Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 9.3

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The end of this update also marks the end of Book I, which I consider to be about Jǐ Yi’s growing-up period. 🙂 There truly was a great blizzard on December 7, 2001 in Beijing, and it paralyzed the city’s traffic. Many people to this day remember it clearly. It will also forever be in Jǐ Yi’s memory, but for a different reason…

Chapter 9.3 — Inch After Inch of Time (3)

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.

 

His hand was on her head.

Jǐ Yi turned her face to the side. For the first time, she heard his heartbeat. Because she was directly against his chest, each rhythmic beat was particularly strong. However, she could clearly sense that her heart rate was much faster than his.

The glass was still raised in his hand when Jì Chengyang felt her hands slip around his waist, then close together, encircling him. This entire action had been done very gingerly.

Just like the time in Wellington.

Jì Chengyang wanted to say something, but in the end, the words did not leave his lips, and instead, he simply drank the water in the glass himself. Before he had taken a couple of swallows, though, the doorbell rang. He patted her on the arm lightly. “Go tell Nuannuan to get up and have breakfast.”

Jǐ Yi seemed as if she was startled back to awareness. Hastily, she pulled her arms back, turned around, and left the kitchen.

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

To her surprise, Wang Haoran was with Su Yan this time as he stepped into the house.

Nuannuan was genuinely tired from all her playing and fun, and feeling that this was no big matter, she simply hugged the blanket, rolled over, and carried on sleeping. After calling her a couple of times to no avail, Jǐ Yi walked back out from the bedroom. She saw Wang Haoran setting out onto some plates the soybean milk and youtiao [savoury, fried breadstick] as well as a couple of steamed buns stuffed with red bean paste and tangsanjiao [“sugar triangle” buns] that he had bought. Hearing her stepping out, he lifted his head and took a glance at her. “Hurry over and eat.” As he said this, he picked up a steamed, red-bean-paste bun and pulled it apart. “Jì Chengyang, I have something to do today, so I’m not going to be your chauffeur. After I’ve eaten, I’m going to bolt.”

Left (image credit): 油条 Youtiao, literally meaning “oil stick,” is a strip of dough that is fried. While it is often referred to as Chinese doughnut or Chinese cruller, it is a savoury food, lightly salted, and is usually eaten for breakfast with rice porridge or soybean milk. Right (image credit): 糖三角 Tangsanjiao, literally meaning “sugar triangle,” is a steamed bun filled with brown sugar that, when the bun is fresh, oozes out when bitten into.

Only now did Jì Chengyang step out from the kitchen, and giving an “mm” in reply, he said nothing more.

Jǐ Yi pulled a stool over and sat down. Immediately, Wang Haoran pulled apart a tangsanjiao and placed it in front of her. The brown sugar inside was still hot and emitting little tendrils of steam.

“It’s good for young girls to have brown sugar. After I came out from Yon Ho, I deliberately went around the corner and bought this. You have this tangsanjiao. Leave the youtiao for Jì Chengyang to eat.” He utterly had the airs of a chef allocating his dishes.

While Wang Haoran spoke, he took a seat beside Jǐ Yi.

Jì Chengyang sat across from her, and next to him was Su Yan.

<>The original site of posting for this translation is hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Please support the translation over there instead.

The two men had originally made no mention of what had occurred in the early hours of this morning, and it was actually Su Yan who turned a solemn look on Jǐ Yi and began lecturing. “From what I saw, those boys who were with the two of you aren’t good people of any sort. Jǐ Yi, when you were a kid, you seemed like you were a really good girl. How come now that you’ve grown up—”

“Hey! What are you saying?” Wang Haoran actually grew displeased first. “It’s obvious that Xixi was brought there by someone.”

Su Yan had an expression of “I cannot even be bothered to say any more.”

The two of them were in the same orchestra, so naturally much of their schedules were the same. Wang Haoran was intentionally trying to guide the topic of discussion, and he transitioned the subject from the incident at the nightclub to going to Russia to perform.

Fearful that Jì Chengyang would be angry again after hearing this dialogue, Jǐ Yi gripped her half a tangsanjiao, stealing glances at him as she ate it.

Jì Chengyang did not eat anything. In front of him was still that same glass of warm water. When she peeked at him, he happened to be feeling at his pants pocket. It was such a subtle action, but Su Yan had already detected it. Her brows creased. “Why is it you just can’t be away from your smokes? Where’d the tri-merit student[1] of the past, that morally-lofty and gifted student, go?”

He did not answer. Standing, he strode over to the couch, picked up his down jacket, and pulled out his cigarettes from its pocket. Then stepping out onto the balcony, he closed the door behind him and, alone, began to smoke.

“I don’t get it. It’s not like smoking is anything good,” Su Yan grumbled as she drank her soybean milk.

