一厘米的阳光， 第六章： 我的小心思
One month before end of semester examination, there happened to be a competition for the traditional music group, Ji Yi could not but rehearse and revise for the examination at the same time.
Actually, during this period, it was not only the traditional music group, but the dance group, orchestra group, special athletes all had to participate in all sorts of competitions. However, most of the people did not really study that much, special students of the attached school had always been outstanding, winning first place was a simple meal [common occurrence], all of them were eligible for university quota.
Therefore, in the traditional music group, those who studied as painstakingly as Ji Yi were as rare as exotic flowers.
She finished rehearsing and was tidying up her things and planning to go back to classroom to to self-study.
A female junior came running in, with a strange expression on her face, “Ji Yi, there’s someone looking for you at the school gate.”
Outside school gate?
Ji Yi was confused as she walked out the school gate, seeing the students who were assigned on duty at school gate, all were whispering in each others’ ears about four motorcycles that were parked across the gate. It was not strange for there to be motorcycles in front of the attached school, but all of the drivers were young boys, and it was four motorcycles parked up in one line, just too difficult not to attract people’s attention. Moreover, these boys were too notorious, all were from the most notorious reform school.
To the point of attending reform schools, most are students who had not come of age but were beyond the school’s ability to discipline, more or less had had some criminal record, but not serious enough to be sent to correctional facility. Therefore, those places and attached school were simply hell-and-heaven apart.
Especially in year 2001, this kind of gang situation, was a rare sight.
She recognized, on of the motorcycles was Nuannuan’s boyfriend Xiao Jun, and also a brother who was frequently together with him Fu Xiaoning.
“Xixi,” Fu Xiaoning had always spoken very gently, never spoken half a swear word, was even more cultured than some of the poor students at attached school, “Looking for you there’s nothing else, do you know where Nuannuan is?”
“Xixi, come, there’s no shade over there, come over here and talk.” Xiao Jun did not like to talk very much, but was yet polite with her.
It was just the end of school day, people were coming and going, attach school students who walked around those motorcycles all successively turned back their heads to look at her.
End of June, it was already very hot, she was standing underneath the sun, at that instance was at a loss of what was best to do. If she did not walk out, these boys would keep on blocking the school gate, but walking out…… she really did not have the heart to move over even one step.
“What’s wrong?” Fu Xiaoning walked towards her.
She reflexively wanted to step back, just then was blocked in front by someone; it was surprisingly class leader who had hurried over after hearing about the situation. Class leader had historically been a revolution-minded person, especially could not stand to see this kind of people.
“Attached school does not permit entry by persons out of the school, this……student, please kindly, step back a few steps, give way to our students whose class has dismissed.
Fu Xiaoning smiled, gave out an “oh”, “I also do not have the intention to go in, just wanted to ask Xixi something.”
Class leader hearing him calling Ji Yi by her little name, was confused, asking Ji Yi in a low voice, “You guys are very close?”
Ji Yi shook her head, speaking mumbly: “I’m not familiar with him.”
It was hard to open her mouth, even more difficult to tell class leader, this person had something to do with Nuannuan.
Fortunately, they only wanted to look for Nuannuan, and did not want to cause trouble at the school, and so just called it a day; only that Fu Xiaoning in the end glanced at Ji Yi, smiling at her thoughtfully.
It was not clear who it was, who reported this to grade director, causing Ji Yi to be called to the office, and was disciplined by grade director and homeroom teacher for an evening. The main message was that high hopes had been placed on her, do not casually go befriend people outside of school, especially this kind of gangsters from reform schools, it may easily incite big troubles.
Ji Yi was indeed in an unspeakable distress, keeping mum, she was publicly scolded for the entire evening self-study time.
Later, Nuannuan’s explanation was that she and Xiao Jun had a fight, so she had turned off her phone. She apologized to Ji Yi, repeatedly asking for mercy, “Good Xixi, I made a mistake……I’ll tell you a secret, little uncle said that after the end of semester exam is finished, he will take us to an amusement park, just take it as I make it up to you, okay?”
Ji Chengyang? Her heart stirred, and quickly softened.
“Look, you are smiling now,” Nuannuan quickly relaxed, “But you are so easy to coax, didn’t we also go to the amusement park for primary school spring excursion? Already this old, but still want to go…… Ai, don’t like at me, don’t look at me, I’m just thoughtlessly complaining a few words.”
She definitely was looking forward to it, very much looking forward to it.
Concerning that high-level gangster boyfriend of Nuannuan, she did not really worry, who knows maybe they would break up after just several days. That time, she thought that it would be just an interlude; however, she did not foresee, that it was only the beginning.
Summer break came on schedule.
End of semester examination result would be announced in ten day’s time, at that time, there would be a school-wide ranking.
