Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
That night, a typhoon brought heavy rain. The rain pattered on the roof, creating a heavy sound like a jackhammer.
Lin Chen was lying on a wooden bed while Xing Conglian slept on the floor.
No matter how calm he was, after experiencing so many unsettling things in the past few days, it was inevitable he would get insomnia, especially after just a near-death experience, and the heavy rain didn’t help either.
Lin Chen opened his eyes and looked at the ceiling. He couldn’t sleep.
He thought of Yu Yanqing. There were too many painful things in this world that would make a person want to die, but there weren’t many things that could make someone want to die so desperately.
He thought of Xing Conglian. There were too many people in the world who easily trusted others, but there were few who would take a stranger, whom they had just met two days prior, to their home.
It could be he trusted him, but it was probably something deeper than trust—absolute, transcendent confidence.
Lin Chen turned to his side and looked at the person sleeping on the floor.
In the early morning, it wasn’t the violent wind that banged on the wooden door of Unit 6 on Yanjia Lane, but a pair of chubby, tender hands.
Xing Conglian alertly opened his eyes. Lin Chen was soundly asleep on the bed. He got up and tiptoed to open the door. He was greeted with a little fatty that was no taller than his waist.
To the right and left of the little fatty were two adults looking a bit embarrassed.
“I’m sorry to disturb you. Our brat said he’s looking for Lin Chen, but when we went to the dorms, Mr. Lin was no longer there…” the little fatty’s father said tentatively.
“You came here looking for Lin Chen?” Xing Conglian lowered his head and looked at the child beside his leg. “How did you know that Lin Chen was with me?”
Before he could even finish, he felt a warm feeling around his leg. The little fatty had wrapped himself tightly around his leg like a koala hugging a tree.
The child’s parents became even more embarrassed. They tried pulling the little fatty back, but the child refused to let go.
“We inquired about him at the school, and they told us that Mr. Lin seemed to have left with a police officer named Xing. That brat then told us to come here…”
When Lin Chen opened his eyes, the scene he saw was Xing Conglian dragging one leg in from outside with a giant sandbag tied to it.
Lin Chen sat up from bed and saw a little fatty clinging to Xing Conglian while looking at him eagerly.
Recalling the previous lesson he taught the little fatty about playing cute and being coquettish, he was left speechless for a while.
“It’s a very effective method. Correct target but too extreme.” He said this to the little fatty, but before he could finish, the little fatty had thrown off his shoes and climbed onto the bed like a monkey and clung to his neck.
Lin Chen glanced at Xing Conglian. Captain Xing had blocked the door, “leaving” the two parents in the room.
The little fatty buried his face in the crook of Lin Chen’s neck and pointed sullenly at himself. “Water.”
Lin Chen seemed to realize something and pulled the child away. “The biggest obstacle is caring too much about your mental disorder.”
Seeing her son clinging on to others and refusing to let go, the little fatty’s mother took two steps forward and tried to pull her son away while muttering, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. My son… I didn’t make it very clear. He’s a bit…” She spoke while pointing to her head. “Sometimes we don’t understand what he’s talking about…”
“What do you mean?” Lin Chen raised his head and looked directly at the mother with cold eyes.
The woman was startled by this. She averted her gaze and looked to her husband for help.
Before the husband could speak, Lin Chen said, “Have you always felt he’s inarticulate, so you can’t understand what he’s saying? You think that he’s mentally handicapped, so you feel ashamed of being seen with him in public, right?” Lin Chen hugged the child and put him aside. “I don’t know how you are parents, but since your son can go to elementary school normally, you should have confidence in his intelligence. Secondly, have you ever thought that, rather than being mentally handicapped, your son actually possesses exceptional intelligence?”
Xing Conglian had never seen Lin Chen so angry. Listening to the words coming out of his mouth, Xing Conglian wanted to light a candle for the two parents in front of him.
“You’re saying… he’s a genius?”
The mother’s face suddenly flushed. Her tone no longer held the previous embarrassment and shame.
“I’ve given him a Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children* test and the result clearly proves it.”
*Individually administered intelligence test for children between age 6 and 16. It generates an IQ score that represents a child’s general intellectual ability.
“Then can you teach us how to educate him normally?”
Lin Chen looked down at the little fatty next to him and ignored the boy’s mother’s question, but instead asked him, “What happened? Tell me slowly…”
“Grandma… Afraid of water.” The little fatty tugged at the corners of Lin Chen’s clothes, showing signs of anxiety.
Lin Chen frowned. He seemed a little confused at such obvious keyword hints.
The little fatty pointed hard at himself and at the door again, trying to drag Lin Chen out.
“You’re saying your grandmother is afraid of water, so you want me to treat your grandmother?” Lin Chen asked tentatively.
The little fatty suddenly nodded.
Lin Chen’s mind started to turn. He suddenly raised his head and addressed the two parents, “Has his grandmother recently been bitten by a dog?”
The little fatty’s father scratched his head, looked at his wife, and said, “Mom didn’t seem to have mentioned this before?”
“Did he pull on his grandmother and pretend to bite her in front of you guys?” Lin Chen asked again.
“How did you know?”
“Take your mother to the hospital right away!”
On the deserted road, Xing Conglian hastily drove his jeep. Along the way, Lin Chen fastened his seatbelt in the front passenger seat and sat back without saying a word.
