Chapter 14: A Friend’s Advice (1)
When her stomach grumbled, Lin Xin remembered the Dean’s words. Seems like it’s dinner time. She ran to the cafeteria and eagerly presented her lunch box at the window. At this time, they were serving one of her favorites–golden rice guoba [note] 金黄的锅巴 Jīnhuáng de guōbā –scorched rice; instead of just getting it from the bottom of rice pots, one can make the recipe by mixing rice with rice flour and deep frying it in oil until it’s crisp [/note]–the slightly burnt rice from the bottom of the pot. Lin Xin appreciated the guoba’s fragrance and crisp texture, which she enjoyed soaking into a bowl of soup. The cafeteria lady was in charge of how much food to distribute among the children; usually the crisp guoba was served as a treat to the first few who make it to the front line.
Lin Xin dashed up to grab the second place in line, only to find that Zhao Qiang was the one to take first place. The cafeteria window had not been opened yet and the orphans were still lining up. Zhao Qiang glared at Lin Xin and raised his fist threateningly, as if to say ‘get away from me.’ Lin Xin glanced at him indifferently and moved half a step backwards to show concession.
Zhao Qiang didn’t expect her to easily give way, as if she was too lazy to deal with him. It was as if a powerful punch had landed on soft cotton, making his intimidation meaningless. At this time, the cafeteria lady opened the window and shouted, “We’re serving meals!” Zhao Qiang remembered his hungry belly and decided it was more important to eat his meal first. After filling his lunch box, he found a place by the window and devoured his dinner like a raging whirlwind.
Lin Xin looked down in satisfaction at her golden guoba and her lunch box full of rice. She picked up a piece of guoba and placed it in her mouth, finding that it tasted just as good as she expected. Lin Xin cheerfully took another bite.
Wu Anan soon appeared and sat across from her. She placed down her lunchbox and gave half of the vegetables on her plate onto Lin Xin’s box.
Lin Xin didn’t want to owe her any favors, so she hurriedly moved the vegetables back to Wu Anan’s bowl, “I already have enough. You eat.”
“You don’t have to be polite to me,” Wu Anan said with a sigh. “My sister wrote me a letter saying that she will pick me up and bring me to S City in the following week.”
Wu Anan was also a perceptive person; she easily sensed Lin Xin’s alienation early on. Although it was clear that the girl was trying to keep a distance, Wu Anan couldn’t bear the thought of not having much chance to meet in the future, especially since Wu Pingping come and take her to S City a few days. Knowing that there was little time, she took the initiative to talk to Lin Xin and be closer. During her time in the orphanage, Lin Xin was her closest friend, besides her own sister.
Lin Xin was aware of her intentions, but she pretended not to understand. She replied in an innocent tone, “This is a good thing. S City is big and prosperous. If you go there, you won’t have to suffer here.”
Wu Anan returned the vegetables to Lin Xin’s bowl and said sincerely, “I can’t eat so much since I’m trying to lose weight. You can eat it.”
Lin Xin was no longer polite. She gobbled up the offered good in a mouthful, then swallowed the rice in one bite. Lin Xin didn’t feel deep sorrow or disappointment upon hearing her upcoming departure, but she did feel a little sad.
Wu Anan was a good girl, but she shouldn’t invest too much feelings on her. Since the girl was leaving with her sister, Lin Xin always felt that things weren’t as simple as they seemed on the surface, so she advised, “The outside world is not as kind as you think it is. If bad things happen, don’t feel too disappointed. Life is like this. We must continue our best to live.”
Wu Anan didn’t quite understand the meaning behind Lin Xin’s words, but she could feel her concern. After some thought, she said in a solemn tone, “Lin Xin, there is something I think I have to tell you.”
Lin Xin looked up and asked, “What do you have to say?”
“It’s about Lin Xinyu.” After saying this in a hushed voice, Wu Anan looked around cautiously before continuing, “I see that you’ve been close to him recently. I’ve been meaning to tell you this a few days ago but I couldn’t find the chance. But since I’ll be leaving in two days, I think you need to hear this now.”
Lin Xin looked at Wu Anan’s eager expression, as if she had a secret that she couldn’t wait to divulge. Lin Xin looked at her expectantly and waited for Wu Anan’s words.
“Don’t go too close to Lin Xinyu. If you become too friendly with him, the Dean won’t like it.”