’I remember that day...when it all happened. The last day of 5th grade. I lost my memories, emotions, and my other half.′
When Time Stopped
“Good Morning!” I happily said as I walked in my classroom waiting for the rest of my classmates to reply.“Hey, Ashley!” And so on. “Hey!” I said as I waved back and walked to my desk in the front of the room. I usually sit in the back on top of platforms that are filled with billions of colorful, fluffy, pillows, and stuffed animals. The first class was a normal four wall room, but it has the usual, it was filled with education posters. As I set my stuff on my desk I gladly went to my usual spot of the room. Before I got to my spot, I voice yelled out my name.
“Ash!” Said a very familiar voice.
When I turned around I saw a very shy smile on a face I have seen my whole life. “Mar! “Morning!” I responded as my friend came closer to me to talk.
“Good morning.” She said as she giggled. This was Marie. Ever since we were in kindergarten we always had the same classes together. We were always unexpectedly a pair from the first day of school. Every year we would have fun to the fullest because we were afraid that we wouldn’t be put in the same class when the next year came around. We were never separated from each other, though. It was like we were one and the same, no one would be able to separate us. No matter how hard they tried. I was kind of surprised on how long we’ve known each other.
“How are you this morning, Ashley?” Asked my best friend.
“Oh, I’m just fine and ready to go, you?” I said as I was adjusting my spot within the pillow pile.
“I’m a little nervous, to be honest.” I tried to figure out what Mari meant by “nervous”. But then it hit me.
“Oh, today we’re going to swim beach today huh? I almost forgot all about it.”
“Do you have everything you need?“, Marie asked worried for me.
“Na! I’m good. You have nothing to worry about. I’ll be just fine. I can’t wait!” I answered as I sank into the mixture of pillows and stuffed animals.
Almost making myself disappear completely. As I laid there completely silent and in the dark, pure serenity. Until a burst of painful, bright light came into my eyes. Yet another familiar voice spoke.“Oi! You’re not gonna fall asleep again, are you? I just got here too.”
“Kaleb!” I jump a little in surprise to see that his face was inches away from mine when I opened my eyes. This person who almost scared the daylights out of me is Kaleb Tachibana. I met Kaleb in Georgia. Why was I in Georgia you might ask? It was just personal family reasons.
When I first met Kaleb it wasn’t a ‘normal’ meeting. He would always pick on the teacher and the girls in the class or so I heard from my classmates after a week or so after arriving. When I first walked through the classroom doors, I never saw so many things being thrown across the room, and so much noise too. I thought I could walk in without be being noticed, clearly, that wasn’t an option so when I yell out, “Is Mrs.Winsworth here?” When I looked around to see if I saw the teacher, but his eyes met mine almost instantly. I looked away quickly to continue my search since I didn’t want anything to do with this situation. The rest of the boys stopped what they were doing and looked at me while whispering among themselves. I was surprised the teacher came out of the sacred bunch of girls to ask me if I was the new student. I nodded and introduced myself while picking up a couple chairs and desk here and there.
At that moment Kaleb spoke. “You think you can fit in in my classroom?” Then out of nowhere, he dragged me out of the classroom. Startling the other girls and even the teacher, but when he ran with my arm in a tight grip I had not choice but to tell him to let me go. Once we were outside he then pinned me against the wall. That’s when he kissed my cheek. For no apparent reason thinking I would be traumatized, but I stood still waiting for him to get it over it. I was surprised about everything that just happened, the classroom, the authority this kid thought he had made me laugh.He backed away and just looked at me with his golden brown eyes, then he whispered something in my ear that irritated me.
“Was I your first?” he said trying to keep his cool.
I just pushed him away from me and I yelled ”What is wrong with you?! Don’t make me laugh, I’ve had other people do that to me and you're not any different from them. Thinking this was a way to make me be putty in your hands? Are you crazy?!" I walked back to the classroom and left him outside. He never bothered me after that. When it was time for me to return to California, he was moving too, he never told me where. Even though after the incident he tried to help. Regardless I gave him a goodbye hug because I’m not one to keep grudges.