Through the rearview mirror, Xing Conglian looked at the two parents hugging their child in the backseat. He finally couldn’t stand it and wanted to ease the tension, so he spoke up. “Why did the little fatty come to you when his grandmother was bitten by a dog…”
“Because his parents can’t understand what he wants to express…” Lin Chen sat upright. The two parents in the back once again showed an embarrassed expression. Although he was angry, he still patiently explained it to Xing Conglian. “The little fatty is afraid of water. I once taught him how to treat this psychological disorder. He came to me because he wanted me to help treat his grandmother…”
“Ah, we mortals really can’t understand the communication between you geniuses…” Xing Conglian lamented.
“You’re saying my son has hydrophobia? He has indeed been afraid of water since he was a child, but he seems much better recently…” One of the parents in the back seat commented.
“Fear of water is fear of water. Hydrophobia is hydrophobia. The latter, though, is also an alias for rabies*. I’m afraid little fatty knew that his grandma was bitten by a dog, but you guys couldn’t understand what he was trying to say, so he simply came to Lin Chen,” Xing Conglian explained.
*Clarity: Fear of water is [pa shui] (怕水), while the specific name for hydrophobia is [kong shui zheng] (恐水症) which is also used for rabies. This entire conversation is very nuanced based on the words they are using and also explains why the parents couldn’t understand what the little fatty was trying to tell them.
Originally, the man was skeptical. Now, when he heard that his mother could have been bitten by a dog and hadn’t gotten a rabies shot, he suddenly became anxious. He hurriedly grabbed the front seat and said to Xing Conglian, “Can you please hurry?”
When they arrived at the little fatty’s house, the old lady was carrying her tai chi sword and was about to head to the park to exercise.
Seeing her son and daughter-in-law rushing over nervously asking whether she was bitten by a dog, she waved her hand dismissively, indicating it was a trivial matter and she didn’t get sick from it and didn’t want to delay her exercise.
The little fatty’s father handed off the little fatty to Lin Chen, and then ran into the garage with his wife while carrying his mother on his back and said, “Mr. Lin, I’m sorry to trouble you. Please take care of my son.”
The little fatty looked in the direction of his parents’ departure with a worried face. Lin Chen took the child’s chubby hands, ruffled his hair, and said in his rarely gentle voice, “You did a good job. Your grandma will be fine.”
“He’s only 7 years old and is already so smart. He must be a genius.”
In order to prevent minors from inhaling second-hand smoke, Xing Conglian held an unlit cigarette in his mouth, making his speech muffled.
Lin Chen took the child’s hand and walked to Xing Conglian.
“His IQ is four standard deviations higher than his normal peers, about 160. He’s not ‘so smart’, but very smart.”
“It’s a pity that this kid is being raised by this family. His parents are holding a genius but raising him like an idiot,” Xing Conglian said to Lin Chen flatteringly.
“At least they are tolerant of him, which isn’t bad.” Lin Chen paused, looked at the little fatty’s big eyes, and said, “Because of this, you will now have a very calm and stable childhood.”
His parents wouldn’t force the little fatty to engage in endless studying. He could grow up like an ordinary child, which was the most important thing.
“Then why did you just tell his parents just now?”
“Because it was the right time.”
Xing Conglian didn’t understand the meaning behind what Lin Chen said. He wanted to ask but saw the little fatty looking up at Lin Chen, like an adult, and nodded solemnly.
Seeing this, Captain Xing had no choice but to hold back his inquiry. “Truly a superhuman kid. At such a young age, he had already found a psychologist to help treat him…” The crucial point was that he managed to select the right person.
“Yes, it’s really scary. The first time he sneaked into my sandbox room, I thought he just came to steal toys, but he actually was able to point out that it was a ‘sandplay game’,” Lin Chen said while shaking his head.
“That is scary.”
“He can even express his symptoms correctly, which shows he wanted to overcome his psychological disorder…”
“He said he was afraid of water. Did you cure him?” Xing Conglian was really tempted to repeat his lamenting again. The communication between geniuses was truly something not understandable by ordinary people. “Then if I’m afraid of something, is it possible to go to you…” he said shamelessly.
“What are you afraid of?”
“In fact, no matter what you’re afraid of, you can use systematic desensitization* to slowly get in tune with the source of your anxiety. Then you can slowly overcome it. But that’s simple to say. In the end, you’ll need perseverance and patience.”
*Behavior therapy developed by psychiatrist Joseph Wolpe. It is used when a phobia or anxiety disorder is maintained by classical conditioning. The goal of the therapy is for the individual to learn how to cope with and overcome their fear in each level of an exposure hierarchy. The process of systematic desensitization occurs in three steps. The first step is to identify the hierarchy of fears. The second step is to learn relaxation or coping techniques. Finally, the individual uses these techniques to manage their fear during a situation from the hierarchy. The third step is repeated for each level of the hierarchy, starting from the least fear-inducing situation.
“Like if you’re afraid of water, you slowly approach the water?”
Lin Chen nodded. “If you’re afraid of water, first walk to a relatively safe environment where you can see the water and try to relax. It would be uncomfortable at first, but gradually you’ll begin to adapt to the distance. The task in the future is to slowly shorten this distance while maintaining a relaxed, meditative state.”
“No wonder he stayed on my bed so desperately for so long that time. Because he could see the river on my bed…”
As Xing Conglian said this, he suddenly paused and subconsciously looked at Lin Chen.
At the same time, Lin Chen was also looking at him; his pitch-black eyes seemed to be glowing.
Just a note, while they call him “little fatty” (小胖墩), it isn’t used in a mean, bullying way, but more like a cute nickname to address a kid (due to his chubbiness).