A week after that day, the weather keeps on being dim and cold. The warning for serious level of haze continues for seven days.
The schools are closed, the small stores and businesses are closed too. Most of the companies in SCBD area are having days off.
But most people are using subway or public transports or their own private transports to go around. Most of them are using mask to cover their face.
Today in the morning 07:30 p.m., the city just revives. Song Yan and the firefighters are finishing their duty.
The early morning in the winter has really low temperature.
The firefighters’ body are full with ashes and dust, they feel cold and tired. Everyone’s face shows that they are very tired. They tidies up their tools.
During the time they refill the water for the fire engine, Song Yan sits down near the roadside and smokes. He should be very tired, his mind is so blank. No one knows what he is thinking.
All round the visibility is less than ten meters, the dusky weather makes people feel constrained.
Several firefighters come over and sit down around him. He throws a pack of cigarette to them and each one of them takes one. They just smokes.
Everyone is so tired, they don’t talk with each other. They also don’t dare.
They could see there’s something wrong these days with Song Dui (Leader Song). The few days ago holiday seems to make him even constrained and depressed. There’s no difference with him when he is on duty; but the time he is free, he is dispirited.
No one dares to ask.
Xiao Ge says: “Now I really want to have a hot shower.”
Jiang Yi says: “But I could endure the days of not showering, I just want to lay down and sleep for three days three night.”
Yang Chi: “Just dream on, today we will have training.”
Xiao Ge Ge still considers his dirty appearance: “Every time we are on duty, I have a wish.”
Tong Ming hears it and laughs. “My wish could have a hot water, this water is too cold.”
Li Cheng Ze says nothing and just looks at the breakfast store nearby.
Yang Chi asks Song Yan; “Ge, what about you? What is wish every time you are on duty? What do you want?”
Song Yan just smokes and says: “Everyone gathers up.”
Everyone is startled and laughs.
“Don’t laugh. D*mm*t your faces are so black.” Song Yan smokes and stands: “Let’s go.”
The firefighters are standing up: “Let’s go.”
Song Yan raises his chin and points to the opposite side: “Let’s go and fill up your stomach.”
“Okay!” They both shout.
They go to the breakfast store with the body full of dust. People are looking and passing by them. Some of people are glancing at them for a while, some of them frown because of their dirty appearance. But some of them just don’t care.
This week Xu Qin is sleeping so deeply and soundly, she feels the medicine Pan Qing Qing prescribed is very effective. She doesn’t know whether the sleep is good or bad but at least she could sleep.
In morning of working days, she wakes up around 07:30 a.m.
When she freshens up, the tv in the living room is broadcasting a morning news.
“Di City’s housing price keeps on rising up, the average price suddenly breaks through 62,000 per square meter; The high grade of Zong Lu Hua Yuan’s average price has reached 140.000 per square meter……”
Xu Qin washes her face and thinks about the selection of resident physician through public appraisal. If she is successful, she would be promoted and we would gain raise in her salary.
After finish washing her hands, her phone rings. Fu Wen Ying calls her, she just asked about her condition. Xu Qin knows clearly that she just wants to ask about the blind date that she attended.
Xu Qin goes to blind date again. Fu Wen Ying arranged the time, she had refused but it’s useless.
The partner is a minister’s son, he is rich and handsome. He is well-educated and talented. He said to Xu Qin: “You don’t need to do anything. You also could stay unemployed. Marry with me mean that you could enjoy life with a peaceful day. As long you could give birth for a son for me.”
He is nothing better than Jiang Yu.
Xu Qin says: “I don’t like him.”
Fu Wen Ying sighs: “How could you are not interested in him?
Xu Qin turns silence for a while and says with a low voice: “Mama, I have said several times. I have someone that I like. Could I——“
Her heart has that kind of impulse, she wants to struggle. But the time she speaks up, she couldn’t finish. She feels so helpless.
