Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 9.1

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Gosh, how can a girl not fall for Jì Chengyang?

Chapter 9.1 — Inch After Inch of Time (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.

 

The day Jì Chengyang returned to China was a Thursday.

Jǐ Yi sat in her classroom. Her seat was next to the window. Bringing her legs closer to the heat, she silently rejoiced that luckily, this year the heating had been turned on early. Otherwise, like all the other years, the dozen or so days before the heat was turned on would truly have been so cold it would have been hard to bear. She was worried he would be cold.

Her heart and mind were restless. For the entire day, she had been flipping through her math tests. She had looked over her latest ones several times and even repeatedly confirmed that the score she had achieved had reached the agreed-to range.

The dismissal bell rang. Holding her schoolbag, she was the first to rush out of the classroom.

All along the way, any orchestra members who saw her would be especially astonished and think that she was heading to the practice room. Contrary to their expectations, her feet did not even pause, and she dashed directly to the school’s main gates. It was not the weekend, so there were not many vehicles outside of the gates. Soon, she spotted Jì Chengyang standing beside his car on the opposite side of the road.

<>Please read this story at its original site of posting, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead

 

She ran over. Before she had even steadied herself on her feet, she fixed her eyes on him and smiled.

She was unable to stop her pounding heart and the flush that climbed onto her cheeks. Oh no, she could not control them at all.

Jì Chengyang pulled open the front passenger door and led her into the car. Then, circling around the front of the vehicle, he got in as well and shut the door. “Your hair has gotten longer?” he asked out of the blue.

“Just a bit. Too lazy to cut it.” This time, seeing him, she dared not even look directly at him.

In fact, her hair had always been kept at a length just below her ears, and if she put in some effort, she could tie it up. However, it was more convenient not to… As for why she was now working so hard to tie her hair into a little tail at the back, it was mainly because she frequently heard her schoolmates say one thing: boys tended to like girls with long hair.

And Zhao Xiaoying had also said before, only if you tied your hair up often would your hair grow faster.

And so, she had been tying her hair up every day, hoping that by the time she went to university, she could have long hair that fluttered in the breeze.

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

She thought they would still need to wait for Nuannuan, but surprisingly, Jì Chengyang drove the car away.

This was… the special gift?

He was rewarding just her with a night with him.

Jì Chengyang brought her to have dinner. It was not until the car was driving towards the Beijing Exhibition Centre that he told her, tonight they would be watching a ballet.

On the way, Jì Chengyang suddenly spotted a small shop by the roadside. In the glass cabinet at the front of the shop were freshly-made tanghulu.

He smiled. “Do you still remember the red bean paste tanghulu I bought you when you were little?”

Jǐ Yi nodded. “Yup, I do. I even gave a lot of the red bean paste to you to eat.” And what’s more, it was one that I had bitten half of… She silently added this.

“Go buy a stick for me.” Parking the car, he pulled out his wallet and handed it directly to her.

“You’re not going?”

“I’ll wait for you in the car.” He chuckled. “How old are you? You still want someone to go with you just to buy a tanghulu?”

Jǐ Yi had merely offhandedly asked the question, but with this response of his, she became embarrassed, and at once pulling open the door, she got out of the car. But when she actually bought one and brought it back, he did not have any of it and had her eat it all instead. Although, when there were only two left, she did briefly deliberate over whether she should leave him one or maybe half… she was no longer as open and at ease as she had been when she was a child. Her face hot, she decided she would simply eat them all herself.

<>This translation was taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. It would be greatly appreciated if you support it by reading it from there instead

Today’s Beijing Exhibition Centre felt very different, but she could not say exactly what it was that was different. She did not come here often. People from the symphony orchestra had gotten complimentary tickets a couple of times, so she had come along with them and watched two symphony performances here. She had always studied traditional Chinese music and instruments, and even the Chinese painting, calligraphy, and dance that she learned tended to be more traditional, so she was not very familiar with these sorts of things of Western culture.

Sitting in the grand, resplendent hall, in the large, scarlet seat that belonged to her tonight, she heard the people behind her mention unfamiliar names, Filin [Sergei Filin] and Gracheva [Nadezhda Gracheva], and also talk about Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet’s troupe of dancers and tonight’s Swan Lake[1].

