Zhou Xiang stayed at the hospital for another two days. His body felt excellent and he really didn’t want to stay in the hospital any longer so he told Chen Ying again that he wanted to be discharged.
Chen Ying said that she would go ask a doctor.
Zhou Xiang waited in his hospital room. That elderly man sleeping on the bed next to him would probably never wake up ever again. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, Zhou Xiang would think about how it was utterly silent next to him even though there was a person lying there; it was actually really horrifying.
That was when the hospital room door opened. He thought Chen Ying had come back, but to his surprise, a forty year old man walked in. Zhou Xiang froze with shock the moment he saw that man’s face.
When Cai Wei saw him, he also froze for a moment, and then said in astonishment, “You...You-you-you-you’re awake?”
Zhou Xiang blinked. He was even more shocked than Cai Wei. He never thought that he would encounter one of his past friends only a short few days after waking up.
Cai Wei strode over to him. This gruff man was so worked up his entire face was blazing red. He grabbed Zhou Xiang’s shoulder with one hand, hurting Zhou Xiang slightly with the sheer amount of force of his grip. Cai Wei said excitedly, “Buddy, you won’t know me, but I know you.” He pointed at the adjacent bed with his other hand, which was carrying a bag of food. “That person is my dad. My dad has been lying there for over a half a year, I saw you every time I came to visit. Ah, there’s not much we can say since my dad is already at this age, but you’re still so young, if you really did stay in a coma for the rest of your life, your mum would be finished. I never thought that you’d actually wake up. Way to go kid!” He gave Zhou Xiang a heavy pat on the shoulder, a sincere smile on his face.
Zhou Xiang’s heart trembled. He grabbed hold of Cai Wei’s arm. He was so excited he couldn't speak. He wanted to say “Wei’ge” but in the Cai Wei’s eyes right now he was only a stranger who also happened to be called Zhou Xiang.
Cai Wei looked at him, slightly baffled. “Buddy, what’s wrong?” Do you feel uncomfortable anywhere? Should I call a doctor over?”
”No, no need. That, you, don’t give up, maybe uncle will wake up one day too.”
Cai Wei placed his stuff on his father’s side, sat on a chair and let out a sigh. “It’s hopeless, it was an old age stroke... Now he’s just dangling here, half dead, half alive, it’s painful for the entire family, but we can’t just sit by and watch him die.” Cai Wei glanced at his dad. “No matter what, we can still say he’s alive right now.”
His voice was bleak and weary, making Zhou Xiang feel especially sad. Cai Wei was getting by pretty well in the entertainment circle. The work he did was relatively varied and he could do planning and management. Nevertheless, he had connections everywhere; a lot of new kids who started their career in the circle needed to watch his face and be careful not to offend him. Hence, Cai Wei had a pretty good salary. However, the daily hospital charges and having to provide for his wife and kids and look after his elderly father at the same time was truly a heavy burden. Only two years had passed but Zhou Xiang felt that Cai Wei had aged a lot.
Zhou Xiang wanted say some words of comfort, but was afraid that he would expose something if he said too much. It would probably be impossible for a normal person to believe that a different person was living in this body.
Cai Wei silently glanced at him a few more times. He then sighed heavily and wiped his face. The expression on his face was a bit pained.
Zhou Xiang cautiously asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Zhou Xiang.” Cai Wei called, using the exact tone as he did when he said Zhou Xiang's name in the past. Zhou Xiang’s heart trembled. “Did you know? I used to have a brother whose name was also Zhou Xiang. If he was still alive, he would be thirty five this year... He was extremely young, extremely loyal and an extremely good brother.” Cai Wei’s face looked like he was both crying and smiling. He said in a slightly choked voice, “I heard from your mother that you got into an accident two years ago? That brother of mine also had an accident two years ago, but you woke up, while we can’t even find his corpse. And that job, was one that I introduced to him too...” Cai Wei sniffed, “If I hadn’t...”
He couldn’t finish the rest of the sentence, but his self-blame and sadness seemed to melt into the air, and making the atmosphere feel indescribably heavy.
