|It's a promise
Author: Loganna PM
With her parents she left for Japan and left everything behind. After two weeks she had gained nothing more than the loss of everything and regaining her old personality. In times like this, how are you going to make the most of it? With a promise that is.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Words: 2,636 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 01-31-13 - id: 3097113
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N This story contains strong language, some alcohol use and some depressing subjects.
I added a few notes that will explain a few words or sentences further. Where you find a * in the story a small explanation will be at the bottom of the page. I hope it helps.
Oh and by the way, I do, very much, like Japan. I'm just writing from a grumpy point of view.
Anyway, enjoy reading! ^^
It's a promise
Chapter one - My name
"Her fear was big, but her determination bigger."
The school was a big, white and square beast. It gaped trough its open windows to the outside world like a bulldog. The school ground was fenced with big, black iron bars and a long line of tall trees. The entrance was a gate, not even five meters wide, where hundreds of school uniforms pressed themselves trough like a bunch of just fed swine. The school terrain was dusty and uneven, giving problems to those who were playing football. Girls chattered and giggled with their pitch high, shrill voices. Black hair danced, red bowties, bare, white but perfect shaped legs, swaying skirts and boys glancing with red cheeks. People here lived in squares. Their minds were split up in little squares, their environment were squares, even the pattern on their ugly, too short, skirts and trousers were squares. 'Stupid narrow minded people.' She thought while recovering her grip on the sweaty bag handle.
Her school uniform was wrinkled and showed small stains on the bottom. Her legs were covered in a thick, black panty and her shoes were missing. She dumped her bike against the fence and pressed her sweating body trough the mass that blocked the entrance. The trees that hovered over, cast dark, cold shadows. Looking up, they looked like a bunch of prison guards who judged the recently arrived convicts.
Finally out of the pressing heath of humid bodies, she plucked two slippers from her bag and threw them on the ground. While wrenching her toes underneath the straps an attempt was made to straighten her blouse, but with not much result. While crushing stones and shoving dirt, she made her way trough the people, toward the entrance of the building.
Grey lockers filled her sight from one corner of her eye to the other. The bleating was even louder here, with all those walls reflecting the sound, making it even louder than at the gate. Her first reaction was to cover her ears but with difficulty she restrained herself from doing so. While people opened and closed their lockers, gathered books and writing equipment, she went straight to the left and went to the classroom. "C-1 – something something." Was written on a strange looking sign board, 'And the something something are characters in Kanji, or Hiragana . . . or Katakana or whatever.' Two weeks had passed since she moved here with her parents. Looking very much forward to living in an entire different culture and country. Japan, land of the rising sun, sounded like a place of heaven on earth. Her parents had agreed with her choice of country, but it had not been easy to complete the transfer . They managed due to her fathers important job and were welcomed warmly. Reading manga and watching anime. Visiting Kobe and Kyoto. Learning about Japanese art and Geisha. Eating the most delicious sushi in the whole wide world and most of all, getting to know new people. Even though the prospect was to marvel at, it had a downside as well. Friends and family had to be left behind. A clean slate it definitely was, with no knowledge of the language or Japanese customs and traditions. There was no way to run except home. And even that disappeared after a while. 'And that was how I, again,' she narrowed her brows, 'became a bitter, nagging pessi…' "Ohayou gozaimuasu."* She blinked a few times before falling back into reality with a dry and soft, "Ohayou."
She didn't know who had said it but after a second she realised it was surely not meant for her. She turned around and took place at her table. She brushed a few hairs out of her face and wiped away the little sweat drops from her forehead. The climate here was completely different from The Netherlands. Where it used to be grey, cloudy, wet and windy, it had been replaced by a windless, hot and dry country. In her first week in Japan, she had loved the view, the different people, the different vegetation, the different language, she had yearned to study every aspect of this new country.
