A long time had passed since Lotus’ first tiff with Wu Qing on her first day to school. Lotus didn’t take it seriously and thought everything would be forgotten soon. She wanted to make friends with Wu Qing, but Wu Qing was too cold and too proud to pay any attention to her.
Lotus was not a popular student at school, not because she was a bad girl but because of her family circumstances. Compared to other students, she was born in a different culture. She found it hard to find common topics with her classmates. She would find no attraction in the things which preoccupied other students, topics such as star, sports, TV show, KTV. She kept reminding herself of the virtue of being thrifty. To Lotus, her whole world was the yellow earth in the village. The city life amused her but scared her, too.
She was amazed at the extravagance the students in the city displayed. Whenever she went to the canteen, she would always see students who threw away the leftovers. Some dishes were even untouched. “What a pity”, Lotus sighed. In her village, eating a full meal was a blessing. And to throw away food was a sin .
At one table in the canteen, there was white steam bread. Lotus didn’t know who throw it over, but it was a pity to waste food. Lotus licked her lips. Whose bread? She looked around, and found nobody coming. She waited for a while, and nobody came. Lotus was sure that it was thrown. She sighed a little, and checked that nobody was looking at her. Then, she picked up the bread, peeled its skin, and intended to eat it.
Suddenly, she heard someone clapping her hands. She was startled, and saw Wu Qing’s emerging like a ghost behind her. There made a face. Lotus blushed, and the bread dropped on the floor.
“Why are you throwing the bread away? Isn’t it delicious?” Wu Qing started mocking Lotus. “What a miraculous occasion that we have a beggar to eat leftovers!”
Lotus’ lips trembled. “Wash your mouth out with soup!”
“Oh, the mad dog is barking!” Wu Qing laughed, “I am so scared.” Then, she walked away, with a sharp laugh.
“I heard that Lotus ate leftovers like a dog yesterday.”
“I’m sure. Wu Qing saw it.”
“Ha, she really breaks the records of the school.”
“And also, don’t you think she is queer and proud? She thinks of her better than any of us, as if she was a princess. In fact, she is a poor country bumpkin.”
“Wu Qing said that she is an imbecile.”
“Hush, here she comes!”
Lotus came into the classroom, and the whispers suddenly stopped. Lotus felt other students were keeping aloof of her as if she was a person with some contagious disease. Lotus felt embarrassed, but she wanted to save face. She went back her seat with head still high. From that day, Lotus became the object of ridicule at school. Whatever she did, people would laugh at her. Her dressing, and her manners were a laughing stock for others. Lotus felt lonely and sad. Being just fourteen, how she wanted to laugh and dance with friends of the same age. But it seemed that she was always alone except for exchanging a few words with Gao Sheng. However, even Gao Sheng seemed to stay away from her. He liked playing with other boys, and talking with other girls. Lotus was in a despondent mood. Many times, she sat in the corner of the classroom alone, gazing outside of window, and pitying herself. She began to miss her childhood in the village. Sometimes, she even felt like yielding to the temptation to escape from school, and to go back home.
One night Lotus had a terrible dream. In her dream, Gao Sheng was chatting happily with a pretty girl, paying no attention to others. Many times, she wanted to join the conversation, but neither of the two would give her a chance. With a surge of courage, Lotus interrupted their conversation. Both the girl and Gao Sheng were very furious. Gao Sheng shouted at her angrily, “What are you doing here?” The girl knocked Lotus in her ear, and shouted too, “What a simpleton!”. Lotus felt hurt, and sat up, pouring with sweat.
The next morning, Lotus went to the classroom very early, hoping to talk with him a little. When she entered the classroom, her heart stopped beating, lie a bolt from the blue. As it was in her dream, Gao Sheng was chatting with a very good looking girl. Lotus was a little jealous. She felt her own inferiority. That girl looked sincere, and smart, quite different from Wu Qing, who was so bossy, and arrogant. She walked away, and took out her textbook.