Xiao Ma regains consciousness from the accident. He reaches out with incredible difficulty and touches the drawing Lu Yi gave him the prior night with the tip of his finger before passing out again. When the ambulance came, he is clenching the drawing tightly against his bosom.
Nancy hears that Xiao Ma’s brother declined the training offer to Switzerland for Xiao Ma. To find out what’s going on, she visits Xiao Ma’s brother in the hotel. His brother blatantly lies that Xiao Ma is sent to England for family business training in order to protect Xiao Ma but also isolating him. Nancy asks Xiao Ma’s brother to send words for her that she and the others are worried about Xiao Ma and wondering why he hasn’t kept in touch with any of his friends. The brother curtly tells her not concern herself over Xiao Ma’s business and pretend that he has completely disappeared. Incredulous and puzzled, Nany asks for an explanation. The brother only laments Xiao Ma’s demise of being too considerate for others that in the end he only hurts himself and leaves the room.
Mother Pan knocks on Xu Le’s door early morning, nagging him for money. Xu Le agrees to try to somehow gather the money by the end of the day. Mother Pan happily leaves for work, thankful for having such a handy son-in-law. Who wouldn’t be, when you have magician of a son-in-law, whom you can turn to for money whenever and never expect him to say no? Great mother-in-law.
The publisher finds Xu Le and tells him that his recent work has been very uncharacteristic. Xu Le agrees, which is why he spent so long writing it. Yet it could be a break through, Xu Le explains. The publisher argues that the work is very unlike Leaf, which isn’t what the readers expect and welcome. The readers waited a whole year, they expect a ground breaking Masterpiece.
Distraught, Xu Le stands up and raises his voice, “Why must I keep writing the same story over and over? Can’t I try something new?”
“Don’t get angry. I’m just coming to tell you the readers’ opinions.”
“I’m not angry. What do you come here for?”
“I’m here to tell you that, the publisher decides to stop publishing your novels.”
In deep distress, Xu Le runs upstairs and frantically scrolls through his novel. Frustrated to the nth degree, Xu Le throws his laptop onto the ground. Then he slams the door.
Now with Xu Le’s promise of money, mother Pan regains her usual optimism and agrees to buy a new home. What a simpleton.
Neng Xian goes upstairs to tell Xu Le her discovery that Xiao Ma didn’t go to Switzerland. She finds Xu Le in a foul mood, sulking on the floor alone in darkness. She attempts to share her finding with Xu Le, but Xu Le makes it clear that he only wants peace. She presses on, like always. Xu Le finally unleashes his frustration and yells at Nancy that all he wants right now is to be left alone. Hurt by Xu Le’s attitude, Neng Xian walks down the stairs quietly.
Xu Le finally returns to his lap top to rewrite the novel, but only finds out that the playful inspiration has eluded him once again. “Neng Xian… Neng Xian!” Xu Le runs down stairs and grabs Nancy’s arm in the midst of their dinner, looking for inspiration. No use. The rest of the family watch in wonder.
To recapture inspiration, Xu Le runs back up and takes deep breathes. It works, to a certain extent. Xu Le summons up an image of Nancy happily telling him that she’s pregnant. If he leaves, her father, her mother, her older sister, and her younger sister will all be disappointed. She can picture him getting up middle of the night, changing diaper for the baby, one hand holding milk, the other holding the baby while singing a lullaby. Coming back to reality, Xu Le crumbles to the floor in horror. He realizes, he’s in another bleak writer’s block period.
Once the realization hits, Xu Le runs out. Neng Xian stops him, asking where he’s going. Once he makes eye contact with Neng Xian, the pressure builds, his wild imagination takes flight again. The image of her happily imaging him caring for the baby resurfaces. Then Father Pan comes into the picture. He grabs Xu Le by the shoulder, didactically telling him that a man should do Tai Chi in the park. That way he can develop a good physic, which is promising for producing more babies. The more babies, the happier he will be. He’s then shoved into a sofa where Mother Pan is practically on to of him indoctrinating that a man should know how to earn money. Five hundred thousand is way too little earning for a month, he needs to work overtime. Neng Zhen pops out, rapidly telling Xu Le that a man needs to be talented. Therefore he needs to hurry and write a fantastic novel. It’s got to be devoted, it’s got to be romantic, it’s got to have oaths of unbreakable vow, it’s got to have pledges of eternal love… Xu Le falls out of the sofa, the youngest sister appears on the other end of the sofa, telling Xu Le, “A man needs to be kind. He needs to do homework for the little sister, play dolls with her, and dress up as Micky Mouse during school trip”…..
Xu Le wakes up from the nightmare, and runs outside.
