Here it is, the next part of this four part series. You know what? As I read this again, I notice that my old self really likes to abuse the semi-colon. Like, I abused it a lot. So much so that I could go to jail. Like even now actually, the semi-colon is probably one of my favorite punctuation tools. I’m pretty sure that I even tried to create situations where I could abuse the semi-colon just because of how much I love it. Either way, that’s beside the point. What is the point is that now we are getting a glimpse into our protagonists life now. As his life thins, his past life thickens, strange isn’t it? But, nevertheless here you go, “The Feeling of Friendship”.
I lived away from the city for a good portion of my life. The only memories I have of my childhood were from the country. So, when my parents said that I would be moving into the city for my second year of middle school, I felt both excited and nervous. It was a new experience for me, going into the city. The streetlights, the noise, the people; everything about it had my eyes gawking. The city seemed like only a dream, and in a single day, I began living in a fantasy.
But this fantasy wasn’t all fun and games. Heading into my second year of middle school; I had no friends. I was enrolled at a local school in my city and of course I knew no one in my class. I figured that it was going to be hard enough since I was the new kid; but there was also the fact that everyone in my class probably knew each other already. I mean, unless they were all transfer students, at least one or two of them were probably friends last year. Trying to break into the mold so suddenly wasn’t going to be easy, and it really wasn’t.
For the first month of school, I was dwindling on a thin line. I had no friends, and I only really made miscellaneous talk to my other classmates. In a way, I kind of felt like I was being attacked. Like I was some outsider country boy that had no place in a city school. I felt like a complete outcast and I felt really isolated. I didn’t particularly have any problems with any of my classmates, and it didn’t seem like they had any against me. It just never worked out. It was either too awkward, or I was just simply too out of place. I mean, a country boy like me sitting with city folk. There was never more a weirder scene then that I’d imagine.
My appearance didn’t help as well. Coming into the city with an old fashioned country feel and aura exuding around me wasn’t the best way to go. My accent was something that I couldn’t help. But I had this really weird spiky brown hair going on that just screamed out of place. I had different interests, and when I talked about the country and what we used to do back there; everyone suddenly backed off. I figured it was just the city folk being xenophobic, but when I think back on it; country work really was different from what city people did.
Luckily, I didn’t experience what most kids would call bullying or depression. I wasn’t exactly sad or anything, I just felt a little empty without any friends. I wouldn’t call it being lonely, but I just felt like my classmates weren’t really up for opening up to me. I don’t know what I would have done if I was in their position, but I can see why they would choose to distance themselves from me.
When one of my classmates talked to me, it was because they had something they wanted to know; rather than wanting to strike a conversation. No one really made a push to be my friend, and I guess me having no friends for the first month was partly my fault as well. I never really made a push to get friends either. I didn’t think badly of my fellow classmates, but I just felt like if they weren’t pushing, then why should I? It was a stupid thought now that I think about it, but there’s nothing I can do now. For some odd reason I actually felt content with the way things were during that first month. Things felt peaceful, and “peaceful” wasn’t exactly the best way to describe things in the country; no matter what anyone says.
One day, during lunch time, I decided to go out for once. It was a nice sunny day and the wind gave off a nice gentle breeze every once in a while. I made my way around the school and to the back where a set of tables were stationed from the ground. I went over, sat down and began eating my lunch. No one else was here, and this was one of many places where I found sanctum. A place where I can just relax and unwind without anyone else around me. A place all for myself. Looking back, that probably didn’t mean very good things if I wanted to find a place like that. But it did give me a peace of mind.
It happened just when I was finished with my lunch. I ate quite quickly so I still had plenty of free time. As I got up, I noticed that a group of people were walking by. I tried to find a place to hide, but it was too late. Luckily for me, they were a bunch of people from my class, so it wouldn’t be that bad if they noticed me. I took a deep breath, and proceeded walking back towards the front of the school. It wasn’t as if I wanted them to notice me, but I didn’t really want them to ignore me either. Weird, I know.
As I was just out of sight, a girl called out to me from the group. I was shocked, and as I turned around; she began running towards me. As she stood in front of me; I grew nervous. She had long flowing black hair that reached towards her waists. Her eyes were a bright blue that stole my gaze and her red lips, which were close to my face made me blush. She leaned in; while I leaned back and said with excitement, “Do you want to play?”
“Yeah, team tag!”
“It’s like tag, but when you’re caught, you become it as well and you work together to catch everyone.”
“Oh.” I remember thinking about it. I was nervous, I didn’t know whether I should accept or not. I didn’t want to ruin their little group they had. I didn’t want to feel like I was doing something wrong again. But at the same time, I was glad, and at the same time, I wanted to. She leaned in closer again and said, “So? How about it?” I remember looking away and with a nervous sweat, I gave in and said, “Sure.”
“Great, come on!” She suddenly began running back, and when she noticed that I wasn’t walking, she came back, grabbed my hands and dragged me over. It was the first time I touched a girl’s hand like this. Her hand felt warm. It was calming.
