Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 20.3


He tells her, reality is actually not what he had initially told her. What is that reality?  😦

Chapter 20.3 — The Goodbye that I Owe You (3)

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.


Afterwards, she was not able to sleep at all. The pain in her stomach tormented her repeatedly. Not daring to go back up on her bed, she poured a cup of hot water and sat down on a chair, staring blankly. She could not believe that she had actually consumed alcohol.

Even in these past four years, in these days that had been completely without Jì Chengyang, she still had persisted in keeping the vow that she had made to Buddha in the temple.

The door was opened. She looked over. That roommate walked in and set a plastic medicine bottle and two boxes of medication by her hand, telling her in a quiet voice, “You’re going to take whatever medication I’m taking. I had the doctor give me two portions.”

Nodding lightly, Jǐ Yi picked up a box and read the dosage instructions.

“That person is still outside.” Her roommate softly suggested, “How about you just go out and have a look? It’s such windy weather, and he’s stood outside the whole night. That’s pretty deserving of some pity.” With these words, her roommate poured a glass of water from a thermal flask, took her medicine, and then went back onto her bed to make up her lost sleep.

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The dormitory room returned to quiet.

With the day being so chilly and there being no classes, the girls naturally were happy to carry on having a date with the Duke of Zhou[1] [continue sleeping].

Jǐ Yi continued looking again and again over the dosage instructions on the box. After reading through them seven or eight times, she stood and, hastily slipping on her down jacket, left the dormitory. When she pushed open the door, her shoulders grazed those of two passing girls, who were murmuring things along the lines of “Check out the hot guy,” and just like that, they brushed past her and strolled into the dormitory building.

And Jǐ Yi, with her head lowered and his gaze on her, slowly approached him.

“I saw you just now.” Her hands were balled tightly in the pockets of her down jacket. “You came to find me?”

Jì Chengyang’s eyes were on her. After an entire night of standing, he already felt as if his body did not belong to him. Only his heart in his chest was clenching in waves because she had drawn near.

He tucked his chin in slightly, tilting his head down to look at her. “Xixi.”

For a brief moment, she was struck into a daze.

It had been so long since anyone had called her that.

Fixing her gaze on the cracked concrete pavement beneath her feet, she gently asked, “Is there something you need?”

“Xixi.” His voice was very hoarse. He did not know whether it was because these words he was to say were too difficult or because of exhaustion from having not slept an entire night. “I never married, but it is true that I went through many things… and that’s why I wanted to use breaking up as a way to make you forget me. This whole thing is too complicated. I want to find a time when there are no outsiders around to just have a talk with you.”

Never married?

Those words shocked her into a state of confusion.

In an instant, all sorts of speculations bombarded her mind, viciously stabbing into her at her most fragile places.

She was somewhat alarmed and flustered, and nearly out of reflex, she tried to cover up her emotions. “Is that so?”

She could not even determine whether “never married” was something she should be happy about.

Because she was afraid of finding out answers that were even more unexpected.

In her subconscious mind, she was afraid of learning the exact details of those “many things” that Jì Chengyang had mentioned that he had experienced.

Jì Chengyang was seeing double, with overlapping images before his eyes. Forced, therefore, to remove his glasses, he held them in one hand while stretching out the other hand, wanting to take her shoulder in it.

Detecting his intention, she abruptly took two steps backwards. “Don’t do this.”

Jì Chengyang’s arm froze. Slowly, he brought his hand back down and somewhat awkwardly slipped it into his pants pocket. “I just got back into the country the day before yesterday. I did not expect I’d be able to find you so soon. Please let me have some of your time. I want to talk to you.”

She felt awkward as well.

This was because, in her peripheral vision, two or three girls who had walked out one by one from the dormitory building all could not refrain from looking over and eyeing them.

Jǐ Yi felt like she was a fish out of water, extremely uncomfortable.

She wanted to end this conversation as quickly as possible.

“I’ll be really busy today…” Thousands upon thousands of thoughts came crashing over her. She felt that she could not breathe and she only wanted, as fast as possible, to bring an end to such a conversation. “It’s really cold here… Why don’t you leave first? I still have a lot of things I need to do. I’ll be graduating soon, and I have my internship job. When I’ve got the time, we can talk then.”

