Normal in Parenthesis—The Old Will and the Dawn to All | Our World
Lunch had passed, afternoon strikes and it’s just around thirty minutes before the dismissal. Kiiro-sen once again entered the classroom probably for his last reminders in his homeroom.
One thing I didn’t notice earlier was the shirt he is wearing. It is yellow. Even though we don’t follow the language of the North, I can understand a handful of Japanese words or phrases.
For example, Kiiro-sen’s name (黄色) was from the translation of the word “yellow” in Nihongo. Was that a coincidence? That I do not know.
“Before I start, I’ve been wondering for almost a year now on why some of you always call me ‘Kiiro-sen’? I’m way more confused with that than the complicated things I discussed earlier. Can someone from the class answer?”
Almost everyone in the class burst out of laughter after Kiiro-sen’s curious question. Well, the answer is pretty obvious though.
He showed a little troubled smile that perhaps displayed a sign of embarrassment. The only thing he can do is to chuckle and scratch his right cheek.
After the barrage of laughter, Akira stood up whilst still resisting some laughter.
“Kiiro-sen, the addition of ‘-sen’ to your name is not being disrespectful at all. It actually is just a shortened term for ‘sensei’ from the North that means ‘teacher.’”
“Oh, I see. As expected of an otaku. Then all of you can freely call me that from now on, I guess if you want to.”
Just a side note—what Kiiro-sen meant about otaku, you’re probably asking. It is something like your state or… Screw it. I can’t explain it that well.
Pretty much, it’s the same definition and I’m also of that kind. But what I mean is that otaku in this country do have a good standing, because we’re not people who just watch anime, read manga, and slam posters of their favorite characters on their walls.
Well, I do watch anime and read manga but I don’t buy posters.
If I were to say, it can also be educational because we thoroughly study the culture, places, and anything from the North.
That term is however not very much used.
Anyways, going back to where we left…
Jean who is on my left started nudging my elbow that is rested on the corner of his armrest. Even though he wasn’t looking at me, I already know what was the message he sent from the nudge of his elbow.
“It’s all because of you.”
That was the message of the nudge. Why is it because of me?
I am actually the one who made that up and it had a successful existence up to this point. No one from our class knew that it was me, and Akira took the happy responsibility. I don’t want to take credit of it because that’s out of one of my principles: Minimal Exposure.
Kiiro-sen cleared his throat as he is about to start his homeroom.
“Alright, we only have thirty minutes in our clock. Let’s just make this quick.
As I have said earlier this morning, we will have a self-introduction today. Just tell your name, age, and your club last year. For the transfer students, instead of the club, tell us your former school you attended last year.
Let’s start from the first row.”
▪ ▪ ▪
“Akaji Mashido, 16, from the Sports Club.”
He was our class president from last year. I wonder if he will take the position again.
“Murasaki Seo, 15, from the Student Body.”
He was part of Student Council, but I think he won’t be participating this year.
Now, the four transfer students.
“David Helsenteger, 16, from Arachle High.”
“Shiro Kirishima, 15, from Cobalt.”
“Ringo Akanami, 15, from Wisteria.”
“Kaizo Ryuuya, 15, I am from a junior high school in Japan, which means I am Japanese. As you can hear, I have at least studied the language here in Orio and I still have a lot to learn.
It’s nice to meet all of you.”
Four transfer students, two males, and two females.
As expected, the whole class stared at the last one because of that rather formal self-introduction. I do know that it’s the form of introducing one's self in Japan, but his introduction is kind of stiff…
David Helsenteger is sat on the second row.
Shiro Kirishima and Ringo Akanami are in the row in front of us. Ms. Kirishima is in front of Nagi and Ms. Akanami is in front of me.
But Kaizo Ryuuya is Japanese, surprisingly. I never thought that I will have a classmate from the North.
Anyways, it’s already the last row.
“Akira Bentley, 15, from the Art Club.”
“Jean Ando, 15, from the Art Club too.”
“Gin Sakato, 15, and I’m also from the Art Club.”
