A True Lady
Since her childhood, she has been told nothing but to disobey her parents’ order. And her mother was always telling her something like “Nina, since you are the only girl in our family, you must behave yourself on any occasion and do what we tell you to do. That’s what a true lady should be.”
Ten years has passed, she did become a so-called true lady as her parents expected，that is, an obedient child who never contradicted her parents. She tried to do everything perfectly as her parents asked her to do. She became the top student with both excellent grades and versatility because that was what could make her parents satisfied. Her life seemed to be much easier for the only thing she needed to do was just nodding her head and following her parents’ order. Almost everyone admired and praised her as a well-educated true lady, though she didn’t feel much happy about it.
Everything has changed since she made a friend when she was in senior high school. The girl named Ann was a black. Actually, she was a little hesitant about this friendship at first, for her mother had already told her not to contact with the black people. It was in 1960s, and the racialism was flooding. But she didn’t care about it at all. Ann was a good talker who could make everything fun in her humorous tone, not to mention the same hobbies and thoughts they shared with each other. They talked about the Sonnets by Shakespeare, or the Cheshire cat in Alice’s wonderland. Most importantly, there was no pressure, scolding or terrible demands. Sometimes she thought only when she was together with Ann，she would not have to be a true lady as her parents demanded.
She found her secret wonderland together with this black girl. She wished that they were always living in this piece of dreamland like Alice’s, and would never wake up.
“Jesus! Look what on earth are you doing?”
Her head lifted, finding nothing but her mother glaring at her, whose arm tightly holding Ann’s. The rage in her mother’s eyes made her blood run cold.
“Forget what I’ve told you?”
“But she’s my friend…”
“No!” Her mother screamed hysterically and dragged her violently. As she turned around for the last look, she found tears rolling down from Ann’s big eyes. She was familiar with the expressive eyes, which should have been filled with joy and laughter instead of sorrow and tears.
Her heart pounded wildly. She wanted to ask why but she knew she couldn’t. What she should do was to apologize to her mother and break up with Ann decidedly. But she couldn’t find any reason to persuade herself to do so. They kept telling her to do something she didn’t like all the time, but never gave her the rights to ask why.
That’s unfair, isn’t it?
She never thought she would meet Ann again under such a circumstance. Although Ann pretended to be fine and relaxed, the scar on her face that cut apart her smile was so horrifying. Black students like Ann had already been demanded to leave school. Every single day there were thousands of protests breaking out in order to fight against racialism but the situation seemed not so optimistic. The whole country was totally in a mess—she heard these at the breakfast table as her mother told her once again:“Never make friends with Blacks again.”She said, “And don’t get yourself into troubles.”
She was totally in blank until she heard Ann’s words: “Tomorrow I’ll join the protest.” she said, with the determined look on her face.
“Will you come and support me?”
Ann held her hands tightly, with tears shining in her eyes.
“We are still friends, aren’t we?”
At that moment she recalled what she’d always been told since she was just a little kid, that is, never to disobey her parents’ order or break the rule; that’s what a so-called true lady should be.
But what on earth can be defined as a rule?
She trembled, with her heart beating wildly. At this time she started to think about the definition of a true lady again—she shouldn’t be a failure without any thoughts or judgment, a stupid girl who just listen and follow other’s opinion like a chicken with its head off. A true lady, in her mind, should be a nice gentlewoman who follows her heart and do whatever she’d like to. Through so many years, there was no one asking of her what she really wanted to do. Even she never thinks about this question by herself, the answer was much clearer now: she wanted to be a true lady—in her way—to be brave enough to break the so-called rules and escape from her “well-planned” life. She could make friends with whomever she wanted, express the opposite opinions buried in her mind… she could live freely.
The flashlight in her eyes shone brightly, and she firmly believed that it would be the most exciting time in her “well-planned” lifetime.
“Jesus, please forgive me”. She murmured in heart, and she clearly heard what she said: “Yes. Yes, I’d like to.”