Seeing the way Li Chuan was, I suddenly realized how precious life was. I decided that I would earnestly live every day; I would earnestly work at my job, earnestly learn latin dancing, and earnestly watch what I eat. I would wake up early every day, and earnestly jog around the streets.
For the past twenty plus years, I had never paid attention to my body and health so seriously.
I didn’t see Li Chuan for two weeks in a row. I knew that he was purposely avoiding me. But he often visited CGP for meetings and/or to discuss sketches. He came like the wind, and was gone like the wind; he never went to the cafeteria for lunch. Whenever I called Rene, he would answer me politely, but kept his distance; Li Chuan had probably warned him not to slip out any details. Even when I said I would treat him to dinner, he came up with an excuse to turn me down.
Whenever I got rejected directly or indirectly like this, my self-esteem would go down. But my heart was filled with a feeling of fright, which caused me to constantly guess what could happen. I thought about every word that Li Chuan said, and the way that Rene looked at me. I knew. Li Chuan situation was becoming more hopeless by the day. He said that he couldn’t give me another five years. It was true.
I went to work as usual on Friday. I had actually requested to take the day off because I was going to go on a spring outing to Fragrant Hill Park with Eason. But before we left, I got a call from the office advising that there were a few sketches that needed to be handed in early to Director Jiang to review. Therefore, I told Eason that I would meet up with him at Xiang Lai Building. I submitted the documents, rode the elevator down to the ground floor, and bumped into Li Chuan, who was just getting out of his car. Li Chuan was dashing as always. But under the sunlight, his face was pale. He stood beside the car while his driver took out a lightweight wheelchair, and then he sat on it.
“Good morning, Li Chuan!” I greeted him proactively.
I was dressed up for the trip; my long hair rested on my shoulders, I was wearing a leather jacket, long boots, and mini skirt. Eason said he had just bought a motorcycle. Since it was warm and sunny, he said he would take me for a spin to Fragrant Hill Park.
Li Chuan had probably never seen me dressed so tomboy-like before, so he looked at me dumbstruck and asked, “You’re going somewhere?”
“Mm, I’ve already requested to take the day off. I’m going on a trip with a friend.”
He did not show any expression on his face, “Have fun.”
A motorcycle made a “tick” sound nearby; Eason had arrived. He was wearing a helmet, leather jacket, and leather pants, just like a motorcycle gang.
“Goodbye, Li Chuan!”
I dashed over, took the helmet that Eason handed to me, and sat on the back of the motorcycle.
Eason said, “For safety, hug me tight!”
I said, “Sure!”
I didn’t want to show intimacy with another man in front of Li Chuan in case he misunderstood, but I got provoked by his cold expression. Since it was also my first time riding a motorcycle, I was nervous, so I hugged Eason tightly as he accelerated. The motorcycle whooshed out like lightning.
“Didn’t they say that no motorcycles are allowed within the 4th Ring Road?” I asked from behind.
“It’s okay for Beijing A license plates. I just have to pay to get it.”
“Eason, can you not go so fast?”
“I’m already going very slow!”
We got on to 4th Ring Road using the Sihaiqiao ramp. We headed North-West and passed by the flat and straight Minzhuang Road. Eason was having a great time riding.
I pointed at the scenery from a distant and sighed, “Sigh, Eason, look over there!”
He probably couldn’t hear what I said, so he turned around to look at me. At that very instant, the motorcycle suddenly lost control. I screamed and flew off the bike. I lost consciousness.
When I woke up, my body hurt all over. My chest felt stuffed, and it felt like many parts of my body were swollen. I felt a lot of pain in my right leg, and there were bandages wrapped around my chest. I saw Eason standing beside my bed, looking extremely apologetic. He also had bandages wrapped around his head, and some blood could be seen seeping through it.
“I’m sorry, it’s all my fault that you got hurt!” Eason said.
I only felt that my body hurt, but it wasn’t like I was in tremendous pain or felt like I was going to die.
“What exactly happened?” I said with my throat feeling dry.
“There was a pothole on the road. I was too careless.”
