初恋『Heavenly Days』 //Part 3
The day Tuesday puts one word into my mind, choir. Even though I'm used to waking up early in the morning I just seem to have more difficulty when I have choir that day. No matter how hard I try I will never look forward to choir. I don't even remember why I joined it. Wait…. Yes, it was so I could go on that choir trip to that mountain. But I began to regret it all - the motive, joining, everything. I no longer had friends and choir just brought back memories I was trying to forget. Yesterday I had worked on typing out the events which had occurred up till now. I read over the first chapter and printed it out. I was surprised at the depth of my words. Being the avid writer that I am it's not shocking that I took my time to write out every single detail of my less than pleasant life. I was planning to allow Hiromi, Jun, and Maki to read over the first chapter. In a way I wanted to test them, how seriously they could take me, how much I could trust them? I know testing people is God's job, but how else am I to know? My friendship with Hiromi was too wishy-washy. She was kind to me, at the same time she was cruel to me. Every time I feel like we're getting closer I somehow do something to make her mad and we get into a fight. What am I doing wrong? No matter how many times I cross-examine the things I do, the things people around me do – I am still unable to find the solution.
It is a well known fact that I am tone deaf. I can never manage to sing the right part or the right notes. This is the best explanation as to why she hates me. After all, I am the one ruining her close to perfect choir. Nevertheless, I ease her anxieties by lip-syncing during performances. As all suffering eventually comes to an end, so does choir. As soon as the bell rang I handed her my assignment and proceeded to homeroom. I looked upwards towards the ceiling and begged God to spare me today. It had been such a long time since I've had one agreeable day.
I wasted no time finding my spot at the back of the classroom in between Hiromi and Maki.
"I wrote a memoir type thing of my life yesterday!" I said to Maki, she titled her head towards me groggily, her eyes half closed she was probably half asleep too. She forced her eyes open and accepted the sheets of paper I handed to her. "Don't tell anyone about anything you read in here ok?" I whispered, hopefully she would be able to keep a secret. In all honesty I had a lot of faith in Maki. She instilled a new sort of hope in me, the gentle personality which hid behind her more exuberant one appealed to my needs. Was I that much of a needy person? Was I constantly searching for attention? Those are the two questions I hope never come into people's minds. I am no attention-seeker. I am an acceptance-seeker. Unlike those girls who make up elaborate stories about how pathetic their lives are I prefer to keep things hidden. It's really not good for me, people tell me. I just have difficulty commutating with other people. I examined Maki's features carefully, looking around the classroom, my paranoia tripled. What if someone saw? What if someone knew…? It was quite foolish to allow my mind to acquire such consuming thoughts. I lost sight of my objective and a heavy hand gripped the corner of the paper, using tremendous force to try and pull it away.
Had this person no shame? No dignity? I was thoroughly enraged; I spun around in my seat and faced the atrocious figure. I shot a look of anger towards her; my hands pried the paper away with just enough force to put it in my possession without ripping it. Hiromi and Jun laughed frivolously, not realizing the extent of their actions.
"Can we read it?" they asked in a demanding voice. My features changed to form a pleading expression in which they decided to disregard. "Come on Eri, just let us read it." It was more of an order than a request. Somewhere inside me I knew that they were going to be angry with me if I hadn't let them read it. I was far too familiar with this situation. Though, after breaking off my relations with the people I used to sit lunch with I didn't think I'd encounter something like this again. I'm sure Maki had said something in my defense but my mind was far too busy to process anything else.
"It's my life's story… I was really mad at you guys when I wrote it…" I paused to gauge their expressions then awaited their reply in agony.
"Wow you must've been really mad at us then" Hiromi said, amused. My muscles contracted and forced my smile downwards into a tight frown. I looked away so that they wouldn't see and admitted defeat. I handed them the papers and walked away. I didn't want to see what they thought; I didn't want to see them period. I walked over to Kanako and fell to my knees beside her desk. My head bent down in shame.
"What's wrong Eri?" I had heard those 3 words so many times they now seemed like a nuisance. But this time I told someone what was wrong.
"I don't want them to read my story…" I trailed off, gasping for breath. Had I even been holding my breath in the first place? I couldn't tell.
"Then tell them they can't." Kanako told me, as if I was already supposed to have done that. She forgot two key words, Peer pressure.
"No, they'll get mad at me." I clenched my teeth together and allowed myself to stare at the ground once more. I had broken the promise I made to myself.
"Then I'll tell them!" Kanako's overbearing and do-it-myself personality had its disadvantages sometimes.
"Wait!" It was too late.
"Hey you guys, I don't think she wants you to be reading her story." Kanako said smoothly, they looked up and stared at her blankly.
