Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 9.2

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What happens when Jì Chengyang gets mad? (But even when he gets mad, it’s because he wants to protect her. Aaaaw…)

Chapter 9.2 — Inch After Inch of Time (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.

 

She did not know why, but this time after he came back, Jì Chengyang was particularly busy.

He was so busy that, since that time they watched Swan Lake, it had already been more than ten days where he had not contacted her. She even began to feel a little uneasy. Had she acted too clingy with him such that he had detected something and was now trying to distance himself from her?

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

Before her eyes right now were scenes shrouded in extravagance and extreme luxury and sensuality.

Her head bowed, she stared at her glass of cola. For four hours already, she had sat like this in this wild and complicated nightclub. Had Nuannuan not used the excuse that it was her birthday to trick her into coming here, how would it even be possible that right here, right now, she would be sitting in this place?

In front of her, there was only a messy array of drinking glasses and bottles of alcohol, all types of alcohol.

There was no one beside her. Everyone had gone onto the dance floor.

This was the first time she had ever stepped into such a place. Nuannuan’s circle of friends was simply too complicated. Since entering high school and leaving that military compound, it was as if Nuannuan had suddenly stepped out from her glass room into the real world, where everything was so dazzling. She wanted to try anything that she had never experienced before. This was especially the case when it came to Xiao Jun, someone who merely needed to wave his hand and then there would be brothers surrounding him, who at a whim would beat up any student in front of any of the fuzhong [university-affiliated] or key middle and high schools in the Haidian District[1]. She practically viewed him as Chen Haonan from the Young and Dangerous films[2]

<>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

Jǐ Yi’s lips felt very uncomfortable. The discomfort was unlike when she was performing on stage, because during those times she would be focused on the performance and would naturally forget about the uncomfortable feeling that this stuff brought. The longer she sat, the more uncomfortable she felt. From her schoolbag, she pulled out some tissues and swiped at her lips.

Five in the morning.

She felt that she was so sleepy her head was already reeling somewhat.

Standing, she wanted to head over to the dance floor to find Nuannuan and tell her that they should just go. If worst came to worst, they could just head back to her dormitory and crowd onto one bed together to sleep. It would at least be better than here. But she had only just risen to her feet before she was pulled back down onto her seat again.

Fu Xiaoning, his head tilted to the side slightly, smiled as he set down several pill-like objects on the table. “Check out what these are. But you can only look. You can’t eat them, my good girl, Xixi.” Jǐ Yi was not interested in the least bit, but not daring to say anything, she simply picked up her cola and drank it.

Fu Xiaoning’s two fingers were pinching something, which he held up in front of her eyes.

Even if Jǐ Yi did not want to look, it was impossible not to. It was a little green tablet with even some sort of animal roughly etched into it.

Looking past the tablet, she saw Fu Xiaoning’s eyes. With his chin, he motioned in the direction of several people off in the distance who were clasping the railing, madly flinging their heads as they danced. “This is called Ecstasy[3]. If you take it, you’ll be like them. Remember, whenever you go out in the future to have fun, don’t drink anything that anyone gives you.”

He suddenly threw that thing into her glass.

The foam that formed as it dissolved suddenly spumed. Jǐ Yi was so shaken she set her glass on the table.

The first time she gained an understanding about drugs was in 1997, when she watched Red Recipe[4], which had starred Zhou Xun. At that time, Zhou Xun was still a television actress. A young girl’s most beautiful years were destroyed because of drugs. Jǐ Yi’s memories of the movie were still fresh and vivid, and they had also been forever inscribed into her mind. Hence, a natural fear of those substances had formed within her.

And today was her first time coming into close contact with those things.

Against a background of an intense, debased beat, a woman was clutching the railing and giving a vivid demonstration of the consequences of taking that stuff. This chilled the heart to the very depths even more than seeing news reports.

“I withdrew from work-study reform school last year and moved to a little place. I wanted to get a start by being a police officer. But I didn’t graduate from a police academy, so I had no choice and could only hang out with those types of people first.” Fu Xiaoning looked at her. “Later, I was drinking baijiu[5] [traditional Chinese alcoholic drink] with them every day and drank so much that I ended up vomiting blood. It was only then that my mom finally relented and let me come back.”

Jǐ Yi did not know what to say.

She felt that she really could not stay here any longer. She took out her mobile phone, wanting to call Nuannuan and get her out from that dance floor so they could go back to the school.

Fu Xiaoning’s hand came down on hers. “I just want to talk to you.”

Nuannuan’s phone call suddenly came in.

Fu Xiaoning released his hold.

As she held her phone up, she could sense his gaze boring into her. It made her want to leave right this instant. She did not want to stay here even one extra second.

