Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 16.1

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Vacation is over, and the peacefulness comes to an end. Something very significant happens, not just for Jì Chengyang and Xixi but all of China. Many of you may remember it.

Chapter 16.1 — Life’s Tender Dependence (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.

 

When their Hong Kong trip came to an end, Jǐ Yi specifically asked Jì Chengyang for a small-denomination Hong Kong bill of money to keep as a memento.

On it, in black pen, she wrote down a date range: 2002.10.2 — 10.6.

Even though she and Jì Chengyang were still maintaining that distance between them that they had previously agreed to, she had already silently decided that this was their first long-distance trip taken together after their relationship changed.

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After Jǐ Yi was back, there suddenly seemed to be no more things troubling Nuannuan’s heart, and no matter how Jǐ Yi followed up with her and asked, she would only vaguely brush over the matter. There was somewhat of a bad feeling in Jǐ Yi about this. Unfortunately, Nuannuan would not budge in the least and tell her anything, so she had no choice but to temporarily set it aside.

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Jǐ Yi’s impression of 2002 had once been one of a year plagued with all sorts of misfortunes and calamities. After the Spring Festival holiday period of 2003, though, she felt that, when compared with disasters suddenly sent down by Heaven, calamities imposed by man seemed so insignificant. In the latter half of 2002, Jì Chengyang went to Russia. As a result of the Moscow theatre hostage crisis that took place in October, Moscow’s Chechen problem once more escalated.

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When he returned, the Lunar New Year celebrations had just passed. An outbreak of a major infectious disease had suddenly erupted in China after the Lunar New Year.

Almost instantaneously, the term “SARS” began to spread.

Jì Chengyang initially had not thought much of it. However, after his airplane landed, the picture of every single person walking about wearing a face mask elicited in him a sense that this time, it truly was very serious. When he arrived at the television station, he saw that tasks were being divided amongst everyone. Someone asked, “Who’s heading over to Beihang University to check out the situation?”

Without a word, Jì Chengyang put on his cap, which he had just removed. “I’ll go.”

Liu Wanxia happened to walk in right then, and hearing him say this, she grew anxious. Grabbing hold of him, she said, “There’s someone going already. The director is looking for you. Go find him first.” Jì Chengyang still was not very clear on the whole situation, so hearing this old schoolmate say this, he turned abruptly and walked out in the direction of the news director’s office. It was not until he had stepped inside, taken a seat, and begun to converse about things that he truly was able to get a feel for the severity of the situation.

Beihang University was in the severe disaster area. Many of the hospitals were in the severe disaster area. Several universities were shut down and closed off. Every military compound was sealed off, and even foodstuffs and produce trucks were prohibited from entering. Many companies had shut down operations and given employees this time off…

All routes into Beijing had been sealed off.

All countries had issued travel bans to China, preventing any leisure visits there and even cancelling all official government business…

Even Jì Chengyang, such a composed person, was somewhat stunned.

A disease spread by airborne transmission and respiratory droplets.

This route of transmission, alone, was enough to cause anyone’s face to turn pale at the very mention of it.

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

“One of our reporters went over to Peking Union Hospital to do some interviews and news gathering, but now she’s been put under quarantine. She emailed over the information that she gathered. You sort through it and then see if you can do a telephone interview to fill in any info we might be missing,” the news director instructed him.

Once he had been assigned his task, Jì Chengyang walked back out from that office. Pondering for a moment, he dialed the telephone number of that younger cousin of Wang Haoran. Last time for Jǐ Yi’s incident, Jì Chengyang had also made use of this connection to obtain help from Gu Pingsheng to acquire firsthand that boy’s medical case record and profile. This junior schoolmate, who in Jì Chengyang’s impression was the most exceptional of junior schoolmates from the University of Pennsylvania, his mother was a doctor in Peking Union Hospital.

To Jì Chengyang’s surprise, when the telephone was eventually passed over to Gu Pingsheng, it turned out that the latter was actually at Peking Union Hospital.

“The situation?” There was a slight hoarseness to Gu Pingsheng’s voice as he calmly stated, “The situation is very grave, much graver than anything that has been reported in the media. There’s nothing really to be said. Right now, any medical personnel you may be able to get an interview with may soon become a fallen hero.”

As Jì Chengyang gripped his mobile phone, he suddenly perceived that, back when he was interviewed, he, too, had said similar words. Given the type of profession that a war correspondent is, there is a possibility that a bomb could land in the wrong place and then your name will end up becoming history.

Unexpectedly, it was the young man on the other end of the line who ended up chuckling first. “Go ahead and ask. You ask, I’ll answer.”

