A Book Dedicated To Our Youth: Chapter 1.4

The different experiences you face during puberty, what was the most awkward or embarrassing situation you’ve encountered?

Puberty is definitely an awkward and sometimes uncomfortable period for many but we often forget that the good parts of puberty such as having crushes for the first time.

4. First Awakening Of Love

First love, is, a flower bursting into bloom instantly, not a step earlier, not a step later, he is exactly there. FIrst love, is, the most pure and white flower on earth, it only opens once in a lifetime, fragrant when in bloom, bitter when withered, never with a result. 

When the new semester started, we entered Year 5. We changed seating plan and I was on the same desk as the child genius, Chen Jin.

As our bodies developed, our feelings towards the opposite gender also quietly changed. All of a sudden, there were some extra mysteriousness between the boys and girls in the class.

Only after going to university and conversing with my dorm sisters did I find out that although we were from different parts of China, our awakenings of love in primary were surprisingly similar. Basically, in a class, all the boys would like the two or three girls who were pretty, could sing and dance and were liked by the teacher while the girls in the class would all like the two or three boys who were outstanding in their studies and well liked by the teacher. In primary, likes and crushes were amazingly consistent.

In our class, the boys could choose between two or three girls to like while the girls pretty much all liked Chen Jin. It couldn’t be helped, that person’s limelight was too strong. He had a good family background, his father was a high official in the Department of Education and his mother was the vice director of our city’s television station; he was smart, the teacher would say the first sentence in the front and he would continue the next; he was talented, he could play the violin and every year at the arts festival, his violin playing would definitely get our class an award. Unfortunately, his personality was very cocky. Teacher Zhang pretty much wants to treat him as her son but he was very cold towards her. As other primary students all worshiped the teacher, this was too rare.

At the time, although I had read a bunch of different books, even finishing Dream of the Red Chamber, strangely, I still didn’t really understand the relationship between male and females. Every time I saw a girl find an excuse to come and ask him questions and then sit in my seat refusing to budge, I didn’t find it odd at all, I only thought that the girls in our class were all pretty hardworking.

Chen Jin was very clever and he had also matured early. He saw through the girls’ little tricks but though he enjoyed all the girls’ admiration, inside, he was impatient with them. Once, when he was tied up with a girl for a long time, he gracefully answered her questions right up until bell rang when she had no choice but to leave.

He waited until I came back to my seat before angrily saying “don’t randomly let others sit on your seat, otherwise my effort in arranging for you to sit next to my side will all be wasted.  Looking at how you copy my homework everyday, next time you have to help me block them off.”

I spent a small half of the period pondering over his words before it finally dawned on me. No wonder! I had found it odd, how come I was able to occupy this prime spot? I see! He was the first in the class and he was also the class president, He was an excellent student and class leader, if he didn’t help the students with their questions, then it definitely wouldn’t keep up with his glorious image. But if he answered the questions, it wouldn’t suit his selfish heart.

Our school’s tradition was always seating a girl and a guy together. I was a girl so it met the criteria of sitting next to him; my grades were the worst so I was someone who didn’t study at all, so I definitely wouldn’t ask him questions. Someone who wouldn’t bother him or ruin his image, thus being the best table partner was found.

Getting to see the true colors’ of this student who was seen as excellent in the eyes of teachers, parents and students, I didn’t feel he was any better or worse than before. He was only a person called Chen Jin, a child genius who was very good at studying, someone who was outside my world. The me at the time would never even have dreamed that not only was he my primary classmate, he would later be my senior in Qing Hua*.
[*One of the best universities in China]

That day, it was completely the same as numerous other normal days in the past, everything was running on track. The only difference was that I had woke up late and I had got my period. I was still not used to having my ‘aunt’* visit month so by the time I had finished rushing around and was ready for school, I was already late.
*[大姨妈 (da yi ma) is another way of saying period in Chinese so my ‘aunt’ has come means that her period has arrived.]

Outside, the already gloomy sky turned even more dark, filled with layers of thick black clouds which seemed like they were going to drop down. The sun was completely unable to be seen so even though it was daytime, it made one feel like it was midnight. My mood wasn’t good to begin with but seeing this kind of weather and thinking of how if I turned up late my class will lose points which will affect our chances of the red flag, my mood sunk lower.

Because it wasn’t going to school or work time and my path to school wasn’t a main road, the whole street was completely empty, there were only willow trees on the side of the roads, waving wildly in the wind. I carried my bag and walked difficulty against the wind.

Without warning, not even a flash of lightning or thunder, it began to hail. However, I was already late and I didn’t dare to waste time dodging the hail so braving the hail, I ran.

The wind grew stronger and stronger but I was small and weak so it felt like with every step I took forward, I was blown back half a step. I walked for a long time but it seemed as though I was still at the same place. I was becoming anxious when suddenly, a person rushed to me and grabbing my hand, pulled me forward into a run.

