Monday, August 22, 2011

Finite Life Chapter Five: First Day Part Three

Ding dong ding dong. Ding dong ding dong.

The familar tune of a school bell’s chimes was comforting. It brought me a sense of relief, a feeling that, no matter how bizzare this place may be, at least there was a little thing like that which remained the same. Another thing that remained the same, yet was something I was not very happy about, was my complete lack of understanding of the course material that the class had just spent a good few hours going over. Thankfully, the teacher wasn’t keen on testing my knowledge again, and I was quite unsure- make that very sure- of my inability to get a right answer. I also did not want to relay on Minoru for answers again, though if things kept up like this, I very well might have to. An odd thing I noticed was how Mr. Yamamoto never called on Minoru, because I knew from experience that teachers loved to wake up students and ask them questions about things they slept through. I knew that extremely well.

It was lunch time now, which made me realize something. I had no lunch. That was something rather dramatic to me. I always ate lunch, in my mind it was the most important meal of the day, because it was often my only meal of the day. I always managed to scramble something up, usually from a nearby vending machine, due to the lack of money they cost if you played your cards right. Since I didn’t eat breakfast today, and I walked up a demonic hill that posed more difficulty than it should have, I was reasonably hungry. So of course, I would be that idiot that forgot his lunch. I didn’t know if this body’s mother had made a bento, or if she had just forgotten to mention it because it was so routine? Or was it expected that I would have already made my own? She did think I was a girl, so maybe she really did think I could, or rather should, make my own. I honestly had no idea of what I should do.

A quick look around revealed that mostly everybody, by which I mean the Blanks, had already left the classroom. Where they went is something I didn’t know. The only people still in the classroom were Minoru, who was still asleep. Kenta, who was resolutely ignoring me or rather he was trying hard to not look in my direction which inadvertently meant that he was validating my existence. I knew why he was doing this, but I refused to register it due to my internal desire not to throw up today. Then there was Akane, who was busy chatting to a Blank, which meant I could not understand her in the slightest. That left only one decent option.

“Hello.” I tried to greet Aki without incurring his previous wrath for me. Thankfully, I succeeded.

“Hello.” He responded with equal brevity. “What can I help you with?” While he certainly didn’t seem ecstatic to see me, I didn’t feel the same anger that I had felt before. Instead, there was a control about him, not that he was hidding any emotions, but that he was too good to even feel them, completely at odds with the outburst he had earlier. Since that was nothing more than an educated guess, I had to assume that he was still furious with me.

“Well, I kind of sort of forgot my lunch, do you know where I could get a knew one?” I asked in the most non-threatening voice I could. To my great annoyance, it sounded incredibly feminine and not at all like a voice I would be comfortable speaking with often. Thinking about that, I barely noticed how bad my voice had been when I was talking with Akane. Did that mean that I was used to this voice as long as I was both in this body and if I didn’t think about my voice. Of course, now that I have thought about it, I would never be able to put it in the back of my mind, so I would constantly be reminded of this body. Not something I was looking forward to. Aki looked at me oddly.

“Why would you be asking me? I do not know this place any better than you do.” He bluntly told me off. I glanced back at Akane, who was still chatting with Kenta. When I turned back, Aki was looking at me with some understanding. “Ah, I see whats going on.” Which was more than what I saw, but I still wasn’t looking forward to going near Kenta after what had happened. Aki looked as if he comprehended what I was feeling, but how he could was completely beyond me. He gave me a bright smile, it was rather similar but still dulled in comparison to his sister’s. The smile did catch me off guard, it was quite at odds with how he acted earlier. “Would you like to search for something then?”

“Huh? Yeah… that would be good.” I managed to get spit out. Aki stood up and walked out of the room with me. Before I was out the door, I took a glance back at Akane, who was somehow still talking with Kenta. My hopes of becoming a very close friend of her were beginning to form cracks, and I mentally prepared myself to hear news about her finding a new boyfriend in Kenta. The very thought of someone dating a guy who would casually (all right, it was more accidental than I make it out to be) look up a girl’s- I mean a guy who appeared to be a girl- skirt. But I forced those thoughts out of my mind.

I walked beside Aki down the hallways of my new school. His smile had decreased from the bright one he had given me, but it was still there, even if it was diminished. We did not talk much as we searched the hallways, until my idiotic curiosity won me over.

“I know this is probably not the smartest thing to ask, but I would still like to know… Why did you get so angry at me earlier?” My mouth managed to say what my survival instinct told me not to. Despite what I thought would happen, his smile did not disappear; it just shrank a bit- alright, a lot. He stopped walking, and I followed suit. There was silence, and for a moment I had hoped that he would just shrug it off and forget I asked that. And he did.

“I think that… is something that I’d prefer to keep secret for a while, for the good of me and my sister.” Aki confessed and I was more than willing to accept that. “Though if we do become friends, I do not see why you would have to be kept in the dark.” That confused me greatly, but before I could ask anything else, we spotted a small cafeteria that would have been unnoticed if Aki had not pointed it out to me. There I was able to order a small but still delicious bento from the lady at the counter. Aki insisted on paying and so would I if I had any money with me, but when the lady saw me she said that the meal was free of charge. This was puzzling, but we didn’t have much time on our hands, and since I had a bento and he didn’t, I kindly offered to split the bento with him.

