Les Interprètes Chapter 18

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Qiao Fei

When the conference took a break, I saw Cheng Jia Yang come out from his work area and talk to his coworkers. He looked towards me, and I gave him a thumbs-up, he was very happy.

I heard someone behind me say: “You see, that is Cheng Jia Yang.”

I looked around. It was two female reporters who wore their certificates in front of there chest. The person who had spoken was very young and pretty, their black hair cascading down their back like a waterfall. She looked towards Cheng Jia Yang’s direction and smiled, laughing as if she was keeping a record of him and extremely satisfied with what she found, already a winner. She saw me watching her and she faced me. I said Hi. She didn’t reply.

I turned, my heart thinking, Well there is enough arrogance.

When the conference ended that woman went with her coworker to go find Cheng Jia Yang. His figure was tall and slender. When he talked, to impose a greater height than the woman, he stuck out his chest slightly.

This kind of person, who could resist him?

I secretly left myself, my heart full of his image.

Cheng Jia Yang

When the conference ended, and I prepared to leave, someone called me.

It was two reporters from a TV station, one of them knew me, the nameplate said, Wen Xiao Hua. I had no impression (when do you have an impression?). I looked at this young women’s beautiful face and felt that indeed, I did seem to know her from before.

She laughed. Her smiling expression was apparent in the corners of her mouth, faintly showing another person’s appearance.

“Do you really not remember me? Interpreter. This June of this year, at Fu Ming Fang’s wedding we were at the same table.”

Ah, right. The person who had sat with me, had been wearing a white silk skirt, her napkin had been placed on her lap and fell a few times. I had helped her pick it up.

“Right, I remember you.” I said, and nodded to her.

“Ming Fang is my cousin.” This sentence finally made everything make sense, so that was why I felt she was so familiar every time I saw her, “That day, you drank a lot of wine.”

“Really?”

Of course. When Ming Fang had married, I was practically drooling. The woman’s eyes were very sharp, but I was not willing to let her see my flaws.

“I need some help.”

“Please speak.”

“My coworker and I need to do a show on the interpreter’s life and need some information, I don’t know if you would be willing to help.”

“If they don’t involve state secrets, of course it would be no problem.” I said.

“State secrets? How would it? We are also only civil servants.”

“Then I will accept without hesitation.”

I realized that I never saw Fei.

“All right, then you can find me anytime.” I grabbed my briefcase and tried to leave.

Wen Xiao Hua chased me: “Ah, Cheng Jia Yang, you should have a business card right?”

“Oh.” I said, “I’ll give you my phone number. I have no business card.”

“Then please say it. I’ll write it down.” She took out her cell phone.

I tole her my cell phone number, and she keyed the numbers in one by one, then she gave me the cell phone: “Can you enter in the words for your name yourself?”

I could only type in my name in her cell phone.

When I left the conference center, I still didn’t see Fei.

I called her at night, I said: “Why didn’t you wait for me?”

“I saw that you were busy.”

“Don’t mention it, the reporter even wanted to interview me, and even wanted to do a feature film.”

“Then won’t you become famous one day?”

“What hogwash, I have to agree first.”

While I talked to her, I fiddled with the cell phone in my hand, and it showed the pictures I had taken of her in Dalian.

“Ah.” Fei said, “I think you are pretty great.”

“When?”

“Today during the summit conference, I used an earpiece and heard your interpretations. It was very great.”

“Am I only great when I interpret?”

Fei laughed on the other end: “You are so undecent.” Then she said again: “I’m not talking to you, I haven’t finished my homework.”

“All right then. Bye.”

I hung up the phone, and carefully looked at her picture, she was pretty.

My big brother, Cheng Jia Ming came in and said to me: “I need to borrow a book.”

“I’ll help you look for it.” I put my cell phone on the bed, and walked to my bookshelf side, “Which one?”

However, he grabbed the opened cell phone, and looked at Qiao Fei’s picture: “She’s pretty enough.”

Everything was great about this person, but he was sloppy enough.

But I didn’t get mad, I didn’t mind that he saw Fei’s photo.

I laughed, haha.

“I haven’t seen you so happy in such a long time.”

“Really?”

“I want,” he pointed to the bookshelf, “Ji Xian Lin’s book that introduces the Tocharian language.”

“That’s not easy to find. After I bought it I never read it.” It was on the bookshelf, placed in the most inner section. I reached out my hand to touch it and found something else.

There was a small paper bag of special cigarettes. There was a point in my life when I had smoked often, and I didn’t know when I had quit.

“Did you find it?”

“Yep, I’m done.” I took out the book and gave it to him. I took back my cell phone.