“The rehearsing for this ballet began more than thirty years ago, but it was only last year that it premiered in Russia.” Jì Chengyang motioned to her to remove her jacket so that in a little while she would not be too hot.

“Why?”

“Because during that era, the socialist Soviet Union did not allow performances of tragedies.” Jì Chengyang smiled. “Do you understand now?”

“So once the Soviet Union dissolved, it was allowed to be performed?” Out of reflex, Jǐ Yi recalled when the dissolution of the Soviet Union had occurred. “Didn’t the Soviet Union dissolve in 1991? Why wasn’t it performed in 1991?”

“That is not something that we will be able to know.”

She gave an “mm-hmm” and then began searching through her memory. “Swan Lake has a tragic ending? I remember it being a happy ending.”

He knew where she was coming from. “You mean the fairy tale?”

“… I’ve only ever read the fairy tale.” And I’ve also watched the cartoon.

At the time, she had felt it was especially touching, that after going through misunderstandings and tribulations, in the end, the prince and the White Swan finally were together.

“There are many versions of Swan Lake, both happy and tragic-ending ones,” Jì Chengyang said with a smile. “The version that will be performed tonight is a tragedy.”

The two men sitting behind Jì Chengyang were evidently true balletomanes. When they heard Jì Chengyang saying this, they took advantage of this time when people were still entering the hall and taking their seats to begin a discussion in lowered voices. The two enumerated the good qualities and advantages of each version of Swan Lake. They were also very much looking forward to tonight’s tragic ending, eagerly awaiting this all-new version, which claimed to be the most authentic one, from this ballet troupe of Moscow.

The enthusiasm in their discussion infected an elderly person beside Jǐ Yi. This elder even began reminiscing about the time this ballet company had visited China in 1959 and how the all-star lineup of world-famous ballet performers of that time had been so unforgettable. Smiling, Jì Chengyang listened to all of this, occasionally responding to the elderly person with a sentence or two, as if he was having a casual conversation with an elder whom he had known for a long time.

Here beside her, he naturally was attracting some like-minded people, and together they all conversed about topics they were interested in.

This was the allure of a soul.

And she simply stayed by his side like this, observing it all…

Why was it a tragedy? Ah, forget it. If it was a tragedy, then let it be a tragedy. After all, it was just a ballet performance.

Tonight was the premier performance. Therefore, there of course were some big, important people here to meet and offer greetings to the artistes prior to the start of the ballet, and then afterwards, they would stay to to watch tonight’s performance as well. She suddenly thought of a question: Did Jì Chengyang come back today just so he could watch this all-new Russian version of Swan Lake? And just so… he could bring her here to watch?

While she was thinking this, she saw in the center of the stage a large, black and white drawing of a swan slowly being lowered.

Tilting her head to the side, she looked at him.

The stage lights shifted and changed, swathing his countenance in a flickering glow.

With your return this time, how long will you stay in Beijing?

I hope it will be longer than two months. Or maybe, one month is good, too.

When the performance came to an end, Jì Chengyang went to use the restroom while Jǐ Yi, with her schoolbag on her back, waited for him in a corner where she would not obstruct other people. To her surprise, the first person to appear was actually Wang Haoran. Moving against the stream of people who were going out, he walked into the building. When he caught sight of Jǐ Yi, he hurriedly strode over to her and patted her shoulder. “Where’s Jì Chengyang?”

She looked at Wang Haoran, not understanding why he had come. “He’s in the washroom.”

Right as she spoke, Jì Chengyang was already strolling over to them.

He slipped on his glasses as walked, then tossed his car keys over to Wang Haoran. “Sorry to trouble you.”

“Don’t mention it.” Wang Haoran was amused. “But you really should go get your eyes checked. Why are you always having problems with them?”

“I have had them checked. They couldn’t find any issues.”

Out of habit, Jì Chengyang touched his hand to the back of Jǐ Yi’s head, signaling to her that they should all leave together now.

Worry had come over Jǐ Yi as she listened to this, though, and the mood while watching the ballet earlier had completely disappeared.

