I’ll Wait For You At The Train Station
It was time to leave the old countryside full of good memories. I helped my parents pack our things, and after calling for the delivery service, we lounged inside the car and Dad drove it skillfully. While the car was running, I couldn’t help but look back towards the road that it passes. It was sad to say goodbye, but I decided to be optimistic. Keeping in mind that even though goodbyes meant closure, there would also be a new door that opens. I have to move forward no matter what the circumstances were. That was how life works. I opened my Twitter to notify my friends that I left. It was followed by a quick reply of words such as:
[Have a nice trip.]
[You’ll do fine.]
-and [Don’t worry about us here.] -along with various emoji and stickers. I could only smile at their messages that never failed to relieve me from worries.
I replied at them: [Thanks. I finally left the town, just crossed a sign.]
Beside me, my Mom tapped my shoulder and butted in, “Once we arrive, we’ll find and choose a school. You’ll be late enrolled though.”
“No problem, Mom.”
Hours had passed that I fell into deep slumber. I was tired of helping my parents pack our things, and the cold temperature from the car pushed me to the most tranquil state. When I woke up, I noticed a big difference from the view of the windows. The trees and vast fields full of vegetation were replaced by the tall skyscrapers of the city. The once peaceful and quiet area where the chirping of birds chime in was overwhelmed by the sound of the commercial ads on the buildings along with the droning vehicles. I thought: This is not the place I’m used to; can I still belong in this busy environment where plenty of strangers cross each other? Sudden doubts degraded my confidence in making a new step ahead.
We arrived at our destination. It was our old home and I was glad for it. I didn’t know that we own the property from the start. I assumed that Dad looked for a new house to stay. Although this house was composed of nothing but dismaying childhood memories, I was still grateful. I was thankful of that past, for this time it bears fruit a present that I’d treasure forever. I headed to my room and noticed that some of my plushies and toys were still there. Those came from my parents. It was something that I didn’t wish for my interest remained empty at that time. I remembered that they bought these things for me thinking that it would make me happy -still ignorant of the fact that I was bullied in school. The past is past, I thought. I could never change what happened before, but there was one thing that I could be sure of: the future wasn’t set in stone, as long as I have a present, I could always stand up to change my future.
Just then I remembered: I was alone again. That thought abruptly gave rise to worries within my consciousness. After all this time, there was no way I could stay in that comfort zone. Was it an illusion? I couldn’t deny it. My greatest fear wasn’t about losing my friends, it was all about being alone again. On my first day of school, everything would reset. I don’t know anyone from the class. Throughout my years in middle school with my friends, did I changed into someone who could profoundly communicate with any person? No. I didn’t become like that. As far as I could tell, they were the ones who approached me. They were the trigger of our friendship. In fact, after the bullying was over I planned to be alone for the rest of my years on that school. I should’ve trained myself to be an efficient speaker and listener while I was still with them. It was too late now. I was doomed. If I couldn’t find any friends at my new school, at least I should try my best to be out of anyone’s attention. With that method, there was a high probability that could I escape a dire fate. I realized that I just barely survived my middle school days. If my friends weren’t there, I might’ve been in worse condition.
After a week, I selected a school. My Mom deal with all the paperwork for me to be admitted without further issues, and on the second week of April, my high school debut began. I wasn’t late for the first day, that was a bonus. When I was about to leave the house, my Mom stopped my tracks and showed me the developed pictures of my middle school graduation. The images were kinda… disappointing. On each picture, I could see my gloomy face. It was an honest display of my emotion on that day. I was sad, because I’d lose my precious friends. I was afraid because I’d start over in a different school. I realized by then that the essence of graduation wasn’t about accomplishment, but about an end of a good life and beginning of a new road with no direction.
I couldn’t help but think that the past was a very long dream. As though it never happened. My friends were temporary characters in my life story. I doubt they existed in the first place.
Imaginary friends, perhaps?
At that point I thought:
Graduation makes me feel like dying.