The cell phone that Jia Ming had put in his pocket rang, he answered the phone while walking out. I heard him say: “Julie? Ah, Claire. You came back from Canada? Ah, sorry it was Japan, I got it wrong.”

How many girlfriends did he have?

There was another person who was playing at the same game.

When we were playing basketball, a strange girl stood at the sidelines waiting for Xu Dong. That lady was very young, and she wore denim clothing. She looked like she was also a college student. I thought of a short starstruck love that was placed on the celebrity Wu Jia Yi, Xu Dong’s taste really did change very quickly.

But he had something on his mind. When we played basketball there wasn’t enough enthusiasm. When we went to drink tea, he would either be intimate with his girl almost like he was trying to show something to the people beside him or he would not even look at her. After he sent away that girl, I asked him what that girl was called. He thought for a very long time, and patted his head: “I’m old, I’m old, I forgot what she was called.”

At night when we drank wine, he didn’t seem very happy. Xu Dong being like this was really rare.

He finally received a phone call and actually went away to answer. When he came back, I couldn’t see his expression clearly but he began to tell some jokes. He drank cup after cup of brandy.

We sat by the bar counter, and we could see through the window to the street. I saw a small car rushing out, braking suddenly. Wu Jia Yi came out from the car.

This seemed like a drama, like it would become more and more interesting.

Xu Dong watched her, stood up, grabbed his clothes, and patted my shoulder: “Jia Yang, good bye.” When it came to pay the bill I pushed him away.

Xu Dong was very shaky, he walked outside, and leaned on Wu Jia Yi. Their figures as they left was like the morning stroll of the old grandpa leaning on the old grandma.

Sometimes, men could be the weakest animals.

It wasn’t a festival or a weekend, and there was nothing to celebrate or anything to say. I only thought to see Qiao Fei. My heart had a fierce desire, like a fire, burning the heart and beginning a dry thirst. I drove to her dorm. All the lights were already closed. We were separated by a wall, and I smoked a cigarette and thought of a real problem that was imminent.

I loved her.

I didn’t think that I could receive Wen Xiao Hua’s phone call so quickly.

She said that she was Wen Xiao Hua and I had no impression of her appearance. I only felt that her smile looked a lot like Ming Fang. While we talked at the coffee shop, we also began the conversation with Ming Fang.

“Are you very good with my cousin?”

If it had been a few months ago, this question probably would have made my heart scared, but now when it was brought up, my heart was full of faint emotions.

“Very good. We basically grew up together. But we also did have a period when we didn’t contact each other at all, after her how was she?”

“Great, they went on their honeymoon and then came back, her husband works busily, and my big sister (used as a friendly term. Xiao Hua and Ming Fang are cousins) can rest a bit, after she finishes teaching the class she goes to stay at home.”

I nodded. This was typical of family life, plain and happy.

“We’ll talk about our TV show?”

“Okay. Say it, and I’ll listen.”

Wen Xiao Hua wanted to do a talk show introducing the senior interpreters. This would be about our growth, success, life, family, and we would face the audience, answer some questions, and introduce some situations. I didn’t watch a lot of TV. Towards her methodology, I didn’t have a lot of ideas. Thus I said: “Is it like Tell The Truth [1]?”

“Right. It’s basically set up like that. But we are more focused on the exploration of the career.”

“Oh.”

“But, like I said, this show gets very high ratings because we don’t tape it, we film it live. Plus, the issue we talk about will not be revealed to the audience, thus the audience’s responses are all immediate.”

“So you’re saying that the audience has not prepared for it?” I asked.

“You could say it like that.”

“What if the questions are a little complicated? Won’t you guys make it hard for me to live?”

“Don’t worry, it won’t be too overbearing.”

I thought about it: “I’ll make a report to the higher authorities.”

“You’ve agreed?”

“Yes.”

Wen Xiao Hua laughed, I originally thought that when she laughed, she looked a lot like Ming Fang, but as of now, there was a big difference. This woman, was unlike Ming Fang’s warmth or elegance, but she was very cunning and sharp, I could hide nothing. I thus understood it as the reporter’s professionalism, but later I would know that this was my mistake.


[1] Tell the Truth is a field program in the form of a group chat to expand knowledge in the form of questions, narrative discussion and/or debate. It is from the CCTV Commentary Department and tries to enhance communication and understanding between participants.

Please note that when I talked like (this) that was not in the actual book translation. Thanks.


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3 thoughts on “Les Interprètes Chapter 18

  1. I dont know if im ready for this. I still want to see QF n JY being lovey dovey. This xiao hua seems more bitchy than the drama one.

    Like

  2. Thank you for the translation. The characters in the book are really very different from the characters in the TV drama. I wonder why they changed it so much.

    Like

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