I got a bit shocked until I saw that it was Zhang Jun. I wanted to talk but when I opened my mouth, the hail was immediately blown in by the cold wind. The words didn’t come out but I instead ate a mouthful of ice. As he ran, he chuckled with his mouth closed, obviously this was the reason he did not speak.

He was taller than me by a head and he was stronger than me, I felt the pressure on my body lighten and the wind seemingly turned smaller. As he held my hand and guided me into the howling wind, I wasn’t sure why but my mood suddenly brightened up and every step I took seemed to be full of energy, even the hail that fell onto my face no longer hurt one bit.

When we got to the school gates, he automatically let go of me and pointed to the classrooms smiling, signalling that I should go to class first.

The teacher’s  attention will be focused more on the student that’s worse so by letting me go first, he is wanting to bear all the punishment by himself. Suddenly, without any reason, I felt my heart thumping and my face boiling hot. Lowering my head, I sprinted towards the classroom. Luckily, due to the hail, the students on duty all went back to their classes so we weren’t caught by the school for being late, only our morning self study teacher.

As our Chinese teacher was scolding me, Zhang Jun lazily called out “here” from the class door. As expected, the teacher quickly said a few words to me and let me sit down before going to scold Zhang Jun.

I hurriedly opened my text book and lowered my head as if I was concentrating. Hearing him explain to the teacher why he was late, my head lowered even more until my nose was nearly inside the book. My heart was so flustered that it seemed like it would burst out but yet it was also so sweet that it seemed like it was going to sink down. Just like getting drunk on chocolate with alcohol filling from when I was little, one moment I felt so happy that I wanted to fly, the next, I felt so bad that I wanted to die.

Chen Jin asked “what’s wrong?”
I silently shook my head.
Chen Jin disdainfully snorted “your book is upside down.”

Super embarrassed, I rushed to turn my book around but after turning it around, Chen Jin was trying to suppress his laughter. Looking closely, I realized that it was actually upside down this time around so I quickly turned the book back around again. Chen Jin was on the side laughing, “you’re like this yet you still try to lie, after a few words you’re already exposing the truth”.
I lowered my head, not saying a word,
The hail suddenly stopped without a sign, just like how it started, as if  the hail was only for the sake of getting us to hold hands. The sky was still cloudy but the wind got smaller and it started to rain.


In the afternoon, when it was nearly time to go home, I noticed that something was wrong, my pants seemed slightly wet so I secretly put my hand to my bottom, There was a light stain of blood on my fingers. I was nervous and embarrassed and didn’t know what to do. The girls in the class who developed early started theirs [menstruation] a year ago, those who developed late still didn’t know females had periods every month, this matter was kept a mystery between the girls.

Thinking about it now, growing up in our generation was often accompanied by embarrassment. Communications weren’t very developed so there was limited access to information. Parents were too shy to communicate directly with children on the aspects of puberty and the teachers talked more about sex. Most of the girls didn’t have a very pleasant experience when their first period came. Panic, embarrassment, bewilderment, fear, there were even people who thought that they had a serious illness and were going to die.

One of my friends told me that when she was young and saw the blood come out of her, she thought that she had a severe illness. She put on a brave front but secretly bit down on her blankets and cried in agony. Like the female leads in television dramas, she hid her “illness” in front of her loved ones and didn’t tell her parents. She started to secretly handle the “aftermath”, she lived frugally, gave all the stickers and cassette tapes that she had worked hard to accumulate to her cousin and told her to visit her parents more often in the future. When the truth was exposed and her cousin refused to return the stickers and cassette tapes, she used force to snatch them away. She hit her cousin and made her cry. her mom hit her and made her cry.

After growing up, when we shared these stories, we laughed until our stomachs hurt but the confusion and bitterness at the time was serious. My period had already come once but I still didn’t understand what it was. Through mom’s deliberately lowered voice and manner when she pulled me into the bathroom, I felt that this matter should be kept hidden and be handled secretly.

Now, this thing has stained my pants red and I had completely no idea what I should do. If I had a good friend, perhaps I could privately tell her but I don’t so I could only sit on the chair without moving.

Gradually, the students in the class all left, there was only Zhang Jun and three other boys making a noise at the back of the class. I don’t even know what they’re making a noise for.  Finally, they all carried their bags to leave. Zhang Jun walked to my desk: “aren’t you going home?”

“I’m leaving after a while.” I nervously stared at him, scared that he would find out the secret under my bottom. If he was the same as anyone else before today. then starting from today, I was really afraid of making a fool of myself in front of him. He looked out the window at the rain and said: “I’ll wait and go with you, I bought an umbrella from the school shop this afternoon.”
I was so anxious that I nearly started crying: “It’s okay, you go first.”
“It’s fine since I don’t have anything on.” As he talked, he unexpectedly sat down.
I stared at him, he looked at me
I had no idea what I should do, take out my homework book and start doing homework? Not just Zhang Jun. even I myself wouldn’t believe it. I kept pulling down my shirt, wanting to even cover the entire seat.

