Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 24.3

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Things take an abrupt turn…

Chapter 24.3 — The Deepest Recesses of Time (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.

 

Late into the night, the two returned to the courtyard home and, quietly pushing open the door, stepped into the little room on the east side. When she turned on the bedside lamp, she saw that there were seven or eight spots, big and small, on him that were red and swollen from being bitten by bugs, and so she quickly ran back outside again. Saying that she had gotten bug bites, she asked one of the young girls in the family if there was any topical medication of some sort. The young girl found an ointment and gave it to her, and even thoughtfully brought over a plate of mosquito coil for them.

There were not many rooms in this courtyard home. The four or five people, driver, doctor, etc., who had come with them were asleep together, sharing the north room. This little room had been left for Jì Chengyang and Jǐ Yi, and the single bed and couch each had a pillow and a blanket on them.

The young girl lit the mosquito coil and then left. Immediately, Jǐ Yi locked the door. Then, sitting on the single bed with Jì Chengyang, their legs crossed as they faced one another, she spread some ointment on each spot for him.

“They actually look pretty scary…” Jǐ Yi’s touch as she applied the ointment was very gentle. As her hand brushed over every spot, it gave him a tickly feeling, like she was lightly scratching his palm with her fingertips, and he could not restrain certain fancies from floating up in his mind’s eye.

With a chuckle, Jì Chengyang flicked a glance at a place near her collarbone. “It does indeed look like a bug bite, if you don’t look at it too closely.”

“What do mean ‘looks like’? Isn’t it a bite?” She put the cover back on the ointment container, not comprehending his words.

Jì Chengyang leaned back onto the quilt, which had been folded into a pile. “It’s not a bite. It’s actually… Hmm, it might be a little complicated to explain.”

Jǐ Yi was baffled, until his fingers touched her neck and also her collarbone.

Letting her eyes follow his action, she looked—and finally understood.

Simply visual inspection like this was already able to find two or three of those little bruises. She had absolutely no recollection of how this type of private imprint had been left on her. They had not hurt or itched… Dropping her head, Jǐ Yi fiddled with the small, round, metal container in her hand. Her ears were slowly beginning to turn bright red and burn up, and quietly, she said, “I’m sleepy.”

The illumination from the bedside lamp was somewhat dim. It was obvious its light bulb had already been in use for a long time.

He leaned back in that spot, watching as her face little by little grew crimson, seeing her fingers gently spinning that little container as she tried to cover up for her roiling emotions. Through the single window, he could hear a dog barking outside, though he was not sure whether it was because it had seen a stray cat or the silhouette of someone going to the bathroom. The dog’s barking grew louder and louder, and only after its female owner snapped at it in the local dialect did it gradually calm down.

Jǐ Yi wondered why there was no answer from him. When she lifted her eyes, however, the lights in the room extinguished.

<>It would be sincerely appreciated if you would show your support by reading this translation at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com instead. Thank you.

Two days later, Jì Chengyang and Jǐ Yi left this place.

A’Liang’s mother had hurried over before everyone got into the vehicle, and holding Jì Chengyang’s hand, she had spoken for a very long time. After living here for two, three days, Jǐ Yi was able to understand some simple dialogue, though with great difficulty, and she approximately discerned that these were words expressing gratitude.

Despite Jì Chengyang in the end still telling the other party that he had not actually done anything real or tangible to help that young man who had come out of this mountain village, the other party still ceaselessly thanked him and insisted on stuffing to them some of the preserved meats and beef that she had made at home.

Midway into their journey back, Jǐ Yi was hungry, so Jì Chengyang directly tore open a pack and gave it to her to eat. Tears sprung into her eyes from the spiciness, and she continually sucked at her own tongue, telling him with distorted words, “It’s really tasty, just too spicy, that’s all…”

While she was speaking softly, the car unexpectedly bounced and jolted, and she ended up biting the tip of her own tongue.

Instantly, the place where the skin had broken became irritated by the spiciness, and tears gushed forth from her. Her eyes were red, and she was unable to speak a single word, only gazing pitiably at Jì Chengyang. Jì Chengyang propped his arm against the seat in front of him and pillowed his head on that arm, unable to hold back a laugh. “Little crybaby, let me have a look.” Reaching his hand over, he took her chin between his fingers. Jǐ Yi obediently opened her mouth and extended her tongue out. Just as she was about to point her finger at the location of the bite wound, he suddenly leaned in close and took the tip of her tongue into his mouth.

