Chapter 4: Little Girl
Completely unaware of the great catastrophe that was about to befall her, Angela was sitting in her classroom teacher’s office. Of course, she wasn’t here because she had made a mistake, but rather…
“You know, Miss Greene, I’m not good at acting at all. Although I like to perform… if a person is unable to yet is forced to do so… that isn’t very… good.” Angela tried her best to keep a serene expression as she made her case. Although she didn’t want others to perceive her as unwilling, she also didn’t want them to see her as willing either.
However, even if Angela had forty years of life experience, she was still a bit green in places. Even though her teacher, Miss Greene, was a plump, kind hearted lady who wore glasses, she had seen through her thoughts a long time ago. She was all smiles when she said, “Angela, not all things will be a success. How do you know how you’ll do if you don’t give it a try? We all know you’ve shown a lot of potential; it’s the perfect time, on the day of the anniversary of the school’s founding to showcase your talent to everyone.”
“But, Miss Greene, you also know that the anniversary of the school’s founding is a big day. If someone happens to make a mistake on stage, it would be rather embarrassing if that spread.” Angela wasn’t able to shirk away, so she hurriedly took to arms the weapon called “dilemmas”’
But it was very clear that Miss Greene remained unmoved. She still looked like a patient and benevolent teacher, when in reality, step by step she was pressing on even harder. “That doesn’t matter, Angela. Even if you fail, it’s unlikely that anyone will mock you. You will inevitably face failures in life. Rather than hesitating and cowering back in uncertainty, how about summoning your courage and stepping forward to accept the challenge?”
To hell with it! This old lady ain’t by any means afraid of challenge! If it weren’t for… If it wasn’t because… Angela silently cursed. Towards confronting her current age, what she hated the most after becoming a female weren’t the living habits, but those damned skirts and stockings! Every time she felt the coolness below and heard the swishing of her skirts, she would always feel goosebumps rise up involuntarily. Reportedly, that was caused by an intense sense of a lack of safety. Thus, one could easily guess that when she had been a boy, in that one’s childhood, they had definitely lifted a lot of girls’ skirts.
This time, the teacher’s assistant, Mr. Martin, who had until now remained silent by the side, opened his mouth. “So, Angela, you seem to want to participate in the anniversary of the school’s founding play program very much, but because you aren’t good at acting, you don’t want to appear in the play. So how about this, just play the violin you are good at, at the anniversary of the school founding, what do you think?”
Angela almost choked on her own saliva. How did the meandering and circuitous talk still end up going back to her?! Fortunately, she didn’t make any sound, otherwise it would have completely destroyed her image. In fact, it didn’t matter if her image was destroyed. The crux of the matter was whether it reached Mama’s ear…
She opened her eyes wide and seemed to be pondering Mr. Martin’s suggestion, but in reality, she was carefully trying to find anything else to use as an excuse. She clearly wasn’t able to. Since the others had retreated a step, she would naturally have to retreat a step as well, right?
“Mn… Well, I need to talk with my parents first. If they consent, I’ll play.” Fully aware that this was a trap, her heart was as dispirited as a rubber ball leaking air. Even then, she still pretended to be relieved and nodded. With regards to this act, Eileen’s etiquette training had been very successful.
“That’s naturally not a problem. Well, you may return. The school bus is about to leave.” Miss Greene was still all smiles.
The little girl barely managed keep from sighing as she stood up. Still very polite, she waved towards her two teachers. “So, see you tomorrow.”
“Goodbye.” As the teachers said farewell, Angela disappeared through the doorway.
“I don’t understand, Sara. She’s only a child——I admit that she’s very cute, but did we need to do this?” Martin scratched his head.
“I know you don’t understand, Booker. After all, you’ve only been a teacher’s assistant here for half a month. Quite a lot of matters are still unclear to you. When you truly understand Angela, you will understand that this was necessary.” Sara Greene smiled, shrugging her shoulders.
“sh*t! Damnit! If I had known earlier, I would’ve performed in the play.” Angela cursed quietly as she walked out of the school building. She could almost see a little girl with long, combed straight hair tied back with a red bow, dressed in a black formal dress with white stockings, standing on stage and melodiously playing a violin.
A very beautiful scene, right? But the problem was that she still had to appear on stage. That kind of luxurious princess skirt would envelop her legs completely, which meant, anything she wore underneath would not be seen. But if she had a solo, she was a hundred percent certain that her Mama or the school would want her to look that dressy.
I hate skirts and stockings! The little girl couldn’t help but cry piteously in her mind, but who could blame her? In her past life, the eight years of living a NEET life had left her social skills in complete shambles, so much so that a few simple sentences could make her fall straight into a trap.
“Hey, Angie!” Jessica was waiting by the school entrance and waved.
“Hey, Jess,” Angela dispiritedly responded.
“What? What did Miss Greene tell you?” Jessica asked in concern.
“Nothing. She wanted to make me participate in the anniversary of the school’s founding stage play.” Angela shrugged.