After a long time, he used a very certain tone to say: ” you have nothing to do, let’s go.” As he talked, he pulled on my arm. In panic, I used strength to throw away his hand and with a strained voice, said “I don’t want to go with you.”

He was immediately hurt and picking up his bag, he left the classroom. I looked at his disappearing figure and thought he definitely wouldn’t talk to me anymore in the future. Added to this wretched period, I suddenly felt incomparably sad and my tears started dropping out.

As I was crying, a figure appeared in front of me. I raised my head, it was Zhang Jun. He scratched his head and used a gentle tone to cautiously ask “is there something going on and you don’t want to go home?”

I used strength to shake my head, there was never a moment where I was more eager to be at home than now.
“Is there someone threatening you, waiting at the gates to beat you up?”
It really is something Zhang Jun would ask! I looked at him stupidly then continued to shake my head.
“Don’t be scared, if there really is someone threatening you, I will protect you, I’m really good at fighting.”  As he spoke, he opened his bag and showed me an iron chain hidden inside. I was really worried but I couldn’t resist laughing, he actually brought a weapon around with him everywhere.

He saw I was laughing and started laughing too. He helped lift up my bag, “then let’s go, no matter who wants to hit you, I will definitely guarantee your safety.”

I immediately shook my head furiously, He frowned, not understanding what was wrong. I thought for a minute then said “I’m afraid of the cold, can you lend me your sports jacket? “Hey, you should’ve said so earlier!” He took off his jacket straight away and handed it to me. I put it on and slowly stood up, my hand secretly tugging it, it covered my bottom just right.

He silently walked by my side, holding up a big black umbrella, helping to shield me from the rain. Two people sharing an umbrella, there was at least a distance of two or three fists in between. For the sake of not getting me wet, he could only try to tilt the umbrella more towards me.

After arriving below house, I took off the jacket with my back to the wall and handed it back to him. Like a mosquito humming, I hummed out a “thanks”.

His hair was slightly long and it hang wet on his forehead, the raindrops on his hair sparkled. He took the jacket and softly said “you’re welcome”. As if he was too embarrassed to accept my “thanks”, he turned and ran straight into the rain without opening the umbrella.

I waited until I could no longer see his figure before rushing home. At night, my tummy slightly hurt so mom brewed me some brown sugar and ginger water. After drinking it, I lied on the bed in a daze, my eyes only had Zhang Jun in them. Remembering the way he stupidly said “I will protect you”, I couldn’t resist laughing. I had a sweet feeling inside, sweeter than any candy I’ve eaten before.


The next day morning, I bumped into Zhang Jun by the school gates. He loudly greeted me whereas I quickly lowered my head with my heart thumping wildly as though if I raised my head, everyone will be able to see through my little secret.

When other girls like a guy, perhaps they will try different methods to get close to him, attract his attention and be with him more often. However, I was the complete opposite. Because I liked Zhang Jun, every time I saw him I became nervous and didn’t dare speak too much but secretly, I paid attention to his every action.

I often looked out at him on the soccer field running, secretly watching as he mucked around with classmates. One side of me eagerly wanted to get his attention but the other side of me was scared of receiving his attention. When he wasn’t looking at me, my vision of sight would always be following him, hoping that he would look at me but if he looked at me, I always hurriedly looked elsewhere before he could realize.

Liking someone back then was very simple. I didn’t require anything in return, only looking at him made me very happy. If he occasionally said a few words to me, then I would secretly smile for the whole day.



Aaand that’s the end of Chapter 1!!!!!!!!

Let me mention again that haven’t really edited these posts so let me apologize now just in case you see any mistakes or parts that don’t flow well. Please feel free to mention them in the comments and correct me (but not too harshly please) hehe.

When Zhang Jun asked Luo Qi Qi if there were anyone wanting to hit her and she shook her head, I was really disappointed hahaha. Luo Qi Qi should get some enemies if only to watch Zhang Jun in action. If only he was there when she was trying to escape from the two gangsters in the last part.

Tong Hua gets really descriptive with her words sometimes so I wonder if I should start cutting down on some unnecessary parts, especially since the word count for each part is 3000-4000 words.

Also, for any females out there with period pains, red sugar definitely helps! Add some red sugar to water and add in a few pieces of ginger then let it boil for a few minutes.



5 thoughts on “A Book Dedicated To Our Youth: Chapter 1.4

  1. Frhsyd

    Its nostalgic..i remember how my first period..was n how embarrassing it was cuz i thought i was going to die too!

    1. Tofubyu Post author

      I love how some of the things she goes through are really relatable! And like you said, it’s also pretty nostalgic of our own childhoods hehe. Thanks for reading!

      1. sutekii

        same, I was lucky with mine, I had it at home, all safe and sound hahaha. I quite like the end of this chapter with more involvement of Zhang Jun

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