“Of course you don’t get it. When you were a kid, you just went from this rehearsal hall to that rehearsal hall. Now that you’ve grown up, all you do is go from this concert hall to another theater hall.” With a smile, Wang Haoran glanced out onto the balcony at Jì Chengyang. “I think that everyone subconsciously has something that they give their psychological burdens to. For example, I have to drink water. At any time, any place, I need to have a glass of water on hand. Once I have water, my heart will feel settled. Him? I’m guessing at any time, any place, he needs to have a cigarette on him, and when he sees any death or bodies blown to pieces, it can help him keep his emotions relatively stable. It’s a sense of security, get it? It can be classified as a dependence on a physical item or substance.”

“All right, all right. I don’t even need to eat my breakfast now.” Su Yan’s stomach was turning after hearing “bodies blown to pieces,” and setting down the steamed, red-bean-paste bun she had been holding, she picked up her soybean milk and left the table.

Su Yan pushed open the balcony door and gave a greeting of “Chengyang,” but then soon, she had closed the door behind her again.

She continued speaking to Jì Chengyang, but where Jǐ Yi was, their dialogue could not be heard at all. Jǐ Yi very much minded this and wanted to know what the two would talk about, but she could not walk over and blatantly eavesdrop on the conversation, either. And so, she could only take bite after bite from her tangsanjiao, her heart in a complete mess.

Today was Friday and should normally have had classes, but because Fuzhong was participating in an event put on by the Bureau of Education, all teachers of senior-year high school classes had been summoned to accompany the higher-ups from the bureau, and therefore, all the senior-year high school students had a day off.

Hence, Nuannuan was not in a hurry and slept the entire time. When Wang Haoran and Su Yan left, only Jì Chengyang and Jǐ Yi were left in the common areas of the home, and it was so quiet she felt even more uneasy.

Last night, it had been too much of a rush when Nuannuan grabbed her out, so there were no study materials in her schoolbag, only a book of English vocabulary words and her pencil pouch. With truly nothing to do, she held that vocabulary book, sat on the couch in the living room, and began once more to recite and memorize those words, one word at a time. After reciting a few lines, she lifted her head for a look. Jì Chengyang was still smoking out on the balcony…

And so this continued until noon had passed. Nuannuan was still sound asleep.

At last, Jì Chengyang came back in from the balcony. “I’ll take you to go get something to eat.”

She put her English vocabulary book into her schoolbag and stood up. “I’ll go get Nuannuan.”

“No need.” Jì Chengyang pointed out bluntly, “Hasn’t she been like this since she started this senior year of high school? If she has the time to, she’ll sleep for a whole day.”

These words were indeed the truth.

So, the two of them left Nuannuan in the home and went out themselves. At some time, snow had started to fall outside, and furthermore, it was showing signs of getting heavier and heavier. By the time they finished lunch, a thick layer of snow had accumulated on Jì Chengyang’s car, which was parked outside the restaurant.

No wonder, when they were eating lunch inside the restaurant, they saw on the news that the municipal government had issued a snow removal order[2] of the first degree.

This was an unprecedented occurrence.

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

Jǐ Yi had a particular fondness for snow. Walking over, she scooped some up in her hands from the hood of his car. “The snow today is really heavy.”

“It is quite heavy, but it seems that the built-up snow isn’t as deep as it used to be.”

“Used to be?” She asked, “How deep did the snow used to get in Beijing?”

Bending over at the waist, Jì Chengyang made a gesture somewhere by his calf to indicate a depth. “My first time in Beijing and my first time seeing snow, it was a heavy fall that was this deep.” He straightened back up and carried on, “At the time, I was about five or six years old. It was in 1982.”

Jǐ Yi was born in 1986. Jì Chengyang was talking about something that had happened before she was born.

“So why don’t we get such thick snow now?”

He opened the car door, letting her get inside the vehicle first. “Global warming. There are more personal vehicles in Beijing, too. It’ll be really hard to see another big snowfall like that again in Beijing.”

She had thought they would be heading directly home and had not expected that Jì Chengyang would drive over to Yansha Youyi Shopping City. Very rarely did she ever go with anyone to the mall. Her clothes were all ready-made ones that someone would bring to her, and though the size and fit inevitably were not quite right, they were not too far off either. Most of the time, she was wearing Fuzhong’s school uniform anyway, and only when she was outside for a performance would she bring along a couple of casual outfits. Hence, she did not have a big need for clothing.

And so, when she and Jì Chengyang arrived at this place, she was a little dazed.

It was not until he led her to the counter of a brand for young people and instructed the sales assistant to choose a nice-looking garment for her that she finally clued in: he wanted to buy clothes for her. The sales assistant was so keen she could not get any keener. Judging from their appearances, she thought the two of them were an older brother buying clothes for his younger sister, and she even complimented them nonstop. “This little sister, honestly, other than not being as tall as her big brother, has such nice, well-proportioned features. You guys both have big eyes and double eyelids. Your parents must be very attractive, too.”