"She said we could read it." They sneered, returning back to their reading. They looked at me in disgust and I recoiled.
"Never mind Kanako, just drop it." I whispered pleadingly, I grabbed her arm and looked her in the eyes hoping to somehow relay my message to her. I felt so feeble with Kanako standing up for me. Even her tries achieved nothing. My shoulders began to tremble and I tried my best to put up a strong façade.
Then I heard two laughs; one low callous one and another high-pitched witch sounding one. The low one belonged to Hiromi and the other one belonged to Jun. Had they been laughing at my story? I had put so much feeling into those words, I expressed my true feelings and yet they still had the audacity to laugh at it? My heart took a blow, the charred organ crumbling to dust and blown away by the wind. Was it too late to gather up the millions of fragments and piece them back together? How could I be that stupid? Placing trust in such unworthy beings was one of my faults.
But how, how could they have laughed after reading what they did? I blinked several times to conceal my tears, quickly wiping them up then asked my teacher for permission to go to the washroom. What an unsanitary sanctuary, however, it was the only place I could be without having others pester me, where I could fearlessly show off my human emotions.
I closed the toilet and took a seat. It probably wasn't the cleanest seat out there but my legs were just too tired from standing. My tears seemed to fall heavier than the rain outside; my sobs seemed to echo in the depths of my soul. And yet, my cries for help still go unheard.
I approached the sink as soon as I could no longer hear the presence of anyone else in the washroom. I let the water pool in a cup I had formed with my hands. Bringing the water up I lowered my face to receive it, cooling off my rather warm face. I looked at the mirror, my eyes were bloodshot. I was far scarier than Sadako, the girl from the Ring. Furiously, I washed my eyes out, reducing the concentration of red to a mere pink. Satisfied with the current appearance of my eyes I returned to class.
I passed by Maki, Jun, and Hiromi and picked up my stuff up from my table and moved to the empty seat beside Kanako. The seat was just one row in front. I sniffled, I was in dire need of a tissue but was scared to go up and get one from Hasegawa-sensei's desk. Being the school counselor she would want to help me. The thing is, I do want help – just not from someone her age.
"Eri-chan?" Atsuko said, moving her face closer to examine mine. I would not, under any circumstances divert my eyes from the safety of my binder. Accepting of my need to be alone she wrote a note on a piece of paper and pushed it in front of me. Again, those three words haunted me.
'Are you ok?'
I was so sick of pity. How many times must I say it for my view to be realized? People's acts of kindness, to me were no such acts at all. There had to be reasons surrounding people's actions. Thus, there is no such thing as a random act of kindness. Kindness does not exist. It is just another term for a returned favor. While it is true, according to my catholic education, that one does things for others without expecting anything in return I don't believe in that. When people do things for others they expect something back. Atsuko was the class drama-queen, or so people called her. So I was unsure if her interest to help was triggered out of the 'kindness' of her heart or the addiction she had for attention. I decided upon the least favorable option. Expecting too much out of people only disappoints one more. Hence, living a pessimistic lifestyle leaves no room for disappointment – only room for improvement. Living a life of disappointment is not a choice someone can just decide upon. I find that one has to be thrust into a life like this in order to know how to live it. For me I guess it was just fate. Yes, that would explain it, all of it.
Once more I go against my better judgment and choose to confide in someone I know I probably shouldn't have confided in. Was it wrong? Was it that wrong to want someone to talk to? I yearned to hear the comforting words of a friend; I sought out understanding in the less then accepting world. Without my given consent, tears began to fall in large drops onto the lenses of my glasses; I removed them, setting them to the side as I dried my eyes. Atsuko reached her hand over and patted my back, whispering consoling words into my ear. I felt another hand on my shoulder and looked up to see Maki. I hugged my books to me and looked down, shutting my eyes. One tear after another the moisture in my eyes began to augment.
I held my textbooks closer to me and sobbed. It was the first time I had ever cried so profoundly in class. I was embarrassed at my own actions and tried to stop, but the cries only grew louder. Maki hugged me while Atsuko dried the tears on my face. I could still hear Hiromi and Jun's exasperating laughs from behind me. I needed to stop, I begged God to let the tears stop falling. This display of human weakness was inevitable, I knew that, but I hated it more than anything else. The last thing I wanted to become was weak. I raised my free hand up to my chest and felt the uneven beating of my heart. Yes, it was still there, still beating away but to at a different rhythm. I appreciated my heart beat; it was a constant reminder that somewhere inside I was still alive.
"Eri just talk to us so we could figure out what's wrong, ignoring us isn't going to accomplish anything. " Jun told me. I continued to sob, looking away from her.