“I’ll wait for you,” Jì Chengyang said. “I only just came back to China the day before yesterday, and I haven’t bought a mobile phone yet. I’m just using a friend’s for now. When I buy a phone—”

“Don’t ask my editor-in-chief for any of my information anymore.” She slowly, one word, one sentence at a time, cut him off. “I know you’ve been in this field since really early. Those friends of yours are all my superiors or my peers who are very senior in experience. If you keep doing this and cause everyone to know about the relationship we used to have, I won’t be able at all to continue working.”

She lifted her head and looked at him. Since yesterday, she had been terribly nervous.

“I was the one who didn’t think this whole thing through thoroughly.” He once more conceded. “My apologies, Xixi.”

For the wrong things he had done and the wrong choices he had made in the past that had hurt her, he would wholly admit his fault in all of them. And with all his remaining time, he would make it up to her.

All he desired was that she would give him another chance. He did not want to let her slip by again. Who broke his self-confidence and pride? It was the experiences of these years. No longer did he hold the extravagant wish that he could rely purely on his willful persistence in his own ways to request that she completely defer to him and once more accept him.

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

She did not give him any answer and only made her escape in a manner that could almost be considered as fleeing from there.

Jì Chengyang continued standing in that same spot and smoked another two cigarettes. After forcing himself, with great difficulty, to recover some of his strength and energy, he finally went to the east gate of the university, hailed a taxi, and headed directly to the hospital. Upon returning to the country this time, he had not chosen to go to the 301 Military Hospital and instead, through his friend, had contacted another hospital. It was only at the beginning of this year that he had undergone surgery to remove a part of his liver, and he needed to have regular follow-up check-ups. Consequently, this time, he had arranged to meet the head of this hospital’s department of hepatobiliary surgery. The other party was long aware that this patient’s family background was very impressive and powerful. However, while he knew that the patient had once been a war correspondent, he had not expected that his physical condition would be so complicated.

The doctor flipped through the medical history. He could tell that Jì Chengyang’s energy levels and mental state were very poor, and hence he tried as much as possible to shorten the conversation time, only directing his questions at certain specific conditions.

Such as, his blood disease.

“During that time in Iraq, I was forced to go to an area contaminated with radiation from the war.” Jì Chengyang gave the simplest answer.

“It’s because of being in a radiation-contaminated zone?” The doctor was astonished, and the look on his face was complex.

Jì Chengyang was not surprised that the doctor would have such a reaction. Since Amman, Jordan, he had gone through many hospitals. Regardless of whether it was at a crude hospital that lagged behind others or one with experts who walked at the medical forefront, whenever anyone heard the term “radiation-contaminated zones from the war,” the facial expression displayed would always be similar. The main reason for man’s fear of the atomic bomb is not its great ability to kill but, rather, the contamination that it creates. And for the same reason, the depleted uranium munitions that the United State had been using all along during this war period are also loathed.

The only thing worth being thankful for was that his condition had not reached the worst possible.

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A week later, Jǐ Yi received a temporary assignment from the newspaper. She and He Feifei together were put in charge of a speaker series event that was a joint collaboration between their newspaper agency and four universities. She at last knew why that day she had been able to see so many war correspondents together at the same time. It was because their editor-in-chief had invited them, including Jì Chengyang, who had only just returned to the country.

And the university she studied in was the kick-off location for the series.

He Feifei drove over and delivered several boxes of promotional pamphlets to the downstairs level of the Student Centre.

“You bring these upstairs first and have those students who are in charge of promoting the event take them. Then, wait for me to come find you at noon for lunch. This afternoon, we’ll get to work.” Once He Feifei finished saying this, she stepped on the accelerator and drove away.

Jǐ Yi asked two male junior schoolmates of the Students’ Union, both of whom were in undergraduate studies, to carry these printed promotional pamphlets upstairs. The person in charge, who had been waiting a long time already, opened the box and began in seriousness to check the pamphlet count. Before she had been counting for very long, the people who had come over and surrounded her pulled out a few pamphlets and began leafing through them.

“To be honest, I really respect and admire them. Back then, I had wanted to study journalism, but my mom just had to insist that the current environment for news and media isn’t good. No matter what, she wouldn’t let me take it and made me study math instead…” a female junior schoolmate rather regretfully complained.

“This woman is so cool-looking.” The person beside her pointed at Amanda. “Makes me think of an especially well-known war correspondent, a woman. Wears an eyepatch, like a pirate.”

“Marie Colvin.” Someone remembered who it was, and reminded her.


