“Don't freak out.”
The rain still hadn’t stopped; the road was just as congested as before.
After getting inside, there was only Chi Qing and Ji Mingrui in the car, and Chi Qing had clearly relaxed some.
His gloves had gotten wet from the rain and felt quite uncomfortable, and it was only because of this that he took them off.
Ji Mingrui had a good attitude, and even with the road congested like this he didn’t utter a complaint.
He glanced at Chi Qing’s gloves, “You finally took those things off.”
Chi Qing, “Do you have disinfectant.”
“Alcohol wipes would be fine too.”
“I don’t have those either,” Ji Mingrui said, “I’m a frickin’ man, it’s good if I even have a box of tissues.”
As Ji Mingrui spoke, he passed over the box of tissues.
The split second he passed it over, a distorted voice bemoaned: [This guy Chi Qing is such a pain, waiting on him is like waiting on a prince.]
Chi Qing, “……”
Right then, a traffic light flickered past.
Across the intersection was the neighborhood of the object of that day’s dispute, Wang-a’po.
The entrance to the “Haimao neighborhood” was closed securely, and the security guard in charge of controlling the passage of cars was sitting in the security booth nodding off.
Outside, thunder and lightning mingled together.
A crack of lightning split the sky, illuminating the pitch black night for an instant, brightening even the alcoves that ordinarily went unseen.
The powerful light shone across a pool of scarlet blood.
The blood was being diluted by the, running along the street and flowing gradually into the sewers, the scarlet blood snaking along.
A dead cat that’d had its chest and belly cleaved open laid still in the shrubbery—it’s eyes were wide open, all of its fur was soaked through.
Mixed with the mud and fresh blood, each piece of fur pierced outwards like a hedgehog’s spines.
Inside the car:
Ji Mingrui heard the rumble of thunder in his ears and said, “How does this rain keep coming down harder……”
He turned and spoke again, “Oh yeah, are you free tomorrow? My ma said it’d been a long time since she’s seen you.
And it’s the weekend tomorrow—she made dumplings and called you over for a meal.”
Chi Qing passed back the box of tissues, “I’m busy.”
Ji Mingrui took it, “You have work?”
[What work could he possibly have? I’ve barely seen him in any movies, I can’t even find this guy on Baidu Baike.
I really don’t get it, back then he scored so well on the Gaokao—he could’ve gone to any school he wanted to, what the hell’d he insist on going to film school for? It’d be one thing if he really liked it, but it doesn’t seem like this guy even likes acting.]
(t/n: Baidu Baike is Baidu’s online encyclopedia, similar to Wikipedia.
The Gaokao is China’s college entrance exam, taken by students in their final year of high school)
This continued to be one of the ten great mysteries of Ji Mingrui’s life.
He thought that Chi Qing could’ve succeeded at literally anything else; his Gaokao score was breathtakingly high—but he unfortunately chose to slowly sink in the showbiz, not even making a splash at all, truly bewildering everyone.
Chi Qing heard the question in Ji Mingrui’s inner thoughts, but he had no way of answering it.
Ji Mingrui wasn’t the little girl sitting on the bench doing homework, where it was enough to rely on youth and a naive belief that mind reading powers could exist in this world.
Rain pounded against the windows, the light from red tail-lights of the vehicle in front of them shone directly over, scattered by the expanse of rain droplets and muddling their field of view.
—”You’re very resistant to touch.”
—”You have no way of perceiving emotions like a normal person.”
—”It’s very difficult for you to feel compassion, fear, joy, or sorrow.”
—”I don’t know what the cause of your condition is, and I can’t come up with a solution either……The only suggestion I can give is that I hope you’ll try and go perceive more emotions.
Even if you’re just studying them and acting them out.
You’re in high school, yeah? If you have extra time outside of your studies, you can get involved in some acting courses.”
That was the first psychologist Chi Qing saw, a kindly middle-aged man.
In truth, Chi Qing had long forgotten what he looked like.
But he could still remember the thick southern accent of that voice.
