Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 20.2

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It’s not possible that either of them could be calm about this unexpected reunion.

Chapter 20.2 — The Goodbye that I Owe You (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.

 

Jì Chengyang’s abrupt rise to his feet caused the attention of the people in the conference room to converge. Everyone followed Jì Chengyang’s gaze to also look at that young girl standing at the door. They could see in a single glance that she was a student intern who had just stepped out into the working world.

“What’s up with this, Chengyang?” A suit-clad man sitting at the centre of the conference table was eyeing Jǐ Yi with a look of amusement. As if he had thought of something, his expression became increasingly peculiar.

Even that foreigner female journalist also had a look on her face that showed she had made a connection of some sort in her mind.

……

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

From the moment she laid eyes on him, Jǐ Yi’s mind had gone into a blank daze.

Her hand that gripped the edge of the door unconsciously tightened. Her heart went from being filled with wild elation, to feeling released and relieved, to, in an instant, falling into dejection and, with that last thread of hope completely snapped, plunging into an abyss. She at last thoroughly realized that none of it had been a lie, that she had simply been deceiving herself…

Her emotions were fluctuating too quickly, and turmoil swelled in her eyes as well.

He was alive, and he looked as if he was doing very, very well…

She shifted her gaze away.

Jì Chengyang stood with his back towards the floor-length glass window and the warm winter sunshine beyond it, but he was gazing deeply at her.

“Little Uncle Jì.” In a low voice, she spoke those words that she had rehearsed for a long time. “It’s been… a long time since we’ve seen each other.”

How long?

From May of 2003 to the present, 2007. Today, it was exactly four years, seven months, and seven days.

After remaining silent for two or three seconds, Jì Chengyang, his voice carrying repressed emotions, answered, “Four years, seven months, and seven days.”

The expression on every person’s face shifted, astounded by this exact count of days that Jì Chengyang had stated. However, each person simply carried on retaining his or her own fantastical speculations. Only the expression of the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Shen Yu, was the most simple and innocent. Genuinely believing that she was Jì Chengyang’s niece, he immediately smiled and began introducing Jǐ Yi to the new, suit-clad, dignified and proper-looking managing editor, Liu Kaifeng… and also the newspaper’s female, foreign-nationality contracted correspondent, Amanda.

When his gaze turned back to Jì Chengyang, he did not provide any titles or description of his reputation. “You don’t need any introductions about your Little Uncle Jì from me. He, like those other two, experienced the Iraq War and just returned to the country.”

“Mm-hmm. I know… They are all journalist heroes,” Jǐ Yi responded.

She discovered that her throat was beginning to ache. A searing sensation burned all the way up from her chest into her throat. Each word that she spoke was done with great difficulty. After about two or three seconds of quiet, she said in a low voice, “You guys continue. I’ll head back to my work first.”

After saying this, she disappeared behind that slowly-closing glass door.

From beginning to end, from when she appeared to when she left, she had stood by the doorway and had not taken even half a step into the conference room.

Slowly, Jì Chengyang sat down. He suddenly really wanted to have a smoke.

In an instant, memories assailed him, surging too fiercely at him. This second, he could even clearly remember that sweltering summer evening in 1997, when, in order to comfort that little girl who, because she had not gotten to see her parents, had sobbed until she was drenched in tears, he had brought her to the cinema in the military compound to watch the representative film of a Hong Kong actor. That empty cinema and the timid look in that little girl’s eyes were all recorded in that era in which there had been no romance or love, no flames of war, and even more so, no separations in life and partings by death…

And now, today, ten years had already passed.

Apart from those two people who had personally experienced them, no one understood what each of them had journeyed through in these last ten years and what separated the two of them now.

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

The silence of the involved party did not dispel the curiosity of this roomful of good friends of his.

Liu Kaifeng loosened his tie, and with his hand on the arm of Jì Chengyang’s chair, he disbelievingly questioned, “If my memory serves me correctly, the girl I photographed at BFSU [Beijing Foreign Studies University] before we went to Iraq, when we were all still in Beijing, was her? Didn’t you say she’s your girlfriend?”

