A Hilarious Fly: In the Eyes of a Kid under Colossal Study Stress

Fun and CreativityAwesome Moments

“… So, our goal for this semester is to try to motivate our students to push harder at their academic grades…” the speaker stood at the front of the oblong table, speaking so solemnly that a passer-by would view him as a priest at a funeral.

The lights in the meeting room were blinding, engulfing everyone in an eerie pale glow. Somewhere in the distance, a bell rang and the deserted corridors suddenly came alive with footsteps and laughter. They were the pupils from next-door classrooms, breathing in several minutes of freedom: break time.

The speaker at the front paused for a bit at the noise with a frown settled firmly on his forehead. Clearly irritated, he cleared his throat and continued, “As I was saying, Grade Two is a crucial period of a student’s development. We should try hard to build their passion for study, and frankly, if they are still wasting their time like this, we still have a very long way to go.”

I sat idly beside the window, turning my head every few minutes when there was a general murmur of agreement or confusion around the table. The parents were stationed at both sides of the table, as expressionless as statues. Among them was my dad. He was seated at my usual place in the classroom and was attentively taking note of the speaker’s directives. So were other adults. We students had no definite place to sit down, and could only mill around. That’s how a parent-teacher conference routinely proceeds in China. From a seven-year-old’s point of view, they could be plotting something terrible against us, trying every means to deprive us of our play time. The meeting was anything but a mobilizing party, as it should be. The novelty of this meeting quickly paled and it became nothing but torture. To entertain myself, I tried to count the flow of cars below, wondering if white cars outnumbered the black ones. Soon, my brain throbbed in protest as a random number tried desperately to squeeze in and, with a frustrated growl, I turned my attention back to the speaker, who was by then babbling about students’ creativity.

But dark spots danced at the perimeter of my vision after turning my gaze from the sunny outside street to the gloomy office. I shook my head violently, wanting to clear my vision, and also sincerely hoping that something fun and out of ordinary would happen to this boring summer afternoon. Just as I was about to resume my little game, my eyes caught something near the speaker’s head. A tiny black dot was moving jauntily around his head. My mouth opened in amazement as I stood transfixed on it. A fly! A fly with its little wings and huge eyes was circling the speaker’s head, pausing occasionally on his stark white shirt, enjoying itself.

The speaker gradually sensed another living thing’s presence on his face, for he began to jerk his head from side to side while talking about how to make students concentrate on the teacher in classes. The fly seemed to like the unstable movements for it began to zoom in circles frantically.

The helpless speaker tried to swat it away but only increased the fly’s excitement. It had taken up a completely new strategy. It would circle on top of the speaker’s head, just a few centimeters out of reach, before zooming down and pausing on his face a split second. The moment the speaker felt its contact with his skin, the fly would fly away before his hand could swat it. The speaker was now helpless and hopeless under the vicious attack of the fly, and his beady eyes began to pan around the room, looking for a reliable person to help him. His gaze rested on the man closest to him on the right-hand side. The man shifted uncomfortably in his chair, unwilling to meet his boss’s eyes. He wore a tuxedo which was buttoned up to his neck, hardly suppressing the round belly under the thin cloth. Beads of sweat broke out on his forehead and his face slowly turned purple like he was short of oxygen.

“On your left cheek, sir.” He gasped, still avoiding looking at the hilarious scene.

The speaker, obviously in a frenzy of anger and embarrassment, drew his hand back and slapped himself squarely on the face. The room was dead silent, and the fly, pleased that it was now the complete center of the attention, made its grand exit while humming a light tune to itself.

A second later, I was shaking with uncomfortable laughter. Two minutes passed and instead of slowly ebbing away, the joyful notes of my laughter came at a quicker pace. I could feel my whole face slowly turning pink, and then red, and then a deep shade of crimson and my stomach was hurting like crazy. Dad kept shooting me warning looks, but one glance at the five fingerprints on the speaker’s face, and his feeble attempts to remain equanimous, set me off again.

Dad scooped me up and carried me to the hallway. I had just one last look at the speaker and the rest of the group. The speaker had resumed his monologue, trying hard to act like nothing had happened. But his listeners’ splotchy faces and suppressed grins were the best evidence for the ridiculous event.

The door closed behind us with a loud bang. And with that sound, all the craziness that had happened in the room were long gone. But the string of laughter, which was now connected by the vivid images in my head, formed the strands to keep the joyful notes together. And so, I made my exit, with the ghost of my laughter still echoing in the empty hallway.

Yifei Wang is a 15-year-old Chinese girl studying at Nan Hua High School, Singapore. She enjoys reading books, listening to beautiful melodies, and showing her mind in her own writings if she can spare time from her piles of homework. As a big fan of the Harry Potter series, she dreams of turning into J.K. Rowling in the future.

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