Good Luck in the Golden Classroom: The Golden Waltz
A shocked face was before me. I may have been imagining it, but I perceived eyes sparkling in admiration. But then, that face quickly turned into a scowl.
“I don’t think a poor scholar like me should be in such a class. I’m grateful for your acceptance of my enrollment. So, the lowest class is already my highest honor.”
“But, the academy gave you such a place. It would be a shame to reject it.”
“I think I’d bring more shame if I, a mere, unpaid scholar, is at the top class of the school. And, I don’t think I’d fit in easily, anyway.”
“You’re worried, I see.” She pondered for a moment with her chin on her knuckles. Then, she flashed a slight smile. “Are you sure?”
“I don’t know what you’re planning, Amahiko Yajima.”
Her words seemed to imply something behind them, especially noted by the calling of my full name. It wasn’t the sentence itself. I knew she meant that literally, but that wasn’t the oddity. It seemed that she knew something about me that I didn’t, or perhaps I knew but wouldn’t realize.
After taking the card, the principal fumbled with something behind her table and then gave me the same card.
“Here, this is your student card. This allows access to your lockers, room, the school’s facilities, and acts as attendance markers.”
“Thank you,” I said after I took the card.
“Congratulations, you’re in Class Gold now. Though, I think that isn’t supposed to be celebrated.”
“No, I’m grateful for this.” I stood up and bowed deeply towards her before I turned to leave.
“Wait,” she stopped me with her words, so I turned around. “You have no allowance. You’ll have to buy food and things out of your own money.”
“W—whaaaat!?” I should have stayed in Class R then!
When I exited through the door, I found someone waiting for me. He was dressed shabbily in an unironed suit. His cargo pants were mismatched and destroyed his appearance. Either he had no fashion sense or was lazy, or both.
But, I ignored him since the principal had no mention of him. Stranger-danger, I have to be a ranger.
Unfortunately, the unkempt man called out to me. His voice seemed to attempt to intimidate me, but I was vexed rather than frightened. “Hey, you, new boy.”
I paid attention to him, “Yes, what is it, sir?”
“Follow me. Your class is this way.”
Could he not know? He probably could be the Class R teacher and didn’t know that I was not in his class—wait, if that was so, why was he there when classes were supposed to be held? Could it be that the top-class teacher was lax?
But, there was no way that was the case. Just like I thought, this was a stranger trying to kidnap me!
“U—um, excuse me, but I’m not in Class R. I’m in Class G.”
“I know,” he said nonchalantly.
“The principal told me beforehand.”
Wait, did that mean the principal planned for me to be in Class Gold in the first place? Then, what was the fuss of Class Rhodium all about? Well, it didn’t matter. Being in the lowest of the best suited me better. I cannot imagine the discrimination I would face when in Class Rhodium.
The man led me to the elevator and pressed the button to the class. Now that I was closer to him, I could smell his scent, and I was surprised.
He didn’t smell like garbage, but he smelled like strawberries——it smelled like an expensive cologne. I didn’t expect him to smell decent.
But, I wondered why he put the effort into smelling nice instead of looking professional. I was curious and feeling awkward, so I attempted small talk.
“May I ask something?” I shyly raised my hand. But he paid no attention except for a glance. “Why do you smell nice but not look nice?”
He retracted his glance and looked blankly at the door. “You’ll see.”
Then, the elevator bell rang, and its doors opened.
The waft of fresh smell softly blew on my face. The strawberry scent was somewhat dizzying me, so I was glad.
The classroom was spacious—way too spacious. There were about fifteen students in each class, and yet the academy gave their rooms such space. Even the ceiling was half as high as the reception. This time, it had no extravagant chandelier. The classroom seemed to be plain in comparison to the reception which was colored gold.
There were desks of different kinds organized in different areas. The room was separated into different areas, marked by the change of colors of the ceilings and walls. And there was a vast, borderless window that gave a pacific view of the cityscape.
These things would have astounded me if it weren’t for the more shocking sight of my future classmates.
Most of them were loitering around the corners of the room, lazing and playing around. It seemed more like a hangout place rather than a classroom. There was a large group of boys in a corner. There were several smaller groups of girls scattered around.
