Dear, Sweet, Bitter Thoughts
Though she was running short on time, Jaycee still wanted to tell her diary so many things before she left for school. She would have written down her thoughts the previous evening but Aiko had insisted on another girls’ night out.
Not wanting to put herself further behind schedule than she already was, Jaycee stopped short of finishing her latest entry and returned to the bathroom to finish getting ready for school. Her alarm began beeping shortly thereafter, prompting Jaycee to wrap things up and retrieve her books from her bed and hurriedly stuff all of them into her bag.
Sage and Aiko were already at school waiting for Jaycee.
“I can’t believe this,” said Aiko. “Jaycee’s always late for everything. She really needs to learn how to be punctual like me.”
“Not all of us can afford to pay someone to get us dressed every day,” said Sage.
“Hey, I don’t pay someone to get me dressed in the morning,” said Aiko. “I’m rich but I’m not that rich. Get your facts straight.”
Jaycee had arrived at school and was making her way to class. “I can’t believe what good time I made,” she said to herself. “I won’t be late for class at all. If only Aiko could learn how to utilize her time as well as I do.”
Vice Principal Takagi exited from her office just as Jaycee was approaching. The young lady moved out of the way just before the door could strike her. But the door did manage to clip her bag, sending Jaycee’s books spilling out onto the floor.
“Oh, Miss Annadale,” said the vice principal. “I didn’t see you coming. I’ve had so much on my mind this morning.”
“That’s okay,” said Jaycee, who immediately began gathering her books off the floor. Vice Principal Takagi assisted her. The only book the vice principal could retrieve before her student had the chance to was Jaycee’s diary.
“Oh, thank you,” said Jaycee, accepting her diary from Vice Principal Takagi’s helping hand. “I didn’t know I had brought that with me. I was in such a hurry that I just stuffed everything into my bag. I must not have noticed.”
“Just try to be a little more careful next time,” said the vice principal to her now departing student. “I think I’m going to have some fun with this,” she whispered after Jaycee had gotten far away enough from earshot.
After her impromptu meeting with the vice principal, Jaycee met up with her friends.
“It’s about time you showed up, Jaycee,” said Aiko. “Sage has been making fun of me all morning. I could have used your help.”
“Sorry,” said Jaycee.
When the chimes sounded, the three made their way to class. But unbeknownst to them, something inside Jaycee’s bag gave off a quick flash of light.
A girl was alone in the locker room changing. After she picked her shirt off the bench, she found a book had found its way beneath it.
“How did this get here?” whispered the girl, picking up the book. The cover read, “Jaycee’s Diary” in gold cursive letters. Showing no hesitation to open such a sacred text, the girl eagerly began reading as fast as she could. Her face immediately blushed bright red after only a few scant paragraphs. “No way,” she said.
Later that day Sage and Aiko were walking down the hall and noticing how everyone along the way was staring at them. Some of the students were giving them strange looks, while others snickered or whispered things to whomever was standing beside them.
“Why is everyone staring at us?” asked Aiko.
“I don’t know,” replied Sage. “But the reason can’t be good.”
One of the boys standing in the hall said something to Aiko in Chinese, prompting her to attempt to figure out what had just been said.
“Huh,” gasped Aiko. “Uh, w, wo xi huan . . . ch, chi dian shi,” replied Aiko, who had just told the young man that she liked to eat television.
The boy began laughing. “They were right,” he said. “You can’t really speak four languages. You’ve probably only studied four languages.”
“How the hell did they find that out?” asked Aiko.
“Calm down,” said Sage.
“Hey, Sage,” said another boy standing in the hall. “You’re lucky to have a girl like Aiko. I hope I get as lucky as you some day.”
“Well, you can’t argue with that,” said Aiko.
A girl then approached Aiko and began looking her over, much in the way a prospective buyer would look over a dog, making sure they were getting the pick of the litter.
“What is it?” asked Aiko, who was growing extremely uncomfortable. “Why are you looking at me like that? What do you want?” Immediately after those words were spoken, a girl came up from behind and lifted Aiko’s skirt. Aiko shrieked, then immediately spun around to face the girl. “What the hell is wrong with you!” she exclaimed. “Are you crazy!”
To keep Aiko from doing something hasty, Sage grabbed onto her. It took nearly all of his strength to keep her right where she was.
“You’re wearing panties,” said the skirt lifting girl. “What’s the special occasion?”
“What the hell gave you the right to do that?” asked Aiko.
“We heard you don’t like wearing underwear,” said the girl. “Is that true?”
“Of course not,” replied a blushing Aiko. “Where’d you hear that?”
“Let’s just say we heard it from a very reliable source,” said the girl.