“On no, this is bad, Xixi. Hurry and grab my bag for me. I’ll wait for you at the main door.”

“I’m coming right away.” In relief, as if she had been granted a pardon, she picked up both their schoolbags and began heading towards the door. All of a sudden, Fu Xiaoning reached over to take her wrist into his hand. As if she had seen a venomous snake, she recoiled a couple of steps and nearly ended up sitting onto the table. Gazing at this reaction of hers, Fu Xiaoning smiled somewhat resignedly. “Go now. Next time, don’t come to a place like this.”

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

This was the blackest hour before dawn. Outside, it was especially dark. Not a star was in the sky.

With their schoolbags in hand, she ran outside. Nuannuan was just outside the main door, and in that strong wind of force 5 or 6, she was shivering so fiercely her face was pale. The instant she saw Jǐ Yi, she hugged Jǐ Yi’s arm and, in a type of tone that implored for mercy, said, “I’ll tell you, this time we’ve got a big problem. That girl who has all along been trying to pursue my little uncle, she saw me. My little uncle’s going to be here really soon. He told me to wait for him at the front door and that I’m not allowed to go anywhere. I’m telling you, Jǐ Yi, you need to put in good words and ask for mercy for me, or else for sure my mom is going to beat me to death this time.”

Jì Chengyang?

Jǐ Yi grew panicked as well, and frantically, she began wiping at the lipstick on her lips.

In Beijing’s December, at five in the morning, outside the entrance of the club, Banana, the two of them stood like this, truly not daring to go inside again, nor daring to leave this spot. They dared not go anywhere at all and simply stood frozen in place. In the end, by the time Wang Haoran and Jì Chengyang had driven here, the two were so cold they were already somewhat numb of any feeling.

They got into the car, but as they looked at Jì Chengyang sitting in the front passenger seat, they did not dare speak.

“I’ll say, just how old are you guys now, and yet you’re already hanging around these sorts of places? It’s not safe.” Wang Haoran glanced at Jǐ Yi in the rear view mirror and helped them smooth over the situation. “Next time, I’ll bring you two to Sanlitun[6] and accompany you the whole time. It’ll absolutely be safe.”

Nuannuan did not have the courage to answer him or say anything to Jì Chengyang.

And Jì Chengyang, from beginning to end, really did not speak a single sentence. Afterwards, when the car arrived downstairs of his home, Wang Haoran parked it and then, of his own accord, got out to go “watch the sunrise,” leaving Jì Chengyang space to reprimand his own family’s kid. Wang Haoran had originally wanted to have Jǐ Yi get off the vehicle too, but Jǐ Yi, terrified as well that he was angry, to the point that she was on the verge of tears, simply planted herself in the car, not daring to move.

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Inside the car, there was only silence.

Jì Chengyang sat in the front seat of the vehicle and, not saying a word, began looking through CDs. The speakers started slowly playing a very flowing piano accompaniment. His fingers came to a stop, no longer searching. Then, slightly lowering the seatback of the front seat that he was in, he closed his eyes and began listening to music. Soon, every corner of the car’s interior was filled with this song.

The melody was not very familiar, yet she also felt she had heard it before.

The singer’s gentle, husky voice. The mournful melody that slowly blossomed forth…

The air pressure in the vehicle seemed to plummet straight down.

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

This silent treatment from Jì Chengyang was most nerve-wracking.

You did not know what he was thinking.

Nuannuan was scared, and mouthing her words, she pleaded to Jǐ Yi for help: My stomach hurts. I need to go upstairs to use the bathroom.

Jǐ Yi was about to burst into tears. It was apparent that Nuannuan wanted to toss this mess to her. Gripping on to Nuannuan’s hand, Jǐ Yi signaled back to her: No! You can’t leave me here by myself.

Over and over, Nuannuan bowed beseechingly to her: Today’s my birthday. Just save me this one time.

For the first time ever, Jǐ Yi held her ground: Please, I’m begging you, don’t leave me here all by myself.

She was extremely afraid that Jì Chengyang would be disappointed—truly, extremely afraid. All along, she had tried to be especially perfect, especially good whenever she appeared before him. But now, this was basically the worst she could possibly be. Seeing that she was genuinely scared, Nuannuan decided to just steel herself through this, a look of “If death is inevitable, then we’ll die together!” on her face.

“Feeling hungry?” Without warning, Jì Chengyang, his eyes still closed, asked them this.

“Hungry! I’m starving to death.” Nuannuan instantly became as demure as a little lamb. “Little Uncle, you can yell at me all you want, but first let me eat, how about that? How about we go upstairs first?” She was utterly stalling for time.

