Life hasn't exactly been great to me.
Like a birthday cake without its cream and a cat without its ears; life is good, but it's not that great. Something is always missing.
My family's teachings have forced me to wear a smile at all times since childhood. As a result, it made me unable to truly feel what I might have felt. Having the name "Doceo" as your last name means you must have more than one face.
And apparently my family took pride in it.
When I was younger, my mother would tell me to keep my lips like the Great Wall of China. Unmoved, tough, and stretched for miles and miles. I had to keep smiling until dinner. If I failed, I won't be granted the luxury of eating with a spoon for a whole month.
As evil as it sounds, my mother never backs down on her words. The 6 year-old me had no choice but to comply.
My poor cheeks.
I remember that day being one of the hardest times that I had ever have. Smiling too much is not good for your emotions. It's just my amateur hypothesis, but I think my emotional self has died due to my inability of expressing my negative emotions. During bad and depressing times, smiling became a reflex and, well, it's not that I hate it, but thanks to this I am now forever abnormal to people other than my family.
At one time a 'friend' of mine left me after seeing my apparently unusual response to a murder scene. Kids being kids, we watched a horror movie that her brother had together. Throughout the movie she realized that she was screaming all alone. I was scared too, but she said only my upper face showed signs of fear. My eyebrows were raised and my eyes dilated, but with the combination of a stiff smile my face looked like a psychopath.
In the end she never wanted to meet me again because she was afraid that I am actually a serial killer in disguise.
That happened when I was around 8. When my father found out about this he came and scolded me. He was unsatisfied not because I secretly watched a horror movie, but because I let a friend leave in such a bad way.
"Listen, Rhea. You don't need 10 best friends; they are nice but a pain to keep. What you need is 1000 people that are ready to move according to your will at all times. Build connections. Do you understand?" he said, his hands felt heavy on my tiny shoulders. I nodded, agreeing to his every word.
Ever since that incident I came to realize that if I don't act like how people would act, I'd be isolated soon enough.
And so I act feminine and normal, just like any good, obedient little girls that waited for their mothers' "ok" before eating any treats and sit down when they were told to. Being a good girl is always easy. The hard part is to stay that way for long periods of time. I can do it just fine, but now I feel restricted and fake. I was never really the good girl anyway. And so I keep smiling and dying emotionally every day.
It's ironic to know that my brothers and I all have psychological issues. Different from my broken emotional box, my brothers have their own unique problems. It's fortunate that my family teaches its children to be mentally strong. We are used to handle and fix our own problems and rely on ourselves.
Then several things happened, and all of a sudden I have to go to a school called Sycamore.
"It is an elite school that has a high standard, a place where people with high status take their children to learn...Once you graduate from there, people will respect you," said Larl,my oldest brother to me when he told me that he had enrolled me there; he didn't tell me beforehand. Larl does have some control issues. He sounded so confident and convincing that I even forgot to get mad at him. Now my chance to refuse is gone.
Because I am now walking down the school dorm's hall, looking for my room. I was never good at finding things.
He didn't even tell me that the curriculum used in Sycamore could kill its students. Literally.
"May I help you, miss?"
Surprised, I turn around to the voice behind me. When did she get here? I didn't even hear a footstep.
A young woman with long, sunset hair tied into a perfect bun looks at me with a neutral, almost monotonic expression. After a short pause, she finally decides to say something.
"I noticed that you have been wandering around for quite a long time. If I may ask, are you perhaps lost?"
She can't be a student since she's wearing a name tag. Her manner of speaking is too polite. Is she the one in charge here? Well, being polite to her won't hurt.
Putting on my relieved smile, I answer her in a lost child tone. "Yes, yes I am. Will you please be so kind and help me find my way? My room number is 408."
With an indifferent tone and expression, she offers me her hand.
Just when my right hand touches her right palm, the surrounding around us changes. So she can do teleportation? That's nice. In a second, we are standing in front of room number 408.
She hands me a piece of folded paper.
"Your roommate left this message for you. She arrived quite a while ago. Your luggage has also been taken care of. Have a nice day." She nods slightly, and disappears in a heartbeat.
"Thanks..." I whisper slowly.
If uncle really did what he said he will, my roommate should be Chyr.
Chyr is my one and only surviving childhood friend. Before I complete my training, I was quite unstable. But Chyr doesn't seem to mind that. Her family teachings were the opposite of mine. When I was told to smile even when I don't want to, Chyr was told to keep a straight face even when she really wanted to laugh.
Slightly giving pressure to the cold, bronze door knob, I sigh; sincerely hoping that Chyr is inside, doing her thing or whatever she wants to do. I really don't want to be alone on the first day of school.
The door opens slowly, revealing a pair of untouched white beds, a clear window, a table, my luggage, and every other normal furniture that can be found in a decent hotel room. Everything is present, all except for the presence of someone that I hope the most.
Walking in, I notice that Chyr's clothes aren't even here. Feeling confused and a slight disappointment, I read the paper that was given to me before.
Be there in a few days
Slowly, I feel a smile creeping on my face.
What an awesome luck.