STOP HURTING JASON, DC
STOP HURTING JASON, DC
Interested in that story
this date is amazing ugly sobbing but if this doesn’t post I’m rioting. also, this makes me wanna dance under the stars with lucien while listening to feel good by fromis_9 is that too much to ask, universe?
MC: the sweet and sour short ribs, black pepper beef tenderloin, boiled cabbage heart… the meal is almost done!
I checked the recipes on my mobile phone while checking on the dishes in the bento box. Recently, Lucien’s research institute is working on a new project. He stayed in the institute for several days and did not come home.
I studied a few new dishes in my free time, but I never had the opportunity to try them with him. So, I took advantage of the rest of the day to cook and made a bento. Of course, I was also planning to see him out of my own selfishness.
When I happily took a few quick photos of the bento, I marked “Professor Xu’s love bento” on the photos with cute fonts. When I was about to go out, I received a text message and opened it to see that Lucien sent a strange address.
Is this a mistake? I dialed Lucien’s phone doubtfully.
Lucien: Did you receive the address?
MC: Um, where is this?
Lucien: This is where I am now. I guessed that you would come to me for lunch.
MC: How did you know?
Lucien: Because… black pepper beef tenderloin, sweet and sour short ribs, and boiled cabbage heart.
MC: …Lucien! Are you studying mind reading for your new project at the institute?
His shallow laughter came from the earpiece.
Lucien: The project sounds very interesting, but you seem to forget that my research field is brain science. If you want to know the answer, you can open the photo album now.
I hung up the call, opened my phone’s photo album, and a buffering icon appeared in the middle of the screen. After a few seconds, my photo album automatically updated a piece. I have never seen the picture before.
The photo shows an exclusive courtyard with a wooden log door frame and red brick wall, and a row of old-fashioned labour utensils are displayed at the foot of the wall. In the middle of the yard is a 28-brand bicycle, its style reminiscent of the 1970s.
And under the light of the noon sun, reflected on the wall is the shadow of a person. I recognise it almost at a glance as Lucien.
“Ding” my phone has received a text message.
Lucien: Do you know the answer now?
After Lucien’s reminder, I finally realised. Last week, there was a problem with my phone and I needed to use another cloud account for verification. So, I used Lucien’s account temporarily, but I must have forgotten to log out. In other words, during this period, our mobile phones were using the same cloud account, so the photo album was also in a shared state.
On my way to the private courtyard with the bento box, I blame my own carelessness in my heart, while repeatedly confirming the appearance of the “inventory” inside the box. Lucien must have seen the recipe that I saved in the photo album, not even the photos taken of the box just now have been spared.
I sighed and knocked on my head a little, then I suddenly realised again. If our mobile phones have been synced for more than a week, that means that all the photos I took during that time…
I quickly send a text message to Lucien.
MC: Lucien, have you seen anything else in the album? What photos?
Lucien: For example?
MC: For example, something that impresses you…
Lucien: Are you saying that this subject is my photo?
My fingers flicked subconsciously as Lucien’s reply appeared on the screen.
Lucien: I forgot to say that next time, you can shoot with more integrity, that way I can cooperate with you on more poses.
He often took pictures of himself reading books or doing experiments, but he didn’t take any others! This cunning man!
(translator’s note: the original translation refers to him as “a lion man”, basically saying that he’s sly and superior.)
When I arrived at the lane where the courtyard was located, I saw Lucien from a distance standing and waiting for me. I hurriedly raised my hand to him.
MC: Lucien, is your research tricky? Have you set aside the time to eat?
Lucien took the bento in my hand and looked at me with happy but tired eyes.
Lucien: It’s not too tricky. As for having good meals… if the standard is this bento, then i really can’t call any of them good meals.
He took my hand and leads me through the door. When I stand in the courtyard, the sense of precipitation of the years becomes stronger.
MC: How can you be in this place? Is it related to research?
Lucien: Well, this research project will conduct clinical trials here.
MC: This is actually a new research base?
Lucien: To be precise, it’s a temporary research base.
MC: What about the other people of the research institute?
Lucien: The study will officially start tomorrow, and today we gave them the day off.
MC: It turned out to be so, but how could the research base be chosen in such a yard with a sense of age?
Lucien didn’t answer. He took me to sit down at the square table in the courtyard.
Lucien: Based on the understanding of ___, I answered your question, but after that, your curiosity will only grow more questions. So, before this, let’s eat first. I’ll give you a good tour after we eat.
After supervising Lucien eating the lunch, he took me by the hand and walked into the second part of the courtyard. The style of the building is consistent with the courtyard, even more so seeing the rest of the architecture.
The dark grey rough floor exudes a faint smell of cement, and the green leather wall is painted with the four red characters “hard work”. The three classic furniture pieces restore the old texture and the rest of the daily necessities present also exude a strong sense of age.
