The Healing Sunshine Chapter 20 Part4

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There are some people who will always remain magnetic to you, regardless of what your relations.h.i.+p with them has become.

Chapter 20.4 — The Goodbye that I Owe You (4)

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.

The motor coach drove along the Beijing-Tibet Expressway, but very shortly, snow began acc.u.mulating. Seeing that things were starting to not look good, the driver, after soliciting everyone's consent, drove the coach off of the expressway. But with this, an originally forty-five-minute drive was extended to become at least two or three times longer. Furthermore, with such a blizzard, there was a high chance that they would be caught in traffic until the end of time.

Fortunately, the driver was someone who was flexible and could adapt to circ.u.mstance. He knew that most of the people inside this coach were heading in the direction of the Summer Palace[1] and Xueyuan Road, and therefore he decided to simply change the route and straight out avoid the expressway's subsidiary road.

<>It would be sincerely appreciated if you would support this translation by reading it on the actual site it was posted on, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, instead. Thank you.

When Jì Chengyang awoke, the vehicle was already driving on a secluded road that would not be considered very wide.

Outside, there were very few streetlights, and on both sides of the road, there were stretches of trees, ca.n.a.ls, and farmland. It was plain that this was not any road encircled within the Third Ring Road.

"The driver changed the route?" He suddenly spoke.

The back half of this coach was empty and contained only him and her. With no way to evade him, she had no choice but to answer his question. "The driver said, he's worried that its snowing too hard and even if we drive for half the night on that main roadway, we still won't reach the Third Ring Road. So, he has straight-out detoured over to Yangfang and then will take the road that goes to the Summer Palace."

This was her second time here.

The previous time was many years ago, when he brought her here to eat the reputed "most authentic instant-boiled mutton hot pot" and then, beside that railway track where there had been no people, he had allowed her to experience the thrill of a hurtling train brus.h.i.+ng past her face…

While she spoke, her eyes were fixed on the MP3 player in her hand and did not look at him.

"We came here before. Do you still remember?"

She gave a slight nod.

He let his gaze fall past her to land on the desolate, snowy scene beyond the window, as if he was seeing that summer day. It had been his first time driving her on this road. Along the roadside had been farmland groves. He remembered that he had even gotten out of the car and asked for directions, and then to express his appreciation, he had bought a lot of fresh vegetables from the vegetable farmer…

Time was stretched out immeasurably, pulled from brilliant suns.h.i.+ne to a swirling snowstorm.

Now, the tree upon tree of white poplars, which lined both sides of the road and stretched into the distance until the end could not be seen, were all dry and bald and swathed completely in snow. Snow also blanketed the icy surface of the ca.n.a.l. Everywhere, this was the case. He suddenly was unable to say anything. This city held her memories from the time she was little to now, but were not those few years in which he had been most filled with boundless zeal and confidence also recorded in it? In 2002, when he had driven her here that first time, he had only been twenty-four.

Jǐ Yi was nervous, thinking that he would continue to say something else.

Jì Chengyang, though, did not speak another word.

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

That night, by the time the coach was somewhere near the Summer Palace, it was already past eight o'clock. A full four hours had been consumed on the road. As He Feifei had taken the Beijing-Tibet Expressway, she was still stuck within a sea of cars and hence could only call Jǐ Yi to request her to take on the role of host and bring this group of respected journalist veterans out for dinner near the Summer Palace.

"You want me to take them?" With her head down, Jǐ Yi held her mobile phone and spoke in soft tones to confirm. "But I'm not really familiar with this area and don't know where we can go… Also, I don't have that much money that I can foot the bill."

"Those reporters are familiar with the area. Just ask all of them for their opinion and see whether they have any place they particularly want to go to." He Feifei was still optimistic. "Don't worry. By the time it's time to pay, I should nearly be there. And if it really doesn't work out… you and those other two CUPL [China University of Political Science and Law] students who are acting as hosts on behalf of their university can just pool your money. I'll pay you all back tomorrow. It'll all be expensed anyway."

