Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 13.1

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Question: Is anyone interested in reading a short story by Mo Bao Fei Bao that has a sad ending? I have always promised only happy endings, so I thought I would survey everyone first.  Please leave a comment below here if you are. If there is enough interest, I will post it.

Your perspective of the past can change sometimes, depending on who is by your side now.

Chapter 13.1 — Hidden in the Depths of the Heart (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.

 

As several things had happened one after the other after she passed her sixteenth birthday, she had not had the time to go get her resident identity card. It was only when her college entrance examinations were almost upon her that she remembered this. She still had enough time to get it in time for the registration for college entrance exams, but it was too late to have the identity card for her application to Peking University’s foreign small languages program. As a result, she had no choice but to make a trip back home and ask for her hukou booklet from Grandfather.

Ever since all those things happened, she had already decreased her frequency of going home.

Jì Chengyang seemed to understand all that she was thinking. On Friday night, he personally drove her back to the military compound. However, to avoid arousing suspicion and creating issues, he also went home to visit his brother, sister-in-law, and Nuannuan. The two arranged that in two hours, at eight o’clock, they would meet up again at the grounds of the former primary school.

When Jǐ Yi walked out at the agreed time, she happened to be in time to see Nuannuan also stepping out, holding on to Jì Chengyang’s arm and reluctant to see him go. She hastily turned away.

Catching sight of her backside, Nuannuan called, “Xixi.”

Jǐ Yi turned back, a feigned expression of surprise on her face.

“How long has it been since you last saw my little uncle?” Nuannuan’s eyes were curved into a smile. “Hurry. Come and say a few words.”

“… Little Uncle Jì.” Jǐ Yi felt a little discomfited. “Have you been busy lately?”

Jì Chengyang gave her an insipid glance. “A little busy. You guys are having your college entrance exams soon. You’ll need to make every minute count and study more.” In a solemn manner, he said a few more sentences, though most were directed at Nuannuan.

In the end, Nuannuan could not handle him anymore and kept shoving Jì Chengyang away, saying, “Hurry up and go, hurry up and go. I wanted you to talk to Xixi for a bit. How did it become a mini meeting to criticize me?”

Jǐ Yi could not hold back a giggle. She watched as he pulled out his black car remote key from his pocket. In the night’s darkness, the car made a sound in response when he unlocked it. Then, he sat into the vehicle and drove away.

Nuannuan knew that Jǐ Yi no longer went back often to stay in her grandfather’s home. Seeing that the time was already past eight o’clock, she urged her to hurry back to the school. “It’s dark already. I’ll go find you tomorrow and listen to you tell me about the whole situation with applying to foreign small language studies. Hurry and go now.”

Jǐ Yi nodded, and with her schoolbag on her bag on her back, she slipped into the blackness that curtained the night. She could be considered to have escaped.

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

Her body felt a little limp. After walking for a short while, she turned around to look for Nuannuan. Confirming that Nuannuan had already gone back over to the building doors, she finally strode into the little park beside the building. If she cut through here, with the darkness, absolutely no one would see her. Once she passed the several covered walkways, she would be at the old location of the nursery school, and then beside the nursery school was the primary school she had once attended.

Jì Chengyang had parked his car at the old shuttle bus stop and then walked over here. By chance, she had also just finished cutting through the park.

On that paved road where there were no people, only streetlamps, the two walked towards each other, both coming to a stop at the same time in front of the primary school’s little iron gate. She was not certain why, but with each step that she had taken towards this spot, it had been as if she was walking towards a dream that was within sight but beyond reach.

As she gazed upon his outline beneath the streetlamp’s glow, at this man who was already considered to have obtained success in his life, her heart carrying in it the simple, pure feeling of tender attachment to him and the feeling of love, but a love that she dared not even wishfully hope that she could have as her own, she was suddenly afraid that he would know about all of this.

“There’s no one in this primary school anymore?” Jì Chengyang stretched a hand forward to push that small metal gate.

“Yup. Supposedly, the parents all thought the teachers in the compound aren’t good enough, and all the students were sent to schools outside. So, it seems that’s the reason the school closed.” Jǐ Yi had also only learned of this when she heard the people in her family chatting about it.

