A Guide to Falling Asleep Chapter 32

Chapter 32

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It was quite strange that Kang Yixin’s meeting in the afternoon had unexpected issues with each agenda item, causing a slight delay and making it finish over an hour later than planned. Kang Yixin realized she couldn’t catch her flight and reluctantly had her secretary reschedule it for the next one.

After the meeting, Kang Yixin hurriedly reached the airport, carrying only a set of fresh clothes in her travel bag and nothing else.

During the two-hour flight, Kang Yixin only drank half a cup of water. She felt uncomfortable in her stomach but couldn’t eat anything. The serious conversation with Kong Zong about transferring schools yesterday had kept her awake all night.

Kang Yixin knew something was wrong. The source of the problem might be even earlier than when Kong Shenfeng suddenly asked her if she remembered the person who lived in the nearby bed when Kong Zong was born. Her heart had been worried for a long time, so when Kong Shenfeng brought it up, she immediately agreed to meet him.

The plane came to a stop, and the cabin door opened. Kang Yixin couldn’t wait and hurriedly walked out. Maybe because she was absent-minded, even though she was walking on flat ground, her foot suddenly twisted, causing her bag to fall to the ground. She managed to avoid falling by holding onto the glass of the conveyor belt.

As she reached the arrival gate, she immediately spotted Kong Shenfeng standing nearby, waiting for her. She quickened her pace and walked towards him.

Kong Zong forced a smile when he saw her, took her bag, and briefly locked eyes with her. Then, he turned around and started walking, saying, “I’ve called a car. Let’s head to the parking garage.”

His voice sounded hoarse, as if he hadn’t rested well, and his complexion wasn’t good either. He walked slightly hunched over, with heavy footsteps.

Kang Yixin remembered the last time she saw Kong Zong this heavy-hearted. It was when his mother passed away.

Once they got into the car, the driver started driving towards the exit of the parking garage. Kang Yixin sat for a moment and noticed that Kong Shenfeng still had no intention of speaking. Unable to hold back, she leaned in and asked, “What’s the matter? Why did you urgently ask me to come?”

“Let’s talk about it at my place,” Kong Shenfeng shook his head and said, then he asked Kang Yixin, “Are you leaving tomorrow?”

“Of course, I’m leaving in the morning. It’s Xiao Zong’s birthday tomorrow. Did you forget? If you have time, you can come back with me,” Kang Yixin said.

She had prepared many flashy things that kids love nowadays for Kong Zong, and tonight, she had her assistant deliver them to their home first to give to her son. Kong Zong mentioned having lunch together at noon and hosting a dinner for classmates in the evening, so Kang Yixin had her assistant make a reservation at a restaurant for him.

Kang Yixin’s work kept her busy. She couldn’t be with her son all the time, so she always tried to make up for it in other ways for Kong Zong.

“I remember,” Kong Shenfeng said, but then hesitated, “However, tomorrow might be…”

“If it’s not possible, then forget it,” Kang Yixin looked at Kong Shenfeng hesitating and couldn’t help but complain, “If we can’t celebrate his birthday, so be it. But what about Xiao Zong transferring schools? Remember that, okay?”

“I know,” Kong Zong replied, whether he truly understood or was just saying so half-heartedly was unclear. “How is Kong Zong feeling?”

“How do you think he’s feeling?” Kang Yixin glanced at Kong Shenfeng with mixed emotions, slowing down her speech, and helplessly said, “He was completely down all evening, looking dull. His eyes turned red as soon as he spoke… Sigh, don’t tell me you’re really not planning to help your own son.”

Yesterday, when the sudden incident occurred, Kong Zong returned home with his head hanging low. When he saw her, his entire face drooped, and he spoke in a pitiful and aggrieved manner. It was truly heart-wrenching.

Kang Yixin, of course, asked Kong Zong with concern about what had happened. Upon hearing Kong Zong’s explanation about the school summoning him for a transfer, she immediately made a series of phone calls to salvage the situation, but she realized it wasn’t that simple. Liang Chong didn’t give her, as his aunt, any face at all, but her brother-in-law was still staying in the intensive care unit, and it seemed inappropriate to bother her sister over this matter.

In the midst of her anxiety, Kang Yixin couldn’t help but feel puzzled. What exactly had happened to make Liang Chong take such drastic actions?

