Chapter 1: Real
T/L: Sial Joans E/D: larkspur
This chapter’s been translated by River Bank.
On the day father was diagnosed with an early onset of Alzheimer’s, two things happened.
The first was the diagnosis itself. The second was learning that the campus idol, who she’s secretly liked for many years, was going to study abroad.
Lin Zhao Xi had a hunch about her father’s Alzheimer’s. She and her father tried both the trustworthy and untrustworthy tests available over the internet. So when the doctors pronounced their judgment, neither of them were taken by surprise, they only felt that…
Anything in the world can happen to anyone, it’s no big deal.
With that statement, the second occurrence really didn’t matter. Lin Zhao Xi had always acknowledged the distance between herself and her idol.
Before saying this, she and her father were sitting in a noodle place next to the hospital. Her father was trying to covertly raise his hand, ready to ask the waiter for another serving of deep-fried spare ribs.
At mid-noon, the rain’s vapor in the air was plentiful, but the noodle place seethed with activity.
Lin Zhao Xi bit her chopsticks and sharply asked, “Accountant Lin, does your fatty liver agree with you eating that again?”
To divert the subject, the man looked at the golden pork chops in front of her, acting sad and dejected.
“Dad wants to remember the smell of pork chops.”
His tone was especially high, purely to tease her.
Lin Zhao Xi felt simultaneously exasperated and humored. Who even jokes about their Alzheimer’s?
At this thought, her eyes suddenly reddened. She hurriedly bowed her head and sniffed, pretending that the soup was too spicy.
Outside the window was a lively street near the hospital.
Vehicles and pedestrians shuttled back and forth, obscured by the rain curtain.
The French Sycamore stood silently, water droplets falling one after another from its leaves.
Everything was foggy, like a brightly colored impressionist oil painting.
Lin Zhao Xi looked at the bowl in front of her.
Snow-white noodles sank in red broth with green onions.
She looked at it for a moment and then heard her father say…
— Anything in the world can happen to anyone, it’s no big deal.
Quite right, but nobody liked seeing the naked truth. The situation was quickly spiraling into a painful, and awkward, silence.
“Then, what should I do?” After a moment’s hesitation, Lin Zhao Xi asked.
“Your old man’s already raised you through graduation, you have to deal with society’s trials standing on your own two feet.”
“I haven’t graduated yet.”
“Our family has millions of savings, plus five apartments!” Fearing she might misunderstand, Mr. Lin hastened to add, “Of course, those are all mine.”
Lin Zhao Xi: “…”
“You see, what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours. My noodles are mine, your noodles are yours.”
Old man Lin drew out a long pair of chopsticks from the chopsticks barrel and knocked on the edge of his bowl. After a crisp sound, he gently continued, “So, my illness is mine, your life is yours. These things are relatively independent, not overtly influencing each other.”
Hearing his speech, Lin Zhao Xi looked up at her father, incredulous.
Mr. Lin wore an old man’s getup today. When he spoke, it was light yet cynical, as if disillusioned with the mortal world. But thinking back to the days when they’d stuck together, helping each other out of difficulties, Lin Zhao Xi started to wonder whether there was anything wrong with her ears.
“Your illness is yours, my life is mine?”
“Doesn’t it make sense?”
Old man Lin was enormously proud of himself, however, Lin Zhao Xi couldn’t help interrupting him.
“But isn’t it precisely because of me that your life became a mess?”
This is a matter that can be explained in one sentence, but it has perplexed Lin Zhao Xi for many years.
She is 22 years old.
When she was born 22 years ago, Mr. Lin, who sat in front of her, gave up going abroad to continue studying mathematics and instead chose to be a father and raise her alone.
If it was 6 in the evening… Then, she’d known that her idol, Pei Zhi, would study abroad. And in the very same school her father gave up. She’d definitely sigh endlessly at the contrast.
But now, she choked on pork cutlets because of Mr. Lin’s next words.
“What can I do? The law stipulates that I must raise you,” said Mr. Lin.
The topic ended there.
So many years went by since her tearful midterms up until the present, in which she’d blurted the thoughtless question. She’d asked that countless times, yet, had the answer always been so simple?
Nevertheless, there were still many problems. For example, why didn’t mother want her, why couldn’t father take her abroad, or why wouldn’t her grandparents lend a hand?
But to be honest, it didn’t matter. Because for twenty-two years, the two of them had been codependent, and that was the way of the world.
To this truth, father and daughter jointly raised their coke for a toast.
Old man Lin sipped his coke as if savoring tea, put down the can and asked, “So… Do you dislike me for being sick?”
Lin Zhao Xi gulped half of the can, glanced at the spirited middle-aged man in front of her, and burped.
“How’s that possible?”
“Well, then it’s no big deal, really.”
After that, Mr. Lin stabbed the pork chops she ordered with his chopsticks and took a big bite.
Lin Zhao Xi could only sit and watch.
Obviously, Alzheimer’s an extremely big deal, but it was made to be as simple as running out of rice at home and having to go to the convenience store to buy a bag or two.
People who’ve caught a glimpse of the real world, probably don’t care about it.
T/N: Next chapter’s coming two weeks from now. >< Gotta focus on GRSML!
(If I reach 40 patrons by the end of October, I’ll release chapters twice a week November and December!*)
“Anything in the world can happen to anyone, it’s no big deal.” Ironically, the day I translated this chapter (today if you’re reading it… today), I nearly went blind. That’d have been a disaster! [insert long sigh of relief]
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