Amanda laughed. “Tell me, that photograph that you took, was it a side view of the face?”

Liu Kaifeng was puzzled. “You’ve seen it?”

“I have, on Yang’s computer.” Amanda stated the answer directly. “It was his desktop picture.”

“Girlfriend? Didn’t she call you Little Uncle Jì?” The editor-in-chief thought the turn of events in this matter was truly remarkable.

These people were all engaged in the news industry and had seen and experienced many things, but that did not prevent them from concerning themselves with the private life of this man.

Based on their ability as grown adults to sniff things out, they knew with certainty, simply from how Jì Chengyang had been so shocked in that instant the girl pushed open the door that he had stood up, that there must be a good story behind this—an extremely good story.

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

Those three were enthusiastically carrying out their discussion, while that veteran journalist in charge of mentoring Jǐ Yi was already in a complete state of astonishment at the truth that everyone together had deduced: Jì Chengyang, the Jì Chengyang who was well known in the field for a long time already, had once had a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship with one of the student interns currently working in his team?

Before Jǐ Yi pushed open the door, this conference room of people had been in the midst of discussing the professional ethics of those employed in the news and media industry. But after she left, the topic surprisingly switched amicably to become a special feature story on Jì Chengyang’s personal love life.

Only Jì Chengyang did not bother the entire time to pay attention to any of their inquiries. He remained tight-lipped, closely guarding everything that had to do with Jǐ Yi.

Lifting his wrist, he glanced at the time. “I should go now.”

Those three people all knew that after his narrow escape with death this time, he had had emergency medical procedures performed on him several times and also undergone a major surgery, and he was currently in a recovery and recuperation period. Hence, they did not try to keep him. With his hand on the table, supporting himself, Jì Chengyang stood and bade goodbye to his old friends.

Stepping out of the conference room, he walked along the hallway, past cubicle after white cubicle. After so long, he had once again returned here and was standing beneath the skies of his motherland. The intense, busy work atmosphere of the news media industry caused every working person to stride briskly. The heat in the building was very warm and gave people a feeling that spring was about to arrive.

His gaze was searching. He wanted to have one more glance at that silhouette before he left.

Alas, it was too big here. He did not see her.

Prior to coming here, he had not thought at all that he would so easily find her in this city that was so big. His beloved little lady, whose whereabouts had been unknown to everyone since her graduation, that girl who had never told anything about her work or actual life to even Jì Nuannuan—he had not been able to find a single point of connection from which he could contact her.

In these four years that they had been apart, what sort of life had she led? Did she already have a brand new life? These questions had been like knots at the bottom of his heart for too long already, so long that he had been too overwhelmed with emotion earlier and forgotten that those words of break up and the hurt inflicted back then had come from him.

<>This copy was taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. It would be greatly appreciated if you would read it from that site instead. Thank you.

People in love are all so greedy and without principles.

When he was hovering on the brink of death, unable to see any hope of living, he had wished that God would pass on all happiness and good luck to her, would allow her to meet a good person and then peacefully and happily continue living out her life. But once there was hope of living, when he thought about the possibility that she might be getting even more happiness from someone else, he had felt, then, that the entire world had plunged into a blackness that was even deeper than that of death…

From the time he left Iraq alive, from the time he regained consciousness in Amman, Jordan, from the time he thought about Jǐ Yi while he was in that hospital more than nine hundred kilometres away from Baghdad, Iraq, he had begun to over and over ask himself this:

Jì Chengyang, do you still have the right to go back to face her? Will you still have the chance to see her smiling at you again?

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

If he were to return to the year 2003 and make the choice again, would he choose to pronounce his disappearance or death, or would he choose to part with her completely?

He did not know. Even if he could return to May of that year and that minute of that day when he had given the instructions to his comrade about future arrangements and what should be done upon his death, he still would not know which one was the better choice. Likely, even God has no way of predicting the consequences that result from any of man’s choices. He was fortunate, for he still had his life.

Compared with those professional peers of his who had captured on camera that moment when he was shot by a sniper rifle, he was already lucky enough.