The primary school’s gate never used to be locked, and now that it was abandoned, it was still the same.

This particular school was exceptionally small. On the left was a 400-metre track that circled around a basketball court, several table-tennis tables, and a set of uneven bars and parallel bars. In the very centre was a sports field, where a bare flagpole stood, and on the right was a row of green wooden doors, which were the classrooms.

Tiny classrooms.

“When I was here, they still hadn’t opened these primary and middle schools for military children,” Jì Chengyang recollected. “Maybe it was because back then, there was still no demand for them from anyone. There was only the nursery school. And now, they’re all closed. It seems that the only ones who got to enjoy this type of benefit are the children of the ’80s.”

She mused on this, finding it rather amusing. “So when you were a kid, you went to school outside of the compound? How nice.”

“For boys, it was pretty good,” Jì Chengyang told her. “But girls, when they are young, are still more suited for simple environments.”

All the while as Jì Chengyang walked, his eyes took in this primary school that she had once attended.

The walls surrounding the compound’s primary school were only as tall as a grown adult and actually were merely simple metal fencing. In the past when he had walked by, with only a casual glance, he had been able to see children having physical education class inside. If it happened to be earlier in the day, he would even be able to witness several dozen kids standing on the sports field, loudly singing the national anthem.

At the time, he had not felt there was anything unusual or different.

Now that he thought about it, perhaps Jǐ Yi had been in there before. She was so petite she definitely would have been standing in the front row.

<>Please support this translation at its actual site of posting, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, instead. Thank you.

Passing through that row of silver poplar trees that stood before the classrooms, the leaves already densely green, Jǐ Yi hopped up the steps in front of those classrooms. “Here, every grade had one class, and every class had eight or nine people. During schoolwide flag-raising ceremonies, there were still only less than sixty people.”

Walking over to the fourth classroom, Jǐ Yi discovered that its windows were all papered over with newspaper.

She stood in front of the classroom door, feeling at the space between it and the doorframe up above. Only this classroom that she had once attended class in had this crack. As her fingers gently slid over it, memories of those carefree days of her childhood were suddenly evoked in her mind. As Nuannuan’s mother had said, back when she was a little child and Grandfather had brought her to her primary school entrance examination, she had been too young and too anxious, such that when the primary school’s principal asked her what was China’s capital city, she had only stood there stupidly, so overcome with nervousness that her mind had been blank.

Luckily, her Xinjiang dance later won the principal over, and he had agreed to admit her into the school. Back then, she had been so oblivious, not at all like kids nowadays who at only a few years old could skillfully go on the internet. Grandfather had laughed and said, “It’s all right, it’s all right.” But now… When she went home just now, Grandfather had not even spoken a word to her.

Nuannuan’s mother had quite hit the nail on the head with what she had said: people’s tempers change when they get old.

If… the relationships between people would never change and could remain as they had been when they were most beautiful, how good that would be.

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

“Want to go in?” Jì Chengyang’s voice seemed to come from somewhere beyond the heavens and yanked her back to reality.

With glistening eyes, she looked at him somewhat expectantly.

Jì Chengyang lowered his head and, from his pocket, slowly fished out a red, cross-emblazoned Swiss army knife. Then, with the knife in his palm, he began to select which tool to use, viewing the act of openly picking a lock as a trivial matter. Breathing ever so quietly, Jǐ Yi anxiously scanned all around, for fear that the soldiers patrolling the compound would see such a scene.

He seemed to have found the tool that he wanted. In less than three seconds, there was the sound of movement from the copper lock.

Putting away the Swiss army knife, Jì Chengyang put his hand against the door and slowly pushed it open.

<>It would be greatly appreciated if you would support this translation at its actual site of posting, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Thank you.

As the door swung open, moonlight gradually penetrated into the pitch-black classroom.

Jǐ Yi stood on the steps outside the classroom’s doorway, watching this deep-green wooden door that had a large crack in it and staring at this extremely dark classroom, dazed for a moment. A light sound of click was heard. Beside her, a flame appeared, fluttering by Jì Chengyang’s fingers and illuminating the classroom.