“Oh my god! That’s so wonderful! I’ve always wanted to participate, but she refused. You’re really awesome, Angie!” Jessica yelled in amazement.
The little girl’s lips, however, curled, “Well, Jess, you know how I don’t like acting. I’m not like you, who hopes to one day be a successful actress. As far as I’m concerned, sitting in the audience and watching you guys perform is pretty good.”
“Then you refused?” Jessica gasped. “God, you really don’t understand how to value things!”
“I refused, but Miss Greene now wants me to play a violin solo. This way, you can totally join the play, and I will perform before or after you, all alone, just playing the violin on stage,” Angela answered, sighing.
“That sounds fantastic! Your violin playing is wonderful. I remember just before I came to school that year, you had played the violin in a Christmas performance. You performed…”
“Mendelssohn E Minor, Violin Concerto First Movement.”
“Yes! That’s the one. I remember the whole audience applauded you for an entire minute.”
“Well, well, I know, Jess. Let’s talk later; we’re going to be late for the bus!”
If Jessica knew that the reason she refused to appear in the play was because she didn’t like wearing skirts, then what would her expression have been like? Angela stood under the shade of a tree, looking up at the white clouds in the azure sky and thought about this: very surprised or very scary?
Alright, there were better things to think about at this moment, things like figuring out how to deal with her Mama’s etiquette training. Angela shrugged and watched as the school bus disappeared around the street corner. Turning around, she walked in the direction of her home. Honestly, American elementary school life was way too relaxed. Students were dismissed at the end of the school day at 3:00pm; why couldn’t it be a bit later?
Pressing the doorbell and hearing it ring, a familiar voice came through the intercom. “Welcome home, little one.”
“Hey, Jennifer! Is Mama also home?” The little miss asked this question without a second thought.
“Mn… Yes, she is.”
As she had expected this, Angela sighed and walked inside, completely overlooking the hesitation in Jennifer’s voice. Walking through the door, Jennifer was waiting for her with her usual glass of milk.
“Thanks.” The little figure took the offered glass and drained it in one gulp. Afterwards, she used a napkin to wipe the corners of the mouth. She took her schoolbag off her back and embraced it in her arms. “I can carry this on my own.”
“Okay.” Jennifer paused in hesitation. She wanted to say something, but in the end, she decided to remain silent. Angela still seemed to be aware of Jennifer’s slow reactions.
Walking into the living room, she saw her Mama Elena sitting on one side of the sofa, and slowly browsing through the magazine in her hand.
“I’m home, Mama.” Angela called out as she entered the room.
“You seemed to have come home a bit late today,” Eleana said, not lifting her head.
Angela shuffled her feet. “Yes, Miss Greene wanted to speak with me about a few things.”
“In that case, what things would that be?” Mama lifted her head at last, the elusive smile on her face making Angela’s heart drop. Ge-deng.
But her ‘well-weathered’ face didn’t change color as she answered, “Miss Greene wants me to play a violin solo for the anniversary of the school’s founding.”
“Yes… But… May I…”
“Since you agreed, you should do it. If you can’t do it, you should not have agreed. I remember telling you this several times already.”
“Yes, I know.” Angela mentally sighed. Since things went as expected, she then turned to leave the room.
Elena’s voice, however, immediately came from behind Angela. “Put down your schoolbag and come back. I want to have a talk with you.”
As expected. Did something happen? Angela nervously thought, Don’t tell me that she discovered that I had sneakily watched PG-13 movie VCR tapes? Or maybe she had seen my writing and doodles? She hurriedly entered her room and quickly searched it in the little amount of time she had. At least all of her secrets seemed safe, so what could it be?
Angela glanced at the time and saw that it was quickly approaching five minutes. She really couldn’t imagine where the problem had occurred, so she had no choice but to slowly come downstairs.
Soon after, she was sitting with proper posture in front of Elena, who had finally closed her magazine. Wearing a smile on her face, she asked, “Angie, is there something you have kept hidden from me?”
“Mn, I think,” the little girl deliberately pondered for a few minutes. She assumed an open and guileless appearance as she acknowledged, “Well, there is something. On Tuesday, I messed up the flower garden, and yesterday, I broke Mr. Mike’s glasses but I didn’t tell him.”
Facing Angela’s innocent expression, Elena continued smiling. “Is that all?”
“Mn, yes. That’s all.” Angela racked her brains for a solution, but she really couldn’t guess what the problem was. So she very carefully nodded.
“Well, I know you are an expert troublemaker, but I didn’t know you had begun writing scripts.” Although Elena was still smiling, the sarcasm in her words was actually quite clear.
“What… what script?” Angela was confused. She never expected this. Her mother also didn’t reply. Lifting her hand, Elena pointed at something behind the little girl.
Angela puzzledly stood there before turning around to look behind her. When she caught a clear view of the lady standing behind her, she blinked again to make sure she wasn’t seeing things then shrieked, “Mrs. Meyers!”