Jì Chengyang replied flatly, “Then you can starve for a while first.”

……

He spoke no more.

After some time, even Wang Haoran, who was still outside, could not restrain himself any longer and opened the car door. “I’ll say, it’s six o’clock already. I’ll drive over to the Yon Ho[7] in Xinjiekou [Subdistrict] and pick up some breakfast. You bring them upstairs first. Seriously, just how big a deal is this? Don’t pick on little girls.”

Luckily, they had this person here helping smooth things over, as well as Nuannuan’s persistent, cute pouting, for at last, Jì Chengyang brought them back to his home.

Nuannuan was especially smart. The instant they stepped into the home, she said she was tired and, slipping straight into Jì Chengyang’s bedroom, flopped onto his bed. “I can’t take it anymore. Don’t call me when breakfast gets here. I’m so sleepy I could die. I need to sleep all the way to the afternoon.”

Jǐ Yi knew she was totally using sleep as a way of escape.

Jì Chengyang did not say anything to her, either. Walking into the kitchen, he poured two glasses of hot water. When Jǐ Yi trailed after him, he handed the water to her. His fingers pinching the glass, he motioned to her that she should hold the glass by its rim so as to not get burned.

Jǐ Yi had clearly seen his gesture, but her brain was in a confused mess and she still dazedly closed her hand around the body of the glass. Immediately, she was burned, and she jerked her hand back.

“You burned yourself?” Jì Chengyang took her hand and, turning on the faucet, put it under the running water. The water in the winter was particularly cold, and instantly the pain was eased.

But she still really wanted to cry.

When Jì Chengyang lowered his head to carefully examine her hand, he finally noticed that her eyes were terribly red. The look she had, though, was one of holding her tears in and not letting herself cry, restraining herself until even the tips of her ears were red.

She looked especially wounded, like she had been wronged.

Jǐ Yi forced her tears back.

Not daring to lift her head to look at him, she fixed her eyes on his shirt-button.

In such cold weather, he had worn only a button-up shirt and a down jacket on top to head outside. He had not even put on a cashmere sweater. It must have been because he had been too angry… Jǐ Yi’s heart was aching terribly. When she thought about the fact that she had not stopped Nuannuan and, in fact, had even managed to be coerced and cajoled into going out to play, she felt that she really had made grave, grave mistake, that never before had she acted so heinously.

“Still hurt?” he asked.

“No, not anymore,” she answered softly. “It doesn’t hurt even a tiny bit anymore.”

“Will you go again in the future?”

“No.” Her nose instantly began to tingle.

In reality, she felt especially wronged. She honestly did not do it on purpose.

Jì Chengyang also had a temper—on this day, in this second, here in this kitchen, she had truly experienced it.

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

Jì Chengyang took another glass, poured out half of the hot water in the first one, and then poured that half-cup of water back and forth between the two glasses. It seemed he was using this simple action to help himself dilute some of that temper.

Bit by bit, that anger that had been evoked by being awoken by a phone call at five in the morning, by hearing the message in that call, was quelled. He was only twenty-four years old himself. If his growing up and maturing process had followed a normal trajectory, he should have only just begun his doctorate studies and would not have stepped out of campus life yet. Even if the progression of his life was much more rapid than an ordinary person’s, he was still only twenty-four and was not mature and sensible to the point of being a qualified guardian…

He continuously told himself, Jì Chengyang, you have seen unbearably horrible things and hopelessness. You have seen those North African women dragging their large mattresses behind them, selling their bodies by the roadside or in thickets. You have seen charred corpses, seen the panic and death after an explosion, and even seen the most prosperous and bustling of cities sinking into the panicked horror of its Armageddon. Tonight, she got only a little glimpse of the real world. You don’t need to be so uptight. She merely, in China, in Beijing, on this night, went to a club that follows all proper and legal avenues…

“I know you wouldn’t initiate going to places like that.” He tried as much as possible to make his voice gentle, despite the iciness still in it. “This society is too complicated. Even if you weren’t the one who initiated going there, you’re already there. If there’s any danger, the one who gets hurt will still only be you.”

The water was no longer scalding hot. Setting down the empty glass, he wanted to hand that half a glass of warm water to her.

Jǐ Yi sensed that he had turned and was facing her. In a quiet voice, she said to him, “I was wrong… Don’t be mad.” She felt so terribly hurt and wronged, but she dared not try to justify herself. She wanted to do as she had before, where in her most hurt and helpless times, in her times of greatest fear, she had wrapped her arms around him. But she did not have the courage to take a single step closer.

Jì Chengyang, with the glass in his hand, paused for half a second. Finally, he stretched out the other hand and slowly pulled her head against his chest.

