Chapter 4: Older Sister and Xiao Hua
The train clacked and thumped as it marched forward.
In order to save money, Ji Huan had purchased a hard seat. He needed to sit for 19 hours to go from his hometown to the city that his older sister lived. Fortunately, Ji Huan was young and in good health. Surrounding him were passengers who chose hard seats just like him, either because they couldn’t buy other tickets or were short distance passengers. Still, most were country folk who were going to the big city to work as laborers.
After all was said, it was his first time leaving home. After Ji Huan got on the train and found his seat, he just sat there motionlessly and held his bag tightly. After a while, he took out a set of school work exercises and started to work on them.
When the others were eating, he was working on the exercises. When the others were snoring in their sleep, he exchanged the set of exercises for another and kept working. Like a robot that didn’t know how to be tired, he seemed to focus his entire attention on the exercise book in his hands. He went to take out the next set of exercises from his bag, when he discovered that the book was already filled to the brim with writing. He realized only at that moment that he had finished all of the winter vacation homework in just one day.
When the inside of the train car was full of snoring, Ji Huan finally stood up.
He walked to the corridor where the train cars were connected, and silently looked out: outside of the window, it was completely dark.
Ji Huan continued to stare outside of the window like this, until there was a little bit of light on the horizon. The first ray of sunshine rose up from under the horizon, then the whole sun rose into the sky once more.
Before getting off the train, he took out a steamed bun from the inside of his bag. He ate a little bit of it with the salted vegetables he made and hot water from the train. When the train stopped again, he was ready to get off.
Squeezing through the center of the crowd, Ji Huan drifted with the waves and went with the flow. He naturally passed the ticket gate. Completely unlike a rural youth visiting a major city for the first time, he wasn’t interested in the sights that appeared in front of him at that moment. After very carefully comparing the various signs that hung above the station, he went straight to the taxi waiting area. He bluntly told him the address of the hospital as he climbed into the back of a taxi, but apart from this, he didn’t make any small talk with the driver and just vigilantly watched the street signs.
“You should have taken Jianshenan Road next. Why did you turn on Zhongshan Road?” Right as the driver decided to turn right at the street sign, Ji Huan’s cold voice rang out from the backseat.
The skilled driver trembled, and laughed foolishly to try to cover it up: “Ha… Where can I? There’s a traffic jam on Jianshenan Road. I’m going to go around and turn in at the next intersection.”
He said this while looking at the backseat through the mirror, and then he caught a glimpse of Ji Huan’s eyes underneath his thick bangs. Not knowing why, he only took a single glance and didn’t dare to look again. The driver immediately took back his line of sight. Then, he heard that person in the backseat continue to speak:
“Going around like that is the long way. Since you already turned down Zhongshan Road, then go straight and turn right at the end of Sibei Street.”
As a result, the driver was completely convinced: “Hehe, you are a local, right? You are very familiar with the roads!”
A local? Of course, that was impossible. He just recited nothing but the complete route to go from the train station to his older sister’s hospital.
As a youth that grew up on in the rural mountains, this was the first time that Ji Huan had left home. It was also his first time coming to a big city. Before setting off, Ji Huan had done a lot of research, and, for the first time in his life, he went to an internet café. The people around him were watching movies and rubbing one off, only he was seriously using Baidu1‘s search function to check the route. To visit his older sister, he had saved up money for his own fare. Initially, he wanted to buy a plane ticket, but the plane tickets had been far too expensive. Considering future expenses, he eventually purchased the fastest train ticket. Then, he sacrificed comfort and bought a ticket for a hard seat. He also checked the way to the hospital after getting off the train. To go from the train station to the hospital was about 39 yuan. He spent the whole night drawing a map to go there over his homework assignment, and then he recited the whole thing over and over again.
The driver finally took the shortcut with Ji Huan. In the end, he only had to spend 30 yuan and he put away the change. At last, Ji Huan stood in front of the hospital’s gates.
Carrying a small bag, Ji Huan found the hospital’s first floor hobby right away. After that, he was dumbfounded.
Here, the crowd was bustling with activity and the smell of disinfectant permeated the air; Here, no one had a smile on their face. Even using pink walls, there was no way to cover up the anxious atmosphere. Here, the humans that were brimming with the lowest points of their lives, they were all either old or weak…
He was standing in the first floor lobby as a loss for a long time, when finally, a nurse saw that Ji Huan was still a child. After questioning him, she eventually took him to the inpatient department. When Ji Huan arrived, it was two o’clock in the afternoon, when the sun was shining its brightest and the corridor of the inpatient department was brightly illuminated. When Ji Huan followed behind the head nurse into the hospital room, all the warmth faded away.
Ji Huan finally saw his older sister.
