Perhaps it was the perfect weather that made a day feel more special than it actually was. At some point in most people’s lives, they experienced this exact day. Even within a small town hundreds shared it this moment. Yet it still felt special, not because of how lucky she was to be apart of it, but that it was happening to her. Rose skipped her way to Hitomi’s house as she basked in the feeling she felt. She had to take a break to catch her breathe due to overdoing it a bit, but before long she landed in front of her destination. “Good Morning!” Her japanese was still very crude compared to a native, but it was serviceable to communicate. The door of the house opened up to show a young man wearing a sweater. He waved for Rose to come inside. Rose accepted the offer and walked into the house. “Please excuse me.”
“Hitomi just woke up a few minutes ago. Help yourself to some tea and toast while she gets ready.”
“I’ll have some tea!” Rose ran over to the kitchen, where there was a small breakfast already prepared for Hitomi and a teapot already placed in the center of the table. “Can I just pour it?”
“Go ahead. It’s unsweetened so make sure to add sugar.”
“Okay!” Rose carefully poured her tea and added cubes of sugar to it. It was a small cup so she wasn’t worried of getting too much caffeine. It was a bit more earthy than the teas she was used to at home, but she could tell it was made with care. “Thank you Mr. Kagami!”
“It’s nothing. You seem very happy this morning.” Mr. Kagami sat down across from Rose and poured himself a cup of tea as well.
“Is it that obvious?”
“Very. You are radiating happiness. Make sure to help Hitomi out today.”
“Of course. I’ll do what I always do! No need to worry.”
“As dependable as always. Hitomi! If you don’t hurry your food will get cold!”
“You know I’m already down here.” Rose waved at the young girl who appeared in the doorframe. Much like herself she was dressed in a rather dull school uniform. However to Rose, the new uniform was enough to excite her.
“Hitomi! You look great!”
“Really? I thought this was rather bland.”
“It’s fine, really! Come on, we don’t want to be late for the first day!”
“No need to yell, I don’t plan on being late. I have a feeling you’d be less passive if I hid in my room, waiting for the school day to end.”
“That’s… rather specific.” Hitomi didn’t offer a response as she began to eat her breakfast as quickly as she could. Mr. Kagami laughed at the situation, allowing it to happen without any intervention from himself. “Did you do all of your summer assignments?” Rose asked to avoid the room from becoming too still. Hitomi nodded her head, pointing with her fork towards her bag hanging from a wooden peg on the wall. “Right, talking with your mouth full is rude. Thank you for the tea Mr Kagami, it was delicious.” Rose bowed her head and handed the empty tea cup to him. He took it, placing it next to his cup and responded.
“I’m glad you liked it. If you show up here early, I’ll gladly have some tea prepared for you.”
“Really?! Okay I’ll do my best to get here early!”
“I’m finished. Thanks for the food dad.” Hitomi put down her fork and bowed politely to her father. He nodded his head and headed towards the fridge where he took out a small bento. Hitomi took it without speaking a word and proceeded to get her bag ready. Rose just watched this silent exchange go down knowing full well that it was best to be silent for moments like these.
“It’s not nearly as dramatic as that Rose.” Mr. Kagami said with a smile. “Hitomi, do your best ok?”
“I should be okay. Rose, are you just going to sit there?” Hitomi flipped her backpack onto her back, calling out Rose for not jumping immediately out of her seat.
“Maybe I will~” Although Rose said this, she immediately jumped out of her seat ready to go. “Let’s go!”
“See you when you get back.” Mr. Kagami waved to them as they left. With Hitomi in tow, Rose could now continue to their main objective. However now that she was traveling with someone else she began to take notice of how difficult it would be to keep up.
“You should have brought your scooter with you.”
“I’m too old for that now. We are entering middle school! It’s time I walk there. Has it always been so far away?!” Rose was clearly struggling to keep up with the faster pace that Hitomi walked at and at this rate they’d be late due to Rose having to recover. Hitomi slowed down her own pace to something more comfortable for Rose before scolding her.
“Bring it tomorrow ok? Or would you rather start practicing with me after school?”
“Ahahaha~ Maybe I should look into getting a bike.”
“Scooter until then. No excuses. Unless you can come up with the money to buy a bike today.”
“Fine. But I’m mildly displeased with this.” Hitomi had to hold back a laugh at Rose’s attempt to seem more mature than she was. Making fun of her for how silly it seemed coming from her would only prevent her from trying being mature in the future.
