Ch 1. Coming of age
“Are you done, son?” I hear my dad’s voice behind me and I nod as I lift my luggage. I am Eugene Oyama and I recently reached the golden age of 17. Why 17? Well, we have a tradition in my family once the child turns 17 they have to leave the house and live on their own you know learn the ways of the world first hand and try to survive with little allowance. We call it the ‘Oyama’s coming of age ceremony’ or ‘our right to passage’. This tradition goes back as far as three generations.
My great grandfather forced Oyama’s coming of age ceremony on my grandfather making him the first Oyama to have lived on his own at the age of 17. My great grandfather was very happy with the result of his experiment and that’s how our coming of age tradition came about.
As to why I said it’s the golden age is because I have been looking forward to living on my own. It’s not like I don’t like my parents I love them. I’m blessed to have such endearing parents. It’s for that very reason why I want to run away from home. My mum is an overly possessive mother.
Like all teenagers, I have a curfew and I need to be home by 7 pm. I KNOW RIGHT!! The moment the clock strikes 07:01 I receive a call from her screaming at me for being irresponsible and disobedient and if I don’t reach home in 15 after that I am grounded. So you can imagine my helplessness.
This ceremony is my ticket to freedom. I giggle at the thought and my dad raises one of his brows in question. I ignore him to indulge in my thoughts once again. Another reason why I’m so excited about leaving home is I will be able to see Zak-nii more often. I have rented an apartment in his building. Mum was the one who suggested renting it and I agreed in a heartbeat.
Zak-nii is my big bro and my idol. I look up to him more than dad. I don’t mean it disrespectfully, like I said I love my parents. But my brain only recognizes Zak-nii as my true parent. Biologically he is my brother but he is the one who practically raised Aoi and I. Mum and Dad being busy businessmen were rarely home. There were times when they were unable to return home for days. And Zak-nii being the responsible brother took it upon himself to raise us.
For as long as I can remember it has always been Zak-nii who dropped and picked me from school, cooked delicious meals for us, helped me study and played video games with me, and fake lose every time. He also spent his weekends home, for a very long time he had a non-existent social life because he was always home nursing us. When he turned 17 he denied his right to passage so that he could be there for us.
When I was 13 Zak-nii got badly wounded because of me and was admitted to the hospital for a week. That day I was running up and down the stairways in the house and I lost balance and tripped. Nii-san jumped in to cushion my fall. My hand was slightly bruised but Zak-nii fractured his left arm and hit his head which caused him a mild concussion. Zak-nii who is super athletic, an 8th Dan in judo at the moment was admitted to the hospital because of my carelessness. That incident still haunts me.
After that incident, Mum quit working with Dad and became a full-time Mother. I was happy that mum was home all the time but that also meant Zak-nii was free to leave home and he did. He left home the next year. It’s almost been 3 years and I have missed him a lot. Which is why I’m super excited to be living with Zak-nii again... I mean in the same building. “Eu, what’s the holdup? Let’s go,” Zak-nii calls me from the door. He is here to pick me. YAY!
“Eu-chan, please don’t leave,” Tiny hands tug the hem of my shirt. Aoi is crying again. She is 8 and hates the idea of me leaving the house. Her tears are one of my biggest weaknesses and I’m trying really hard to not break her heart. “Eu-chan and Zak-nii will come and see you on weekends. I promise,” Zak-nii draws a cross over his heart as he walks towards us wearing his million-dollar smile.
After Zak-nii left, I tried to be the ideal older brother to Aoi as Zak-nii was once to us. “First Zach n-nii and now E-Eu-chan. I hate this! I wanna go too.” She starts crying harder. Before I could console her Zak-nii lifts her in his arms, “Dad can you pick her up later?” and looks at Aoi with his million-dollar smile, “Aoi and I will go help Eu-chan unpack.”
“Yay!” Aoi screams as loud as she can and timidly says, “and then Aoi will have a sleepover at Zak-nii’s house?” She asks as her wide eyes blink wildly at Zak-nii. Zak-nii smiles and screams a yay indicating it’s a yes. Now the 8-year-old and the 20-year-old are chanting ‘Sleepover! Sleepover!’ like some villains from a dark cult.
Aoi is smiling again. “Thank you Zak-nii,” I mumble under my breath and he pats my head and I’m sure he wearing his million-dollar smile right now. Zak-nii is a magician. He manages to cheer her up every single time. Her smile is so warm and bright. She is the heart of the Oyama family and leaving Aoi is not that easy. I now understand what Zak-nii must have felt.
“Mum-Dad I will miss you,” I hug and kiss them before walking out of the house.
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