Outside the building, when Jì Chengyang sat into the taxicab, his strength was already utterly spent. After hurriedly stating his destination, he closed his eyes, leaned completely back into the seat, and rested. His face was very pasty, having not much colour to it at all, and his countenance was dull, showing none of the radiance of health. His hair fell down softly and concealed his tightly-shut eyes.

The driver had originally wanted to discuss the route with him, but glimpsing his complexion, in the end, he did not say anything and only drove to the destination according to the route he was most familiar with.

<>Please read this translation at its actual site of posting, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. It would be very sincerely appreciated.

After making up an excuse to her supervisor, Jǐ Yi left the office. Her mind in a muddle, she wandered around for several hours on the road back to her university.

The entire time, Jì Chengyang’s voice and also the image of him standing behind the white conference table spiraled in her mind. Although it was in the past already, even after sitting on the bus for more than an hour, until she was far from the newspaper office, she still felt as if her mind was not with her. Slow to clue in, she now, after the fact, resisted this reality.

She especially wanted to make a phone call, a call to any person who had been uninvolved but had more or less known about this relationship.

But despite thinking and thinking about it, she realized that there was no one whom she could talk to. She had not maintained contact with a single one of those good friends of the past from the military compound, including Jì Nuannuan. Three years and more ago, when she came back from Hong Kong, even her family members, during their idle conversations, had talked about the marriage of the youngest son of the Jì family. Even though Grandpa Jì very much did not appreciate this completely out-of-the blue, war-zone wedding, it still was a joyous event of the Jì family.

Back then, she had often had the misperception that the love and relationship she had once had with Jì Chengyang had not been real.

Now, as she picked up the phone, hoping to pour out her feelings to someone, that feeling had returned.

<>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 arrived back at her dormitory, she was just in time for dinnertime.

Her classmate from her undergraduate days, Lu Ying, suddenly showed up and said that she wanted to have a casual meal with her. As they were leaving, they in passing also pulled along a girl who shared the dorm with Jǐ Yi. When the three arrived at their destination, she discovered it was a seafood restaurant.

There were four tables of people inside the private room. It was the birthday dinner for Lu Ying’s boyfriend.

As she and her dormmate stared at this room full of people whom they did not know, they felt terribly awkward. They exchanged a couple of glances, wanting to flee from there.

“Lu Ying’s university schoolmates? Don’t be shy. Please, have a seat.” The birthday boy was a doctorate student, and when he spoke, he had quite a student air about him. “I’m the one who told her to bring a couple more people along. Four tables were reserved anyway, and they weren’t filled. And anyhow, we won’t be able to finish all the food.”

While Jǐ Yi was still vacillating, Lu Ying’s hands were already on her shoulders and had pressed her into a chair. Whispering in her ear, Lu Ying persuaded, “It’s just my boyfriend’s birthday. It’s not like he’s some stranger. What are you afraid of? Don’t care about those guys. Let’s just eat the tasty food. I brought you two students out so that you could have a delicious meal.”

“All right, let’s not care, then.” That other girl, the one who shared a dorm room with Jǐ Yi, laughingly chimed in, “Poor students like us are just in charge of being here to make up the numbers.”

“Don’t worry. It’s not like the people he invited are idlers of society. They’ve all come out from one of the eight big academic institutions on Xueyuan Road[1]. Hurry and sit down, Jǐ Yi.”

With no valid way of refusing any longer, Jǐ Yi had no choice but to take a seat. Embarrassedly, she smiled at the birthday boy and said, “Happy birthday.”

Scallop, razor clams, and other similar foods were already, platter by platter, being carried out. This was not really any sort of high-class, fancy restaurant. Amid this atmosphere that was being coloured by the lively clamour, aroma of food, and bottle after dark green bottle of beer, she slowly awakened from her layers and layers of memories.

A glass of bubbling beer appeared before her eyes.

The person who poured the beer was someone she did not know.

“What are you doing?” The instant she saw this, Lu Ying became anxious. “Why are you pouring booze for our girl? We’re still students.”

“Your junior [female] schoolmate?” The person in charge of pouring alcohol at this table cheerfully asked this question.

“My classmate, same year.”

“No way? She looks a lot younger than you.”

