Misunderstood: the Meaning of Class
Smart. Beautiful. Stunning. Kind. Caring. Courageous. Strong. Loyal.
Of course, this would be me, Daidouji Tomoyo.
At lunch today, Mihara Chiharu, one of my good friends, asked, "What's the meaning of class?"
My friends and I stared at her as if Chiharu-chan had gone insane. "What?" We all gasped.
"Chiharu-chan, class is a group of students in the same year," Sasaki Rika stated, fiddling with the straw of her latest diet drink.
"It's a way of grouping people," Yanagisawa Naoko offered over her Suzuki Koji novel.
"It's your fashion sense," Amai Jade replied as she played with the charms on her cell phone.
"Why do you ask?" I asked, curious. Chiharu isn’t stupid. She has more common sense than most of the other so-called “popular” girls that grace our class.
"Oh, I'm just trying to figure out what class people are in, socially I mean," she answered as she picked up another piece of teriyaki from her lunch.
That is how we ended up spending the lunch break placing people into social classes. Jade or Naoko would pick out a person in the cafeteria and Chiharu and Rika would debate over which class they belonged until they reached a consensus. I watched most of the time, shaking my head with each incorrect guess but not daring to correct them.
After all, Tetsuya Kairi is a sweet girl and an amazing artist, not a hardcore druggie with abusive parents. She suffers from insomnia from time to time, which explains the glassy expression and dark circles under her eyes. Once, she passed out in hallways when we were the only people around and I brought her to the nurse. I can’t remember how long we talked after she regained consciousness.
Asakura Yohmei is the only child of a pair of bakers with aspirations to become a sushi chef. My mother loves visiting their bakery and we walked in on a heated family argument last year. The strawberry chantilly cake we ordered was free of charge due to the family’s embarrassment over a customer witnessing such a private affair.
Suoh Hanabi is not a whore. She just likes dressing up in Lolita-style outfits far too often and still manages to dress in Lolita style even with the mandated uniform on. Sometimes, I see her hanging out on the streets on Sunday afternoons when I pass through Akihabara.
When the bell rang, Jade said as we were walking to our classroom, "What about the kaijuu?"
"What about her?" Naoko asked disdainfully, finally shutting Paradise closed.
"I just want to know," Jade replied casually as she spun the combination lock on her locker open.
"She has no class," Chiharu put in quickly.
"She's an insufferable nobody who doesn't know anybody," Rika stated.
I noticed her walking swiftly past us in the hallways. Her eyes were angry but they were also sparkling with unshed tears. I felt my heart going out to her, crying for all the things society has done to her. But I restrained myself at the last moment. We cannot associate. It is against the rules of society. But then, I reminded myself that she has nobody.
Will I break her hard shell?
Will I break the laws of society?
Will I become her friend?
Yes, I think I will.
I would risk everything.
I mean, everything.
"Hello? Tomoyo? Are you there?" Jade said, waving her hand in front of my face.
"Wha- yeah. I'm fine," I answered, jerking out of my thoughts momentarily before focusing again on Kinomoto Sakura’s retreating back.
I was deep in thought.
And I was formulating a plan.
Expect the unexpected.
I turned around and smiled easily at the hailing freshman.
"Makimono-san, how are you?"
The hallways after school were still crowded with milling students. The bespectacled girl looked at me with wide eyes, drowning me in her uncomfortable adoration.
"Good, Daidouji-san! I was wondering, would you be willing to do a showcase for the school's magazine? Your mother could take it as an opportunity to advertise her clothing company to the mass teenage market."
The charm bracelet on her right wrist jingled as she swept a lock of her hair behind her ear.
I sighed to myself. When would people get it right? I smiled, hiding my irritation. I had no one else to blame but myself that everyone misunderstood who was behind Daidouji Designs.
“My mother would be delighted,” I answered, lying. “I'll come with a collection next Tuesday and will be happy to answer any questions you have for us. How do you know of our company?”
Makimono flushed bright purple. “Oh... well... yes, of course! I didn't know you worked for Daidouji Designs!”
You didn't know that. You and half of my so-called friends.
I blinked. Where did that bitterness come from? Daidouji Designs is a budding enterprise with me in charge and my mother as the financial backer. Right now, my clientele is limited to the rich and famous, individuals who could afford to drop enough yen to buy a new wedding kimono every month.
