Chapter 1:

Time Start

Time Traveler Magical Girl Runa: Memories of Romance

Have you ever been in love?

Like true love!

Wanting to be together with someone forever and having them feel the same way for you. Walking hand-in-hand through life. Learning more about that person every day and falling even harder for them. Nothing sounds more beautiful than that to me.

I start middle school tomorrow and I’ve never in my life felt that way towards someone. I’m pretty jealous of the married couples I see, after all it is my dream to be a housewife. I hope I meet someone while I’m young... I know it is a little silly of me, but I shouldn’t be thinking about it being too late for me! I’m still way too young to give up on love!

I hope to find that special person someday even though I know no one is perfect. I would like a boy with more of a vintage style. Someone who dresses nice and treats ladies kindly. A real gentleman, if you will! That would be my ideal. Maybe he’s somewhere out there waiting for me and I can have a love at first sight moment! I can only wish at this point. I wish life was more like a movie. Then I could know if something is going to happen.

These are the thoughts that are going through my head as I drift off to sleep. Tomorrow is a big day. I make one final wish to be in the same class as my friends and my special someone.

It’s early in the morning. A nice bright, sunny April day in Tokyo is taking place with or without me outside. I don’t want to get up. My hand rests on my phone that was ringing just a few seconds ago. Or maybe it has already been a few minutes since then. Time keeps flowing despite what we want, doesn’t it? How cruel. My head still feels fuzzy from waking up or perhaps from falling back asleep. Half asleep? I’m not sure, all I know is that I don’t want to get up. My second alarm starts to assault my ears and I resign myself to my fate.

The birds outside are my background music as I get ready for the day. I stare at the mirror. A thirteen year old girl in a sailor uniform looks back at me. I give her a cute wink and a smile as I comb my black chin length hair into place. That’s not fooling anyone. I still look about as average as they come. Suddenly, I’m too embarrassed to look at my prized vintage movie posters decorating my room in the eye as I run out to the living room.

My grandma has already made breakfast and is eating with grandpa. They are both retired so they can always take it slow and eat together every morning. How nice.

“This is too good. Is this a new recipe?” he asks her, excitement drips from his voice.

She answers almost immediately. “Oh, you noticed! I did put two shakes of pepper instead of one today.”

“So brilliant, using pepper on eggs. That’s why I love you.”

“Stop! You say that every day!” He gives a boisterous laugh at her comment. “Oh, Runa! Come here and eat. I made your plate already.” She caught me staring at them from across the room. I’m happy for them, it just never gets less awkward to come in when they get all lovey-dovey. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would think so.

“Runa! Good luck in middle school today. Kids get pretty crazy at that age. I should know. Half the stuff we did for fun back then would get a police officer after you nowadays. Or maybe we could just outrun them better back then.” Grandpa chuckles to himself as grandma playfully slaps his arm.

“Thanks. I think.” I say as I eat. I’ve got to be quick; there’s not much time left to get to school.

After I finish, I pay my respects to my parent’s photo on the altar. There is already a bowl of rice next to it. I take the feather duster nearby and do a quick dusting around the photo three times as usual. I have to do this every time before I leave the house; it’s really important to me! Not that I could explain why.

I step outside to the warm sunlight. There’s a good fifteen minute walk separating me from the school gates. Ten if I jog. The choice is clear. I decide to walk. Who wants to jog before school? I’ll leave it up to fate to see if I’m late or not. The sunlight feels nice as I stroll through the neighborhood. It’s a quiet street with old houses lining it. There’s always a housewife or two sweeping. I admire them. I love cleaning too. Ah, to live a simple life of caring for the house and your family.

As my walk continues, more students wearing my same uniform fill out the street like a trickle emerging into a stream. Cars use the street near the school forcing us onto the same sidewalk. Some are riding bikes. I check my phone for the time. Looks like I’ll make it on time today. A good start to, hopefully, a good year.

My school isn’t prestigious or anything but they can take the rules very seriously. We aren’t allowed to alter our uniforms at all or even have key chains on our bags. Something about it being a long-standing and traditional kind of school. I think it was built in the Showa era; I thought that was pretty cool. It was part of the reason I wanted to go here. The main reason being it was close to my house, of course.

I start to look around for my two best friends. I scan the crowd of students in old-fashioned sailor and gakuran uniforms. Our school goes up until high school, so I recognize almost everyone from last year. I heard people around me talking about what they did over the break. A few of them talk about the new Pokemal, the pocket animal craze game, on their handheld console. Others talk about the upcoming Olympics. The most interesting conversations to me are the ones I hear about love. Is it creepy to eavesdrop on upperclassmen when they’re right next to me?

“Man, I really want to let this girl know I like her but I don’t want to scare her! You have a girlfriend, right? Please help me!”

