Only later did Cheng Xi hear about what sort of problem Su Feng was dealing with.
It was Saturday, and Cheng Xi, as planned, had met up with the head nurse and some of her colleagues to all go over to her mother’s house together. Because her parent’s house was in the country, the head nurse and Cheng Xi’s other coworkers had searched around beforehand and found that there was a reservoir nearby. Thus, they had animatedly decided to go fishing and brought their gear with them.
The weather that day wasn’t bad; after a long streak of cold days, they had been rewarded with a rare, sunny one. As her other colleagues went to climb the small hill by the reservoir, the head nurse walked up to Cheng Xi and began to gossip. “Dr. Su got a divorce.”
“Hmm?” Cheng Xi didn’t react in time.
“Dr. Su from the gynecology department. You haven’t forgotten her, have you?”
“Oh, I remember.” As Cheng Xi said this, she assembled her fishing rod and then asked, “What happened to her?”
“She got divorced,” the head nurse repeated with a bemoaning tone as she looked at the lure in the water with her hands in her pockets. “Apparently, she found out that her husband was having an affair. Originally, she wanted to forgive him, and the man was also willing to work on their relationship again. However, two months after that, Dr. Su ultimately decided to get a divorce.”
Cheng Xi didn’t know what to say, so she nodded and merely said, “I understand.”
The head nurse was very dissatisfied with her reaction. “That’s it?”
“Yes. What else can I say?”
“You’re really boring.” The head nurse pouted.
Wary of spoiling the trip, Cheng Xi followed along with the head nurse’s wishes and asked, “Is she alright?”
“Perhaps. It’s just that she’s gotten really thin. I’m telling you. When you saw her that day, that’s not at all what she used to look like. I started working at the hospital at around the same time that she did, and she used to be so pretty: tall and well developed. However, the present her is, gosh, barely recognizable. Apparently, her husband started his affair because she was too busy at work, and became entangled with a young girl from his office… Aish!” After the head nurse finished summarizing the gossip, she let out a loud sigh. “That’s why, nowadays, even being a doctor is a high-risk profession as you have to worry about both your patients and their family prodding you whenever they think that you’re not doing a good job, and also about what’s going on with your own family.”
Cheng Xi smiled. When the head nurse noticed this, she glanced at her. “You should pay more attention! I’m telling you, the three major problems of modern doctors are dying, getting injured, and having an unfaithful partner! While you’re young, you have to learn to train your man to be faithful. Don’t think that he’s treating you well just because he brings you a healthy lunch every day. While your emotions are strong, he’ll be willing to submit to you at every turn, but you have to keep in mind what might happen later! Aren’t you a psychiatrist? You have to keep him continually entranced. He needs to believe that he won’t be able to live if he leaves you, that you’re the only fairy in this world, and that everyone else is a worthless hussy.”
Cheng Xi couldn’t help laughing loudly at the head nurse’s last remark.
But the head nurse was still talking. “Don’t laugh. I’m really being serious here. You don’t know how devious those little hussies are—many doctors at our hospital are actually suffering from this.”
At this time, a young, warm, and male voice spoke up from beside them. “Um, this miss? Actually, even if Cheng Xi doesn’t hypnotize me, I would still think that she’s the only fairy in this desolate world.”
Upon hearing this, the head nurse’s expression looked as though she had swallowed a whole duck’s egg. It was only quite a while later that she recovered and started laughing dryly.
Clearly, the man who had recently been bringing Cheng Xi lunches was standing right behind them. She secretly pinched Cheng Xi and greeted him. “Hello, it’s nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too.” Lin Fan was also a bit embarrassed, as he wasn’t here alone. Standing beside him was one of the ‘young hussies’ the head nurse had mentioned.
Cheng Xi felt the urge to laugh well up within herself again. Instead of giving in, she stood up and nodded politely to the girl. “Hello.”
Meng Qingyang was expressionless.
After everyone had greeted each other, the head nurse snuck off to find her colleagues, extremely embarrassed. Lin Fan went to get something from the car, and Cheng Xi took out a fishpole to teach Meng Qingyang how to fish.
She was actually the one who invited Meng Qingyang. Just a day ago, Cheng Xi had suddenly received a message from Meng Qingyang on WeChat. “Are you going somewhere this weekend?”
Although Cheng Xi was surprised, she still answered, replying back, “Yes.”