The most alluring was those girl groups who had revealing clothes, flailing their long legs carelessly. Such liberal girls tempted some of the boys to attempt to peek under their skirts.
I was supposed to be overjoyed, and I was overjoyed when I first arrived, but now, I’ve been hit with a pang of disappointment. I glanced at the teacher with a facial expression that said, ‘Is this actually the class?’
To which the teacher responded with his glance, ‘Yes, unluckily.’
But there was a faint bit of hope.
In my junior years, I noticed the odd habit of my classmates loitering around when the teacher was absent, but when the teacher arrived, they behaved themselves and became obedient.
With that hope in my heart, I followed the teacher to a podium at the center of the room. This podium was surrounded by chairs and desks where students were supposed to be seated, listening to their teacher. There was a whiteboard and blackboard that was shaped into a cylinder.
And the teacher took his stand. “Alright, we have a new student,” he said flatly. “His name’s… uh…” he looked at me.
“Nice to meet you, everyone! My name’s Amahiko Yajima! Please be kind to me—” I looked and realized that only two people were sitting at their desks, and none of them paid any heed. I scanned afar at the stray students and sensed only condescending stares before returning to their business.
Well, I shouldn’t expect everything to go so well, should I? But, this was way too cold a welcome.
I was about to speak about my interests and goals, but the teacher interrupted me.
“Alright, you go sit now. You can… go sit anywhere really. But, your seat’s over there,” he pointed lazily. And I guessed where he pointed and sat at a chair in the last row.
After I sat, I looked left to right. Beside my left was the corner seat. There sat a girl who had long, silky hair. Her eyelashes were long, and her eyes smartly stared at a book on her table. It seemed that nothing would distract her, and she wished not to be disturbed. She sat up straight but not stiffly. She had an aura of confidence and mystery around her. She flipped to a page with grace. My eyes followed her smooth hands to her soft arms. Unlike most girls in the class, she has dressed appropriately, like a noble of a country. It seemed that her favorite color was lavender deduced from the color of her dress.
When I thought she wouldn’t be bothered by my gaze, her eyes glanced at me, and I quickly looked away. This time, I saw a male student sitting in the front row. He wasn’t sitting directly in front of me, but I couldn’t make out his face. But I did remember when I was in front that his face was handsome. Not that I had a standard or anything. But, I thought his face was the bare standard.
He might have been reading a book or writing in a notebook, but I couldn’t tell. All I knew was that he was probably as studious as the girl beside me.
Then, I realized how much time had passed since my keen observations. I frantically prepared my things on the table with the fresh textbooks the school kindly provided. With the fire of motivation in my heart set alight, I faced up to my teacher with an eager smile and eyes but realized that he was sitting behind his desk, doing and teaching nothing. There was writing on the cylindrical whiteboard that said, ‘Self-study.’
His eyes were emptier than ever. His face spelled dissatisfaction. He probably hated his job more than anything. I heard him heavily sigh and his consecutive sigh. He sighed at frequent intervals while he glazed over his smartphone.
I felt stupid with my smiling face and my hand holding the pen in bygone excitement. I slowly set my pen down as my face grew serious.
I didn’t know how to feel——angry, sad, or disappointed. Perhaps all. I’ve worked so hard to get into this high school expecting great education. And now, I was finally here just to come into this.
I realized my emotions now; it was frustration. I won’t let my hard work go to waste. I reminded myself of my goal: to make the most of my high school life in all aspects.
At this rate, I wouldn’t learn anything. At this rate, I wouldn’t talk to anyone again. At this rate, I won’t enjoy my life from here on out. This shouldn’t be; this can’t be.
I felt my rage swell from inside me. I couldn’t control myself standing up and slamming my hand into my desk.
I shouted, “Teacher!!”
Everyone, even including the delinquents, stared at me. Suddenly, I felt cold sweat go down my spine.
I was about to say, ‘What the hell are you doing!!’ But, if I said that, my first impression would be ruined. They’d think I was a lunatic and rageful. So, instead, I quickly changed my tune to a cheerful one.
“I didn’t get your name!”
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