Smiling faces

by Amanda Wang YueFei (age 16)
Coordinator for Maple Leaf International Academy: Mirjana Petrovic-Filipovic
School: Maple Leaf International Academy
Shenzhen, China

The morning in this town was quiet, with sunlight and flowers. “At least better than where I’m from,” Juliana thought. Juliana was from a small family in London; this big, busy city for Juliana meant stress and uncountable noise. It was not a perfect place for Juliana to focus on what she liked.

   So, she moved. She moved to a small town by sea.

   This was the first week after Juliana moved to this town; she felt pretty satisfied with the things around her, such as her house, the park just behind her community, etc.

   “All things are great, aren’t they?” Juliana asked her best friend – a white, tiny, downy dog. “I am very sure the next few weeks will be perfect, and I promise I will give you a big meal when I get my first salary.”

The little puppy didn’t trust her at all and only paid attention to some beautiful butterflies that flew very low today.

“Well, it seems I need to go; take care of yourself, Dafu, and don’t break anything in the kitchen.” Juliana put on a blue coat, took a yellow umbrella with some waves, and then went to work.

Dafu stared at one of these butterflies and followed the pink one to the window. However, the sill was much higher than Dafu. He wanted Juliana to help him just as usual, but after he barked for a few minutes, Juliana didn’t come.

Where is she? Dafu didn’t know; he wasn’t sure whether Juliana had put his food in the bowl. Suddenly, a voice came from outside the window, “Oh, poor little guy, I heard your bark a while; you must be hungry, didn’t you? Where’s your owner?”

Dafu saw a man wearing a gray cap, with green eyes, and was probably 35 to 40 years old standing outside the window. “Come closer, boy; I got something for you and your owner.” The man threw some snacks to Dafu and put a red card on the sill. “Wish your owner come back soon because if you make too much noise, that will be trouble for your owner.”

Dafu ate fast; he didn’t notice there was a red card above his head. The man seemed satisfied; he touched and scratched Dafu’s head lightly.

“See you later.” The man smiled, then left.

Finally, the door opened at 5:30 p.m. It was Juliana. Dafu ran so fast, just like a horse, and he rushed into Juliana’s hug.

“Good boy, look what I got for you!” Juliana said, and she took a lot of different pet supplies. Dafu ran a circle around Juliana; he smelled some tasty food in her bags.

 Juliana giggled: “Take it easy; I will take you to the park and play with your favorite toy – Frisbee.” Dafu became more excited and jumped a circle around Juliana. Clearly, Dafu wasn’t calmer.

Juliana walked to the kitchen and sorted out all the stuff. Suddenly, she found a red card on the sill when preparing to put some food into his bowl. A few sentences said: “Hello, the little puppy’s owner; I walked by your house this afternoon and heard some noise. Then I saw this puppy who seemed so hungry. Therefore, I gave him some snacks; I hope you don’t mind. – Mr. Smith.”

Juliana was so glad that these lovely people were so easy-going and accommodating. She looked at Dafu, who giggled, buried his face into the food, and laughed.

Frisbee time now!

“Catch it!” Juliana yelled and threw the flying disc far away. Dafu followed them and ran as fast as he could. Juliana scratched Dafu’s head and back and said: “Good job, and then next time, I will throw it farther.”

Dafu smiled and breathed quickly; he couldn’t wait to catch the flying disc. However, this time Dafu didn’t catch the frisbee. It dropped beside a person who seemed to play with his dog.

“Ops!” the frisbee fell on the glass, and another dog collected it before Dafu picked it up. Juliana ran fast to Dafu, and she didn’t want these two dogs to have any conflict about the toy.

“Oh, Lucky, give it back to that little guy.” the other dog’s owner came close and warned his pet. He took the frisbee from the dog’s mouth and returned it to Dafu. When the man noticed the black spot on Dafu’s left eye, he was surprised: “It is you, little guy; I think we like each other more.”

At that time, Juliana came. “So sorry for that, Lucky likes frisbee very much; he even cannot control himself sometimes.” The tall man felt sorry about that.

