In these epilogues, Jia He seems almost a little… geeky. LOL
Epilogue 1 — Fetal Teaching
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After Jia He woke in the mornings, she would walk to and fro, here and there in the house.
As someone who day in, day out relied on her computer to entertain herself, after being given the strict orders that her use of it was to be restricted, every day she could only longingly look forward to his evening return home, when he would release her computer from captivity in that locked cabinet…
“Hubby…” Today was a hard-to-come-by day when he was actually at home. Fawningly, she shuffled over to him and, rubbing her belly, told him, “Your babies’ mom is going to get prenatal depression.”
Two computers were open in front of him. She only brushed a quick glance over that familiar Microsoft Office software—Word—but the feeling was like she had seen a loved one. Just a few casual taps on the keyboard and many words would appear—such a top software! … She discovered, she indeed was depressed.
Yi Wenze offhandedly closed the computers. “What would you like to do? I’ll keep you company.”
She contemplated on this for a long time. Go out? But at all times there would be the risk that her paunchy, embarrassing appearance would be photographed. That would definitely become a front-page lead story, with a huge headline added to it that said something along the lines of “Yi Wenze’s Newlywed Wife Seen Out and About with a Swollen face and Looking Out of Shape”… But if they didn’t leave the house, she had long since already trod over and worn down every inch of floor of the little space of their home.
In the end, she could only give a light sigh and, submitting to her fate, sit on the swing out on the balcony. “Read to me. Back when I watched The Reader, I bawled my eyes out. The acting in it is so good, especially when the male lead reads to the female lead.”
She was always so easily moved by love stories. In The Reader, there was a significant age difference between the pair of lovers. The adolescent boy would continually read all kinds of books to the middle-aged woman, and they would have their trysts in a very shabby, worn apartment. The feelings that developed between the two infected everyone. However, the young man’s cowardice ultimately caused the woman’s tragic death and her to be filled with remorse and regrets when she departed from the world…
Sitting on the swing, Jia He gazed contentedly at Yi Wenze.
Were it not for him, she undoubtedly would have still fearfully remained where she had been, too hesitant to take a forward step.
Bringing books with him, he walked over, pulled out the English script of The Lion King, and sat down next to her. His very placid voice was accompanied by the midsummer sun. She rested against his arm, bathing in the sunshine, enjoying the caresses of the air conditioning that blew on her—just ridiculously comfortable and indulgent… His voice was very light and its smooth, gentle London accent lulled her until, before long, her mind grew hazy and she dozed off.
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When she awoke, he was still sitting beside her. His arm that she was using as a pillow was completely motionless while his other hand flipped through a book. This picture conjured up the memory of the very beginning of their beginning, when she had drunk that first cup of coffee with him, of the sunlight beyond the window coupled with the very suitable angle from which she had looked at him. The person before her still seemed to exude a poster-like texture. Now, though, she not only had a feeling of wanting to abandon herself and sink into it; there was also a feeling of happiness and fulfillment.
“Awake?” Yi Wenze felt her shift her head.
Jia He answered, “Mm-hmm,” wrapping both her arms around his arm. “I’m thinking, I have such a blissful life, so blissful.”
With a patient smile, he placed a light kiss on the tip of her nose. “A blissful s—… life?”
She gave another “mm-hmm.” Just as she was about to tell him about what she had been thinking, there was a sudden feeling in her that there was much underlying meaning in his smile. Pausing for quite a while, she finally caught on. At once, she wrinkled her nose and stopped him from kissing her. “Hey! You need to be careful with what you’re teaching these babies in my belly.”
Gliding down the tip of her nose, he took her lips in a kiss. “I’ve read The Lion King to them for the whole afternoon. They should be asleep by now.”
She inhaled his scent, his clothing’s and his body’s, and then finally took a deep breath. Taking hold of his collar, she told him very solemnly, “I don’t want them to be as precocious as your nephew. So, hubby, fetal teaching is very important.”
The two of them exchanged a glance. Then, each taking a book, one occupied the study while the other the bedroom, and for a whole three to four hours they did not interact. When evening came, Yi Wenze at last took her computer out for her. Jia He immediately opened up her Plants vs. Zombies, and she began beating to a pulp a bunch of grotesque zombies.