The optimistic and cheerful He Feifei thought everything had been handed over and taken care of already, but when the situation landed in Jǐ Yi's hands, it became a big problem.

Hanging up the phone, Jǐ Yi stood up beside Jì Chengyang and told him quietly, "I'm heading to the front to talk to some people about something." Jì Chengyang quickly rose and allowed her to pa.s.s. Their two bodies were extremely close, such that she even had a false perception that they were touching one another. And so, in a trancelike state, she walked to the front row of seats to find those two students, and they discussed the situation for a while.

Even counting Jǐ Yi, they were still only three students, and together, they were not even able to pool three hundred kuai.

She felt that this was not really enough. Hesitating for a long while, she finally returned again to Jì Chengyang's side and asked him quietly, "Do you know of any place near the Summer Palace where we can have dinner? It's to treat all of you, the journalists. My co-worker is caught in traffic on the expressway and likely won't be able to get here on time. She's asked me to help out and host you guys."

"You don't have enough money on you?" Jì Chengyang did not answer her question and, instead, posed one of his own.

"Mm-hmm." She could only admit to it.

The motor coach rocked slightly.

Holding on to a seatback, she tried to steady herself.

Jì Chengyang had already risen to his feet once more, and setting his right hand on her shoulder, he pushed down lightly so that she took a seat in the spot beside him. After pulling off his cap and fixing his hair slightly, he put the cap back on again, strode over beside the other journalists, and began discussing something in quiet tones with them. Although their voices were low and they were also conversing in English, Jǐ Yi could still hear some of the important content of their dialogue. He was saying, it had been a very long time since he had seen those old friends of his, and he wanted to treat everyone to dinner in just a little bit. Laughing, everyone was of course more than happy with such an arrangement.

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

As a result, the business dinner tonight became a private little gathering.

Perhaps because he was actually making a hard-to-come-by appearance, two hours after the news of such a gathering was broadcasted, there were already quite a few more people in the private room of the hotel where it was taking place.

The circle of seats was filled with people.

Because of the couch's softness, Jì Chengyang's body was sunken into it. He was listening to the person speaking beside him, and all of him was very still, as if he did not belong to this s.p.a.ce. Jǐ Yi felt that this picture was remarkably familiar, and almost obsessive-compulsively, she searched through her brain. Gradually, the memory surfaced. That time when he had lost his vision because of a brain tumour and was opposite Liu Wanxia, it had been this same feeling.

At the time, he had been in his twenties while she had not reached the age of majority yet. She had idolized him and felt that this quiet stillness was so captivating, that it carried a magnetism such that people were unable to s.h.i.+ft their gazes away. Now, he was thirty and she was not yet twenty-two.

There were still so many years between them.

"I had already really liked this Jì Chengyang when I was reading through the promotional pamphlet," the two CUPL students beside her, who had been chatting softly, offhandedly asked Jǐ Yi, "but there was not much written in the info about him. Senior Sister [senior fellow student], do you know any more special information about him?"

"He… is a rather well-known foreign correspondent." Jǐ Yi's mind was wondering somewhat. "I don't know a whole lot, either."

Those couple of students felt that this was such a pity, and carrying on in their discussion, they said that when they got back, they would look up the information on Jì Chengyang and see whether a feature on him could be done.

Jǐ Yi simply listened like this to them with her hand lightly closed around the strap of her backpack. She could feel her stomach churning, and there was a very uncomfortable burning feeling in it.

Managing, with great difficulty, to wait until He Feifei arrived in a rush, she immediately rose to her feet and said, "I'm heading back to my school now."

He Feifei was puzzled from seeing her in such a hurry. "Isn't it Friday today? There are still urgent things to take care of at school? It's almost time to go anyway. When things finish up here in just a little bit, I'll drive you back."

"You don't need to go to the trouble." Perceiving that Jì Chengyang was walking towards them, Jǐ Yi hastily stated, "I'll take the bus."

She picked up her backpack and, with quick strides, left the private room.

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

A female server outside the door gave her directions to the elevator.