Jǐ Yi knew that one of the people introduced in that boxful of pamphlets must be Jì Chengyang, and as a result, all along, she had not had the courage to look through it.

Her head low, she helped the one and only person still tallying the numbers, that female junior schoolmate, to tidy up the pamphlets. Before long, Jì Chengyang’s name was heard beside her ear.

“I watched an interview of him on TV when I was young. He’s just too good-looking. I remember, that day, the host had even jokingly said that he was the ‘belle of the station.’ This photo does not do him justice, absolutely does not do him justice…”

During the university days, when girls discuss a topic that involves men, things will very easily evolve into a beauty-judging meeting.

Even that one and only female junior schoolmate who had been persisting in the work was finally tempted over. Picking up an arbitrary pamphlet, she found the page with Jì Chengyang and then also very kindly shared the pamphlet with Jǐ Yi so that the two of them could look at it together. It was a very simple outdoor photograph. Jì Chengyang, wearing a cap and a backpack slung on his left shoulder, was very focused as he wrote something in a black notebook with his head down. Behind him were throngs of civilians, who appeared to be demonstrating in a plaza.

There was only a clear view of the side of his face. Even his eyes could not be seen.

Though she did not know which year he had taken this photograph, Jǐ Yi could very easily identify that this was the him before 2003. Where was this? Jǐ Yi could not really remember. In her memories prior to age seventeen, she knew only that he had left time and again. If it were for a short period, it would be for a dozen or so days, but if it were for a long one, it could be several months or even more than half a year before he returned.

At the time, those countries and political situations had not had too deep a meaning to her.

She knew only that they were dangerous, but just exactly how dangerous was something she had not experienced herself.

He Feifei came relatively late, and while she was at it, she brought back with her a piece of gossip. “There was a last-minute change to who’s going to be the host today. The host isn’t from our newspaper. She’s an especially famous female program anchor. Liu Wanxia. Heard of her?”

Jǐ Yi froze in blank surprise for a moment.

Liu Wanxia was suddenly coming to a university to host a nonprofit event… Was it because of him?

<>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 wavered back and forth about that day’s event, but in the end, she still did not go to the conference hall.

While she was eating inside the canteen, she heard a female junior schoolmate who had attended the event say that the male journalist she most wanted to see had not come. That evening, He Feifei confirmed this over the phone. “He last minute was unable to make it. No one knows the reason. Even our editor-in-chief doesn’t know. Amanda did say one sentence, that he had just come back alive after barely salvaging his life from the combat field, so he’s probably being locked up in a room in some hospital.”

Jǐ Yi clutched her mobile phone, not uttering a word for a long time.

She comforted herself that those words had merely been spoken in jest. However, to her surprise, he was absent from the two subsequent presentations as well.

The final stop for this event was the China University of Political Science and Law. This was also the only school out of the four that was not located on Xueyuan Road. The university’s location was in the suburb area of Changping District[2]. Turning down attending an event held by her own faculty, Jǐ Yi sat into He Feifei’s car, and they drove over from the newspaper office. Including the time stuck in traffic, they spent a total of an hour and a half on the road and were nearly late.

<>It would be greatly appreciated if you would support this translation by reading it on hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead. Thank you.

When Jǐ Yi strode into the event site, the special guest speakers had just taken their seats.

Quiet gradually fell all around.

Outside, snow was coming down, but inside the room, it was pleasantly warm. The snow on her shoes soon melted to water and dampened the ground beneath her feet. And, her heart also slowly slid back into its original position. The seat on the farthest right was already occupied. He was not absent. Instead of heading backstage, Jǐ Yi quietly squeezed in amongst the students in the last row. She could not really say herself why she had come. Was it to verify that it was not as someone had joked, that there were issues with his health? Or was it… because she was afraid he would suddenly completely disappear again?

The venue was filled with sitting people. Those who came in later were all amiably standing, waiting to hear how these respect-worthy journalists would provide an exciting impromptu presentation and discussion.

Over these last few years, Liu Wanxia actually had her own talk show and was very familiar with sitting face-to-face with some invited guests and carrying out a conversation. This was especially so with these several people who were on the stage. Despite being different nationalities, they had all had interactions with one another before, and very soon, the atmosphere became lively.

“Be honest, do you ever get scared?” Liu Wanxia smiled as she allowed her gaze to pass over each guest, purposely letting her eyes stay on Jì Chengyang a little longer. This was also her first time in several years seeing this old schoolmate.