“Jaycee,” gasped Aiko, who immediately stopped trying to break free from Sage.
After leaving the crowd of curious onlookers, Aiko began her search for Jaycee.
“Where is she?” growled Aiko, stomping down the hall. “I bet she’s hiding from me. She probably thinks I won’t find her.” Aiko then let out a grunt. “How could she do this to me? After all we’ve been through, how could she betray me?”
Sage did nothing but stare at Aiko.
“Why are looking at me like that?” asked Aiko. “You’re making me feel weird.”
“I was just thinking about something,” said Sage.
“You want to know if what those idiots back there were saying is true or not, don’t you?” asked Aiko. “Just admit it.”
“Well, I would assume of all people I would be the one to know things like that about you. You know you can confide in me.”
“Oh, shut up, you stupid pervert,” said Aiko. “There’s no way I’m going to tell a man about something like that, no matter who the man is.”
“I thought we had something special,” said Sage. “I now see how little you care about what I thought was a very meaningful relationship.”
Aiko rolled her eyes. “Fine,” she said. “Since you’re so desperate to know, I’ll tell you. I sometimes don’t wear underwear under my shorts. But that’s only around the house. I mean, why should I wear that stuff when I’m not in public?”
“I’m glad we had this discussion,” said Sage. “It really means a lot to me that you would be so open with me.” After Sage finished speaking, he began staring at Aiko.
“You’re picturing me without underwear, aren’t you?” she asked.
“That hurts,” replied Sage.
“You damn pervert,” said Aiko before continuing down the hall.
For reasons unbeknownst to even her, Aiko stopped in front of one of the classrooms. She hadn’t searched any other classes, but something compelled her to open the door and take a peek. What Aiko found was Jaycee inside staring out the window.
“She’s in there,” said Aiko, closing the door.
“What are you gonna do?” asked Sage.
“I don’t know,” said Aiko. “But we’re about to find out.” She then quietly opened the door again. “Sage . . . make sure no one disturbs us.”
Closing the door behind her, Aiko made her way to Jaycee and stopped just short of her. “Why’d you do it, Jaycee?” asked Aiko. “Why did you tell everyone those things about me? I thought I could trust you. That’s why I confided in you in the first place. So tell me what I did to deserve you doing this to me.”
Jaycee’s failure to give a reply only added to Aiko’s anger.
“Damn it, Jaycee,” said Aiko. “You had better give me an answer.” When she stood beside Jaycee, Aiko found her best friend’s face was placed against the window and she was crying. “What?” gasped Aiko. “Why are you crying?”
“I don’t know how it happened,” sobbed Jaycee. “I know I put it away, but when I looked, it was gone. Someone must have taken it out of my bag.”
“Taken what?” asked Aiko.
“My diary,” replied Jaycee. “I didn’t know I had put it in my bag until I got to school. Everyone’s been reading it. Now they all know.”
“So that’s how they found out,” said Aiko. “I should have known it wasn’t you.”
“How can I ever face everyone after this?” asked Jaycee.
“This will all blow over before you know it,” said Aiko. “Besides, most of what they’ve read is about me. I can take whatever they have to say.”
“You don’t understand,” said Jaycee. “You don’t know what I’ve written in that book. No one was ever supposed to read what was in there, no one.”
Vice Principal Takagi was seated at her desk in her darkened office holding Jaycee’s diary tightly in her hands.
“What wretched creatures these fools are,” said the vice principal. “To think the greatest handiwork of their miserable Creator could be so weak. What other creature can you bring crashing to its knees without ever having to raise a hand to it? Mere words are enough to send these fools spiraling into a pit of despair. How pathetic is that?”
After Vice Principal Takagi placed Jaycee’s diary on her desk, the cover flipped open and the pages began flipping rapidly. The succession of turning pages came to an abrupt stop when one of the diary’s most recent entries had been reached.
Nestled ’neath a midnight colored sky
My solitary figure stands
Yet silence rains upon me
A hush that deafens every word
I bleed out loud
All just for you
A downpour of my tears
An indifferent ear still turns my way
You’ll suffer on your own
Oh, cherry moon, my love, my life
How many more of these lives
Will you continue to steal
Each time I fall beneath your spell
Vice Principal Takagi slammed Jaycee’s diary shut. “What a damn fool,” she said. The vice principal then tossed the diary into the air, where it vanished from sight. “Give that girl a reason to feel that way. Give her a damn good reason.”
Aiko was in the school’s chemistry lab searching frantically for Jaycee’s diary. “Jaycee’s diary has to be somewhere inside this school,” she said to herself. “I just have to think like a diary. So if I were a diary, where would I be hiding?”
