Editor: Wahnsinniger Herrscher
During lunchtime, the P.T. teacher would distribute meals and fruits to everyone. A small orange was today’s fruit.
Little Miaomiao quickly cleared the meal on her plate. And afterwards, she peeled the small orange and began to eat it.
Zhou Yuan couldn’t help but watch his little tablemate. Her cheeks bulged when she ate, almost like a small animal.
After finishing their meal, it was naptime for the children.
When Zhou Yuan awoke, his little tablemate was still sleeping and lying on her side. She didn’t wear the school uniform. Instead, she wore a white, long-sleeved, ruffled shirt. Her sleeves wholly concealed her little arms, but she slept in a manner that left her hands slightly exposed. Then, Zhou Yuan noticed the many scars on the back of her hands and wrist. Some were old, and others were scrapped off, which revealed her blood red flesh.
Zhou Yuan thought that he had been mistaken. He carefully pulled up her sleeves, which revealed even more scars, which marred her arms. They didn’t seem to be natural either.
His classmate slept tranquilly on her stomach. Her small body appeared very frail.
With ire in his heart, Zhou Yuan stood up carefully, and walked away from the table.
Teacher Li, who was napping, was abruptly shook and awoken. “Teacher Li!”
When Teacher Li opened her eyes, she saw Zhou Yuan.
“What’s wrong, Zhou Yuan. Why aren’t you sleeping?”
With a grave expression on his face, Zhou Yuan asked, “Teacher Li, do you know about my tablemate’s family?”
Teacher Li frowned, “What’s wrong?”
“I suspect that her family is abusing her.” Zhou Yuan’s expression became more grave, as if his archenemy had appeared before him. “Her hands are covered with scars.”
Teacher Li felt a headache after understanding what was going on. She considered Zhou Yuan’s character and decided to tell him, “Zhou Yuan, I know you’re a smart child, so I’ll tell you, but don’t say anything to the others.”
“Little Miaomiao was severely abused by her parents. Her parents were later sentenced to prison and she was put into an intensive care unit. But none of her relatives wanted to care for her. Her current father is a doctor in that hospital and after his wife found out, she cared for Miaomiao daily. Gradually, she recovered. They decided to adopt Miaomiao, since the couple had no children of their own. Do not tell anyone about this, okay?”
Zhou Yuan froze and then nodded.
When he returned to the classroom, he saw that his little tablemate had already woken up. He looked at her with pity. Children, who endured hardship, will shine brighter in the future.
The first graders were young. During afternoon’s last class, Teacher Li came back and said, “Children, don’t worry, your parents will pick you up soon.”
She and Sister Hua have been good friends. They always talked about how they would be parents in the future. Some time ago, she went abroad to study and neglected to visit Miaomiao.
When it was time to go home, Little Miaomiao recalled what her aunt told her. She reached for the packet of dried meat in her schoolbag. She didn’t share it with anyone.
She felt a pang of anxiety. She failed to share it with anyone. She failed to befriend anyone. When she returned home, would her aunt feel like she had raised an awful, disobedient daughter?
Her small hands clenched and squeezed the dried meat in her hands. The more she thought about it, the more anxious she became. She wanted to share the dried meat with somebody.
Suddenly, she heard the P.T. Teacher calling for her, “Little Miaomiao, your parents are here. Come here quickly.”
School will be finished at 5’o clock. Aunt Hua and Uncle Hua arrived at 4:30. Aunt Hua conversed briefly with Teacher Li. She was relieved, when she found out that Miaomiao was doing well in school.
Little Miaomiao could only put the packet of dried meat back into her schoolbag. Carrying her schoolbag, she trudged out of the classroom with a languid gait.
As soon as she came out, Aunt Hua hugged her.
This frightened little Miaomiao, and she took a step back. Uncle Hua stopped Aunt Hua, “Don’t get too excited, you are frightening her.”
Aunt Hua realized her overreaction and released little Miaomiao. Then, she held her little hand and asked her, “What did Miaomiao do at school today?”
Little Miaomiao clenched her hands tightly, as soon as the question struck her. She cast her eyes down. Because she couldn’t befriend anyone and hand out snacks, a feeling of uselessness grew in her heart.
When Little Miaomiao gave no response, Aunt Hua wasn’t worried. She continued speaking softly, “Today, Auntie went back to my office. I missed Miaomiao very much, as I was doing my work.”
Uncle Hua stood there, watching them, nearby in the vicinity.
Meanwhile, other parents were leading their children out of the classroom. The other first-graders were chattering like little sparrows.
“There was a new student in our class today.”
“Zhou Yuan berated Teacher Xie, until she broke into tears.”
“But Zhou Yuan was correct. Teacher Xie shouldn’t make fun of children. We also have a sense of self-esteem, even if we are children. In the future, if you make fun of me for being toothless, then I will ask Zhou Yuan to scold you, until you cry.”
Little Miaomiao lowered her head and listened to the other children speaking with their parents. Depression overtook her.
They began to walk. Aunt Hua spoke about what she ate for lunch. She finally said, “Today, I met a highschool classmate and we chatted with each other for a long time. As a result, when my colleague handed out pomegranates, I didn’t get any. Otherwise, I would’ve brought some back for my Miaomiao.”
Just like the children next to them, she talked about everything incessantly.
At the school gate, Aunt Hua and Miaomiao stood there and waited for Uncle Hua to drive over.
At the same time, Zhou Yuan was walking with his father.
Father Zhou was still admonishing Zhou Yuan, “Little Zhou. Even if the teacher has done something wrong, you can’t berate her in front of so many classmates. Do you understand?”
Zhou Yuan was just about to retort, when he saw the little snail standing quietly in front of the school gate. She was holding the hand of the adult next to her.
All the children left with their parents. He and his little tablemate were the only ones remaining. They were listening, as the adults continued to talk to them.
Zhou Yuan heaved a sigh of relief, when he saw the aunt’s gentle movements. This aunt would treat his little tablemate with kindness and love.
After Uncle Hua drove over, Aunt Hua helped Little Miao to sit inside the car. When she went into the car, Little Miao hugged her schoolbag tightly and sat in the safety seat for children.
Aunt Hua wished to help carry her schoolbag, but Little Miao held it and uttered, “I…I’ll hold it myself.”
A feeling of happiness radiated from Aunt Hua, as she said, “Little Miaomiao is so good.”
After returning home, Little Miaomiao, who usually walked slowly, suddenly quickened her pace towards her room.
Her room was decorated with an exquisite, princess-styled theme.
Little Miao took out the dried meat and hid it under her bed. Then, she closed the schoolbag.
Afterwards, she exited and placed the schoolbag into the study.
“Maio Miao, what do you want to eat for dinner?”, Aunt Hua asked, wearing an apron.
Little Miao, who was concealing a secret in the cauldron of her heart, said timidly and softly, “I’ll eat anything.”
“Then, aunt will cook corn rice for dinner. Then I’ll stir-fry some choy sum and a meat dish to make Sixi balls. And maybe, we can have cucumber preserved egg soup?”, Auntie asked with excitement in her voice.
Little Miao raised her head and looked at her carefully. Seeing her smiling and talking, she thought to herself, Auntie…is really beautiful.