These two men had never really met one another before, but there was quite a feeling of mutual admiration between them.

It was a very short telephone call, and then Doctor Gu had to hurriedly hang up. He was in the midst of “fighting a battle” and could only take advantage of his short break time to answer such a phone call and describe a little of the most front-line situation.

This was a horrific epidemic that devoured lives. The death toll was rapidly rising.

“The true number of people who have died from this?” Exhausted and with great lament, Gu Pingsheng gave a sigh, not answering this senior fellow schoolmate of his.

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Tossing his mobile phone back into the pocket of his pants, Jì Chengyang stared at the glass window in front of him. On it was his own reflection.

He was waiting for the information that that quarantined journalist had gathered and uploaded to them, and so, with nothing to do for the moment, he wandered into a dressing room that still had people in it. Likely because everyone had been searching for a companion to chat with, there were seven or eight people gathered in this room. When Jì Chengyang stepped inside, someone nudged over a takeout box of lunch that was an extra order. “Hey, Belle of the Station, I, your lowly one, saved this for you.”

Everyone laughed. Directing some random teasing every so often at the belle of the station could be considered a way of finding some enjoyment in spite of the bad situation.

Beijing was a severely-hit disaster area. Every day, the news would report the number infected in each district. Every person felt imperiled. However, as journalists, the ones they worried most about were still their own families.

“Who knows? You may just be going out to buy groceries and then you somehow get infected. Even if you’re not infected, once you come in contact with any SARS victim, you’re immediately put away into quarantine.” Someone complained about the unfairness of the criteria for quarantine.

“Yeah, supposedly, for that university that’s in the severely-hit area, entire classes of students have been quarantined. If there really is one person who’s infected, even if the rest are all healthy, they’ll all get infected, too, after being locked up in the same place as someone who’s sick.”

“There’s nothing that can be done about it. Infectious diseases are all treated this way. You need to protect the majority of society.” A woman gave a wry smile. “In the past, all those villages that had leprosy were treated the same way, too.”

Jì Chengyang pulled apart a pair of disposable chopsticks and gently rubbed one chopstick against the other to remove any protruding slivers, listening as they conversed. Before long, Liu Wanxia stepped into the room as well. She had originally intended only on grabbing something, but when she saw that Jì Chengyang was there, she quickly fished out from her pocket a brand new face mask, the packaging of which had not even been opened yet, and handed it to him. “The ones that you buy outside are just a single layer of cloth and are useless. When you go outside later, wear this one.”

All eyes were on them. Everyone was touched by the meticulous care shown by this intelligent and beautiful female newscaster. Someone, it was not known who, whistled. “Liu Wanxia, I can’t find mine either. Since Jì Chengyang is known for being fearless of death anyway, how about you just give it to me first?”

“Just hurry up and eat your food,” Liu Wanxia retorted laughingly. Setting the mask on Jì Chengyang’s leg, she departed the room.

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

After Jì Chengyang finished his dinner, he held the mask on his open, upturned palm, like he was weighing it, before tossing it onto the table. Then, truly not wearing any protective items, he left the television station. He had asked earlier on. During this period, BFSU had not been closed off yet. He wanted to go see Jǐ Yi. She still did not know that he had already urgently returned to Beijing.

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

Inside her dormitory room, Jǐ Yi fiddled with her small face mask, not really wanting to say anything.

“Beijing’s like that, Guangzhou’s like that, Hong Kong’s like that…I don’t even dare watch the news anymore.” Her schoolmate was making a phone call home. “Mom, if you get a fever, absolutely don’t be in a rush to get to the hospital. If you go there, it means the entire family will be quarantined. Right now, all fever clinics have been set up in a completely separate space, and once you go in, you won’t be able to come back out.”

This person with her in the dormitory was from Guangzhou. Every day, she would make a phone call home, and even if she did not, someone from her family would call her because Beijing was also a severe disaster area. After talking for some time, that schoolmate once more reminded, “Mom, you have to remember what I said to you just now. Absolutely do not go to the hospital. Many doctors, as well as people who simply went to see a doctor, ended up getting infected in the hospital.” Curled up in the chair, the girl painstakingly instructed, “A lot of universities here have been shut down and closed off. If there’s no real reason, everyone’s just not going out. That way, there’s no source of infection to run into…”

Jǐ Yi poured a glass of water, but feeling rather listless, she nearly ran into the chair near her.