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

[1] District to the northwest of Beijing’s urban core.

[2] 古惑仔. Young and Dangerous is a series of films in the mid-1990s to 2000 about young members in Hong Kong’s triad society. Chen Haonan, or in Cantonese, Chan Ho-Nam, was the main character of this series and was played by Ekin Cheng. It was a highly popular film series. Currently, here in the story, it is the year 2001, so Jǐ Yi and Nuannuan’s generation would certainly know about and be influenced by this series.

[3] 摇头丸 “yao tou wan.” The drug MDMA is commonly known as Ecstasy in English, but in Chinese, its common name 摇头丸 literally translates as “head shaking pill.” (In case you are like me and didn’t know, nowadays, MDMA generally appears as a gel capsule filled with the drug powder, but in the early 2000s and earlier, it was commonly seen as a pill in cotton-candy-like colours and would often have some sort of logo imprinted on it.)

[4]《红处方》Hong Chu Fang or Red Recipe (or the literal translation, Red Prescription) is a 1997 Mainland television serial drama that tells of a young woman’s drug addiction and her rehabilitation and recovery. (This was popular actress Zhou Xun’s foray into television.)

[5] 白酒 “bai jiu.” Baijiu literally means “white alcohol.” This traditional Chinese alcoholic beverage is technically classified as a spirit and is made from sorghum and other grains. Those who did not grow up exposed to baijiu will often, on their first taste of it, describe it with adjectives such as “strong,” “fiery,” “harsh,” “biting,” etc. It has a high alcohol by volume (ABV), typically in the range of 40-60%. (For comparison, a typical wine is ~9-15%, vodka is 40%.)

[6] 三里屯 Sanlitun (which literally means “three li village” and where li is a unit of distance) is an international shopping, dining, and entertainment area in Beijing. It contains Sanlitun Bar Street, which was famous for its dingy appearance, popular drinking destinations, and nightlife, including some “grimy” destinations. (Note that much of Sanlitun Bar Street was bulldozed in April 2017 as part of a clean-up campaign. This scene in the story, though, is in 2001, when the street was still very much alive and kicking.)

[7] 永和豆浆 “Yong He Dou Jiang or “Yong He Soybean Milk.” It goes by the English name Yon Ho. This is a café-style restaurant chain specializing in breakfast foods and soybean milk.

A Yon Ho storefront (image credit: http://www.baike.com/wiki/永和豆浆)

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:
20 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 9.2

  1. Hmm feelings seem to be developing nicely. I’m glad she’s become older; I can ship them now. Thanks for the update!

  2. Ohmigosh this is plucking mah heartstrings!!! 😍

  3. JY is such a good girl…definitely not a curiosity cat toward the bad side of the society and at least she learnt a very valuable lesson from FXN
    thank you

    • Indeed. Ji Yi has managed to always maintain herself on the right, even upright, path. I think even without the demonstration from Fu Xiaoning and the random people dancing at the club, she still would never have touched that stuff, but this definitely secures that resolve in her.
      You’re welcome!

  4. Wow the last moment made me squeal!

  5. Hmmm…have I missed something? I thought their age difference was 10 years apart, no? So if he’s 24, isnt she 14, maybe 15? Or maybe I read wrong…

    • There age difference is 8 years and 8 months, minus one day (not that I’m trying to be exact… LOL). A couple of chapters ago, in Wellington, right before the 9/11 attacks of New York, you read that Ji Chengyang was thinking that she was “at the age of 15 years and 9 months.” From the time in Wellington to this scene, it has almost been three months.

      🙂 Timeline in this story is quite important and hard to keep track of.

  6. The silence treatment, I hate it but it is effective.
    Good for him, he knows to differentiate between his niece and JY. 🙂

    • I hate it, and I hate that I often use it. *Sigh* I try not to make it a weapon anymore, and I tell people, usually my kids or hubby, that I’m mad and I don’t want to talk to anyone, that they should give me space and leave me alone. That way, I can still huff angrily, but it becomes my way of dealing with it and not that I’m using it to attack anyone. I believe, though, that Ji Chengyang is to some degree trying to demonstrate his anger. “Then you can starve for a while first.”

      I think he drew that line a long time ago. 🙂

  7. Let me quote Hoju’s comment from previous chapter: Gosh, how can a girl not fall “madly” for Jì Chengyang?
    I, for sure, fall all over again and again whenever I read this novel; truly, madly, deeply… ❤‿❤

  8. JY badly needed that hug 👏.

    Thank you for the chapter, Hoju 🙂.

    • Despite his anger and frustration, he is still willing to give her the comfort she needs. ❤
      You're welcome!

  9. Thank you Hoju

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