Chapter 27 - Unreachable Goddesses
The canteen was huge, totaling three floors- the main canteen at the bottom, the private rooms at the middle, and the staff restaurant at the top.
The main canteen was surrounded by varying food stalls, and its tables and seats were gathered at the center of the building. It was where most students went to for lunch.
The private rooms, on the other hand, were where the richer students went, though those with a more common family background rented private rooms on occasion, for events like a birthday party, for example. It went without saying that the quality of food provided on the second floor was levels higher than the main canteen’s- they were prepared by professional chefs, after all.
The staff restaurant on the third floor was reserved solely for the teachers, and students weren’t allowed up there. The food wasn’t too different from that of the first floor’s, but its environment boasted a little more class.
Kang Xiaobo pointed at an office to their right as they entered the canteen. “You can get a card there.”
“Oh. I’ll go do it now then.” Lin Yi said with a nod. The chairman didn’t provide Lin Yi with anything of the sort, and Lin Yi assumed that things like library and canteen cards were his own responsibility.
“Wait, come on!” Xiaobo stopped Lin Yi before he even started walking. “Dude, I’m buying! It’s your first day on my turf here!”
“Okay then… I’ll go after we’ve eaten.”
“Nice. I’ll go with you later.” Xiaobo said as he took Lin Yi around the food stalls.
There was quite a variety of foods, with even vegetarian selections as well. The main dishes were split into more categories, along with items like dumplings, buns, and pies. Lin Yi got himself some alfalfa tomatoes with rice, whereas Xiaobo ordered some fish strips and buns. It totalled eleven kuai, the average of food expenses.
Lin Yi and Xiaobo found a seat and placed the dishes at the middle of the table, sharing it amongst themselves.
Lin Yi swept his gaze across the canteen the moment he sat down, failing to find either Yushu or Mengyao, who were most likely feasting on the second floor.
“What you looking at? Girls?” Xiaobo laughed. “Chen Yushu and Chu Mengyao are both upstairs, there’s no way they’re eating with us here. We might be able to meet Tang Yin though, if we’re lucky!”
“I see..” Lin Yi didn’t really care where Tang Yin was- Chu Mengyao was his priority here.
“Tang Yin’s family is pretty normal, and she always brings lunchboxes to school.” Xiaobo sighed. “But she’d have boys lining up to treat her to a meal if she were willing, with looks like that. She could even spend all her lunches in the private rooms, if she wished to.”
“Heh, the best girls don’t care about things like that.” Lin Yi commented dully.
“You’re right- and that’s the type of girl Tang Yin is. They’re really rare now, girls like her.” Xiaobo said. “But that virtue only gets her more admirers! Girls who aren’t after your riches are our favourite, you know.”
Tang Yin, unfortunately, never made an appearance. Lin Yi didn’t think much of it, but Xiaobo was feeling a bit down. There were many like him who came to the canteen every lunch break hoping to catch a glimpse of her- it had become something they looked forward to.
Chu Mengyao and Chen Yushu made their way down the stairs from the second floor, at that point, and most of the boys turned their heads for a look. For the vast majority of boys, however, the two were like princesses- unreachable goddesses.
“You were staring at them weren’t you, Lin Yi!” Xiaobo asked after the two girls left.
“Just taking a look.” Lin Yi answered, slightly embarrassed from the question.
Xiaobo only sighed. “Well, you’ll understand a couple of days later- they’re not our princesses- Tang Yin is.” Xiaobo looked at Lin Yi with pity, but it wasn’t like he didn’t understand. He himself was no different back when he just got in the school, crushing after Chen Yushu and Chu Mengyao as well. The years matured him, however, and he recognized the harsh reality of the distance between them.
Everyone is born equal.
A beautiful ideal. Yet it took only a bit of maturity for someone to understand the impossibility of that beauty- no one was ever born equal, nor would they be.
The likes of Chu Mengyao and Chen Yushu lived their lives with color, spending their time in palaces that the commoners couldn’t trample on. Kang Xiaobo was but one of the said commoners.
It pained the class to admit it. They all knew how Chu Mengyao rejected Zhong Pinliang’s advances, but the reality was clear as day- he was the only one in that class who qualified.
The card registration went smoothly, and why wouldn’t it? It boosted the school’s earnings after all, despite the lies they told you, about how the canteens were not for profit.
Lin Yi produced his student card, putting in two hundred kuai into his canteen card. He turned back to leave the office, only to see Xiaobo staring at him. “Dude, what’s with that amount...?”
“What..? I’m gonna be eating here for a year…” Lin Yi didn’t understand where this was coming from. The guy was trying to give him hints the whole time he was registering, too.
“Don’t you know how school canteens are like? They’re all smiley smiley when you top up your card, but wait till you ask for your money back... They’re not gonna give it back to you! We’re twelfth graders already!” Lin Yi found Xiaobo to be overreacting a little.
“Well, I see, but it’s just two hundred kuai isn’t it? Didn’t we just spend like eleven kuai today?” Lin Yi smiled, unworried. “Plus, so what if they don’t give it back, we’ll just have a big feast when that time comes.”
“How generous.” Xiaobo said. “I wouldn’t even come to this canteen if the restaurants outside were cheaper.”
“I mean… as long there’s food, you know?” Lin Yi was never picky when it came to meals. The canteen food wasn’t as good as what Li Fu delivered them yesterday, but it was a lot better than Widow Wang’s back home.
They returned to the classroom only to find most of the students still studying. Twelfth grade was the most precious of all, and the most stressful, after all. It was the decisive point where you either went to a good college, a bad college, or no college at all.
Those who got into Songshan’s First School were all competitive people, and they didn’t want to see themselves falling behind. The rich were exempt from this rule, however, spending their time on the basketball courts and the cybercafes outside.