Chapter 22:



As the phone next to me burst its obnoxious alarm into my ear, my body involuntarily jumped up. And despite my not being a morning person, an abnormal source of energy was surging through me.

“Today is the last day.”

To confirm my statement of hopefulness, I looked at the screen and checked my message inbox.

“Remember that the day of our visit is tomorrow schoolboy. Been a while since I’ve graced you with my presence.”

Even though it was early morning, the message was sent only minutes ago. Not minding that fact, I responded.

“Don’t act like you’re not the same, missy.”

It’s been a few months since the mind-changing week that I found Kiri, the girl that was missing for two years and a half. The time I spent with her, and I guess with little John too, had been well, life-changing to say the least. And so, as a form of gratitude, I paid respect to Kiri by not disclosing her location to anyone else, as per her wish. Though there was one person who likely knows, my mom, yet nothing has happened, so I deemed her trustworthy.

But that’s enough for recollection, and I flew out of bed and took no time to change into my school uniform. With the presence of dry cold air my room, it was no doubt that snow had begun to fall, signaling the seasons had begun to wear a new fit. And with that came the explanation for the reason why tomorrow was made to be the day of our reunion, winter break was coming up.

I sprinted through my house, with a speed that could blow away the hunger of skipping breakfast. However, before I burst out the front door, I turned back to get the key for my motor.

Sure makes me reminisce…

In spite of the fact that it wasn’t that long ago, just little similarities like this could give me nostalgia, which I shook off with no trouble and continued my pace.

“Aren’t you going to at least greet us?”

With the sudden sound of voice in the room, I turned back and it took me no time to distinguish who it was. My parents.

“Yeah, yeah. Good morning, good afternoon, and in case I or you don’t come back or whatever, good night.”

Not waiting for their response, I rushed out the door and to my motorcycle.

As the wind blow through my face, only then did I realize how terrible of a reason it was to drive in this weather. Not to even mention the snow, the wind was enough for me to have the desire to light myself up on fire.

The ride was quick and painful, and I didn’t want to delve into it anymore.

Reaching my classroom and opening the door, I was quickly greeted by two guys. Two nameless guys whom I’ve been talking to for the entirety of my high school.

“You two again?”, I replied.

“Is that how you say good morning? We came out of our way to greet you, man.”

As the hippy guy spoke and acted in a disappointed demeanor, we were suddenly interjected.

“I think you could act a bit more friendly towards them, Stan. They’re good friends, you know, I envy you sometimes.”

It was from Mary-Beth, a girl, shocking, I know.

To make it brief as to why a member of the female species would waste their time with us, I and the two other guys had a group project and had to add two more people, and she was one of them. I don’t remember her and us having any awkward conversations so I guess she just stuck around to hang out.

Mary-Beth had a warm feminine tone as if she was acting as a scolding sister, and managed to succeed in making me feel somewhat bad, despite the seriousness of this situation worthing nothing.

“Yeah, I guess I-”

“You just don’t get it, Mary, Stan’s actually really shy. But you see, that’s his way of showing affection toward them.”

And this is the second girl we invited to our group project. To make it brief, she’s uh…

She likes boys kissing.


Yeah, hope that came across.

I do remember telling myself to make new meaningful connections as a goal, though I guess it’s only a pipe dream so far, considering my ‘friends’ are who they are.

“Hey Stan, you free this afternoon? We need one more to fill up our team.”

A six-foot boy suddenly came up to me, though I wasn’t startled since it wasn’t the first occasion. Standing bright and tall, he greeted me with a charismatic visage. His name is Wa Ghy U, our class’s basketball captain.

In summary, he started asking me to fill in whenever our team was short because I was the one who asked to do so myself one time. It’s surprising even for me to come out of my way to do this type of thing, but I thanked myself since Wa Ghy U’s pretty much the first person whom I shared a productive relationship with. Although, I swiftly remembered that I could not do as he wished today.

“No, sorry I’ve got boxing practice.”

Despite having been turned down, with a cool tone, Wa Ghy U simply brushed it off.

“Oh, it’s fine. Well, have fun punching people, Stan.”

“Oh, I would certainly.”

And that unveils my next hobby, boxing. Having been to quite a few fights and enjoyed it somewhat, I chose boxing classes as a source of entertainment to improve productivity. All the fights I’ve been to before had always been coercive, and for the reason that I do not wish to recall. Nonetheless the art of brawling against your opponents had always fascinated me.

With no more reason to stay standing, I approached my seat and got ready for class.

Just like many other students, my eyes were on the verge of collapsing every second of class. A minute felt like an hour, and the excitement about my meeting tomorrow only made it worse. Until the last period took place, coinciding with Law class, and my brain abruptly got stimulated into working again.

Now, you might be wondering why a subject so boring and anti-ADHD got me so focused. It’s not like it piques my interest or anything, the reason is more in line with me having not entirely decided on which course I should follow. This is my second last year of high school and university’s enclosing in, I needed to have a path so I just picked whichever suited me best right now.

Still, that’s not to say I randomly opted for this field to focus my study on. It may sound cliché, but I find studying Law to have a goal of helping people and deciding what’s right. You have to use both your judgment and knowledge to decide justice, which I guess isn’t exactly an inexperienced subject for me.

And of course, there’s the mun-neh.

