The rusty, unpleasant bed appeared in my sight. I switched on my phone to check the time: 6.00a.m. Yet another day to die of boredom in school. I buried my head back into the pillow, which reminded me of the mysterious guy’s scent and the ridiculous game that ate my spirits. No, I must have been daydreaming, he wasn’t real, nor was the game. I hugged my pinky and my shoulders tight to confirm that the pain was only my imagination. Even though my pinky looked as fine as ever, my back hurt so much like I’d been on my bed for ages. “It’s a sign of ageing,” was what my grandma said after every time she sprained her back.
“You gonna late, hurry!” Mom screamed.
“Okay, okay, I got it,” I replied while tying my hair into a high ponytail. I then hurriedly grabbed my empty school bag -I repeat, yes, my empty school bag without any textbooks- and stomped down the stairs. I grabbed a piece of bread that mom prepared on the table and gave her a scowl as a token of gratitude, more a request for her to drive me to school. I patiently waited on the couch while tearing up the bread like how I usually tear up my obnoxious homework and assignments.
“Just school go” was her response that I had been waiting for the entire morning.
“You ain’t gonna drive me? Walking a mile or two won’t kill me, but hey, travelling 15 miles will bring down my GPA,” I complained.
“After what you did? No way!” Mom scolded with her high pitched voice that killed the cells in my eardrum.
“What? I’m not late today?” I asked, confused. I had no clue what she was blabbering about early in the morning. She must have lost some money during a bet again.
“You, you bastard! I embarrassed! You know what you did! Get out of the house!” She exclaimed while pushing me out of the house.
“Huh? Whatever nonsense you’re talking about, I don’t follow,” I sighed as I used my chubby hands to stop her from kicking me out of the house.
“Go school!” Mom protested.
“As if I want to stay!” I yelled back at her.
“You! You! You ugly creature!” She furiously screeched while pointing at my face directly. I assumed that she wanted to pick to fight with me because she lost a bet at the casino; therefore, without paying much serious attention to her stupid scolds, I left the house without another thought.
Another way to ruin a perfect morning completely was to check my phone and to take a look at my social media account. The popping notifications that usually do not catch my attention were the 57 miss calls and the 99+ texts.
I took a closer look at the notifications.
‘57 missed calls from Amber, Arata, Takao, Coach, and Nora- March 26, Thursday’
“Huh, wait a sec. I thought today’s Monday. Wha-?” The notifications confused the hell out of me. The phone must have been broken. Yes, that must be it! That explains why the notifications and dates were so bizarre. There were bugs in my phones! That was it!
I dialled Amber, my one and only girl friend, right away to celebrate the escape of my contemplation and to seek confirmation of my phone bugs’ existence. The least I could do was to acquire a verification from Amber that I was not going crazy.
It took at least 4 miss calls for Amber to pick up the phone.
“Hey, Micchan what ya up to? Been quite a while, yea?” Amber answered the call after a few seconds of awkward silence.
“It’s just 2 days, wat ya mean been quite a while? You outta your mind? What did ya answer for question 11, the question that ya didn’t answer me in biology class, ya remember the freaking ugly question?” I irritatedly asked.
“You language, Mitsuki. Wow. impressive,” Amber sarcastically praised. If I had other girl friends who could understand me better than Amber, I would have ditched her long ago. If only.
I had always hated her perfectly irksome attitude. I hated the way her red glasses played the row of pink eyeshadow that made her eyes stand out. I hated how unsightly her skinny waist is. She ain’t going to accomplish anything with those unpleasant white, scrawny waists.
“That’s not an answer to the question, you know. It’s freaking annoying, bish,” I moaned. If I knew that blasting out these foolish phrases would make me eat up more trouble and punishments, I would have kept my mouth shut the entire time. The worst-case scenario would be Amber’s awful tattletale reaching my mom. That would make my life a real living nightmare.
“Pardon? Language, Mitsuki, language. Did ya eat a bomb this morning? Ya calling who a bish again?” Amber protested.
