Well, here we are at the last chapter of the novel version that we have. However, it’s a ginormous beast of a chapter, so we are going to be splitting it up into multiple posts. Again, apologies that posts are coming slower these days!
But my mood still gradually fell all the way to the bottom. Every night, after Eason left, I would secretly cry until late at night. Even though I knew Li Chuan had a secret he couldn’t tell me, I still did not expect him not to come and take a look at me after hearing the news of my accident, despite him living by my side.
I was extremely confused. Did Li Chuan really still love me?
If there wasn’t a difference between loving and not loving, then why love?
Did I still want to continue on with a love that was this exhausting and without any results?
Since I couldn’t move, the muscles in my broken leg started shrinking. The well practiced Auntie (not real aunt) Li increased her massage strength. But something inside of me was also shrinking. And…was becoming smaller and smaller.
While lying on the hospital bed everyday, I foolishly stared at the door in a daydream. I dreamt that Li Chuan came to visit me with a bouquet. The footsteps in the corridor, the light coughs, and the intermittent shadows in front of the door would all make me suspect that it was him.
And then, when it was confirmed that it wasn’t Li Chuan, I would become wooden again.
I tormented myself repeatedly with anticipation and disappointment.
Gradually, I started staring blankly outside the window for long periods of time without paying attention to anyone. I didn’t want to speak either. My leg was extremely swollen, to the extent where I couldn’t feel its existence. Pain had become unfamiliar.
Once, when I was feeling extremely agitated, I pulled out the IV needle without permission. When Eason found out, he spoke to me sternly. I couldn’t help but yell at him in rage. Afterwards, I apologized to him. Then, using the opportunity to make a fuss, I ordered him to only come and see me at most once a week.
Eason refused at first, “No! I caused you to be injured like this. I will take care of you until you are discharged!”
I spent the second month in a dark mood, going seriously crazy. My leg had gotten a lot thinner and there was even a huge scar on top. I was switched to a recovery hospital to undergo a month of training.
All the sisters of the translator group came to see me and said that I was so thin, I looked like noodles.
“Perhaps it’s because you are vegetarian.” Emma said, “You’re sick right now, you need nutrients the most. Don’t be a vegetarian anymore. I’ll have my mom stew red-cooked meat for you.”
“No, no, my willpower has always been weak. I’ve already enjoyed drinking Mother Ai’s bone soup. I can’t take it too far. I have to persist in my beliefs!”
“Mmmm…you’ve drank our family’s soup. Next, will you become our family’s daughter-in-law?” Emma hinted with all smiles, “Let me tell you. The first few times, my mom made the soup. Afterwards, Eason learned how to make it himself. What you are drinking now is all made by him. I can even take advantage of it and try a bowl. How about it? The young master of the Ai family isn’t too bad, right? For you, he’s already gave up two chances, in a row, to go to the US for conferences. Those who are working with him on the courses have already scolded him to death.”
“I am really grateful.” I said sincerely, “Your family’s Eason is truly a good person.”
I didn’t ask about Li Chuan, but everyone always brought him up.
“Today, Li Chuan wore a black leather jacket. The kind with soft skintight material. Not kidding!” Ming Ming said, “When I saw him in the morning, I nearly fainted and fell over. When he usually wears suits, I can still resist him.”
“That’s right, I already said that he would be extremely sexy when wearing a leather jacket, but he had never worn one before.” Li Sha parroted, “Even though I missed getting on the elevator with him, his cologne lingered in the elevator. A faint CK smell, making one go crazy.”
“Actually, Mr. Li Chuan isn’t completely well yet.” Xiao Wei quietly added, “What you guys see is just his bright and neat side.”
“How isn’t he better? He hasn’t been sitting in his wheelchair much.”
“Once he hadn’t been at work for an hour before that Rene came to pick him up,“ Xiao Wei said, “Li Chuan was a total mess from throwing up in the office. Rene nearly carried him onto the wheelchair to wheel him away. That week, we changed the carpet twice for him.”
“Oh…Li Chuan is quite pitiful. He doesn’t depend on that money to survive. It’s not worth it to come into work everyday being so sick like this.”
“Exactly! Looks like when you look for a guy, you should still find a healthy one. Seeing him being sick like this is already so heartbreaking.”