When they first got here, she had already noticed that the layout of this place was like a maze and had purposely tried to commit to memory the way that they had come in. However, after wandering for a while, she still was unable to find the elevator lobby. She stood still where she was, but when she wanted to double back along the way that she came, she saw that behind her was Jì Chengyang, who had been following her for who knew how long already. He seemed to know what problem it was that she had encountered. Without saying anything, he tilted his head to the side to indicate that she should follow him along the hallway to the right.

In this way, with one person in front and the other person following, they two ambled to the elevator lobby and into an elevator, and then they took the elevator down. When they had truly stepped out of the main entrance of this hotel, Jǐ Yi ceased her steps and said in a low voice, "I'm going now."

"Would you be able to give me your mobile number?" Jì Chengyang looked down at her blunt fringe of bangs that lay slightly parted in front of her forehead, suppressing his urge to reach out his hand and brush away that layer of hair to look at her eyes.

She stared perplexedly, not understanding why he would not have it, since, after all, he even knew where her dormitory building was.

"I promised you," Jì Chengyang explained, having seen through her thoughts, "that I would not go through a third party anymore to get any of your information. So, I do not have your mobile number."

Jǐ Yi's head was bent low, and her hand was in the pocket of her down jacket, tightly clenching her mobile phone.

She wanted to say, "You made a lot of promises that you did not keep."

But those words caught in her throat, and she could not get them out. Eventually, that tight, obstructed feeling spread from her throat to her heart. Her chest felt as if someone was crus.h.i.+ng down on it, and she was unable to pull in any air. It was only now that she retroactively realized something. From the very initial shock to the numbness later, this almost half a month of time had been used only to digest this one reality: Jì Chengyang truly had returned.

He truly was before her right now.

Several thousand kilometres separate Iraq and China, but on the map, they actually are on a similar lat.i.tude line.

In that year that she had waited for him, many times had she studied the world map, imagining where on that map he might be. Then she would run her finger over that spot, as if doing so would bring her very close to him.

Later, he had stripped her of the right to even fantasize in this way.

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

As Jì Chengyang stood in front of her, he was able to sense that emotions were billowing fiercely through every part of her. He wanted to reach out his arms and enfold her in them, but in the end, he remained motionless. "If it's not convenient to do so, it's no big deal." He lowered his voice to say, "Could you take down my mobile number?"

Jǐ Yi was silent. After quite some time, she pulled out her mobile phone. "Go ahead and say it."

He stated a new mobile phone number.

Her motions half a beat behind, Jǐ Yi input it into her phone and saved it.

The awkwardness in the atmosphere between the two of them eventually reached an extreme. Fortunately, they had a.s.sociate Managing Editor Liu Kaifeng's late arrival, which interrupted this impa.s.se of a situation. When Jǐ Yi caught sight of Liu Kaifeng, she immediately said to him, "I told Teacher He already. I need to go back to my school first."

"No problem. Feel free to go." This a.s.sociate managing editor readily gave his consent to this.

Jǐ Yi hurriedly bid them farewell and left the hotel.

The entire time as she stepped out of the hotel's revolving door, Jì Chengyang's gaze had followed her, never once leaving her.

"That look in your eyes just has too much emotion in it, like the emotion of some scene in a movie." With a chuckle, Liu Kaifeng threw an arm around his shoulders. "Chengyang, I'll say, it's not going to work if you're just going to keep doing this." In this last half a month, this person had all along been playing the role of an informant, at any and all times pa.s.sing on reports of how the little student intern was doing and functioning at work. "It's such a snowy day. Why aren't you accompanying her back? From the middle and high school eras and onwards, feelings between a boy and a girl very easily blossom in the whole process of picking up and accompanying the other person to go here and there. You escort her back this time, then after that, you frequently go pick her up to have a dinner together or something. And just like that, those dead ashes of your relations.h.i.+p will be rekindled."

"My health hasn't been very good lately. I'm not really able to drive." Jì Chengyang held back the true reason. "Let's go in first and then we can talk more."

