Normal in Parenthesis—The Old Will and the Dawn to All | Our World
Neither an echo of our voice nor the sound of the wind entered the room.
It’s as if the clubroom of the Art Club separated from the physical world and was thrown into a dimension where sound does not even exist.
Honestly though, we are overacting a lot right now. We at least expected that Ringo- I mean…
Rin and Shiro had the possibility to join our club. Part of it was Jean’s fault. It’s nothing surprising really.
…Or at least that’s what I want to think.
We forgot something, and that is what led us four to this present negligence and ignorance. We are so not ready for this.
We forgot that this will be the first time we will be working with female students in a club. What’s worse is that we are just six people in a club of creatives.
Students, you have been silent for exactly four minutes and eleven seconds…
Our club supervisor, Martin Arlo who is also a teacher here at Blue Ink finally broke the unnecessary silence.
Actually, he is a friend when it’s outside the school but not much people know about that.
“Haha… We didn’t expect you to really join our club. Though it will be a pleasure working with the two of you…?”
“Easy there, Gin. They haven’t registered their names yet and the same for the four of you. Renewal of registration, I suppose?
Anyways, to make it official, here’s the log so make sure to register your names, classes, specialty in your field in arts, and phone numbers.
Lastly, make sure you don’t forget your names like the two people who forgot each other because of a comet that hit their faces.”
“Hey, Mato-sen… Is that a shameless joke… or a reference? You know that Kimi no N* wa is still on the summit.”
Akira is, well… not annoyed but infuriated in a very anticlimactic manner.
“Bentayga, you watch your words and bleep the movie! You’re making the author feel bad, you know that.”
I remembered that this teacher and this student were like oil and water. Whatever you do, those two liquids will never mix together.
After I signed the membership logbook, I took a seat in a very familiar spot where it is facing the door of the clubroom but at the farthest seat on the left corner. On that place I can draw or work with the most efficiency because that is the corner where the graphite materials, leads, colored pencils, various inking materials, A2 and A4 papers are all bundled up. In short, it’s like my second home.
The seat on my right is the nearest to the materials such as watercolor, acrylic, different sizes of brushes and canvas for liquid coloring.
Rin took the seat beside me after observing things around the room. She has a bright look on his face perhaps because of how neat the clubroom was.
“Uh… Rin? I suppose you specifically like watercolors and such...?”
“Mhm. Yes, I usually paint as a hobby. I started some time in my second year.”
She gave a light nod to me and immediately replied. Though, her gaze is scanning the whole clubroom once more. Like, she is looking for something. I can’t avoid not asking because I may help her if she was looking for materials she can’t find here.
“Is something the matter, or… are you looking for something?”
“Oh… not really, but I’m curious about the picture Jean showed me at lunch break.”
Before I think about my piece, I looked at where the others are. Beside the seat after Rin, there’s no one sitting there, but Shiro is in front of her. Nagi is just beside the vacant seat so there is one seat apart Nagi and Rin. Jean and Akira are at the desk in front of us. They are the nearest to the door.
After a thorough and quick observation, I finally spoke.
I don’t know if I can help you with this but I guess a hint won’t hurt.”
“And here goes Mr. Sadist.” retorted Nagi.
“We’re used to Gin’s cryptic hints.”
“No need for you to say that, Jean. It’s because you’re the fastest to understand my hints.”
“Not to brag but my record is 34 seconds.”
“Then that makes me second because of my memorization skills.”
“So Akira is on the last place…”
“Enough joking, Trio de Derps.”
“Hey Gin, does that mean it’s like all of you are playing a game?”
I didn’t think Shiro is the type of person who can get familiar with others in a short period of time. I’m a bit startled.
“But does that mean she’s an extrovert?
She doesn’t really look like one. I think not.”
“I guess you could say that…?
I suppose you could call me the game master and the three are the players. It’s like I’m manipulating them in my game but of course not like how Kay*ba Akihiko did it.”
“Oi Gin, you just told us to quit joking but here you are doing the same thing we did.”
Rin made a small and weak laughter after hearing what I said. It’s probably because she’s also an otaku like us that’s why she probably knew what I’m talking about.
“…Sword Art Onl*ne?”
“Ding, correct! Now imagine my face with a circle just like what Koro-se*sei does.”
This time, the two broke out of laughter after my follow up. But the three doesn’t look impressed and the word “lame” is written on their faces.
Seriously, I can’t believe that they are actually laughing on such a lame joke.
“Anyways, I should stop because I’m getting sidetracked already.
Alright then, I’ll make it similar to a riddle or something.
‘The wind is steadily moving eastward from the apple tree. It however is going to nothing, but behind it is a monotone image that doesn’t show much life.’”