Then everyone would start choosing their own destiny, starting from choosing between arts or science stream, selecting their own path in life.
Because it had been anticipated for too long, on the day after end of semester examination, Ji Chengyang drove them to Shijingshan amusement park. Of all the amusement parks in Beijing, she liked this place the most, because of that castle inside Grimm Fairy Tale. Every time she came here, she would always remembered that copy of traditional character version of Grimm’s Fairy Tales she used to read when she was young.
Grimm’s Fairy Tale Castle at Shijingshan amusement park Image credit
Nuannuan played a round of Jiliuyongjin [a water ride, see picture below], but still had not have enough, decided by herself and went to queue up for another round.
Jiliuyongjin Image credit
From afar, Ji Yi looked at her taking out her phone as she patiently waited at the end of the line, finally understood that she was finding an opportunity to break away from Ji Chengyang’s supervision, to talk on the phone with her boyfriend.
She sat on a long bench under a tree shade, slipped off her shoes, curling in her legs, with her chin resting on her knees, looking at the rollercoaster flying here and there.
Ji Chengyang was by her side, one of his hands was resting on the back of the bench, while the other hand held up water, drinking.
She especially liked his looks today, just wearing a black short-sleeved t-shirt and a pair of workout knee-length pants, refreshing and good-looking like a college student.
Not entirely correct, he had not long graduated from university after all.
“Going to New Zealand next month?” Ji Chengyang asked as he opened the drink, taking a gulp, condensed droplets of water trickling down the side of the bottle, flowing down his arm.
Ji Yi looked at that slit of sunlight on her knees that casted down through a gap between the leaves, “Um, our traditional music group won first place in the competition, so we get to go to New Zealand for an exchange,” she lifted her head, “Is it fun there?”
Ji Chengyang seemed to be recalling for a moment, “Not bad, a place well worth visiting.”
He said not bad, then it must be a very good place.
She kept her chin on her knees, looking at the rollercoaster passing by.
He noticed this, “Want to ride?”
“Too scared to ride,” she lightly stuck out her tongue, “But have always wanted to, Nuanuan that acrophobiac wouldn’t go with me.”
Really letting her ride alone, she was also too scared.
Ji Chengyang suddenly leaned over, blocking the view in front of her, she was confused, then she saw him sat straight, with an empty bottle in his hand. So he saw that her bottle of water was already empty, “I’ll go buy water, you sit still, don’t wander around.”
“……” She wanted to say, she was turning sixteen soon, not in any danger of getting abducted.
He quickly bought water and came back, and was also holding two tickets for the rollercoaster.
She looked over at Nuannuan’s wounding queue line, guessing that when she herself came back, she still may be waiting, and so very excitedly left with Ji Chengyang. However, when she had actually sat on the rollercoaster, on seeing the safety bar lowering down locking her shoulder, she was suddenly scared again……
“Don’t be scared,” Ji Chengyang comforted her, “I’m just right here.”
Right, he’s just right by her side, just an arm’s length. So close that if she only fidgeted, she can touch him.
She comforted herself, feeling the rollercoaster beginning to move unhurriedly, then after a shake, started advancing slowly towards the highest point. Her position was changed such that her whole body was lying on her back, from the two sides of her line of vision, apart from the sky, all she could see was him.
His straight nose and also his eyes……
He suddenly touched her arms, stretching his palm towards her, Ji Yi immediately anxiously placed her hand on it, tightly gripping his three fingers, just was she was about to say that she was really scared, her entire body fell down in a flying speed.
The first slope was the highest, also the scariest one.
In fact, afterwards, regardless of how many twists and turns, she no longer felt anything, because she was completed scared wooden, only conscious of her grip on those fingers of his, not even daring to open her eyes, just listening to the whistling sound of the wind piercing through her ears, even when the rollercoaster had finally stopped, she still did not realize it, until the safety bar lifted up again did she finally reacted, hearing a girl behind her scared to tears……
She opened her eyes, in her momentarily unclear vision, there was only his amused smile.
Ji Chengyang looked at her stiffly sitting there, then back at the girl behind him who was crying, finally stretched out his arms, pulling her up from the seat in an embrace, then, holding her hand, walked down from the exit platform.
When they had finally stepped on the ground, standing on the hot cement, did Ji Yi finally felt that her legs had gone weak.
They walked along the edge between the tree shade and sunlight, Ji Chengyang had shook out a cigarette from the cigarette pack, was going to put it between his lips.
Ji Yi suddenly muttered: “I will never ride on a rollercoaster again……”
Hearing this sentence, he finally could not help but laughed out loud, causing two girls who were walking by to turned their heads back, very enviously looking at them.
It was her first time hearing his genuinely happy laughter, it sounded very nice.