Fu Wen Ying waits for a while and doesn’t expect that she is not dare to speak up. She just asks: “QIn Qin, do you still remember what did I say to you that year? Listen to Mama, okay?”
Then the call ends. Xu Qin stands there for a while. She looks at her watch and wants to go to work.
She goes to the living room to switch off the television with the remote control. Then she sees a firefighter figure on the TV:
“Yesterday afternoon, there’s a young kid stuck in the middle of revolving door of Xin Tian Di public square. The firefighters of Qi Feng Lu were quick to rescue him……..”
Xu Qin’s fingers pause for a second, her mind is wandering around. After a while, she just turns off the TV quickly and takes her keys out of the room.
She then goes to the elevator. She recalls the day he left.
On the way to the hospital, there’s a red traffic light. The car stops, she forces herself to blank her mind, to not remind herself of Song Yan.
She looks at the window and notices the sky is so gloomy.
It seems that the whole world is dull and desolate too. Without any preparation, there’s an fire fighter car passing by.
That time she suddenly thinks: This time, in another corner of the city, what is Song Yan doing?
On the block, Song Yan is still eating with his group.
They are so hungry. They eat everything from You Tiao, soy milk, breads, Xiao Long Bao (Steamed dumpling), steamed dumpling with meat and vegetable stuffing. It’s a table with a lot of food.
Song Yan doesn’t eat too much, he is patient and waits for his brothers to eat. In his group, the youngest one is only nineteen years old, the oldest one is just twenty five years old.
Next year, perhaps he would leave; next year he would complete his term of service. If he is incapable to find a suitable position, he might be faced for changing his profession and returning to civilian life.
Xiao Ge slurps his noodle and asks Jiang Yi: “Jiang Ge, tomorrow what is your plan after completing your term of service?”
Jiang Yi laughs: “Return to my hometown, maybe be a security guard, or repairman.”
Li Cheng says: “Think about another profession. Maybe you could get into business of being a professional who takes care of fire safety.”
Jiang Yi says: “Every year there are lots of retired solider, how could I be that. I also come from a village, I have no connection.”
Song Yan says nothing and just eats his noodle.
Being a firefighter these years, every year he would send his friends to retire. Most of them are born in poor family, have no connection. So they could only return to their old family and do conventional work.”
Everyone turns quiet and leaves quietly too.
Song Yan shifts the topic. “The superior said that next year there would be a raise in salary.”
Everyone is excited: “How much will it be?”
Song Yan: “300.”
Everyone is so happy. Jiang Yi counts and smiles: “It’s great. It would be 4,500 a month.”
Li Cheng is jealous: “Mine would only be 3,000.”
Yang Chi says: “You just entered, bear with it.”
Li Cheng nods: “Ay.”
Song Yan smiles lightly and says: “From next year, the system would be reformed. There would be holiday roster for the weekend. You guys wouldn’t be so tired.”
Li Cheng’s face is indifferent: “Anyway I have no place to go for holiday.”
Xiao Ge glares at him: “Just sleep. These days I’m so tired.”
Yang Chi: “Xiao Ge, you always say that you are so tired. Is it because you use your right hand too much?”
Xiao Ge: “I would kick you till dead.”
The group keeps on laughing and joking around. A young woman passes by them, Xiao Ge glances over, his gaze is following that girl. Song Yan notices it. He looks at the young girl. That young girl should be around Xiao Ge’s age.
Song Yan could see there’s adoration and long for interact with that young woman on her eyes.
The time Xiao Ge looks at them, he has no smile on his face. He just lowers his head and looks at his dirty body. He turns quiet.
Song Yan drinks his soya milk and feels complicated.
This moment he recalls that woman of him.
These days he is so busy of training and duties. He doesn’t want to think of her. But this time the time he remembers her, it feels like a knife stabs into his heart.
‘fail through lack of final effort’.
The haze is getting worse day by day. The schools continue to be on holiday. The hospitals are running as usual.