“Okay, okay, princess,” I mocked.
“What? Are ya tryin to be sarcastic with me? Are ya sick? Did ya hit your head or something? You tryin to pick a fight with me, huh? Ya know ya dun wanna do that,” Amber furiously said.
“Don’t jump to conclusions. I thought ya like being called princess? Don’t you,” I questioned.
“Shhhh. I see the police,” Amber paused. It would be funny if Amber got pulled over by a police officer because she was on the phone while driving to school. For sure her parents would love to see the consequences.
“Miss, may I see your driver license,” the police officer requested. The joy of getting to sit back and relax while seeing Amber being troubled was indescribable.
“Sir, I’m sorry. It was a matter of urgency. My friend here fell down the stairs. She really needs my help to get to the hospital. Once again, I’m sorry sir,” Amber began blabbering her excuses. She was so nervous that she forgot to hang up the phone. I was chuckling so loud that the officer could hear me. Amber should blame her wireless earphones for damaging her hearings.
“Ma’am, I’m sorry but I need to see your driver license,” the officer demanded. It was not a surprise that officers these days were searching for blackmails for personal benefits. The whole policy system was a joke since the first day of its establishment.
“Sir, please. I’m in a hurry, please. My friend needs me,” Amber explained with an angelic yet hostile voice, signalling me to participate in her act. To maintain our ‘friendship’ I did what I was told.
“Amber, hurry up! My arm hurts! It hurts,” I faked a scream.
“I got it! Wait for me, Mitsuki. Wait. The police officer just stopped me, but I promise that I’ll get to you soon!” I almost burst out laughing the second Amber finished her sentence. How could the ice-cold drama queen ever care for someone like me? Except for herself, she loved no one.
“I get it. That’s 200 dollars. I’ll let you go after you hand it to me,” The officer pronounced. If I were Amber, I would suggest the gold digger officer get himself a sugar mommy to satisfy his thirst for those disgusting fiat money.
“Sure. Wait a sec,” Amber agreed while keeping in mind that she was doing something illegal to maintain her reputation. She pulled out her golden wallet- the golden tone that was way uglier than my golden mitt- out of her extravagant, extra Louis Vuitton bag.
“No, no, no. Keep your hand and many under the window. Don’t let it show. Security cameras are everywhere. If the security cameras spot the money, then the deal is over. You get me?”
“Yea, sure, sure,” Amber spoke while lowering her hands. She gave away the 200 dollars as if money meant nothing to her. She made it seem like it rains money every day.
After the office took the money away from her hands, she was free to continue her journey to school.
“Noice cover, Mitsuki. I’ll let you go this time,” Amber chuckled. It wasn’t like I needed her approval or anything. I hated the fact that I could not criticize her princess sickness in front of others. I would get caught and my life would turn upside down. Still, how worse could it be?
“It’s your fault anyway. It’s your fault that I almost got caught. So… I mean, it’s your responsibility to cover up for me,” Amber continued her game of mockery as if she was speaking to her pet dog.
“Indeed, yes princess,” I replied bluntly.
“By the way Mitsuki, ya done correcting your Chinese quiz? I might need to copy ur correction,” Amber directed the conversation towards another subject.
“What quiz? I thought the teacher’s giving us the quiz on Tuesday? Your highness, are you daydreaming again?”
“Pardon? You are the one that’s daydreaming. Today’s Thursday! Bruh! Are you living under a rock? Or perhaps, did you hit your head again? Hahaha, I mean, you have never been normal,” Amber spoke with a vexatious tone.
“What? Today’s Monday! What’s wrong with you and your freaking calendar!” I argued back, knowing that the consequences would come back and haunt me.
“You Okay? My gowd. We took the quiz yesterday! BRUH! Oh, never mind, I forgot. You were absent again. My bad, my bad,” she tried resolving the argument.