He really wanted to give Cai Wei a good punch and tell him off for talking rubbish: What has my death got to do with you? At that time, he had offended Wang Yudong and it was clear that he could no longer stay in the entertainment circle. Only Cai Wei looked out for him, wearing out his lips to help introduce him to a production team. With that production team, Zhou Xiang entered the Shiwan Mountain range to film a documentary. It was his own bad luck that he got caught in that kind of weather. If he truly was dead then he wouldn’t know anything, but being alive made him become aware of the fact that Cai Wei had been blaming himself for his death the entire time, which made him feel even worse than Cai Wei.
Cai Wei was normally not the sort of person who would talk so much in front of a stranger but at this moment, he had somewhat lost control over his emotions. This young man in front of him stirred up deep feelings and made recall too many painful memories. He felt a bit embarrassed as well. He quickly cleared his throat. “Don’t mind what I just said, I was just thinking of the past. By the way, my name’s Cai Wei. If you don’t mind, you can call me Wei'ge. We have a strong fateful connection. Let’s take care each other from now on.”
In a slightly shaky voice Zhou Xiang called out ‘Wei'ge’ once. He really wanted to drag Cai Wei out to the canteen near the hospital, order a few dishes and two litres of white wine, and drink to his heart’s content, like they used to in the past. Cai Wei had always looked after him when they were still in Sports College. After he graduated and couldn’t find a good job, he shamelessly went to find Cai Wei for help. It was also Cai Wei who helped him arrange him work in production teams doing miscellaneous jobs at various sets and locations. It was only afterwards that he slowly started doing martial arts body double jobs, and started earning a pretty good salary. The two of them got along the best, and in Zhou Xiang heart, Cai Wei was almost like his real brother.
Cai Wei smiled. “I’m speaking this from my heart, but don’t think too much about it. You feel unusually close and familiar to me. I don’t know if it’s because your name is also Zhou Xiang, at any rate, I feel that you two are a bit similar.”
Zhou Xiang also smiled. How could Cai Wei possibly know that he and that Zhou Xiang were the very same person?
Just as he was about to speak, Chen Ying came back. “Xiao Cai, you’re here to visit your dad.”
“Oh, Aunty Chen, how come you didn’t tell me that Zhou Xiang woke up? This deserves a big celebration. Ah, when can he be discharged? I’ll take you guys out to eat.”
“My, you’re so busy with work, how can we bother you like this.”
“How is it a bother? You’re always helping the carer look after my dad, even if I spend my rest of my life, I still won’t be able to repay you for all you’ve done.”
“What are you saying? I’m unoccupied and doing nothing anyway. You still have to earn money to feed your family, you can’t compare yourself to an idle person like me. Don’t stand on ceremony. When you have time, visit your father more often, perhaps your father can wake up one day too.”
Cai Wei smiled. “Yeah, and maybe we can even rub off some of you guys’ joyous air.”
Chen Ying had gained a noticeable glow to her face; her entire person was bursting with happiness. “Xiao Cai, come and eat some fruit.”
The three sat and chatted for a while. Cai Wei stayed for over an hour. He helped his dad change clothes, trim his hair and then left.
After he left, Chen Ying said to Zhou Xiang, “I didn’t say it in front of him because I didn’t want to bother him, but the doctor said that you can be discharged tomorrow.”
Zhou Xiang responded happily, “That’s great.”
“I’ll pack up our stuff. You have a good rest, we’ll be going back home tomorrow.”
Zhou Xiang said softly, “Mum, thank you all your hard work.”
Chen Ying laughed as she smoothed down his slightly long hair, “You’re awake now, all the hard work was worth it.”
They woke up early the next morning, and were about to go and complete the hospital release forms, but to their surprise, Cai Wei arrived.
Cai Wei said, smiling, “Aunty Chen, you’re not being a good friend, he’s discharging from the hospital today but you didn’t even let me know, I had to ask a doctor to find out. Don’t say anything, and no need to be courteous with me. Today I’m going to help you guys run errands and take you two out for a celebration dinner.”
Chen Ying felt extremely apologetic for inconveniencing him. She tried to decline quite a few times, but was no match for Cai Wei’s enthusiasm, and ended up accepting.
