By Sarah S.
Going to school in Beijing was an unforgettable, mysterious adventure. I had a lot of fun going to school there. Laughing with friends on Saturdays, sneaking candy into class on weekdays, and working together with classmates on group projects. Now that I think about it, it just seems like a wonderful dream. Everything happens so fast. One day I was in America, and the next day I was in Beijing and walking into a big strange building with kids running around and teachers yelling. The school was six floors high, with at least 170 classrooms. It was my first time going into a school in China. I felt both nervous and excited at the same time. I had to walk up at least three flights of stairs to get to my classroom. When I got there, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Paper airplanes were shooting across the room, and pencils were dispersed across the floor. They were so loud that I don’t even think anyone heard me walking into the room until the bell rang and the teacher introduced me. I looked around the room and saw 36 pairs of eyes looking at me with warm, welcoming looks. Then, something caught my eye. Sitting in a desk in the corner sat a girl about my age looking at the floor nervously and stealing a glance once a while. Just then, some kids came over to me and started piling me with questions. After I finished answering them I looked over to the corner, but now the desk was empty. Some of the kids followed my gaze and saw what I was looking at. Some told me that the girl never talks ,others told me how she always gets the worst grades “It’s as if she could predict the future and know what the lowest grade is going to be,” said a girl named Zoey. They all burst into laughter. It didn’t take me long to realize Zoey was the leader of the group. That’s when I became really interested in the mystery girl. I asked the group what the girl's name was, and they told me her name was Lonnie. (Zoey added “ you shouldn’t hang out with misfits like her.”)
That day I went home still thinking about what Zoey said. Was Lonnie really like that, or was that just rumors? I kept that thought as I slowly fell asleep. The next day was fun. I got to know everyone a little more, I had so much fun I didn’t think about Lonnie at all. The next week was the same, but then one day I went to school and saw her getting bullied by some girls. I didn’t know all of them, but I was sure that Zoey was one of them. I could tell by her pitchy voice and snarky remarks. After that, every time I see her I feel so guilty. I didn’t want to be involved with the bullies, all I want is to fit in. I couldn’t get it out of my head for months every time I saw her bullied. I just feel as if I was stabbed by Lonnie’s pleading looks for me to help her. I tried doing everything I could to get her out of my head.
One day, we were doing a partner project and Zoey and her group dared me to ask Lonnie to be my partner. I hesitated at first, but then agreed because Lonnie wasn’t there that day, and I would get to bring Lonnie's part of the project to her house. That way, maybe I can get to know her more, or maybe even become friends. So, I told the teacher that I would do it. I looked at the address. I was so surprised, she lived on the “ bad “ Side of town. The bad side of town is known to be dangerous .When I got to her house I pressed the doorbell. Moments later she opened the door, she was so surprised to see me. At first, she looked scared and afraid, but as moments passed she started to look happy. The sun was setting and it was getting late; I didn’t want to be here in the dark.
That night I went home and texted my cousin Lia. I asked her for some advice about what I should do. I texted her that I want to start standing up for Lonnie or maybe even be her friend. That is, if she accepts my apology. Lia said, “It doesn’t matter if she accepts your apology, but as long as it’s sincere, then I’m sure she will accept it. If she doesn’t, then it’s her problem, not yours.”
“How should I apologize ? What if I start to get bullied?”
“Well, I can’t tell you how to apologize, but I can tell you that you are strong and no one will be able to hurt you if you still believe and trust yourself.”
“But will they listen to me ? I mean, half of the class is on Zoey’s side. I mean, she might be mean to the other classmates but she is one of the teacher’s favorite. she can change your whole social status just by waving to you.”
“Come on, I’m sure she’s not that powerful.”
“Okay ,maybe that was a little exaggerated, but she is pretty powerful.”
“Hey, it’s fine, don’t worry that much about it. As long as you know you know what you are doing. Anyway, I know you will make the right choice. You always do .”
“You’re welcome, Sarah.”
“Goodnight. And Sarah?”
“Just remember that you're never alone in this world; you have people who care about you .”
“You are welcome, and by the way, you should get to bed now; it’s pretty late. Bye, and make me proud. “
I look at the clock on my nightstand and it's already midnight. I turned off the lights and drifted to sleep thinking about how I’m going to talk to Lonnie tomorrow and how I’m going to make Lia proud.
The next day I went to school and saw that people were huddled in groups whispering. All of the groups seem to be whispering about the same things . I kept hearing the same things “ pst did you hear ………….about …………I can’t believe she lives there …………… you mean Lonnie right ………...I can’t believe she is that poor . I approached and asked them what they were talking about . One of the girls said “did you know that Lonnie lives in the bad side of town?” My blood stopped cold. I figured that someone must have seen the address of her house on the paper where I wrote down her address. Lonnie was getting bullied again, and it was all my fault. About a week later she stopped going to school, she was getting home schooled. I was so shocked when I heard this .This was my fault if I haven’t left the sheet of paper out none of this would have happened. After school I rushed to her house but she was not there. I heard that she got home schooled by her grandparents. A few weeks later I left to go back to America. When I got back to America I still remembered Lonnie and how I should’ve helped her. Every year I go back to Beijing and pass by her house, “sometimes” I see her in her room with her head outside of the window, “gazing up at the moon.”