Chapter 2 – Two lives
Life is a journey, filled with the fog of uncertainty in the future, no one knows whether what awaits them ahead is uphill or downhill, and no one knows whether the road ahead is smooth or rugged. The unpredictable uncertainty makes life full of variables, but also full of surprises.
He once thought that the future was in his own hands, as long as he made a plan that was strong enough, detailed enough, and adequate enough, he could control every footstep of his life within the expected range, and his future, success, career, family and life would all be firmly in his hands without any deviation.
But apparently, he was wrong. Just as he did not anticipate that he would be lying in a hospital bed for the rest of his life because of a car accident, he did not anticipate that the end of his life would become the beginning of a new life.
In his last life, his name was Chu Jiashu, a Chinese citizen, he was always a well-behaved child, obeying his mother’s arrangement, planning his future step by step, following every day’s plan in a regular manner, “You will grow up to be a great adult, you will have a bright future.” This is what his mother told him from the time he started to learn.
His mother made a schedule for him, marking everything on the entire wall above the blackboard, planning his life from the age of three to thirty, from school to friends, from three meals a day to extracurricular activities, everything was laid out on that schedule, at a glance, as if he could peer into the end of his life just by standing in front of the blackboard.
He can still vividly recall that New Year’s Day when he was eight years old, when he wanted to buy some fireworks and firecrackers with his New Year’s money and join the neighborhood frenzy, but his mother painstakingly discouraged him, pointing to the dense schedule, “We have to take our destiny into our hands, and everything is here, in order from top to bottom, from left to right. From every minute to every hour, to every day, to every week, to every month, to every year, to your whole life, everything is in this schedule. Even for your birthday presents each year I made a sheet, for example, this year for your eighth birthday you are going to get an abacus, just in time for the next math class, and I’ve already wrapped it up.”
He looked at his mother in a daze, confused and timid, the sound of frolics and firecrackers outside the window, and he simply wanted to light a firework. But his mother didn’t pay any attention to him at all, she just stood in front of the schedule and waved it away, saying ambitiously, “There are now one hundred and eighty-three days left until the start of first grade, which sounds like a long time, but converted into hours, there are only four thousand three hundred and ninety-two hours, converted into minutes there are only two hundred and sixty-three thousand five hundred and twenty minutes, you will find that you can accomplish so many things.”
He didn’t understand what that huge series of numbers really meant, but he knew that the steely glow on his mother’s face left him no room to refuse. “You have to organize every minute of your life according to this table and make sure that you use every minute efficiently! Truth be told, you can only rely on yourself when you enter society, and to be successful, it is important that you follow this schedule firmly.”
His mother looked at him with a smile and full of confidence, and he nodded blankly, unable to say the words that were coming out of his mouth in the end. “Very well, you now have fifteen minutes to get some fresh air and relax, and then it’s English time.” These were the closing words of his mother’s speech, which remained vivid until many years later, like a tightrope, firmly burned into the mind of Renly.
Unfortunately, this grand plan was only carried out until he was twenty-two years old. He was about to leave college and was actively preparing for his internship and then seeking a better future. It seemed that everything was going according to plan and a bright future was waiting nearby, but a sudden car accident brought the plan to an abrupt end.
He could not feel anything from his chest down, and he could only lie in a hospital bed like an invalid, terrified. His mother went around for him, even spending all the money in the family, but still could not reverse the time. He was decadent, crazy, gave up, desperate, angry, regretful …… but in the end he survived – as if he was a walking corpse.
Fortunately, he happened upon the movie, the unique yet meaningful “Truman’s World”, which opened the door to a whole new world for him, and this form of expression, called the “Seventh Art”, lit up his dull and boring life. He immersed himself in the world of film with a voracious, almost thirsty hunger. Curious about the ups and downs of life, curious about the colorful world, curious about the colorful society, curious about the dazzling and unbridled freedom …… that is truly alive.
Freedom, dreams, life. Just the thought of such words, his chest would be heavy with vague pain, because he could never touch them, he missed them forever.