The entire family is shocoked by Xu Le’s idosyncratic behavior. Neng Zhen recounts a gossip she hears from work that the publisher decides to stop publishing Leaf’s work because he hasn’t been in good condition lately. Neng Xian is worried but can’t do anything about it, but Neng Zhen gets an idea. Fruit’s Tear. She returns to her room, takes out Xu Le’s very first manuscript written in high school – the one Ah Hao left her before he departs for US. They decide to turn the manuscript in to the publisher to save Xu Le. Maybe things aren’t that bad after all.
Xu Le drives back to the Cab company to look for Long Ge for a drink, but more importantly, to hear his stories. Long Ge tells Xu Le his own story. Yes, the one we can all retell by heart. He enlightens Xu Le that if knowing stories makes a good novelist, then he would’ve been one long ago. Xu Le needs to find his direction before proceeding.
At work, Nancy’s co-workers discuss the article Leo wrote on Leaf. Instead of provoking Neng Xian to understand Xu Le better, it only stirs up the persistent insecurity that never quite rests in peace. At least that idea isn’t left undiscussed. When Xu Le returns home, Neng Xian confronts him about his ideal girlfriend, about Lu Yi, and the lack of communication between them.
To you, is your novel more important than me? (I want to say yes)
I can’t communicate with the world anymore! I’ve lost my right to speak to the world loudly, do you understand?
I want to help you too! But you never tell me anything. You only live in your fictional world and in that world, I don’t exist.
No one can help me!
There is a way! You still have Fruit’s Tear.
Neng Xian tells Xu Le that she and her sister brought Fruit’s Tear to the publisher and the publisher has agreed to continue publishing Xu Le’s works. Instead of relieving the stress, Xu Le gets angrier. The stress and oppression that’s been cumulated erupts at once.
Every day, they interfere with how late I go to bed, how early I get up, and when I come back home. They interfere with what I eat, what I drink. Instant noddles are a no no. In the morning, I have to do Tai Chi with your father in the park; at night, socialize with your mother in night markets. When I get home, I have to edit the novel your older sister wrote and teach your younger sister Chinese. Your mom takes your father’s saving to invest in stocks. She lost five million TWD and ask me for the money. Now you guys have to interfere with what novel I publish!
My family, really brought you that much trouble?
I admit you gave me a lot of inspirations before. But once I move into your house, all my inspirations dissipated.
You are saying… the fact that you lost your inspiration is my fault?
Neng Xian runs out and brings back the owl pair, telling Xu Le that once he takes those back, his inspiration will return home. Xu Le tells Nancy to stop playing and accidentally breaks one of the owls and breaks Neng Xian’s heart.
Not knowing what he wants, Xu Le calls a break for the relationship. He goes back to the Taxi driving days, watching separation after separation, contemplating what love really is.
One day at work, one of Nancy’s co-workers tells Nancy that she saw Xiao Ma in the hospital. They rush to the hospital to confirm.
Xiao Ma lost a leg from the accident. Neng Xian asks him why did he keep his accident a secret. Xiao Ma replies that he doesn’t want people to see the way he is now, especially Lu Yi. Neng Xian informs Xiao Ma that Lu Yi indeed went to the airplane. Xiao Ma’s pale, unshaven face blossoms into a flower then he turns his away, hiding the tear in his eyes. He says, “Good, that’s enough.”
Why don’t you contact us? We all miss you very much.
Staying here isn’t bad. To think that you all miss me elicits such a warm feeling.
What about Lu Yi, don’t you want to see her?
NO, absolutely not. If she seems me now, I won’t be able to tell if it’s pity or love.
What about Xu Le? You two are best friends.
(Xiao Ma chuckles) Xu Le is terrible at lying. If he knows, Lu Yi will know.
Xiao Ma asks about Xu Le. Neng Xian reveals their relationship problem. Xiao Ma encourages Neng Xian not to give up. “If you love him, give him time,” Xiao Ma says, “It took me a long time to be his friend too.”
Xu Le has lost himself. He tells Long Ge, “I used to think there’s a magical thing in the world. Once I touch it, inspiration will come gushing out. Now I realize I’m wrong. No one liked my writing. I don’t know how to communicate with the world anymore.” He asks Long Ge, “Why must people communicate through speech when sometimes we aren’t even truthful towards each other?!” Long Ge answers, “Because men are visual animals while women are auditory animals.” “So we have to keep talking and talking even if we don’t mean a thing we say?” “You got that right.” “So tiring.” “To avoid trouble, it’s worth it.” “There’s only one brain, I need it to construct an exciting story structure, I need it to create a stream of words to present the story vividly, and now, I need it to come up with words I don’t mean. Insufficient capacity.” Long Ge laughs, “That’s just how things are. Don’t think too much.”
Neng Xian gets a hold of Xu Le and informs him of Xiao Ma’s whereabouts. When Xu Le finds out about Xiao Ma’s condition, he is full of rage. Xiao Ma assures him that he doesn’t want to be like Ah Hao, living in regret and sorrow. He wants to stand up again before he reappears before his friends.