THE SECRET IS OUT


THE SECRET IS OUT

Shengliver’s Note: I have kept a dark secret in the deepest corner of my heart up to this very moment. Please read and find it out. Over three decades on does Shengliver feel any guilt?

 

Back in 1984, when I was in Grade 2 middle school, I committed a “crime”, which regrettably my class director Mr Zhou failed to solve.

 

There was a girl in my class who was popular with everyone, students and teachers alike. Her popularity aroused the boys’ resentment, since we branded her as the teacher’s pet. The truth was that the more we hated her, the more popular and confident she became.

 

One day while drifting in class to my fantasy world despite the teacher’s buzzing speech, I came up with an idea. I made up my mind to do something bad to the girl, single-handedly.

 

That evening, when class was over and there was no one else around, I went to the girl’s desk and checked out her Chinese textbook, which I was sure she would be using the next morning for reading aloud. Very quickly, I wrote some swear words on a slip of paper and inserted it between the pages. I thought I was clever enough not to use my own pen. That night while in bed in the dorm, I laughed to myself, pretty sure that the next morning the girl would put up a show in the classroom.

 

In the Reading Aloud period the next morning, all the students were yelling the texts like crazy, as if the roof of the poor schoolhouse were about to collapse on us. All of a sudden, a girl started to cry and swear. All of us stopped reading, and what we heard was the girl’s swearing. We could not believe such obscenities should be coming out of such an innocent girl’s mouth. What was even stranger was that she was not my target. She was my target’s deskmate.

 

Oh my God. What a terrible mistake! Mentally I went through what I had done the evening before but I was 100% sure that the note had been put in the other girl’s Chinese book. It turned out that my target had borrowed her deskmate’s book and used it the evening before. Oops.

 

The wronged girl would not stop. She cursed and swore and cried as if she had lost a family member. Naturally my class director Mr Zhou was brought to the scene.

 

He started to investigate. First of all, all the “bad” boys were summoned to his office. After a storm of verbal abuse, Mr Zhou ordered them to confess. Poor boys. They had not done it. They ended up howling in Mr Zhou’s office because he attempted again and again to coerce each of them into admitting their crime.

 

Seeing that the boys would not confess, Mr Zhou sent them back to the classroom. Then someone informed Mr Zhou that the handwriting of the message was very similar to mine. At first Mr Zhou would not suspect me of it, because in his eye I was a shy, timid and good-natured boy. He had never heard me swearing in the classroom at least. But there being no other solution available, I was summoned to Mr Zhou’s office.

 

“Shengliver, did you do it?” he asked.

 

“No, I didn’t,” I replied.

 

“Then why is the handwriting yours?” he continued, smirking as if I would confess on the spot.

 

I went ahead, “Mr Zhou, do you really think that I would have been such a fool? If I had done it, I would never have used my own way of writing.”

 

My answer plunged my dear teacher into silence. Since he could not get a confession from me, I was sent back to the classroom.

 

The same day while I was not in the classroom, Mr Zhou checked out my pen and the ink. He even wrote some words using my fountain pen. He became dead sure that my pen was not the crime tool.

 

It seemed as if Mr Zhou were stuck in a cul-de-sac. He was helpless, poor man. After some consideration he got me into his office again.

 

This time Mr Zhou turned harsh and accused me of being the culprit. His words were such that I almost freaked out. But in my heart I told myself that there was no way I would admit it. Mr Zhou had me stand in the office for several hours on end, without any supper.

 

His efforts to no avail, Mr Zhou let me go. Back in the classroom, he announced that the crime was laid to rest although no criminal had been caught. He yelled, “No one shall mention it again!”

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