Luckily, the girl talking on the phone reached out a hand to support her. Setting the glass onto the table, she sat for a short while, but after barely drinking any of her water, she slipped on her coat, gathered her things into her schoolbag, and left the dormitory. Actually, there were still many people on campus who were not wearing face masks. She, on the other hand, was properly and dutifully wearing a simple surgical mask, because she felt that she had a slight fever and, moreover, it was showing the trend of getting worse.

She did not dare to stay in her dormitory room, for fear that she would cause everyone in the whole room to be put under quarantine.

But when she had actually packed some clothes and was prepared to leave, there was nowhere she could go.

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

As she stood at the university gates, she hesitated, contemplating where she could go to stay for a night. If this were simply an ordinary fever, her temperature would usually return to normal after one night. If this really were SARS… She would cross that bridge when it came. She did not really dare think about that latter possibility and only knew that she had to first confirm whether she had it or not. Today was Friday, but the front gates of the university did not have the usual large numbers of people going in and out. When she walked out, she had even been requested outside of the school gates to sign her name in a notebook.

She had not expected that immediately after stepping outside, she would see that familiar car parked in a spot not far away. That figure that was so familiar to her and that she had not seen for a very long time, now got out of that vehicle. Jì Chengyang evidently had already seen her, and locking the car door, he strode towards her. Jǐ Yi, however, instinctively drew back a step. When he was still several steps away, she suddenly called out, “Don’t come over.”

Jì Chengyang’s eyes appeared from beneath the black brim of his cap, his pupils reflecting Jǐ Yi’s mask-covered appearance. “What’s wrong?”

Jǐ Yi unconsciously tugged at her face mask’s string, then clutched the strap of her crossbody bag with both hands. “I have a fever… I’m worried I’ll infect you.”

His brows abruptly furrowing together, Jì Chengyang closed the distance between them with quick strides. “You have a fever?”

Before Jǐ Yi had a chance to dodge him, he had already clasped her wrists in his hands. Sensing that the temperature of her skin was indeed already elevated, Jì Chengyang’s heart rate actually began to race. He reached out a hand, wanting to touch Jǐ Yi’s forehead this time. Jǐ Yi was truly alarmed now. “I’m not lying to you. I really do have a fever. Stay away from me. Don’t touch me. Don’t touch anywhere on me. If it’s SARS, it’s contagious—”

Jì Chengyang actually had not even thought that deeply about the matter. Listening to her as she tried so anxiously to stay away from him, his mind at last truly registered the situation. Jǐ Yi wanted to say more, but with his hands still clamped tightly around her wrists, he had already brought her straight into the car. Terribly panicked now, she stared at him with her pair of large, black eyes, wanting to get out of the vehicle. Jì Chengyang very quickly engaged the car’s lock.

Jǐ Yi was genuinely at her wit’s end. Furthermore, her head was feeling woozy and heavy from the fever, so carrying on like this with such agitated emotions really left her even feebler. She felt that her throat was especially sore, and she also had no strength when she spoke. Still, though, she told him, “I’m not lying to you. If I really do have SARS, with you being in the same car as me right now, you just might get infected…”

Jì Chengyang was not listening at all to her rambles that told him how dangerous this was. Extending his hand out, he somewhat forcibly brought it to Jǐ Yi’s forehead, using his sense of touch to judge whether her fever was severe. Since she was a child, he had watched her get fevers and take medication so many times that he had lost track. He knew that her immune system was naturally weaker than the average person’s to begin with, and moreover, when she was young, she had frequently taken anti-inflammatory drugs without any limits on dosage…

“When did the fever start? Did you take your temperature? Have you gone to the hospital to get checked?”

With the back of her head against the seatback, Jǐ Yi murmuringly answered, “I can’t go to the hospital. If it’s not SARS, I’ll still be put in isolation… I was thinking, if it’s just a normal fever, I’ll be better by tomorrow… If I’m still not better by tomorrow…”

These words did serve as a reminder to Jì Chengyang.

Earlier, during his phone conversation with that Doctor Gu, the other party had already warned him that hospitals truly were the most dangerous place to be during this time, and if you could avoid going, then you should not go. For many fevers, if you could take normal medication and be completely better after that, then it actually was not the atypical pneumonia of SARS, and there was no need to go to the fever clinic at the hospital and cause yourself to be swiftly put into isolation in a hospital room.

The probability of being infected in the hospital isolation rooms was extremely high. It was even unsafer there.

“For the next while, you must pay careful attention.” Gu Pingsheng had given this warning at the end. “You absolutely must not get a fever. If you do, just observe it for a day. Don’t hastily run over here to the fever clinic. It will be so unjust for you if you end up getting infected from being in an isolation room. Right now, there still is no effective treatment or drug for it… Hopefully, one will be found and pushed out soon.”

