Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 14.2

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Apologies for the slow reply to comments. I’m barely keeping my head above water this month with all the busyness. I will get to them as soon as I can.

He’s not physically here with her, but his presence is felt.

Chapter 14.2 — A Song of Brief Parting (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.

 

In the middle of June, it was time to begin filling in their post-secondary choices.

Everyone around her was talking about this. To avoid competition within their year, the teachers were also responsible for coordinating everyone and holding parent-teacher conferences. For instance, if too many people wanted to apply to Capital Normal University, the teachers would need to provide appropriate counsel to parents to change the selection to another school, such as Beijing International Studies University. Jǐ Yi’s university pick was actually very simple; she had only one school and one field of study that she was applying to.

When everyone was filling in the machine-readable cards[1], the teacher truly could not keep up with checking all of them and asked Jǐ Yi to help her schoolmates check their cards.

Each densely-packed list of post-secondary choices, from programs that allowed early enrollment, to first-level undergraduate programs, to second-level undergraduate programs[2], to diploma programs, was always a carefully-considered decision that had come about after a meeting of a student’s entire family… She lost track of how many people she had ended up erasing an incorrectly-filled machine-readable card for, or how many people she had picked up a pencil for and helped to carefully re-fill in school codes and field-of-study codes.

When Jǐ Yi stepped over to where Zhao Xiaoying was, the latter unexpectedly covered her machine-readable card with her hands.

Jǐ Yi found this a little strange but did not probe into it.

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

It was not until July 10, when she and Nuannuan were celebrating the satisfactory ending of their National College Entrance Examinations, that Jì Nuannuan gave her an interpretation of this puzzling action.

“I heard my housekeeper mention that for both sets of mock exams, Zhao Xiaoying’s score was less than three hundred. I’m guessing she’s probably got no hope of getting into any school. That’s why her mom went to find that b*stard dad of hers and is hoping she can get into the program for military dependents in Nanjing’s military academy.”

No wonder Zhao Xiaoying had covered up her post-secondary selection form. It was probably similar to her own, where not many school choices had been filled in.

The grievance and bitterness that Zhao Xiaoying’s mother felt in regard to being discarded and abandoned by Zhao Xiaoying’s father was very deep-rooted, but for Zhao Xiaoying’s future, she could set aside her pride… Nibbling on the plastic straw that was in her drinking glass, Jǐ Yi thought, the love that most parents have for their children truly has no principles. When placed before your own child’s future, all that pride becomes unworthy even of mention.

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They were sitting in the RBT Tea Cafe[3] next to Oriental Plaza[4], taking sip after sip of their iced waters. If you looked out through the glass wall, an old building could be seen in the hutong[5] across the road, and inside it was where Xiao Jun lived with his parents. Since this restaurant was the closest one to Xiao Jun’s home, it had practically become Jì Nuannuan’s cafeteria, and the several servers all recognized her.

“When we’re married, you can’t eat like this. Be good and go to the market to learn how to buy beef and green peppers, and then bring them home to cook yourself. A few strips of beef tenderloin and some green peppers, plus some black pepper and rice, are not worth that much money at all.” He was mocking Nuannuan for wanting to eat this stuff that was neither delicious nor economical, but all the while, he was pulling out his wallet and paying the bill.

With a silver fork, Jì Nuannuan ate her rice while at the same time complaining in a voice muffled by food, “This is already considered fast food. If it weren’t for the fact that you insist on paying every time, I would definitely bring you to eat something tasty.”

Xiao Jun grinned. “Make my wifey pay? That’s not something I can make myself do.”

After the girls had finished lunch and followed Xiao Jun to cross the road, they wound their way into the hutong. The old stairwell had no door. On its walls in the corner, there were little flyers, all ads for things such as “Renovations” or “Drain Unblocking.”

“The house is a little small. Don’t mind it.” Stopping when he reached the third floor, Xiao Jun fished out a brass key from his pocket. “The location here is really good and the building’s old, so my family’s just been waiting this whole time for the building to be demolished and us to be relocated[6].”

Jì Nuannuan stretched out her arms and, from behind, circled them around Xiao Jun’s waist. “I’m telling you, in the future when we get married, I don’t want to live with your dad and mom. It’s no problem if they live close, but we cannot live with them.”

Xiao Jun was gleeful. “Even if you wanted to live with my dad and mom, I’d be scared that they wouldn’t be able to put up with you.”

