Chapter 2:

The Past That Brings Us Together

Along The Way (途中で)

Honey, Wake up already, you are late for school.”Bookmark here

“Just 5 more minutes,” I said as I slowly pulled my self out of my slumber. I looked at my alarm clock, though my eyes were still bleary, like the windows in the winter eve. I rubbed my eyes with my right sleeve, and looked at the clock again.Bookmark here

“What! The batteries are dead.” Like a marionette of a grand clock, I jumped up from my bed. I rubbed my eyes again as I walked in front of the window. The curtains were still closed, but stray rays of light were seeping through the gaps between them. I pulled the curtains to the side, as the gleaming sun finally graced its morning into my room. There was a pearly glow in the sky, sparkling and very beautiful.Bookmark here

“It’s such a pretty morning,” I said as I stood there savouring the morning grace with pleasure, when suddenly mom yelled at me again to go to the washroom and get fresh. By the way, I am not someone who always gets up late. Blame the alarm clock for this, not me.Bookmark here

I washed my face and fixed my bedhead, though the feeling of drowsiness was still there. I went downstairs, when mom saw me, still half-awake half-asleep, like a puppet walking with all its strings tangled up. Bookmark here

“Were you awake all night?” She asked as I heftily pulled my chair out and took my seat.Bookmark here

“I don’t remember anything from last night. My head just feels very heavy, as if I got hit on my head.” I swayed my hand over my head, trying to understand the eerie sensation. Even though it felt like a slight pain, my entire head was overwhelmed by it.Bookmark here

“Is that a new excuse for staying up all night, Yuki?” She said as though she was a detective or something, whose eyes would never let go off anything suspicious. But sleeping was on the top of my priority list that night, or that’s what I would say if she wasn’t the type to always toss aside all excuses. Bookmark here

Rather, I kept chewing on my breakfast as fast as I could, while at times gazing outside through the window while admiring the beautiful morning, as the room basked under the morning sunlight that poured through the window and seeped upon it. The air in the room was quite light, and scented with the aroma of the sunlight.Bookmark here

After I was done eating, I got up, and I slammed the chair inside, making the table shake a little. I rushed to the living room to grab my bag from the couch, when my eyes fell on the clock minding its own business. Bookmark here

“It’s bad! I am already this late!” I said as I rushed to the front door and quickly put on my shoes.“Mom, I am leaving,” Bookmark here

“OK, dear. Take care. And don’t forget to come straight home after school.”Bookmark here

I wonder what she means by ‘Come straight home.’ Will I ever forget to come home from school? And where else will I go except for coming home, like a net café? That costs more than even the allowance I get! At least she should give me more money and then say stuff like that.Bookmark here

Well, for now that doesn’t matter because I am already quite late and if I waste any more time I will miss the home room class, and I don’t want to see myself holding buckets of water in the hallway. Bookmark here

I ran as fast as I could, using up all my strength I had been accumulating from all the gym classes I thought were futile at the end. I guess I was wrong. But even in the hurry I was, my mind was being carried away by everything around me. To be honest, it’s like today I am enjoying the morning very much unlike any other morning, the sun is shining softly on the streets, bringing with it a flurry of early-morning feeling. Bookmark here

And unlike any other day, it feels like I should show gratitude to someone for letting me witness such a morning. The flowers in the flower beds along the street have bloomed very beautifully and created a wonderful scenery, as if an artist was playing with his colours on a canvas, a joyful yet magnificent delight. Bookmark here

But when my mind was being swayed by the work of the colours, I brought myself back each time to the pale reality. Even if I wanted to, I didn’t have the time to be a part of that canvas or even admire their beauty completely today.Bookmark here

At the end, I was finally at the school gates, managing to somehow arrive right before the gates were closed. Our gym teacher was standing by the gate with his serious glare, waiting to close the gates as soon as the main bell would ring. Bookmark here

I slowly crawled up the stairs, barely pulling myself up to the third floor, as if the tangled strings on my body had finally snapped. The hallways were empty, as everyone had already gone to their classes. I was breathing heavily, barely sucking in the surrounding air to keep my legs walking, while my lungs became heavy after all that running. I walked into the classroom, barely making it before the home room class had begun. Bookmark here

I placed my bag against my seat and fell over the desk as if I just came from a marathon, which is fairly true.Bookmark here

“I am exhausted.” I pouted as I fell on my chair, my soul feeling like it was getting spirited away from my vessel. My mind took a break from everything around me to soak in the calmness of the nature. I rested my head upon the lap of my arms on the table, while tilting it to the left. Bookmark here

I looked at the glossy blue sky, where the lustrous sun gleaming right on top of me. My seat is just beside the window facing the school yard, at the very back of the room, making it a great place to enjoy a nap as the wind flows into the room and soothes my entire body, until the teacher comes and slams a book on my head, which is meant for study, not to ruin my nap.Bookmark here

“You look quite roughed up today. Did you wake up late.” Sakura said as she looked at me with a gentle smile on her face. I lifted my head a little to let my eyes be graced by her presence. She turned towards me, as her hair shined beautifully in the sunlight.Bookmark here

She is Maekawa Sakura, who sits right next to me. She is a very calm and gentle person, most notable are her aquamarine blue eyes, looking at which anyone may feel like they are surrounded by a mystical blueness after diving deep into an ocean. Her hair is long and castaneous in colour. She was the first friend I made in the class, and maybe the only I can trust and share my secrets with. She isn’t the flash friend, the one everyone wants to copy and follow around. She is more like the raw and vulnerable friend, the one who wears her heart on her sleeve and makes it okay for you to do the same.Bookmark here

“My alarm clock betrayed me today, that’s why…”Bookmark here

Sakura just sat there listening to my complaints, after which she gave a sweet smile to make me feel better. If my brain ever requires sugar to function properly, then it is her smile in our conversation that always brushes away all my tiredness.Bookmark here

“By the way, Yuki, have you noticed anything unusual in front of you?” She said as she pointed towards the desk in front of me.Bookmark here

“What's so special about Itsuki’s desk…?” I said, while I looked at the desk in front of me. Bookmark here

Till now, I hadn’t noticed it, maybe because I usually arrive early at school, that Itsuki-kun, the boy who sits in front of me, for the first time ever, had arrived before me. Bookmark here

Fujimoto Itsuki, a very eccentric boy, and even in real life conversation he somehow always ends up pampering into the virtual world, as if that's his reality where he escapes to, which also explains why he is always late for school. Bookmark here

“I see that the sun has raised from the west today.” Itsuki said with a grin on his face, which makes me want to punch him real-hard.Bookmark here

“I came late to…” Bookmark here

Before I could finish, the front doors of the room were slid open, and our home room teacher boldly entered the room. Bookmark here

His usual intimidation was there like every day, serene yet ferocious in a way. He went up to his desk and placed his things there, after which he placed both his arms on the desk and faced towards us. Bookmark here

“Everyone, move to your seats. Today, I have a very good news for you people.” He cleared his throat before continuing, “A transfer student will be joining you guys from today.”Bookmark here

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You can resume reading from this paragraph.