“Does he want me to go to the school and intercede?” Kong Shenfeng asked.

“Talking to your school will probably be more effective than me speaking up,” Kang Yixin said. Thinking about Kong Zong’s hesitant and evasive behavior last night, she added with more worry, “But Xiao Zong is also strange. How did he end up getting into a fight with your student, and how did he offend Liang Chong? I still don’t fully understand.”

Kang Yixin didn’t want Kong Shenfeng to think that she had strong opinions about his beloved student, so most of the time when she wasn’t too angered to choose her words, she would refer to Ning Yiwei as “your student.”

“I asked Liang Chong when I was waiting for you just now,” Kong Shenfeng said. “That day, at the entrance of the research center, Kong Zong bumped into Ning Yiwei and his foster mother. He insisted on saying that Ning Yiwei’s foster mother looked like a food delivery person. Ning Yiwei asked Kong Zong to apologize, but Kong Zong refused. Then, the two kids ended up fighting.”

Kang Yixin paused for a moment. Her initial reaction was to refute Kong Shenfeng with, “How can our son be so impolite?” But before the words could leave her mouth, considering Kong Zong’s incoherent statements, she reluctantly arrived at an answer in her heart.

After pondering for a while, she softened her voice and gently pleaded for Kong Zong’s sake, “But what does it have to do with Liang Chong? If it’s really like that, can I take Xiao Zong to apologize in person? Must he transfer schools? His classmates would make fun of him.”

Kong Zong sighed with a complex expression on his face and didn’t say much.

Kang Yixin knew that Kong Shenfeng definitely understood the situation. In the car at that moment, she didn’t want to ask too many questions. When the car stopped at Kong Shenfeng’s apartment building, she followed him into the elevator, went upstairs, and as they entered the room and closed the door, Kang Yixin finally spoke, “Alright, can we talk now?”

Kong Shenfeng pulled out a chair and sat down at the dining table, looking at Kang Yixin from a slightly tilted angle.

“Yixin,” he called her name, but then abruptly closed his mouth, tightly shut.

Kong Shenfeng’s hair grew quickly, with the curves on the left and right not perfectly symmetrical.

Kang Yixin reached out and pressed down a bit of his hair on the left temple, thinking that Kong Shenfeng hadn’t shaved his beard completely and needed a haircut. But when she finally spoke, it was, “What’s wrong?”

She noticed that Kong Shenfeng was unusually quiet today. Although he wasn’t particularly talkative on normal occasions, compared to the situation where he would answer one out of ten questions today, this was far from normal.

“Just say it already,” Kang Yixin promised with pain, “I won’t scold you today.”

Upon hearing her words, Kong Shenfeng lowered his gaze for a moment, then looked up at her with an expression that seemed unsure where to begin.

He hesitated for a long time, beating around the bush, and asked Kang Yixin, “Do you think Xiao Zong resembles you?”

“What do you mean?” Kang Yixin felt like she hadn’t fully understood Kong Shenfeng’s meaning and asked him with confusion, “What do you mean by resembling me?”

Kong Shenfeng sat still for a while, contemplating, before he continued, “In other words, who do you think Xiao Zong looks like in our family?”

Kang Yixin sat down at the dining table, propping her cheek and thinking for a moment. She replied to Kong Shenfeng, “I feel like he resembles you a bit more, and also my third younger brother. There’s a saying that the third generation resembles the maternal uncle’s family, so maybe he mostly resembles my third younger brother.”

“Didn’t your third younger brother pass away when he was five years old?” Kong Shenfeng seemed a bit melancholic. “Can you still see any resemblance?”

“Ah,” Kang Yixin pursed her lips, completely not understanding why Kong Zong was bringing up these random things. She waved her hand and said, “What’s the point of this? You made me travel all the way to Tokyo just to ask me who Xiao Zong resembles? I even wanted to ask you about the time you asked me about my maternity ward roommate twenty years ago. Now you’re asking me who Xiao Zong resembles. Are you suspecting me of cheating on you?”

She was only joking. There weren’t any striking resemblances between Kong Zong and them as a couple, but what could that really explain?

Kong Shenfeng said, “Stop talking nonsense.” Then, he fell back into the cycle of wanting to speak but hesitating again.

Before Kang Yixin’s impatience reached its peak, Kong Shenfeng said a seemingly meaningless sentence, “I don’t know how to tell you.”