“She is younger than me. Just a little older than twenty years old.” Lu Ying wanted to switch out the glass of beer in front of Jǐ Yi, but to her surprise, Jǐ Yi held her hand down.

With her eyes fixed on that glass before her, Jǐ Yi gripped it tightly in her hand. Like a parched person who had suddenly come upon water, she did not care about anything and simply picked it up and began drinking.

In only a few seconds, that brimming glass of beer was completely downed.

The people by their table all paused in amazement, but very shortly, a “Yeah!” burst out from someone.

In northern cities, many girls can drink, and everyone here had seen many do similar to what Jǐ Yi just did, so they had not perceived that there was anything wrong with this girl. They had merely watched her walk in and not really say anything, but when the key moment came, it turned out that she was actually quite open and able to let loose.

It was the middle of winter. Cold beer in the belly really was not a pleasant feeling.

Pulling a napkin off from the lazy Susan turntable, she bowed her head and wiped her mouth. When she looked up again, her eyes glistened, as if the beer had stung her throat and brought tears to her eyes.

“Hurry and eat some food.” As Lu Ying hastily picked up some food for her with a pair of chopsticks, the look she gave Jǐ Yi was not quite right.

Jǐ Yi did not remember just how much she drank that night. This absolutely was the very first time she had touched alcohol since that one time that she got drunk when she was young. The type of alcohol consumed was different, but the effect was the same. That was, after she was drunk, she completely lost all memories of anything. How she returned to the school, how she got up the four flights of stairs of the dormitory building, and how she was tossed up onto her bunk that you actually needed to climb a ladder to get up to, she had absolutely no recollection of any of these.

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

At four in the morning, intense abdominal pain struck her.

Gritting her teeth, she climbed slowly down her bunk ladder. Before she was even able to find her slippers, she saw that there was another figure squatted down on the floor, completely motionless, almost like it was a wraith.

Her heart plunged.

Abruptly, her grip loosened. Her leg slammed into the chair behind her.

“It’s me…” a feeble voice said. It was evident it belonged to the girl who had gone to dinner and then come back together with her. “You’re awake…”

“What’s wrong?” She bent over, putting a hand on her leg as she asked this.

“My stomach hurts… I’m going to die, it hurts so much. I feel too weak to climb the ladder onto the bunk, so I was just crouching here for a bit.”

Jǐ Yi breathed a sigh of relief. “I have a stomachache, too.”

“It couldn’t be a problem with the seafood, could it? You ate just a little, but I ate quite a bit. I’ve gone to the bathroom three times already.”

The two did not dare speak too loudly, worried that they would wake the other four people who were asleep in the dorm room, and so they only quietly exchanged these few sentences. By the time they both had painfully gone through the bathroom several times, they at last arrived at a conclusion: it was indeed food poisoning. That girl quickly made a phone call to her boyfriend, asking him to help bring the two of them to the hospital.

And so, groping around in the dark, Jǐ Yi wrapped herself in her down jacket and scarf and headed downstairs with her roommate.

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

At five o’clock on this winter morning, the sky outside was so black it could completely devour all the buildings and structures near and far.

Jǐ Yi tugged her scarf above her nose and then proceeded with great difficulty down the four flights of stairs. When she reached the door of the dormitory building and was about to step out, the person beside her grabbed her arm. “Don’t say anything.”

Taken aback, she looked bewilderedly at this schoolmate of hers.

Her schoolmate leaned up close beside her face and whispered in her ear, “The guy by the door. Take a look.”

At the dormitory building’s doorway, in the place sheltered from the wind, there stood a very tall man, and by his hand there were also flickering embers. He seemed to be smoking a cigarette. There was a dusty lamp in that spot, and it illuminated his side profile.

It was almost by instinct that Jǐ Yi took two steps backwards and hid herself behind her schoolmate.

Her heart was constricting tigher and tighter inside her chest.

She did not dare to get close to him, absolutely did not dare to be alone near him again.

This man’s presence had completely run through every part of her life before twenty years old. Sprinkled in little details everywhere throughout her memory were traces of him.

