Chapter 3:

Chapter 1 - Part 3: Middle School

I’ll Wait For You At The Train Station

Middle school. New life. New school year. New setting. I must do my best to meet the change I wished. First and foremost, I modified my looks. I tied my hair and read various fashions tips in the magazines that I bought. My parents were even surprised by my sudden transformation. They smiled before me so relieved, as though all the burden that they carried had dissolved for an instant. Bookmark here

We lived in a small town that was almost unknown to people. The tall buildings were replaced with trees, more greeneries, old and rundown houses, a few new western style houses, and a single convenience store with a dagashi [1] shop beside it. Despite that it was a little hassle to commute because of a few buses, I was still grateful for the assurance that no one knows me. That was my ticket to create a different persona. Before the entrance of the new all-girls school, I took a deep breath and entered.Bookmark here

This time for sure, I thought. But when I took a step ahead, I heard and recognized a voice from behind saying…Bookmark here

"Hey, aren't you that Plague Girl?"Bookmark here

My eyes widened. That voice was from someone I knew from my former school. I felt the shivers running down my spine as I turned around with a dropped gaze.Bookmark here

"I'm right."Bookmark here

That girl. I didn't know her name but I could ascertain that she was one of the bullies from grade school. I glanced at her. My eyes snapped opened in fear after she shot an ominous glare.Bookmark here

"Hey, altering your looks won't change anything. You assumed this is the perfect place for your middle school debut? I don't think so."Bookmark here

She clenched her fists in anger.Bookmark here

"I'm really pissed since our family resided to this fucking place. Living in the sticks is too inconvenient, but you know what makes it worse?"Bookmark here

Her eyes widened and continued. "It's to see you here first thing in the morning! Of all the people in the world, you Plague Girl! Fuck that!"Bookmark here

My hands were in tremor subsequent to her yelling. Some of the students walking to the entrance were concerned, leading them to stare at us. Eyes…. Plenty of eyes gazing.Bookmark here

"What's that… an argument?"Bookmark here

"I don't recognize them both, new here probably."Bookmark here

"They're making a scene already, how unpleasant."Bookmark here

Once the students gathered, the scary girl before me gritted her teeth and walked out, ignoring the presence of the crowd. Me, on the other hand, faltered upon their fixed stares. I couldn't move my legs. Why… I imagined them speaking bad remarks about me.Bookmark here

"Didn't she just call her a plague? Scary."Bookmark here

"Would this result in bioterrorism?"Bookmark here

"Plague huh, she's new here. Does she carry a fatal virus or something?"Bookmark here

No. I don't….Bookmark here

I couldn't speak. My throat dried out. How could I overcome this?Bookmark here

Plague…Bookmark here

Plague…Bookmark here

Plague…Bookmark here

Plague…Bookmark here

Plague…Bookmark here

Plague.Bookmark here

Non-stop, I heard them chanting that word in a chorus.Bookmark here

Please stop.Bookmark here

Plague…Bookmark here

Plague…Bookmark here

Plague.Bookmark here

I beg of you…Bookmark here

Please…Bookmark here

My eyes widened, then I thought: My days in middle school is over. I imagined myself having a self-introduction. Seconds later, they laughed at me along with the term "plague". I would be bullied without end.Bookmark here

Endless…Bookmark here

I don't want that…Bookmark here

I shed tears. I was too weak. My fashion statement was nothing but an outside appearance. A façade to fool everyone's eyes. This wouldn't do me any better. I lowered my head only to see the ground. Covering my ears with both hands, I ran forward. Faster. Faster. I must find that place… where I could hide and be separated from my cruel reality. I ran to a random direction and found myself in luck.Bookmark here

There it is…Bookmark here

I dashed to the restroom and locked myself in one of its stalls. I squeezed my hands together with teeth gritted. Their glares were so scary. Their looks of disgust and scorn were humiliating me. Could I still go on? I couldn't answer that any longer. Bookmark here

Just then, my eyes widened as an idea came into mind. I went out and found no other girls inside. I looked at my mirror image. Indeed, my visual aspect was so different compared from before, although, my eyes -which portrayed loneliness- was something that couldn't be hidden. Its radiant red color reminded me of the tears that I'd shed today. My outward appearance might be like those of a fine young lady, but my eyes tell a different story. Hence, there was no need for me to change. Bookmark here