But on the same day when I returned to school, I realized I was never going to see Tachibana ever again. I was a little upset until I was attacked by Mar. She ran straight towards me with tears in her eyes. I could tell she missed me, and I knew Tachibana and I would cross paths somehow, some way, someday, I don't know.
Until I found out that he moved to MY school and MY neighborhood.
All that nonsense about not seeing him again went out the window. Wait...
DID I ACTUALLY FEEL SADNESS?!
When I saw his face come through the door I was doomed. All the girls in my class saw the fact that I knew Tachibana. Jealous of me for knowing such a hunk they said. Trust me, if anything, he’s everything else but a hunk. Even after I tried to explain to them what he had done, everyone overlooked that fact since he wasn't doing any harm. I just sorta forgave him, and everything had been fine every since.
All of a sudden I have broken away from my thoughts until my friend Marie said with a little blush forming on her face, “G-good morning K-Kaleb.”
“Yo Mar. You could’ve just kept Ashley awake a little longer you know.“, he said trying to act like a cool lone wolf.
“Uh, excuse me but who died and made you my babysitter?” I said sitting up.
“Whatever, it’s not my fault you can’t stay awake. Dummy.” Kaleb said as he flicked my forehead.
“Ow!” I yelped as I held onto my head. Little did I know I saw Marie got a little upset. I stopped immediately and pounced right on top of her and yelled “Mar! I have something for you~!“.
Marie looked at me with curiosity and asked me, “What is it, Ash?”
I then took her under my arm. “I’m going to help you Mar, remember?” I said in a low whisper.
“What did you say?” asked Kaleb, his face was indistinguishable. I flinched because I thought he heard what I said. Marie just now caught on what I meant.
She started to blush, realizing what I meant by ‘help’. “N-nothing now let’s go take our seats the teachers here.” I quickly managed to say before he asked anything else.
As class started the teacher was going over the rules with us for the field trip were going. I was so excited to go and swim already, that when the teacher said we should leave for swim beach, I just grabbed my bag and ran to get a good spot on the bus for Marie, Tachibana, and me. I also couldn’t wait to help Mar get the guy she likes a lot. Little did I know that today wasn’t going too well.
As I quietly sat on the bus, watching the kids file out of the round school building. I was starting to feel sleepy. The reason being I haven’t sleep at all last night because I was excited to go on the trip. When my eyelids were too heavy for me I finally let my long, well fought, the battle came to an end. That’s when everything turned black.
When someone shook me really hard to wake me up, I was awakened by a VERY familiar voice. “Oi, dummy, wake up.” It was once again Kaleb who wouldn’t let me sleep. Someone, please tell him I need sleep.
I immediately reacted to the golden brown eyes that met mine and yelled “Tachibana! Can’t you tell a girl needs her sleep?”
“We’re here you idiot. If it’s beauty sleep you’re gonna need a couple hundred of years to even get close to pretty.”
“I’m not trying to impress anyone, I’m fine with sleeping for centuries,” I said waving his comment.
“Wouldn’t you be considered a mummy?” asked Marie. “You were asleep the whole ride here,” answered Marie with a giggle.
“Wow, that long. Why didn’t you wake me up sooner?”
“You looked like you needed some sleep.”
I clapped my hands and praised her. See? She gets it! Why is it so hard for Kaleb to see that huh? That’s Marie for you. As we walked out of the bus, we saw a gate with a bunch of kids waiting to go through and change into their swimsuits.
“Are you kidding me," I groaned. "If everyone was THAT eager to come why did all you people take forever to get on the bus?” When we got through the gates I immediately dragged Marie to the bathroom so we could change, and Kaleb changed as well.
Before we came out of the bathroom I gave Marie a necklace. It was supposed to be her Christmas present but I decided to give it to her a little early. "Here Marie. It’s for you." The necklace was the other of half of the yin and yang symbol. I decided to give Marie the black half.
“For me?” After I gave her my present we both walked out together to meet up with Kaleb and have fun.
“Wow.” I suddenly heard a low voice that slipped out of Kaleb’s lips. I looked over to my side to see his last second reaction until it turned back to its unreadable expression. “You guys look great", replied Tachibana.
