Chapter 3 — [Perfect Performance]
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There was stark difference between English and Literature versus other Science subjects. The latter always test what was taught in the textbook, while the former often test one about the emerging topics that we might face in the future.
For example, there will be some untaught classical texts used as an English comprehension question to test the examinee’s ability to comprehend it.
Also, there will be some new phrases, grammar, then at that time, you have to rely on your own early revision to deal with it, or you have to try to speculate the answers. If English was a subject that test based on what is taught in the textbook, then it would become a subject where you can excel just by memorizing it.
Because there are so many advanced topics mixed in, the textbook does not have highlighted much about them, furthermore, the grade of an essay is greatly influenced by the teacher grading it, thus there are few who achieved full marks for English and Literature.
Facing such a paper, Li Mu could confidently say that even if he closed his eyes, he would be able to pass and if he was lucky, he might be able to get 120 points and above.
Soon the loudspeaker placed at the corner of the hall started to play the start of the listening comprehension recording, Li Mu quickly rouse a 120% resolve to face it. Listening comprehension was not difficult, as long as, you did not miss the key points, as long as he settled the listening comprehension part, the rest of the paper should be easier.
The English Listening comprehension test was too easy for the current Li Mu. It was so easy that he could use the word ‘Steamroll’ to describe it, however, he didn’t dare to say that his English oral ability was extremely good, but after learning English for many years, being obsessed with tons of Hollywood films and musical, he could already watch those films without the need for Chinese subtitles.
Therefore, the moment the English Listening Comprehension ended, Li Mu only had two words to describe his feelings: It’s settled!
The Listening Comprehension consisted of 30 points, and he was absolutely confident to get full marks for it.
Immediately, afterward, Li Mu quickly started on the multiple choice questions.
Among the 150 points in the test, there was 115 worth of points for multiple choice questions, which were divided into Listening Comprehension, filling in the blanks to complete the sentence, reading comprehension etc, for anyone who had sat for the 4th or 6th grade college exam, this type of exam papers were child’s play.
One difference between most of the working adults and Li Mu was that Li Mu did not abandon the use of English after graduating, instead, it became a necessary skill for him, thus the current level of his English was at its peak.
As he completed the 115 points worth of multiple choice questions, Li Mu felt that if he was deducted more than 3 points, then he would really let the heavens down.
For the last 35 points, 10 points were allocated to correct grammatical errors in a short passage. The 25 points essay questions followed the trend of the current affairs for that year, there were two issues that most of China were focused on in 2001, one of them was the successful bid for the Beijing Olympics, another one was the national football team qualifying. Especially, regarding the former, there was more focus on it, if he recalled correctly, the success of hosting the Olympics happened after the college exam, so the essay question was: If you are an Olympics athlete, how would you introduce Beijing Olympics to the world?
Before the third week of July 2001, China’s dream of being an Olympics host had always been just a dream. Li Mu might as well use his previous experience to simply describe and elaborate on the Chinese people’s enthusiasm and expectation towards the Olympics, furthermore, also depicting China to be a magnanimous country, more importantly, to introduce China’s history, culture, racial harmony and its progress.
Lastly, Li Mu even used the original slogan that will only be released in 2005 for the 2008 Beijing Olympics “One World, One Dream” and included it into his essay to become his own creativity.
For the two hours duration English exam, Li Mu used only an hour to complete the whole paper. As he was burying his head and scribbling furiously, the male teacher with the surname Wang did not stop staring at Li Mu. His heart was filled with resentment, and he wanted to get some leverage on Li Mu to take his revenge on him, it would be better if he caught Li Mu cheating or find something suitable to frame him for cheating.
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However, after he stared for an hour, to his disappointment, he found out that other than lowering his head to work on the questions, Li Mu did not do anything else. Both his eyes were locked on the top of his table; one of his hands were holding on to the answer script while the other was filling in the answers, even the both of his eyes did not leave the script for even a second.
After completing the paper, Li Mu then carefully checked his answers twice and once he confirmed that he did not make any mistakes, he stood up and handed his script only after 1 hour and 15 minutes had passed.
Li Mu’s entrance into the examination hall looking like an Asura, scaring the nitpicking male invigilator so much that he did not dare to let out a fart, furthermore, handing in his examination scripts in merely 75 minutes. His lofty behavior was like a pretentious act in the eyes of the rest of the examinees.