“Huh? Wait what? Yesterday’s Sunday! Why the hell would you come to school on a freaking Sunday? Don’t you have to go to your so-called SAT class for elites?” I questioned.
“No? Sunday was 4 days ago and you were absent for the entire 4 days! Ya outta ya mind? Should I call the ambulance for ya? HAHAHA!” Amber almost choked while laughing at my joke.
“Wait. I don’t get it, Amber,” I stirred the conversation forward as I tested Amber’s everlasting patience.
“Ya, I’m serious. No one could ever break your absent record, Mitsuki. This time, I thought you were dead loollll.”
“Wat? I’m not responsible for all of your stupid games, Mitsuki. Go beg the school, not me. Even though my parents could ruin the whole school just by waving their hands, why would we waste time on you? I’m probably the only med student that talks to you, Mitsuki,” Amber’s cold truth stimulated a giant earthquake in my heart.
“Gosh, I see another officer, I’m hanging up, dun die on me!” Amber rapidly rapped her final sentences before she hung on me.
It was hard to believe I had been unconsciously snoring on my bed for almost a week. The more I thought about it, the more I understood why mom was screaming at me. Still, the amount of missed classes and unsubmitted assignments was terrifying.
I took off the pair of undersized oxfords and threw them in my school bag. I ran back home with my ugly barefoot as I ignored the strangers that attempted to stare at my feet. The imputations and rumours were my proof that perennial distrust lies within myself and whoever I had contact with. The rocks penetrating the skin of my barefoot prevented me from vacillating between running back home to confront mom about my marvellous sleeping adventure of hurrying back to school before the bell decides the date of my upcoming detention.
My eerie instinct pushed me back to mom’s place. It did not surprise me when I saw mom’s smoking hot face. Damn, she was hot. Despite knowing that the moment she realized that I skipped school again, she would turn my whole life upside down. How worse could it be? I was already breathing air from hell. It couldn’t get any worse.
As the broken pieces of wine glass kissed the skin of my barefoot, the reminiscence of my vermillion pinky and heavy shoulder started flashing back in my head. Instead of slowing down my movements, the pain was the fuel that increased my footsteps.
“Mitsuki! You! You! What doing here! School!” She screamed the moment I appeared back in the front yard. Listening to her screams became one of my habits since the day I was born. I was used to it.
“Hmm? I need to know what happened. After you explain my four days absent I’ll leave,” I tried explaining.
“You need go school apologize! Or, you won’t able return! School suspend you! Go back! 你会被学校开除的！快回去！笨!” She exclaimed in my most hated language as if I completely understood it.
“Ummm… You know that I’m failing my Chinese class, don’t you? I’m good, thank you, and you? Look, I’m sorry, okay? Just tell me what happened and I’ll return, alright?” I asked politely.
“Go back no need. Too late. Stay,” She calmly spoke as she pulled open the door to welcome me home. My heart and soul was prepared to survive a living nightmare the moment I stepped on the tiles of the house.
“你要这样我也真的没办法，你想在会学校已经来不及了。早知道就应该叫奶奶来管你。学校通知我们如果你今天迟到。。。你可能一段时间都不用回去了。” Mom blabbered her complaints.
“Okay? I’m suspended, so what? Did Coach gossip? Or, did you? By the way, how did I end up home? So, I really did participate in that baseball game that almost cost my life? Wait, that’s weird? My pinky and shoulders are fine though? And, why aren’t you smoking mad? Do you approve of my actions? No, that’s even weirder. Everythings weird-”
“Mitsuki, Shhhh, let me finish,” she interrupted.
“You embarrass me. You do. But, it is what it is-”
“Wow, when did you learn to speak such a phrase? Did the school teach you? Or, are you imitating the principle?” I barged in her unfinished conviction.
“Cut it out! Listen, I serious. 那个星期天，你昏了过去，是一位男队友把你背回家的。那是的你真的把我吓坏了。他还坚持要帮你包扎伤口，说什么你在学校都对他特别好。有病把你,” Mom stared into my eyes as she spoke. If only grandma could speak Chinese. After breathing resources from mother Earth for more than 17 years, I still could not fathom the reason grandma would marry a Chinese dude.