“Really?” I responded in confusion and started to cover my chest. I wasn’t sure if he was serious or if it was one of those times my mom warned me about boys being at a ‘certian age’.
“T-thank you. You look pretty cool, but aren’t you cold?” Marie replied shyly.
Marie’s bathing suit is a pink, one piece, with cherry blossoms on it, she wore a sweater to keep warm. While I was freezing in my blue one piece, and I just wore one of those tied on skirts around my waist. Kaleb’s swim trunks were blue with a red stripe along the edge.
“Well? What are we waiting for? Let’s go swim!” I yelled as I ran towards the lake. Marie and Tachibana chased after me.
Once I was at the shoreline. I asked the lifeguard if I was able to go deeper in past all the dumb floaties. Of course, you had to pass their swimming test, cause safety and what not. Once they gave me the ok, and I swam towards the big inflatable slide that was floating in the lake. I yelled over to Marie and Kaleb. Which they were by the shoreline. They waved back. I went down the slide and ended up disappearing completely under water. Once I showed my head back up to the surface I heard a lot of sighs that meant everyone, except Kaleb, let out as a sigh of relief. Since I was alone I came out to eat what was ready for us over at the picnic area.
“Hey Ashley.” said a classmate that saw me with a huge load of food.
“Hi!” I answered with a smile.
“Don’t tell me you’re going to eat all of that are you?” I walked over to a table, with my plate filled with 3 of everything. 3 hotdogs, 3 plates of fruit, 3 cups of juice, 3 slices of pizza, and to top it all off a whole plate of sweets. “Of course not, I just thought I’d get Mar and Tachi, some food in case all the good stuff was gone.”
My classmate laughed, "That's so nice of you, see ya later." He waved and walked away.
When I Turned around and saw them making their way over I gave a little smile.
“How was your swim?“, asked Marie.
“It was great, you could’ve come deeper in the lake with me,” I whined to her.
“Maybe after lunch Ashley.” responded Marie with a tired smile.
I knew she was tired, so I just dropped it. “Well, let's eat,” I said with a smile on my face.
I really didn’t know I left my guard down, until Kaleb said quietly, “Thanks for the food.” I stood up to leave the table to get drinks as an excuse to leave them alone when I felt a strong, and warm hand hold mine. I looked at the owner of the hand and realized he was telling me to stay.
As I stared at Kaleb, I knew deep down, he was trying to help me feel better. That’s when I remembered that Marie was here so I pulled away from Akito’s hand. I quietly said, “No problem, I was going to get drinks or something else, you know? It’s our last field trip as 6th graders guys, can you believe it?” I sat down in my seat once again and looked over at Mar to make sure that she didn’t misinterpret what just happened. Marie likes Tachibana, and I wouldn’t ever get in her way. I saw Marie’s face with a little sadness, but you have to admit everything was just a misunderstanding. I would give up everything just for her. I promised myself that when I first met her. When the incident happened...
They had a whole row of game stands and were ready to be played. There was this one game that had to do with shooting the item you want with a be-be gun. Obviously, I wasn’t good at it but I was going to try anyway, surprisingly when Tachibana won two stuffed bears. He handed us one each.
“Thank You, Kaleb,” Marie said with a red face. “Oh thank you so much Tachi,” I replied holding my teddy with both hands like the lion king. “I’ll take good care of him.”
“Him?” he asked confused.
“Yea, him. Aki!”
“You named him after me?” said Tachi, with a little hint of red in his cheeks.
“No~ I named him after fall you dum dum. Ha Ha Ha. Thank you.” I replied sarcastically at first. Tachibana then covered his face with one of his hands.
When we heard someone announced “Everyone it’s time to start the dance. At that instant both Marie, and Tachibana, had this unsettling look.
I laugh nervously, "I'm guessing you guys aren't going to dance?"
I wasn’t always such a handful to take care of. I really didn’t cause any trouble like any other young 3rd grader. One day in recess I was allowed to go outside and play when I encountered a literal schoolyard taunt.
“Who do you think you are playing in our territory. This is for big kids, now scram!” said Kim Williams Age 9.
