It had been two days since Lu Lingxi woke up again and became Lu Lingxi. That was a rather odd statement to make, but the truth was even odder than that.
Lu Lingxi didn’t know what had happened; after an operation, he was no longer Lu Lingxi, the youngest child of the Lu family in Zhongjing, but somehow appeared in Fengcheng as Lu Lingxi, the son of the woman he had met two days ago.
When Lu Lingxi first discovered this fact, he was really surprised for a long time. His body was no longer the body he was familiar with; without the pallor and thinness of the past, his new body was overflowing with a vigorous energy. The only thing that carried a shadow of the past was his face. The two faces were three or four points similar, but this new one was more delicate and beautiful, and similar in appearance to this body’s mother.
Lu Lingxi heard the doctor talk about how his operation had created a miracle. At one point during the operation he had lost his vital signs, but a miracle occurred and his heart managed to beat again after stopping for a dozen seconds. He thought that perhaps it was not a miracle created by the operation at all, but a metaphysical miracle from the underworld. After this body’s heart started beating again, the person inside the body was no longer the original Lu Lingxi, but him. What about the original owner of this body? Did he pass away? Or did he enter a strange body like him, a body that originally belonged to him?
This latter thought made Lu Lingxi uneasy. Not only was the idea too odd and he had never heard of anything like it happening, but more than that, his current body was so much healthier than his original one that it gave him an inexplicable feeling of guilt. He imagined the teenager he’d never met waking up inside his body, facing a body that had just been crippled by surgery, and wondered what kind of panic he would feel?
Lu Lingxi felt that he needed to try to contact his family. If the other person was really inside him, he would find a way to swap bodies back with him. The other person was not him. They each had their own life trajectories. He could not take over the other person’s existence without permission, let alone selfishly allowing the other person to take over his existence. Even though that was the existence he subconsciously wanted to escape…
As all kinds of random thoughts flashed in Lu Lingxi’s mind, he didn’t say a word, just lying quietly on the bed alone. In the past, he was the youngest child in the Lu family, and because of his special situation, he had never had any playmates. After years and years of being alone, he gradually developed a non-talkative temperament. Now that he was in an unfamiliar environment, he was even more at a loss as to what to say.
“Doctor, what is wrong with my son? He doesn’t remember anything. Didn’t you say the operation was very successful?”
“The patient received a heavy blow to the head earlier, which may have affected the nerve centre to some extent. It’s not a big problem, he’ll be fine after a while.”
“He doesn’t even recognise me anymore, and you don’t call it a big problem? What is a big problem then? Is your hospital normal or what?”
The doctor said helplessly: “The patient’s current problem is commonly known as amnesia. If you want the patient to recall things as soon as possible, it’s best to talk to him more about things he’s familiar with. It will help the patient recover his memory.”
The conversation outside the door came to an end as Wang Shuxiu, dressed in a light red low-cut short dress, sashayed in on her ten centimetre high heels.
“Little bastard, did you hear that? You know who I am now?”
Wang Shuxiu landed her butt next to Lu Lingxi. Lu Lingxi looked at her quietly without saying anything.
“You…” Wang Shuxiu raised her hand out of habit and halfway through a slap remembering that she couldn’t hit the head, spun her hand in mid-air and slapped the bed, pounding it bitterly, “You’re really my retribution. Just like that deadbeat dad of yours, you both are bastards.”
In the past eighteen years of Lu Lingxi’s life, it could be said that he had almost never heard anyone swear. Occasionally he would see some on TV or in books, but this was the first time he had ever encountered a mother scolding her own son like this. But for some reason, although Wang Shuxiu’s tone was rude, Lu Lingxi felt that beneath her rude tone was a concern for this body.
Lu Lingxi’s eyes were too clean and he looked at Wang Shuxiu with an innocent expression. Wang Shuxiu’s “little bastard” was on her lips, but she swallowed it back and changed it to “Are you hungry?”
Lu Lingxi nodded in embarrassment. He hadn’t eaten for nearly a week and he was really hungry.