Her mind went from one topic to another, her eyes followed every falling leaf and the only thing she yearned for now, was a trace of a cool breeze. The classroom filled with people. Bags were thrown on tables and the metal chair legs scraped on the tiled floor, making a sound that turned fresh milk, sour in an instant. Girls gathered in small groups around their queen and the boys gathered around their king. They clung to their monarchs as if their 'awesomeness' would come off like a snakeskin, and they wanted to be the first ones to try it on and see if they could absorb some royal poise. While every one seemed to chatter the day away, feeling very important around their queen or king, the girl and boy in the middle of it all only seemed enormously bored. She almost felt sorry for them. Having to give so much of their time to look gorgeous and perfect all day long, almost.
Suddenly there was a stir, like bees went crazy when a bear was stealing honey, and everyone went straight to their tables and sat. A short but slim man walked into the classroom, with a small black briefcase that he smashed on his desk. And after that, everything was quite. *"Kiritsu!", more milk turning sour while all the thirty-two chairs scrapped, at the same time, over the tiled floor and everybody stood up straight. "Rei!", the class representative said in a loud voice, and everybody bowed obediently. 'What if the person in front of me suffers from flatulence?' "Yoroshiku onegaishimasu" Sounded every voice as one. "Chakuseki!", yelled the teacher in a surprising low voice for such a slim man. And everybody sat down. And then two whole hours of complete waste of time began.
The breeze outside blew trough her loose hairs while she leaned against the low fencing. Leaves rustled all around her, the plants her only company. Five different pots filled with plants stood randomly arranged around the balcony. Leaving just enough space to sit down and walk in and out of the adjoining room. Bright coloured and sweet smelling orchids hung in pots attached to the fencing. Her mothers favourite flowers. "They cure the air." She used to say while gently touching the flower petals with her nose.
A glass swayed in her hand. The liquor dancing in the glass, dangerously close to the edge. The alcohol left traces like the retreating tide line of the sea. She took another sip and felt the creamy substance flow to the back of her throat. With the smacking of her lips she felt the burning sensation inside her chest, warming her from the inside out. The night was a starless one, filled with smog and suffocating heat.
She went back inside where she let herself fall onto her bed. The glass bounced on the rug and rolled into a corner underneath her bed. 'This really should be the last glass I'm taking.', she repeated over and over in her head. 'Why does stuff that used to bother me about my parents, keeps coming up? Why can't I only remember the good stuff about them, and forget the rest?' She turned her head around and let it slip back into the cushion. Her mouth fell open and a small pool of drool gathered in the inside of her cheek, but she did not snore.
'Why am I even bothering with this shit?' She asked herself while standing over the kitchen cabinet, making herself a sandwich with Nutella. She shoved two pieces of bread inside the plastic bag, wrapped the plastic around her two forefingers and swung it a few times before tying a small knot. She turned and half swayed her way to her bag and shoes. Two flip flops were thrown inside the bag along with her lunch. She grabbed her necktie, didn't pay attention to the covered mirror, and looked for her keys.