Ji Mingrui waited for a while, but didn’t receive a response.
He extended a hand and waved it in front of Chi Qing’s face, “Hey, what’re you thinking about?”
Chi Qing, “I was thinking about whether or not you set me up earlier.”
“Am I that kind of person?” Ji Mingrui guiltily rubbed his nose, changing the subject, “……So then, what are you busy with tomorrow?”
Chi Qing came back to himself, fixing his gaze on the windshield wipers waving back and forth in front of him, “I have to take a trip to the hospital.”
Ji Mingrui, “Are you sick?”
Chi Qing hummed in approval, “It’s to treat my mysophobia.”
Ji Mingrui, “?”
It was the first time he’d heard of this.
His mysophobia is still treatable?
Ji Mingrui, “There really have been a lot of advancements in medicine……it’s just that I’m not sure a case with an extent like yours can still be saved…”
The next day, the storm that had lasted for two straight days finally let up, leaving behind only a wet road and the slight chill of early winter.
At the end of the long street, a private psychology clinic had long since been open for business.
This clinic’s rate was quite high, and looking in from the outside, it seemed to be well worth the one thousand yuan per session.
The exceedingly high-end decorum made the entire interior carry a bit of an icy coldness.
Even if there had been a few adorable plushies arranged in the waiting room, it wouldn’t change the icy cold nature.
It was Chi Qing’s first time coming to this clinic.
He’d gone through a multitude of different psychologists.
He’d seen the previous one for over a year, and when his final therapy session concluded, the psychologist had told him in exasperation, “Mr.
Chi, I don’t think I can help you.
How about you try another clinic? Maybe a different doctor would be more helpful for you.”
“It’s been over a year, and I’ve been completely unable to find the source of your illness,” the doctor chuckled bitterly, “—So much so that you couldn’t even call you and I familiar.
Look, to this day you’re still sitting in front of me with your gloves on, you haven’t taken them off even once.
You don’t trust me at all.”
“Hello,” the receptionist from the new clinic wore a mechanical smile as she spoke.
Only once she had taken a clear look at the person’s appearance did that smile become wholeheartedly sincere, “Sir, may I ask if you have an appointment?”
It wasn’t raining that day so Chi Qing wasn’t wearing a jacket, instead wearing only a thin black sweater.
His apathetic countenance as well as his flat tone of voice made it a bit hard for the receptionist to keep smiling, “10am, Doctor Wu.”
After retrieving the information from the computer, the receptionist said, “Chi Qing, Mr.
Chi? May I ask you to wait in the waiting room for a short while, Doctor Wu’s previous appointment is still in progress.
We’ll let you know once their session has concluded.”
Along with some cats, two women also sat in the waiting room.
It seemed like one was accompanying the other, as one was crying and the other was comforting her without pause, “There’s no need to be so upset, look at this cat, it’s so cute—”
As if the cat curled up on the same sofa as them could understand what she was saying, it placed one of its little paws on the hand of the sobbing woman, letting out a soft meow.
The woman’s sobs gradually stopped.
She stretched out a hand, gently petting the cat’s head.
Other than the long sofa the two of them were sitting on, there was only a single open seat left across from them.
Another cat was lying on top of that open seat.
The sound of the woman’s sobs had just dropped, but she still saw the man who had just walked into the waiting room pause in front of that open seat, then stretch out a black-gloved hand with a blank expression and lift up the cat occupying the empty seat.
That cat was lifted into the air in an instant, it’s four limbs flailing about.
In a puff of fur, it exclaimed, “—meow!?”
They were both cats, but the two of them were receiving completely different treatment.
Chi Qing lifted that cat as if it were an inanimate object, asking the worker standing off to the side, “Can you take this thing away.”
At that moment, the clinic worker was pouring him a glass of water, “Ah, hello.
Is there……a problem with this cat?”
The cats kept by their clinic were carefully selected.
These kinds of furry and cute little animals could easily lighten someone’s mood, playing a particular role in healing and promoting psychological health.
