Courage and Consequence

by Pu Shi

Amy (Pu Shi) is a language teacher and educational researcher.  She is also a student of creative writing in Miranda’s Wednesday evening class.

S was my best friend in school. We lived on the opposite site of the same road. Every day we walked to school together, walked home together and ate unhealthy snacks together. One day in winter the temperature dropped and I was made to put on a coat embarrassingly chunky. To my surprise and relief, that morning S turned up wearing a coat of exactly the same style and colour. So we went to school like two happy penguins.

That day after school I complained about the maths homework. She said she didn’t want to do it. I said there might be consequences. She said if we both didn’t do it, for any consequence at least, we would be taking it together. I thought that was a brilliant idea.

In the maths lesson the next day, the teacher asked everybody to put their homework on a desk at the front. As someone who had always fulfilled the teacher’s requirements, I sat still on my seat, watching everyone standing up to submit their homework. I had no red face nor faster heartbeats, for I knew that I wasn’t the only one and there was nothing to worry about.

Just at that moment, I saw S stand up, holding a piece of paper covered with numbers and symbols, putting it quietly onto that pile of homework.

For the whole lesson I didn’t hear a word. During the break my tears burst out like tap water. I didn’t have the language to explain nor the strength to argue. For the first time in my life, I saw the importance of not trusting others. I understood that in order to ‘be yourself’, you had to have the courage to bear the consequence, alone.