Taken aback by this, Jǐ Yi snuck a look at Jì Chengyang.

He seemed to have no desire to explain… Then, she wouldn’t explain, either.

It was December, and a small number of brands were already beginning to push out their spring fashions. Jì Chengyang’s intention was also for her to choose clothing that she would wear in the springtime. “It’s my birthday present to you.” He explained it this way.

But, there was more than a month until her birthday.

Inside the fitting room, Jǐ Yi put on the little, checkered-pattern blouse. As she gazed at herself in the mirror, a blush suddenly rose into her cheeks. The checkered design and colour that she had selected were actually the same as what he was wearing today, a pale-blue colour with squares that were neither large nor small. Opening the door and stepping out from the small fitting room, she walked toward him and then stopped at a spot four or five steps away.

Jì Chengyang seemed not to have noticed anything. Carefully, he looked her over a couple of times. “Not bad.”

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Jì Chengyang was very patient, and coupled with the ardent enthusiasm of the sales associates at each counter, they spent three, four hours in Yansha.

The result of this was that, much to their great surprise, when they stepped out from Yansha, a sea of vehicles had already formed on the road. The entire thoroughfare was like a parking lot covered in snow. Through her window, she looked out at the lanes on both sides and saw that an additional line of vehicles had been forcefully created between them.

When the sky gradually darkened, Jì Chengyang’s car was still stuck on Chang’an Avenue, and thousands of cars were crawling along with great difficulty.

Nuannuan finally woke from hunger and gave them a phone call. She was watching television while saying to Jǐ Yi, “I think we’ve got a big uh-oh here. I’ve never seen Beijing so congested. The news on TV says that the cars on the road aren’t even moving and it’s like a parking lot.”

“It is really hard to drive,” Jǐ Yi confirmed in a low voice. “We’re still on Chang’an Avenue.”

“It’ll be at least eight or nine o’clock before you’ll be able to get back home here, right? I’m going to starve to death. I’ve already eaten all the breakfast on the table that you guys had left over.”

“Go see if there are any eggs in the kitchen…” Jǐ Yi coached her, “You can use the microwave to make a bowl of steamed egg custard to eat.”

Jǐ Yi roughly taught her how to make it.

Hanging up the phone, she stared at the sea of cars, whose end was nowhere in sight. Even the bus lane was packed full with vehicles of all sizes.

The time ticked by, minute after minute, second after second. Gradually, the snow ceased.

At around eight, nine o’clock, there were still no signs that the vehicles would be able to move. From far away, she saw many people get off a bus. It seemed that they were planning to walk home, or perhaps go further away to check again if there were any taxis that could take them… This traffic jam truly was a severe one…

Jì Chengyang unexpectedly grabbed his jacket from the backseat. “Wait here for me. I’ll be back really soon.”

Jǐ Yi did not even have a chance to react before he had already pushed open the door and gotten off the car. She saw him, beyond the windshield wipers that were relentlessly swishing back and forth, swiftly slip through the sea of vehicles and then disappear. Where was he going? Staring blankly at Tiananmen Tower[3] to the left, she mused over this question. Patiently, she waited—waited for a long time—until the cars ahead of her suddenly shifted forward a slight stretch.

Alarmed at this, Jǐ Yi’s first reaction was to pick up her mobile phone to call him.

The cars behind her, however, were already too impatient to wait and were honking their horns, their noise practically shaking the heavens.

The sounds of car horns, as well berating shouts from people, left her in a fluster, and she even considered whether she should try to drive a little bit, since the car needed only to be nudged forward a short section anyway… Luckily, at this moment, the car door was pulled open.

Jì Chengyang hopped into the car, casually tossed a bag of some sort of hot food over to her, and shifted the car forward a few metres.

And then, they continued being stuck in traffic.

Jǐ Yi pulled out a pineapple pie and took a bite, nearly scalding her tongue.

While she was in the midst of sucking in air, she suddenly discovered that he was looking somewhat amusedly at her.

“What?” She was puzzled.

“You ate the one I wanted to eat.” He gave a cough, feeling a little awkward.

Oh, so it turns out he likes pineapple pie?

Jǐ Yi unexpectedly felt as if he was swathed in an exceptionally soft glow of white light, like he had all of a sudden become real and down-to-earth, become more gentle and kind. Out of a very natural response, she brought the pie to his lips. “Then you eat the rest. I only took half a bite.” But her words had not even finished echoing out when she caught on that something was not right. She was too accustomed to it—that feeling of closeness between them from her childhood was too hard to forget…

The next few seconds were drawn out infinitely.

