “gu zheng”. A guzheng is a traditional Chinese plucked, stringed instrument, with 16 or more strings. Sometimes called a Chinese zither.

Guzheng (Image credit)

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 generally translate any Chinese songs that are mentioned or make an appearance in the novel. However, it’s more appropriate to leave the translation of “Suddenly” until next post. 🙂

 

Completed:
15 of 69 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

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5 thoughts on “The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 7.1

  1. its okay for JCY to start the giving JY a sense of presence…hoping it will soon become an existence that he cannot live without
    thank you

  2. I need a Chengyang in mah life!!! ❤

  3. Aaah how sweet of him… Thank you 😊

  4. ..The world could suddenly be empty of everything…
    And only have Jì Chengyang.

    — Stop. This chapter should stop there, just like JY and my heart when found out a sweet surprise.

    ..He was actually no longer unperturbed and without apprehension.
    Because the little girl was beginning to grow up?

    — This realization made my heart flapping happily.

    JCY flew for aver 6.5 miles just to see emerald waters and blue sky? And said the lipstick was in bad color where other said nice? And to find excuse for a walk in a beach one evening was normal thing to do?
    — Yeah, right uncle… Duh, how could he be so naive yet swoon worthy?

    Many thanks, my dear…!

  5. Lol is it just me or is Wang Haoran kind of gross? With this incident and the Lolita reference a few chapters back. He actually does not know Ji Yi well and isn’t he the same age as Ji Chengyang?

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