They were sitting in the very last row and his arm was also obstructing the view, so they were completely able to do this without anybody detecting anything.

He slowly kissed her for a while. As he released her, he had to admit, “It is too spicy.”

Glumly, Jǐ Yi stared at him, even more pitiable than before.

It was more than just spicy. Now, even her lips felt stingingly aflame and burning hot from the kiss…

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

This was not her first time passing through this type of winding mountain road. However, back then, she had been too young and also not very accustomed to the altitude here, so most of the time had been spent sleeping. This time, she preferred to plant herself next to the window and look out at the scenery.

There were constantly sharp, 180-degree bends in the road, but their driver drove with ease and skill.

Jì Chengyang needed to hurry back to Chengdu to see some old friends who were there on a temporary work assignment. Consequently, their return schedule was much tighter than the one for their trip here, and by evening they had already entered Chengdu. Since the afternoon, Jǐ Yi had been feeling discomfort in her lower back, and after dinner, it was already to the point where she could only hug the normally winter-use, electric hot water bottle that Jì Nuannuan had found from somewhere and sprawl herself on the bed to relieve some of this menstrual pain that had arisen so abruptly.

That night, she ended up falling asleep like this, squeezed together on one bed with Jì Nuannuan.

When she awoke early the next morning, she slowly eased herself out of the bed, opened the room door, and headed to the bathroom.

Jì Chengyang was conversing in low tones with Nuannuan’s mother in the living room. Hearing the noise, he rose and walked over to her. “Still hurt?”

“Mm-hmm…” In front of Nuannuan’s mother, Jǐ Yi still could not help feeling guilty discomfiture over talking to him about such things. Softly, she said, “It’s much better. Generally, it’s just the first day where it’s relatively more severe…”

Nuannuan’s mother seemed able to tell that she was ill at ease. With a smile, she left.

“Supposedly, it’ll be better after marriage.”

Jǐ Yi paused blankly. “Really?”

“Don’t know,” Jì Chengyang admitted honestly. “Nuannuan’s mom said that. I reckon what she means is, after you’ve experienced the bedroom-life part of marriage, it will not be as severe.”

“……”

She was utterly unable to imagine how Nuannuan’s mother had discussed this matter with Jì Chengyang. After several seconds where all words were stifled in her throat, she quietly mumbled, “Then it’s definitely not true …”

A smile came onto Jì Chengyang’s face. He touched his palm to her lower abdomen. “Have a good rest today. Tomorrow, we’ll stroll around some of the nearby places here in Chengdu. We’re not going back to Beijing until the day after tomorrow.”

“It’s set for the day after tomorrow? What time?”

“The flight is at one in the afternoon.”

“So we can be back home by four or five?” She worked out the timing.

“About that.” He said, “My friends have a set of interviews near Chengdu that they need to do. The journey there isn’t long. I need to go along to see.”

She nodded. “Okay.” Very quickly, she added in a quiet voice, “Not going to talk anymore.”

If she kept talking, the floodwaters were going to break loose. She absolutely had to change to a new sanitary pad straightaway…

Jì Chengyang watched her urgently rush to the bathroom and was also very clear as to the reason for this. After seeing her backside disappear from view, he stood where he was, pondering for a while before finally leaving the living room.

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She dashed into the bathroom and swiftly resolved that urgent matter. Then, adjusting the faucet so that warm water poured forth, she slowly washed her hands in that stream of water. Once her hands were wiped dry, she unconsciously set them at the location of her lower abdomen. This was the place where his palm had touched her just earlier. That feeling had been particularly tender and warm.

The action seemed very familiar, like it had happened before somewhere.

The moment in her memory that matched up with the present came from that old movie that she had watched very many times, to the point she could recite every single line.

When Mathilda said she had already fallen in love with Leon, this is how she had described love: “In my stomach. It’s all warm. I always had a knot there, and now… it’s gone.”

As if guided by an unknown force, she wordlessly moved her hands upwards slightly and gently set them on her stomach.

Back then, she had not grasped the true meaning within these lines. Now, it seemed she still was not able to clearly explain it, yet there was something about those words that resonated 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

By the time Jǐ Yi stepped out from the bathroom, Jì Chengyang had already left.