As expected, they looked confused.
“It’s a little less vague than how I usually hint because it’s on a whim but I can do better and harder than that.”
Rin looked carefully and observed around if she can see an apple tree somewhere. She even looked outside if there is something as a hint. But in the end, she looked totally confused.
But then she vigorously raised her head, like she thought of something.
“Apple tree… Apple… Ringo! The apple tree is a metaphor for me!”
I did not respond and showed a poker face so it will not be distinguished if she was correct or incorrect.
“The wind is going to the east, so that may mean that there’s something on Rin’s right side? Because east…”
Shiro proudly responded with her pointer finger pointing upwards as she looked at me.
“But there’s nothing beside me… ‘Nothing’! That’s right, no one’s sitting on that chair. So that probably ends the current of the wind.
Behind is a lifeless or monotone image…”
Rin looked what is behind the vacant chair and she saw a framed image in black and white. Yes, my artwork that is hanged on the wall and it was framed with a rather expensive frame.
She stood up as she focused her eyes in my piece.
“It’s a great artwork. I would assume that this was done with 6B and 8B pencils. It may be lifeless but there is a drama that probably can’t be perceived easily.”
“Indeed, you are correct that that artwork is the answer to my sort of riddle. The name of that piece is ‘Piano of Tragedy’.
It is a tribute to Your L*e in April but specifically to Kaori Miy*zono who died in the story. You could say that it is Ar*ma Kousei who is playing the piano.”
“Was these a piece made by a student in the Art Club?”
“I suggest you look at the top left corner and Jean, the picture if you will?
I did expect her not to be so surprised to see the same signature that was on the picture from Jean’s phone. I was right.
“Oh, the signature is here…!”
Rather than shocked, she was amazed to see the signature written on the paper I used to draw the piece.
“Jean said that there is something special here at the clubroom. That is what he was talking about at lunch break. Though, it wasn’t really that special if I were to say.
But I’ll tell you the story about that sketch.
That was drawn by a third year as his final project to be promoted to fourth year. You could say that the student is a ‘mediocre artist’ but he didn’t miss any club meetings unless he is sick. Almost everyday, he stayed here after school because the facility closes at 5pm. He is an otaku but he never stood out to the crowd because he doesn’t like too much people around him. He is always considered as the most zealous in the Art Club.”
I would assume she was thinking of an alumnus or a senior high school student today or just an urban legend. My story isn’t that convincing because the paper is fairly new and well-preserved. It also feels like I’m bragging about myself.
“Was the student an alumnus and was once a member of this club too?”
“My hunch was right. Got you, Shiro.”
I paused for a minute and thought of something again. I went back and thought of the riddle-like hint I gave to them and extended it.
That lifeless and monotonous place was made by a man sitting beside the apple tree.”
There is a terrifying silence around the whole clubroom. But the one that broke that silence is a…
A meow of a cat.
What… was that…?
“Pfft… Hahahahaha! Sorry, I can’t help but laugh… Hahaha.”
“Geez, Gin. What are you even doing. You just made Ringo shout nani…
“What, you’re laughing too. You’re a pot calling the kettle black.”
Even Nagi realized that he heard something new and bursts out of laughter while his head is planted to the table…
Oops. Rin’s pouting with an upset face…
But in a cute way.
Though Rin herself laughed also to her heart’s content not because of the embarrassment but because of enjoyment. Seriously, I’m seeing a lot more new things as days went by and this is probably the highlight.
I finally calmed down myself and returned to my listless self to regain my composure. I clapped two times to get all of their attention.
“Attention please, ladies and gentlemen. With that, I therefore announce that Mr. Jean Ando shall be demoted to be the second fastest to answer Game Master Gin Sakato’s abstruse questions.”
Messenger of royalty acting: ON.
“Therefore, Ms. Ringo Akanami will take the first spot of the quickest to answer the questions with an exact time of 29 seconds at the first question and 3 seconds at the second. Congratulations.”
After spouting such nonsense, Nagi and Akira gave a round of applause to the new holder of the title. We look so dumb.
“What?! When did you even record Ringo’s time?”
“Never underestimate the four months of ‘training’ I did. I practiced observing time and more. And it’s more efficient since the clock is just behind me. I didn’t just slack off watching anime and reading manga in the past four months. Haha.”
“And ranking waifus?”
“Akira… Don’t ever bring that matter anymore or else I’ll rank yours too.”
“No, please, Gin! I’m terribly sorry!”
Who would have thought that I will be around with this bunch.
▪ ▪ ▪
“Alrighty. As your supervisor, I want you to draw the very first proper artwork you will create as your first club activity. As much as possible, use the medium you are the most comfortable and most efficient with. The paper you will use is 9 by 12 and you can draw anything you want. You only have an hour to make a piece so I will suggest you make it minimal.
