Starlit Episode 18

Upon returning home, Xiao Lu overhears Yi Xin’s discussion with her dad concerning the precautionary steps they should take, in case Xiao Lu’s condition worsens. She approaches the two worried men and comments, “Oh, you’ve already figured out a way to deal with my exacerbating sickness…” Her terse attitude results in Yi Xin’s hasty departure, as if caught committing a moral sin red-handedly. Xiao Lu doesn’t meant to sting Yi Xin for sticking his nose in her business, but the sensitivity of the subject makes any form of open discussion difficult to handle.

Standing over the wheelchair that’s sitting quietly and righteously in the middle of the living room, Xiao Lu purses her lips and makes a decision. She sets out to look for Ah Yue, on foot.

The journey is laborious — much like their love — but not impossible. She finds him in the studio and admires him from the doorway before he takes notice of her. Once he sees her, he puts down the work at hand and helps her to a sofa. (Whoa everything so pink! The sofa, his shirt, her blouse, all pink!) Without asking, he starts to massage her legs for her, asking this and that, afraid for any minuscule degree of mishap that might do her harm.

Not entirely welcoming the extra attention she’s been receiving but at the same time appreciating the fact that she has seen nothing but kindness, Xiao Lu ensures Ah Yue that she feels completely fine and when he’s done, they should go on a spur-of-the-moment date. Surprised but delighted, Ah Yue promises to finish up quickly so they can go on a date. But as he walks away, he cast a worrisome look at Xiao Lu. When he’s out of earshot range from her, he calls Xiao Lu’s dad to inquire of any trigger that initiated this strange behavior. He learns of the wheelchair as well as Xiao Lu’s intent to live a carpe diem life before it’s too late…

When Ah Yue has completed his job for the day, he returns to Xiao Lu for their date. She wants to go to the Oriental Pearl TV Towel (东方明珠) without the crutches. Before her legs lose all mobility, she wants to feel the sensation of walking, of moving, of living. Choking down his sadness, Ah Yue puts a smile on his face and helps Xiao Lu up. As long as Xiao Lu’s happy, as long as we are together. With that thought, his pain, her illness, all seem to melt away. But the harmony doesn’t last too long.

When Ah Yue temporarily leaves Xiao Lu’s side to answer a call from Xiao Lu’s dad, a pickpocket runs into Xiao Lu, knocks her down and out of conscious as he tries to escape the scene. She is rushed to the ER, her X-rays taken, diagnosis made, and the outlook doesn’t sound too optimistic. The blunt trauma caused her humerus to fracture and dislocate; without immediate surgical attention, she could end up being handicapped. (I thought she has this neurodegenerative disease, not osteoporosis or a genetic bone condition!)

Xiao Lu’s dad takes the news pretty hard. After a mini break down, he collects his wits and stays by his daughter’s side.

When Xiao Lu opens her eyes, the looks on her loved ones’ faces told her everything. Before she can say anything, her dad asks, “Does it hurt?” She nods truthfully and replies, “Yeah, it hurts. … But, I don’t feel so bad.”

(I swear the doctor said her upper arm is broke and look, it’s her forearm that’s in the cast.)

But it is bad. She needs to go into the OR if she wants to keep her arm, but going under anesthetics might expose Xiao Lu to the danger of expedited muscle atrophy. If any time during the operation, she isn’t able to breathe on her own, she might lose her life or be hooked up to a machine for the remainder of her life.

Xiao Lu faces the news with her usual optimism and bravery. She promises that she will breathe hard during the operation, because there are still many things she wants to do. “On the other hand, let’s think of it this way,” turning to Ah Yue, she smiles “at least, we’ve finally been on the Oriental Pearl TV Towel.” Turning back to her father and Yi Xin, she comforts, “at least, I still have the option of a surgery.” To Da Hong, Xiao Lu says, “at least, I resigned so the company won’t suffer any loss because of me.” Finally, half speaking to herself and half speaking to everyone, she exclaims, “Everything has been taken care of. I have no worries. I can focus on the surgery… So I will breathe hard and get through this.”

Don’t worry, I’ll get through this. Because… I still want to be with you.

With the promise and Ah Yue’s love, Xiao Lu enters the Operating Room.

Then as she promised, she wakes up.

