Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 10.1

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Jì Chengyang has disappeared. Why?

BOOK II

Chapter 10.1 — Life’s Hidden Billows (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.

 

Before the winter break, Xiao Jun opened a music and video store in three locations, by the main gates of Fuzhong, in Wudaokou[1], and in the Xinjiekou Subdistrict. He himself ran the shop by Fuzhong. As the store was only two, three hundred metres from Fuzhong’s main gates, a particularly large number of students would go there. Naturally, Nuannuan was especially happy about this. Her manner was completely like she was the lady-boss of the place, and if she had nothing to do once classes were done, she would amuse herself in the shop.

The store itself was not big, but business was very good.

The shop’s main business came from cutout discs[2] and authentic, original discs from Hong Kong. The most important piece was, Xiao Jun had been out and making his way with the likes of certain crowds very early and therefore had many contacts and resources.

“Classical, rock, jazz.” Nuannuan, her hair tied up high on her head, was standing in the shop and looking quite like she knew what she was talking about as she gave recommendations. “This row here, all of it came directly from Hong Kong, and you need to add 60 kuai for shipping costs.”

Someone picked up a disc and asked a question. Immediately, how much she truly knew was exposed. “Uh, this one…”

Nuannuan’s eyes shot a plea for help at Xiao Jun, who was drinking tea.

Pursing his lips in a smile, Xiao Jun stood. “With this Neu! CD, once you leave this store, you’ll absolutely be unable to find another shop in Beijing that has it. 170, non-negotiable.”

That person laughed loudly. “All right, boss, you don’t need to show off. I’ve long heard that you’ve got lots of top-notch stuff here. I deliberately came here.”

As Jǐ Yi watched Nuannuan and Xiao Jun smile at one another, she suddenly felt that that previous incident from that night was not a big deal.

The more she grew up, the more she enjoyed watching comedies or films about people living happy lives. Now, someone close to her was giving her a live show of this, so of course that was the best possible scenario.

She had once worried for Nuannuan. With the type of family that Xiao Jun came from, how could Nuannuan’s family accept him? However, when she thought about this, she merely felt that it would a little difficult to accomplish, and she did not try to concretely define and flesh out where the difficulties lay. The environment in which she had grown up when she was young had been too simple and innocent, and hence, it caused her to believe that money and the so-called financial background of one’s family were things that could be triumphed over, just like what was acted out in television dramas.

At age fifteen or sixteen, the only things that truly bring anxiety are the examinations after examinations that come at you. The heavens may be big and important, the earth may be big and important, but your grades are the most important.

Those who are immersed in young love all believe that addressing one another as “hubby” and “wifey,” that “I’ll cook one time for you, and you wash the clothes once for me” means that they are already an old married couple who have shared life’s ups and downs together. But when the true storms of life have battered down on them and they look back on all this, they will find that most of it was merely scene after scene of indulging in their own romantic notions as they “played house.”

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

“Big sister[3], I’d like to buy this disc for my boyfriend.” A young girl wearing the school uniform of Fuzhong’s middle school campus looked rather timidly at Jǐ Yi and asked in a quiet voice, “I don’t really know this stuff. Would you be able to explain it to me?”

This young girl had been here for a long time already, but seeing that every part of the two shopowners was emanating the radiant glow of an old married couple, she had not dared to initiate any dialogue. In contrast, when she saw Jǐ Yi sitting behind the cash register, reading a book, she had found her especially warm and friendly-looking, and so she had walked up to her.

The main reason for this was that Jǐ Yi was wearing the uniform of Fuzhong’s high school campus, and there was even the school orchestra’s badge pinned to it. You could tell from just a glance that she was a good person.

An “ah” blurted from Jǐ Yi, and she wanted to tell the girl that, actually, she did not know anything about this stuff either.

Before the words had even left her mouth, someone behind her had already jumped in, saying, “I’ll choose one for you.”

Fu Xiaoning’s arm slid past Jǐ Yi, over her shoulder, and from the shelf, he selected a few discs. “These are all cutouts. They’re authentic discs that we brought in directly from other countries. We don’t have them in China. Big brother will help you choose one. I guarantee your boyfriend will like it.”

Fu Xiaoning’s gentle voice that was unique to him quickly removed any sense of distance the girl had felt towards him, and she listened earnestly as he explained what cutout discs were and convincingly described just how popular they were. Jǐ Yi discovered that in only the short period of half a month, he had become very familiar and at ease with all these different bands and CDs and gave the feeling that he was an experienced expert in all of this. She surmised that Fu Xiaoning must have put in a lot of work behind closed doors, and along with her surprise, there inevitably was some change in her opinion of him.