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Turning the steering wheel, Jì Chengyang drove the car in the direction of his home. Since he had already been warned directly, the safer thing to do would be, for the time being, to take her home first, have her take medicine the same way one would for a common cold and fever, and observe things for a night. With both his hands on the steering wheel, Jì Chengyang glanced out the corner of his eye at Jǐ Yi beside him, who was still trying to convince him. “I’ll first take you home to take some medication and get some sleep. We’ll wait until you wake up and then check again to see if your temperature has gone down.”

The fringe of bangs on Jǐ Yi’s forehead was parted slightly. Her face, which was no longer clad with a mask, showed that abnormal red shade that comes with a fever. Struggling with herself for a while, she finally gave a soft “mm.” She had no way of persuading Jì Chengyang to first keep a distance from her, and so she could only give up. However, as she shut her eyes, in the deep recess of her heart, there seemed to be a cord that was gradually loosening and unwinding, and the feeling of fear also slowly faded.

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

In the end, she truly did stay at his home that day.

She had not expected that the first time she stayed overnight at Jì Chengyang’s home, it would be because she was fevering and did not dare go back to her dormitory. Such a situation likely would only ever occur in such times as these. There was no guest room in Jì Chengyang’s home, so she slept on his bed. In the middle of the night, when she finally began to perspire, her mind was somewhat disoriented from the fever. Several times, she pulled her arms out from under the quilt, but each time, someone would patiently place them back underneath.

At last, she transitioned from having a splitting headache into sleep.

When she awoke again, the sky was already bright. Though the curtains were drawn shut, sunlight still snuck through the sliver of space between them and shone in. Feeling for the watch on the bedside table, she took a glance at it. Ten o’clock already.

But her entire body still ached.

She pushed up on her arms, supported herself against the head of the bed, and sat up, bringing a hand to her forehead. It still felt as if she had a slight temperature—her fever had not broken… This thought plunged her whole mood into gloominess and fear. She recalled the various news stories that she had heard over this last month and more. Hugging her knees, she sat in silence for a while, then reached for her coat and put it on.

Before she had gotten off the bed, though, Jì Chengyang stepped into the room.

He was carrying the rice porridge that he had just finished cooking, as well as a small plate of pickles, and while he was at it, he had brought a medical thermometer with him, too.

“Just now when I touched you, it seemed like your fever had started up again. Here, we’ll take your temperature first and then have breakfast.” Taking a seat on the edge of the bed, Jì Chengyang set the rice porridge and little dish of pickled vegetables on the bedside table. He did not pull open the curtains and instead turned on the lamp by the bed.

She did not make a sound. Leaning against the headboard, she waited for Jì Chengyang to hand the thermometer to her, but she did not take it from him. “I’m fevering. There’s no need to take my temperature…” Tears unconsciously began to rise up, and they swirled in her eyes. She lowered her head to conceal them. “It would have been so much better if you hadn’t come to the school yesterday to find me.”

In a gentle tone, he interrupted her, “Let’s take your temperature.”

Her voice dropped even lower, and she carried on in her own thoughts, saying, “If I really do have SARS, it definitely would have been transmitted to you already. It can spread by breathing and respiratory droplets. You’ve been at such a close distance to me the whole time. You definitely won’t be able to avoid getting it…”

“Xixi.” He cut her off once more.

“I’ll go to the hospital myself in a little bit,” she choked. “You mustn’t come with me. You’ll be locked up with me.”

“Xixi.” Jì Chengyang’s voice was very low. He wanted to put a stop to her thinking that was becoming more and more extreme.

“Maybe you won’t get a fever? Then after a few days, you’ll be fine…”

Jǐ Yi’s head was bowed as she continuously twisted the quilt with her fingers, feeling that she was just a blight of bad luck. Basically all she did was bring troubles onto him. What if it really were SARS, what should she do? What should she do? … In her palm, the dark blue quilt cover was twisted into a wad. As she recalled those terrifying death toll statistics, she grew increasingly frightened, and then, as she thought about the possibility that Jì Chengyang would be infected, she started to feel self-condemnation. These two disheartening emotions interwove and left her feeling as if her stomach was beginning to contort painfully. It hurt so much that she only wanted to cry, and her tears tumbled down uncontrollably.

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A finger brushed over Jǐ Yi’s cheeks, wiping away those tears. “Nothing will happen to you. Don’t let your imagination get the better of you.”

Right as she was about to continue saying more, that hand tilted her chin up. Jì Chengyang used action to directly shatter her guilt and self-blame. His fingers, in a very natural motion, thrust themselves into her long tresses, which were slightly damp as a result of an entire night of fevering. Cupping her head in his hands, he brought it close to him. This time, he truly was kissing her.