These days, Xu Qin doesn’t call takeaway. For lunch, she goes to have it at the hospital’s dining hall. She feels that the food is so hard to eat. But the time she wants to throw it, she once again remembers Song Yan. Remembers he said that the firefighters cook a good food.
That’s right. Military people need strength, It wouldn’t do when they don’t eat well.
But she also needs energy to work, so she forces herself to eat several bites.
Emergency department is very different from outpatient service, there’s no resting time for emergency department. After the lunch, she should return and be on standby.
This afternoon, Xu Qin does her duty as operating surgeon and finishes a surgery.
The surgery is not really hard, but she has a high feeling of accomplishment. When she is done, Xu Qin just realizes that Professor Xu is on the observation watching her. He has a strict expression. Xu Qin has a hard time to not what does he think about her skill.
When Professor Xu notices the surgery is done, he just leaves without any expression.
Xu Qin tidies up herself quickly and chases after him.
“Professor Xu!” Xu Qin runs toward the elevator and stops.
Xu Ken stops.
“I notice that you were watching my operation. Please advise me, do you have any opinion or advise for me? Your opinion is very valuable for me. Thank you.”
But he answers: “Your skills are fine and perfect. I have no other thing to teach you.”
Xu Qin knows Xu Ken’s temper well, he couldn’t speak in conventional term.
“But you still have objection toward me right?”
Xu Ken says: “When you treat your patient, you just treat them like doing experiment with rabbit.”
Xu Qin knows that Professor Xu and she have a different perspective. Moreover she usually doesn’t like to communicate with others.
But now the selection of resident physician would enter a critical point, an disagreement would influence her promotion to a higher position. Though she depends on Meng family’s connection, but she has confident for her success, yet this time she unprecedentedly wants to depend on herself.
Xu Qin says: “Professor Xu, I and you indeed have different kind of opinion, but different routes to the same destination. It’s the same way as helping people. You think doctor needs heart and feeling, but I don’t think my coldness and rationality of observing in solving matter is wrong. This is just a different opinion.”
“The main motivation for being a doctor is for people.” Professor answers her directly, then he asks: “Doctor Xu, the time you chose your profession as a doctor, you make an oath, do you still remember it?”
Xu Qin is startled lightly and frowns.
“I uphold the honor and noble tradition of doctor profession. I want to show my greatest respect toward the humanity.” Professor Xu reads a script of the oath, he says: “Toward life you are short of the most basic respect. You have violated your oath as a doctor. The honor and the tradition of being doctor aren’t with you. But because you are a talented surgeon, I feel so heartbroken by this.”
Professor Xu finishes his words and just leaves.
Xu Qin stands there for a while, she has a hard time to understand.
Professor Xu’s words seems to shock her. But this shock comes too dignified, she seems to have no great emotion.
The time she pushes open emergency exit, she turns her head over, she feels something even shocking.
She sees Song Yan, he is wearing his green suit. He is standing there facing the window.
Xu Qin stays there two seconds and doesn’t respond. She doesn’t know why he could appear at this time and this place. This is the first time she sees him in his full green uniform. He even wears his hat and belt. He looks so handsome.
Song Yan looks forward, but he notices a gaze on his body. He shifts his body and sees her.
She just returns from her operation, she is still wearing her light green operation suit. She still has her head cover. She is looking at her with her big eyes. Her expression still looks cold.
Xu Qin is startled for two second. Her first response just take off her head cover. Her black hair simply falls scattered.
She just grabs her hair and tidies it up. Then she unconsciously wants to go toward him. But she suddenly remembers that they have promised to not meet each other again. She stops and then turns her body back, she notices that there’s no other way……
Song Yan’s gaze is silent and watching her rushed and muddled action.
Xu Qin looks away and just passes by him.
Suddenly the emergency room’s door is opened. The deputy director Liu comes out: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry letting you wit for a lot time. Have you seen the material—-? Ay, Xiao Xu?”
Xu Qin stops when she hears her name is called.