“It’s not your fault. I was the one who spoke to you and caused you to turn your head,” I said.
“You’re hurt quite badly. You have a rib fracture and a femoral shaft fracture in your right leg. You have already undergone surgery, and plates and screws have been inserted. They are now examining to see if you have a concussion. Is there anywhere else that you’re not feeling well? I’ll go tell the doctor.”
“Only the areas that you’ve mentioned, everywhere else seems to be fine.” I looked for my phone to make a call, “I need to call the office to request for leave.”
“You can’t use your cellphone in here. My sister has already notified CGP. You’ve been unconscious for four hours. Do you need to call your parents?”
“Both of my parents have passed away already.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” he quickly said, “Do you have any siblings?”
“I have a younger brother who is studying medical science at Sun Yat-Sen University. He has a lot of assignments to do, so please don’t let him know.”
He sat in front of me with his hands on top of mine, “Don’t worry, this is my fault, so I will take care of you. I’ve asked for a month off. I usually don’t need to work at the office anyway. I’ll come and take care of you every day!”
I was stunned the moment I heard him say “a month”; did I need to lie here for a month?
The doctor came, briefly explained my situation, and asked me to complete the forms to stay in the hospital. He said I would need to stay for a month based on the healing progress of my fracture. Eason immediately wanted to go to the payment desk, but I stopped him, “Don’t rush to go pay for my hospital fees, CGP has great medical insurance. Give me the phone and let me ask HR.”
I was surprised to hear the HR manager pick up, who said, “The directors are taking this very seriously. We have already sent someone to handle your hospital transfer fees.”
“Transfer?” I asked, “Is it necessary to transfer to another hospital?”
“The wards are very small at your current hospital. It’s very crowded, which will impact your rest there. We are transferring you to Jishuitan Hospital. There is an excellent orthopedist there.”
I told Eason about transferring hospitals, and he sighed, “They act so fast and are so thoughtful. It really changes my impression on these foreign companies.”
I smiled and didn’t respond.
I was transferred to Jishuitan Hospital the next day. Xiao Zhao from human resources had already completed my hospital registration and paid the deposit. Eason was going to buy me some food and Xiao Zhao said, “Annie is vegetarian. We have already specially ordered nutritional meals from a nearby restaurant for her. They will deliver her meals three times a day.”
I said, “I…might need to hire someone to take care of me as well.” I didn’t want to trouble Eason when it came to privacy and physical intimacy.
Xiao Zhao responded immediately, “Mm. We’ve hired a caretaker in case the nurses are busy. It’s a nurse who has just retired. She needs to make more money due to her family.”
Eason’s mouth was wide opened, “You guys…are also reimbursing the fees to hire the caretaker?”
“Of course not,” Xiao Zhao said, “Considering Annie’s salary, the company has approved a loan in advance. We will deduct the fees from her paychecks.”
I didn’t ask anything more; of course I knew who was behind all of this. Not long after Xiao Zhao left, my colleagues came to visit one after another. I decided to be humorous and prepared a guest book for them to sign. The ladies from the translation department came to visit first. They bought me some fresh flowers and tropical fruits. Emma agreed to help me take care of Mia for the time being. My male colleagues mostly bought me flowers and health products.
On the second day, people that I was not familiar with from the sketch department and budget department came to see me. I had never even spoken to some of them, but they said that they recognized me; they said my “hot dance” left a deep impression on them.
The company’s cleaning lady Mrs. Lin came to visit me on the third day. She was from a rural area, but we got along quite well. We chatted every time she came to clean my desk. One time, she asked if I had any unwanted clothes; her daughter was in high school and was about the same size as me. I gave her a big bag of denim shirts, jeans, knitted skirts, and other items that I didn’t wear. Another time, she said her daughter was sick in the hospital. I had just gotten my paycheck at the time, so I stuffed two hundred dollars in her hands. Due to all this, she came to see me with a basket of fruits and cooked me a big plateful of vegetarian buns. I was moved to tears.
CGP had a total of thirty-three employees. Besides the cleaning lady, thirty-two of them had signed my guest book.
Everyone came, except for Li Chuan.