Wang Shuxiu took a thermos cup from the side, opened it and poured out a bowl of chicken soup. In the past, when Lu Lingxi was in a coma, he didn’t need to eat as long as he was given an infusion, but now that he was awake, he couldn’t rely only on infusions anymore, and he needed nutrition. The freshly poured chicken soup was still a bit hot, so Wang Shuxiu stirred it with a spoon while quietly complaining in her habitual manner: “I can’t sleep at night at work, so I rely on the morning to catch up on my sleep, and now I can’t sleep in the morning either ‘cause I still have to bring you food every day. If you dare not be filial in the future, this old lady will find someone to break your legs.”
Although she was complaining a lot, her movements did not slow down at all. After cooling a spoonful of soup, she carefully fed it to Lu Lingxi’s mouth.
Lu Lingxi cooperated by taking a sip of the soup and whispered, “Thank you.”
Wang Shuxiu looked at Lu Lingxi strangely with a spoon in her hand. When did the little bastard become so sensible? But then she thought about the fact that Lu Lingxi had lost his memory and was now almost like a blank sheet of paper. She used to say that her son was smart and sensible when he was young, but he had been ruined by that old bastard. So it seemed that memory loss was not a bad thing.
Lu Lingxi finished his soup one spoonful at a time and was debating how to tell Wang Shuxiu that he needed to make a phone call. The door of the ward was pushed open and two policemen walked in, followed by a tall man who was supporting an old man, and headed straight for his hospital bed.
Lu Lingxi’s eyes widened in surprise when he saw the man’s appearance. Dr. Su, why was he here?
Dr. Su that Lu Lingxi mentioned in his mind was called Su Lang, one of Lu Wei’an’s former doctors. In the past, Lu Lingxi had often been hospitalised together with Lu Wei’an, so he got to know Su Lang over time. Su Lang took great care of Lu Lingxi and to a certain extent he sympathised with his situation, but as a doctor he could not say anything to accuse the Lu family of doing something wrong. The only thing Su Lang could do was to comfort the young man who was quiet most of the time after his repeated bone marrow punctures.
Compared to Lu Lingxi’s surprise, Su Lang was even more surprised to see him. He was dealing with his resignation in Zhongjing when he suddenly received a call from home. Grandpa Su had met a group of punks brawling when he was out for his morning walk, and had accidentally been caught up in it and injured. When Su Lang rushed back to Fengcheng, he heard from the police that the gang of punks had all run away, leaving a seriously injured one in the hospital, the one who seemed to be called Lu Lingxi.
The name evoked memories that Su Lang did not want to think about. He originally thought that the punk he heard from the police only had the same name as the teenager he remembered, but he did not expect that the boy in front of him even had some similarities in appearance to the Lu Lingxi in his memory, except that the teenager in front of him looked a bit more stunning.
Su Lang was only momentarily surprised; the policeman had already walked up to Lu Lingxi’s side. “Awake?”
They had come when Lu Lingxi was first brought to the hospital. At that time Lu Lingxi was still a non-mainstream teenager with a head of yellow hair. Perhaps it was because of the convenience of the hospital examination, but the boy’s yellow hair had been shaved clean, leaving only a short stubble. The colourful makeup was also washed off. A clean face, coupled with an appearance that resembled his mother’s, made for a really beautiful teenager. The policemen’s serious expressions unconsciously eased and they smiled kindly at him.
Wang Shuxiu put down the bowl as soon as the police came in and stood in front of Lu Lingxi with her arms crossed like an old mother hen protecting her chickens.
“Why are you guys here again? Didn’t I tell you that it wasn’t my son who hit this old man? My son was almost killed, what do you mean by coming here several times? Can the police bully people? Are you bullying us orphans and widows who don’t have a man around?”
As soon as Wang Shuxiu opened her mouth, the police felt helpless. They had already experienced Wang Shuxiu’s cursing power before, so they said kindly: “There was a misunderstanding before. We found the surveillance video of the park, and the one who injured Elder Su was not your son, so we just want to ask him for information.”
“Ask for information? What information? My son has lost his memory, he doesn’t remember anything.”
“Amnesia?” The policeman said in surprise.
Wang Shuxiu rolled her eyes in disgust, “My son was hit on the head by such a big brick and spilled so much blood that he almost lost his life. If you guys don’t believe me, go ask the doctor, go ahead!”