“That’s fine; It’s my fault; I threw it too far.’” As she stared at another dog, Juliana said, “Is he called Lucky?”

The man tied lucky up to prevent running away and said: “Yes, and he is two years old now; he is piquant sometimes. What about yours?”

“His name is Dafu because I wish he could be rich one day, then he will have a big meal every day.” Juliana laughed and continued, “Forget to introduce myself; my name is Juliana. What’s your name, sir?”

“Brandon Smith. Just called me Brandon.” Mr. Smith smiled.

“That’s so funny; so you are a veterinarian?” Juliana asked Mr. Smith; she seemed very interested. Brandon took a small white card, a visit card.”

“Yes, and I work in this pet clinic beside our community; if you have any needs and questions, you can go there,” Brandon said.

“Really? That’s great! So happy to meet you!” Juliana said.

Mr. Smith looked at his watch and said, “Oh, I have to go; I have a patient waiting for me. See you tomorrow!”

“OK! See you!” Juliana smiled.

A week passed, and Juliana kept Mr. Smith’s phone number and talked about how to take care of Dafu. Also, Juliana met her neighbor- the Coopers. The Coppers are lovely and willing to help Juliana fix her garden fence. Juliana was happy that the Coppers invited her to have dinner with them this evening, and she decided to go.

“Knock, knock.” Someone was outside the door. It was Juliana.

“Oh, Juliana! Dear, I am so happy you are willing to come.” Ms. Copper yelled. She took over the bouquet from Juliana’s hand and invited her to come into the house. Ms. Copper led Juliana into the living room and said: “Just sit here and help yourself.” Then she went to Ben’s room and yelled: “Ben! Come to the living room! We have a guest this tonight!” A kid came out with messy hair; it seems he woke up just now.

He went to the living room and sat beside Juliana without any talk. This little boy took two cups of juice, one for himself and one for Juliana.

 Juliana was glad and took the juice. However, before she drank the orange juice, Ms. Copper suddenly came out and went off with the cup of juice. “Sorry darling, this orange juice was out of date; Ben drinks it all the time when he wakes up; although I told him that’s harmful, it seems OK.” Ms. Copper apologized and poured out the juice.

Juliana smiled: “It’s OK; Ben just wants to share with me.”

Ms. Copper didn’t accept what Ben did; she kicked Ben’s butt lightly when Juliana paid attention to their small television.

“Dinner is ready!’” Mr. Copper suddenly appeared in the kitchen.

“Dinner time, everyone! Juliana, dear, come over here.” Ms. Copper pulled the chair for her.

Juliana felt a little nervous because the Coppers were so enthusiastic. She cut a small piece of meat and tasted it. “Ow, that is, that is…” Juliana was surprised by the flavor of the meat. It was as soft as a cloud.

“The greatest meat in the world, isn’t it?” Mr.Cooper laughed.

Juliana ate more and asked: “It is beef? But it’s so soft and juicy.” “It was mainly made of pork and a part of a chicken.” Mr. Copper answered.

“Wow, that’s something new; I never tried that before.’” Juliana said.

“Of course, you didn’t,” Ms. Copper added. “Dr. Smith told us his recipe.”

Juliana stopped eating; she was so confused and surprised with wide-open eyes. “Oh…Is the full name of this Dr.Smith called Brandon·Smith?” “And he is a veterinarian who works in the xxx clinic?” Ms. Copper answered.

“You know him?” Mr. Copper asked.

“Yes, we walked the dog together last week in the park beside our community,” Juliana said. She stared at the meat on her plate and seemed to think something.

“He is so nice, right?” Ms. Copper asked. “Everyone in this town knows him, he is the only veterinarian in this town, and he is a kind, easy-going person. Also, I never heard that any of his operations were unsuccessful.” Mr. Copper nodded. He seemed to agree with what Ms. Copper said.

“Wow, really? That’s great! I have a puppy called Dafu, and he is so cute; when I met Mr. Smith….”

