On Wednesday morning, Xiao Guan and other Jiu Tong employees came to see me, including Tao Xin Ru and Tong Yu Lian. Ever since I stood him up, I hadn’t been in touch with Xiao Guan. I heard from Emma that Tao Xin Ru had been following Xiao Guan around even more tightly to the point where he couldn’t do anything about it. However, Xiao Guan still deeply resented me for turning him down, so I didn’t really want to see him, especially at times when I was at my worst.
“Sigh, Annie, how come you got hurt right after going to CGP? Why don’t you consider coming back to Jiu Tong? We are still short on translators,” Xiao Guan said.
“Thanks, but it’s okay. Don’t you always ask me for help anyway when you have anything urgent?” I smiled while turning him down.
“Speaking of that, I have three booklets that I must trouble you with.” He actually stuffed three big auction booklets into my hand without any hesitation, “Since you’re free anyway, it’s better to make some money while you’re at it, right?”
I looked at him speechless. I wanted to say: Xiao Guan, do you know how much pain I’m in? I have plates and screws inserted and my body is swollen, yet you still want me to do translations for you?! Not even CGP would ask me to do that!
Xiao Guan and others chatted with me for a while and promised that they would treat me to dinner after I get out of the hospital to get rid of the bad luck. They then left. After all the chatter, everything returned to silence. My heart sank bit by bit like the intravenous drip dripping down into my vein. The sun was shining brightly outside, but my heart was sour.
Even Xiao Guan came to visit; Li Chuan, where were you?
Caretaker Auntie Li came to help me take a bath. However, it was more like wiping my body clean compared to an actual bath. She soaked the towel into warm water, and wiped my body bit by bit. She moved carefully around the areas in bandages like she was an archeologist examining a female corpse from the Han Dynasty. After she finished wiping my body, she helped wash my hair. She used a round bucket to hold the water and washed my hair a few times. Lastly, she helped me change into a new hospital gown.
It was like that every day. Auntie Li would help me turn my body every two hours, and massage my leg three times a day to keep the blood flowing. I, on the other hand, was immersed in reading Jin Yong’s novels. I would pick up my pen and do a bit of translations every now and then, but I would feel tired every few pages. Eason came to see me every day and ate lunch and dinner with me. He couldn’t be of much help since I had a caretaker taking care of everything, so his main purpose was to “help” me eat my food. As a result, I was forced to drink a bowl of pork bone soup made by his mom every day. Although I was determined to be a vegetarian, Eason’s mom’s pork bone soup was delicious. Furthermore, I wanted to recover faster.
On the second week, my hospital days made a ninety-degree turn. My leg became abnormally swollen and it hurt so much that I couldn’t sit up, eat, drink, or sleep well. I had gotten bone inflammation, which was common after surgery. I started having a fever, and my leg started festering. It hurt so much that I needed Pethidine to relieve the pain.
So this was how it felt to be sick. I had always been healthy and active since I was little. I had great reflex and loved every sport. I had never wounded myself before, so the bone inflammation hurt like hell.
I had to receive intravenous drip and take antibiotics every day, and had to get the pus drained and taken out. I didn’t dare to take a look at my leg; a hideous scar was left on it. The doctors who came to check up on it always had a stiff face, so I suspected that not much longer, they would say that I would have to saw off my leg. Scenes from the movie, Bethune, and scars on Li Chuan’s body started flashing across my mind.
No matter how many times I told Eason not to come visit me at the hospital every day, he still came every day during the month he took leave. Sometimes he would stay for the entire day. He attempted to help me change my clothes a few times, but I always turned him down. I didn’t let him touch me or look at my body. But seeing how he really wanted to help me with something but couldn’t, I said, “Eason, can you help me to cut my hair? The shorter the better. I have too much hair. It’s inconvenient for Auntie Li to wash it.”
Eason held the scissors in his hand happily and gave me an awful haircut. I was embarrassed to see others for a few days, but I didn’t dare blame him.
I got a calendar and started counting the days; I marked a cross on every day that I was in the hospital.
A month had passed; Li Chuan still hadn’t come visit me.
My heart became cold bit by bit.
When I woke up at night due to the pain, I thought about how heartless Li Chuan was and cried until my pillow was wet. At the start, I comforted myself thinking that Li Chuan probably didn’t know that I was sick. But he couldn’t possibly not have known; even the cleaning lady knew and all the employees of CGP came to see me. Could he really not have known that I got injured?
I then comforted myself again thinking that Li Chuan was probably sick himself as well. He might have returned to Switzerland already. But the ladies from the translation team always came to gossip every week; they said that Li Chuan went to work at CGP every day while I was sick and even held a few meetings. But they also said that Li Chuan was not well; he was on his wheelchair most of the time.
When I felt hopeless, I thought again that even if Li Chuan’s heart was as cold as steel and refused to come, he would at least ask Rene to come or give me a call.
Rene neither came to visit nor called me.
Thinking back to the days that I was together with Li Chuan, I had never fallen sick before, not even catching a cold. But whenever my period came, I would feel uncomfortable. Li Chuan would get me to lie down on the bed, and then he would cook me some soup. When the cramps were bad, he would massage my stomach with his hands and “transfer heat” like a Qi Gong Master. Li Chuan always cared a lot about others, didn’t he!?
Two months after the motorcycle accident, Eason had no choice but to return to work at the lab. Although he technically didn’t need to be there for work, he had classes and analyses to do, so he couldn’t come see me every day like he did in the first month. Honestly, I was already feeling guilty from his affection towards me. I kept telling him not to come anymore because I was taken care of by Auntie Li, who was professional, attentive to detail, careful, and patient. I really didn’t need another person to be at my side, but Eason disagreed. He still came every day even though he did not stay as long as before. He would go to the bookstore and buy me novels, DVDs, TV series, and try all kinds of things to help me get through the day. One time, he even accompanied me to watch eight episodes of “Yong Zheng Dynasty.” When he saw that I was about to fall asleep, he started marking his students’ essays at my bedside and chatted every now and then with me.