“Nagi Kajima, 15, also a member of the Art Club.”
Us four were from the Art Club and we are planning on renewing our membership there for our final year in junior high.
Not to brag, but I’m currently the one who can draw best in our group but I still think that my sketches are mediocre and far from the reality in the field of arts.
But Nagi is a fast learner. He can easily understand what we taught him from last year. He always tell us that he always exercise his mind. He’s also the best in memorization in our group.
“Now that everyone has introduced themselves, I will discuss some things for you to keep in mind.
First, you are now allowed to bring your cellphones inside the campus. But once you enter the vicinity of the school, your cellphones will be restricted by force so the purpose of your devices will only be for communication and other school-related things except for social media and games in school hours. It’s actually a hack, but it won’t harm your devices.
It will also be shielded from the amplification if that happens again. We won’t be held liable if any devices you bring inside the school got damaged unless it was from the incident.
Second, the Home Economics Room will be free to be used by students who want to cook or wants to learn how to cook, even if you are not from the Cooking Club.
Third, the new windows are made from extremely compressed glass with an attribute of being extremely reinforced and soundproofed. That is also a countermeasure. Try to break them, and you’ll get your bones broken instead of the glass.
Fourth, your identification cards will be given next week.
Fifth, your classes will be back to normal at some point in September. It means that classes will start at 8, instead of 7 in the morning and will end at 3pm as per usual.
Sixth, class presidents will be chosen tomorrow and club recruitment will be on the next Monday.
Lastly, our class needs a substitute teacher in October. So if you know someone that meets the requirements, give me a call and he or she will be evaluated.
It is almost three o’clock so I will dismiss all of you today. Goodbye Class 4A. See you all tomorrow, and don’t make any trouble after you step out of the school grounds.”
Once again, the sound of chattering surrounded the classroom. A few of the students already went home but majority are still chatting to their friends. It’s a given because they haven’t seen themselves for four months.
“Now, now. Want to go to the usual?” suggested Jean.
“Is the clubroom open today?”
“Akira made a walk there before he went here in the classroom.”
“Hai, hai! It is open.”
“Alright then, let’s go. I need to practice using a dip pen.”
Nagi interposed, “You three go first. I’ll just grab some books about anatomy in the library.”
~ ~ ~
After Jean’s proposal, we went to the clubroom of the Art Club. The look of the facility is way more fascinating than the past years. The materials are new, the papers are restocked, the Copik markers are all in one side along with the watercolors and acrylic paints, the brushes are new and they vary in sizes.
But what made me surprised the most is a framed art piece in the size of an A2 paper. The piece displays a picture of a man playing a piano. 6B and 8B pencils were used to sketch the piece. It’s not a type of realism and it is very lifeless but still showed a dramatic effect. The use of perspective is very realistic and the depth of the shadows are three-dimensional but not in a realistic sense. The top left corner which had the blankest space has a signature in it.
It was my signature.
”A-Are you serious…”
“Dude, was that-“
“I-I just literally came from the library and this is the first thing I see in the clubroom. Gin…”
“No way… Is this for real…?”
That was the last words I have said and everything was just cold air. The lights of the clubroom are still turned off, but the bright orange sunlight from the windows subtly lit up the piece hanged on the wall.
It was my artwork that is now displayed in the clubroom. That was my final project I made after exiting third year of junior high and I put my all into that paper. It was the very first artwork that is not mediocre, to say the least.
After some time, I felt it once again. I felt what the true and real happiness feels like.
But after all of that, I still suppressed my happiness by being extremely calm. It’s impossible for me not to hide my smile though. Even just for a short time, the ‘old and real’ emotions of mine came back.
“Way to go dude!”
“Ah…! Oi! That hurts you know!”
Nagi, who is behind me landed a blow on my back that made me thrust forward onto the long table.
“Who would have thought that the final piece you did in third year would be displayed here. I envy you a lot, you baka!”
“What the heck?! Even the glass of the frame is the same material in the windows in our room!”
“Enough of that...
