929: Things Unseen

Entry Number:   929

Age Group:             Secondary                                             Word Count: 850

Title:                       Things Unseen


Shenzhen developed like a leopard running freely on its grassland in the past few years; I’ve seen its growth and change for almost a decade, it was like watching an angelic baby matured into a charming teen. However, the teen started to separate from me. The most significant change would be the development of the metro system. At first I thought it was just another come-around-and-go thing, but as time passed, it expanded like an inflating hydrogen balloon that I cannot remain ignorant about it anymore, also like an arsenic pill in a cup of plain water, colorless yet toxic. People embracing this gigantic change brings a question upon me: ‘will they change within this change?” Maybe I’ve confused you, but let me tell a story of how a shiny, silver train changed my whole thought about being modernized.

Few years ago, a transportation tool called metro was introduced into Shenzhen. The word “metro” sounded strange yet familiar to me,  “underground train”. I still remember the time when I have to run under the evil grinning sun to catch a taxi or bus instead to taking the magical train. When I first walked into the metro station, a cold current of air blew at my face, the white marble hall wrapped her cool arms around me, she was whispering in my ear: “Don’t be afraid, give it a try.” I heart raced as the green, circular ticket dropped into my hand. Now, I still remember the first time walking into the underground platform, my eyes widened as seeing the list of stations with names I barely heard of. The metro arrived like a metal giant stomping its feet on the rail, I listened quietly to the sound, like waiting for a new century to arrive. The century of speed stopped in front of me behind the glass doors, I planted my right foot into the compartment, light dazzled my eyes, and the train took off like a hurricane. Every stop at every station was like steps to a brand new world, I went off the train in Children’s Palace, and it was indeed empty compared to now, I can even hear my footsteps in the hollow hall.

Recalling that experience made me remember all the quiet, leisure time on the metro. I lived near Windows of the World, which was the starting station of the line, every time I got on, there will be seats waving their hands at me. At that time, there was only one line for the metro, and Luo Hu seemed like a fancy kingdom beyond the horizon. Years passed, I matured into a high school student, and the metro was no longer the same. I heard they expanded the lines, more stations were added, and they were even planning to connect the metro to the airport! Two years ago, metro became a frequent transportation tool for me, I was naively expecting that it would be just the same as few years ago: empty train, all the seats available…Just as I said, I was too naïve. Only one word can describe my feeling for what I saw as I went down the escalators: chaos! The platform was filled with strangely dressed weirdoes and workers, the cries of babies for losing their mothers happens everyday in the station, waves of people slipped pass by me, some turned around and their eyes were saying: ‘What is wrong with this girl standing here.” The trains no longer have empty seats; instead they were fulfilled with people like an overdue sardine can. Many lines were added to the map, the bright colors were showing off to me how favorable they are. The lines connected into a gigantic spider web, its sticky threads tangled my body tightly, left me barely breathing, the threads, too, wrapped everyone but they just looked into the air like nothing happened. That was when I really started to become afraid of this claimed-to-be-good change. Infrastructures changed, the speed accelerated, the efficiency increased, but people’s attitude changed within, too. Earlier in the decade they were all chatting delightfully on the bus, but looking around now, the only thing I could see are motionless creatures staring down at their phones in the cold compartment that sharply screeches the railway while it moves.

Few days ago I was thinking about how to write this essay while riding the metro. A kid was running around, he bumped into people and kept going without apologizing, soon disrupted my thoughts. I was irritated, since when did we become rude? This is not a place where we can treat it like our safe harbor, but instead a public place where everyone needs to respect each other. The idea of facilitating a convenient transporting system is not bad, but the effects it brought was hard for people to say it is good. I’ve saw changes, the changes that turned my life from sitting on a cold, metal, but comfortable bench into standing in the middle of a speedy, but crowded, and yet breath-losing sealed box. About this point, I’d say: “Changes are indeed impressive.”

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