That afternoon, as Jǐ Yi strolled through the mall with Nuannuan, she was still silently feeling guilty. She had actually, just like that, run off in such a sorry state and forgotten to say goodbye to him, and she also had not even had a chance to ask him when he would be coming back.

Afraid that Jì Chengyang was working, she did not call him and only sent him a text message:

I forgot to ask this morning, when will you be back?

“Xixi, does this one look nice?” Jì Nuannuan gave her a pat on her shoulder. “Focus on shopping. You’re not allowed to keep looking at your mobile.”

“The blue one’s nice.” She pulled her gaze away from her mobile phone’s screen.

“The blue one?” Saying this, Jì Nuannuan reached a hand to grab the blue dress.

All of a sudden, the ground beneath their feet shook violently.

Not knowing what was happening, the two of them stared at each other, completely stunned.

In that moment, time came to a standstill. Everybody was panicked.

“It’s an earthquake!” someone shouted.

Several vicious tremors came one after the other. It really was an earthquake!

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The sales associates and customers nearby all immediately threw down whatever they were holding and frantically fled. Jǐ Yi and Nuannuan simultaneously grabbed one another. Nuannuan reacted swiftly, pulling her to a corner of the mall and then squatting down there.

This was the fourth floor, and the shaking was extremely strong. It felt as if the entire shopping mall was rocking fiercely.

Crashes and bangs resounded relentlessly as merchandise and goods toppled to the ground and broke.

There were still people running, and also in every corner of the mall, small numbers of people were crouched down like them.

She and Nuannuan huddled close together, pressing themselves against the corner’s wall. They thought this quaking would soon end, but contrary to expectation, there were no signs at all of it ceasing. Before long, they were both in utter panic.

“It’s okay… I’ve been in an earthquake before when I was in Japan…” Jì Nuannuan babbled on, incessantly comforting herself and Jǐ Yi. “Right now it’s the strongest, and then after a little while, when it dies out a bit, we’ll run down the stairs.”

But it was evident this one was much more severe than the one she had encountered in Japan…

After some time, the tremors became a little smaller.

All the people took advantage of this chance to leave the corners that they had been hiding in and rush downstairs using the stairwell. Seizing one another’s hand, Jì Nuannuan and Jǐ Yi used the fastest speed possible and dashed out of that shopping mall. All around them were panic-stricken people, and the vast majority did not have any true experience with earthquakes. By the time the two of them had raced downstairs, there were already many people gathered out in the open space. Some houses and buildings were cracked and broken, and dust and rubble were scattered everywhere…

Jǐ Yi’s mind was a jumbled mess. Dazedly, she looked at Nuannuan.

Nuannuan did not know what to do either. The two simply gripped each other’s hand. After standing for a while, they felt the ground begin to shudder again, but it was not as strong as earlier. Edginess rippled through the crowd surrounding them as everyone discussed whether there would be more aftershocks. Amidst this noisy clamour, Jǐ Yi even heard the sound of a child’s fearful crying.

She clutched Nuannuan’s hand. “Let’s walk back…”

Nuannuan gave a haphazard nod. Relying on memory, they, two people who were not very familiar with this place, began to head back in the direction of where they were staying. Every street that they passed had people standing in it, and there were even many people garbed in pajamas or wrapped in blankets as they stood there on the street.

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

Never before had she witnessed scenes such as these.

Her past knowledge of the most recent great earthquake had come only from reading written records of it, and she had not truly experienced it. She had heard those of the older generation talk about the Great Tangshan Earthquake[1], saying that at the time, even the people of Beijing had not dared to return to their homes and would all stay outside during the night.

Clenching her mobile phone tightly in her hand, she and Nuannuan continually avoided the masses of people. All the while, she repeatedly dialed Jì Chengyang’s mobile phone number.

Again and again, all she got was the operator message stating that the call could not be connected.

He should be okay.

Nothing should be the matter.

The quakes were not that severe just now…

Jǐ Yi’s hands were trembling slightly; even Nuannuan could feel it. “Don’t be scared, Xixi. It’s just a little earthquake. Just look; things are fine now, right?” As Nuannuan spoke, another aftershock struck. Her various phone calls were all unable to connect, too. It was as if the entire mobile network in Chengdu had fallen apart in one go.

