School For The Mediums
♫~Ba-da-bum-bum! It’s the start of something bad. Ba-da-bum-bum! I wanna do something bad---“Mom?” I plucked an earphone from my ear, and lifted my head from the car window.
Mom killed the engine, pulling slow to a park in the house driveway. “Hmm?” she buzzed; voice as high as a kite. “What is it, sweetheart?” High pitched and squeaky like a mouse. She only sounded like that when she felt guilty.
I bounced my eyes from house driveway to Mom. Sure enough, she looked guilty too. Fake smile stretched tight, narrow eyes bunched into a squint, and pale-yellow skin paler.
Oh, I know that look. That’s the look my ex had when I found out he cheated on me. With my sister…and later on, I found out my mom. Men are pigs!
I sighed, ignoring the sounds and kept my focus on the current situation.
In front of our house was a horde of eager hustling people. Some were our neighbors’ carrying flowers, recovery baskets, and other gifts. Others were strangers, sketchy looking bystanders, and news reporters and cameramen.
“Mom.” I blinked. “Who are all these people?”
She heaved a sigh. “…Well? I may have told just a few folks about what happened to you, and….?” She stopped to smack her lips. “I think the word may have got around.”
They were starting to huddle around our car.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
“Are you Hara Hadiza?” People were starting to bang on the car. “Can you answer a few questions about what you saw when you died and miraculously came back!”
I shut my eyes closed tight.
As if it wasn’t already enough to hear loud obnoxious noises in my head, now I had to be hearing all of this disorder in front of my house.
“Mom.” I groaned, eyes still tightly together. “What did you tell them?”
“I just told them the truth. Your heart stopped. You ‘technically’ died, and you came back.”
I sucked in the air, rubbing my forehead with my thumb and middle finger. “Why, did you tell them?”
Knock! Knock! Knock!
“Hara-san! Can you tell us what you saw? Is it true you saw the lights of heaven? Please just answer a few questions!”
I opened my eyes to take in the sorry sight; Hyenas. They looked like greedy hyenas as they circled our car and banged on the doors and windows.
“I’m sorry, Hadiza. I just got so happy and excited that you were alright that I got a little carried away.”
I blew a stream of air. “Yeah, I can see.”
Knock! Knock! Knock!
“Hara-san! Just answer a few questions for us!”
Mom and I looked at the crowd.
“Well?” She looked back to me. “Maybe if you just a few questions they’ll leave.” She batted her eyes.
Mom wasn’t an attention seeker. But that wasn’t to say she didn’t appreciate attention when she got it. She used to love bragging about Aoko to the neighborhood ladies---when she wasn’t showing off her Michelin Stars.
Huh? What’s going on. Where am I? What is this? Can you hear me? Can anyone hear me? Someone told me you could hear me. Can you speak to me?
I gripped my fists. A toxic mix of anger and frustration was building in me.
I can’t even get one moment of a clear thought before---I need to understand what’s happening. Please, just help me understand. If you can hear me, please speak to me.
“No!” I snapped, making Mom flinch.
Confused and concerned, she swallowed. “I-I’m sorry, darling. I wasn’t trying to upset you. I just wanted to suggest maybe you could talk to them. You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
Please. Please! If you can hear me, please speak to me. I won’t be able to be here for long, I need you to pass a message along to someone! So please just let me know I can be heard. Please!
I steadied my breath. My nails were digging into my palm.
“I can’t.” I shook my head.
“You can’t what?”
Please just help! Please!
“No, no, no!” I grabbed my head.
What am I doing?
I glanced to Mom.
I know what I looked like to her.
And that’s not what I am.
I rubbed my eyes, taking a deep breath. “I…I’m sorry. I just can’t answer any questions or do any interviews about how I turned blue almost dropped dead, and now can hear---!” I bite down on my tongue, forcing myself to a stop. “I just…I just need to get some sleep.”
Sleep, and wake up from this nightmare.
Mom looked away from me. She set her soft gaze to the people outside clamoring around. “I think I did go too far with this. I mean, all these people here? I get it, it’s overwhelming.”
She looked back to me, forming the gentlest smile. “Why don’t we go pick up the Epi-pens together? Afterwards, we’ll get out of here. Away from all of the noise and just take a day off at the beach? Enjoy the breeze, take a deep breath, and take in all the sights. How does that sound?”
I stayed quiet.
“We can buy some Hot Milk Tea from 7/11 and watch the sunset…?” She dragged out her voice as one high pitched plea.
Hot tea on the beach.
It wasn’t a thing we did before.
One day Aoko, a group of friends, and I just happened to be walking home from school. Exam season had just finished, and so, Aoko kicked off her shoes and forced all of us to the beach for a, and I quote, ‘ultimate stress reliever moment’. It was so random, but everyone loved it. By the end of all the fun, they were laughing so hard they couldn’t breathe.
And me? Mom had packed hot milk tea for lunch. I remember sitting on the sidelines, sipping tea and watching Aoko turn the moment memorable for everyone.
Then, she did what did. Came to me, standing tall, smiling wide, just to say: ‘It’s burning hot outside and my sister, genius sister, wants to drink hot milk tea on the beach. I say we should join her!’
That was that.
Eventually she roped Mom into it, and it felt like it became something everyone around us did. Sometimes I think they even do it in memory of her.
I know Mom did for sure.
“No thanks.” I placed my hand on the car door handles. “I’m just going to head inside and get some sleep.”
“Hadiza, wait, let me help you get out---.”