“Yes, of course I get scared. Don’t think at all that all war correspondents just have adrenaline rushing to the brain and will laugh in the face of death.” The associate managing editor of the newspaper, Liu Kaifeng, first laughed, then stated forthrightly, “I think the people who aren’t scared when they’re on a combat field are the ones who aren’t normal. But I have met some who truly aren’t scared. Things are different from person to person, and they’ll be different from journalist to journalist.”

Liu Wanxia gave a laugh. “You sure are frank.” Turning to look at Amanda and another Italian journalist, she continued to ask in proficient English, “Incidences of war correspondents getting kidnapped, harmed, or even killed have been frequently occurring. Have you encountered any such thing, or maybe you know someone who has had such an experience? Do you have any good advice for those who want to become war correspondents?”

“Lots. Seen it so many times it’s not even unusual anymore.” The Italian journalist reached back a bit in his memory. “I once reported on an incident where one of our peers was killed in the middle of the street by a dirt-poor soldier who was completely drunk. That’s why a lot of journalists carry a large amount of money on them. It can save your life at a crucial moment.”

Amanda jumped in, “Nowadays, a lot of places have training for war correspondents. It’s very specialized and professional, and it can help you escape many life-or-death situations.” She gave a little chuckle, then rather resignedly said, “Isn’t that true, Yang?”

Jǐ Yi felt her heart clench, not certain why this foreigner woman would suddenly toss the topic over to him.

As if he truly had experienced these things before and therefore very much had the authority to speak about them.

Jì Chengyang showed no unusual reaction, however. “Training is very important. Of course, luck is also just as important. If you really are unlucky enough to run into a soldier who has popped some drugs that have gone to his head and he’s holding an AK-47, insisting that he’s going to blow your brains out, you can only turn your fate over to God.” The way he spoke was very light and relaxed, and some students down below could not help bursting out in chuckles.

They had all seen innumerable deaths, but their words had a jocularity and ease that far exceeded the average person. This was especially magnetic to these university students who were so readily incited to passion and excitement.

Before they knew it, two hours had passed, and the event was nearing its end.

Jì Chengyang did not say much. Perhaps because she had been informed in advance of his physical condition, Liu Wanxia did not lead the subject of the discussion over to him too often.

At the end, Liu Wanxia was the first to rise to her feet. “Let us extend our respect to these journalists whose footsteps have traversed the countries of Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, the former Yugoslavia, Angola, Somalia, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, etc. Thank you, all of you.”

Amidst the applause that resonated through the entire hall, Jǐ Yi still stood in a corner where it was not possible that he could see her.

In this one minute, she very clearly understood, even if the love and relationship between her and him had long ago come to an end, she was still drawn to this world of his that contained his ideals and convictions.

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

Once the event was over, there was no avoiding going backstage to help He Feifei with arranging the departure of each of the invited guest speakers.

As this final session was in the suburbs area and transportation was not as convenient as in the city centre, their newspaper agency had arranged in advance for vehicles to pick up these journalists and take them back.

When she arrived backstage, He Feifei was in the middle of conversing casually with the several students whom the school had put in charge of this time’s event. Catching sight of Jǐ Yi, she quickly instructed, “I’ll be driving my own car in just a bit. You and all those respected veterans in the field will take one vehicle. When we reach the Third Ring Road, we’ll find a place to have dinner.”

Jǐ Yi was taken aback briefly. “I have to ride in one vehicle with them?”

“Yup. Don’t ride in my car. If both of us aren’t in that vehicle, it’ll make us seem so insincere and discourteous.” He Feifei gave her a nudge. “Hurry over. The snow’s coming down harder and harder. We don’t even know if traffic on the expressway is going to be plugged or not.”

Unable to find a reason to refuse, Jǐ Yi reluctantly forced herself to walk out of that auditorium. She saw that the motor coach that their newspaper agency had sent to pick up the journalists was stopped on the right side of the auditorium. With her head down, she stepped over to it. The snow was indeed falling harder than when they came. By the time she reached the door of the motor coach, a layer of snow covered the scarf that she was using to wrap the lower half of her face.

“You’re with Evening News[3]?” the driver asked, following routine process.

Nodding, Jǐ Yi walked up the two stairsteps and pulled down her scarf.

“Then have a check to see if everyone is here. If they are, we’ll head out.”

“All right.” She turned around.

In the more than forty seats, there sat only ten people, all scattered in the front half of the coach interior.