The two policemen looked at each other and smiled bitterly. On the one hand, they came here to clear Lu Lingxi’s name of suspicion, and on the other hand, they also wanted Lu Lingxi to come forward to identify the people in the video. Now that Lu Lingxi had lost his memory, there was no hope for the latter. Since nothing could be asked, the two policemen didn’t stay much longer. Instead Su Lang helped Elder Su to sit down.
“What are you doing?” Wang Shuxiu said warily.
Elder Su smiled good-naturedly, “I’ve come to thank this young man. I watched the surveillance video and this young man helped me. If it wasn’t for him, that brick would have hit me on the head.”
He had a kind attitude and Wang Shuxiu couldn’t kick them out, so she let them stay in the ward and went outside to wash the bowl and her thermos.
Once Wang Shuxiu left, Lu Lingxi looked at Su Lang and lowered his head. He knew that Su Lang would definitely know about his original body’s situation, but he couldn’t ask, he couldn’t explain how he knew. Even if he didn’t understand the world, he knew that the idea of changing bodies was too inexplicable, and depending on whether Su Lang believed him or not, he might be transferred from this hospital to a mental hospital.
When Lu Lingxi did not say anything, Grandpa Su pushed Su Lang, signalling him to speak first. For young people, it was easier to close the distance.
Su Lang picked up on Grandpa Su’s hint and finally emerged from his trance-like state of mind he had been in since seeing Lu Lingxi. Perhaps it was because Lu Lingxi’s half-lying pose was too similar to the young man in his memory, Su Lang said almost ghost-like, “I know a friend, his name is also Lu Lingxi.”
Lu Lingxi’s heart thudded as he lifted his head and said softly, “Really?”
Su Lang nodded hesitantly; he didn’t know why he had brought up this topic, but it seemed a little late to regret it.
Lu Lingxi hesitated for a few seconds, but finally did not resist asking, “How is he now?” Realising that the question was inappropriate, Lu Lingxi explained covertly, “I mean your friend with the exact same name as me, what does he do?”
Su Lang’s expression darkened slightly and he whispered, “He passed away, just a few days ago.”
“Passed away?” Lu Lingxi couldn’t say exactly how he felt when he heard the news. He subconsciously asked, “How did he die?”
Su Lang was silent for a few seconds and said slowly, “He had an operation a few days ago, and as a result, his spleen ruptured and haemorrhaged during the operation and he was not rescued.”
Ruptured spleen and haemorrhage… So he had died, Lu Lingxi thought blankly. He thought that he had swapped bodies with the owner of this body, but it turned out that he had died and had come to life again inside this body. Lu Lingxi could not tell what he felt in his heart, he seemed to be sad, but beyond that there was a vague hint of relief.
He remembered the words his father had said, “This is the last time…”
When his father said it at the time, although Lu Lingxi did not say anything, there was actually expectation in his heart. From his childhood, he had been taught that he was the only one who could save his brother, that he existed for his brother. For his brother, he donated his umbilical cord blood at birth. For his brother, he lay on the operating table several times and endured severe pain of bone marrow punctures. For his brother, he did not go to school, did not make friends and just stayed quietly at home. For his brother…
He knew he shouldn’t have any complaints. His life was given to him by his parents, and the only reason he existed was because his brother needed it. But in the late hours of the night, when he was too sore to sleep after his bone marrow puncture, when he couldn’t go to school and watched alone as his neighbours went to school, he occasionally thought that he hated this life, that he wanted to be free of his family and free of his brother.
Every time he saw his brother struggling to come alive from death and smiling at him, he was ashamed of his selfish thoughts at that moment. He felt conflicted, on the one hand agreeing that he should save his brother, but on the other hand he was really too tired. He couldn’t remember how many times he had been admitted to hospital because of his brother’s condition since he was a child, especially when he and his brother were lying weakly in a hospital bed at the same time, and his mother always had only his brother in her eyes.
Now that he was dead, now that he had given away his life, was it fair to say that he no longer owed his parents? That the life they had given him, the kindness they had raised him with, he had finally paid it all back.
Lu Lingxi was silent and didn’t say anything. Grandpa Su glared at Su Lang in discontent. How could one tell a patient such a thing? What about someone with the same name who died in a failed operation, isn’t that scaring people? Look, the young man is scared, right?
Su Lang smiled bitterly in silence as he tried to change the subject to something lighter, and the teenager on the bed raised his head to ask one last question.
“Your friend is dead, was his family upset?”