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

This night, these old friends who often flew all around the world and would only run into one another when they were at the same location for work or had received the same news a.s.signment, were having great fun and thoroughly enjoying themselves. Jì Chengyang's experiences in these last several years that he had been absent from the country were a blank to everyone, and he seemed to have no desire to talk about any of them, either. He merely self-mockingly said one line: "Long, too, have I wandered. In these ten years, failed have I the deep love given me, and also my kin and friends.[2]"

Everyone roared with laughter at this. Jokingly, they scorned him that, fine, he was handsome and hence could s.n.a.t.c.h all the good stuff and resources, but he had now even learned how to purposely put on the front of someone who had experienced the great vicissitudes of life. Seriously, he was not even giving all the single men out there a chance. Only Liu Wanxia, the one who knew of his love and relations.h.i.+p from those early years, and also Liu Kaifeng, Jǐ Yi's supervisor, could understand what he was trying to say with those words.

That night, because his physical state was unable to hold up, Jì Chengyang, the one who was actually supposed to be the host of this gathering, ended up being the first to leave. Fortunately, these people were all old friends within the journalism circle, and even without the person who was supposed to be taking the lead, they were able to bring the atmosphere to a high themselves in the second half of the night. And hence, no public anger at him was incited.

<>This copy was taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. It would be greatly appreciated if you would support the translation by reading it there instead. Thank you.

It was not until several days later that the news of his return was considered widespread within his social circle.

His return this time had been very sudden. No notice had been provided. Naturally, then, it roused countless gripes towards him. Amongst those, there was also no lack of job invitations brought to him from old friends of many years or former colleagues. Very few people knew that he was still in the midst of a medical treatment period, and therefore they would even arrange face-to-face meetings and interview times for him. Jì Chengyang could only over and over again turn these down.

When the Lunar New Year was fast approaching, he was finally discharged from the hospital.

Liu Kaifeng specially gave him a phone call to pay him early New Year's greetings. In pa.s.sing, he told him that the girl's mood at work had been very stable, that she had the capacity for hard work, and that she was nearly at the point where she would be signing a formal contract with the newspaper agency.

"Happy New Year. May 2008 be a good year for you." The other party obviously had a veiled meaning in that.

"Happy New Year. May 2008 be a good year for you."

After he hung up this call, another one came in. When he saw the name that showed up on the caller ID, he was somewhat surprised.

You're back?" This was the first sentence spoken from w.a.n.g Haoran after the call connected.

"Been back for two months." Jì Chengyang explained simply, "I've had some personal matters to attend to this whole time and had planned to find you to get together some time after the Lunar New Year.”

"No, don't wait until after New Year's. I'm going to drive over to find you now. It’s Little New Year[3]; you should be heading back to the military compound, right?"

"I should be at the compound by six or so," he replied. "Why don't you head straight over? Come have dinner."

"Dinner won't be necessary." w.a.n.g Haoran told him, "Wait for me. If I get there early, I'll wait for you downstairs of your family home."

Jì Chengyang agreed to this arrangement.

After he finished the discharge procedures from the hospital, he also talked with his attending physician for a long time, so by the time he was truly sitting in his family's vehicle, the sky was already dark. All along the way, there was streetlamp after streetlamp, but it was not until the vehicle had driven up to the compound gates and he saw the line of red lanterns hung over the entrance that he truly sensed a bit of the celebratory atmosphere of the Lunar New Year.

The soldier there gave a salute and allowed the vehicle to pa.s.s.

When the vehicle reached the bend in the road, he had already spotted w.a.n.g Haoran's car. The person in the driver's seat also noticed him and, unfastening his seat belt, stepped out of the car. Guessing that this must be Jì Chengyang's friend, the driver of the vehicle brought the luggage upstairs first. In the frigid wind that was whirling between two buildings, Jì Chengyang strolled towards w.a.n.g Haoran. But before he could utter anything, his face completely took the vicious punch that the other party threw directly at it.

This silent, chilling punch that was sent out with full strength caused blackness to swirl before his eyes.

w.a.n.g Haoran grabbed the collar of Jì Chengyang's black jacket. "I wanted to give you a beating two years ago. Have these last few years out in another country been really happy and pleasant and fine, huh? Jì Chengyang?"