Ready, set, draw.”
I haven’t made a proper artwork in this clubroom for months. I have to get used to this area again to gain the pace.
Instead of using color pencils, I only used a mechanical pencil for rough sketch, 2B for final line work, and 5B for shading. I trained to always keep the quantity of my materials I use at the minimum and don’t use materials I won’t need much.
I see that Rin used watercolor as her medium to make her piece while Shiro used markers for coloring.
Nagi and Akira as always are using a dip pen. But they’re getting better at drawing with the style of manga. Jean used oil pastels for coloring.
Oil pastel is the material I’m really bad at mostly.
▪ ▪ ▪
“Times up. Though I know all of you are finished ahead of the given time limit. Make sure you didn’t see each other’s artworks when you’re making your pieces.”
“Shiro? An eagle, huh?”
“Yup, how about you Nagi?”
“I drew the exterior of the restaurant we always go to using dip pen.”
Shiro used brush tipped colored markers to create a rainbow-winged, flying eagle. What’s notable is she did not use any construction lines or rough sketches and linearts. Right at the beginning she used only markers to give life to the white paper.
Nagi drew Giotto’s exterior by using a dip pen. It is in the style of two-point perspective which gave emphasis to the restaurant. What’s aesthetically pleasing to his piece is the overshot lines and great display of hatching for shading. And he drew it from only his memory.
“Woah, Akira. Never thought that you will draw Haschw*lth. That’s a great lineart.”
“But look at yours, Jean. Mt. Fuji!”
Akira made a great character design of Jugram Hascw*lth from Bl*ach and it is well made. It is a striking replica of Jugo that you would think the creator drew that. What’s more amazing is it was all made also from his memory. Though he used up three HB leads for the initial sketch which is not very practical.
While Jean created an image of Mt. Fuji from a reference in his phone and he only used oil pastels for coloring. The blending of colors is smooth and the detail of his piece is very identical to the image itself.
I don’t improve in coloring with oil pastels even when Jean taught me. I’m such a disgrace.
“Gin? That’s a very dramatic display of emotions in your sketch if I say so.”
I drew a man with a shoulder length hair and have bandages all over his body. I used foreshortening to emphasize his right arm. The main setting of the piece is a very white room similar to a dream I had once.
“I really wanted to draw this after a long time because of a dream I had once. I titled this piece ‘Normal Tragedy’.
And Rin. Is that…”
It is very minimal but showed a lot of detail but using a shiny reflection of the surface.
“A silver apple?”
“Indeed, it is.
I painted this as a portrayal of the two us. Before you said those from lunch break, I already knew that the meaning of your name in Nihongo is ‘silver’ and mine is ‘apple’ and ‘red’.
So I made a silver apple.”
The realism is spot on even with the use of watercolor. And what is very amazing is that she put her silhouette as a reflection and her background to the surface of the shiny silver apple.
I was so surprised that my vocal chords did not even work for at least a minute.
“Now, now. Look who’s getting all flustered here, Mr. Silver.”
I ignored Nagi’s teasing like I didn’t even hear him speak.
“But why…? Wouldn’t red be better?”
“I did… thought of it but… I saw your ‘Tragic Piano’ and had an idea to make the apple colorless except for the stem. So I thought I will incorporate your name to my piece. Though, I can’t really show the emotions in my art though.”
I unconsciously gave a very rare smile that was only seen by a very few people. But today, Rin saw something I considered a phenomenon that only happens only once every blood moon.
“This is beautiful. More than you thought, it displayed a similar lifelessness from my huge artwork there. I really like it.”
“Gin… you’re smiling.”
“This is a rare sight.”
“Yeah. I didn’t even realize it until now, because I haven’t felt my real smile for some time now.”
“My true emotions only show up whenever I feel that something is on a high note. It’s like I’m seeing a climax of a story whenever I felt like this. These emotions are very rare that it is like finding a needle in a hay bale. You will soon know that I’m a very nonchalant and listless person that doesn’t really care about others but observes his surrounding a lot. My sense of ecstasy is very shallow, really.
I really want to thank you for this. I haven’t felt like this for quite some time now.”
Gin’s face is as bright as the sun that it feels like it can give light to everything he looks at with that smile. However, I feel like my face is reddening.
“N-n-no. It’s nothing really…
But I’m surprised to hear that. I wouldn’t ask if there’s something that happened to you in the past… But I at least want you to rely on me when you are feeling down. You can always tell not just me but Shiro too.”
“It’s okay. It’s not like I-“
“It’s not like I can still remember why I became like this.”
Is what I’d like to say.