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

When the door was actually opened, Jǐ Yi at last understood what this concept of “small house” that he had spoken about was.

There was only a hallway. The bathroom and kitchen were right next to each other and then after that was just one bedroom.

On one side of the hallway, there was a spring cot. That was where Xiao Jun slept every night. In comparison, Nuannuan’s bedroom in her own home was much larger and was equivalent to the square footage of his entire home.

While Jǐ Yi was still secretly sighing over this, Xiao Jun had already brought out a can of cola from the kitchen and was handing it to her. Jǐ Yi shook her head, asking only for a glass of boiled water. Xiao Jun turned on the television and then, in passing, also opened the balcony door, making the space seem a bit roomier.

In the beginning, Jǐ Yi sat on the sofa chair inside the bedroom while the other two people talked quietly out on the balcony, and some happy laughter from them could be heard. Gradually, though, there was no sound from those two. She pretended that she did not know anything and continued watching television.

She seemed to hear Nuannuan say, “No. I don’t like your parents’ bed.”

She felt increasingly awkward and uncomfortable. Fortunately, the two soon left the balcony. They instructed Jǐ Yi to watch television by herself, and while he was at, Xiao Jun grabbed some potato chips and melon seeds from the cupboard for her to help her pass the time. Then, very quickly, those two went out to the hallway and shut the door that led to the bedroom. Bored and with nothing to do, she switched to a channel devoted to playing MTVs and listened for a while to music.

It happened to be the time for golden oldies. Alex To was singing “The Lover.”

And then next was Samuel Tai…

There was even “Can’t Resist Your Charm” …

She had drunk too much water and needed to use the bathroom, so she stood and very naturally went to open the door.

The instant the door was opened, she was given a shock by the scene before her eyes. In that insufficiently-lit hallway, Jì Nuannuan, her face tilted upwards, was silently locked in a kiss with Xiao Jun. It was like an image from a teen movie. Interrupted by the sound of the opening door, Nuannuan turned her head to the side and grumbled, “Xixi, why didn’t you say anything?”

This was her first time seeing Nuannuan and Xiao Jun actually kissing.

She was not certain why, but her entire mind was filled with snapshots of those times when she and Jì Chengyang were together.

Xiao Jun was actually very calm. Gently pulling Nuannuan’s lip into his mouth, he longingly sucked it for another half a second. Annoyed, but also laughing, Nuannuan shoved Xiao Jun away. Only then did Xiao Jun ask Jǐ Yi, “Need to use the bathroom?”

Her facing burning crimson, Jǐ Yi gave a guilty “mm-hmm.” She had seen everything too clearly just now. In front of her eyes was still that image, and she could not rid it from her mind… In the end, there was no way she could carry on staying here and being all composed, and with a blush that reached all the way to her ears, she made up an excuse and fled from there.

<>It would be very much appreciated if you would support this translation at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead. Thank you.

After college entrance examinations were finished, there suddenly was nothing that absolutely needed to be done.

There was no need to rise early, no need to go to class, and no need to finish homework, and there were also no big or small mock examinations that she needed to deal with. Feeling somewhat like she had nothing to do, Jǐ Yi, as if prompted by a supernatural force, went to Jì Chengyang’s home. Before his departure, he had readied a spare key for her so that it would be convenient for her to go in at any time. Originally, she had thought that she would not go there if he had not returned to China yet.

Jì Chengyang’s home without Jì Chengyang in it was merely a house, was it not?

But when she inserted the key into the keyhole and turned it, there was actually a false sense in her that he would suddenly appear. This house here was indeed still special—because it was his home.

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

When she pushed open the door, it was peaceful and quiet inside, without any sound at all, and the curtains were all drawn shut. Surmising that this home that had not been lived in for two months would not necessarily be any cleaner than the bottom of her shoes, she did not change out of her shoes and, instead, strode straight inside and pulled open the dark blue curtains. Then she opened the door to the balcony, allowing fresh air to circulate through the living room.

Sure enough, in the sunshine, she could see that the floors had a thick layer of dust on them. She wandered casually through room after room until finally, she walked into his bedroom. As she looked at that bed sheet covering the bed to guard against dust, she all of a sudden had an urge to yank it off.

In the end, she did indeed carry out this thought.