Li Mu trusted that his performance for this exam would be almost perfect, 120 points was secured but for the rest of the points, Li Mu wasn’t too sure. He could only wait for the next two days to pass before he went to school to check his answers, maybe he might even get a higher score.
Once he was outside of the examination hall, Li Mu headed to the washroom and washed his face. Although his clothes were still soaked, but after he washed his face, he did not appear to be in such a sorry state anymore.
The rain outside had stopped. Li Mu suddenly slapped his forehead as he was walking out of Wu Zhong School.
His bicycle was gone, it should still be left behind at the accident site.
Without his bicycle, it was not suitable for him to take the public transport in his state. It seems like he had to take a cab home.
Li Mu touched his pockets, fortunately, there was still a $10 note. Let’s head home first.
At the school’s entrance, Li Mu was about to prepare to flag a cab to go home, and at this moment, a lady ran over anxiously, “Li Mu?”
Li Mu looked sideways, it was a pretty lady about 20+ years old. After looking closely again, wasn’t this the lady, Chen Wan who knocked me over! How did she find me here?
“Are you fine?” Chen Wan’s anxious hearts started to relax as she quickly said, “You ran too fast then, I could only go back and find your bicycle, thankfully, there was a license plate on your bicycle and I found your school’s head, then I managed to find your information, I quickly ran over to find you but the security guard refused to let me in. no matter what, I was so anxious that I almost died!”
Li Mu dazed for a moment, “Bicycles have license plates?”
Before Li Mu could react, Chen Wan quickly fished out a plastic plate from her bag, written on it: Hai Zhou Community Centre NO.1307.
Looking at it, Li Mu then understood. This was the sign that was placed on the front handle of bicycles in high school. When he entered the school’s bicycle parking area, he required a license plate and the plates were registered to your names in school, thus it was not difficult for Chen Wan to go to a community center to find out more about himself.
“I already informed your parents who are working at Xiling Coal Mine, why don’t you follow me back to the hospital and do another check?”
“It’s not necessary, elder sister, I’m really fine.”
“You saying that you are fine does not count, only the doctor can decide!” Chen Wan’s expression was of deeply concerned and worried.
Since she insisted, Li Mu then said, “Fine, I’ll wait for my parents to arrive and then go to the hospital with them.”
“That’s not possible!” Chen Wan said, “We cannot afford to delay it since there might be some problems, I’ve told your parents that I will come to the examination venue and bring you to the hospital, moreover, I gave them my number, once they reached the city, they will give me a call.”
Continuing on, Chen Wan then said, “Xiling Coal Mine is quite far from the city, and it is not convenient to travel by car, they will not be able to rush over in such a short period.”
Her reasoning was not wrong.
Li Mu’s parents were working in Xiling Coal Mine, and the distance between the rural area and the city was about 30 kilometers. It was simply impossible for there to be any cabs nearby, and in the current year, the city roads were not as good as the roads in the capital even after more than 10 years, also the speed of the cars were extremely slow, and usually his parents had to take an hour ride to travel about.
Looking at Chen Wan’s attitude, if he did not want to go to the hospital, she definitely would not accept it. Li Mu then decided to take this opportunity to get to know more about Chen Wan, after all, he was extremely grateful to her in his heart.
His own family’s financial situation was not doing well, the coal mine where his parents worked had a few decades of history to it, and was on the almost exhausted of coals to mine, there were people getting laid off every day. His parent current monthly income was only $1000+, and can only be described as an ordinary household.
After his parents were laid off at the end of the year, the economy of his family was in dire straits, and they were hard-pressed for money. The monthly laid-off pension of $200 was insufficient and his parents were forced to go about working part-time jobs.
The initial matter of them working part-time jobs was always hidden from Li Mu who had just entered university. If it was not for Chen Wan’s support, then Li Mu would not be able to finish his university just based on his parent’s income.
No matter what, he had to repay her.
Her accidental passing was in 2015, he still had 14 years. The best solution now was to get acquainted with her, then slowly think of solutions to help her avoid the same tragic incident from repeating itself.
“Fine, I’ll follow you to the hospital.”