Thursday, 25 August 2011

Moving on in Metropolis

Life without Luke wasn't grueling at all. After all, he was only a passer-by, a good guy who became a jerk when he decided to break my heart. My friends in high school- tomboyish Irina, muddle-headed Paige and materialistic-but-easygoing Kayla, they were too, left behind when I left Little Suburbia. I was the first to enroll in college, and was glad that no one from the small, tattered old town had followed me here. I did not plan to be haunted by my past. Without those people in this new environment, I could be myself instead of being their first impressions of me (which were so many years ago) and only partly myself.

Soon, a girl named Brenda gave me an idea of what this college's people think of me at first glance.

"Oh my, you look so docile in this checkered dress! You looked very adorable in the floral blouse yesterday. Are you always this sweet?"

Docile. I shuddered inside, while making an effort to smile shyly at Brenda. It was one of the many things people from high school would never call me.

During my first Math class, I got to know Emi Hatsukawa. Emi had walked in relatively late, when the classroom was filled with students' incessant ice-breaking chatters. Most of us were strangers before this, and were just beginning to get to know each other. Since the majority of students had already formed solid, impenetrable cliques during orientation, I had sat alone in a corner of the classroom. Well, until Emi cautiously, and gracefully approached me. Blushing slightly, she asked, "Is anybody sitting here?"

"Um... nope." Swiftly, I lifted my bag and placed it on the other side. I noticed that Emi, like the general idea of a Japanese girl, had a fair complexion. However, despite being of the same age as me, it would have been more appropriate to call her a "young woman" rather than a teenager. I noted her conservative and elegant attire- white sweater, peach-colored knee-length skirt and navy blue flats. She had colored her long hair brown, and had tied it up in a bun. In spite of that, the classy, natural waves were noticeable.

"Hi," I turned to her as soon as she settled down in her seat. "My name's Heather. Heather Amaryllis"

"Emi Hatsukawa," she smiled, her luminous grace and beauty apparent. She put out her hand for a handshake. Her accent was evident too, so I concluded that she was brought up here.

Later in class, I learned that she was from far North and was staying with her sister, who was 9 years older. She learned that I was from far South and was staying at the hostel. She complimented me for being the quickest in Math, and also, she said that I was.... adorable.

Making a point to be polite, I thanked her and told her she's pretty. A statement which she vehemently denied. I had the impression that she was simply trying to convey humility because she felt obligated. The quiet confidence was impossible to miss.

After Math, we went for separate classes. She had Chemistry, while I had Accounting.

We had lunch together at noon. So, Emi Hatsukawa became my first friend in college.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Lost Naivete

Really, it's been eight months. So many events have taken place within eight months. I watched my close friends fall in love and fall apart, while I accepted and walked away from a relationship. I think about the girl who came from two hundred miles away, from the obscured Little Suburbia a lot these days. It is always as if I'm looking into a mirror and finding the lost naivete and innocence I'd brought from my protected childhood and adolescence.

Not many people here know that I write. I write a lot, actually. I love writing because it's a form of release and I always feel better afterwards. As you, my readers, would have seen in the description above, I shall write about these events not only because they're so memorable to me (not to mention their significance). I'm telling you this story to make it all much better.

I will always remember the girl I was when I first arrived at the doorsteps of my new living place, what she felt, what made her do the things she did (or still does) etc. If I could look upon the childlike, baby-face again, I'm sure I'd see the wonder in her night-black eyes, bursting with life and anticipation. I hadn't belonged in Little Suburbia, where I was so used to being misunderstood, where I had been labelled as the "weird one". I studied hard and had a few friends. Up till this year, I have never been to a friend's party or a conventional school camp before. People shook their heads and comment that I don't have a life. But I digress. I have always reckoned that you only don't have a life if you've got no discipline.

There was a boy I loved and loved me back. To protect his identity, I shall name him Luke. We started having those feelings the year before senior year. I was an antisocial studious girl who minded my own business and had high concrete walls around me. He was a student leader, charismatic and sincere. It was the year we started having classes together. He wasn't like any other guy in this high school. He was unusually polite, a little gentlemanly and down-to-earth. Perhaps it had been the noticeable walls that drew him to me in the first place. Perhaps he'd somehow managed to interpret the oddness as something special, something extraordinary.

Back then, members of the male race weren't allowed to get too close with me. Had they dared to befriend me, those loud and fashionable girls who dominated our high school social life would make ill remarks to make them back off. But Luke hadn't cared much about their opinion and became my friend. He provided me companionship, while I would often tutor him and motivate him in academics. Those feelings grew and by the time we were about to sit for the finals, I admitted to myself that I loved him.

As we entered our senior year, ready to conquer finals and graduate, there were rather gelid moments between us. There were times he didn't want to talk to me or look at me in the eye. If I attempted to normalize the situation between us, it'd only make him lengthen the silent treatment. Nonetheless, if I turned my back against him, he'd come back and be my friend again. That would be adequate to prove that I did nothing wrong, and he was merely doing that to test my feelings. When he ignored me for more than a week, I decided that enough was enough and moved on, although I was heartbroken. I could tell that he regretted it. I narrated this story to a friend earlier this year. "He's a good guy," my friend surmised. "But this guy's an idiot."

After completing the final exam, in which I was the highest scorer amongst my classmates, I left Little Suburbia for college. I'd promised Luke on the day we sat for our Biology paper that it'd be the last time my classmates would see me. When I said those words, I had meant it especially for him. He had already become my past, and my determination to leave him behind was part of the reason I had looked forward to college, to this new life that would open my mind to numerous things.