The thing that 16 year old Li An’ning fears the most is shaking. Lying on her stretcher, the rescuers carrying her to safety are careful with every step, afraid any small tremble will bring screams from her.
“I’m not even afraid of death now, but I’m terrified of even the smallest shake”, she said.
Two days on ago, at 2 PM on May 12th, Li An’ning was sitting in her Beichuan #1 high school sophomore geography class. The classroom suddenly started shaking. Li An’ning remembered that she was at the fourth floor at the time; in less than 20 seconds, the building collapsed. The 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors collapsed into one.
Li An’ning could see through the faint light her classmate Li Yuanfeng, because Li happened to be the appointed class officer that day, and was wearing a white overcoat; he was still in a sitting position. “I grabbed his hands, and I called his name, but there was no reaction. In the beginning his hand was still warm, but it quickly cooled.”
Li An’ning said that because her body had been smashed and couldn’t move, she could only loudly call out the names of her classmates. Three of her closest girlfriends were lying right next to her, but she couldn’t reach them; later on, she learned all three had died.
They spent a long time in the darkness, at least 10 hours. After regaining consciousness, those who were still alive began to shout to each other. Someone loudly called: “7th class sophomores, we’re going to get out, hold on!” Someone else called: “after we get out, we have to study hard.”
“I don’t know who started it, but those of us still alive began to sing songs. We sang a lot, together, all of the popular songs. ” Li An’ning said she remembers one of the songs was Guang Liang’s “Child’s Song”; the lyrics contain one verse that goes: “good fortune and happiness is our end.”
Lying in the hallway of Mianyang’s Central hospital, Li An’ning waited for the hospital’s care. Her left leg was broken, but she didn’t show any hint of feeling pain. She looked us and smile: “it’s okay, I’m not afraid of pain.”
“Daddy and mommy, where are you?”
Li Chunchun is 5 years old, and has a hospital bed to herself. Her relatives in the same room said that this child has such a sad fate ahead of her; her parents are still out of contact, and might be gone.
Someone asked her her situation; she pulled up her shirt so that the words written on her stomach could be seen. A police officer who had brought her to the hospital had helped her to write these words; it was her name, and her father’s name: Li Huayi.
Li Chunchun is wearing a pink tank top, and has her hair pulled up into two tiny ponytils tied together with yellow string. “My mommy helped me comb my hair”, Li Chunchun said. After the earthquake, she has yet to see her mother.
This little girl is from Anxian Xiaobazi village; in her memory, when the earthquake happened, she was on the way to kindergarten with her grandmother. “Rocks smashed into me, smashed my head and eyes. A policeman helped rescue me.”
“What about your grandmother?”
“My grandmother is gone.”
This is still an age of innocence, other than occasionally saying “I miss daddy, I miss mommy”. Li Chunchun can also count on her fingers the things she likes to eat: apples, bananas, oranges, and fish. If you ask her what 10 plus 2 is, she counted carefully on her fingers… and then finally responded the answer is 6.
Li Chunchun said that she’s in the middle class at kindergarten, and that afternoon the teacher was going to teach them a song. She even sang a song her teacher had taught her: “little benches put in a row, little friends sit on down, sit on down.”
Li Chunchun’s face still has small cuts on it; the nurse told her to be sure not to scratch at them, and she’s listened obediently. But she can’t help pull on her bed covers now and then.
Her relatives in the same patient room said again that she’s a good girl, who never cries or fusses, very active, and eats anything you give her without being overly picky.
Li Chunchun picked up a container of milk a volunteer had given her; after she finished it, she said: “I miss mommy.”