Lucien: How do you feel?
MC: Although I obviously haven’t experienced this era, it seems as if i’ve really returned to the past.
Lucien: The research team here has spent a lot of time restoring it since the 70s.
MC: I’m even more curious now that you mention it. What kind of research is it that you need to have a venue like this?
Lucien: It’s a study on the healthy brain of the elderly. For people with Alzheimer’s disease, or elderly with hidden risks of clinical depression.
MC: I’ve heard that there’s no effective treatment or medicine for these conditions, is that true?
Lucien: Well, Alzheimer’s disease can be said to be a serious challenge facing modern brain science research. Even this research can only focus on early intervention before illness, while observing the quantity and quality of brain cells.
MC: So, why do you want to restore this place to the 70s specifically?
Lucien: The brain of elderly people is often in a state of stagnation so the brain will easily degenerate. The most memorable experiences of the elderly staying here are concentrated in the seventies, which is the most meaningful time of their lives.
Lucien: Putting them in a familiar environment to stimulate the brain is the basis of this research project.
MC: use memories to wake up the brain and prevent them from succumbing to sickness… that’s it. It would be nice if more people could know this method.
I looked around, and suddenly had a flash of inspiration.
MC: Lucien! Can I use my camera to record this research? This might attract more investors.
Lucien didn’t speak, he looked at me a little bit more and then smiled. Realising my offer was a bit abrupt, I quickly tried to change the topic.
MC: Though, it doesn’t matter if I can’t shoot. After all, this involves the confidentiality of research. But, if our memories can be recorded, this way, when we’re old, we’ll have more memories to look back on in these cases.
He remained silent, but the smile on his face was deeper.
MC: What happened? Did I say something wrong?
Lucien: No, if you want to shoot, I can ask the patient’s families for their opinions. But, I think they will agree, because what you want to do is also a very meaningful thing.
MC: I thought you would think that my idea was too bad to consider…
Lucien: I’m just happy. It turns out that you’ve already planned so far for our future.
After going through the entire building, Lucien took me to the backyard again. In the centre of the yard was a dense wisteria tree. There was a breeze in this early autumn afternoon, and the sun above also swept away most of the hot temperature.
The backyard shrouded by the wisteria flowers was concealed by a shady and drooping branch, swaying leisurely in the air but looking very comfortable. Obviously, it’s my first time coming here, but I feel a familiar sense of deja vu.
Lucien: What do you think?
MC: It feels weird to say it, but just for a moment, I felt that this scene was familiar.
Lucien followed my line of sight and looked at the branch of wisteria.
Lucien: On a scientific level, you must have visual experience. But I have a more romantic explanation. It may be that our souls snuck out in a dream, and then we met in a yard in the seventies.
He turned to look at me, his dark eyes deep like an exquisite pool of water.
Lucien: Maybe they were there and had a stable and slow life.
His voice is calm and determined, and his words fell to the bottom of my heart.
MC: Lu-Lucien, you’re seriously bluffing to me again…
Lucien didn’t seem to care about my disbelief, the pool in his eyes was still flowing with waves.
Lucien: If you don’t believe it, do you want to try it?
MC: What is there to try?
Lucien: Having a slow dream in the courtyard of the seventies.
MC: Like our souls, spend a lifetime in a dream?
Sure enough, I subconsciously believed Lucien’s words, but the initiator only smiled and nodded.
Lucien: “Life” is a subjective word, and how long a life is, is up to you to feel and decide. So as long as you want, we can spend our “life” here.
Maybe I was moved by Lucien’s romantic theory, or because I haven’t seen him for a long time, but either way, I eagerly agreed to his proposal.
MC: Since we’re going to live a slow life in the seventies today, let’s be more involved!
I took out headphones and my mobile phone and placed them on the stone table in the yard.
MC: I’m asking professor Xu to please confiscate these modern contrabands.
Lucien nodded knowingly, and took out his phone as I did.
Lucien: It seems we have to find something to seal them in the “future”
As he said this, he found a wooden box and put all of our electronic products inside of it.
Lucien: Welcome to the seventies, little girl.
The weak autumn sunlight in the room shone crookedly through the window like a painting waiting for us. Though, we don’t have the mind to appreciate it, only focusing on living in the slowed down time.
Lucien seems to have come prepared, and the activities proposed were endless. He taught me how to light a kerosene lamp and took me to try an old fashioned sewing machine. We played with fans leisurely together, and listened to the squeaky Suzhou Pingtan on the radio.
(translator’s note: suzhou pingtan is a traditional musical art in china)
Time seems to have really slowed down for us while we do a lot of things, but the sun outside is still mild and bright. After listening to a pingtan, I eagerly looked at Lucien
MC: Lucien, what should we do next?
