I WAS awkward in middle school: bony and athletic, with a high grade in science and a low one in self-esteem. Though I had a few friends, I wasn’t popular. I was picked last in football and I sometimes ate lunch by myself.
I remember the day Brittany came to our school. Her teeth were crooked (歪斜的) , and she was a little overweight. Not that this mattered though, because she walked around like she was better than all of us. She was incredibly intimidating (吓人的) and outspoken.
Around Brittany, I tried my best to go unnoticed. Standing out or stealing her spotlight could only result in one thing: confrontation (对抗).? Brittany was always the first girl picked for teams; I was lucky if I was picked at all. I was thrown the ball while she stood with the quarterback (四分卫) , chatting about the last party she’d gone to. I had never been to a party before or kissed a boy.
One day, Brittany bribed a classmate to ask me to the school dance. I was flattered.? Then Brittany told me during science class that she had put him up to it. She asked in front of everyone, “Why would anyone even want you?” I went home and cried.
Although she was seemingly perfect in everyone’s eyes, I wanted to be everything that she wasn’t and yet a million times more perfect.? Brittany was so intimidating and violent, but I wanted to be serene (平静的) and not at all confrontational.
I found Brittany’s online profile a few weeks ago. She still had the same chubby (圆胖的) face and mocking (嘲笑的) smile, and had posted half-naked pictures of herself. But as I read on, I realized that Brittany had died in a drunken driving accident a year ago. She had been 16 and pregnant at the time. Suddenly my perception (感知) of Brittany changed from a bad influence into a struggling little girl whose life was taken before she could understand right from wrong. My experience with Brittany taught me that though we are all naive in our youth, the choices we make will impact on us forever. I will always remember Brittany as that loud, overconfident girl. A part of that shy, insecure person I used to be will always keep me humble.
Word in focus
outspoken adj. talking in a free and honest way about your opinions 坦率直言的
相关词组：speak out 坦率直言
She’s very outspoken about political issues.
put sb up to sth convince sb to do (sth stupid or foolish) 怂恿或唆使某人
I can’t believe he did such a thing. He must have been put up to it by the older boys.
naive adj. having or showing a lack of experience or knowledge 天真的，幼稚无知的
If you’re naive enough to believe him, you’ll believe anyone.
humble adj. not thinking of yourself as better than other people 谦逊的
Despite all his achievements, he has remained humble.
重点词组：Stand out意思是“杰出，出众”。Steal one’s spotlight，抢了某人的风头；spotlight本意是“聚光灯”。Result in意为“结果是，导致”。
分析：句中的a million times是倍数的表达。注意times作“倍数”时，只限用于三倍或三倍以上的倍数，二倍通常用double或twice来表示。例如：The production is now double/twice what it was ten years ago.