A SWEATER

A SWEATER

Shengliver’s Note: It made an adolescent’s day.

 

The weather has been behaving unpredictably since last winter. This spring is no spring at all. Rather it is a long tail of its wintry sibling, trailing into March and April. Except for a couple of sunny spells, it has been overcast, drizzly or nippy most of the days.

 

Ming the teen expected it would be sunny and warm in the new term, so when he returned to school at the end of the winter holidays, he left behind his winter wear at home in Zhuxi. He took along only his school uniforms, which are made for autumn and spring weather.

 

In such weather as we have had so far, the boy suffered like hell. It was OK in the classroom, for over 70 students kept the room warm despite the poor ventilation indoors. In the dorm, he felt the bite of the cold. Anyway he was nice and warm under the quilt during the night.

 

He found he could not stand it on the weekend, when there were no classes to take in the classroom and the classroom building was closed. He usually went to the reading rooms in the library to do his homework. With few souls there, he couldn’t help shivering at the desk, teeth chattering.

 

Ming decided to go and buy a sweater. He visited a lot of shops in the neighbourhood, only to find most sweaters on sale were too large for him. He had to come back to the dorm as cold as ever.

 

His wearing so little became a laughing stock among his mates. The boys said Ming wanted to show off his figure to the girls. Their jokes pissed Ming off.

 

Another Saturday evening while Ming was trembling and rubbing his hands frequently in the reading room, a student nearby noticed it. He asked Ming why he was wearing so little. Ming gave the explanation. He thought he might be ridiculed once again.

 

This boy was Ming’s classmate in middle school, but in high school they are in different classes. They were not on good terms in middle school. Actually in Ming’s memory they were rivals back then.

 

The boy did not tease Ming. Instead, he said seriously that he has an uncle living in town. He would ask his uncle to help buy a sweater for Ming if he did not mind it.

 

Ming could not believe his ears. Thinking of their ding-dong back in middle school, Ming took the boy’s words lightly, never to expect he meant it.

 

One day the next week, Ming was doing his schoolwork in the classroom when he heard his name called. He looked out of the door but found no one there. So he ignored it. After a while his name was heard again, and his classmates urged him to go out.

 

Ming went out, and there stood the boy, who is of average height, and his uncle, the latter carrying a new sweater in a package. The adult asked Ming to try it on, and the garment fitted him nicely.

 

The incident touched the teen. It occurred to him that he had misjudged the boy. The sweater warmed up Ming. What the boy did for him made Ming’s day. This spring no longer feels as cold as it is.

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