Even the people who wear my clothes have no idea that its creator is a sixteen-year-old girl still in high school. If word were to leak out, I could be famous. This would be the publicity stunt I needed to gain financial independence from the Daidouji Corporation.
But I'm not ready to take that step. There's some thing inviting about wearing anonymity's shroud.
-The Next Day-
The roof is always such a relaxing place.
Pity it's too cold to do anything involving the outdoors.
Stretching my muscles, I made my way to the music room, intending to pass the lunch period there. Sliding open the door, I stared at the person seated behind the piano.
Someone's already taken my sanctuary.
"Take a seat. You're not bothering me. You're here to escape too, aren't you, Kinomoto-san?"
There was no malice in his voice.
The music continued playing.
"That's... that's the cantabile adagio movement of Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique," I finally worked up the nerve to say.
Hiiragizawa smiled. "Very good. You're the only one—aside from Syaoran—who knew that. Most people think I composed it."
He stopped playing the piano when the movement came to an end.
"Do you play?"
I gave the barest of nods.
"Will you play for me?"
He offered me his now-empty seat on the bench. I hesitated, weighing my options. What if this was some cruel trick to humiliate me?
Noticing my hesitation, he quickly amended, "You don't have to if you don't want to."
"You're no good. Good for nothing except to be dust under my feet."
I took a seat and began to play.
I hear Chopin.
It must be Eriol.
My best friend can't run away from me forever. He really needs to stop avoiding me during lunch. I want the company of someone halfway sane among the dimwits!
Then again, Eriol's not used to this. He's used to staying in the shadows of Seijyu, ignored and alone.
Sometimes I wonder if he's happy with his current social status.
Is it too much of a burden to be surrounded by people who care?
By people who want to talk to you?
By people who make you feel human?
I burst into the music room, triumphantly yelling, "AHA! I FOUND YOU!"
The piano came to a crashing stop.
"Baka," he muttered, shaking his head in disappointment.
That was when I noticed her seated behind the piano.
She looked at me with her guarded gaze, her face its usual stoic mask.
"Sorry," I said softly. "Did I interrupt your practice?"
She said nothing as she brushed past me and walked out the door.
"Classy exit. Just what a rebellious girl needs," Eriol commented.
Raising an eyebrow, I crossed my arms and looked at him incredulously. "What the hell does that mean?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. It just sounded like a good time to say that."
Whenever we walk home from school, I'm always the first one to be dropped off.
Jade hung on my arm, giggling. "What do you think about Hiiragizawa-kun, Tomoyo-chan?"
I glanced at her. "Li-san's best friend? What about him?"
Rika smiled slyly. "Don't deny it. I saw you walking with him yesterday morning."
"And Li-kun. I didn't realize you were going after him," Chiharu added.
I sighed and buried my face in my hands. "I'm not going after anybody! I'm quite content with my love life right now. Quit messing with it!" I groaned.
Naoko looked at me blankly. "Your non-existent love life, you mean?"
"Yes, yes, whatever you want to call it. I don't need to be in a relationship right now."
Not with the deadlines, the project acquisitions department in shambles, the endless interruptions throughout the day...
We rounded the last corner before my house. There were two people ahead of us, shivering in the harsh winter breeze like we were.
Unfortunately, they were the two people we were just talking about.
Pulling on my arm, Jade gave me a suggestive glance. "Oh..."
For the love of God and all things holy, do not turn around and say-
... Never mind.
Plastering a smile on my face and pointedly ignoring my giggling traitorous friends behind me, I said, "Hey, Hiiragizawa. What are you doing here?"
He looked at me, puzzled. "I should be asking you that. I live here."
I followed his finger to the specific house he was pointing at down the street..
"That’s funny," I replied, surprised. "I live right across the street from you. How come I've never realized you've lived across from me my entire life?"
Hiiragizawa gazed out into space and I thought he wasn't paying attention. "Oh, I always leave the house ridiculously early. We probably miss each other all the time. Besides, I didn't go to Tomoeda Elementary. I spent my late primary school and early secondary school days abroad."
"Britain, I'm assuming?"
He smiled at me. "Correct. You are the only person, besides Syaoran that is, who knew that. But then again, someone else might know that piece of information as well."
Curiosity overwhelmed me. "Who?"
Again with her name. Why is she suddenly popping up everywhere?