Putting on my pink headphones, I selected my favourite song on my iPod. Through my pride and through my shame, into your love, into your grace, I'm not looking back till I see your face, I'm running straight to you…

"Lucy Ervin! Take off your headphones and give them to me! You shouldn't listen to songs during class!" scolded Mrs. Russell.

She was a very strict teacher, always nagging and annoying me. Indignantly, I snatched them away from her as quickly as I could and turned away, entering my "own" little world…

After walking for 10 minutes, I arrived home and went straight to my room without even greeting my parents. My room's walls are covered with light-purple paint, the swirls and hearts are shaped with golden sequences. For the unveiling of my new room, my dad had bought me an iPad and my mum had bought me an iPod, my best friend, Kayla had bought me a mini-computer with a pink cover! I thought it was brilliant that just because I had a new room, my parents and friends bought me gifts, how enthralling!

I called Kayla to gossip about how Mrs. Russell had tried to confiscate my headphones again. We talked for an hour about school, girl stuff and our next trip to the mall.

My friend, Kayla Finn, has a dad who is a businessman so he travels a lot and right now he's in Brazil. Her mum is a boss at a beauty company so she's in France to meet a fashion designer! Kayla's really good at fashion and beauty because of her mum. She's quite rich and mostly she buys makeup and clothes with her allowance. Me? Well I kind of do the same, maybe because of Kayla's influence.

When I hung up the phone, I went downstairs to ask my parents if Kayla could come over for dinner but I saw that dad and mum were discussing something thoroughly and they had serious looks on their faces.

"Lucy, sit! Your mum and I have something to talk about," ordered Dad. I was startled by my dad's voice. It sounded harsh as ever. Quizzically, I sat in front of Dad and Mum.

"Lucy, listen carefully. From next week you'll be transferring to a public school called Ridgewood High School," Dad explained.

I flinched as if they had literally thrown something at me. Then I screamed, "WHAT? Why am I transferring? Is it because we have no money to pay the tuition fee? Dad, you're rich and I know you can afford it. Why are you doing this to me? Did Mrs. Russell call you? I just put those headphones for 2 seconds! Besides, public schools are gross!"

"Dear, please understand us. We're not doing this because of the tuition fee; we're doing this to let you know what really life is. You're not a kid anymore, you should grow up and learn about life," comforted Mum.

Warm tears sprung from the corners of my eyes and just hovered there. I buried my face in my hands, wiping my tears.

"Why? I know what life is. Please don't send me to that place! Please!" I pleaded. It was no use. My parents already decided it and they didn't turn back. I still didn't get the idea of me

going to a new school. What's life? Isn't life supposed to be about abundant of joy, plenty of food and lots of money?

Dejectedly, I called Kayla back.

"Kayla? I'm transferring tomorrow. I don't know what's happening in my life. It's a public school and my parents also said that I will only have allowance once a month and the money is half of the money they used to give me!" I cried.

"Are you joking? How are you going to survive with that MONEY? I'm sure you wouldn't enjoy your new school…why did your parents suddenly make a bizarre decision?" sighed Kayla. "I'm always there for you…if you need money, ask me."

"Thanks," I hung up the phone. I couldn't do anything but just put on my headphones and lay back on my bed staring up at the purple ceiling.

The next morning, the anger inside of me spluttered as I strolled through the sober corridor, heading to my new class.

"Lucy Ervin, nice to meet you. I am your homeroom teacher, Mrs. Dillon," welcomed Mrs. Dillon. I felt as if I was a toddler and couldn't pronounce a proper word. But I didn't have to because suddenly the bell rang.

Everyone rushed out. I was the one who was walking slowly.

"Hey, Lucy Ervin, right? Hurry! If you won't run, you wouldn't probably get your meal because the food is pretty much scarce," somebody told me.

"Who are…you?" I asked.

"Oh, I'm Lily Andrews. Tenth grade, same as you,"

"Oh. I don't mind being alone," I retorted sullenly.

"I can help you if you need help," she offered cheerfully. I followed her to the cafeteria and we got our trays and sat down to talk.

"Don't be shy," she smiled. "I came to this school last semester. Until that time I hadn't gone to school since 1st grade because of family problems,"

"You didn't go to school for 9 years? What family problems are you talking about?"
"Well…I...uhh the first day I went to my school in 2nd grade, my mum came in the morning, drunk. My dad divorced her because she spent the money on alcohol. Reproachfully, she threw the alcohol bottle at me, the cracked glass ripped my clean uniform and blood began to drip. Then she grabbed the nearest knife and threw it at me and said, 'Why did I let you be born into this world? Why are you my daughter? Why do you look so ugly? Why! Why! Why are YOU here? Get lost! Get out from my house and never darken my doors!'

"…After she said that, I escaped from her and did everything that I could survive…at last I finally found this school that I could apply for."

I sat motionless as stone…I was breathless. There was something forming in my heart that my heart itself couldn't desist. Finally my voice unlocked enough to whisper,

"I am sorry…I am sorry…I am such a spoiled brat. I was stupid complaining that mum didn't prepare breakfast for me, I complained because dad only brought candies for me when he was in Brazil and I complained that my house was too small…Lily, you are a priceless and valuable girl who overcame these situations by looking forward to the future…" I trembled with tears.

Even though it was my first day in a new school and I was just sitting in the cafeteria with this lovely stranger, I blurted out, "Lily, our house is really gigantic, there are plenty of rooms and if you feel comfortable please live with me…you won't have to do chores or mortgage your summer break because of you living there…this will be your…home," I coaxed her.

"Thank you! I never had a proper house before…before I left," thanked Lily.

From that day, I was changed. I started to understand what life really is, and my parents adopted Lily as their second daughter which I greatly appreciated. Lily became my best friend just as Kayla.

As time passed, Kayla started to understand what I was talking about. We started to visit an orphanage every week and also started a club to help children like Lily. My parents were the sponsors of the club and Kayla's parents were leading people to love their children by their businesswork.

Once you are changed, you will never go back to your old world (at least I didn't)

Love can change a person in completely different ways, different times and in different situations. However, you'll never know what this journey will bring until you reach forward and draw back the veil.

The other day, I was walking by the street putting on my pink headphones, humming the words, through my pride and through my shame, into Your love, into Your grace, I'm not looking back till I see Your face, I'm running straight to You... I saw a little girl with long blonde hair, staring at the window of the shop,

"Mum, please buy me this pink headphones! I really like them," said the girl.

"Dear, I will buy it for you, just not today…mummy will buy exactly this one from the money I earn selling newspapers," smiled the Mum.

"I can't wait!" said the girl.

I, then walked toward that little girl and placed my precious headphones on her ears,

"This is yours now," I smiled.