I barely survived my middle school days and this year I'd be a high school girl. Teens often quote: years on high school was the blossom of youth. It'd be the most exciting and memorable chapter of life where they find romance and longtime companionship. So to speak, it'd be the phase where our youth springs into action. Imagining myself to have friends and hang out on weekends, joining an interesting club with pleasing members and reliable seniors, as well as finding a boyfriend that would be my knight in shining armor, was too good to be true. From this day on, that thought would stay like that -an imagination. To be honest, I wasn't interested in it. I have plenty of life issues to take care of. In fact, I was expecting another set of horrible years from now on. Would this be worse than before? I mulled about that question over and over. For the next three years of my shameful youth, would I be able to survive? Every now and then I still hope that my life would change as long as I breathe.
Therefore, that solution wasn't necessary... for now.
The last resort…
I won’t do that…
My eyes snapped open, as I woke up from my daydream. Anxiety ruled over me again. It was reverting me to my old self -a person full of worries and fears in her daily life. I pressed my hands to my cheeks. I have to put myself together. No need to be afraid.
“I’m leaving.” I told my Mom.
She waved her hand and replied, “Off you go. Do your best on your first day.”
Ugh, she was raising the bar so high. Anyhow, I still nodded and smiled. I left our home and commute by train. On the way, I observed other schoolgirls with the same school uniform as I am. A black blazer partnered with a blue striped short skirt was good looking. At least, before I went out of my room, I made sure that I’d look presentable to the public. I retained my old fashion statement similar to my middle school debut. I just hope that I wouldn’t cross Ayanokouji-san in this city.
The group of girls seated on the other side of the train glanced at me. I ignored them at my best, grabbing my smartphone and pretend that I was using it. Relentlessly swiping my phone up, I couldn’t help but get intrigued of what the girls were talking about.
“Isn’t she good looking?” The other girl said.
Yes. I indeed made myself look presentable and composed, but I still couldn’t tell if that girl was speaking the truth. Or if she was even speaking about me. Was her remark a compliment, or an insult. The other girls agreed one by one. Meanwhile, I continued to ignore them. After a while, the girls changed the topic and I heaved a sigh. I turned my phone to sleep mode and saw my reflection from it. I smiled, for the first time, a stranger appreciated my new look.
Arriving at my stop, I went out of the train. After a few minutes of walking, I soon arrived at my destination. This was the new school where my uncertain life starts. I took a deep breath, then made my first step towards the school gate. As always, the old students were present along with each of their club propaganda. I heard a few sports clubs such as badminton club, soft tennis club, volleyball club, and the wind-ensemble club -which performed by the side of the school entrance. I’ve also heard cultural clubs like light music club, photography club, art club, literature club, and flower arrangement club. With that, I missed our laidback and happy club back in middle school.
I proceeded towards the information board to see my room and section. After a thorough search, I found my name. I was designated to class 1-C.
I went to the room to explore. There were a few students already. I took a seat at the chair located nearby the window and waited for the entrance ceremony to start. While skimming the new posts on my Twitter homepage, another student entered. I stared at her for I was getting bored. At first glance, my intuition tells me that she was a loner. Her eyes were emotionless and shallow. It was like a reflection of myself from middle school. The expression of a girl that lacks the bright side of life. The sole aura that she could spread about was depressingly dark. One of the students passed through her and grimaced from behind. She was either bewildered or disgusted, that’s for sure.
I see. This time, there was a chance that I wouldn’t be marked as “different” because she filled the role already. If I stay away from her, quickly gain access to a small group of friends, and not do anything strange, my high school debut would be fine. Yeah, that was a good plan.
The entrance ceremony commenced. I stood there yawning from time to time, wishing for the principal’s speech to end. We soon returned to our rooms and had a seat arrangement. Lucky enough, my seat was at the back. I looked for the gloomy girl and I heaved a long sigh. Glad that her seat was far from me. With this, I could be more peaceful in case bullying occurred. I don’t wish for it to happen, but I was considering the odds. Playing safe by taking the role of a common “observer” was my best option.
When the self-introduction led off, I had learned about the name of the loner. She was Kanae Yamada. At the moment she introduced herself, my hypothesis transformed into conclusion. The way she spoke and moved around reflected my old days. I’ve got to stay away from her no matter how sympathetic she was to my eyes. From time to time I’d pity her daily life, but I must suppress myself from befriending her. I should suppress myself from getting close to her either. She means nothing but trouble.
Before long, it came my turn for the self-introduction as I stood up while clearing my throat.