There was no need at all to take a head count. A single glance could see the faces of all the people.

Seven jounalists, two core members of the student group who had co-organized this event, and also one female host, Liu Wanxia. She was sitting beside Jì Chengyang and looking at Jǐ Yi in great surprise.

“Everyone’s here, sir.” Jǐ Yi quickly pulled her gaze back.

As soon as her voice finished sounding out, the vehicle was already starting to move, driving off the campus. Steadying herself on the seatbacks lining both sides of the aisle, she passed through the front half of the coach compartment, walked past Jì Chengyang and Liu Wanxia, and continued all the way to the very last row at the back of the bus, where she took a seat in the farthest corner beside the window. However, right as she was sitting down, she could already see Jì Chengyang rising from his seat and ambling towards her.

Somewhat panicked, she dropped her head down and tried to shove her earbuds into her ears to listen to the songs on her MP3 player, but then discovered that the batteries were already drained. Still, though, she flusteredly stuffed the earbuds in.

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

In the seat beside her, he sat down and, just like that, blocked her one and only path out.

Her head bowed, she fiddled with the MP3 player in her hand, fearing that he would say something to her. Surprisingly, however, Jì Chengyang merely pressed the brim of his cap down. And then, before long, he quietly slipped into sleep beside her.

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

[1] 周公 “Zhou Gong.” The Duke of Zhou was a statesman of the Zhou dynasty, a man of significant political achievements and influence on the Chinese culture. He is credited with writing the I Ching and the Book of Poetry. There is also a well-known dream interpretation dictionary 《周公解梦》Zhou Gong’s Book of Auspicious and Inauspicious Dreams, to which he is attributed. He is known sometimes as “the god of dreams” and, according to folklore, the Duke of Zhou will visit your dreams to tell you of anything significant that will be happening to you. Hence, there is a saying that you will “dream of the Duke of Zhou.” If you’re having a date with the Duke of Zhou, you’re sleeping, for only in dreams can you meet up with him.

[2] China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL) has two campuses. Its older campus is on Xueyuan Road and is for graduate students, while its newer campus is in the Changping District and is where undergraduate students attend school.

[3] 北京晚报 Beijing Evening News is a daily newspaper in Beijing.

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


50 of 69 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

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13 thoughts on “The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 20.3

  1. Thanks for the chapter.

    I wonder how long it will take before she’s willing to really talk to him.

  2. My heart aches for them. I hope they reconcile soon. Thank you for this chapter!

  3. D: I want her to know and go with him to the hospital CUASE THEY NEED TO MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME! But… at the same time, I want her to move on because she still has so much to her life, and it seems he’s on his last….
    Many thankss

  4. hope JCY can manage to reconcile with JY soon
    thank you

  5. What??..Here he came back from being away….please don’t tell me JCY is dying?

    My heart felt for them too, I hope XX will give JCY a second chance to explain why he did all those things to her….I surely for one want to know….

    Thanks for this chapter and can’t wait for another to come……..

    Is this novel a HE or SE???

  6. He’s really sick omg this is so sad hopefully they will talk and get everything clear

  7. Thank you Hoju! Love everything in this story so far. The Iran Iraq war had disrupted so many lives and changed the middle east so much. Glimpsing a bit of it from a journalist view is a privilege. Very cleverly woven in, MBFB.

  8. “I never married…”, this is why I love MBFB’s work. She doesn’t drag issues for long. Can time heal all wounds? I hope so. Thank you Hoju.

  9. Thanks translator for update. It’s break my heart to see both of them suffer..
    Hope jiyi not sulk too long.they got together again as soon as possible.

  10. My heart goes out to both of them. One avoiding the other fearing more heartache and other try to fix the pain he caused with all his remaining strength.

    Thank you, Hoju 🙂.

  11. Their past history was very deep and I hope they soon get to talk so JC could tell JY about what actually happened to him. Yet, now knowing the state of his health, for JY’s sake I’m hoping that JY could move on with her young life. But, why do I have a feeling of unease as to what will come about? I’m just glad that this novel has a HE.

  12. It goes so heartbreaking chapter by chapter 😢 so sad.

  13. “For the wrong things he had done and the wrong choices he had made in the past that had hurt her, he would wholly admit his fault in all of them. And with all his remaining time, he would make it up to her”

    I am curious whether he is dying based on “remaining time

    Hope it is HE

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