Kang Yixin furrowed her brows, carefully observing Kong Shenfeng. It seemed like he had finally gathered the courage to lock eyes with her.

He picked up his phone, swiped his thumb across the screen a few times, and handed the phone over to Kang Yixin for her to see.

Kang Yixin received it with confusion. On the screen was a photo of a boy who seemed to be around the same age as Kong Zong.

The boy held a trophy, had a delicate appearance, and there was an inexplicable sense of familiarity in his features. Kang Yixin felt like she had seen this boy somewhere before, and she had seen him many times, but she couldn’t recall who he was at that moment.

Kong Zong stood up, walked to the coffee table, and brought back two identical documents, placing them in front of her. In a low voice, he told her, “These are two paternity test reports.”

Kang Yixin looked at Kong Shenfeng with confusion, about to ask him what these things were, when suddenly, an image popped into her mind for no apparent reason.

It was a face she used to see every day.

Finally, she remembered. It was a face she used to see in the mirror before the car accident at the age of nineteen, a face that bore a striking resemblance to the boy in the photo.

Paternity test reports.

And a face that used to belong to Kang Yixin.

A buzzing sound filled Kang Yixin’s mind, and she experienced a sudden blankness. Her scalp tingled, sweat trickled down the back of her neck, her eyes became bloodshot, and her spine felt as if it had been chilled by an icy breeze. The chair she was sitting on no longer felt like a chair, but rather like a torturous seat, bound by a belt with spikes.

Kong Shenfeng’s voice drifted over from a distant place.

Kang Yixin felt like she hadn’t heard clearly. After a while, she realized what Kong Shenfeng had said: “He was switched with another baby at the hospital.”

Kang Yixin felt terrified. With her eyes wide open, she stared at Kong Shenfeng. She tried to move her feet, but they were too weak to lift. She leaned toward the table, extended her hand, and forcefully swept away the two paternity reports that were on the table, causing them to fall to the ground.

Kong Shenfeng placed his hand on her shoulder, his mouth opening and closing, emitting sharp noises.

Kang Yixin couldn’t hear a single word. She forcefully pushed Kong Shenfeng away and it seemed like she fell to the ground herself. Kang Yixin wasn’t quite sure. She wanted Kong Shenfeng to stop talking, to have no one making any sound, to never hear any voices.

She felt dizzy, with multiple beams of white light appearing before her eyes. Beyond the white light, there was a haze of darkness, obscuring any concrete images. Her hand mechanically groped the floor, trying to press against it to stand up. Her fingertips touched the sharp edge of the paper belonging to the paternity test report. She pressed on the paper with clenched fingers and palm, crumpling the A4 paper as if it were garbage.

She didn’t know how long she sat on the floor. Kong Shenfeng continued to pat her back.

Slowly, Kang Yixin regained a small fraction of her consciousness.

She lifted her head, grabbing onto Kong Shenfeng’s arm. Her nails deeply sank into his flesh. She moved her lips several times, struggling to ask the question she wanted to ask, “Was it that girl? Did she switch our child?”

Then she heard Kong Zong’s low voice say, “Yes.”

Finally, she understood the reason behind Kong Zong’s previous question about the name of the obstetric patient.

She was that thin girl, much younger than Kang Yixin, with long black hair and slightly protruding eyes. Her name had the character “Meng” in it.

She claimed it was an accidental pregnancy, that she got pregnant in just one instance, and had an on-and-off relationship with her boyfriend many times. She had delayed getting an abortion until it was too late. She looked at Kang Yixin with envy, her face filled with admiration. She asked about Kang Yixin’s husband’s occupation, how they met, commenting on how delicious the soup he brought Kang Yixin was. She inquired about the price of Kang Yixin’s bag, exclaiming how expensive it was. She asked where Kang Yixin bought her shoes, where she lived, and where she could find such adorable baby clothes. She wondered how long the flight was to go abroad, whether the marriage certificate was red as she had heard it required a lot of money. She asked if it was true.

Kang Yixin answered all her questions because she felt this young girl was lonely and pitiful lying there all by herself.

Kong Zong’s hand was pulling her, the noise surrounding her at close range, and finally, she heard herself screaming.

That piercing, elongated, hysterical scream that sent shivers down people’s spines.

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