The fierce, invincible older sister who loved to talk and laugh, and who could defeat all the young boys from other families on the mountain, was laying weakly on a white sickbed. Her body was full of tubes with a respirator. If it were not for the equipment displaying her vital signs beside her, Ji Huan would have almost thought that she had already stopped breathing.
Ji Huan stared blankly.
“… She must have wanted to drive back to visit you all. There were many gifts in the car. Her fiancé was also in the car… dead on the spot…” The head nurse’s voice floated into Ji Huan’s ears intermittently. Ji Huan felt as if he was dreaming.
“… The car’s back right tire burst halfway there. The car went completely out of control, and crashed over the guard rail. It flipped over and fell about 30 meters…”
“The patient’s skull has a comminuted2 fracture. All the organs in her body are damaged, her body also has many other comminuted fractures…”
“She lost consciousness at the time of the incident. Probably, she… only has a few more days left to live.3 You… you’re the only one in your family coming? Inform the others to prepare… for funeral arrangements.”
The head nurse finally reached out and patted Ji Huan’s shoulder with the palm of her hand.
Before he came in, Ji Huan had filled out his personal information, and naturally, she knew that this tall and strong youth in front of her eyes was actually still a child who wasn’t even eighteen years old. Allowing a child to come alone to face their older sister’s funeral arrangements, this was too cruel.
Sighing, she finally left the intensive care ward and left the room to the older sister and younger brother.
There were obviously two people in the hospital room, but it was as quiet as if there wasn’t even a single soul. Ji Huan sat there from the sunny noon to night when the sun was setting below the mountains. The head nurse came by several times in between. Two strange men also came by as well.
They said they were colleagues of his older sister’s fiancé, and they were carrying flowers. They saw Ji Huan sitting by the hospital bed, and offered a few words of comfort first. Then, they also began to ask about Ji Huan’s situation.
Ji Huan didn’t pay any attention to them.
He had been like this since childhood. When he didn’t want to talk, then he wouldn’t say anything.
Those two people were unable to get through to him, and finally, they left the flowers before departing.
The head nurse finally dragged Ji Huan out and took him downstairs to the staff cafeteria to eat. She eventually agreed to Ji Huan’s request to stay the night in the hospital and look after his older sister.
“Only, you can’t stay in this room, you can only stay in the room next door.”
Ji Huan nodded.
Next door was an empty hospital room. Ji Huan had a feeling that the head nurse was specially allowing him to stay, and this big boy who wasn’t good at conveying his emotions didn’t know what to say. In the end, he could only bow to her.
The head nurse gave him freshly prepared bedding. Although they had obviously been used in hospital rooms before, he could clearly see that they had been washed clean.
The hospital room’s soundproofing was very good, but he thought that he could hear the dripping of his older sister’s medical instruments in the room next door anyway.
Accompanied by the dripping sound, Ji Huan, who thought that he couldn’t sleep, fell asleep in a daze.
He dreamed of his childhood, and then he saw his older sister as a child.
The perspective in the dream was very strange, and he had a feeling like he was flying in the sky. Then, his older sister was running very quickly on the ground. While she ran, she was calling his childhood name:
“Xiao Hua, Xiao Hua, hurry down, come here to your older sister!”
Weird, how could he possibly be flying?
Ah… His older sister was getting further and further away, and it seemed as if he was getting higher and higher.
Ji Huan was preoccupied by this. Then, he saw his older sister pick up a stone from the ground and throw it at him.
Then, he woke up.
Opening his faintly half-asleep eyes, Ji Huan looked on in a daze. Then…
He heard his older sister’s voice a second time.
“Xiao Hua, Xiao Hua, hurry over, come here to your older sister.”
i wanted to get this out yesterday, but i napped for too long, oops. it’s one more chapter until hei dan!
ALSO: i have yet to get a response from the original translator, but i was just hoping to ask you guys: would you rather i keep re-translating just the old chapters? or would you prefer that i do the new chapters as well? i originally planned to, but i realized that if i did, i wouldn’t be able to post the updates on novelupdates since they’d be out of order and it probably wouldn’t be a very smooth reading experience.
if i continue to re-translate, it’ll probably take ~5 months to catch up to the original trasnlation at two updates a week (but i might be able to get extra chapters out depending on my schedule ofc).
let me know!
Nothing of importance; she posted a long message about jjwxc’s mobile problems and asking others to help her send in reports about it, but nothing that relates to the story.
1 Baidu: basically, it’s just chinese google.
2 Comminuted fracture: It’s a fracture that’s broken into more than two pieces, so her skull is pretty much shattered.
This isn’t an exact translation, but it was extremely confusing, so I reworded it into something understandable. thanks to dmlations for clarifying this! ;;