While rummaging through a cabinet filled with test tubes and beakers, something in one of their reflections caught Aiko’s eye. She turned to discover Jaycee’s diary waiting for her on one of the tables. “Lucky,” she said.
Aiko retrieved Jaycee’s diary and was on her way out when she came to a sudden stop. She thought about it, then opened Jaycee’s diary.
“I have every right to do this,” said Aiko, thumbing eagerly through pages. “Lots of this stuff is about me, so why shouldn’t I be allowed to have a look?”
I had another dream last night. I don’t know why I keep having these visions in my head. I don’t want to see these things, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t stop them. In my dream I had Aiko by the throat and was holding her over the side of a building. She was pleading with me to stop, but her cries only made me squeeze harder. She asked me why I would do that to her. She said we were friends. I told her that I never asked her or anyone else to be my friend. I told her I was better off before she came into my life. My eyes then began to glow a bright blue. I told Aiko that she was better off before I came into her life, too. I told her that the only thing I ever did for her was destroy her life. And if I didn’t put her out of her misery, then things would only get worse. I asked her if she knew her life would one day come to an end because of me. She started crying and then she told me that she loved me. That’s when I let her go. Why do I have dreams like this? What do they mean? Do I hate my friends? Deep down inside, do I hate them so much that I would want them dead? But I’ve never had a dream like this about Sage. Does this mean I only feel this way about Aiko? Could I really be capable of destroying her life? Do I hate her?
Aiko shut Jaycee’s diary and placed it back on the table where she had found it. She then made her way out of the room.
James was in the hall when Aiko exited the room. She departed in the opposite direction, leaving her unaware of his presence. Once Aiko was out of sight, James made his own way into the room. The diary Aiko had left behind was nowhere to be found.
The task of searching the second floor had been given to Sage. And much like Aiko, what he was searching for would soon be finding him. Lying conveniently in sight on a nearby desk was Jaycee’s diary, already wide open.
“That wasn’t there a second ago,” said Sage, scanning the room. He then made his way to the diary, but did so cautiously. With a page filled with Jaycee’s inner-most thoughts staring him right in the face, Sage could do nothing to ward off temptation.
We went out again tonight, me, Sage and Aiko. It’s not that I don’t like going out with my friends, I just always feel like such a third wheel whenever we’re together. Sage and Aiko don’t need me around. They would probably have more fun if I stayed home. But Aiko keeps inviting me to go with them. She probably only does it because she feels sorry for me. But one thing that I’ve noticed whenever I go out with Sage and Aiko is how disinterested Sage looks. It’s like he doesn’t want to be there, either. In a way, he’s like me. Neither of us are as outgoing as Aiko. We’re both used to being isolated from others. Sometimes when we go out together, I find myself staring at him. Sometimes he looks back. I always turn my head when he does. I don’t want him to get the wrong idea. He’s my best friend’s boyfriend. He’s my friend. Though sometimes I can’t help but wonder how those two got together. Sage would seem a better fit with someone else. When I get home after we go out together, it’s Sage that I think about when I’m alone, not James. I know it’s wrong for me to think about him that way, but I just can’t help it. I’m around him all the time. And there’s something about the way he looks back at me that tells me he might feel the same way.
Sage’s concentration was broken when someone opened the door. “Jaycee,” he said, quickly turning around. Sage found it was Aiko who had entered.
“Sage,” said Aiko, eyes swollen from having been shedding tears. She then made her way to Sage and wrapped her arms around him, burying her face in his chest as she did. “I found Jaycee’s diary. I read what she wrote.”
“You did? What did she write?”
“She hates me,” said Aiko. “She wants me to die.”
“What?” gasped Sage. “Never. Jaycee would never write anything like that, especially not about you. You two are best friends.”
“I know what I read, Sage. It was staring me right in the face.” Aiko then pulled away from Sage. “I left Jaycee’s diary where I found it. I was so upset that I didn’t care if someone else found it. You didn’t check the chemistry lab after me, did you? You would tell me if you found Jaycee’s diary, wouldn’t you? You would tell me if you found something else she wrote about me, right? You wouldn’t keep it a secret? You couldn’t.”
“Of course I would tell you,” said Sage, pressing his back against the desk to conceal Jaycee’s diary. “I would never keep that from you.”
“What is it? Are you hiding something?”
“What?” gasped Sage. “No . . . it’s nothing.”
Aiko looked around Sage but there was nothing on the desk.
“I don’t care what the circumstances were,” said Aiko, wiping away newly falling tears. “Jaycee never should have written down those things. I’ll never forget the things she wrote about me. No matter how long I live.”