Lucien: What do you want to do?
MC: May I decide?
Lucien: Well, I also want to know what you think of this slow life.
MC: Well… I can’t think of my answer at the moment.
Lucien: It’s okay, just let the flow happen. Rather than using your brain to think about what you want, it’s better to leave the feelings to your heart. This deliberate content doesn’t necessarily conform to the meaning of a slow life. What you feel currently is the most important.
MC: Then… can we sit in the sun longer? Is that too plain?
Lucien: I think it’s a good idea.
After getting Lucien’s affirmative answer, I also dreamed of sitting in the sun with him. Only soon, my beautiful fantasy was disillusioned, because we searched the entire yard and found that there was only one recliner.
Lucien and I stood under the wisteria frame in the backyard, looking at the narrow chair in front of us.
MC: Hey… how about you sit down first? We can take turns.
The moment I blurted it out, I felt like I said something silly again. I blushed and was about to fight for myself further, but he reached out and pulled me into his arms. Before I knew what he was going to do, Lucien grabbed the back of my waist and gently closed the distance, our warm breaths instantly intertwined
Before I could speak under his deep eyes, my centre of gravity suddenly fell and I was in a soft embrace. My eyes moved slightly down, and I found that we were sitting on the recliner at the same time. My legs had encircled his body without me knowing when.
The motion startled the recliner, and it shook slightly. I couldn’t find my balance for a while, and I subconsciously hooked onto Lucien’s neck.
I struggled to stand up, but Lucien released the hands that were fixed on my waist, and I was forced to tighten my arms around his neck. There was a warm breath stagnated in the air between us. The suffocating sensation reminds me of the air above an asphalt road in the summer.
Lucien: It’s boring to be alone in the sun, I think two people would be better.
MC: There’s nothing boring about being in the sun…
Fearing that I would make him uncomfortable, I lightly held on to prevent myself from slumping into him.
Lucien: You can relax, this chair is enough to hold the weight of both of us.
MC: I-I’m very relaxed.
Lucien: Are you….
I heard his low and dull voice noise in my ears, and I hung my head even more as my face flushed. He stretched out a hand, pressed the knuckle of his right hand against my chin and gently lifted it up.
In the next second, a gentle and light kiss fell on my lips.
I instinctively closed my eyes and could only hear the beating of my heart in my head. Although it was only a soft kiss like a dragonfly’s, time seemed to slow down. When we finally separated again, it was really as if we had spent a lifetime in that moment.
Lucien: I can be sure that you are really relaxed now.
When I blushed and didn’t know how to react, Lucien’s cell phone began ringing in the wooden box. As if I had caught a life-saving straw, he stood up and started to go into the other room, his laughter coming from behind.
MC: Answer your phone, I’ll be in the bathroom!
Lucien: I know, I’ll finish up soon.
When I came out of the bathroom, Lucien’s call was just ending. He saw me coming and waved his phone apologetically.
Lucien: Sorry, ___. There’s a problem with the preparations of the study at the institute, and I need to return to discuss it with the research team.
MC: It’s ok! I’m very satisfied with your company for the whole afternoon.
After returning everything in the yard to its original position, I reluctantly took Lucien’s arm and prepared to leave with him. After spending almost the whole day with Lucien in the private courtyard, I feel a bit reluctant to give him up here. Perhaps seeing through my mood, Lucien stopped walking.
Lucien: Maybe we can slow down our departure?
Following his gaze, my eyes fell on the bicycle in the middle of the yard, the same one from his earlier picture to me.
MC: You mean, we can ride that?
Lucien: It doesn’t matter, I can find someone to send it back tomorrow.
Lucien stepped forward and patted the horizontal bar in front of the bike.
Lucien: It’s just that this time I still feel wrong, so ___ can sit here.
I couldn’t help but think of our experience of cycling in Canada. At that time, I was anxious to ride the bike, my hands and feet shaky.
(translator’s note: this is a reference to Lucien’s Autumn Date, available in EN)
Lucien: Want to revisit it?
Lucien supported the handlebars and body, his slender and powerful arms firmly supported the bicycle. I nodded and looked at his hand that was supporting the seat.
MC: I won’t be as anxious today as I was that time.
After confirming that I was sitting firmly, Lucien stepped on the pedals. He lifted his hand and wrapped me in his arms, a reassuring temperature stemming from my back.
MC: Because, I hope this road can be longer.
A white crescent moon took over the setting early, and the pink-ish purple sunset was like peach-flavoured candy. In the middle of the modern city, Lucien and I looked extremely out of place with our old-fashioned bicycle, and the angle of the sun stretched our shadows very long.
Our two shadows, they slowly inched towards the next day.
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