Jǐ Yi remembered how, around two years ago, Jì Chengyang, because he had been too tired, had been sleeping right here, while his good friend had slept on the couch opposite the bed. Those two soundly-slumbering men had not even heard the sound of the door opening. At that time, she still did not yet dare to openly observe him and could only take advantage of when he was fast asleep to gingerly sprawl herself at the side of the bed and study his appearance while his eyes were closed.

She sat down on the edge of the bed, then quietly lay down.

One side of her face lay snug against the pillow that he had slept on. Though there was a slight musty smell, she still felt it was very comfortable. Feeling very happy lying there, Jǐ Yi turned over and closed her eyes, wanting to have a little sleep right there. However, very soon, her mind came back to that first kiss between the two of them that had happened before he left, in the one and only time he had ever lost control of his emotions.

Jǐ Yi sat up abruptly from the bed, feeling an inexplicable palpitation in her chest. As she sat there, her thoughts suddenly turned to the distant and seemingly unreal future. Would she and he kiss very naturally as well, and then, like what she saw this afternoon… As a result of such a thought, her heart actually became like a pounding drum. Hurriedly, she buried her whole face into the pillow. Jì Chengyang, Jì Chengyang. The feelings of longing and missing him that had been pent up in her chest slowly melted and permeated into all of her insides, as well as her entire body, her hair, and her skin.

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By the time she returned home that evening, Second Aunt was already clearing the dishes. Seeing that she was back, Second Aunt still demonstrated the care that an elder in the family should and asked her a few questions. She asked her how she felt about her college entrance exams a few days ago. Did she feel she had performed better than expected, or were there any subjects that did not go as she had hoped?

“Oh, right, Xixi, which university did you apply to?” Jǐ Yi stated that it was Beijing Foreign Studies University. Second Aunt found this a little strange. “Why aren’t you going to Tsinghua or Peking University[7]?”

Making up an arbitrary reason as an excuse, Jǐ Yi helped tidy away the dishes.

Second Aunt was still brooding puzzledly over this and muttered, “Could it be her grades dropped in her last year of high school?”

Jǐ Yi still did not speak as she helped the housekeeper put the dishes into the sink. When the housekeeper saw Jǐ Yi, she actually felt awkward and unfamiliar with her, and stammered a bit before saying with a smile, “Xixi’s back?” Because the elderly ones of the family were getting older and their sons and daughter-in-laws could not be by their side every day, the family had hired a housekeeper specifically dedicated to taking care of the elderly folks’ food and day-to-day living. Jǐ Yi had not often come home this semester, so naturally, the housekeeper was not well acquainted with her.

<>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 been at school during the first airing of the talk show program that Jì Chengyang had recorded right before he left. By chance, there was a rerun of it tonight.

At eleven o’clock that night, while the housekeeper was tidying the home, she picked up the remote control and turned on the television to that channel. On the television screen, the program had just aired to the point where the host, sitting on a small bar-height chair, was one by one introducing all the special guests. She had watched several installments of this particular talk show. All the guests were always impeccably attired in suits and leather shoes, with the exception of this installment that Jì Chengyang was on. He and the two other veterans in the field who had been invited to the program were all dressed very casually and comfortably. You could tell in a single glance that they were not any sort of higher-up, elite members of society and, rather, were foreign correspondents who frequently spent time running about outside.

Jì Chengyang’s eyes were very bright. As he sat on that couch, dressed in a black top and athletic pants, he conjured up in people’s minds a saying that was particularly pedantic but very vividly descriptive: “a jade tree in the wind[8].”

“I heard that when you were in school, you were the national champion in American collegiate shooting sports.” The host looked at him. “When you were out on the combat fields, did you ever encounter any particularly dangerous situations where you needed to take up a gun for self-defense?”

He shook his head. “No, I’ve never picked up a gun. Sometimes, those soldiers will provide us with guns, but in general, we will only accept bulletproof clothing. We cannot touch anything else.”

“Why?” The host of course knew the answer to this, but to pique the interest of the viewers, she needed to guide the topic so that it would be ever more fascinating.

Jì Chengyang smiled. “The moment a war correspondent picks up a gun, he is no longer a journalist and he will no longer be protected. This is a tacitly agreed upon rule. So, even in the most dangerous of environments, we need to restrain the self-protective fear in us. The thing we hold in our hands can only be a camera and not a weapon.”