“Huh, okay? So if I understand correctly, one of my teammates brought me home? Pathetic, huh? Maybe my Chinese teacher would be proud of me, maybe,” I added.
“Mitsuki, I serious. What you do after suspend? No school go! What you do?” Mom asked with a solemn tone.
“I know, I know. I’m suspended, so what? It’s not like the board will come to hunt me down and murder me. I’m pretty sure the school would be happier if they didn’t accept me. Thanks to your stupid social status, I was living through hell in this stupid place,” I complained.
“Mind language,” she hissed. Despite her broken English, the phrases were powerful. If grandma was here, she would tell me to sit back, relax, and wait for her to sort things out. I had always admired her patience and calmness whenever she spoke to me.
“Uh-huh,” I nodded.
“You going Canada,” mom whispered out of nowhere. I shook my head and scratched my ear to prepare myself to ask her to repeat her words.
“Canada only place you go can. 不然你的成绩单会很难看。你以为我想花钱让你出国吗？去一个月就可以回来了,” she explained, yet, I could barely keep up with what she was saying.
“Why Canada though? I wanna go back to Japan to find granny. Europe sounds good too. I have never been to Paris!” I exclaimed. The only praiseworthy characteristic of mine was the ability to be excited about an upcoming suspension.
“You kidding me? It no vacation! You suspend. Go Canada, my sister take care you. Only 1 month and you back, so okay. You embarrassing!” She blurted out the resolution without asking for my permission.
“But mom… That’s not fair! What about my team? What am I gonna do after this!” I protested.
“What you mean what you do after this! I had enough you. You know how pathetic you look when the boy carry here? I was faint!” Mom declared.
“That pale-faced guy. He pathetic look, like you. No wonder he helped,” she answered.
“Wait, what? Repeat what you said, I don’t follow.”
“就那个脸白白，看起来啥了没办法做的白脸。” Repeated she, yet, this time, in another foreign language. Within a millisecond, I recalled the teammate of her description. Takao was the only gorgeous man who dedicated his life to society’s rejection. In contrast with me, he was beautiful, so beautiful that my eyes would melt every time his eyes met mine.
“NO! He’s not like that!” I snapped. I couldn’t help it but defend Takao. I did not allow any criticisms to the most gorgeous person I’d ever met.
“Cut it out. I not care. Anyway, you go Canada tomorrow. Cannot skip school for three day, you will lose knowledge,” she pressured.
“No, wait. I thought you were joking! What about my team? What about my friends? What about my school? No! I can’t just leave like that! You’re a coward and I’m not you! I can’t just… leave like that! It’s not ethical! I… you… that’s just not okay!”
“You no have friends. Just go. Stop embarrassing me! I let you today to pack up. Then, you go tomorrow,” she squeezed out her last words before slamming the door and disappearing into her room.
I laid my cold body on the floor, hoping that everything was a nightmare. The demon inside me urged me to run away. Run, Mitsuki, run. I wonder what grandma would say if she was here. I was sure that she would embrace me in her warm hug while telling me that everything will be fine. Her convincing sound never failed to persuade me. Somehow, I felt normal beside her.
I laid my tired body on the floor, wondering when the chaos would end. The angles on my shoulder desired peace. Stay, Mitsuki, stay. I ponder what Coach would say if he was here. He would probably force me to run thousands of laps around the mound. That’s okay. I love every part of baseball. I love to run around the mound like a maniac even if the crowd thinks I’m out of my mind. I love getting hit by Arata’s pitches even though it might cost my life.
I laid my heavy head on the floor, wishing that Takao was right beside me. His attractive voice provoked the butterflies in my stomach. No, Mitsuki, No. I know it wasn’t right.
The demon, angles, and butterflies that engulfed my thoughts sang me a lullaby that transferred me to the world of unconsciousness.
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