Today, we’re continuing the wonderful “To Kill The Second” by Di Bei. You can read Part 1 here, and make sure to check back tomorrow for the final act. “To Kill The Second” chronicles young Jade’s celebration of her first-born status in the wake of the repeal of China’s one-child law, and her rebellion against the social stigma of her sex and intelligence. This is Di Bei’s first English publication, and we can’t wait to share her powerful story in full.
I put the phone aside, letting her cool down for a couple of hours, or days, but it buzzed again. Gosh, Swallow. I glanced at the screen, ready to be impatiently amused, but it was not her. It said:
How did you do it? Did you drug your Mom? Did you push her down the stairs?
“The best gift a wife can give her husband is her virginity.”
On the projector, Teacher Tao played video lectures. The theme of our weekly class meeting was Virtue. I doodled in my textbook. Just when I was adding moles to Confucius’ face, Teacher Tao called my name.
“Jade, what do you think of the lecture?”
Always. Whenever we talked about virginity and self-respect, my name was mentioned. I remembered the days when I used to blush. “It was interesting,” I said.
“Do you agree with the lecture?” Teacher Tao asked.
“No, not really,” I answered.
“Why is that? Don’t you plan to give this gift to your husband?”
“Oh, I just thought it’s a little unfair,” I said. “Virginity is like a one-time thing, right? It’s like a disposable gift. If I were the husband, I’d want something everlasting, like diamond rings.”
Some boys giggled. The rest of the students didn’t know how to react, so they sat in silence. I watched Teacher Tao’s face turning red. Too bad she could not kick me out of her class. At No.7, a teacher’s performance was measured directly through the college admission rate of the class. Since I was one of the best students at No.7, losing me would be a great deduction in her bonus.
Deep in my uniform pocket, my phone buzzed. Phones were not allowed on campus, but I carried it anyway. At No.7 there was no tattletale. No one would even wake me up if I fell asleep on the desk. The less time I spent studying meant my classmates had a greater chance to get ahead of me.