When these words were spoken from him, they incited a fiery excitement in people. You could not place a finger on a reason, but there was simply an unexplainable type of magnetism to his personality. As the housekeeper listened to this topic, she found it interesting as well, and halting the action of the cleaning cloth that she held, she glanced over the television a few times and smilingly commented, “That young lad sure is handsome. His father and mother can actually bear to let him keep going to those places that are in the middle of wars?”

Jǐ Yi gave a smile and continued watching the Jì Chengyang in the screen.

That was an aspiration, a dream—that was his dream.

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

The program had been recorded in May. The he in the screen was from two months ago… He most definitely would not look like that now. During that long-distance call with her prior to her college entrance examinations, he had even chuckled quietly and said that he could not “find any place to charge any batteries.”

“I haven’t shaved for several days already. Even when I touch my own chin, I find it a little prickly.” At the time, Jì Chengyang had said this in the telephone: “Next time when I come back, I’ll let you feel it and see.”

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

[1] A machine-readable card consisting almost wholly of digits is used to record each soon-to-be high school graduate’s desired choices for post-secondary schooling. Each post-secondary school has been assigned a multiple-digit code, and for every school that a student chooses to apply to, he/she must fill in its corresponding code on his/her machine-readable card. Similarly, each field of study is assigned a code that is to be used on the card. The card identifies which is the student’s first choice, second choice, etc. As this is completely a “coloring in the correct digit” process with practically no writing on it, each card is rigorously checked to ensure that the student has filled in the correct digits that correspond to his or her choices, as an incorrect digit could cause the student to apply to somewhere or something different from what he/she desires. (See here for an example of a machine readable card that graduating high school students would fill in.)

[2] As a very broad-brush generalization, undergraduate university programs in China can be classified as first, second, and third level. First-level programs are those in key universities in the country, second-level ones are in universities with undergraduate programs that would still have students from all over the country enrolling in them, while third-level programs are local colleges or universities where most of the students would be local as well.

[3] 仙踪林, which goes by the English name RBT (“real brew tea”) Tea Café, is a Taiwanese-style drink and light foods restaurant, specializing in tea-based drinks as well as slush-style drinks and smoothies.

RBT logo

[4] 东方广场 “Dong Fang Guang Chang.” Oriental Plaza nowadays is a large commercial complex stretching for blocks in the city centre of Beijing and ontains luxury hotels, commercial office buildings, luxury apartment buildings, and a large shopping complex called the Malls at Oriental Plaza. The various shops and services began opening in phases for business beginning in 2000-2001 or so. Current time in the story is July 2002.

[5] 胡同 Hutongs are very narrow alleyways or lanes (approximately 9 metres wide) in old, traditional residential areas of Chinese cities. In old Beijing, many courtyard homes surrounded the Forbidden City, and they were connected by these hutongs, which extended in all directions.

[6] 拆迁 “chai qian.” This term is used to describe China’s urban housing demolition and relocation. With the rapid modernization of China, there has been much rebuilding of older urban areas. This includes buying out existing residents of old buildings and relocating them to other areas in order to tear down the old building that they had lived in and build a modern one in its place. Residents are compensated with fair market value of their property. Xiao Jun’s house, with it being across the road from Oriental Plaza, is right in the center of Beijing, and would have a high value.

[7] Tsinghua University and Peking University both consistently rank amongst the top universities of China, if not the top two, and are highly prestigious. They are often thought of as “the pinnacle” of universities in China.

[8] 玉树临风 “yu shu lin feng.” This saying literally translates as “a jade tree in the wind.” It is used as a metaphor to describe a young man who is extremely outstanding, both in physical appearance and talents, so exceptional that this feeling is emitted from his entire bearing, like a jade tree that stands in the wind.

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:

The name of the songs mentioned are 《情人》”The Lover” and《无法抗拒你的容颜》”Can’t Resist Your Charm.” The first song is indeed a real song and sung by Alex To. The second one actually does not exist. I suspect MBFB meant Jeff Chang’s《难以抗拒你的容颜》 which can also be translated as “Can’t Resist Your Charm” (except the first two characters of the name of his song and the one mentioned in the novel are different) and fits the bill of golden oldies, but I won’t translate it as I’m not certain if my hypothesis is true.

Here are the lyrics for “The Lover,” sung by Alex To.