Jia He was happily amusing herself amid the spooky music when Yi Wenze, his tone very mild, remarked, “Mrs. Yi, will it not be bad for the children if you play horror stuff like this at night?”
Jia He had just gotten herself a cob cannon and fired away at the zombies that were charging in waves. “It’s so cartoonish. This type of thing is most suitable for them.”
Yi Wenze only smiled and held his silence, letting her off the hook for the time being. Taking a seat as well beside her, he opened up his computer and began looking through the script the production company had sent to him. From time to time, he would exchange a few words with her, half work-related discussions, half merely idle chitchat. Soon she lost her concentration, and a zombie swayed its way into her backyard. An eerie laugh resounded, and then blood-red English words declared, THE ZOMBIES ATE YOUR BRAINS!
Jia He heaved a long sigh. She was about to grumble, but Yi Wenze had already cast a glance at her screen. “You’re certain this is a ‘cartoonish’ game?”
In the soft light, the look in his eyes was deep and serene and so gentle it made her… break out in cold sweat.
What was there to be scared about? A pregnant woman is queen! …
Continuously giving herself mental pep talks, she wagged her tail at him and cajoled, “Since I was a kid, I’ve been scared of ghosts, and I also have a fear of heights. There are a lot of video games that I can’t play, so it’s a rare thing that I can actually handle this one. And it’s perfect because this can also help foster the babies’ courage. How good is that, right?”
Yi Wenze only smiled and nodded. “I was just making a little comment. You continue. I’m going out to make a phone call.”
Giving an absentminded “mm-hmm,” Jia He pressed “New Start” and continued on with her zombie-fighting career. She was not certain how much time had passed when she, after getting her brains eaten an uncountable number of times on a difficult level, finally let out a lengthy sigh. It was only then that she discovered that Yi Wenze still had not returned.
The study was quiet and empty. The screen glowed green and had those huge, blood-red words on it, too.
She finally began to feel frightened. Speedily shutting her computer, she hastened to the living room for a look. Yi Wenze was watching DVDs and was even wearing a pair of headphones… No wonder there was no noise. Seeing that there was another living, breathing person here, she finally relaxed. Her heart hammering with fear, she scuttled over, climbed onto the couch, and pulled off his headphones. “Hubby, I thought someone ate your brains…”
A resigned smile covered that face that was right in front of her.
She confessed, “Mm-hmm. Just now when I turned around and didn’t see you, I really was scared.”
“Not going to play anymore?” Slipping a soft cushion behind her waist for her, he stood and went to change discs. Before long, he had switched in one of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films.
Jia He wavered back and forth, but in the end she plaintively promised, “Not going to play anymore.”
She knew he did it on purpose! He just had to make her say herself that she was giving up this form of entertainment that she was most obsessed with.
Sauntering back over, he removed his slippers as well and leaned his side into the couch. Jia He immediately found the most comfortable position for herself and, in his arms, began watching the cartoon. Her belly was at the four-to-five-months pregnancy mark, but because she was growing a pair of babies in there, it was much bigger than that of normal, single pregnancies at the same stage. It was only each time when he held her like this that she was most comfortable, for it felt soft and warm at her back and waist.
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When a pig flew by in the picture on the screen, she finally remembered something, and softly she asked him, “That day, I was reading some gossip on the Internet. They’re saying that you ‘hopped on the bus first and then went back afterwards to buy your ticket.’ ”
Yi Wenze gave an “mm,” countering, “And?”
“You’re not worried that that will have some sort of bad effect?” She nuzzled his chest. So comfy.
“The only thing I’m worried about is that you’re reading too much of this type of gossip news and it will affect your mood.” His hand resting lightly on her protruding belly, he offhandedly mentioned, “I heard that I seem to be the subject of a rumoured romantic scandal lately.”
Jia He was taken aback momentarily, and then her eyes lit up and fixed on him. “Tell me, tell me. How come I don’t know about this?” After asking this, she stared at him aggrievedly. “Tell me the truth. Do you only let me go on the Internet for an hour a day because you’re scared I’ll read about all the women, those flowers and blossoms, you keep outside?”