After we decided who would initially be it we began spreading out. Coincidentally, I hid in some bushes nearby, and the girl who invited me was also nearby. She noticed and came over. She had a smile on her face, but she quickly put a finger over her mouth to tell me to stay quiet. As the designated it finished counting, he began searching for us. We peeked out through small holes that didn’t give away our position, and when we confirmed that he had gone elsewhere, she began talking to me again. This time, it wasn’t the type of feeling I got when I was talking with my classmates. It wasn’t the “I want some information from you” it was more like a “I want to be friends with you” type of tone that she was using. I knew that she was in my class, but I never really did talk with any of the girls. In short, I never noticed her.
“Hey, you’re in my class right?”
“Yeah, my name is Takashi Hiroshi.”
“And I’m Hina Hasagawa.” For the duration of the game, we were pretty much un-catchable. They had moved to and from our general position, but we always remained hidden. It was boring almost; to see this happen. But the warmth and presence of Hina, made it alright. Lunch was almost over, and we were still hidden. From the looks of it, we would be the winners. The rest of the people were growing tired, and just when one of them looked like they were about to say “We give up” Hina got up right from the bushes; dragging me up as well, and said, “Hey, come and catch us if you can!” She then tightly held my hands and began running. I looked behind us to see our classmates chasing us frantically, trying to catch us. I then looked ahead, and towards Hina. She had a huge smile on her face as we were running, and I could feel something swelling up from inside me.
Later that day after school, as I was walking back home; alone as usual, I bumped into Hina. She had a cheery smile on her face and she said as she patted my back, “That was a nice game today, partner.”
“Thanks, I guess.”
“Say, want to walk home together?”
“My home is on the same way as yours. I’ve seen you walk home plenty of times, I was always behind you, and I was always curious about you.”
“I never got the chance to talk to you, and you seemed so lonely. I thought maybe, you didn’t want any friends, and I heard rumors about you being one of those lone wolf type of people.”
“That’s not the case, I can tell you that.”
“Right, and, I feel bad for not trying to talk to you all this time. To be honest, I felt shy at first. I don’t know if you’ll believe me, but I was scared.” I was shocked as she said those words. Hina seemed like a person who would go around making friends without a hitch. As I looked over, I could see her eyes filled with sorrow, and when she finally looked back up she said, “So, how about it?”
“Sure.” As we walked slowly down the road, she continued on from the topic before, “To tell you the truth, I was never good around boys.” I gave her a weird look, since that statement didn’t seem that true considering she came barging into my sanctuary with a group full of them. She noticed my look and responded, “Hey, what’s with that weird look? It’s the truth. The only reason why I can hang out with those guys are because I knew them from when I was a kid. You wouldn’t know but a lot of us grew up in this area. We grew up here, were raised here, and in turn we all formed a tight knit group with each other. They’re more like family than anything.” My eyes grew wide for a second. I was honestly surprised when she said that. It almost felt like, the country side. I was ignorant, and I was a little arrogant at the same time.
“When I first heard that a transfer student would be coming, my heart raced a little. For the longest time, the only new students we got were also people from the city. It was boring, to be honest. But when I heard you were from the country, it made me happy.”
“Made you happy?”
“It might be me being selfish, but don’t you ever want to meet someone new, someone from another place? It gives me a feeling of exhilaration. Sure the city people are nice and all, but you don’t get to meet a country person that often out here. I guess what I’m trying to say is my curiosity got over me.”
“I…. I guess I never really looked at it in that way. I always thought that when I came here, that I would be too weird to fit in. That I would always be the country outcast, that I wasn’t cut out to be here. But I never thought, that someone like you; someone who actually wants to meet people from outside their bubble existed.
“Trust me, in due time, you’ll make plenty of friends. The first month or so is always rough, but I promise you that it’ll get better. And if not; then you still have me.” I looked over in surprise, and she noticed that she had said something quite embarrassing. She looked down with a blush on her face, and that made me a little happy. As we came to a fork in the road, she stopped and said, “I’m going the other way.”
“Oh, alright then.”
“I’m glad, I got to talk to you.”
After that, Hina and I started hanging out frequently. We had a lot to talk about, and we always used to go to these quiet places where no one else was around. She said that she liked being isolated every once in a while. She said that it made her relaxed. Soon, I started making friends with other people in the class as well. I was finally able to make friends, and it was all thanks to Hina. Unfortunately, her father had a sudden lay off, and they were forced to move away from this area for her father’s new job. That, was about two weeks after I met her. The very first friend I made in the city, the very first friend I made in my second year of middle school, left me in fourteen days. Of course, I can’t blame her, and I don’t blame her. But, thinking back on it, those fourteen days, were probably the best days I had in a long time. Those short two weeks are something that I would never replace, and those two weeks are something that I’m going to cherish, for the remainder of my short life. Hopefully, Hina won’t get too sad over my death, I mean, with her leaving, I don’t think she knows about it yet. We never did share contact information or anything. But thinking about that just makes me more sad.
I’m glad that I met her, and I’m glad that she made a push to talk to me. But, unfortunately, the only thing I could do for her, is keep her in my memories. I won’t forget her, even in death, I’ll hold onto the feeling she gave me that day; the feeling of friendship.