“Can you guys not be so unscrupulous in your obsession every day?”
I forced a smile, “Li Chuan isn’t the only handsome man in CGP.”
“There are handsome men, it’s not like we haven’t seen those of high quality.” Everyone retorted, “But Li Chuan’s type is of godlike quality.”
That’s true, Li Chuan was of godlike quality. How could a mortal like me try to obtain him?
That night, Eason came to see me and earnestly helped me walk around. In the end, I suddenly said, “Eason, don’t come anymore. You’ve take care of me for so long, I’ve already received your good intentions.”
“Everything is fine, why are you saying this again? Drink soup.”
He brought over a bowl of delicious bone soup. Tears suddenly fell from my eyes.
“Eason, I won’t fall in love with anyone.”
“The relationship between us is of the offender and the victim. Don’t mix things up. Ok? See if I come and see you after you are discharged. I’m quite busy”
I wanted to mention Li Chuan to him, but I couldn’t bring myself to say it. My thought towards Li Chuan were gradually becoming more negative, more and more dark. To the point for I felt like I could never forgive him. Even when my friends from the translator group mentioned him, I felt as if he was a very distant person and didn’t have anything to do with me anymore. I used to hurt all over inside because of him. That kind of worry and that kind of concern had already quietly changed.
I faced Eason, silently shedding tears. He asked my why I was grieving, but I said nothing.
He sighed and said, “Do you want to hear my story? I called my ex-girlfriend Xiao Xue (Little Snow).”
“She started chasing after me starting in high school. She chased after me until I had no room to breathe. That kind of pursuit for love was fierce like the howling winds and torrential rains. At that time, I was still very young and didn’t take her feelings seriously. I ever joked at her saying: ‘Great Snow crushes down on the pine (Eason = Ai Song, pine = Qing Song), yet the pine stands straight, needing to be lofty and unsullied, waiting until the snow melts.’ It was a strong Great Snow, burying me completely. I was surrounded by her love for eight years and felt very happy, very relaxed, and felt that everything was as it should be. I forgot to tell you that I am a workaholic. In the 10 years that passed, I never rested on a single weekend. Everyday, I would go work in the lab until very late at night. If my progress wasn’t smooth on my paper, I would even get angry at her. Even when she told me she was pregnant, I still couldn’t clear some time to accompany her to examines. Then one day, I came back from the lab and saw the medical report left on the table. She had gotten an abortion and took all her stuff away with her. She had thrown all the presents I gave her and all our photos together into the trash.”
I looked at him in shock.
“I went crazy. I went to look for her, crying bitter tears of remorse, begging her to come back. She was determined not to agree. After two months, she married a Japanese man. She said that she had already been together with that person for half a year. The Japanese man would call my home every night, yet I wasn’t even aware of it.”
He patted my shoulder, “I’ve never blamed her. On the day of the wedding, I even sent a gift. I wished her happiness because I really wasn’t fit to be her husband. Look, everyone can learn something from his or her past. From my own story, I learned how to love. It doesn’t just mean loving a women. Rather it means loving anyone who has a place in your heart. I also learned to give up in my story. A love that doesn’t belong, will leave. You won’t be able to grab onto it, it would be better to let it go.”
I received some kind of enlightenment from Eason’s story.
After the third month passed, I could already walk around with crutches. The doctor said that, from the x-rays, it looked like my bones were recovering very nicely. It was just that my muscles had somewhat atrophied and I had to do weight training. The steel plates still remained in my bones and could only be removed after a year.
Before I was discharged, I secretly returned to my apartment once. Forcing myself to not anticipate, I checked the phone and cellphone voicemails. I checked my emails and my MSN messages.
I secretly told myself that if Li Chuan had left me one word, even if it was just to ask “[English] How are you”, I would forgive him completely.
But, there was nothing. Not a word.
I recalled something that Eason liked to say: Black holes. Powerful energy. Powerful gravitation. Everything falls into it. Nothing can escape. Everything is sucked in. But there is nothing inside.
My heart broke completely.
— I notified my landlord that, starting from next month, I wouldn’t be renting from him anymore.
— I got a temporary worker to help me pack up all my books and clothing.
— I bought a flight ticket back to Kunming. One way.
— I canceled all my bank accounts in Beijing.