His gaze shifted from the other pie, the apple one, over to her hand. And then, loosening his right hand from the steering wheel, he closed it around her hand and took a bite from the pineapple pie. In a voice muffled by the food in his mouth, he told her, “I just randomly said that. You eat it.”

She pulled her hand back, her eyes fixed on that spot where he had taken a bite. After a while, she finally continued, bite by bite, eating that pineapple pie until it was completely gone.

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

Prior to that night, Beijing had never experienced traffic congestion with such large, widespread impact.

That night, Jǐ Yi listened to the radio the entire time. Every outbound flight from Beijing Capital International Airport was cancelled, and every single passenger arriving on a civil flight arrived late. It seemed as if that great snowfall had divided this city’s traffic into two distinct eras, one before and one immediately after: Prior to it, no one had believed that traffic could be so brutally congested. After it, people gradually grew accustomed to viewing this city as one giant parking lot.

Many of the people who were stuck on the road that night would not forget December 7, 2001. That Friday, so many people had gotten off work and sat into their vehicles at five or six o’clock, but did not finally arrive home until two, three o’clock in the morning.

And when she and Jì Chengyang arrived back at his home, it was also already one in the morning.

Nuannuan had already gone to sleep once again.

Jǐ Yi set the bag that held her clothes onto the sofa chair beside the bed. She saw Jì Chengyang quietly take out some clean clothing from the closet and then signal to her with his eyes that he was going to shower first. Gazing after his departing backside, she suddenly felt that this day was so very remarkable. When they left, Nuannuan had been sleeping soundly; when they returned, Nuannuan was also sleeping, in even the same position as before, as if time had never shifted.

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

As if this day had been secretly stolen for them, and no one would know about it.

 

End of BOOK I

 

[1] 三好学生 “san hao xue sheng.” The literal translation would be “three-good student,” although it more accurately should be thought of as “tri-merit student.” From the 1950s, a national merit award system was used to recognize students who had “three goods”: good morals, good physical health and fitness, and good academics and intelligence. This honorific was very much coveted. Since the 2000s, this recognition system has undergone revamps, with many locations placing less emphasis on it or modifying it.

[2] 扫雪令 “sao xue ling.” An order issued to all citizens of the city to aid in the removal of snow and ice from walks, pathways, and roads of the city.

[3] 天安门城楼. Tiananmen Tower, also known as Tiananmen Gate or the Gate of Heavenly Peace, is just north of Tiananmen Square and was formerly the entrance to Beijing’s Imperial City. Chang’an Avenue, the road that Jǐ Yi and Jì Chengyang are stuck on when he gets out to buy the pies, runs between Tiananmen Tower and Tiananmen Square.

Left: Map of location of Tiananmen Tower relative to Chang’an Avenue, Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square. Right: Tiananmen Tower in the snow (Image credit: “Gate of Heavenly Peace in Winter” by Regina800809, originally posted in Wikimedia Commons, image used under CC BY-SA 3.0)

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:
21 of 69 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

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24 thoughts on “The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 9.3

  1. Thank you:)

  2. an extra long date for the both of the, and perhaps a glimpse of their future live together
    thank you

  3. They are again sharing the same pineapple pie😱 uncle JCY can do this only with JY..so thoughtful of him giving her birthday present in advance maybe he gonna leave soon again…

    • Jì Chengyang doesn’t mind sharing food with Ji Yi. 😉 Very observant… yes, why more than a month in advance?

  4. Thanks Hoju. Hehe..indirect kiss with Little Uncle? Hmmm…first book has finished, can’t wait for the next chapter of Ji Yi’s life.

  5. I totally get it why JY would fall for JCY. And yay!!! Grown up JY next! Thanks for the chapter!!!

    • It’s hard not to fall for him. Sadly, growing up had a price. But for Ji Yi, it’s a necessary process.
      You’re welcome!

  6. I’d also like to add that I like the way the age gap and changing feelings were handled by the writer. It never crossed that line.

  7. Why am I feeling little heavy that Book 1 is over. I was always looking forward to grown up JY and JCY loving her back!!!
    Might be there was a charm in JCY taking care of little JY and I am going to miss little JY.

    Thank you for the chapter, Hoju 😀.

    • By “grown up” I just meant she is pulled out of her little girl mindset and understands the world more. She still is young and learning. 🙂

      Thanks for reading!

  8. Goshh he is sooo sweet , thanks Hoju

  9. thanks for the update💕

  10. Beautiful, beautiful memories for her treasure box. So well written, I feel like I am in Beijing with them.

  11. What would I do if I was trapped alone with JCY in a car, during the blizzard, on a worst traffic jam? For sure, I won’t sit and behave as sweet as Ji Yi… ^^

    Thanks my dear, for another chapter.

  12. Thank you so much Hoju for such a wonderful read. Ending Book 1 and now looking forward to Book 2.

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