Forcefully repressing the taste of blood that surged up from his throat, he almost reflexively asked w.a.n.g Haoran, "For Xixi?"

"Just how old was she when the two of you were together, huh? Sixteen? Seventeen? I really wish you could have seen with your own eyes what she looked like when you dumped her."

Jì Chengyang froze in place.

The words coming from the w.a.n.g Haoran of this present moment exuded a sense of carrying out justice on behalf of Heaven, but there was no other punch that followed. In these twenty years, from the time the two of them met during that piano compet.i.tion in their days of youth all the way until Jì Chengyang's departure, never before had they had a fallout. That punch a moment ago had come out of rage that back then, Jì Chengyang really had made his move on a little girl and, what was more, with absolutely no reluctance, had then discarded her like she was an old pair of shoes. But that punch had also contained some of w.a.n.g Haoran's personal feelings in it.

At least, two years ago, before Jǐ Yi completely had disappeared from w.a.n.g Haoran's world, he had had his own personal motives.

But now, those little bits of personal motives had long since been worn away by time, and all that remained was condemnation for the reprehensible behavior of his good friend.

"Still want to hit me some more?" Jì Chengyang suddenly spoke.

In his voice, there was a type of weariness and strengthlessness.

His tranquility startled w.a.n.g Haoran, and he loosened his grip. "I had wanted to give you a wicked beating…"

"Sure. Come on, then." Jì Chengyang looked at him. "While there's no one around."

Jì Chengyang brought both his arms down, completely exposing every weak point on his entire body.

w.a.n.g Haoran truly felt awkward at this. After all, he actually had no status or position from which he could justifiably do that. Jì Chengyang's manner forced him to sheepishly mutter, "It's fine, whatever. It's the Lunar New Year period. I'll let you off the hook and also let my hand off the hook."

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

Four years. You cannot say it is a long time, but it is enough to completely alter the lives of many people.

Time can bring great changes, transforming seas into fields of mulberry, and while things and objects may still remain the same, people are no longer as before. w.a.n.g Haoran gazed at him. After the anger gradually dissipated, a feeling like a lifetime had already pa.s.sed arose in him

And so, these two men simply stood in the biting wind that cut into the bones, both of them seemingly having lost their ability of speech.

<>It would be sincerely appreciated if you would support this translation by reading it on the actual site it was posted on, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, instead. Thank you.

In the end, it was Jì Chengyang who broke this silence.

Reaching his arm over, he gave a pat to w.a.n.g Haoran's shoulder. "Thank you for taking care of her for me. I'll come find you after the Lunar New Year." Saying this, he turned and strode upstairs without a backwards glance.

<>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 Summer Palace was an imperial garden in the Qing dynasty. It is located in the Haidian District, the same district as Xueyuan Road.

[2] "我亦飘零久,十年来,深情尽负,死生亲友." This line is modified from a line in the poem, 《金缕曲》"Song of Gold Thread" by Gu Zhenguan of the Qing dynasty. The original line is "我亦飘零久,十年来,深恩负尽,死生师友." In Jì Chengyang’s modification, there are only two characters that are different from the original. The original line translates to, "Long, too, have I wandered. In these ten years, failed have I the deep kindness given me from you, my dear friend and mentor."

[3] 小年 "Xiao Nian." Generally, this is referring to the either the 23rd or 24th day of the last lunar month (i.e. six or seven days prior to Lunar New Year's Eve), although in some places, it may actually be the day before Lunar New Year’s Eve. (Given that the story is set in Beijing, it is probably the 23rd day of the last lunar month.) Little New Year is also known as 祭灶节 the Festival of the Kitchen G.o.d, as traditionally, on that day, the Kitchen G.o.d, who reports the good and bad deeds of the household to the Jade Emperor in Heaven, is wors.h.i.+pped.

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.

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The Healing Sunshine Chapter 20 Part4

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The Healing Sunshine Chapter 20 Part4 summary

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