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Since last time, Fu Xiaonning had curbed himself quite a bit. He did not say as much to Jǐ Yi as he used to and also carefully avoided speaking about certain topics.

When he took the money the girl handed over and passed it to Jǐ Yi, asking her to help get some change, he found to his surprise that Jǐ Yi was smiling. He froze abruptly. This was the first time he saw Jǐ Yi showing such an amiable smile to him, though it was still removed and distant.

Jǐ Yi did not think much about this. Putting away her book, she said to Nuannuan’s backside, “Let’s go have dinner. After we eat, I still have to go back for evening self-study.”

Nuannuan did not really want to leave, but still, nuzzling Xiao Jun’s chest, she said, “I’m going now. After dinner, I’m going to head home.”

“Go now.” Xiao Jun bent his finger and flicked Nuannuan’s forehead with it. “Be good and study.”

Immediately behaving like a good little wife, Nuannuan gave an “mm” and then, slipping her arm through Jǐ Yi’s, left the shop.

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

After the two had eaten dinner, Jǐ Yi returned to school alone.

While passing the rehearsal room, she saw some orchestra students in a lower grade than her playing the piano inside. The person mentoring them happened to be an old partner of hers in the orchestra. Somehow, after listening for a while, she inexplicably thought of that song she had heard on that very early morning in Jì Chengyang’s car.

Stepping into the rehearsal room, she took advantage of a break period, when all the junior students were having a rest, to ask her old partner, “I heard a song the other day. Could you help me out and try to think of what its name is?”

Her old partner immediately laughed. “I may not necessarily know it.”

As Jǐ Yi called that song to memory, she began to hum out the approximate melody. It had been so long, but surprisingly, she still remembered it clearly.

“Oh, this one… It’s ‘Angel,’ the theme song from City of Angels.” Her old partner wrote the name of the song in Jǐ Yi’s palm. “The soundtrack for this movie is really nice, more outstanding than the movie itself. The movie is a tragedy.”

A tragedy again… Could it be that what he liked were all tragedies?

From Léon: The Professional to City of Angels, and also the Swan Lake they had watched that day.

“If you haven’t watched it, you can give it a try.” Her old partner seemed to think very highly of this film and, with much feeling and colour in her voice, she recited an English line from it. “Nicholas Cage was just so hot, especially when he said that one line so sorrowfully… ‘I would rather have had one breath of her hair, one kiss of her mouth, one touch of her hand than eternity without it.’ You can understand that, right, little Jǐ Yi?”

She could understand that line. It was not a very complex English sentence.

Her old partner said the line again but this time translated it into Chinese.

“It does sound really sad,” Jǐ Yi murmured. “It’s honestly a tragedy?”

Her old partner was tickled. “Why would I lie to you? Anyway, it’s a tragedy that catches you off guard. It’s about the male lead giving up eternal life, and finally, he falls into the world of mortals because he wants to be an ordinary human. But at that time, the female lead suddenly dies in a car accident—a tragedy from heaven and a disaster caused by man. Anyway, the ending kind of leaves you not knowing what to say. And it ends just like that.”

She stored the name of the film into her memory.

However, she did not have plans to watch this movie immediately. She found that more and more, she did not like watching tragedies. There was always a feeling in her that it was inauspicious to do so.

From the last time she saw him to now, a long period had already passed. Jì Chengyang had not contacted her at all during this time.

There were several times when she had wanted to ask Nuannuan what he was doing of late, but because of those feelings that she kept in her heart, she was uncomfortable with asking directly. She had only, in a roundabout way, inquired with a few offhanded words. Nuannuan had answered her in a very ordinary tone, “My little uncle? He hasn’t been back for a few weeks now. I’m guessing he’s probably out of the country again, maybe? He doesn’t often come back to the compound anyway.”

Jǐ Yi did not know what excuse she could use to contact him. It was only on the night before her final examinations that she finally sent him a text message.

I’m having a final exam tomorrow, the last of my finals in my senior year of high school. I suddenly don’t want to say goodbye to high-school life.

Apprehension had filled her as she sent out that message. But after it was sent, it was like a stone that sunk into the sea without a trace.

Jì Chengyang did not give her any reply.

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

And it was from that text message onwards that Jǐ Yi did not dare do anything else rashly. Just like that, contact between them ceased.

And this continued until final examinations had come to an end and she began her last winter break of high school.

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On January 20, she finally turned sixteen. That afternoon, as usual, there was no one in her home.

Jǐ Yi suddenly thought of a very good excuse. She was sixteen today. If she called him at this time, he probably would not reject the call, right? Sitting in front of her desk, she wavered for a long while. At last, she found his phone number and pressed the “dial” button.