"Yeah Eri." Hiromi said an irritated expression on her face. I continued to ignore them, not knowing exactly what I should tell them. I turned away from them and covered my face with both my hands. Everything from that point on was a blur. I could not seem to recollect any other words exchanged between me and those two.
The bell sounded and it was time to go to Japanese class.
"Tell Ueda-sensei I'm in the washroom." I managed to tell Maki as I dashed towards the door. I held my binders higher than usual to try and block out my face.
"Eri-chan daijoubu?" I heard Chou ask me, I nodded my head and walked even faster to lose her. The journey to the washroom was the only thing in my mind.
I stumbled about in the stall as if I were drunk. My knees seemed to turn to dust, I had to prop myself up against the door to keep myself from falling over. I gulped down as much oxygen as I could and began to discard my emotions. Little by little I was beginning to feel like nothing. Little by little the good aspects of me were disappearing. Soon I would become an empty being.
"Eri-chan?" I heard Maki's voice call for me. I pushed the door open and stepped outside. I positioned myself over the nearest sink and began to flush out the redness of my face. How many times would I have to repeat this process? How many times? Again I had nothing of which I could use to end my life. Should I end my life? Is there still something or someone who needs me? The probability of anything needing me was frighteningly slim.
People just don't seem to understand that I want to be left alone. I could see Maki's efforts to reach me but I did nothing but slap her hand away. I was unaware of as to what her intentions were. I wasn't ready to start looking for friends again. That process of seeking out possible candidates was more painful than trying to maintain a friendship that went against the odds. When I looked towards Maki I could see her talking to her friend, Susume so I left. I didn't need her permission to leave without her. I left when I felt like it. I heard her voice calling to me, asking me to wait for her but I ignored it. This was a turning point in my life. I had, in only mere hours, transformed myself into an unfeeling person. The person I had changed into was the polar opposite of the person I used to be. I didn't know if that was a good or bad thing yet.
Upstairs, just outside of my classroom I met up with Kanako. She was probably skipping class again. She motioned for me to come and follow her. I shook my head and frowned.
"Come on, let's get back to class."
"No, besides she's knows you're in the washroom. You still have a good 10 minutes to wander around the school." She explained, advertising the idea to me. I guess she just forgot I was smarter than that.
"No thanks see you later." I waved. She ran up to me and embraced me. My body grew stiff; I could not feel the warm of her emotion nor the sympathy she was trying to give me.
I took a seat at my desk and took a pen out of my pencil case. I laid my head on my desk and closed my eyes. I wasn't trying to sleep; I was just trying to give myself a rest. My eyes were dried out; my tear ducts were temporarily incapable of producing tears. My eyes which were once teeming with moisture were now excruciatingly dry. I rubbed my irritated eyes and put my glasses back on. I opened my eye and could barely see anything. Tears had dried on my lenses and they were now covered with a film of dried salt water. I quickly cleaned my glasses with my kilt.
We didn't do anything that class but play a game I didn't want to participate in. So I sat there with my head resting on my arms. I felt so empty. I looked forward to Math class; I looked forward to seeing the one being that made my life much more bearable.
Hiromi motioned for me to sit in front of her that math class. Remembering yesterday's events I refused. I sat myself in a desk at the very front of the room. I looked towards the door; I desperately wanted to glimpse his figure. I don't even know why I love him this much. My feelings for him were far from simple.
It was painful and yet I refused to give up my feelings. The little things he was able to do for me allowed me to feel a simple happiness. He made me feel human. The way he knew things before other people did, the way he consoled me, these were all things I loved about him. His eyes possessed a certain depth and warm. Whenever I spoke to him I was accepted. He made me doubt my theories on life. I was sure; the kindness he showed towards me was genuine. He had nothing he wanted from me so it was impossible for him to expect something from me. I can't help but think that if it were not for our two restricting positions in life we could have been friends. If there was a way to abridge our age difference, if there was a way to somehow heighten my chances of success – I'd give almost anything to obtain it.
"Let's ask Tsujimura-sensei if we can continue the game we were playing last class!" One girl suggested.
"Eri ask him if we can play." Another pleaded. I looked up at them, my features moved to show my confusion.
"Why me?" I grumbled, my eyes stayed half closed, unwilling to dilate in order to adjust to the light in the room.
"Because you're his favourite student!" They spat out, my eyes were forced open due to shock from the volume of their combined voices. I blinked several times and let my eyes adjust; my body was awfully slow today. I was kind of flattered that people thought of me as his favourite student, but I didn't believe that to be true. As much as I wanted to believe it, I just couldn't. After all, no guy in their right mind would fall for someone like me. Ah, once again I have been able to depress myself – just when I thought I was going to start feeling better.
