Woman in the White Pearls | Teen Ink

Woman in the White Pearls

June 21, 2022
By lin-kat004 BRONZE, Beijing, Other
lin-kat004 BRONZE, Beijing, Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I shuffled awkwardly behind my mother, staring wondrously at the graceful strides of her stiletto shoes. Soon, her crisp, rhythmic drum was spoiled, as several other middle-aged women thumped heavily towards us. None of the other children would ever agree to attend such dull and
tedious rituals. However, my mother had always insisted that I accompany her. To be honest, I didn’t mind it. I took a great delight in observing these dignified and affluent ladies sip their coffees, and quarrel over one another to pay the check. I constantly found them trying to establish their femininity and status. More often than not, they did so in a foolish manner.

During this gathering, I noticed a woman wearing white pearls. She had glossy waterfalls of hair cascading by the sides of her plump, rosy cheeks. Her face was beautiful but unfamiliar. She was clearly new to this assembly. As a curious little ten-year-old, I was immediately intrigued by her. Where did she come from? Was her husband similar to my father, a successful, deep-voiced professional with a job title too difficult for me to pronounce? I wasn’t the only nosy one. Before this woman even had a chance to formally introduce herself, Mrs. Zhang was already initiating an interrogation. The woman’s name was Yang Lili. We learned that Mrs. Yang was married to a wealthy lawyer. They had recently moved here from overseas with their two sons.

The tension and suspicion eventually dissipated as Mrs. Yang assimilated into the group. My interest in her obviously deflated at that point as well. She enunciated with the same smooth
and bright tone, similarly to my mother. She used the word “indeed” after every couple of sentences. She cupped her slender fingers over her lips every time she laughed. Mrs. Yang was
another replica of every other woman sitting before me, a glass figurine protected in her ivory
tower. I was not surprised.

On another breezy Saturday a few weeks later, my wild and energetic little feet took me galloping around Main Street. As my irritated mother yelled for me from afar, I noticed Mrs. Yang in the jewelry store. She was wearing a deformed black t-shirt with bleach stains scattered across the torso. I would have never believed it was her if it hadn't been for the white pearl necklace in her hands. I immediately recognized them. The little spheres danced in the sunlight even from an entire street away. Mrs. Yang was returning that sparkly treasure to the salesclerk. I was only a child, but I could decipher the situation. With a white envelope in hand, and a bitter, forced grin, Mrs. Yang glided away into the abyss of the alley.

I was upset with Mrs. Yang but more confused. Had she deceived my mother? Had she dazzled me with a chain of shiny white pearls that she could not even afford to keep? I suspected that Mrs. Yang was not the high class, elegant character that she posed to be. I wanted to tell my mother, but my goldfish attention span was rather more interested in the ice cream stand at the
end of the sidewalk. I'm glad I ended up not saying anything.

I would later learn throughout my path to adulthood that the “Mrs. Yang” I met was not a lie. She is the most truthful and straightforward representation of our society. The world is a show. Every individual is striving for the lead role. Every actor is desperately trying to win over the audience’s approval. Yang Lili just gave us a damn good performance, and for that reason, I
applaud her.

The author's comments:

Fake it 'til u make it

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This article has 1 comment.

Samhradh GOLD said...
on Jun. 24 2022 at 10:46 am
Samhradh GOLD, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
18 articles 2 photos 61 comments

Favorite Quote:
Dá fhada an lá tagann an tráthnóna.

(No matter how long the day, evening comes)

I love this!