His mobile phone was not shut off. There was only the endless ringing of the dial tone.

Anxiously, she waited and waited. All of a sudden, the phone was answered. “Xixi?”

It was Wang Haoran’s voice?

Jǐ Yi paused in surprise. “Um, it’s me. I’m looking for Jì Chengyang.”

“He’s gone to the bathroom,” Wang Haoran informed her. “You’re on winter break? Want to come visit him in the hospital?”

Hospital? Jǐ Yi was completely out of sorts, but there was an extremely bad feeling in her. She hurriedly asked, “He’s in the hospital? Which hospital?”

“The 301[4],” Wang Haoran’s voice told her. “I asked him. He said that military compound of yours has a shuttle that comes here—” Wang Haoran’s tone was utterly as if she should have known about this whole situation in the first place.

Without waiting for him to finish what he was saying, Jǐ Yi was already asking him for the exact ward and location of the inpatient room.

He was in the hospital?

He had had no intentions whatsoever of telling her?

Unable at all to wait for the scheduled shuttle, she ran straight out, hailed a taxi, and headed to the 301 Military Hospital.

She did not come to this hospital often. Or perhaps it should be said, since her hospitalization in the China-Japan Friendship Hospital when she was a child, she very much had an aversion to hospitals. She had not expected that this time when she came, her heart and mind would be in a state of turmoil. She did not know where she ended up wandering to and even got the building wrong, simply following people into an elevator. When the elevator arrived at the lowest level, she was the only one left inside it.

The door slid open noiselessly. It was very quiet—and eerie.

Instantly, she froze, the dread that she had for hospitals all of a sudden permeating through her, and she truly broke out in cold sweat.

This floor was empty of people. She was practically gritting her teeth as she found the stairs and then, pushing open the stairwell door, dashed up floor after floor. All along the way as she ran, she wanted to burst into tears from being so terrified. Her one greatest fear was hospitals, yet she just had to get lost in one.

She sprinted to the ground floor, and when she pushed open that main door, it was as if she had in an instant returned to the world of the living.

Even when she found the correct inpatient building and room, the cold sweat covering her body still had not dissipated. This was particularly so as this floor on which he was staying did not have many rooms to begin with, and with the doors all closed, it was awfully quiet.

A chill still suffusing her body, she slowly walked into Jì Chengyang’s hospital room. And then, she saw him.

He, whom she had not seen for more than a month, sat on a couch, two nurses partially obstructing him from view.

Two white-garbed nurses spoke to him in a low voice, urging him, “Mr. Jì, you really cannot smoke anymore. We’ve all been reprimanded by the doctors. Also, you cannot get upset anymore. Anger is the worst thing for this illness of yours.”

Another nurse chimed in her agreement, hesitantly joking, “Yup. Just now when we heard you having a tantrum, we all almost died from being so scared.”

Jǐ Yi’s head was buzzing. The fear from accidentally charging into the lowest basement level of the hospital intermixed with the worry she had for him, slowing her ability to think. She even forgot to greet him, until a nurse suddenly noticed her. “Little girl, are you here visiting?”

“Uh… Yes, I came to visit him.”

The nurses smiled, tidying things away one after the other.

“Xixi.” He called her name.

The nurses moved out of the way. At last, she could see him completely. Sunlight streamed through the window and landed in this room, on that couch, and on him. And he, clothed in one of the patients’ garments of this hospital, was sitting on the couch, his eyes bound in white gauze.

In that instant, it was as if someone had swung a slegehammer into her chest. Her heart ached so terribly she could not breathe at all.

Tears gushed down.

“You… What’s wrong…”

“Come here. Come over to me.” Jì Chengyang extended a hand to her.

Her motions were utterly being dictated by his words, and she walked over to him. When she saw that he wanted to touch her hand, she woodenly gave it to him of her own accord. Holding her hand tightly, Jì Chengyang pulled her over to stand in front of him.

Droplet after droplet. Tears that carried a warmth fell onto the back of his hand, his arm.

He paused for several seconds, then stated, “You’re not allowed to cry. My eyes are fine. I’ve just temporarily lost my sight.”

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

[1] 五道口 “Wu dao kou.” Wudaokou is a neighbourhood in the Haidian District of Beijing. Due to its location near many universities, it is known for having many students in it, including a very large number of foreign students, and hence is also a young, partying area.