Let’s draw already. Got it?!”
After that short celebration, we gathered some materials and papers to practice drawing. We were like idiots that had faces of amazement along with a smile and blushing cheeks that can easily ruin your day. You could say that we are like four kids who found themselves new toys.
But what we don’t know is that there is someone watching as outside of the room.
It was a female student who perhaps is chuckling while watching our idiocy.
▪ ▪ ▪
We stayed in the clubroom for an hour and after that, we parted ways outside the school gate.
I am still surprised how quiet the street is while I was passing by the usual sightings I always saw for four years. It was once a very noisy street where small patches of traffic happened everyday when it wasn’t like this yet.
If one day the whole world became this quiet, how would the people react to it?
If one day the technology vanishes, how would the people live without it? Will it change their way of living? Or will they live a life alongside hatred?
I suddenly recalled a question I found myself wondering in the past.
“If you pick one of the two to change, would it be yourself, or the world?”
▪ ▪ ▪
“Welcome back, how’s school?”
“…Scientific. They gave us earpieces if ever the incident happens again they say.”
“Is that so?”
“And they say this was given to us for free so it won’t be covered by the monthly fees because it was for our safety.
Oh, next month the regular class hours will be back.”
“I see… Quickly change your clothes so I can get it washed.”
“Right. I’ll be at my room then.”
I went to my room after our conversation and changed to my house clothing. I picked up my phone and look if there are any messages sent to me, but of course there are none.
After some time, I realized that I forgot to tell mom about my project last year being posted in the clubroom. Well, I am not the type to brag about something so that’s not a problem.
I heard a faint knocking on the door and I was asked by mom to receive the person knocking. It was a deliveryman with a parcel with him. It was a huge cardboard box that is the same size as a small cabinet. Inside it were machines with the size of my sketchbook which is 9 inches in height and 12 in length.
“Mom, what are these?”
“It’s obviously heaters for all the rooms.”
Now I get it. Strangely, after summer where it ends every June, it slowly got colder than normal. The mornings are still hot but by the time the day hits the afternoon, the temperature drops about 27 degrees Celsius even if it is a very sunny day. The normal temperature last year was averaging about 31 degrees every afternoon. And it quickly gets chilly at night.
“It’s just 27 degrees right now. Why would we need heaters this time?”
“The forecast said that there is an 80 percent chance that this will be the normal temperature until halfway October. And they also said that in the following years, this may be normal afterwards.”
“Normal. So that means I will quickly adapt to it then.”
“Does this mean it will be much colder by the time it will reach November up to midway March?”
“Most likely. We should probably expect that the temperature will drop to below 20. I bought these heaters in advance because I am weak to cold.”
“That definitely is strange. We are currently experiencing global warming and it is getting worse as I speak. Why would this transitioning happen in the middle of climate change?
Wait, that’s it. The climate change. But how? It’s impossible for it to reverse and technology can never alter it. What is happening?
Change… Yourself… World…”
I don’t know.
Who or what should really change… should it be me, or the world? I seriously do not know.
Actually, I don’t even know the purpose of my life right now. I can’t answer it with yes or no.
But what if, for example—the world is really changing. What would really happen to me, to us? How will it affect us humans if this world drastically changed? Will it be for the better or for the worse?
That, I do not know.
The only way to know the answers to those questions is to see what will really happen next. But one thing is for sure, we’re not someone who can predict the future, nor change the past… and we can’t manipulate time itself.
I’m so naïve and I still am.
For every question I ask myself…
My only answer is…
I don’t know.
But I hope that I will have the answer in the future. May the catalyst of my finding the answer is a something or someone, I know that it will serve a change in me. It may sound impossible with how much I know how displeasing my character is…
But I want to change.
Two steps remaining.
I guess this is also one of the reasons why I did a mass release. It felt like these first five chapters are also like a part of the prologue and honestly rather lackluster as it is very scarce of the plot. Still, I hope you enjoy.
Thank you for reading!
Four: Oh, hey, I actually have friends.