Cai Wei hurriedly helped them complete the discharge forms. Zhou Xiang placed their belongings into his car. He had lived in the hospital for two years, leaving the hospital was practically the same as moving house. If they didn’t have Cai Wei’s car, they really would have been in trouble.
They bustled about the entire morning and were all tired. Chen Ying was worried about Zhou Xiang’s body but Zhou Xiang was actually perfectly fine; he felt that his body was bursting with energy. This body had been lying for two years. What it lacked most was not rest, but exercise.
Cai Wei dragged the two to a high class Cantonese restaurant. Seeing Cai Wei’s new car, and how he was making a show of extravagance, Zhou Xiang knew that he had been doing very well the past two years and he was happy for him.
Zhou Xiang made himself at home, speaking as he ate.
Chen Ying didn’t have much to say. After speaking for a while she fell silent, while the other two continued chatting. After chatting for a while, Cai Wei looked at him with an odd expression in his eyes.
Zhou Xiang’s heart jumped in alarm, “What’s wrong?”
“You truly feel like... a close acquaintance to me, how can that be?”
Zhou Xiang hurriedly reflected on what he had just said to see if he had said something wrong. He had been as careful as he could; he probably hadn’t slipped up. Thus, he laughed out loud, “Didn’t Wei'ge say it before, we have a fateful connection.”
Cai Wei shook his head, and smiled, “Right, I must be overthinking things. Who told you to have the same surname and name as my brother.” He let out yet another sigh.
Zhou Xiang was afraid that he was remembering past memories again, and hurriedly poured him a glass of wine, “Here, Wei'ge, drink some wine.”
Both of their faces became flushed after three rounds.
Cai Wei asked him, “Zhou Xiang, what do you plan to do from now on?”
”Find a job.”
”What work did you do before?”
Zhou Xiang was truly at a loss on how to answer. He turned to ask Chen Ying, “Mum, what work did I do before?”
Cai Wei slapped his own head, “Oh, I forgot that you can’t remember anything. Doesn’t that mean that everything that you learnt before has gone to waste?”
”Tell me about it.”
Chen Ying seemed to have remembered something and her complexion didn’t look too good. “In the past you posed for photos for a magazine, and also went to motor shows to be a model or something. You said you wanted to become a celebrity, and even took part in some training thing. At that time, I urged you to be realistic, but you wouldn’t listen, hah...” Chen Ying sighed. She seemed to have realised that she shouldn’t have said so much, and lowered her head to continue eating.
Zhou Xiang was taken aback for a moment. He hadn’t expected that the original owner of this body had actually had dreams of stardom. This body was pretty good looking. However there was an ocean of handsome boys in Beijing. This body’s appearance wouldn’t be considered anything outstanding. Unless he had something that outshone others, there was no way for him to become famous. Zhou Xiang had been in the circle for so many years, and had seen too many young men with superior natural endowments but in the end all sadly pulled out. To become famous, even if you possessed all the qualities required, it was all pointless if you didn’t have luck.
Cai Wei laughed. “You want to become a celebrity? That just so happens to be my trade, this big brother can help you.”
Chen Ying raised her head. “No, so many people want to become celebrities, only a few can succeed, it would be better to find an honest and secure job.”
Zhou Xiang nodded as well. “Wei'ge, I don’t want to become a celebrity, I know that my qualifications aren’t good enough. I know that you work at an entertainment company. If you want to help me, introduce me to some work at your company as some assistant or crew member in a production team, I can do any work.”
Cai Wei nodded. “That’s no problem. My boss just bought a model agency and set up a film studio with a floor area of over 1000 square metres at the side of Sixth Ring Road. There are plenty of jobs available, so long as you aren’t scared of hardship, earning enough to feed you and your mum shouldn’t be an issue.”
Zhou Xiang decisively nodded. “Thank you Wei'ge.” It could be said that he didn’t know anyone right now. If Cai Wei really was willing to introduce work to him, he would be able to earn an income right away and that was exactly what he needed right now. Let his death be bygones, he was alive so he still had to find a way to continue living.
Chen Ying opened her mouth, but upon seeing that Zhou Xiang’s mind was set, she didn’t say anything else. However, her eyes were filled with anxiety.