Chi Qing let go and the cat fell directly into the worker’s arms, “It has no use, it’s a hindrance.”
The worker, “……”
The women off to the side, “……”
The shunned cat, “…………”
The worker held the soft cat in his arms, truly unable to understand how there could be someone in the world who didn’t like cats.
All he could do was tell himself, This is a psychology clinic, the people who come here all have some extent of psychological issues.
There weren’t many people who had come for consultations before noon, and after they finished checking people in the receptionists started chatting amongst themselves.
It was only as they discussed a particular “consultee” that their voices began to liven up, “……Earlier, Mr.
Xie complimented the outfit I’m wearing today.”
“Complimenting your outfit is just that, he didn’t say you were beautiful,” another replied, “He heard me cough and told me to take care of my health.
He was concerned about me.”
Once she said that, the two of them simultaneously sighed, “How could this type of person have psychological issues?”
The third receptionist was a bit older, and she glanced at the other two, “If you two are that interested in Mr.
Xie, when he comes out of Doctor Wu’s office in a bit, I can help you two test out the waters?”
When Chi Qing had been waiting in the waiting room for almost ten minutes, those receptionists finally stopped discussing the topic of “Mr.
Xie” and called his name, “Mr.
Chi, you can go in now—Doctor Wu’s office is the last door on the left of the hallway.”
Doctor Wu had a good reputation in his field.
Though he was young he’d already achieved many successes, and was said to be refined and cultured, and to make people feel like they were in good hands.
But Chi Qing wasn’t concerned with that at all.
The reason why he had picked Doctor Wu was entirely because of a single line in his brief introduction: Has had success treating patients with emotionlessness disorders.
(t/n: I believe the term 情感障碍 refers to mood/affective disorders (when I search it, most of the results are for bipolar disorder).
However, based on Chi Qing and the narrative of this book, I think it’s meant a little bit more literally here – 情感 (feelings/emotions) 障碍 (used to mean ‘disorder’ in various mental illnesses, but literally means ‘a block or hindrance’), so something more like an emotional block, or a disorder that has to do with difficulty feeling emotions.
Because of this, I went with ‘emotionlessness disorders’ instead of ‘mood disorders,’ even though it’s not an actual medical term.)
Chi Qing walked over to the door of the office, knocking on it twice with a curled finger.
The door wasn’t locked.
He pushed open the door a crack.
The sound of an extremely casual voice came out from inside, sounding as if the person had just woken up, drawing out the final syllable with half-open eyes, “—Come in.”
Altogether, there were two seats inside the consultation room.
A desk chair that was set up in the space a bit further away, and a cream colored sofa-style chair that had an aromatherapy diffuser arranged carefully next to it.
The person who had just spoken was sitting on the office chair, and was indeed sleeping.
His whole body was leaning back, his legs were crossed with one of them resting errantly on the table, his face was covered by a book with the six words The Study of Personality in Psychology printed on the cover.
In this position, the man’s neck was stretched out.
By comparison, the thing that was the most attention catching was the collar of his shirt.
The buttons had not been fastened properly, and when he moved it exposed the vast expanse of his bony clavicle.
Moreover, that brand of shirt was quite expensive.
Upon hearing someone enter, he finally moved the five fingers pressing against the cover of the book, removing the book from his face—this person was just like his improperly fastened shirt collar, with a face that could be called ‘distinguished yet unconstrained.’
The corners of the man’s eyes lifted slightly.
During the instant he sent over a sideways glance, one would think he was looking at an old lover.
In sum, Marina’s Trench separated him and the words “cultured and elegant”
That person took his leg down, picking up a glass and pouring Chi Qing hot tea.
The words that came out of his mouth were also like catching up with a friend, bearing a rare intimacy that didn’t spark distaste, “Two days of rain and you’re wearing so little, aren’t you cold?”
Chi Qing wanted to say what does that have to do with you.
But he’d come for a consultation; he ought to cooperate with the doctor, despite the fact that this “Doctor Wu” didn’t seem to look quite the same as the one in the introduction.
