"This photo is when she got back from just winning an award in Russia. When she won, she didn't care for the time zone and gave me a call and cried like a baby. Then the next day in the media interview, she was inexplicably calm and collected." Yin Li seemed to be reminiscing over fond memories, and his eyes carried laughter.
He and Yin Xuan had too many memories together. They had over 20 years of close camaraderie. To force Yin Li to ignore this blood relationship would be impossible.
…It was hard to accept that.
I took a deep breath.
"I want to dance."
Yin Li turned in shock. I met his eyes without flinching. "I want to dance. Though I don't remember my fervor for ballet, it was once my life's greatest dream. Having gone through all this, I shouldn't just reject it and cast it aside. I should use ballet to connect my past and present selves."
I'm like Yin Xuan. Our lives have been dominated by ballet. It was the one thing that was most necessary in our paths to adulthood. Dance is our totem.
Yin Li grew quiet for a moment and then said, "I’m sorry."
I purposely ignored the reason he apologized and feigned a light-hearted attitude as I said, "Maybe I'll even recover my memories from dancing."
Despite only calling out my name, his voice betrayed a guilt and an unwillingness. And also, a hint of pleading.
With the car accident and my amnesia, I might not even be fit for ballet anymore. However, I was unwilling to resign myself to that. Yin Xuan's existence was a barb in my heart. The more graceful her dance, the greater my inner turmoil. Originally, I should have been as successful as her.
"I want to dance," I insisted to Yin Li. I wasn’t asking. I was telling.
Yin Li didn't continue to try to convince me otherwise. He nodded, the expression on his face hidden in shadow so that it was impossible to see clearly. "Okay." His reply was succinct, with just that one word.
But that afternoon, he took me to see Dr. Gao, the orthopedic surgeon who had first operated on my leg.
Old Gao hadn't seen me for a while. Seeing me walking so smoothly today, he couldn't hide his joy.
"Yan Xiao, I knew I didn't read you wrongly. I just knew you had a fierce will. If you wanted to walk, you definitely would!" He smiled, came over, and patted my shoulder. At the same time, he sized up Yin Li. "Mr. Yin, long time no see."
Yin Li nodded to him. "Dr. Gao, I'll be troubling you. Can you give Yan Xiao an inspection to see if she can dance with her leg?"
Old Gao looked at Yin Li with slight surprise. Yin Li's tone was seldom this humble. Old Gao cast a questioning gaze in my direction. "You want to dance?"
I nodded. "Mhm, ballet."
Ol' Gao couldn't quite make sense of this. "With your car accident, being able to walk and jump is already the best result. If you want to try your hand at amateur ballroom dancing, that's no problem. For ballet, if you just want to learn the positions that's fine. But if you want to dance en pointe with the tips of your feet against the ground, that's just looking for trouble when it doesn’t exist."
Then Old Gao seemed to have suddenly thought of something, and his face darkened. "Before, your leg had healed fractures all over. Your leg muscles looked like an athlete’s, but they weren't as exaggerated… Yan Xiao, did you do ballet before?!"
I nodded silently.
After the x-ray films came out, Old Gao's face sank even more. "To be honest, Yan Xiao, I don't think you should continue ballet as you are now. The car accident caused irreversible damage on your leg. Your bones are even weaker than before, they can't handle that much weight. Also, you haven't done any basic ballet exercises in two years. Your leg muscles are pretty much gone." He then turned to Yin Li. "Mr. Yin, speaking as a doctor, I don't think she should do any strenuous exercise. Ballet is an absolute no. It's too risky."
Yin Li also said to me, "Yan Xiao, I can't risk you right now. Even without ballet, you still are you. The one I fell in love with has never been the you that danced. Even without dance, you can still live a bright and fulfilling life."
Yin Li and I fought the whole way back. Yi Li's attitude was unusually firm. By the end, he pretty much reverted to the coldness from when I had first met him.
"Yan Xiao, I know I’ve done wrong. It is I who caused you to be unable to dance ballet. But this is something I can’t allow. I won't hold onto my guilt and indulge you as a kind of penance, allowing you dance. Only in this is there no room for discussion. I can't bear to have you getting injured or being in any other accident!"
He and Old Gao are the same. They both feel that rational people should let go of ballet in this situation. But I’d already made up my mind.
Without a past, I have always been incomplete. Since I've forgotten my dream, I'll just give my old one a second chance at life.
But Yin Li never agreed. By the time we reached the front door, I had already started shouting at him.
"Everyone thought I couldn't stand. Since I can stand and live, I can dance! So what if I forgot? Then I'll do it all over again! Shedding blood and tears, experiencing pain and hardship, I've never been afraid of those! From the start, I never had anything anyways!"
Yin Li had originally been walking in front of me and was about to open the door with the keys. Hearing my words, he furrowed his brows and turned. But suddenly, a person walked out from the shadows near the door and threw a violent punch at him. Yin Li didn't have his guard up and was smacked square in the face. His nose immediately started bleeding all over the place, and it quickly stained the front of his shirt and lapel red.
That person grabbed Yin Li's collar and was winding up another fist. Behaving as if the first hit wasn't enough, Yin Li pinched his nose and didn't even counterattack. He merely slanted his body and said in a calm voice, "Li Jing, don't scare her."