“You have her email address already from that group chat, right? Just start messaging her stickers or something. Start with cute greeting ones and then send ones with hearts.”

“Oh, you think that will work?”

“I don’t know. I’m not an expert. It was just a thought. I met my girlfriend in an online game.”

“Don’t give me your experimental advice! But I think that might be my best option.”

I put my hands to my face and smile. Oh gosh, that’s so sweet. I wonder who the lucky girl could be? My thoughts are interrupted by some noise from the crowd behind me. They sound worried. I turn to see a girl with silky, flowing long hair on a bicycle. Normally, it would be a lovely sight, expect she’s riding with her arms crossed and her eyes closed with a proud grin. I start fighting the sea of students to get to her in time, but it’s too late. It happened in seconds; I never had a chance.

Her long hair is the last to fall to the ground. I cry out her name, “Ageha! Are you ok?”

The girl lifts herself and a small rock gracefully off the ground next to her. As if she never fell. “Ah, all-knowing fate. You have brought me to this rock. I shall treasure it forever if that is what you have in store for me. But fate can be cruel and I might lose it eventually. Our time together will be beautiful and brief.” She strikes a dramatic pose by putting her hand to her head. This is the type of person my best friend Ageha is. Ageha Kidou, model face, addicted to dramatics, and aspiring actress. Currently talking about fate to a rock.

“Why would you do something so dangerous so early in the morning, Ageha?”

“I was simply trying to let destiny take its course and lead me to my beloved, is all. They say love is blind, don’t you know? I thought of it just a few seconds ago and decided it would be extremely romantic to meet the one for me on the first day of school.” She said while fixing herself and her bike back up. She put the rock in her bag and patted it. Looks like she was serious about the rock.

“I don’t know if anyone would fall in love with someone who hit them with their bike. There’s too many things that could go wrong with that scenario, but I see your point.” I said dusting her bike off with my hand. My girly instincts just can’t reject the thought of any fate driven romance blossoming right in front of me.

“Are you guys planning on skipping today? That’s cool. I’m down.” A short girl I didn’t even notice come up to us is eating a pastry next to me. If it was anyone else I’d had a heart attack but her cute, small face warms my heart. Her messy eating though, always bugs me. She’s a quiet girl who goes along with the flow. That’s my best friend, Yona. Yona Katauke, sharp eyes, a sharper lopsided hairstyle, and currently no plans except maybe university for fashion if she can be bothered.

“We are not going to be late on the first day! That’s not in my cards!” Ageha yells.

We run at top-speed towards the school gates. Somehow, probably thanks to Ageha’s cards, we all made it on time for the uneventful entrance ceremony. There are barely any new students this year so the amount of parents taking pictures at the entrance was low. The front yard was nicely decorated though. The ceremony was just some generic speech that could be heard at any school in Japan. I fake sing along to our school song again this year. It’s too embarrassing letting others hear my singing!

Afterwards, we walk to our new classrooms and I feel a bit of hopeless romantic excitement. I bound the old hallways and turn the sharp corners briskly to my classroom. Maybe some kids stare at me weirdly but I try not to notice. However, my fate was not kind to me. As expected, I didn’t have any love at first sight experience when walking in. Oh well, there’s always next year I guess. The best thing about today was learning all my friends are going to be in the same class as me. The day drags on until it’s time to leave.

The winds blows the leaves against my shoes as I walk home from school. I already said goodbye to my friends earlier and now I stare absentmindedly at the long road ahead of me. Although today was kind of fun at some points, I’m not really looking forward to all the studying and tests that lie in my future. Tomorrow is the first real school day full of lectures and note-taking. It bears repeating, I’m not looking forward to it. Especially thinking how many more years of studying I still have to go. The trees rustle louder as I get more anxious.

I suddenly turn left down a street that’s not part of my normal route. A change of pace usually helps these kinds of things, right? I think if I just make two right turns I should be back on the usual road. It’s a narrow road in between two buildings with no street for cars. The scenery loses its novelty quickly with not much to look at. As I walk I realize it’s a dead end. Great. Well, nothing bad happened so it’s ok.

I turn on my heels and feel myself step on something. That’s weird. Was I that out of it? I swear nothing was in the street before. I move my foot and a brilliant green faced watch stares back at me. Although it’s very vintage looking complete with leather straps, it looks almost brand new. Wow! When I pick it up I admire its heft and details. It looks valuable but there’s no brand name on it. What is this doing here? Someone is probably looking for it, I better give it to a policeman. I hesitate, gazing at it some more. It really is pretty.

It felt warm before but I think it’s getting warmer? A white glow starts softly emitting from the watch. I must be imaging things. It’s just an old watch. Right?

“Howdy! Hello! You’re the first one to wake me up in quite a while! Oh man, what year is it? Do people still say 'Howdy'? Haha.”

The noise I made was inhuman. This watch is talking to me.