Time flies: Juliana moved to this town three months ago, and everyone in this town was friendly and enthusiastic. Juliana had to make some difficult choices in dressing because she had a date with Mr. Smith, and they decided to go to the park in the afternoon. Juliana was stuck on a significant issue: which clothes fit her better. Dafu obviously didn’t care about that; he preferred to sleep and play with the ball. “Come on, Dafu, don’t do it! Otherwise, no snacks for you today!”

However, it was rainy outside. Everything was perfect, Dafu couldn’t wait to go out, and Juliana finally chose a yellow dress to wear. “What? Is it rainy outside? How? I thought I checked today’s weather last night!” Juliana cried. Suddenly, a streak of lightning sharply appears and splits the sky. “Hong!’ That’s thunder.”

 Dafu was scared; he jumped up and hid under the table. Juliana hurried to the table; she squatted and tried to soothe Dafu by petting his back. “Poor thing don’t be scared. It’s fine, just thundering.” Juliana said softly. Half an hour passed, and it was still raining outside. Not just rainy; it was raining cats and dogs! “Seems we cannot go anywhere; I should tell Brandon,” Juliana said while she took her phone, prepared to call Mr. Smith.

Ring, Ring.”  It’s Mr. Smith.”

Juliana answered the phone. She heard the voice: “Hello, it’s Mr. Smith. Is that Juliana?”

“Oh! Yes, it is me!” Juliana answered. “I wonder whether we can go outside today just now. But it seems impossible now. Maybe even the whole week.” Her voice sounded sad.

“I know; the weather is bad.” Mr. Smith said. “What about if I bring some materials to your home? I can make a meal for you. I’m sure you never taste that before.”

“Of course, I don’t mind. Make sure you bring the umbrella when you go out.” Juliana answered.

Knock, knock. Someone was outside.

Juliana dashed to open the door. It was Mr. Smith. “Welcome! It took you just 10 minutes. It’s quite fast.” She said. “Come in!”

Mr. Smith smiled and said: “I drove the car, just over there. The black one.” Mr. Smith pointed to the car by the road.

“Your house is quite nice; you like yellow?” Mr. Smith looked around the wall. Juliana brought a coffee cup to him and said: “Coffee?” “Thank you.”

“Yes, yellow is my favorite.” Juliana led Mr. Smith to the kitchen. “There it is; you are welcome to use all the stuff here. If you cannot find something, just let me know.” She helped Mr. Smith put those materials on the bask.

 “Now, my turn.” Mr. Smith smiled and rolled up his sleeve.

Juliana giggled and held up Dafu to go to the washroom. “Take your time; Dafu and I are willing to wait for a big meal, right?”

——

“May I use your washroom? I need to wash my hand.” Mr. Smith put down the fork and asked.

Juliana stopped chewing the food and said lightly and quickly: “Of course, just over there.”

After Mr. Smith went to the bathroom, Juliana cut some meat into her plate. She stared at the meat in front of her. She was pretty curious about why it was so tasty. At the same time, she glanced at Mr. Smith’s seat. She found a dark red blot on the chair. Before Juliana found out what was in the chair, Mr. Smith came out.

Mr. Smith looked down at his watch and said: “Oh, time flies; I think I need to go.” He went to the living room and found Da fu sleeping. “He is so cute, isn’t he?” Juliana came and asked.

“Yes, he is so cute.” Mr. Smith looked with fondness at Dafu. Juliana even couldn’t hear so clearly. “But he is too small. If he grows bigger, that will be better.”

Mr. Smith stood up and walked to the door. He cleared his clothes and said: “Dear, it was nice to have dinner with you.”

Juliana smiled: “I enjoyed it too.”

Door closed.

Juliana ran hurriedly to the washroom; she found a collar in the trash can. There are some words on the collar. “Lucky.” Her face turned pale. Everything flowed into her mind: the meat she ate, the friendly people around her, and the only veterinarian in this town. The bloodstain.

Suddenly, the doorbell rang again.