An unimaginable happiness is building up inside of me for a reason I don’t exactly know. I can’t help but smile. I can’t transition to the nonchalant demeanor in an instant but I would think it’s a very good thing.
“Really… A ‘thank you’ is not enough… Haha…
You reminded me of Shirayuki, actually…”
▪ ▪ ▪
Finally, club activities ended and it is already 4:30 in the afternoon.
“But seriously, who would have thought that you would blurt ‘nani’ out of the blue. I still can’t stop thinking of it. I can’t get your surprised face out of my head.”
“Gin, we’re about to go home. Want to come to Moonbox with us?”
“Nah, sorry. I’ll be doing stuff afterwards.
What about you two?”
“No, I will be going home now.”
“I was asked by my mom to go shopping for dinner.”
“So you’re going to that direction.”
“Oh, one more thing… I forgot to say this… Uhh…
Would the two of you… like to join our group?”
Without any hesitation, their eyes shone with happiness.
The face of the two brightened up as they affirmatively replied in unison.
“Well then, we’ll see you in the clubroom next morning then. Matane.”
Oh Rin, which direction will you be going?”
“My house is on this direction," she pointed on her right while we're both standing by the gate.
“Hmm… Shall we walk home together then. I live in the same direction.”
The silence of the street never changes since the first time I started walking to school.
“We’re both walking, so does that mean your house is just near?”
“A bit. It’s just a ten-minute walk from school to there. Our place is a bungalow. I live with my parents and a brother.”
“Is that so…
My family originally lived at Sector 392. Just beside 527 but we moved here because my sister works here so we decided to move and study at Blue Ink in spite of the incident.”
I stopped walking and looked from my house going to Rin.
“Oh, I’m here at our house.”
“Rin? Something wrong?”
“Uhh… Our houses are just three houses apart. How come we didn’t see each other when going to school?”
“Seriously?! Then I suppose you moved to the new houses here.”
“That’s right. And there’s a house that has never been bought because of how outdated the technology of it and it’s literally next to us. But the house itself has a good engineering. I think someone rich bought the lot and built the house, but they eventually left it for sale.”
“A house with an outdated technology? That’s a dream for me actually. I honestly don’t like technology much that’s why I only want a standard house if ever I afford one in the future.”
“If I can remember correctly, it got cheap even though it’s fairly new. It’s probably because of depreciation in terms of technology.”
“That’s kind of good…
Wait, want to have a drink in our house?”
“No it’s okay, I also don’t want to be a bother. I’ll be going then. Have a nice rest.”
“You too. See you tomorrow at the clubroom.”
“What a day,” I would say. Who would have thought that I can find more friends even though I’m not that sociable. I guess I’m progressing at least by a little margin when communicating. It’s just an introvert’s one main problem.
But for my true self to return just like that is something I never expected. I don’t even know what is up with me right now…
A silver apple.
▪ ▪ ▪
Tuesday. Another normal day and another normal beginning.
I woke up just like normal at 8 in the morning but it really got colder in the morning. I’m about to go to school and it is half passed 9 but the temperature did not pass 30 degrees. That really is something.
“I’m going now.”
Door is shut and I didn’t forget anything today and I’m not bringing any study materials because today is for interacting with their clubs. Thankfully our clubroom is very quiet and doesn’t catch a lot of fuss.
I’m bringing my bike today with me since I don’t have a lot to carry. As I was walking out of our lot, I saw Rin walking. I immediately took my bike out hoping that I can give her a ride.
“Rin! Good morning.”
“Oh, good morning Gin. You’re riding a bike today?”
“Yeah, since we didn’t have a lot of things to bring. I haven’t used this for some time too.
Want to jump on?”
▪ ▪ ▪
Time flew a bit and it’s now the fourth week of August. It’s Friday today and I suddenly though that it will slowly transition to the next month soon.
I just got back home after club activities with Rin. It pretty much became normal to have that routine every school day.
Then Saturday came by and the six of us planned to go to Giotto’s. It’s a restaurant mixed with Japanese and Italian food in a reasonable price but really delicious food. I mainly like the Doppio Mezzaluna Pizza they had. It’s a weird looking pizza because half of it has Beef Shigureni and the other half only has cheese, but in three types. It was inspired from Takumi Ald*ni’s dish and became a real dish.
Now, it is Sunday. The 27th of August.
Nothing is really happening today.
It’s a very normal day… really.
I would appreciate it if something significant will happen.
Stopped and faltered.
That wraps up the fifth chapter!
After this chapter, I will be complying to my schedule of releasing at Mondays and Fridays per week. I hope you like this first five chapters, but really, I hope that you'd like what is going to come next!
Thank you for reading!
Six: There are instances where you reflect on your entire life, even if there is a truck right in front of your eyes.