There was a shift in attention in the room, meaning, Tsujimura-sensei had returned. As he walked through the door the poor man was bombarded with compliments.
"I really like the shirt you have on today."
"You know, you're my favourite teacher"
Of course, most of those compliments weren't lies at all. My classmates just decided to voice them in order to benefit themselves. The selfish acts of humans these days never cease to amaze me. I wasn't going to participate in such an endeavor. Eventually, they had succeeded without the precious 'favourite student's' help.
As they played their game I made my way towards the far right corner of the board, to the corner where I wrote my messages to him. I groped around for the black marker he placed on the top ledge of the board. By the time I had managed to find it my hands were covered in a thick black residue. Uncapping the pen I pressed the worn –down point to the white board and slowly began to jot down my incoherent thoughts.
'For everything and anything you've ever done for me, thank you. You're not as bad as I thought you were, actually you're a pretty nice person. But it's different now. I'm sorry, I'm really sorry. I can feel a certain nothingness eating away at the world around me. Warmth is becoming harder to feel, beauty and kindness have become impossible concepts to me. When will it end? When will that day come? Nobody knows. I'm sorry.
As I set the marker down I saw him behind me, his presence was suffocating. My eyes shot up from his feet to his face, I looked at him for a couple moments, my eyes relaying secrets messages between us. I turned and walked away from him, with each step came an unexplainable feeling of betrayal. Why was it so impossible to face him? As I took a seat in the first row I looked up and him. He was looking at my note intently for the duration of the class.
Then it was over, I looked to see his receding figure once more and smiled to myself. Chuckling softy as I remembered the corny note I left him. It was lunch now and I, once again, had no one to sit beside. I took my bento from my locker and pushed my way through the usual crowd of girls blocking the passage to the staircase and made my way towards the auditorium. I pushed back the curtains and peered inside. Damn, props where spread across the entire stage, teachers stood in the middle talking – there goes my so called 'sanctuary'. Much too tired to express frustration, my emotions reset themselves to my usual state of being – disappointed.
It seemed foolish at the time to eat anywhere else but the Dinning hall. Every single imaginable place in the school was crawling with people. Upon reaching the courtyard I scanned my surroundings, the tables, benches, even dry spots on the ground had people on them. Inside the dinning hall I managed to find a vacant seat beside some of the 2nd years I knew. People around me would surely see me as pathetic, eating with my underclassmen. I would like the think that I don't care but the sad truth is that I do. Although I usually don't show people how much their actions affect me, every single little thing that they do I am able to analyze. Among the underclassmen I sat with there was Chou, she was one of my good friends and I was proud that she was. Sometimes her hard, blunt advice hurt but maybe, just maybe, she wanted the best from me. Oh what was the use of hope? Its only destination is to be crushed.
"Eri-senpai, daijoubu?" She'd ask me; again I'd nod away while taking bites out of my sandwich. I sat there in absolute silence – as if someone had pressed the mute button on my life, the movement of one's mouth without sound, the crash of a lunchbox against the floor, somehow, I had grown immune to them all. A violent shaking forces me back into the real world, the noise returns and I begin to feel like an idiot all over again. Crying is a waste of energy, lately I've been able to channel that urge. The emotions that cause me to cry I force into some pit at the bottom of my heart. The pit's getting full, the emotions are pilling up one on top of the other and I'm starting to feel suffocated.
Just to clear up any misunderstandings that may arise, I would like to point out my concept of people having two hearts. There is a heart that pumps and circulates blood, and there is a part of your brain called 'the heart' which is the source of all one's emotions. It's quite frustrating that most people are still unable to tell the difference. Though I am still unsure as to why, whenever I am hurt I can feel a pain ebbing away at something inside my chest. Still, that may be because my heart is malfunctioning without reason to keep me alive.
My memory malfunctioned and I was unable to recall any of the material in any of the classes. That day my loneliness did not affect me much, I'm tired and I just want to give up. The unrelenting anger hidden behind my half closed eyes was looking for output, I felt like screaming, jumping off a building - something that would either shock the anger out of me or completely exhaust it.
I was like a corpse, lifeless, soulless – a complete and utter wonder. I was dead and at the same time I was alive and moving. I promised myself I wouldn't succumb to suicide's sweet temptation; I would never let myself throw away what was left of this life. I was catholic so my life's mission was to avoid a one way trip to Hell at all costs. I know there is a God somewhere watching over me. I have no one to blame but myself. It's my fault, it's my entire fault I am the way I am.
No longer able to see colour, I sink towards tomorrow.
part 3 // END