He looked at me oddly, as if questioning my intentions, then he let out a small chuckle. Right before I could say anything to him, he cut me off.

“I guess that might be interesting, I accept.” His formal language was rather bamboozling, but I still did not see a problem with this when I looked at it forthwith.

A memory struck me. It was at one of my old jobs, working the late day shift at a local store. The old man shopkeep had the habit of watching some nighttime crime dramas. His favorite show involved a detective, and the show always had the same plot. There was a crime that the police deemed impossible. Then the main character would show up and examine everything. After coming to a conclusion similar to the police’s, he would then solve the crime after saying his catch-phrase, “Take a step back and look at it with all of your eyes!”. This did not make a lick of sense in my entire life, and it had always bothered me. Then I decided to finally take a detective’s advice, and I look at my situation.

I am me. I am currently in the body of a girl. I asked a boy to share my lunch with him. I had an epiphany akin to an beforehand experience involving the skirt I was wearing, something I was still trying to wipe from my memory. I am slowly quickly starting to developing a hatred for these dammed things. I then tried to explain things.

“N-not that I’m trying to ask you to lunch or hit on you or anything, I was just trying to be considerate.” I am not a savvy person, and I have not seen a large amount of anime or played a lot of games or even met a decent amount of actual girls, so I did not fully understand what I was about to admit to myself, but I feel like I had the general idea.

I sounded like a tsundere.

I was afraid that if I continued talking that I might make an even bigger fool of myself, so I shut up. Aki looked at me with- I am not joking here- a smile that reached his eyes. He shook his head without losing the smile, and he pulled me over to the table. Aki sat down, and gestured for me to do the same. Once I did, he stared at me, not like he did after I first met him. I wanted to start the whole day over again from the beginning, and then I realized that going through this day as a girl again would be horrifying. Before I could get anything that could save my case out of my system, Aki beat me to it.

“I think I know what you are going through. Just vaguely, but enough that you do not have to worry about me like you did for Kenta.” The glasses wearing boy gave me a ever so slight smile as he caught me off guard. I didn’t want to make a fuss, so I decided to to argue with him and just go with it. Though I was disturbed that he brought up Kenta. “If you ever feel like talking about it, I am open, though I hardly think that I am good company.

This presented a problem. Aki seemed to be a nice guy for the most part, but I felt a split road in my mind. There were two discernible paths, one for each of the siblings.

There was the Akane path. It was filled with Akane, her body, and her skirt that would not move the correct way. It promised friendship, something all humans desire. It promised comfort, something that all confused people desire. It promised physical closeness to a girl, something that I desired. It is a very attractive option, and it was logically the best. But what about him? What about Kenta? A boy who had casually looked up someone’s (mine) skirt? Akane expressed interest in him despite that, or perhaps it was because of that. Is that who Akane is? Does something like that appeal to her? I had no earthly idea, and the thought of becoming close to her only for her to start to date Kenta… It is horrid.

On the other hand… Aki. He expressed interest in being my friend, something that Akane also did, but there was a subtle change to it. Aki was male, and while that could pose a threat in this body, it also meant that I could relate with him and talk to him more easily. He also was more secluded from others… or at least that was the impression I got from him. There was only one thing clear in my mind.

I have no idea what to do.

Things happened. I muttered out thanks to Aki, not truly accepting or declining his offer. We ate food, and did not talk while we did so. It was also in silence that we walked back to the classroom. Mr. Yamamoto was still there, as the other teacher assigned to show up for afternoon classes did not show up. The day sped by, and I paid no attention to it. There was only one thing that could and would snap me out of my silent state.

The bells of freedom, the bells that chimed when the day was over, so that everyone could leave at the same time. In my old body, this told me to wake up and go to work. Today it would tell me to wake up… and then what? What would I do after I had woken up? I would go to the house I suppose. A house that I did not know, with a family I did not know, in a life I did not know or want. There was no routine to follow, no pattern to establish. I could not just set myself in a certain way and stay that way, I had to move, I had to adapt. That is not something I am good at. But that did not matter, I had to become good at it. I could adapt to this. I can adapt to this.

I will adapt to this.

I did not notice the teacher finishing his lecture. I did not notice the rush of people getting up. I did not notice anything until Akane shook me out of my space.

“Hey, Michio-chan, you there?” She asked.

“Huh, yeah.” I responded with my usual grace. “Sorry, I didn’t hear the bell.” Akane shook her head.

“There is no bell in the afternoon, the class ends when the teacher wants it to.” She told me. I tried to nod my head to tell her that I understood, but it was too difficult. “By the way, someone would like to talk to you.”

This got my attention, and I looked up a bit to see Kenta meandering his way toward my desk. He got there before I could do anything.

“Hey, I was wondering if we could talk?” He asked bluntly. I gave him mental points for being to the point, but I still did not want to talk to him. Moreover, he could talk to Akane, he did not need me, and I certainly did not want to talk to him. I glanced over at Akane and then I realized it.

She had set me up.

I got mad, but it wasn’t visible. I got annoyed, but it wasn’t visible. I got upset, and it was very visible.

I wanted to run away, so I did. I bolted out of my seat, the classroom, and before I could even blink, the school. I ran and I ran, not really knowing why, but I still did, because I was too tired for the insanity and annoyance that those people back there created.

My name is Michio Fuuji, this is my first day as a girl, and I am tired.

Next Chapter

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