With a bang her bicycle hit the door which swung open with some effort. She grumbled her way out of the storage and swung her leg over the saddle and began her way to school. 'Right, left, right, left, down, up and down and fucking up.' She pressed her feet in the pedals of her old bicycle which was a grandma bike which was the hype in her time. It had been very useful to her in The Netherlands, 'Where everything was flat.' She rolled her eyes at her own remark and muttered on, while crawling up the small hill at the speed of the slowest snail on the whole planet. Going down again she enjoyed the wind trough her hair and clothes, cooling her skin, giving her a short period of time to regain her breath. After five deep breaths, the earth flattened out and with her delusional mistrust she even thought she felt a hill coming up immediately. Twenty-five minutes it took her to cross a distance of four and a half kilometres…
Reaching the school fence she locked her bike and strode with her new gained gloominess trough the gate. Her flip flops and panty gathered dust up to the point that one couldn't recognise their original colour. Finally inside she beat the dust from her clothes and went to her class. They went trough the greeting with their teacher before class started and the same thoughts rushed trough her mind as they always did. And after two minutes she was back in her seat and stared, not too obvious, out of the window. No one paid attention to her and she did to anyone either. The one hour long ritual of one class would be repeated nine times that day before she finally could go home again. She almost felt eager, 'A very nostalgic feeling.' She let out a breath and looked up at the teacher and the blackboard. A slow and soft whimper escaped her lips, 'I thought Japan was a fast developing country. With their Toyota, Suzuki, Sony, Nintendo, Canon and even Nikon with their brilliant advertisements. Why the hell don't they have a digital smart board in school?' Pictures of a turtle, a dog and even a sleeping little girl rushed inside her head*. And for one second she felt like she was back in Holland, back on their blue, old leather cough with her mother and father besides her, watching television every evening. A few tables away from her, two girls giggled, attracting some bad vibes from the teacher and they guiltily went back to taking notes. She silently wished she could join in their fun and even their guiltiness for making a noise. A wave of melancholy rushed into her body and her palms turned sweaty. 'I thought you didn't want to get attached? Why am I even still in Japan anyway?" Another wave making her feeling sick almost to the point of puking, 'Why I'm still here? Because my so called family hasn't even tried to fucking contact me!' She almost jumped up hadn't it been for the bell that made her fall back into her chair. She breathed heavily and tears filled her eyes. Instead of pushing her head back and willing the tears away, she let her head fall with a thumb on her desk and the tears were violently knocked out of her eyes. She angrily wiped the drops from her table and swept her books inside her bag. With three big steps she stood in the corridor and made sure to get herself out of the building as quick as possible.
Finally behind the building she threw her bag with a cry against the grey concrete building which did not seem to care about her emotional outburst in the slightest. She searched until she found her phone, pressing impatient and angry at the unlock-button. As every other normal person who was heaving an emotional outburst, she started to heavily sweat and shake. She grumbled and her movements were staggering. And then the last drip to an already full bucket was added, "No new messages." Within a flash she had thrown her phone as hard as she could against the concrete. And with no satisfaction at all. It bounced right off, into the grass. Throwing it with its back against the surface had not much accomplished except for a loose battery, a scratched case and a sim-card that was still half in place. She felt an overwhelming feeling of utter uselessness and bent to pick up the pieces. She couldn't stand how she was acting and the way she handled things. She used to be proud of who she was, 'After so many years of developing myself I never turned into my mother.'* She bitterly smiled while she remember the magnet on their refrigerator. 'Does it even still hang there?' Remembering useless things like this had calmed her down a bit and she sat back in the grass with her phone in her hands. She looked up at the trees and saw the wind moving the leaves. The sun shone brightly and a vivid green flashed in front of her eyes. Bright shades in feverish yellow and green danced and remembered her of something precious. While she watched them, she felt warm and at ease, like on a warm summer day, after work, lying in the grass while listening to all the sounds that nature made. A small piece of her old self returned to her, and she finally said, "Mari, you must make the most of it."
Disclaimer: Anything that has similarities between this story and real life or other stories is a hundred percent accidental.
1 'Ohayou gozaimasu' is Japanese for 'Good morning'. 'Ohayou' Is translated as 'Morning' and is only used between very close friends.
2 This is the morning ritual that is preformed every single day between the class and the teacher. Translation in order - Attention/Stand - Bow - Please treat me kindly/I'll be in your care - Be seated. This is usually all said by the class rep.
2 The turtle, dog and sleeping girl are some examples of the great advertisements of Nikon on Dutch television.
3 This is a joke based off a magnet I have with the quote "After years of personal development she still turned into her mother." With a picture showing a woman in the late '90 (I think) with red lips, a pencil skirt, a vest and a flimsy scarf wrapped around her hair. ~She means here that she used to be pessimist and after years of development she finally turned into a person she could be a little proud off, hence the "She used to be proud of who she was." But this is now all wasted since she became even more of an pessimist than she had ever been.
A/N Thank you for reading! Please let me know what you like/disliked about it. One word reviews are also most welcome and please let me know when you find a grammar mistake, I try to keep them at a minimum... ^^