“Leave me alone, I wasn’t bothering you anyway. I just came here to get the ball...” said a small kid, my age.
“I don’t want to hear it! Just get out of the big kid's side you baby!” Kim said after she harshly pushed the kid to the ground.
I didn’t notice what I did after I found myself at the bottom of a hill, standing in between a whining Kim Williams holding her face with her two hands, and a surprised Marie Luipan. That's when I remembered that I, Ashley Celis, threw a rock after I ran down to stop Kim. That’s why Marie was surprised I must’ve looked like a strange girl that tried to commit a crime.
Out of nowhere, I heard a voice say, “Are you that one who told this little kid to hit me when I was distracted?!” It was Kim who was yelling.
“Now THIS LITTLE KID, was able to take you out even if you were paying attention!” I noticed the words were coming out of MY mouth. I was a surprised myself to be honest because I wasn’t one to talk or get involved with people at the time. I would always be the quiet person to just listen and not talk to anybody. Until that moment, that is.
“You little annoying brat. I’ll show you!” She got up and ran towards me with her getting in full swing.
I stood there waiting for the punch, but it never came. I opened my eyes to see that I actually blocked the hit. Then out of nowhere, I pushed down the hand that tried to hurt me and tripped Kim with my boot. Luckily it wasn’t those really heavy ones so I was able to hit perfectly. After I heard a loud wail and a thud I knew I had to do something to keep her from telling on me with the teachers.
I walked over to Kim and said. “If you ever hurt anyone else again I will personally hurt you...” with that I turned to Marie and offered my hand to help her up. She looked at me with uneasiness and, surprisingly anger?
“Don’t touch me! I never asked for your help!" she yelled on the ground. "I can take care of myself so you can just-!”
“If you could take care of yourself you could’ve at least step back when she was going to push you?” I said a once again surprising myself with my own actions.
Out of nowhere, she looked up at me and said. “Are you Ashley?”
I just nodded in reply. I was surprised that she knew my name. Once I answered her question, she started to stare me as if she needed to be sure it was me. She then claimed to remember me from the begging of the year. Even way back in kindergarten. She told me about the time she tried to talk to me and any other things she could think of that had to do with me. When I saw her so happy and being so open to me, I couldn’t help but have a weird feeling that I thought I wouldn’t feel again. I know I had to grow up quickly but this girl made me feel a little annoyed, but as if I was needed. The only emotions I’m familiar with are pain and disappointment. She made me happy otherwise.
That’s when she asked me if I wanted to be friends with her as she extended her hand. I nervously took her hand, but once I did she just jumped on me with her arms around my neck saying “I made a friend!”
She wouldn’t let go of me for a second but when I heard the words ”friend" put together with me it gave me the chills but in a good way. That’s when I promised myself to be strong, and a nicer person. I would throw anything away that is necessary to keep everyone happy. I wouldn’t care if I was upset just as long the people I care about are happy. That's how it has to be.
Once everyone was able to get their dancing feelings rockin', they danced the evening away too. I was very fond of dancing and often asked Mar to dance with me. I've never really have seen how Tachibana dances but I at least know he tries to sway side to side.
We were nearing the end of the dance, and I started feeling tired from all the hopping around from group to group that laid there on the grassy area of the park while looking up at the darkening sky. Then the next thing I know I fell asleep to the slow song for boys and girls to dance together. I pushed myself up to hopefully see Tachibana, and Mar, and sure enough, I was able to see them together. I smiled and used the bear Tachi gave me as a pillow. Marie’s voice was heard by my ear and I stood up because her parents had come to pick her up and take her home. I stood up from my napping spot to hug her and told her to have a good summer, and that I'd see her soon. Before she left she handed me a piece of paper. I had no idea what it was but she told me not to open it now but on my way home. When I started to walk home I hurried ahead to make sure no one was around to read the letter that Mar gave to me and only me. Frankly while carefully walking across the busy backroads, in not so good lighting, I was reading the letter Marie gave me and what I read made time just-.
I stopped in the middle of the crosswalk in shock. I couldn’t feel anything, hear anything, or move I just- stood there.
The last thing I remembered was everything going.