Chapter 248 – As If There Was Light

The National Art Museum of China collected outstanding artworks from the modern and contemporary art scene. The venue was open to the public for free, allowing even those without an artistic inclination to be influenced by art to some extent upon their visit.

A year ago, a painting titled “Light” took up residence within the walls of the National Art Museum. This piece had won the gold prize at last year’s Dream Cup, an achievement usually not of high enough caliber to be showcased at the National Art Museum.

However, “Light” was an exception. It had transcended many boundaries, capable of delivering a profound emotional impact. Many individuals, even those deeply entrenched in despair, upon seeing this painting, dispelled thoughts of giving up and even fleeting notions of self-harm.

So, when the Dream Cup’s gold prize winner donated this painting to the National Art Museum, rather than considering it an act of arrogance, many praised the winner. After all, had this “Light” been auctioned off back then, it would undeniably have fetched an extraordinarily high price that would be difficult to surpass!

Apart from its declaration, “Light” drew visitors from various countries and regions every day. Some questioned whether the painting truly exuded the invigorating and hopeful power as described by others. Perhaps some stood at the edge of despair, having lost patience with life.

Undoubtedly, however, these individuals, once standing beneath “Light,” could stand there for an entire day. The light of life, a light in the darkest of times, filled their hearts.

Among these viewers were everyday people with no specific understanding of art and critics who specialized in writing about paintings. They came from diverse social backgrounds, their individual experiences upon viewing the painting might have varied, but the strength they felt emanating from the painting was consistent.

And thus, “Light,” with the help of people from all corners of the world, became a globally recognized masterpiece after a year. So much so that when an authoritative website initiated a vote for the greatest artwork of the new century, “Light” took the lead without any promotion. Anyone who had seen the painting would choose it, even if they had only seen its picture through an electronic device.

Due to “Light,” the footfall in the National Art Museum increased significantly over the year, leading the museum to enforce restrictions on visitor numbers.

From Q University to the National Art Museum, the distance was just over ten minutes by car. However, Chen Yunlan felt as if an entire century had passed during that short journey. He handed a large bill to the taxi driver, then dashed to the ticket counter without looking back.

After obtaining his ticket, Chen Yunlan entered the National Art Museum. He couldn’t see the artworks on either side. He inquired along the way and finally asked about the location of “Light.” Hastening towards it, he saw a predominantly black-toned painting, hanging quietly inside a glass cabinet. Several people stood in front of the glass cabinet, their eyes fixated on “Light.”

Chen Yunlan positioned himself, his gaze fixed on the painting, unable to divert his eyes.

A withered seed lay buried in barren ground beneath an endless expanse of black, projecting a sense of despair and oppression. However, at that moment, faint rays of light descended from above, sprinkling down, and the deeply buried seed seemed to be sprouting ever so slightly.

“This is a painting with magic,” a voice resonated beside Chen Yunlan. He turned and saw a young man he didn’t recognize standing next to him.

“I can see that,” Chen Yunlan responded, his gaze once again fixed on “Light.”

At a previous conference, he had seen Chen Li’s painting. At that time, he had scoffed at the hope conveyed in Chen Li’s painting. However, reflecting now, that painting was, in fact, much better than “Light.” Its power, piercing the heart, was even more intense. It was just that his state of mind had been different back then, causing him to scoff at that painting.

“Just a year ago, I was utterly despondent about this world,” the young man said. “I even attempted su*cide many times, but each time, my family saved me. I resented them for not letting me die, for not letting me find relief. It was only when I saw the broadcast of ‘Light’ on TV, in a split second, I felt an influx of immense energy into my body. I suddenly questioned why I sought death. I found it ridiculous.”

The young man paused. “The next day, despite my family’s protests, I traveled north and saw this painting with my own eyes. Even the tiniest thread of despair vanished. Because of this painting, I settled in the capital. Whenever I have free time, I come here. Just last week, my attending physician informed me that my depression no longer requires medication control. Perhaps, from now on, I’ll be free from the grip of depression.”

Chen Yunlan listened quietly. After the young man finished speaking, he asked, “Why are you telling me this?”

The young man smiled, pointing at Chen Yunlan’s eyes. “Because of your eyes.”

“My eyes?” Chen Yunlan puzzled over what was different about his eyes.

“Through your eyes, I saw myself from a year ago, with no attachment to this world, even wanting to break free from its shackles, a heart without ripples, like a stagnant pool.” Seeing Chen Yunlan’s confusion, the young man explained, “That’s why I’m telling you these things. If you just let yourself go, you’ll realize that this world is actually full of wonders.”

“Thank you.” In the past, Chen Yunlan would have surely scoffed at the young man’s words, but now…

Chen Yunlan redirected his gaze to the painting. The light that sprinkled down seemed to fall into his heart. In a world filled with despair, it seemed as if a glimmer of light was rising.

“No need to thank me. I should thank you for being willing to listen to my rambling,” the young man continued to smile.

“An Wei, we’re leaving,” a sweet voice called out. The young man heard it, and waved to Chen Yunlan, bidding farewell. “My girlfriend called me. I’m off. You can spend more time looking at this painting.”

Chen Yunlan watched the young couple leave, arms intertwined, laughing and chatting. There was no trace that this person had once suffered from depression.