Girl,每当我开始沉默的时候, 你比我更难过好像你的错
Girl, each time I begin to fall silent, you are even sadder than me, like it is your fault|
Girl,每当我梦想未来的时候,你兴奋的感受比我还要多
Girl, each time I dream of the future, the excitement you feel is greater even than mine

轻柔 像阵微风 吹过我的心中
Softly, like a gentle breeze blowing through my heart
一切 都会不同 透过了你的眼
Everything is different when seen through your eyes

情人 爱却更多
Lover, your love is even more
虚情假意的话不说
Never do you say insincere, pretend words of affection
只用一颗真心默默爱我
You use only a heart so true to wordlessly love me
最珍贵的感动 尽在不言中
The most precious feelings of being touched are actually when nothing is said at all.

Girl,我不是故意对你冷落,大部份的时候我不够温柔
Girl, I did not mean to neglect you. Most of the time, I am not gentle and tender enough
Girl,我强烈感到时间不够,想牵着妳的手对抗寂寞
Girl, I so strongly feel that there is not enough time. I want to hold your hand and resist loneliness

轻柔 像阵微风 让我从容不迫
Softly, like a gentle breeze. It allows me to be confident and unhurried
一切 都会不同 有了你在身边
Everything will be different, with you by my side.

情人 爱却更多
Lover, your love is even more
虚情假意的话不说
Never do you say insincere, pretend words of affection
只用一颗真心默默爱我
You use only a heart so true to wordlessly love me
最珍贵的感动 尽在不言中
The most precious feelings of being touched are actually when nothing is said at all.

我唯一的情人 爱却更多
My only lover, your love is even more
虚情假意的话不说
Never do you say insincere, pretend words of affection
只用一颗真心默默爱我
You use only a heart so true to wordlessly love me
最珍贵的感动  My Love
The most precious feelings of being touched, my love

情人 爱却更多
Lover, your love is even more
开始就要爱到最后
If the love has begun then you will love to the end
于是你我真心越来越浓
And so, [the feelings of] our hearts so true become stronger and stronger
最珍贵的感动藏在我心中
The most precious feelings of being touched are hidden away in my heart

情人 爱却更多
Lover, your love is even more
开始就要爱到最后
If the love has begun then you will love to the end
于是你我真心越来越浓
And so, the feelings of our hearts so true become stronger and stronger
最珍贵的感动藏在我心中
The most precious feelings of being touched…

 

 

Completed:
33 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 14.2

  1. Thank you hoju 😘 he’s definitely there with her

    • He always has been, before there were ever any romantic feelings. And he always will, even if those feelings weren’t reciprocated. 🙂 You’re welcome!

  2. JCY with stubble? Hmmm…. *imagining*

    Can’t wait to see the pic of him that you’d share with us, Hoju~… ^^

  3. Hoju unnie!!!! Sorry long time no see! It’s just that I’ve been so busy the last couple months! So I sat down for an hour and finished reading all the chapters I’ve missed lol. I sense that the story’s turned down a darker lane, that we’re heading to turbulence smh. And I’m scared urgh. I kinda read the last few chapters raw and you can guess what they did to me T.T
    P.S. I’ve decided to go to Carnegie Mellon University yayyyy!!!!

    • I don’t think it’s darker. Black and White film is dark. Healing Sunshine is about life. Whose life is without turbulence? Sometimes, the paths you choose in life will bring storms, while sometimes, it’s Life itself choosing to toss the tempests at you. Oftentimes, it’s a combination of both. But the constant is, as Jì Chengyang said, no one will always have a smooth-sailing life.

      Gasp. You chose to let Mr. Google Translate read to you instead of waiting for me. The atrocity of such an act! 😤 😂

      Congrats. 🙂

  4. JNN can’t resist the temptation from making out…in that case, let JY leave…oh how awkward
    thank you

  5. Thank you so much

  6. Thanking you very much Hoju!

  7. Eid mubarak everyone!!!

  8. Like JY, I too missed JCY more than half of the chapter. Glad he came at the end. Even his simple talks are a charm 😀.

    Thank you for the chapter, Hoju 🙂. Hope your busy phase gets over soon.

  9. Thank you Hoju

  10. Thanks for translating this! As my absolute favourite MBFB book it’s so awesome to see so many people in love with JCY too. Her prose is so simple yet beautiful and I feel like you have translated it very well! Good work

    • 🙂 I love this one, too. It tugs at the heartstrings in so many ways. Xixi and Jì Chengyang both deserve admiration and love. 🙂
      Thank you. 🙂 I love MBFB, as nearly everyone knows, so I’m glad to hear that I’m not butchering her works. LOL.

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