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

Wang Haoran grinned. “You still can’t let it drag out. Go get a thorough examination done. And don’t drive in the next while.” As he spoke, he could not help taking a jab at Jì Chengyang. “You’re just hilarious. You just got back into the country and now you’re already here watching Swan Lake. Where’s your niece? Why is it just little Xixi by herself?”

“She said she has remedial classes today.” Even Jǐ Yi did not know whether this statement from Jì Chengyang was true or not.

“Aren’t the two of them in the same school and the same year?”

“She’s in the science stream; I’m liberal arts,” Jǐ Yi hastily jumped in and added this. “She’s usually a lot busier than me.”

Wang Haoran did not continue harping on this question. With sentence after sentence, he pressed Jì Chengyang for his plans for this return to China. Of course, he was also very concerned about the issues that had suddenly arisen with Jì Chengyang’s eyes. Only through their conversation did Jǐ Yi learn that shortly after the start of tonight’s performance, Jì Chengyang had begun to be unable to see very clearly. This sort of situation had occurred before, when he was in the United States, but a check-up had not discovered any issues.

Hence, he believed it was a result of fatigue. The first thing he thought of was to call Wang Haoran to help drive his car and bring Jǐ Yi back.

<>Please show your support for this translation by reading it at its actual site of posting,  hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, instead

Jǐ Yi sat in the front passenger seat, gazing out through the window at Jì Chengyang. She really, especially did not want to leave first. Her dormitory building, though, was going to be locked soon, so she had no choice but to accept Jì Chengyang’s arrangement and head back first.

During the trip back, she kept thinking about Jì Chengyang. Wang Haoran continually tried to find things to talk about with her, but she did not really listen carefully to any of it.

“Xixi?” Wang Haoran was truly discouraged. “You just don’t want to talk to me?”

“No…” Jǐ Yi felt that since he was Jì Chengyang’s good friend, she of course, by extension, liked him a lot, too. “I’m just thinking about the test that will be happening in tomorrow morning’s self-study class.” This was already her second fib in one night.

Wang Haoran smiled now.

He opened the car window. “That Jì Chengyang. Why’d he still smoke so much with you, a little girl, sitting in his car? Really, just don’t know what to do with him. I’ll open the windows to air out the smell. Put on your jacket.” While he spoke, he took a glance at Jǐ Yi. “Yeah, pull up the zipper of your winter jacket.”

Actually, she was quite used to that smell.

As Jǐ Yi did up her jacket, her thoughts slid back to Jì Chengyang.

Had he flagged down a taxi already? Would he be able to sleep tonight? Did he need several days to get over jet lag and adjust to the time change?

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

It still ended up that when she arrived back at school, her dormitory building was already locked.

Thickening her skin, Jǐ Yi knocked on the window of the teacher in charge of the dormitory building. Fortunately, the teacher was accustomed to her frequently going out to perform and thought that this was another school-organized event. While she was opening the door, she even said, “You’re going to be taking your college entrance exams in half a year, right? Why hasn’t the orchestra let you off yet?”

With a couple of guiltily self-conscious “mm-hmms,” Jǐ Yi dashed up the stairs, taking only two steps for what would normally be three. When she reached the spot where the stairwell turned a corner between the second-year and senior-year students’ floors, she fished out her mobile phone and dialed Jì Chengyang’s number.

The phone rang only a few times before he picked up.

“I’m back at school now,” Jǐ Yi informed him in a quiet voice. “Are you still feeling unwell? Can your eyes still see clearly?”

“I’m okay now,” Jì Chengyang laughed. “Hurry and go to bed. Kids who have morning self-study class need to sleep early.”

Her heart was somewhat set at ease. All of a sudden, she remembered something very important. “Oh no! I forgot to show you my math test papers…”

He chuckled. “I saw them, and I’ve given you your reward, too. It’s in your schoolbag. Hurry back and go to bed now. Good night.”

Reward?

Could it be it wasn’t that Swan Lake performance with the tragic ending?

Jǐ Yi heard the teacher who was doing the rounds through the dormitory coming up the stairs. Hastily, she bade him good night and then hung up the phone. Running back into her dorm room, she set her schoolbag on her bed and eagerly rummaged through it. Sure enough, there was one thing in there that had not been there before. When had he put it in? So remarkable.