— I sold my car to a second-hand shop.
Eason helped me complete my discharge procedures. He was going to California the next day for a meeting and wished me well on everything.
When I returned home, I printed out two copies of a letter of resignation. One was for Jiu Tong and one was for CGP.
Monday was the last day I was staying in Beijing. Eason had already took care of checking in my books and luggage.
I put on very casual clothes. The weather was really hot. Originally, I would have definitely worn a skirt, but I didn’t want people to see the scar on my leg. So I had on a pair of pants. Leaning against aluminum crutches, I got in a taxi heading to Xiang Lai building.
The lead never misses the historical events.
When I was waiting for the elevator downstairs, I ran into Li Chuan. Between the two of us, there were three crutches. I wanted to laugh, feeling that everything seemed quite fabricated and also very comical.
Li Chuan helped me keep the elevator door open, and we both walked in at the same time.
He kept his head down the entire time, not daring to look at me.
He was about to press the nineteenth floor for me when I said, “No need, I’m going to the twentieth floor.”
“You aren’t completely well yet and you’re already here…cough cough…to work?” He lightly coughed as he was speaking, his head never looking up.
“No, I’m not working anymore.” I declared, expressionless.
For a slight bit, he was stumped for words. He was just about to say something when a “ding” sounded. The elevator had reached the twentieth floor and the door opened.
He held the elevator door and let me go out first. I walked to one corner of the hallway and saw that Director Jiang’s door was shut, so I called out to him, “Li Chuan, there’s something I want to ask of you.”
He finally looked up and gazed at my face with waves within his eyes, “What is it?”
I took out two envelopes from my purse, “This is my resignation letter. One is for CGP and one is for Jiu Tong. Please help me hand these to Director Jiang.”
As if he was anticipating something, he didn’t hold out his hand to take them, “Resignation? Why resign?”
“I’m tired. I want to rest for awhile.” I said faintly, “And then, I’ll go and find work.”
Did I need to explain everything? Li Chuan must be able to see the bitterness on my face.
His cheeks moved a bit as if he was clenching his teeth, but he was very restrained. He said in a business manner, “That’s just as well. It’s good that you’ll get some rest.”
I turned to leave when he suddenly asked, “Then will you still stay in Beijing?”
“No,” I heard myself say coldly, “I’m leaving Beijing tomorrow.”
His face turned a bit pale, “Then, where are you planning to go?”
“Li Chuan,” I raised my head to look at him, smiling like a knife, “didn’t you want me to leave you? I’m finally going to disappear now. Don’t you think that’s worth celebrating? Yet, why are you doing more that is required to act concerned for my whereabouts?”
I ruthlessly shoved the envelopes into his hands, returned to the elevator and pressed to go down to the eighteenth floor to go clean out my things.
in the split second, as the door was closing, Li Chuan suddenly blocked the elevator.
I raised my head and looked at him, my heart racing. In his eyes, I saw a miserable expression that I was unable to bear. I thought to myself, if he was to ask me to stay, even if it was just a hint, even if it was just through his tone of voice, I would forgive him. Immediately forgive him.
Unexpectedly, he only sighed deeply and said calmly, “Xiao Qiu, I wish you a safe trip.”
And then the elevator door slowly closed. The other door, in my heart, also shut at the same time.
I returned to my own office soullessly. Not having time to put my agitated state of mind in order, I spent an hour sending emails to delegate my work. Then I cleaned up my computer, deleting documents, and returned my laptop to the admin department. The last email I wrote was to ask Emma to give Mia to Li Chuan, saying that he will definitely adopt her. Then I wrapped up Li Chuan’s coffee cup in paper and shoved it into his mailbox. I put all my things into a cardboard box, went downstairs, got a taxi, and returned home.
When I got to the small convenience store by my apartment, I bought a box of cigarettes.
I returned to my apartment and smoked one stick after another.
I could not bear to think about the past. My heart was riddled with wounds. My soul had completely vanished.
The sun gradually set in the west and the moon gradually rose.
My flight was the next morning. I was all packed. I left the key to the apartment on the table.
I couldn’t sleep and sat on my bed shedding tears.
At two in the morning, my cell phone suddenly rang.
I looked at the display on the phone. It was an unfamiliar number.
The phone only rang once before it stopped.