James was making his way down the hall when a fellow student stopped him. In the boy’s hand was Jaycee’s diary. “Hey, James,” said the boy, “you should see what Jaycee wrote about you.” The boy then began laughing. “I bet you could get anything from her if you used this information against her, and I mean anything.”
James grabbed the student by the throat and lifted him off the floor. With his free hand, James took Jaycee’s diary. “You’re going to tell no one about our meeting, do you understand?” The frightened student nodded as best he could. “Good,” said James, dropping the boy and allowing him to make his retreat.
Vice Principal Takagi was peeking through her window blinds at the school grounds. “They’re like hungry dogs,” she said. “You give them a little something to chew on and they will inevitably want more. They can never get their fill.” The vice principal then made her way behind Jaycee, who was seated in a chair before her desk. “Some of these things we bring upon ourselves, Jaycee, others, we don’t.”
“I just want this all to end,” said Jaycee. “The way they look at me, the way they whisper behind my back. It’s because they know who I really am now.”
Vice Principal Takagi placed her hands on Jaycee’s shoulders and began rubbing them. “They can’t help it, Jaycee,” she said. “It’s in their nature. With time, all of this will pass, but try to remember one thing. Not everything you feel needs to be put in some book, you can always come to me if you have a problem.”
“Thank you,” said Jaycee, placing her cheek on Vice Principal Takagi’s hand. “I didn’t know who else I could turn to.”
“What about your friends?”
“Not them,” said Jaycee. “Not now.”
“You’re a very special girl, Jaycee,” said Vice Principal Takagi. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re not.” Unbeknownst to Jaycee, the vice principal’s eyes began to glow a bright red and a malevolent grin had formed on her ruby lips.
James, who was now standing on the roof of the school, had succumbed to temptation and opened Jaycee’s diary. Had it belonged to any other person, James surely would have left what had been written inside remain a mystery. Though he would never admit it, Jaycee still held a great significance to him.
I got caught daydreaming in class today. The teacher wanted me to stand and read, but I didn’t hear him. He had to keep calling my name until someone tapped me on the shoulder. When I realized he was talking to me, everyone started laughing. I felt so stupid. I was thinking of James again. And it was just like all the other times. As soon as I saw him, someone attacked me. At first, just like all the other times, I couldn’t see who it was attacking me. But this time, I saw who it was. It was me. It’s been me this whole time. And now I know what it means. I won’t allow myself to love, because love will only lead me to pain.
Having finished reading, James spread his gray wings and rose high into the sky. With a wave of his arm, thousands of golden twinkling lights consumed the school. When the dazzling display had come to an end, the memory of what had happened that day was lost to the school. Jaycee’s diary was also now gone from James’ grasp.
Jaycee was making her way down the hall. The other students had already gone home, making the school an eerily quiet place. On her way by the vice principal’s office, the door swung open, striking Jaycee’s bag and sending her books spilling onto the floor.
“How careless of me,” said Vice Principal Takagi. “I really should look to see if anyone is coming before I swing my door open like that.” She then assisted Jaycee in collecting her books. Before the vice principal could grab hold of Jaycee’s diary, James seized it.
“Try to be more careful with this,” said James.
“Okay,” said a blushing Jaycee, accepting her diary. “Thank you.” And with that, she departed, but not before taking a peek back at James.
When Jaycee was out of sight, Vice Principal Takagi turned her attention to James. “That was quite touching what you did for her. You spared Jaycee from years of humiliation. Though I would have been more than happy to be the one to put her out of her misery. You know, I bet if you were to ask, Jaycee would do nice things for you, too. She would probably even cut herself into a million little pieces. All you would have to do is ask.”
Such antagonistic speech prompted James to push Vice Principal Takagi against the wall. “Be wary of what you say to me,” he said.
“Now, now, James. I’m sure the administration would frown upon having one of their faculty members manhandled by a student.”
James released the vice principal. “There are things that must be done. I was merely ridding myself of an unwanted distraction.”
“That’s right, James,” said Vice Principal Takagi. “Just keep telling yourself that’s why you did what you did. I’m sure eventually even you’ll start to believe it. But we both know why you helped that girl. And it’s that reason that’s going to lead you to your downfall.”
Saying not another word, James departed.
Waiting for Jaycee in front of the school was Sage. “Where’s Aiko?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” replied Jaycee. “I looked for her but couldn’t find her. I guess something must have come up. I’m sure she’ll catch up with us later.”
Jaycee and Sage then departed from the school grounds, the whole time unaware that Aiko was watching their every move from a third floor window. When the two were completely out of her sight, tears began to rain down from Aiko’s eyes.