“Quick. Put it out.” Grabbing hold of his arm, Jǐ Yi dropped her voice and said, “There are no streetlamps on the school grounds. It’s all dark in here. If we make some light from a flame in here and the patrol soldiers see it, there’ll be trouble.”

The youngest son of the Jì family had brought the eldest granddaughter of the Jǐ family… to break into a classroom in the primary school…

If they were caught, it truly would be utterly humiliating.

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

After taking one second to process this, Jì Chengyang released his thumb’s hold.

The lighter instantly went out.

Because he had held down the ignition button for several dozen seconds, the lighter was already slightly hot, and he gave it a little jostle in his palm before tossing it back into his pants pocket again.

<>Please read this story on hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, instead. Thank you.

Jǐ Yi had already stepped into the classroom. It was simply too dark, though, so she had no choice but to tear off the newspaper that covered the windows.

Alas, the tearing part was done too easily, so she actually forgot that this place had been closed up for more than half a year and dust had accumulated everywhere. Choking, Jì Chengyang’s brows drew together, and he pulled her over to himself to avoid the dust that had stirred up.

Jǐ Yi was coughing as well and drew back with him until they were by the door, where excitedly, she pointed at the second seat in the first row. “I used to sit there.” Seeming as if she was still not reconciled with that, she complained, “I couldn’t even sleep if I wanted to, because I was right under the teacher’s nose. Since I was a kid, I’ve always sat in the first row. I’ve never gotten to sit in the back rows.”

Jì Chengyang surveyed that table-and-chair pair beneath the moonlight and smiled. “Why? Because your teachers liked you the most?”

“Yeah right… It’s because I was the shortest and wouldn’t be able to see the blackboard if I sat at the back.”

Jì Chengyang laughed, too. Exactly the same answer as he had imagined.

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

As all these things of her past fell on his ears, it was like someone was turning for him page after page of her childhood photo album that was tinted with an aged, yellowed colour, that type of old, dated colour that belonged solely to time.

He continued to study this classroom, offhandedly asking her, “Do you have a lot of photos from when you were a kid?”

He remembered that every year, Nuannuan would get her photograph taken when it was nearing her birthday as a way, from a young age, to record her entire growing-up process.

“Not a lot. I don’t like taking pictures.” Smiling, Jǐ Yi stepped away from Jì Chengyang’s side and up onto the podium. To her surprise, she discovered that there was still chalk in the wooden chalkholder ledge of the blackboard. “It seems… I only have my baby picture that was taken when I was a hundred days old, and also a few from when I was three, four years old. In all of them, I’m wearing a little childsize military uniform and even a military cap, so I look especially like a boy.”

“What about when you had dance performances on stage?” Jì Chengyang remembered that first time that he brought her to dance. He had forgotten to take her photograph that time. “No one ever took pictures of you?”

“I think there was… but only a group photo.” She picked up a piece of chalk from out of the chalkholder and offhandedly drew a pie stroke [stroke that slants downwards to the left with a slight curve]. “It was in that year that you took me there. I danced one duet and then afterwards never danced again.”

As she spoke, she moved to make that heng stroke [horizontal stroke written from left to right]. But, she stopped abruptly.

Behind her, Jì Chengyang’s eyes were also showing from beneath the brim of his cap, and in the darkness, all of him was still as he gazed at that one stroke that she had written.

Jǐ Yi had frozen dazedly.

Oh God, what am I writing?

It was too much of a habit.

It had actually already completely developed into a habit, that she only needed to pick up a pen and then she would begin writing his name on the paper, like it was innate to her. There were times she and Nuannuan would go together to buy pens, and out of habit, she would write the character “Jì” to test the ink cartridge. Every time, Nuannuan would laugh at her and say that, sure enough, what Jǐ Yi felt for her was true love, that she would actually not write her own “Jǐ” and instead write the “Jì” for Jì Nuannuan.

Only Jǐ Yi knew ever so clearly, what she wrote was his surname.