With some asking along the way as they walked, the two of them at last made it back home two hours later.

When they stepped in the door, Nuannuan’s mother was on the landline telephone, communicating with people in Beijing. Seeing Jǐ Yi and Nuannuan walking in, she instantly stood up from her chair. The two had never seen Nuannuan’s mother like this. Even the looks in the eyes of the other family members seemed extremely like they were thanking their lucky stars. This made Jǐ Yi, who had only just shed her tension, grow anxious again.

Nuannuan’s maternal grandpa stood up from the couch, uttering over and over, “It’s just good that you are okay. It’s just good that you are okay.”

<>Your support for this translation by reading it at its actual site of posting, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, would be sincerely appreciated. Thank you.

An overwhelming deluge of news reports had already come out, announcing that the earthquake’s magnitude was 7.8 on the Richter scale, and Wenchuan County, only a little more than a hundred kilometres away, was the epicentre.

And right now, right this instant, no one was able to get ahold of Jì Chengyang.

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

[1] The Great Tangshan Earthquake of 1976 is considered the second deadliest earthquake on record. Death toll estimates range from 240,000 to approximately 700,000.

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:

Not sure how many of you remember the Wenchuan Earthquake of May 12, 2008. The news reports of children stuck in collapsed schools, the military racing against the clock to rescue those still trapped in the rubble, Red Cross and other international disaster relief efforts rushing in to provide whatever help they could… I visited a firefighter’s museum in China this year that had a whole section devoted to the rescue efforts of the Wenchuan Earthquake, and I saw so many images that captured the destruction that occurred. So many lives were abruptly changed that day. Reading and translating this part has taken on a different meaning to me.

 

Completed:
62 of 69 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue

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17 thoughts on “The Healing Sunshine (一厘米的阳光) — Chapter 24.3

  1. Nuannuan should have seen that kiss… She’ll then know that her little uncle is really lovey-dovey 🤭🤭

  2. I hope Ji Chengyang is fine.. Poor Xixi she is worry about him..

    • I’m sure the feeling is mutual. Somewhere, if he is well, he is likely worrying about her, too. Chengdu wasn’t at the earthquake centre, but it was certainly affected and there were casualties. 😦

  3. thank goodness JY and JNN were able to protect each other
    thank you

  4. Thanks hoju.. Hope nothing bad happened to Chenyang.
    About jiyi’s menstrual period pain.. Yeah there actually a popular myth that after married that pain getting cure, but Jiyi is the proof that’s not true. 😅😂

    • I think it goes both ways… I’ve heard women testify that it got better for them, and I actually heard for some, it got worse after the “bedroom life” part. Another myth is that it gets better after children. Again, I’ve heard both sides of the coin. My conclusion: hormones are such a weird thing. LOL
      Thanks for reading!

  5. In just 1 chapter, MBFB threw me onto a roller coaster ride. I was initially giddy with their lovey dovey antics and somewhat embarrassed by the menses talk. TMI, ya know. And then onto the sad missing news of him again and the devastation caused by the earthquake. Didn’t see this coming since the ending is near. Many thanks Hoju.

    • Haha. Xixi was trying not to talk about it, too. And in front of Nuannuan’s mother! Poor girl.

      I think this chapter is kind of like life. One moment, things may be going perfectly, and then the next, bam, something shakes your entire world apart.

      You’re welcome!

  6. Hope he won’t disappear like before😭

  7. Thanks Hoju! Love the little details of how affectionate JCY is with JY. Fingers crossed that JCY is ok. We are almost to the end of the story, nothing bad will happen!

    • Their relationship is all about the little details. They are both not outwardly affectionate people, but they can each sense one another’s deep love, because of the little details.

      I don’t translate sad-ending stories (with the exception of the one short story, which I gave you guys a HUGE warning about, LOL). 😉

  8. A very caring and naughty JCY 😀. And I am also shaken by this sudden earthquake.

    Thank you, Hoju.

    • That means the author did a good job of mimicking the shock that the people who actually experienced the Wenchuan earthquake must have felt. 🙂

      You’re welcome!

  9. I really admire this author for weaving all these real life events into her fiction. Her stories are well planned and have depth to them. Thanks for the translation.

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