He did not care at all whether she was running a fever or not.

Or perhaps it simply had not even crossed his mind whether she really did have SARS and whether it would be transmitted to him through kissing her.

 

Jǐ Yi could feel her lip being gently sucked on. Dizzily, she clutched at the front of his t-shirt. The tip of his tongue pried apart her soft lips, trying to find her tongue, and then gently, he entwined them together slightly and sucked for a while. This entirely unfamiliar and tender type of contact set Jǐ Yi’s whole body ablaze.

There was no resistance from her in the slightest, and she only attempted to take all that came down upon her.

Even the very tips of her fingers had grown limp.

His palm brushed against her petite ear, then glided downwards, lightly kneading it with his fingers. The tingling that came over her in that instant made her tremble involuntarily. Tears still hung on her cheeks, and they slid down. A little salty—they both registered this taste. Gradually, Jì Chengyang began to deepen that feeling of being entangled together, delving far into her throat. This kiss swept away all of Jǐ Yi’s awareness, leaving her breathless.

Throughout the entire process, she felt only in a daze and also that she especially wanted to cry.

It was that type of weeping that came from being especially happy.

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

Jì Chengyang felt that he would soon fall captive to her gentle submission. This caused him to almost stubbornly continue deepening this kiss. He craved this feeling. His hand stroked her earlobe, the contours of the side of her face, and her neck, until it slid down to her chest. Instinctively, he began caressing and kneading her soft bosom.

This form of touch that was simply too unfamiliar to her incited something in Jǐ Yi. Faint tremors came over her, and she shrunk her body back slightly.

It was this very slight evasive action that caused Jì Chengyang to halt abruptly.

He finally perceived what he actually wanted to continue doing. Promptly releasing his hold on the person in his embrace, he slowly pushed her away so that there was a slight distance between them.

“Let’s take your temperature first, okay?”

Jǐ Yi was gasping lightly. Her large eyes stared blankly at him. But one second later, she lowered her head, avoiding his enigmatic gaze that was surging with something deep within. Looking down at the quilt that covered her, she quietly answered, “Okay…”

As she listened to the near-maniacal pounding of her heart, even the view before her eyes swayed slightly.

Jì Chengyang refastened her top, whose several buttons had fallen open with his caresses. Picking up the thermometer again, he slipped it in through her collar and tucked its cool tip under her arm. “If you really do have SARS, I have now definitely been infected already. Don’t be scared. I’ll be with you.”

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:

Teacher Gu… 😦 He’s still Doctor Gu here. I remember, in chapter 16 of Together Forever, when Gu Pingsheng collapsed due to SARS aftereffects, the doctor treating him mentioned that he had had a classmate who was had also been a doctor during the SARS incident and eventually died of the disease. This doctor was lamenting over how doctors are unappreciated nowadays. Gu Pingsheng replied, “Were it not for the fact that my physical condition is not ideal, I would without a doubt choose to return to the hospital. Your classmate would probably have given this same answer, too.”

Salute to the angels in white coats who put themselves on the front lines for others.

 

Completed:
37 of 69 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

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7 thoughts on “The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 16.1

  1. He’s love for her is incondicional he doesn’t care if she is sick with that terrible plague 😢 thankfully she is not but I really feel the pain that people went through at that time in China 😢

  2. Wow the sweetest chapter😱
    As she is thinking she always brings troubles he is consoling her that they would be together even if she is infected…Even my family members mention abt wearing masks for more than a month here in HK at that time…

  3. Thank you Hoju, he is sooo sweet

  4. This couple’s loyalty to each other was very commendable. They care and support one another, be the pillar of strength and lean on each other as their love deepen and stronger. They’re really sweet, their love is really beautiful.

    And GPS, sigh, the sweet doctor turned lecturer/lawyer cameo in this chapter make me want to re-read the novel, TF, for the 4th times. TF was my 3rd favorite of MBFB novel, I even still remember the closing caption of the novel.

    Thanks for the update, my dear~!

  5. Thank you for this chapter, awh! so sweet of MBFB to link GPS to JCY. I love the connection. I feel like I am a part of their lives.

  6. What a chapter !!! The horrific epidemic, Doctor Gu’s mention and his talk, JY’s lost feeling on getting fever and JCY taking care as always and finally the kiss. In another set up, I would have squealed with joy over their kiss but the painful time which the country is going through overshadowed the sweet feeling while reading.

    Thank you for the chapter, Hoju 🙂.

  7. JCY is a true husband keeper!
    thank you

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