<>Please support this translation by reading it on the actual site that it was posted, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Thank you.

The piece of chalk halted on the blackboard for several seconds.

Biting down lightly on her lip, she feigned nonchalance and tossed the little chalk piece that she was holding to the ground by her feet.

Oh please, please don’t have seen that stroke from earlier. Please don’t have… If he saw it…

In a corner of her heart, this thought madly grew and began to spread, tangling itself tightly around her entire heart.

Nervousness and hopeful anticipation—these two emotions entwined together and made her heart grow heavy. Too many feelings had been infused inside there, and it was so difficult to control its beating rhythm.

“It’s almost nine,” Jì Chengyang’s voice told her from behind her.

“Mm-hmm.” She inexplicably did not dare turn around, feeling absurdly discomfited, out of fear of being found out.

In the end, it was Jì Chengyang who came closer to her, stepping up onto the podium with one stride.

He, too, selected a yellow piece of chalk from the dust, playing with it in his palm and seemingly wanting to write something as well. In the glow of the moon, amidst the swirling dust, she watched him, her heart leaping crazily. But she dared not carry on speaking and only fixed her eyes on the third button of his shirt, lightly exhaling a breath.

She felt that all the blood in her body was coursing wildly, unable to stop.

There was the sound of chalk being brought to the blackboard.

Jì Chengyang did not utter a word. Continuing from the stroke that she had just made, he wrote out his own surname. And then, the tip of the chalk shifted, and with a few strokes, he added another character beside it. As Jì Chengyang rolled that nub of yellow chalk between his fingers, he tilted his head down to look at her, gazing at her slightly-parted bangs that lay on her forehead. He seemed to sigh very faintly. That faint sigh carried feelings in it that he wanted to conceal, feelings that seemed very light, yet also very strong.

“Did you want to write these two characters?”

Two?

She lifted her head.

In the moonlight, on the blackboard, there truly were two characters, their strokes strong and powerful.

They were… “Jì” and “Jǐ.”

Left: Jì (Jì Chengyang’s surname). Right: Jǐ (Jǐ Yi’s surname)

 

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 will provide a more detailed note on the pie and heng strokes in the next update.

 

Completed:
30 of 69 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

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30 thoughts on “The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 13.1

  1. I love how JCY can predict every little thing about xixi and see right through her. ❤️

    I would definitely be interested in reading a short story with a sad ending. Sometimes sad stories stay in your mind longer because the feelings are more profound.

    • It definitely shows how well he knows her.

      Thanks for letting me know. Still trying to gauge overall interest. 🙂

  2. Ahhhh it’s happening!!! Breathe, Ji Yi! 😍 Thanks for the update!

  3. Thank you hoju I would love to read the short story

  4. AAAAWWWW… Ok for a second there I thought he was going to write Jí Yi…. coughlikehowsomethingsyouwriteyournamenexttoyourcrusheslastnameorwasthatjustmecough.
    Many thankss

  5. too bad they have to hangout like in an underground relationship
    thank you

  6. Nuannuan is so in the dark and is going to be extremely mad when she gets to know their liking for each other. Enjoyed the last part 😀.

    Thank you for the chapter,Hoju 🙂. I stay away from books having sad endings but being a big fan of the author and your translations, my vote is for the short story.

    • Things will have to come tonight eventually. It’s a matter of sooner or later. How it plays it will be different with each person… (haha, can you tell I’m avoiding spoilers?)

      Vote noted. And thank you for the vote of confidence. 🙂

  7. Thanks for the chapter ∩^ω^∩*heart*
    But for real You don’t know how much I appreciate your translation and hard work ( ; ; )(*≧∀≦*) I mean I actually finished this novel~ but almost every day I open this blog to check if you released any new updates to read from this novel or other novels for I truly love and enjoy your translation and hard work and the way you explain everything and detailed and I loove mo bao fei bao like if it’s her work sometimes I don’t even read the synopsis For when I read her novels it feels like I can really see them (more like imagine I guess) and get always emotionally attached to the characters sometimes even passing ones. anyway I only wrote this for you to know that there’s someone who enjoys your translation sooo much and regarding the story with the sad story I will definitely be delighted to read it ( I recently fell for sad endings (;ω;) so much pain and tears… ) although It could cause some heartache… bye bye *heart*

    • Haha. That’s love. ❤
      There are a few authors for whom I don’t wait for reviews before I jump right in to reading their novels. MBFB, my favourite, and Gu Man are two of them.