“I’m not a gardener.” Straight out shattering her hope of getting gossip, he exhorted her in a serious tone, “Be careful about the fetal teaching you’re giving.”
She looked at him, depressed. “I’m asking you very seriously. Hurry up and give an honest confession. If not, I’m taking the ball and running.”
He gave her a wry look of amusement. “ ‘Taking the ball and running’?”
Jia He beamed at him. “The saying is cute, isn’t it? I’ve been reading webnovels lately. If a pregnant woman ups and leaves, that’s called ‘taking the ball and running.’ ”
The look he gave her was rather meaningful. “These last few days, A-Lun’s girlfriend has been keeping him on a pretty tight leash. Supposedly there’s software that will directly limit Internet usage. I feel there is a need for me to install one for you.”
With that, Jia He completely fell silent and continued watching the plants that were flying here and there on the screen.
After some time, though, her heart still felt as if it was itching terribly, and she shifted ever so slightly. “Keep talking about it, your rumoured romantic scandal.”
“You really want to know?” He gazed with amusement at her.
“Expectant women tend to make a lot of blind, foolish conjectures and let their imaginations get the better of them.” She fixed a doleful look on him. “If you don’t tell me now, I’m going to start letting my imagination get the better of me. Just think, in the future, whenever you’re not at home, I’ll make all those blind, foolish conjectures about your various flowers and blossoms…”
Yi Wenze was contemplatively quiet for a moment, then continued on her behalf, “And then you’re going to ‘take the ball and run’?”
A broad smile on her face, she nodded. Such a teachable young man!
“A few days ago at the press conference, when the director was being interviewed, he said something as a joke.” Yi Wenze had to recall for a moment. “I think he said something like, since I got married, I’ve been avoiding any love scenes, and he’s guessing that it’s probably because I haven’t shared a bed with my wife for a long while, so I’m afraid I’ll have problems acting those out.”
Jia He looked at him, very satisfied. “And then?”
“Some from the media twisted his meaning, saying you and I are having marriage problems and that because we haven’t shared a bed for a long time, you’re forbidding me from acting in any love scenes.” He reached his hand over and held a glass of warm milk to her lips.
Jia He was speechless. The words were indeed similar, so saying them like that, jumbled and rearranged, they did sound quite real and believable. She took a sip of milk. “And then? Which woman has been photographed with you recently and ended up becoming the other party in your rumoured romantic scandal?”
He smiled. “You haven’t heard Qiao Qiao mention anything?”
As she stared dubiously at him, her mind slowly processed all this and then reacted. Straightaway, she exploded out in chortles. “No way! She and you together are the subjects of a rumoured romantic scandal?” That was wholly possible. Lately, they had been constantly in discussions about a film project. Yi Wenze seemed to have accepted a role in Chen Hao’s new film…The more she thought about it, the more tickled she became. Utterly unable to hold herself back, she patted Yi Wenze’s arm and instructed him, “Hurry, hurry! Hurry and give me my mobile.”
With a veiled smile, Yi Wenze handed the Bluetooth headset to her and very thoughtfully even personally dialed Qiao Qiao’s number for her.
She waited a long time before the call was answered on the other end. Qiao Qiao, in a voice that seemed to carry a nasal tone, very gently said, “O great and honourable one who is expecting, what command do you have for me?”
Suppressing her laughter, Jia He dropped her voice and injected into it some emotions and a tone of disbelief. “What is going on between you and my husband?”
“Nothing.” Qiao Qiao feigned a relaxed manner.
“Just say it…” Jia He voice grew even more sorrowfully aggrieved. “We’ve been friends for so many years. If you have even a tiny bit of conscience left, just tell me straight out.” While she was speaking, Yi Wenze had already risen to his feet and gone into the kitchen. The bird’s next soup seemed to be ready. “He and I just had a huge fight, and he’s already stormed out of the house.”
On the other end of the call, there was a long, drawn silence. Then, out of the blue, sobs started up. “Hon-honestly, there’s nothing. What is this? You don’t even believe me?”