“Just be glad you aren’t entering high school. The closest one is probably twice the distance we go now.”
“I’m sure I’ll be able to make that trip by the time I get there.”
“What if you go to a school that’s further away?”
“I’ll live there!” It was more likely that Rose would do her best to make sure that the two of them went to the same school, regardless the struggle she would have. If she tried hard enough, she could do anything.”
“Hitomi, slow down, I’m dying here.” Hitomi snapped out of her daydream to find that she had sped back up. Rose must have tried to keep up, but she already failed.
“Sorry. We are almost there, you can do it.” She cheered for her without slowing down in order to push her forward. It took a full ten minutes more to get to school, but they managed to get there before the first bell rang. “See, you could do it.” Rose held up a finger to have Hitomi wait a bit, but the girl didn’t need to. “Suffering makes you stronger. Don’t suffer too much, we still need to get to class.”
“I know! Just… let me… breathe!” Rose forced herself to recover quickly. She couldn’t completely stop herself from breathing hard. She pushed ahead with Hitomi following right behind her. The others around them were moving with equal speed as the bell was closing in on them all. Even Hitomi couldn’t allow herself to panic due to the fear of getting to class after the teacher. The school assigned seats on the first day based on where you managed to get a seat on the first day of class. Given how late they were the chances of getting a seat towards the back of the class was nil.
“You are right, there are only a few seats near the front. That’s fine with me, as long as you are next to me.”
“It’s part of my promise. If we need to, I’ll turn around and let you work your magic ok?”
“Shouldn’t be necessary.” Hitomi opened the door and beelined it to a set of seats at the front of the class, scaring off two other students that had entered through a closer door. Rose followed behind her, taking her seat after Hitomi confirmed that it was hers.
“You are so fast!”
“You are just slow. I-” Hitomi grabbed at her head, almost falling towards Rose but catching herself on her desk. Rose didn’t speak a word as she put a hand on her shoulder, almost instantly curing Hitomi of what was affecting her. When her eyes cleared she was met with a radiant smile. “Thank you.”
“I didn’t do anything~” Rose stuck her tongue out at Hitomi, who was almost at the verge of tears. Thankfully their position at the front of the room and the energy of the rest of the students kept anyone from noticing her weakness. “Let’s start off the new year right!”
“Yeah. Let’s.” Hitomi high fived Rose, The two got their stuff organized in their desks in the remaining time they had before the teacher arrived. The noise of the classroom died almost instantly as the teacher entered the room. They were completely unaware of who exactly they would get. The man in front of them was younger than most, although to them he might as well be well into his forties. Before speaking he wrote his name on the board for them to memorize.
“Good morning class.”
“Good morning!” They answered together.
“Glad to see you’re all so energetic. I’m Mr. Yamata. I’ll be your homeroom teacher and social studies teacher for the year. I’ll be starting the roll call now. Please don’t switch seats after I call your name.” Following a list he had on his desk, he called out each student and recorded their seating. After confirming that everyone was accounted for, he placed a sheet of paper on the board that had each of their seats. “It may take a few days to learn where you sit, so I’ll leave this up.” He made sure to show the class that it was just a copy of another sheet as deterrent from trying to change the one he posted for them. “Most of the ceremony will happen at the end of the day, so I’ll get right into the project you’ll be doing throughout the year.” The class immediately showed their dissatisfaction with the sudden change in topic. “Now now, it’s not as bad as you are thinking.”
“Is it?” Rose asked Hitomi quitely.
“No.” Hitomi answered back just as quietly to avoid anyone overhearing. Mr. Yamata placed a stack of thin books on the desk. A loud groan of pain washed over the class.
“I can’t say I expected a better response. Don’t worry, these books are empty.” He took one of the books and flipped through it for the class. “Throughout this year, I want you to focus on something about your life and write about it. You’ll find that much of your daily lives have some sort of history to them that you’ll share with the class at the end of the year.”
“Mr. Yamata!” A voice called out as they raised their hand. “How often would we have to write in it?”
“Great question. I think once a week should be fine. If you want to write more often, feel free to. If you can’t find something to write about, just pick something small. You might surprise yourself with what you find. I’ll be passing these out now, so make sure to write your name on the front.” He passed out each book as he repeated their names in order to help remember them. Rose wrote her name in English in large font with a katakana version in smaller font beneath it. After making sure it was to her liking, she turned to Hitomi and showed it off.
“Let’s do something great!”