At the same moment, she also found that she had been gripping his hand, just like when she was young, gripping very tightly.
This trip of a rollercoaster ride, was ruthlessly teased by Nuannuan during dinner.
After Nuannuan finished teasing her, she hurriedly said to Ji Chengyang who had taken the menu from the server’s hands: “Little uncle, I don’t eat scallion, ginger, garlic, and chives, don’t eat innards, don’t eat meat with skin or fat meat, also don’t eat -”
“What about Xixi?” Ji Chengyang deliberately interrupted.
“I have no preference, anything is fine,” she said.
“You don’t have anything you don’t like to eat?”
She was going to shake her head, but was exposed by Nuannuan, “She doesn’t eat fish; this is what I learned from observing, she never picks up (with chopsticks) fish when she eats.”
The thing is…… she really was fine with anything, if she did not like to eat, she would not pick it up; if someone else picked it up for her, then having a few bites would not kill.
Ji Chengyang could perfectly guess what was on Ji Yi’s mind, unhurriedly said: “Girls should not be too picky, but must learn to be selective when appropriate,” he flipped through the menu, speaking calmly, “only when you are accustomed to pointing out your “dislikes” would others be accustomed to paying attention to you, respecting you, caring for you; but you must remember, it’s enough to have a few special requests, too many requests would only spurn away others.”
Nuannuan had the chopsticks in her mouth, blinking, “Little uncle, your first time teaching people ai.”
His was too lazy even to lift up his eyelids, “This is the art of self-conduct. You’re already beyond rescue, no need to teach.”
He randomly ordered several dishes, then ask the server: “Do you have any specially recommended soup? But not a fish soup, here I have someone who doesn’t eat fish.” The server beside him at once avoided the ones with fish, suggesting a slow cooked soup.
Only after the server had finished writing down the list and left that Ji Chengyang drank some tea to clear his throat, then said to Ji Yi: “In the future when you go out for a meal, remember to let others know that you don’t eat fish.”
Ji Yi was also biting the tea cup, answered with an “um”.
Ji Chengyang drove them back to the ground floor of the building. As he was preparing to leave, Ji Yi who had already gotten off the car, suddenly turned back, leaning on the door of the car, lifted her head to ask him: “What is your major?”
He smiled, “Doctor of philosophy, haven’t finished the degree, currently on academic leave.”
An unfamiliar major, an unfamiliar expression, so you can actually take academic leave in university?
For her, university life that was about to unfold in a year’s time was still very much mysterious, especially when there already was such a genius like him on the road before her. Doctor of……Philosophy?
Someone walked over from behind, called out her name.
Surprisingly, it was second uncle and second aunt in law. She turned back her head, greeted them, intending on asking him more questions about the arts and science streams, after all, in ten days’ time, she would have to decide whether she would enroll in the arts or science.
However, second aunt in law unexpectedly walked close, smilingly greeted Ji Chengyang: “Little Ji ah, it’s really been such a long time. I’ve heard that you have been taking very good care of our Xixi these days, thank you very much.”
Ji Chengyang answered: “It’s nothing. I’ve known Xixi since she was young. I’m used to it.”
“Indeed, Xixi doesn’t understand, so she has always tagged along everywhere with you the uncle, ” second aunt very politely interrupted her, “but she is already a grown lady, and already must learn to retreat……” The meaning under her words were perfectly clear, a grown up girl approaching third year of high school, running around with a young man who was neither a relative nor a friend, the eventual result cannot be good.
Nuannuan hearing this, felt unhappy.
Ji Chengyang was slightly taken aback, then immediately gave polite replies.
Although Ji Yi could not understand everything, she was disconcerted, afraid that Ji Chengyang would get angry, so she hurriedly said “good bye”, then went home.
Returned in her room, when Ji Yi was wearing her ear phone listening to English listening problem, second aunt in law came in, saying with gravity and earnestness: “Already a grown lady, mustn’t always run about with other people’s uncle. Behave well.”
She did not utter a word, suddenly remembered at that little town, that sentence he had said to A Liang.
“Have the courage bear on your shoulder the person you dream of becoming, only then would you have the chance to become the person in other people’s dreams.”
He started learning the piano when he was six years old, late compared to his peers, but already started to perform on stage when he was nine. Skipped through primary school twice, only studied for four years, at sixteen was already studying at University of Pennsylvania, and now……is studying Philosophy for his doctorate degree, currently on academic leave.
Also currently, a war correspondent.
If she has to say what her ideal is, then it is him.
 Quota: same idea as university recruits.
 工读校, or reform schools, schools for juvenile delinquents.
 老火汤，slow-cooked soup, a traditional dish of Guangdong. It has sweet taste with medicinal properties