Originally just wanting to play a joke, Jia He had not expected that Qiao Qiao truly would cry, and instantly she grew flustered. “Hey, what are you crying about? Shouldn’t I be the one crying at this time?”
But once she finished saying this, the other end of the line completely dissolved into bawling and utterly incoherent speech.
Jia He was abashed. Looking up, she saw Yi Wenze setting the bird’s nest soup onto the table, a dish towel placed under the bowl. “It’s my wrong. I was just playing around with you… My utterly perfect, loving man just finished telling me all about it, so I just wanted to play a joke on you.”
Yi Wenze lifted his brow and looked at her, asking softly, “Done playing?”
Inside the phone, the wailing only intensified. Jia He was now completely regretting her little antic. Her face puckered in misery, she shaped her lips into a silent reply. “She’s crying…”
Yi Wenze gave a little smile and poured some milk into the bird’s nest soup.
Very helplessly, Jia He opened her mouth and let him feed her a mouthful of soup, then began trying to fix the trouble she had caused, continuously attempting to soothe and pacify Qiao Qiao over the phone. It was quite some time later when things were finally considered to be settled down. Qiao Qiao, sniffling nonstop, explained, “My Mr. Jealousy only just made a fuss about this, and then you actually dared to scare me with it!”
Jia He had not expected this. “Your Mr. Jealousy doesn’t believe you?”
“He believes me. But he gets jealous even over the courier boy, let alone your Yi Wenze. Even though he believes me, he’s still jealous, baseless and untrue or not…”
Sandwiched within Qiao Qiao’s blubbering was a sense of pride, and hearing it, Jia He was uncertain if she should be amused or annoyed.
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The two of them did not say much more before hanging up. They were long used to seeing this sort of thing, where troubles would be fabricated where none actually existed, and had grown inure to it. Initially she had only wanted to play a little gag and, while she was at it, throw a few jabs at Qiao Qiao. She had not expected that those would end up becoming tear bombs. Jia He glumly finished eating her bird’s nest soup and then carried on lying in Yi Wenze’s embrace, terribly restless, burrowing here and nestling there against him and not settling down.
No wonder people say that pregnant women have huge mood swings. Just a little earlier she had been quite content; why was she now feeling bored?
She was merely hugging him, but right when she was groaning inwardly, Yi Wenze warned her in a low voice, “Don’t move.”
Puzzled, Jia He looked at him. Quite a long moment passed. And then she perceived that there seemed to be desire burning in his eyes. At once she stiffened, remaining completely unmoving as she gazed up at him, not daring even to say anything. Not until he had breathed out a light sigh and picked her up into his arms did she, even more hesitantly, twine her arms around his neck and ask, “Going to bed so early?”
Giving an “mm,” he instructed, “You get in bed first. I’m going to take a shower.”
Jia He blinked. Understanding his meaning, she straightaway burst into uncontrollable laughter, and with much subtext in her actions, she nibbled his ear. “Why do I feel like these ten months of pregnancy are harder on you than on me?”
His voice right against her ear was very soft, as well as indulgent and resigned. “Be careful about the fetal teaching you’re giving, O esteemed wifey.”
<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only
Porco Rosso is an animated film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It was released in 1992 and is about a former WWI flying ace who cursed himself and became a pig.
先上车后补票. A slang phrase. “To hop on the bus first” is saying that a guy has been physically intimate with a girl prior to marriage (and often, is referring to an unplanned pregnancy), and to “go back afterwards to get your ticket” is saying, after the fact, the guy and girl get married and become legitimate to “ride the bus.”
Three epilogues were written for the original publication of this novel. Then, when the special edition publication came in 2014, the author wrote another epilogue, broken into three parts. Mo Bao Fei Bao always has said that she hates, and feels she is terrible at, writing epilogues, because she has a complete story in her mind and when it comes to an end, she doesn’t know what should be said anymore. There is a very distinct stylistic change between the epilogues written in 2011 and the one in 2014, or at least, it is very distinct to me, as someone who tried to capture the writing in another language.
1 of 1 Prologue
58 of 58 Chapter segments
1 of 6 Epilogue segments (4 epilogues in total)