He wanted to travel to every corner of the world, to taste the bitter cold of the snowy mountains and the raging seas; he wanted to challenge every limit of life, to try the madness of sky diving and the excitement of extreme rock climbing; he wanted to experience every emotion of life, the joy of achieving goals and the pain of encountering setbacks because he truly realized for the first time that life can not be planned, success and failure, joy and sadness, happiness and torture, which are the two sides of life, the lack of contradictions against each other then also loses its meaning.
Be reckless, be uninhibited, be wild, be crazy, be spontaneous, be free. Grasp every moment of life, truly give life to their splendor, do not let down this rare and also only chance at life.
He couldn’t help but wonder if he became a mountain climber, whether he could climb all the peaks of the world; if he became a journalist, whether he could talk to the world with his pen; if …… if he became an actor, whether he could interpret all the forms of life, whether he could be like those actors. Could he give the character a soul, could he move other people like the film brought him inspiration, could he use his acting skills to make art a new life?
Ten years, ten years, he was paralyzed in the hospital bed, he communicated with the movie for ten years, but unfortunately, he didn’t have the chance to try those “what ifs” after all. How he longed to do it all over again, to break all the shackles and restraints, to be free and reckless, but it was too late.
On his thirty-second birthday, because of the failure of his heart and lungs, his regular and mediocre, simple and short life came to an end and disappeared into nothingness.
After closing his eyes, the world was dark, but at the end of the darkness there was a faint light, as if guiding him forward, whether it was heaven or hell? The pace of his feet began, then gradually accelerated, faster and faster, and finally turned into a run, or even a sprint, he opened his arms and crashed headlong into the milky white light.
At the end of that, not heaven, nor hell, but a new life.
He was, reborn.
From 2017 to 1989, from the age of thirty-two back to the state of a newborn baby, from yellow to white, from China to England, from Chu Jiashu to Renly Hall.
He earned a second chance, and this time, he would not miss it again.
The Hall family is a British fallen aristocracy, with a hereditary Baronetcy, although the family has long ceased to be wealthy, this is not the twenties and thirties, they do not have fiefdoms, nor estates, but still lead a very affluent life.
Renly was the youngest son of the Hall family, with an older brother and two sisters above him. Despite being a fallen aristocrats, they followed the elite education of the rest of aristocracy, going from Oxford Long Primary School to Eton, and then to Cambridge University with high honors. However, instead of following in his father and brother’s footsteps and entering Trinity College, Renly chose Pembroke College to study classics, and after just one year, he took a temporary break from his studies to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and began to polish himself in London’s West End.
This time, Renly wanted to realize his dream, wanted to try more possibilities, wanted to explore the unknown of the world, and wanted to truly embrace freedom.
This is the source of the inner passion of Renly, he is eager to be part of the movies, he is eager to become an actor, and not just an actor who imitates others, or a vase that relies on appearance to fall into place, he is eager to become a real professional actor, with the acting skills that can bring a shock to other actors, in the road of acting constantly he wants to become an actor who always challenges his limits on the road of acting.
He doesn’t know how much talent he has, he doesn’t know how high his achievements can be, he doesn’t even know if his dreams can be realized, but he doesn’t care, he just wants to try once, to run wildly and recklessly, to run until exhaustion, to really live according to his own ideas once.
Even if he fails, he doesn’t care. This time in life, he will not live in vain, he will not compromise, he will not give up, because at the end of life, he does not want to have regrets.
But for the Hall family, Renly’s choice was intolerable. It was a disgrace to the noble family, and would also become the object of ridicule in high society, making George and Elizabeth unable to lift their heads.
So, he crossed the ocean to New York, he landed here, bearing his parents’ objections and protests; he sought opportunities to polish himself on Broadway while auditioning for acting opportunities one after another, while also using his free time to work to earn money, completely free from his parents’ financial constraints; he aspired to become an actor like never before, not for success, not for fame, nor for high income, but simply to become a good actor.
George and Elizabeth were proved right, and it was only after three months in New York that he was able to find his first audition. The road was far more arduous and far worse than expected, and he was now in pursuit of that one in 100,000 or one in a million chance of realizing his dream.
But, he has no regrets!
Translator Question of the Day – What do you think for what movie/series is Renly going to do an audition?
T/N – I am really exited to continue translating this novel because trust me this story is really good and I hope you will all like it. BTW after every chapter I will try to ask you a question or two about the chapter or story in general so that I can have some interaction with you all.