“You really do know him?” Speaking in a low tone like a thief, this female schoolmate told her, “Last night when Lu Ying and I brought you back here, this guy wanted to pick you up and take you away. It scared us both like crazy. We thought he was some sex psycho. But… he doesn’t really look like a sex psycho…”

Jǐ Yi stared out unblinkingly at him, not speaking.

“And then, you went ‘Waaah!’ and began crying. You were crying like you had been treated especially unfairly, and no matter what, you wouldn’t let him get close to you… Later, I thought that things weren’t quite right and that you likely knew him, so I didn’t call the dorm staff auntie or the security guards.”

As they were talking, they saw a boy riding a bicycle against the wind, heading with much difficulty towards this place where they were. Beside her, her schoolmate softly griped, “He’s so dense, riding a bike in weather like this…” She glanced at Jǐ Yi. “What are you going to do?”

Jǐ Yi’s head was lowered. “I’m not going to go to the hospital. Just fill an extra prescription and bring it back for me.”

“Huh? You can actually have someone go in your place to see the doctor? You sure are brave enough, eh.”

Jǐ Yi gazed imploringly at this person who was with her.

Her schoolmate was hesitant, but recalling that scene from the previous night, she nodded, which could be considered her agreement to Jǐ Yi’s request.

The girl pushed open the glass door and brushed past Jì Chengyang. Acting as if she was unaware of anything, she quickly seated herself on her boyfriend’s bicycle and then faded into the cover of the nightlike blackness.

<>This copy was taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Please support the translation by reading it there instead. Thank you.

By her ear was the sound of winter’s wind.

Standing at the corner of the stairs, Jǐ Yi stared out at the person on the other side of the glass door. At this distance of ten steps between them, she even had a clear view of how he pulled out a cigarette from his pants pocket and lit it. However, the amount of time that he spent smoking it was not much at all, and he simply allowed the cigarette to burn away, little by little, until it reached its end.

He was so still and quiet that it was like he would forever be waiting for her at the dark doorway of this building.

She was not certain how long she stood there, watching. It was as if this was a long, drawn battle. He was waiting for her to appear, and she was waiting for him to leave.

A girl stepped out on the first floor. When she caught sight of Jǐ Yi there in the corner, she let out a shriek of “Aaah!” Covering her chest with a hand, she grumbled, “You’re pretending to be a ghost or something? Not even moving at all! It’s practically the middle of the night. You can scare someone to death.”

Jǐ Yi hurriedly dropped her head, turned, and went upstairs.

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

[1] In 1952, the government purposely established eight higher education institutions on the designated road, Xueyuan Road (literally, Educational Institutes Road] in the Haidian District. Though the names of the educational institutions have changed several times and one has completely relocated, the reputation still remains. Nowadays, Haidian District is where most of Beijing’s universities are located, with many on Xueyuan Road.

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or reposting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.

 

Completed:
49 of 69 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

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9 thoughts on “The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 20.2

  1. I love this novel. Thank you for the wonderful translation! You can feel the emotions. 😍

  2. Thanks for update..

  3. Many thanks Hoju.
    This book is soooo good. Love those profound thoughts injected by MBFB.

  4. Omg this is going to be very hard for her but they need to talk and clear everything

  5. THE MISUNDERSTANDINGS!! I CAN’T TAKE IT!! These two were soo straight forward with each other!! BUT NOW!! Ji Yi… He’s been gone for too long, under a pretense that makes one back away so.. in addition to not knowing how to act around him, Ji Yi doesn’t want to be reminded of his ‘marriage’ to another
    Many thanks

  6. “Four years, seven months, and seven days.”
    Omona I’m crying😭

  7. My weekdays are turning topsy turvy for me. I cannot remember Tuesday to Saturday. Waiting for the updates.
    Loving this couple’s story and anxy for their reunion. 🙂
    Thank you so much for your hard work, Hoju.

  8. I enjoyed the beautiful writing of the thoughts and sad feelings JCY and JY is going through and at the same time I wanted them to take the shortest route to clear all the stories weaved and find happiness soon. Come soon, Tuesday.

    Thank you for the update, Hoju 🙂.

  9. JY going to make JCY suffer just a bit 😀
    thank you

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