“Don’t think that jokes are just jokes. Every joke has a grain of truth within it. To patients suffering from depression, jokes about wanting to die, wanting to kill someone, and wanting the world to end are all matters to be taken seriously.”
On the first day of class, Cheng Xi used her classmate’s wife as a case study for her students. “The patient’s husband made the worst possible mistake by assuming that the immediate months after childbirth would be a pleasurable time for the patient. This is because he thought that she would merely sit in bed and rest while he provided food and drinks for her, and thus that her depression was just her being unreasonable. In practice, however, many new mothers feel emotional pressure due to the pain, anxiety, and the shift in attention from close family members. This pressure is sometimes alleviated by their newborn baby and their love for their family members, but can otherwise lead to depression of varying severity.
“Thus, as gentlemen, I hope that all of my male students will be understanding and caring with their wives when they become fathers. Though you won’t be able to alleviate all of their pain, you can at least give them all of your encouragement and love. For new mothers in this time of duress, every bit of tolerance and doting from their most intimate partner can become a piece of salvation. And as doctors, you must remember to be good listeners. Any doubt that you show may push your wife closer to the abyss.”
The classroom was silent for a while as the students tried to absorb as much of Cheng Xi’s words as they could. A couple minutes passed before a student asked, “Professor, what happened to this patient in the end? How did you deal with it?”
“This patient’s emotions have currently stabilized. As long as she isn’t stimulated any further, she’ll likely recover very quickly. As for how I dealt with it, the first step was to lecture the husband. It’s a frightening thing that there aren’t any qualifications to become a parent. Similarly, it’s very frightening when men don’t act as proper husbands after getting married.”
At this point, a male student spoke up. “Professor, you’ve been targeting us guys a lot today. This isn’t fair! What about our female classmates? Don’t you have any recommendations for them?”
“Of course I do.” As Cheng Xi said this, her gaze swept over the young students. She was somewhat surprised, because she once again saw Lu Chenming in the crowd. There was a period of time when he had stopped coming to her classes, so she didn’t expect him to come again, especially not now, at the start of the new year. Diverting her gaze away, Cheng Xi continued, saying, “The suggestion I have for you girls out there is that, if you’re not prepared for it, then don’t rush things. Getting married and giving birth is a huge event in one’s life, and you should only do so after careful consideration. And once you’ve prepared yourself, then you should remember to love yourself while also loving others. The world is so large, and society so free, that there will be numerous opportunities for everyone. Thus, there’s really no reason to fixate on any particular person. Remember this: you’re most charming as an independent person.”
By the end of the lesson, Cheng Xi had wandered severely off-topic, going from depression to independence. At the very least, it was an interesting and meaningful conversation, and no one seemed to care all that much.
The class seemed to fly by. When the discussion concluded and Cheng Xi saw Lu Chenming pack up and prepare to leave, she quickly called him back.
When Lu Chenming heard her call out to him, he stood dazed, his face flaming red out of embarrassment, almost as if steam were about to come out of his head.
Cheng Xi paused, unsure of what to do. He was so shy that she was really worried that he might faint.
She packed up her teaching materials and walked over with her kindest and most genial expression. However, Lu Chenming remained paralyzed behind his desk. As he looked at her, his body started shaking, and his eyes almost teared up.
Cheng Xi was still speechless.
She couldn’t help but inspect herself, and she touched her face as she asked, “Do I look scary?”
He shook his head.
“Then that’s good.” Cheng Xi smiled and took a sweet out of her pocket. “Would you like this?”
She placed it next to his hands. His fingers twitched, but he didn’t take it, though Cheng Xi didn’t mind. She smiled again as she asked, “There was a very long period of time where I didn’t see you. Are you free in the afternoon? Can I treat you to lunch?”
She actually wanted to chat with Lu Chenming, as she wanted to see if she could understand Lu Chenzhou more through him. She had always felt that Lu Chenzhou’s illness stemmed from some earlier event in his life, and since she was now mentally ok with being in a relationship with him, she naturally wanted to speed up his treatment.
Actually, she could have asked Lu Chenzhou’s grandparents about his past as well, but the two of them looked at their grandson with rose-tinted glasses. For them, besides the fact that he hadn’t married yet, everything else he did was fine and free from problems. Thus, Cheng Xi had turned to Lu Chenming instead.
But she had underestimated Lu Chenming’s shyness. Right after she spoke, he shuddered and glanced at her as if in fear before running away, crying!
He was actually crying, and Cheng Xi could tell because there were a few teardrops on his desk.
Of course, the proffered sweet was gone, as he hadn’t forgotten to grab it before he ran away.
Cheng Xi stared open-mouthed as she stared at Lu Chengming’s back, which was moving farther and farther away by the second. She slowly shook her head as she retracted the still-extended hand.
Later, when Cheng Xi was going home, she called Cheng Yang and asked him, “How much do you know about Lu Chenzhou’s brother?”
She had just tossed this question out casually because she felt that Lu Chenming was seriously too shy and a bit strange. But unexpectedly, her brother anxiously responded, “Why are you asking about him all of a sudden?”
Well attuned to her brother’s moods, Cheng Xi quickly noticed that something was amiss and instead of replying, she asked, “Why are you so nervous?” She frowned before suspiciously asking, “You didn’t do anything to him, did you?”
Cheng Yang’s side was silent. “……”
A long silence.
Cheng Xi had to repeat “Hello?” a few times before Cheng Yang eventually said, “Huh? I was busy just now. What did you say just now?”
The siblings knew each other too well after spending so many years together, and his reaction was so natural that even though Cheng Xi was suspicious, it gave her no hint as to what had happened between him and Lu Chenming. Thus, she just asked the question again.
“I didn’t discover anything. That fellow’s even harder to get close to than his brother. He’s too shy, and it’s nearly impossible to get anything out of him.”
Cheng Xi was a bit surprised. “You actually managed to get some information about him? Then what about Lu Chenzhou? Do you know anything about him?”
Cheng Yang chuckled wryly. “You’re investigating your own boyfriend? Don’t worry. He doesn’t care for alcohol, women, or wealth. In fact, the only thing he does is play cards on the side. Even then, he always plays with the same group of people, and he usually doesn’t play with strangers. From the standards you women look at men with, he’s fine. But in my opinion, he’s a bit too boring, though he does fit your personality.”
Cheng Xi ignored the last derogatory remark, and was actually very impressed that her brother had found out so much. She was about to say something when her phone suddenly rang. It was a call from Shen Wei, so Cheng Xi said, “Alright, I’ll talk to you more later.”
And then she hung up and answered Shen Wei’s call.
Shen Wei had recently moved back in with Fu Mingyi, and Cheng Xi had visited her there twice. Besides her intense reaction to her pregnancy, her other problems seemed to be gradually improving, and Shen Wei herself seemed to have calmed down greatly. Thus, Cheng Xi had slowly lowered her guard.
Because the two had been conversing quite regularly recently, Cheng Xi didn’t think much of the call. When it connected, Shen Wei’s voice was as calm as ever. She insipidly asked, “Cheng Xi, can you do me a small favor?”
“What is it?”
“Fu Mingyi arranged a meeting with Gong Hengjin at Donglai Hotel, and I want to know which room they’re in. Can you ask Lu Chenzhou to help?”