She carefully thought back. It seemed that the only time tonight that she had left her schoolbag was when he had told her to go buy the tanghulu… No wonder… No wonder he would not get out of the car with her to buy it.

She tilted her head down to look at the item in her hand.

It was a very exquisitely-bound book. But it did not seem like a book, either.

As she leafed through, Jǐ Yi discovered, using the illumination from her mobile phone’s tiny screen, that every page was blank except for the flyleaf, on which he had signed the words “Jì Chengyang,” followed by “2001.11.15.” On the bottom right corner of every page was a page number that he had written by hand.

Everything else was blank. This was a blank notebook that he had bound himself?

Clasping the notebook against herself, Jǐ Yi suddenly flopped backwards onto the bed. And then, unable to restrain herself, she hugged the notebook and rolled around a couple of times. Her bunkmate above her, Yin Qingqing, finally could not stand it anymore, and poking her head down, she whisperingly complained, “Hey, my dear ancestor[2], are you going to sleep or not? You’ve gone over to the liberal arts class to be a leader there, but I’m still in that fiery pit called the advanced science stream class. I still have to get up early tomorrow, you know. Get up early!”

“I was wrong, I was wrong.” In the light of the moon, Jǐ Yi bowed apologetically.

When the upper bunk at last quieted down, she finally lay down on her own bed and, hugging her notebook, carried on wordlessly wearing a silly grin…

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

[1] The Bolshoi visited Beijing in 2001 and danced Swan Lake from November 15 to 18.

[2] 祖宗 “zu zong.” Literally means “ancestor.” In a situation where someone is acting in a way that you don’t like but there is nothing you can do about her actions, this person is like your “ancestor,” for even though she is doing something inappropriate, you cannot admonish her.

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:
19 of 69 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

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18 thoughts on “The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 9.1

  1. ..This was the allure of a soul..
    — Yup. I couldn’t agree more. These 2 owned beautiful souls that oozed a positive vibes to people around them. This sentence reminded me of BB now. Duh.

    Many thanks, dearie!

    • Exactly. Two such beautiful souls, so different, but so wonderful.
      Haha, well, our Xiao Nanchen Prince does indeed have a beautiful soul, along with his beautiful bones. 😉

      You’re welcome!

  2. 😍😍😍😍😍😍

  3. Omg omg thank you hoju love ur translation 😍😍❤️❤️❤️

  4. Wang hao ran really likes jiyi…? Hmmm you guys think he might turn to be unreasonable guy who will prevent jiyi and ji chengyang dating.?

    • Yes, Wang Haoran is attracted to Ji Yi. Just to note, this story really doesn’t have much for melodrama that you see in TV dramas. There is conflict, but they are realistic and what you would expect in real life during that period (spanning from late 90s to late 2000s) in China, in particular, within families of a military background. 😉 Is that a good enough hint?

  5. Special notebook frm JCY for his lil gal😱

  6. I was basking in JY’s happiness and didn’t want the chapter to end 😀.

    Thank you for the chapter, Hoju 🙂.

  7. How romantic – a hand bound blank book! I love writing in dairy and this for me is a gift worth more than flowers and chocolates.
    Ah! JCY, you sure know to score points. 🙂 And you sure know to guide JY in the direction you want for her. Huh?

    • Oh gosh, I don’t write in a diary, and it’s still worth more than flowers or chocolates. It’s one-of-a-kind, uniquely Ji Chengyang, and filled with thoughtfulness. Holy, be still my heart. You can tell she’s special to him, regardless of what type of feelings those are. ❤ ❤

  8. JCY is too good to be from UPenn lol. They’re kinda sneks lol.

    • He was there in the late 90s and early 2000s. Might be different now. 😉 Gu Pingsheng also had “better choices,” but he chose to go there because it was his mother’s school. Plus, Philly is a gorgeous city. I love it there.

  9. that notebook is going to be so precious…not one mistake can be made nor a page to be missing.
    thank you

    • I’m sure Ji Yi will treasure it. (It’ll probably go in the drawer with her kite and his travel list.)
      You’re welcome!

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