My façade was a form of escapism. I must face my cruel life instead. Doesn't this mean I submitted myself from my fight? Well, does it even matter? I was a loser from the start. I don't have to fight because I was weak. This pain inside me shall stay forever. I must embrace it rather than fearing it. From now on I don't care. I must lock all my emotions and stop being a human; discard my fears and worries for my sake. Staring at the mirror, I removed my scrunchy and retained my usual hairdo. Now I was not distinguishable, like a mob character from a novel.Bookmark here

This is for the best, I thought.Bookmark here

I went out with my black straight hair swayed down like those from a ghost horror movie. Perhaps this way, no one could differentiate me from my looks earlier. I became a different person in just a minute. Sure enough, I'd be called a "Plague Girl" once again. As long as that bully was here, my school life would stay doomed like before. I looked for my class and headed in its direction. Oh god, my only wish was to stay away from that bully, please don't designate us to the same class. While I was praying that in mind, I found my room.Bookmark here

Class 1-A.Bookmark here

I gulped and embarked. By bad luck, the first person I've seen inside was the bully. She sat in the farthest seat near the window. We exchanged a stare for a moment until I dropped my gaze. Again, she glared and scowled at me. Upon looking at the floor, the sole thought that I have in mind was… god is so cruelBookmark here

I decided to sit down at the front, hoping that the teachers would find out if I was bullied in the middle of classes, also literally, to stay away from that girl. While sitting on the chair waiting for the entrance ceremony, I took my smartphone out of my skirt pocket. Swiping my newsfeed on Twitter [2], I couldn't help but be distracted by the students that entered every minute. They were all in groups, chattering about how they'd enjoy the first afterschool of the day. Some planned to go to the karaoke, some to the game centers, the café', etcetera. I never thought that they have those in town, perhaps it was just that I don't go out of the house so I couldn't explore. Bookmark here

With all honesty, I felt so envious. I do wish that I could also have the same chill and happy life. Only I and my bully were the ones being exiled. I pondered, with how she felt distant towards the students inside her class, would she arrive at the point that she'd felt sympathetic about how I experienced grade school? I stared at her due to curiosity. She answered a glare in which, made my heart pound fast. I don't think so… she wouldn't feel sympathetic at all. And so, the entrance ceremony began with the principal of the school conducting a boring speech. It took quite long to finish until all of us went back to our classrooms.Bookmark here

The self-introductions commenced. This was one of the worst moments that I have no choice but to execute. When it was my turn, I stood up like a slug and introduced myself. After the awkward introduction, some of my classmates whispered to one another, and most of it was followed by glee. Did they found out that I was the one being yelled at the school's entrance? I guessed so, or maybe, they just thought of a new nickname to describe me. Along the lines of Sadako [3] from an old horror movie, perhaps. I sat on the chair and ignored their incomprehensible remarks. I was used to it so I don't mind.Bookmark here

 As a matter of fact, I was expecting more acts of abuse here in middle school. Most Japanese students who had committed suicide were middle schoolers, so I've got to get a grip on myself. Embrace the pain, I must never forget that in mind. In order for me to not lose myself and thus welcome suicide as a solution, I must learn to live accompanied by pain.Bookmark here

Endure. Endure. Endure. This was the only way to continue living. Even though this life doesn't have any sense for now, I still have a vain hope that it would have colors one day. As long as I breathe, I could still have the chance to escape my prison cell. Someday, I would see the light above my dungeon, and my life would be surrounded by darkness no more.Bookmark here

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[1] Dagashi are actually sweets but a little bit different when comparing them with the usual sweets or snacks. The purpose of Dagashi (cheap snacks) is to be able to be cheap and filling. So Dagashi is a type of really popular snack for childrenBookmark here

[2] Twitter is a free social networking microblogging service that allows registered members to broadcast short posts called tweets. ... Tweets, which may include hyperlinks, are limited to 140 characters, due to the constraints of Twitter's Short Message Service (SMS) delivery system.Bookmark here

[3] Sadako Yamamura, the antagonist of the film -Ring (リング Ringu). A girl with psychic powers who was thrown down a well where she died, but her spirit lived on within a videotape.Bookmark here

Gerry Hines
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