I quickly stepped out from the car, and like moths to a flame, people swarmed me.
“Are you Hara Hadiza? Can we ask you a couple of questions?” Someone shoved a microphone into my face.
“No.” I pushed forward blocking my face with my hands.
Who they did think I was? Some sort of celebrity?
I wanted to be a celebrity. I was gonna be famous one of the days! An idol sensation!
No, no, no.
I wanted to bash my head.
A ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR!
Not another singer.
“Hadiza Hara!” Noises were coming from every which direction.
I gritted my teeth, ramming my earphones into my ears. These days I had to keep them on standby, the cords tight around my neck at all times.
♫~Ba-da-bum-bum! Start of something bad! Do, do, do something really bad! Oooh, yeah!---STAAAR SHALL I BE YOUR SHOOTING STAAR? MAGICALLL. I CAN BE YOUR MAGICAAL GIRLL!
I kept my head down, forcing my way forward. The path from driveway to door wasn’t even far but with all of noise and racket and people shoving and pushing in waves around me, maybe it was.
SUPER MAGIC~! I’M HERE TO SAVE THE DAY FOR YOUUU!
It seemed like the noises were only getting louder and louder.
JUST TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME AND BE TRUE BECAUSE I CAN BE YOUR YOUR SHOOTING STAAR? MAGICALLL. I CAN BE YOUR MAGICAAL GIRLL! YEAH! YEAH!
♫~Ba-da-bum-bum! It’s the start of something bad. Ba-da-bum-bum! I wanna do something bad.♫
“Please move, I have to get through!” I shouldered past a cameraman.
STAAAR SHALL I BE YOUR SHOOTING STAAR? MAGICALLL. I CAN BE YOUR MAGICAAL GIRLL!
“And we are live! Today we have here a strange and miraculous case of the girl’s whose heart stopped for a whole 6 minutes.” A random reporter woman had the cameras already rolling.
6 minutes? Really?
“The teenage girl in question, is 16-year-old Hara Hadiza, daughter to the famous Michelin Star chef native Japanese, Hara Yuna, and American Foreigner and NASA astronomer, Hara Idir. This strange case has wondered the minds of many. What did she see on the other side? Was there another side? Is there a heaven above or is there a hell below? And how did she survive? We here all of this directly from the girl herself!”
No, they won’t.
I kept my face covered and picked up my pace. “Please move, please move!”
“Hara-san, it’s me your neighbor! I just came to see you!”
I hated most reporters. See, the good ones were always so few in stock. Nowadays, all of them are bunch of bastards. Worrying about stupid stuff like this, instead figuring out who murdered me!
Just shut up.
“Hara Hadiza, why not just answer a few questions for us!”
♫~Ba-da-bum-bum! It’s the start of something bad. Ba-da-bum-bum! I wanna do something bad---click!
I stopped my music. What was the point? The noises were still going on. No matter how much I wanted them to stop they just---JUST TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME AND BE TRUE BECAUSE I CAN BE YOUR YOUR SHOOTING STAAR? MAGICALLL. I CAN BE YOUR MAGICAAL GIRLL! YEAH! YEAH!
“Hara Hadiza! Is it true that this is the second time you’ve survived a near death encounter? Is it true, your sister died in a fire after attempting to rescue you and that---!”
“---JUST SHUT UP! ENOUGH ALREADY!”
I couldn’t take it anymore. I shouted so loud it felt like my throat was going to tear.
When I did it seemed like stopped---the voices, the people, the commotion. It all just stopped.
I looked around in the dead silence.
My lips trembled.
The way they were staring at me…that’s the way people stared at Fuji-san in the hospital.
I swallowed, anxiety pushing to surface. All these people looking at me like this…it’s…how can I handle this?
I gulped hard. My heart was starting to thump harder. I hated it. I didn’t want this type of attention, but maybe it’s the type of attention I was drawing. Maybe I was just like Fuji-san in that hospital lobby.
My breathing quickened. My chest went up and down in rapid successions. I knew there was water starting in my eyes.
“AHHHHHH!” Suddenly a high-pitched girlish scream came from somewhere in the crowd.
The distraction tugged everyone’s eyes to one source; a small high school girl with peach pink hair.
Shizuko had her arms up in the air, her yell so loud it made the cameramen point their cameras her way.
Right next to her was Hiroto. “That’s right! Everyone shut up and get out of here!” He shouted, clearly trying to make as much uproar as possible.
Like two parents in crime, they turned back-to-back and waved their schoolbags around as they made their way through the confused crowd.
“Shoo, shoo! Get out of here!”
“That’s right people! Leave!”
Somehow in a matter of moments, they ended up by my side, defending me with a wave of their schoolbags.
“Leave! Or I spray you all with this mysterious liquid!” Hiroto whipped a water bottle.
“That’s right! And he’s got a killer aim!” Shizuko hissed.
I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but their lukewarm threats worked.
With that, all the people crowding us just suddenly starting packing up and leaving. All except for two sketchy people.
It was a buff brutish looking man and bubble gum popping woman. They were both dressed in all black suits with black sunglasses. The strangest thing about though, was that they appeared to both be albinos with translucent milk white skin and hair.
The woman loudly chewed on her bubble gum.
“Hey! We said shoo! Get out of here!” Hiroto huffed at them.
But they didn’t budge. They just stood there, the man standing still and woman popping bubble gum.
“Just forget about those weirdos!” Shizuko looked to me. “Hadi-chan!”
“Shizuko.” And in what felt like forever since this whole mess began, I wanted to smile.