[2] 打口碟 “da kou die.” In the recording industry, cutouts are discs (or records, cassettes, laser discs, etc.) that could not be sold at original price, were returned to the manufacturer to be marked in some way (e.g. defects deliberately placed in the jewel case, etc.), and then resold to retailers at a deeply discounted price. In China, cutouts were a significant way of introducing Western music into the country, especially in the 90s and early 2000s. Cutouts made their way into the country through various methods, and as they were sold at much lower costs, they were very popular. They were very much a part of the culture of that particular era in China as any music lover of that time would have somehow listened to cutouts. So influential were they that the terms “cutout generation,” “cutout youth,” etc. came into being.

[3] 姐姐 “jie jie.” While this literally means big sister, in Chinese culture, a more casual way of addressing someone older but still in the same generation as you would be by calling them “big sister” or “big brother.”

[4] Referring to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Hospital, which is also known as the 301 Military Hospital, in Beijing.

 

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:

Just wanted to clarify what I said from last post. In my mind, the end of Book I marks the end of Jǐ Yi’s “little girl” phase. We’re not having a time leap here. As you can see, she just turned 16, which is still very young. In Book I, despite the loneliness she grew up with, Jǐ Yi’s views of the world were still very simple and innocent. She did not really understand how complicated and, sometimes, downright harsh the world and people can be. “The environment in which she had grown up when she was young had been too simple and innocent… At age fifteen or sixteen, the only things that truly bring anxiety are the examinations after examinations that come at you. The heavens may be big and important, the earth may be big and important, but your grades are the most important.” This is her understanding and views of the world up to this point. In Book II, you’ll see her (abruptly) awakening to some things, but also, mentally, she will be mature enough that perhaps a certain someone will also view her in a different light.

Also, the dividing line is not just for Jǐ Yi. There is a mindset shift for Jì Chengyang as well.

If Book I was about being touched by the loving kindness that Jì Chengyang showed to a young girl that had no relation to him and cheering this little girl on, Book II, in my mind, is about the importance that each of them holds in the other person’s heart and making you grin (and maybe squeal) at the sweetness between the two of them. Yes, *that* type of sweetness. Have something to look forward to now? (Of course, there’s still more growing up and shifting of mindsets, etc., which are a huge part of the beauty of this story.)

 

Completed:
22 of 69 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

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20 thoughts on “The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 10.1

  1. Oh no! Poor JC! I trust it is temporary? I’m looking forward to sweetness between them. Thanks for the update!

    • He says it’s only temporary. As for whether it is true, you’ll have to stay tuned. 🙂 Haha, glad to give you something to look forward to. Thanks for reading!

  2. I just love this story. Cannot wait to read the next chapter. Thank you!

  3. then must prep my heart and prepare to squeal XD
    thank you

  4. Oh my… I cried for her… thanks for the chapter Hoju

    • *sigh* There’ll be a bit more crying for her for a few updates, and then things will get better.
      You’re welcome!

  5. Pitter pitter pat! Looking forward to her their heart beats! 🙂

  6. Chapter after chapter, I am falling more deeper in love with this pair. Their strong bond, understanding and love is so poignantly sweet. My heart trembled when he called her nickname, then shook when he forbade her to cry. He didn’t want her to be sad or grieving over his condition. Knowing Ji Yi, he knew that she would distraught deeply.

    I couldn’t agree more with your closing remark, Hoju. The beauty of this story is the growing up, shifting mindsets, steadfast trust and loyalty, etc. Their love bloomed slowly, and beautifully. I can’t stop gushing over them… ^^

    Thanks for another chapter, dearie! Really appreciate your hard work, commitment and dedication to feed us the helpless romantic souls aka your reader with good C-novels. *hugs*

    • I think also it’s because her crying distresses him to some degree, too. It’s mutual. 🙂

      I love how natural everything develops in this story, until at the end, when you look back, you’ll realize that they could only ever be the ones for each other, despite everything that happened.

      And thank you for faithfully commenting. It sure provides extra motivation to hear from readers regularly. ❤

  7. I did think that after Book 1 ends JCY will go missing for some years and time leap. My story weaving mind !!!! Thanks for clarifying and really glad that Book 2 continues with JY at 16 years.
    Very touching hospital visit.

    Thank you for the chapter, Hoju 😀.

  8. I felt sad for JC…hoping that blindness is temporary. it’s gettting more interesting, can wait for next update. Thanks for this chapter!

    • It’s definitely a huge obstacle/setback in the life of someone whose life has generally been smooth sailing for the last ten-plus years.
      Thanks for reading! Catch you in the next update. 🙂

  9. So happy to read this chapter. Thank you so much!

  10. OMG! What a sad way to start Book II. I hope he gets well soon. Thank you so much Hoju for the great read.

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