Chi Qing endured, pushing back the cup of tea and saying, “I’m not cold.
I’m not thirsty either, I don’t need tea.”
The person across from him didn’t take offense, lazily leaning back again and lightly tapping a finger on the table.
He wore a delicate ring on his right hand.
However, it wasn’t feminine at all, instead just making people feel as though this person was of the affectionate type.
That person said, “It’s good if you’re not cold, I was afraid you might catch a cold later.
Are you here for a consultation?”
Chi Qing, “You don’t say.”
“……” He let out a laugh, “You have quite the attitude.”
Chi Qing cut short this useless, idle chatter, “Can we start.”
The incorrect-model “Doctor Wu” across from him made no comment, instead stretching out a hand to move The Study of Personality in Psychology book from earlier, revealing the chart underneath.
It was Chi Qing’s first visit, so the chart had very few comments written on it.
These few comments were the consultation booking, a few online communications between Doctor Wu and the consultee, and the preliminary assessment.
The psychologist filled in a few extremely conservative words in the ‘condition’ space: This client’s……personality is relatively aloof.
“An aloof personality.
And not just that.
You have mysophobia, and since coming in and sitting down you’ve had a guarded posture.
There are cats all over the waiting room, but there isn’t any cat fur stuck to you.
Other than mysophobia, you must not like being near pets very much,” that person ran a finger down the page.
Perhaps it was because of his face, but the motion of him turning the pages seemed flippant, “……What’s the severity of this mysophobia of yours?
Chi Qing was used to relying on cold hard evidence when assessing someone, and this “doctor” across from him had raised his suspicions from the start.
According to reason, even though this was a high-end clinic, the clinician shouldn’t be able to afford such an extravagant shirt.
But as soon as the man opened his mouth, it dispelled Chi Qing’s hesitations.
Chi Qing, “Very severe”
That person’s gaze hung on Chi Qing’s gloves for a second, “Does ‘very severe’ point to avoiding touch, or is a person even being nearby too much for you?”
Chi Qing, “Why don’t you test it out.”
He thought anyone with ears would have been able to hear the true meaning behind the words “test it out.”
However, it seemed like the person across from him didn’t get it.
He stood up and got closer to Chi Qing, and after he passed over the desk the distance between the two of them quickly shortened.
Only once he stood up did Chi Qing realize he was actually quite tall.
When there were only two paces of space left between Chi Qing and the desk, without waiting for his response, the clavicle he’d inadvertently caught a glimpse of earlier appeared before his eyes in a magnified way—the pits of the man’s collar bones were deep, a certain suggestiveness emanating from his bones.
“Alright,” he said with a smirk, “I’ll test it out.”
If this were a method of treatment, Chi Qing would think his own emotionlessness disorder had indeed resolved to a certain degree, because at that moment he felt quite agitated.
Chi Qing released the hands that had been laced together on top of his leg the entire time, but the person across from him had predicted this movement.
He restrained Chi Qing’s wrist with a single hand and said, “Don't freak out.”
After he finished speaking, that person’s fingers slowly crept up Chi Qing’s wrist.
The pad of his fingers rested at the edge of a black glove, wanting to pull off that glove without a sound of warning, “Mr.
Chi, that’s not how consultations are done……Take it easy, if you keep wearing these gloves, just sitting in the consultation room for three hours would be useless.”
木瓜黄’s author’s note:
Xiao-Xie, you’re here to see the doctor too, take it easy alright?
Stepping into the New Year!~~Hello 2021~
Xie Lin (解临, xie4 lin2):
解: as a surname, this character is pronounced as xie4 and doesn’t have a particular meaning that I know of.
However, when it’s used as a word (or component of a word) it’s pronounced jie3, and it has many possible meanings, including ‘to explain,’ ‘to understand,’ ‘to untie (literally and figuratively),’ ‘to divide,’ ect
临: ‘to face,’ ‘to overlook,’ ‘to be on the brink of/just before,’ ect
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