Section B: Continuous Writing
2. Write a story ending with:
“……it made me realize the importance of love in our lives”
“If you look to your right, you will be able to witness one of the most marvelous man made structure in the world” our tour guide said in a loud and clear voice. I looked at the structure on my right in amazement, mesmerized by its magnificence. However, at the same time I imagine the blood spilt to make this possible. I picture the torture and pain the Chinese has gone through to build this wonder of the world.
“Amanda, amazing is it not? I never thought the Great Wall of Chine will be this breathtaking. Come on, let us climb it” Harry said in excitement. I looked at the great wall again and I cannot help but to think about the number of people sacrificed to make it possible. Harry starred at me, waiting for an answer. “You go ahead. I want to stay down here. Wave to me when you reach the top” I smiled half heartedly.
He looked into my eyes as though to seek for an answer to his curiosity. “You seem odd today. Anyway, wait for me here. I will just take a while to climb the Great Wall of China. After all, I am quite an athlete myself” he praised himself. “Sure you are, Harry. Go on, the rest of the tour is leaving you behind. I will wait around here. Meet me at the tour bus when all of you are done climbing the magnificent wall” I emphasized on the word wall.
Harry smiled and trailed off behind the tour group heading towards the stairs of the Great Wall of China. I looked around me and an extreme number of tourists are around. All of them flashing their cameras and eating sweet potatoes. Do I see people eating sweet potatoes? My stomach growled looking at the steaming hot sweet potatoes they are eating. I can tell it is steaming hot judging by the white smoke coming from it.
My nose cannot resist the sweet aroma from the sweet potatoes. I scanned the whole place and tried to find the source to these mouth watering looking sweet potatoes. After a few minutes, my eyes caught sight of a very long line next to a souvenir stall. My feet automatically moved towards to the crowd. The sweet smell of hot piping sweet potatoes grew stronger and stronger. It is as though the smell is dancing around my nose.
“Excuse me is this the line to buy some sweet potatoes?” I asked a lady in front of me. However, she did not look like a tourist but more of a local. She smiled and mumbled something in Chinese which I did not really understand. Actually, I did not understand a single word she just told me. I as lost at words not understanding her and she gave up explaining things to me and reverted to focus on the line.
I was about to walk away but an elderly Chinese man came and greeted me with the warmest smile this winter. He greeted me in fluent English. “Good morning, miss. Want to buy some sweet potatoes? Just wait in line, its normal and I guarantee it will be worth the wait. You will not regret trying the sweet potatoes” he smiled. “Is it that impressive? The line is extremely long” I asked him, puzzled. His smile did not fade and it is still there, plastered on his wrinkled face. I felt a warm aura coming from him. “Just try it for yourself and tell me what you think of it” he replied me.
Just as they say, curiosity kills the cat. I am hungry as well and Harry is definitely not an athletic person so I might as well kill time and assist to my growling stomach. The line was getting shorter and I waited patiently to get my hands on some sweet potatoes. After approximately 20 minutes it was my turn. The Chinese lady in front of me bought about ten sweet potatoes. I am shocked when I see a little girl selling the sweet potatoes. She is at least around the age of twelve. She is so skinny her bones are protruding from under her skin.
“May I have two sweet potatoes please” I said pointing at the sweet potatoes and lifting two fingers up to her. Just in case she does not understand me. She smiled and nodded her head. There were about twenty sweet potatoes left in the basket and at least double the people in line behind me. She handed me the sweet potatoes and asked for 2 RMB. I handed her the notes carefully as I was afraid to hurt her small fragile hands. She smiled and said thank you.
I walked to the side and then I noticed she started to pack her things and everyone who waited behind me left. What happened? There were still sweet potatoes left so why did everyone just leave? “It is time to go home” the friendly Chinese man answered me. It’s a bit scary how he seemed to know the questions I asked in my head. “How did you know…..never mind. What do you mean it is time to go home? There were still potatoes left and waited so long in line” I asked my questions out loud this time.
He smiled and starred at the little girl as he answered me “It is time to go home and feed her family. They are waiting for her”. He continued to explain to me her story. Droplets of water welled up in my eyes after I heard his explanation. I found myself starring at her as well after she finished counting the money she collected today. She picked up her basket of sweet potatoes and started to walk off. I want to follow her, just to see where she leaves.
My heart told me to follow her but I was reluctant. I was hesitant. “Go on, follow her. You will learn something about life” the old man said. I was about to think he can hear my inner thoughts. It was upright scary. Nevertheless, I nodded and thanked him. The little girl was already at quite a distance from me so I hurried off to trail her. Lucky for me, I am opposite of Harry. I am the runner for my school and state.
As I followed her out of the Great Wall attraction place his words linger at the top of my mind. “She is the eldest of five siblings. Her mother was crippled after an accident at the factory. Every day, this little girl we call Xin Kai will sell the sweet potatoes here”. She walks rather fast and we reached a small village away from the local attractions. “Her family waits for her every day. They will wait for her to come home. The sweet potatoes she did not sell will be their meal for the day” his words remained in my thoughts.
Xin Kai walked into a small old and rundown house which looked more like a shack to me. I hid at the side of the house as she entered the front door. Suddenly, I heard screams of laughter coming from inside. I peeped through the window and my heart was melted. Inside, were five really small kids ranging from age three to nine year old. They had three beds, a round wooden table, five chairs and a small kitchen.
All five of them sat eagerly at the round wooden table while I see a woman lying in bed which I presume is their mother. Xin Kai smiled and gave them each the sweet potatoes she brought home with her. I watched them laugh and eat together. They have little, close to nothing but they were happy. I stood there for quite some time until I realized Harry might be waiting for me so I decided to take one last look at them before I leave.
My heart was filled with admiration. I ran back to the tour bus with the image of Xin Kai and her family in my head. Harry crossed his arm in front of him like a teacher waiting to punish his students and gave me a smirk on his face. “So you better have a reason for making the whole tour wait half an hour for you, Amanda” he said as I approached him. I hugged him tightly. He was taken aback. “Here you go, sweet potatoes” I pulled myself away from him and handed him the sweet potatoes I bought earlier on.
He just took it silently, most probably still stunned at my hug. The old man waved to me from his small stall as I sat at the window in the bus. He still scares me but that smile and the friendliness is more than enough to surpass this fear I have. I waved good bye. I might come back to this place again. Who knows, time will tell. My mind wonders off somewhere. I can hear the laughter from Xin Kai and her siblings in my ears. “Hey, snap out of it. Amanda!” Harry nudged me.
“Yes?” I asked, coming back to reality. “Where did you buy these sweet potatoes from? It is really good” he said while eating. I looked at him and smiled. “I bought them just now, from a little girl called Xin Kai”. A girl with almost nothing but still goes home to a happy family every day. A girl who has five siblings waiting for her at home, laughing and eating together. She has nothing but love for her family. I smiled at the fresh memory still at the tip of my thoughts.
This trip will never be forgotten. It made me realize the importance of love in our lives.
Written by, Amy Lim Su Yen