      I can’t do sad endings. I will only read the ones that MBFB writes. My little heart can’t take it.

  8. I love him more and more 😉 thank you Hoju, and you can count me in for the short story, though it’s a SE but I know it’ll be beautifully written 😘

    • He is very special. ❤
      It is indeed a beautifully written story. I was a wreck translating it.

      • No you’re not… I really love your translation, thanks to you I have good stories to read, thanks Hoju for your hard work, bisous 😉

  9. Stories, long or short, written well is always well received. In this case, translated by Hoju, is always welcomed.
    I definitely would love to read a sad ending by MBFB. So bring it on.
    I love the blackboard scene here, so realistic. I love the way, hearts are showing here. 🙂
    thank you for your hard work.

    • I used to love the occasional tearjerker. Now, I really can’t handle it. I make exceptions for MBFB, though.

      I love the stillness. And hidden thrill in Xixi’s heart. A dark classroom with the guy you like. Hahaha… a teenage girl’s dream.

      You’re welcome!

  10. To be absolutely honest, I haven’t read this story yet, but I get email notifications and saw the part about the short story.
    Sad or happy story, Mo Bao Fei Bao’s writing + your translating are always beautiful so I’ll read anything that comes with pleasure!
    Thanks for the hard work, and I’ll be reading this story soon~

    • Thanks for popping in and giving your vote. And thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

      See you soon in this story, then. 🙂

  11. Question: Is anyone interested in reading a short story by Mo Bao Fei Bao that has a sad ending?

    ~ Yes! Anything of MBFB! SE? *gasps* *clutch-heart*
    Please do give me a moment to prepare my heart. *inhale-exhale slowly*
    ….I guess, I need another moment to be ready. Would you please give me a hint, if it is going to be sad-oh so heart wrenching sad like Passion Heaven or heart twisting story like 1st part of Bridal Chamber Next Door?

    Truthfully, anything from MBFB I’d love to read. I’ll prepare a box of tissue when you decide to do it.

    Thanks for the sweet-secret date at the old school, my dear… JCY can’t hide it anymore, just like JY. ^^

    • Try more like Xiao Nanchen prince and Eleven. 😉

      The translation is done. Has been for a while. Just gauging interest. And I’m so crazily busy that I still have to find and/or make the time to actually prep the post. >_<

      Obviously, he had been keeping this quiet from everyone else, but I don’t think he has ever intended to hide anything from Xixi. I think he is drawing very clear lines, holding the relationship at a certain point.

      And Xixi failed the hiding part after New Zealand. 😉

  12. I am up for sad ending they are good stories as well sometimes I find the sad ones even better than the happy ones. Thanks so much for translation ❤❤❤❤

    • Oh, there are plenty of amazing well-written stories. 🙂 Whether it’s a happy or sad ending doesn’t determine its quality of writing. I hope I didn’t give that impression that that’s what I think. 🙂 I merely personally cannot handle sad endings. The sorrow stays with me for a long time.
      You’re welcome!

  13. Since I started following your blog, Mao Bao Fei Bao is the only Chinese novelist name, i will remember. I will read any of her work. I love her style of writing. Thank you, for your hard work!

  14. Yes! I want to read all novels by Mo Bao Fei Bao. Sad or good ending. Thank you so much Hoju

  15. Thank you so much for the chapter and NO SAD ENDING PLEASE!!!! … I really love Mao Bao Fei Bao’s works but if its sad ending….I will skip it as real life is tough so I wish something happy ending even though just in novels only… but if one days you are translating sad ending novel..please give a warning so I can skip it…thank you

    • LOL. I asked this question a year ago. There was enough interest, so yes, I did translate it. And don’t worry, I stated loud and clear that it was a sad ending.

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