And then Meng Qingyang asked very straightforwardly, “Can I come too?”
What else could Cheng Xi say? Nothing but “Alright.” Anyways, the head nurse and her colleagues would be there too, so Meng Qingyang’s presence or absence wouldn’t be a problem.
Additionally, Lin Fan had mentioned that Meng Qingyang seemed to be under mental duress, which was another reason why Cheng Xi had asked him to bring her along.
Because Meng Qingyang lived quite a distance away, Lin Fan had been a bit late since he had to pick her up. Cheng Xi didn’t think that, just as they arrived, they would hear the head nurse lecture her about taming potential husbands.
Meng Qingyang didn’t care too much about what the head nurse had said, and Cheng Xi didn’t bother spending time explaining it either—because there was no need. Instead, Cheng Xi focused on carrying out a very simple test with Meng Qingyang: asking her to put the fish bait on the hook. Actually, this should have been a very simple task, as one merely had to roll the fish food into small balls and then string the hook through it until the sharp end pierced through slightly. This way, the food wouldn’t float unnaturally in the water, and it would also be easier for the fish’s mouth to catch on the hook.
Because she knew that Meng Qingyang would be coming, Cheng Xi had specially chosen fish food that wasn’t very sticky and thus would require some patience to knead and rub into the right shape. Meng Qingyang tried it twice and failed. On the third time, as Cheng Xi was about to explain it again, she threw the fishpole down out of frustration. “I quit!”
And then she got up and left.
Coincidentally, Lin Fan returned just then, as he had gathered the supplies they needed. When he saw Meng Qingyang rush off angrily, he asked Cheng Xi, “Did she get angry again?”
Cheng Xi smiled and affixed the properly baited pole by the water. After she was finished, she said, “Look after my pole, and I’ll go bring her back.”
“Cheng Xi,” Lin Fan said as he pulled her aside. “Just give her a simple diagnosis. If she really needs treatment, then I’ll talk with Director Meng on Monday and have him send her to the hospital to receive regular treatment. But it’s the weekend right now. I brought her here because you wanted me to, but I don’t want you to spend too much time on her. Furthermore…” He looked at her, and softly whispered into her ear, “You’re the only one in my eyes.”
After saying those sweet words, he double-checked that no one was paying attention to them before quickly pecking her on her face and letting her go.
Cheng Xi went over to find Meng Qingyang. She hadn’t gone far—just next to a willow tree near the reservoir. She was squatting down and digging near the ground with a random wooden stick she had picked up.
“Do you find this boring?” Cheng Xi asked as she stooped down next to her.
“I also find it quite boring, fishing and all that. it’s the most boring thing in the world. I’d rather stay at home and read my books than come and fish.”
“Then why are you here?”
“Because there are other things that I like here.” Cheng Xi smiled, as she breathed in deeply and looked around, appreciating the brilliant sunlight and verdant scenery. “Things like interacting with my friends, this lovely sunlight, and the fresh country air. They’re all very nice.”
Meng Qingyang remained unmoved. “I don’t find these things interesting at all. Before this, I also had the thought that I should come out and walk around, and my uncle also persuaded me to not just stay at home. However, after coming out here, I realized that everything is boring here.” She looked at her intently. “Do you understand how I feel?”
Meng Qingyang laughed, a sharp, sneering laugh. Clearly, she didn’t believe her.
Cheng Xi ignored her scorn and went on to say, “When my grandmother died, I also felt the same way you do now, thinking that nothing I did was meaningful. If I picked up a book, the only thought I’d have is that I’d forget the knowledge after reading it—what’s the point? If I played a game that I liked, I would get tired of it minutes after starting. It was annoying to talk to everyone because they were never on the same page as me…”
Cheng Xi went on for a while, and Meng Qingyang finally quieted down. When Cheng Xi finished, Meng Qingyang asked her, “Then, how did you… escape?”
Cheng Xi smiled. “I was lucky. When I was at my lowest, my teacher forced me to enter a math competition. In that competition, I met a boy. He was very handsome, and his tone very gentle. During the exam, my nose started bleeding, and he gave me a napkin. The proctor accused us of cheating, so I crumpled up my test and said that I wasn’t going to take it anymore, and he followed suit. We escaped the testing area together and played games outside for a whole afternoon. Afterwards, I told myself, ‘I should really live well. If I don’t, then such a handsome boy would belong to someone else.’”