In that moment, Chen Yunlan saw light in them – a light of hope and happiness.

As his gaze returned to “Light,” Chen Yunlan couldn’t help but smile. His lips curved upward, the elusive charm in his eyes replaced by a genuine and full smile, making him look even more appealing.

His vibrating phone in his pocket caught his attention. It was a call from the dean of the Q University’s School of Fine Arts.

The dean wanted Chen Yunlan to attend a welcome banquet organized specifically for him, but Chen Yunlan declined.

“Dean Gao, I’ll pass on the gathering, but I accept your invitation,” Chen Yunlan said.

“Really?” The dean’s voice sounded pleasantly surprised over the phone. “Mr. Chen, are you willing to become a professor at our school?”

“Yes, Dean Gao, you heard that right,” Chen Yunlan confirmed. “But I have a request.”

“Any request you have, if it’s within our means, we’ll make sure to fulfill it for you,” the dean said resolutely. If Chen Yunlan joined Q University’s School of Fine Arts, it would significantly boost their faculty, showing everyone that their school was on par with the prestigious ZY Art Institute!

Unaware of the dean’s thoughts, Chen Yunlan continued, “I want to teach in Chen Li’s class.”

“Huh?” The dean was a bit taken aback by Chen Yunlan’s request. He thought Chen Yunlan might ask for something extraordinary, but this was unexpectedly simple.

“Is that not possible, Dean Gao?” When there was no immediate response, Chen Yunlan inquired once again.

“Of course, it possible! Why not? Q University’s School of Fine Arts wholeheartedly welcomes it!” The dean on the other end of the phone quickly agreed. This condition was simple and easily fulfilled.

“Then I’ll start teaching next Monday,” Chen Yunlan immediately set the schedule.

“Next Monday?” Dean Gao was puzzled. “It’s only Tuesday now, and you’re waiting until next Monday, almost a whole week. Mr. Chen, why not consider coming over tomorrow or the day after?”

“Sorry, I have some matters to attend to,” Chen Yunlan declined.

“Alright, then next Monday it is,” agreed Dean Gao.

After ending the call with the dean, Chen Yunlan headed straight to the airport, purchasing the earliest flight ticket to the bustling city.

On the outskirts of the city, at a certain cemetery.

After Chen Yunlan got off the plane, it was already getting dark. Nevertheless, he went to buy a bouquet of yellow and white flowers and arrived at the cemetery.

Initially, the cemetery’s supervisor didn’t plan to allow Chen Yunlan in since it was past the visiting hours. However, unable to resist Chen Yunlan’s plea, they reluctantly let him in. They couldn’t help but wonder why someone was visiting at such a late hour.

The yellowish lights in the cemetery cast a dim hue. Rows of gravestones lined the aisles, but Chen Yunlan felt no fear in his heart. He walked steadily down the aisle without looking away.

Familiar with the place, he stopped at a grave, placing the bouquet of yellow and white flowers in front of it. He gently wiped the photo on the gravestone.

The person in the photo had large eyes and a beauty mark on the upper lip, causing a slight pout. At that moment, the person seemed relaxed, with a slight uplift at the corner of the mouth, as if smiling.

However, that smile was forever frozen on the gravestone, never to appear again.

“Qu Ran, I’ve come back,” Chen Yunlan sat beside the gravestone, speaking softly, as if not to disturb the sleeping.

“It’s been a year, and you still look the same, while I’ve aged a year.”

“Did you miss me?”

“I miss you. I miss you so much that I want to come down and see you. But I promised you that I would live well.”

“Qu Ran, do you know? I’m very happy today, but not because I’m going to see you. I’ve also met our son. Our son didn’t die. Do you know? He’s alive! Can you guess if he looks more like you or me?”

“Alright, I won’t make you guess, or else you’ll get mad at me again. He looks exactly like you, big eyes, slightly pouted lips. But I think his nose is like mine, very straight!”

Chen Yunlan chuckled softly. “Although our son didn’t inherit my appearance, he inherited my talent for painting. Do you know? He’s already a well-known artist in China. His paintings bring hope to many people.”

“Qu Ran, our son is really outstanding!”

“When should I bring him to show you? Probably not anytime soon, as he doesn’t know I’m his father yet.”

“I don’t even know whether to acknowledge him. I’m afraid he’ll hate me, his father who was absent for all 22 years of his life.”

“Qu Ran, what should I do? Will our son forgive me?”

“Qu Ran, answer me!”

“Answer me! Don’t pretend not to speak. You know, I dislike it the most when you don’t talk in front of me!”

On a late autumn night, a gentle autumn rain began to fall. Chen Yunlan was no longer sure if the water on his face was from his tears or the rain.

“Qu Ran, it’s been 22 years, and you never respond. No matter what I say here, you never respond, not even in my dreams. You won’t talk to me again, to let me see you.”

“Qu Ran, why are you so selfish to leave me alone? Why didn’t you take me with you in the first place?”

“Why? Why?”

The only response to Chen Yunlan was the whispering sound of the autumn rain.

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3 thoughts on “The Sweetest Marriage Ch.248

  1. Damn this is sad. How much do you have to disregard someone’s feelings to steal someone’s kid for. Much less your brothers

    Thank you for the chapter!!!!

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