In the winter of the year when I was about to enter primary school, every major store in my hometown started to display school bags for the soon-to-be first graders. The moment my mother saw the first display of the year, she called her mother immediately.
“The school bag display has started. You must come here quickly to buy one for your granddaughter! She cannot wait any longer!”
My grandmother had heard from us many times already how I was fascinated by the school bags, what kind of design I was looking for, and how I even crafted my dream school bag out of an empty cake box. So, as soon as she got the phone call from my mother, she hopped onto the bullet train and came to meet us so that she could join us for my school bag shopping. My grandmother was no less excited than I was by the prospect of finally buying me my dream school bag.
The three of us went to a local department store following my mother’s lead. As soon as we entered the store, we were welcomed by shelves after shelves of school bags. I saw shiny school bags of many different colours and designs. It was so elating to be surrounded by such a large number of my favourite item.
I immediately looked for the rose pink school bag with Snoopy’s design that I had seen on my friend’s back a few months before. And there it was. A brand new shiny rose pink Snoopy school bag resting on the shelf. I almost forgot to breathe upon seeing the school bag that I had dreamed about for months sitting right in front of me and waiting to be picked up. It was as beautiful as I remembered it to be.
I was going to choose it, but my mother told me to look for other options as well just in case there were other ones that I liked. She picked up different models from the shelf and showed them to me, telling me which parts were different from the others. Some had more pockets than others, and some had smoother surface than others. We even asked the shop attendant about important difference between different models. All the while my mother and I chatted about the bags, my grandmother remained mostly quiet, smiling and enjoying our choosing process.
Finally, after hours of browsing, I went back to my rose pink Snoopy school bag.
“I want this one.”
That was when my grandmother jumped in.
“Wonderful! Let’s buy this one then! My sweetheart wants this one!”
We paid at the cashier and left the store to walk back to our car. All the way to the car, I was holding the box of my dream school bag in my arms, feeling happy and proud.
For the next six years, I went to school every day with my dream school bag on my back. I never threw my bag carelessly or placed it upside down. I always dusted and wiped my bag with a cloth and when it rained, I made sure that my umbrella covered my school bag if not my head. And every now and then, I would sit in front of my school bag and savour the sense of happiness as I thought back on the day when I went to the store with my mother and grandmother and found this dream bag from countless many other bags.