On the day Xiao Lu leaves the hospital, more problems start to surface. First, it’s Yi Xin’s new car. To accommodate the amount of people for the ride and to provide Xiao Lu with comfort, Yi Xin drove his van to the hospital. In Ah Yue’s eye, the act establishes Yi Xin’s financial success and makes Yi Xin a more desirable partner than himself. Then, it’s the take out food. Xiao Lu’s dad comments that Xiao Lu hasn’t been eating much and suggests that they stop to eat on their way home. To that, Yi Xin replies that he has ordered take out food and by the time they get to Xiao Lu’s house, the food will be ready. To Ah Yue, it’s apparent that Yi Xin not only attends to the details, he is also through in his approach. This again, makes Yi Xin appear to be the better of them two. And the thought bothers Ah Yue very much.

But the feeling of unease doesn’t stop here. When they are home, Xiao Lu’s father finds an excuse to speak to Ah Yue in private. This is when all hell break lose. The formerly supportive father finally couldn’t take it anymore and begs Ah Yue to leave Xiao Lu. He sobs loudly that this accident nearly took Xiao Lu away from him, he can’t bear another accident.

The father understands that it’s not Ah Yue’s fault that Xiao Lu fell, but his existence will create other accidents in the future. So the best way to keep Xiao Lu safe is to lock her up in the house for Ah Yue to leave her. Besides, the deeper the love it is, the more it will hurt the two of them.

“What Xiao Lu needs now”, the father adds, “is peace”. And while Ah Yue can’t provide her with the peace she needs, Yi Xin can.

Between what’s “better” for Xiao Lu and what his heart yarns to do, Ah Yue’s torn. When he returns to the apartment and sees Yi Xin comforting Xiao Lu, his heart sinks.

With help, Xiao Lu gets in the wheelchair and asks Ah Yue to take a walk with her. They raced each other and for a little while, let all the troubles Gone with the Wind.

When they settled down, Xiao Lu tells Ah Yue that as a little girl, she always like the wind, like the sensation of speed, of wind brushing past her face and stirring up her hair. Then she says, “Right now, I feel more like bambi than when I was walking around with crutches. The two wheels on the wheelchair are my two legs. And my other two legs… is you.”

Ah Yue looks up, she continues,

You are right, I am a silly doe. But because you are here, I can be the silly, happy doe that I am.

When they return, Ah Yue confronts Xiao Lu’s father. “I understand your determination to protect Xiao Lu”, Ah Yue says, “but I’m sorry I have to refuse your request. Because what Xiao Lu needs was never quietude. She loves to smile, loves to face the wind. Even when she’s sick, she’s still thinking about her friends. She can stand all the pain, as long as she’s running towards the wind. What she needs is not a quiet life.”

“But she’s sick! She can’t behave like she used to!”

In the same calm tone, Ah Yue replies, “unless she doesn’t care about us anymore, she will continue to be the same Xiao Lu that she was. Rather than objecting, why can’t we take a supportive stance?” He picks up Xiao Lu’s hand in both of his and continues in a broken voice,

I don’t care how long she’s got, I will be by her side, smile with her, cry with her… So, I’ve decided: I won’t let you go anymore. You led me our of darkness before, now let me take your hand… Wherever you want to go, I’ll go with you.

Doesn’t this drama remind you of A Walk to Remember?

Well it certainly reminds me of why I was never a fan of Nicholas Sparks’.

Anyway. I suspect it’s a cultural nomos to portray the relationship between a sick patient and her close relative/friends in an extremely protective manner. But to regard every action Xiao Lu takes with such caution inevitably creates a burden for her in that she must divide her attention between battling the illness and making sure everyone around her is okay. With this regard, I think Ah Yue does a good job being forthcoming with Xiao Lu (about her fractured arm), being respectful of her wishes (wanting to walk to the TV Towel), and showing concern for her well-being. In terms of acting, I think Jerry successfully delivered the conflicting emotions his character is feeling under these circumstance.

Plot wise, I’m glad that they didn’t give Ah Yue too much time to think about whether he’ll stay with Xiao Lu or not. Sure, there were doubts but he never considered forsaking Xiao Lu.

On a site note, the apartment Xiao Lu lives in is the same apartment Chen Xin Yi lived in in Fated to Love You.

2 thoughts on “Starlit Episode 18”

  1. thank you for the advance recap irugnotmis.

    they say it is similar to A Walk to Remember… but despite being a classic i have forgotten the movies details thats why i cant agree. But Starlit has a story of its own. and somehow despite how tragic and sad the story is…it is bounded by optimism….and hope… and love. A pain worth feeling.

    but it is really the forearm that is in cast. and it is really pink….pink everything. good thing jerry looks good in pink.

    1. oops, i meant “upper arm”. as in:

      (I swear the doctor said her upper arm is broke and look, it’s her forearm that’s in the cast.)

      well, A Walk to Remember is also “bounded by optimism….and hope… and love”. so is “The Notebook”. so are many other melodramas with that respect.

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