Albeit my mind still wandered off once in a while, I managed to pick up on a few notes in class, and at the end of the day decided that it was enough for me.

As soon as the bell rang, I bid goodbye to my seat and rushed to my motor. It was time for the peak of my day, punching people.

The gym is only a little bit further than a mile from my school, and thus with my motor, it took a little less than ten minutes to reach there. Having arrived earlier than needed, I had nothing to do instead of chitchatting with the club members there.

The boxing class consists of ten people and is divided into three rounds over the course of an hour. Cardio training, which includes belly intervals, burpee bags, and sprints. Muscle training, which is basically working out at the gym, and practical training, in which we brawl.

You might have noticed that a lot of the activities require a partner or partners, so you could say that this class also works as a social thing. Hence, talking and befriending the club members is something I wouldn’t want to miss out on. Joining their conversations isn’t usually hard, though I had not made a single close connection yet, unfortunately.

Suddenly, my back crawled.

“Well, hello there, man-whore.”

That sentence, that voice, it was enough for me to impulsively gave out a devastating sigh. Despite the idea of turning around to actually confront her sounds so frustrating, I knew it was inevitable nonetheless.

“Why are you still here, Alice?”, I spoke with a tired-out tone.

“Nothing, Stan. I’m just here to see my two friends have a wonderful productive time.”

Just as she spoke, two girls came into view, each with athletic attire that made them look the part. Though, I don’t know if their motive comes in line.

“Stan, right? We look forward to our next brawl.”, the girls spoke as our eyes met.

I’ve been going to this class three days a week for three months now, and it started to become a routine I appreciated and had always been looking forward to. But then it all changed last week when these people came, asking to brawl with me and then trying to get closer just to cause discomfort.

“No matter how much you try to annoy me I’m still not going to tell you where Kiri is, Alice.”

It was no mystery that this was Alice’s way of pushing information out of me. After all, that’s the only reason why she would want anything to do with this insect called ‘Stan’.

“My! How bold of you, Stan. Looks like these ladies are going to have an even better time with you now.”, still with a sarcastic voice, some may say (me) sadistic, Alice attempted to intimidate me.

And, I made a quick riposte.

“I could always just tell the coach that I’m uncomfortable with hitting women, you know?”

“Sexism? In this day and age? What would everybody think?”

Before I could open my mouth, my mind shot my comeback down without mercy. On paper, not being fine with throwing hands with a woman is absolutely normal. However, when it comes to public and social awareness, a sentence like that could definitely cause controversy and judgments from other people. That’s the reality of the time I was living in, and there was no comeback to be made.

In the end, there was no winning against Alice.

An exhale could be heard from me, possibly marking my defeat. There was nothing I could do apart from trudging to class and bracing myself for the tragedy that awaits me.


They didn’t technically injure me, but tomorrow’s not going to be a nice day for my body that’s for sure. Still, I knew that complaining would only be futile. And so, I merely drove back home and moved on with my nightly activities.

After a shower and a silent dinner, it was finally time to relax in my room. Reading a book, playing a video game. These kinds of stuff used to be so repetitive and boring because I frequently do them every day. But if a productive life has taught me anything, it’s that these activities would be so much more valuable if it’s consumed in small amounts.

That’s not to say that there wasn’t anything else I did in my free time, I’ve gotten a bit into music. In a corner of my room exists a guitar, it’s a pretty cheap acoustic, one that I salvaged from a local store.

Funnily enough, I wasn’t even inspired by a real artist or anything, but a fictional anime girl. I wouldn’t say I relate to the character, yet something about a pink-haired socially inept girl trying to act out her passion in a weird enthusiastic way just moved something in me. And from then, rock, or guitar in general just seemed cool.


I know it’s not real, and yet I couldn’t help but compare myself to the 2D girl. Even though her social situation just screamed problems with making friends or trying to express herself, she still managed to make meaningful connections in the story. And from there, make incredible memories and play out her high school life the way she wanted to. And if that weren’t enough, inspired thousands of people not even in her dimension, and make them think that they are literally her.

And as goofy and dumb as this may sound, the thought depresses me a bit. Even after I had laid to rest my obsessive and childish fixation, all I’ve been doing is being normal. Sure, my life now is fun and productive, but something felt missing, like my story hasn’t reached a climax or had a thing to say yet. Like the story has only been about me, and it’s not meaningful to anyone.

Or maybe I’m just delusional and asking for too much, after all, my life isn’t an anime.

With a sigh, I jumped on my bed and attempted to put my mind at ease. Yet it was in vain.

Looks like I’ve still got problems, huh?

Problems after problems. Even if you moved on from something, new challenges would just be waiting for you. And since that’s the case, then what’s the point of even fixing yourself in the first place?

A tick surged through my body, and instinctively, I slapped myself.

No, I shouldn’t think like that.

Yeah, not after all the effort that Kiri put into helping me, I can’t disrespect both her and myself.


An abrupt noise came from my phone, and I picked it up to ease my inquiries.

“Sleep tight, Stan. And don’t forget.”, a message from Kiri.

Guess I’ll just look forward to our meeting tomorrow.

With a bitter smile, I laid back on my bed and turned off the light.

“Maybe talking to Kiri again would help. I hope.”

With no more reason to stay awake, I closed my eyes and hoped for my dream to be a good one.

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