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I was a timid, 3-feet-11- tall girl, sitting on the front seat of a motorcycle all alone, parked against an alley in front of a rugged underground supermarket. Those were the years before my mom and I had moved to New York--and trust me, underground markets in China are nothing like the fluorescent lighted Path Mark's around here. Anyways, my grandmother had overdressed me again. On the outer, I was wearing a pink velour vest, and underneath, a thick, itchy bunny turtleneck. I had two pairs of pants on as always, and boots with three faded Pokémon characters on them. I felt awfully constricted in this outfit. If I wanted to hop off and run away, and hopefully use the kung fu skills I had learned at daycare to physically cripple any kidnapper coming my way, I couldn't. It was raining harder than ever, and everything was a blur--except for the fact that I had been too stubborn to buy fish and vegetables with my grandpa. As I looked around my surroundings a beggar with draping, hairy eyebrows (probably home to a family of lice) grinned at me. He revealed his crooked, yellow teeth and he whispered at me: “Siu mui mui…(Little girl)”. I was about to faint.

Naturally, people become stronger and braver as they grow older. They have learned enough from childhood experiences, so that they won't have to make poor decisions leading to inconveniences. At fifteen, I know I'm not and will never be perfect, but I've definitely matured and don't embarrass myself as much I use to. I'm glad that I haven't gotten into any sort of trouble for a while, but nothing really thrilling has happened in my life lately. In fact, my life has become sort of a tiring routine: wake up, go to school, complete homework, study and then a few extracurricular activities that I'm involved with. As a child, when my stubborn personality was at its peak, I had put myself in a lot of difficult situations. Of course, I had wanted to forget this particular event forever and start anew back then, but today that feeling and desire has took a 360 turn.


That man kept grinning with a drunken stare. He began to walk towards me, and I noticed that he limped in an un-humanly sort of way. His left leg was deformed and it didn't exactly line up with his torso, but he didn't look as if he was in any sort of pain at all. Perhaps he was born this way and had gotten used to it, and for a moment I thought about all the disappointments his deformity may have caused him in life. However, I was done being sentimental, when the man asked me: “Do…you want to come to my house and play?” I didn't know how to react—I desperately wanted to jump off and run away, but I'd never be as fast if he had a knife stuffed in his back pocket. Another part of me just hoped that this was all a dream and I didn't really have to answer him. It was one of those times when I knew I had to act cleverly, and there was surely some way to save myself but I just couldn't think of it. Then, I saw my grandpa carrying four red plastic bags with all his groceries, and I shouted, “Grandpa!” The strange man looked at me one last time, turned around and left.


When my grandpa and I zoomed home on the motorcycle, I wanted to cry. I was angry at myself for being so stubborn, and hated myself for being too prissy to enter the market. I wanted so badly to tell my grandfather what had happened, but unfortunately my stubborn streak was still on. I knew that I had made a terrible decision and put my own life on risk, but I didn't want anyone to tell me again that I was stubborn and that I'd never change. The truth was, however, who would have wanted to go into a dirty old market with caged chicken, live, bucketfuls of toads and butchers doing their work under dim light bulbs dangling across the peeling ceiling? I had gone to that place too many times before and have grown to despise it. However, at that time I was just too traumatized to tell anyone about the event. That night while I lay in bed staring up at the mosquito net, the image of the horrifying man kept flashing off and on in my head and I thought off all the horrible things that could have happened to me if my grandpa hadn't come that single moment. The next morning, however, I lived on and decided to act as if it was all a dream and never happened.



If I were to tell this story again to anyone in my family, no one would believe me—for how could such a thing happen to a girl who lives such a safe, secure and blessed life today? Even I myself would have forgotten about the event it weren't for this English class assignment, but during a snowy morning as I scanned through all of my childhood memories, I guess I never really managed to erase the memory of this incident with the kidnapper. Although what had happened was so frightening and graphic (and my entire fault), it had me contemplating that my life wasn't as bland as I thought it was. It makes me feel as if I had really gone a long way from my childhood days to now. I'm definitely a smarter person today, but if I were to go through the same situation again, I probably wouldn't have been as brave and still as I was eleven years ago. After all, it would be awfully unlikely for a fifteen year old to sit like a stone on a motorcycle without a word to say. I still make mistakes today, and the feeling is never quite pleasing right afterwards, but perhaps I shouldn't always try to start over from a clean slate. I shall just accept whatever happens, and someday I will look back I'll definitely be able to appreciate the memories—as I do now.





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