Your Distance - 72
It was evening when Ting Shuang received a call from the hospital. He was sitting in a small shop along the street, having a snack while typing and chatting with Aunt Wang, whom he had previously met in Hanover. She was Zhu Ao’s secretary, and was one of the first employees to join Roborun. Ting Shuang felt like she had to know something.
But when he asked about what was happening in the company after his father’s accident, she just said that everything was normal, and nothing had changed from before.
As Ting Shuang thought about whether to bring up the impromptu meeting on Monday, a phone call from the hospital came in.
“My dad’s awake?” Ting Shuang stood up abruptly, hitting his thigh on the corner of the table, “I’ll come right now.”
The nurse said that Zhu Ao was still too weak and had to be observed for a few days, so he could not be transferred to the general ward. Thus Ting Shuang could not visit that night and could only go the next day.
Previously, Ting Shuang didn’t have much of a conception of the word ‘weak’, just of life and death.
To wake up is to be alive; If one couldn’t wake up then that meant death.
Living referred to when his father opened his eyes and swore angrily, just like before; Dying referred to when his father stopped uttering a word.
In his mind, the word ‘weak’ was nothing more than how it was acted out on television. It meant being feeble, and having a pale face. But no matter how weak one was, one would still be alive, and could laugh and swear. But when he stood in front of the Zhu Ao that had woken up again, he realized that weakness was not at all like that.
The after-effects of cerebral hemorrhage were very serious.
His father was partially paralyzed, and couldn’t move anything on the right side of his body. There, all sensation had disappeared, and the right half of his vision was impaired. Even with his mouth open, he couldn’t speak clearly.
It turned out that ‘weak’ referred to a half-dead state.
Zhu Ao looked at Ting Shuang with cloudy eyes, his lips opening and closing, mumbling incoherent words.
The phrase ‘good-for-nothing’ suddenly appeared in Ting Shuang’s mind. His internal organs twisted into a bunch, and he wanted to get rid of that phrase from his mind, but he couldn’t.
Zhu Wenjia was also beside him. After watching Zhu Ao for a long time, he said in a barely audible voice, “Ge… Dad, will he always be like this from now on?”
Now, there was no trace of the insistent father Ting Shuang had in his memories.
Tears flowed from Zhu Ao’s eyes, from the corners of his eyes to his ears.
Ting Shuang was shocked, and said to Zhu Wenjia, “You get out.”
Zhu Wenjia: “I—”
“You go out first, I have something I want to talk to Dad about alone.” Ting Shuang turned around and made sure that Zhu Ao couldn’t see as he mouthed to Zhu Wenjia: He can hear, his mind is clear, and he knows what you are talking about.
Ting Shuang understood the meaning behind those tears.
People could die, but they couldn’t live in vain.
After Zhu Wenjia exited the room, Ting Shuang squatted next to Zhu Ao, “Doctor Cheng said that it’s always like this for everyone. Dad, your condition is pretty good already. After we do rehabilitation or something, you’ll definitely return to normal.”
Maybe Zhu Ao knew that he could not speak clearly, thus he did not open his mouth.
“Hey, Dad, just listen to me. It’s rare that I can talk without you being able to talk back, right?” Ting Shuang deliberately joked.
Zhu Ao dragged up one corner of his mouth.
“You’re smiling?” Ting Shuang also smiled, especially brightly, “Have you thought about what you want to eat for your first meal after getting released? How about some soup? I have a chef ready to serve us, his pork ribs and corn soup is really good.”
Zhu Ao let out a “Mm”, and then said something incomprehensible that consisted of ‘ah’s and ‘u’s.
Ting Shuang thought for a while, “Are you trying to ask anything? I’m on autumn vacation for the time being, so it’s okay if I’m not in school. Then… My brother is also doing fine. My aunt is a bit sad, but she looks healthy.”
Zhu Ao didn’t seem to want to ask about that.
“Then, Dad, are you worried about the company?”
This time, the question was correct, but Ting Shuang did not dare to talk about his doubts and speculations, because Zhu Ao’s blood pressure needed to be controlled. If his emotions were triggered again by accident…
“Why are you still worried about the company now, what can happen to the company?” Ting Shuang laughed, “Did you recruit so many workers just to sit around and eat instead of working? Just let them handle the company’s affairs. Just worry about yourself and concentrate on recovering, your body comes first.”
In order to reassure Zhu Ao, he told him a few more interesting things that had happened, and when visiting hours were about to end, he carefully brought up, “Dad, I still have something I want to ask about. Before entering the hospital… Who were you eating with? If someone at the table had persuaded you to over-drink, they should be held responsible. Maybe I’ll even sue them. At the very least, they have to apologize with gifts.”
“Let’s gradually reduce the sample size.” Zhu Ao couldn’t answer, so Ting Shuang thought of a way. “I’ll ask, and if it’s right, just make a sound. If it’s wrong, don’t say anything.”
“The people who ate with you were work-related acquaintances, not just casual friends, right.”
“I’m right? Okay, then, was it someone within the company or a collaboration partner? Was it a collaboration partner? Did you drink too much while talking about things?”
“No, then it’s someone within the company.”
“Dad, why are you looking at me like that?” Ting Shuang said, “Are you finding me especially stupid? Should I ask Auntie directly?”
Zhu Ao responded with a sound and closed his eyes. In his current physical condition, it had already taken a lot of effort just to stay awake for so long.
“Auntie and I are polite to each other on the surface, but in actuality we don’t like to interact. It’s not like you don’t know.” Ting Shuang laughed and continued down his line of questioning, “You were dining with people from the company… If it was an ordinary employee, I think no one would dare persuade you to drink more, right? It had to be an old friend and a high-level executive… Yan Liqian? Or another shareholder?”
Zhu Ao had already fallen asleep.