Disorientated Feelings (Part 1)

It's some time in November and I am busy preparing for the entrance exams into High Schools as I am in my my third year of Middle School. I can pretty much see the leaves turning yellow, orange, or brown, on the trees. The weather is getting colder too, which means I had worn the Summer uniform for the last time just last month, and had switched to the Winter uniform, which is thicker, but warmer. Not sure what year it is now, but I know I turned 14 this year, and November 1 is a Sunday.

There are many schools to choose from, but what the ones I'm interested in are the two schools located at the opposite ends from the train station near there, which has trains serving the station a short bus ride away from home, and the downtown area of the city. The school at the top is quite well known from all over the country due to its facilities and most of the students there do quite well or are a relative of someone famous. The other school is well known too, but not so when compared to the other. What I'm deciding between the two is getting into that studious mega school, and an average one that I would feel comfortable in as I don't like things that are too large. I'm having a hard time deciding where to go, so I should consult my with my family.

My uncle, Kenji Hirano (平野健二), said that the large school has a department of a company he manages somewhere in there, but he did say anyone can enter the campus and is one of the several branches in the city. My cousin, Aiko Hirano (平野愛子), who is the same age and just as crazy about science-related things as me, like what happens when Dihydrogen monoxide and Sodium chloride are mixed together at room temperature. I can't say what happened, but had to eventually throw the result away. I know it was wasted, but is one of the few things we did in the name of chemistry. My mother is at home most of the time doing the household chores and taking care of my younger siblings who are still in primary school. If she feels like it, she would talk to my uncle (they are siblings), my grandparents, or her friends over the telephone. For some reason, I'm the only child that has their own room, while the rest are shared. Is it because I'm the oldest? Or is it because of my interest in science? My father works for long hours, that he is only at home between midnight and before sunrise, and Sundays. Hope he's not overworking...

Well, it looks like I should take the latter option because I don't feel comfortable having a super-large school that has levels from Kindergarten to Ph.D, and sub-division between each: like co-ed, all boys/girls, local/foreign only/mixed, etc.. Confusing if you ask me. I'd rather be in a normal high school and have friends rather than a big one and have people looking down on me just because of my household income and the kind of house I live in.

"Kotomi-chan, can you help me prepare dinner?", called my mother. The voice came from the kitchen downstairs.

"Yes mother, I'm coming right now", I reluctantly replied back. This is one of the disadvantages of being the eldest daughter: I have to help with the household chores and be the "role model" of my siblings who are all younger than me. Too bad I can't chose who my siblings are or when they are born, but I do have an influence on them.

The entrance exams was a piece of cake: there is no single question I have difficulty solving, and it's all thanks to all the studying. Once all the high school entrance exams has ended, the last few lessons in middle school seemed rather pointless. Everyone started talking about their experiences during the exams and their plans beyond that, since they are probably not going to see each other after graduation, including the teachers. That is one of the main factor is why I am half-heartily looking forward to graduation.

At the train station soon afterward, I met up with my cousin and a small group of middle school friends that were heading to a Karaoke box a few stations away to relief the stress they had since they started studying for the exams. Well, seeing that the days in middle school are coming to a close and may not see them again, I joined along with them.

We booked a room to last until the night in there and ordered the songs for everyone to sing. My friends ordered the drinks while they made me sing first. Not counting primary school, random humming, and the rare occurrence of me singing in the bathroom, which my family might have heard, I never actually sang. Following the lyrics of a song of a familiar song that appear on the TV, I sang it the same way I would sing in the bathroom where my voice control is completely different from regular talking. However, since I can't really hear myself singing, I was shocked when I heard a voice that was completely different from my normal voice, which sounded quite perfect, coming out of the speakers that I thought that the voice belonged to someone else. Just to be sure, I abruptly stopped singing and talked normally before continuing on. It's definitely not coming from the video, and I heard my normal voice when I talked. I turned to look at everyone and momentarily saw their speechless faces on them before it turned into a huge round of an applause.

It quite shocking to think that there are people who know me better than I know myself, but displaying abilities that even I myself don't know about is even more shocking.


On the graduation day, and also the last day as a student there, started like any other day, except that I don't need to bring the usual things. Everyone gathered at the hall, which had chairs neatly arranged. The chairs are group according to the graduates, 1st & 2nd year students, teaching staff, and guests. Some were crying, while others were calm. I spotted my parents and Aiko's parents sitting together.

The class representive and homeroom teachers of each of the graduating classes took their truns, followed by the student council and some club repesentives. They talked about how the times they had were fun and, for the juniors, the impact they had have on them. The school principal walked up to the stage and said something different, but had the same meaning. After that, he started giving out the certificates as each student colects one at a time. Some of which, gave speeches. This seems to take forever.

"Kotomi Miyazawa" (宮沢ことみ), he finally called my name.

I walked up to the stage to the principal, stretched out my hand to collect the certificate, bowed to him before repeating the same action to the audience. It seems that I receive more applauses than most of the other people.

After everyone has received the ceterficate, the principal proceeded to say that we had completed a chapter in our lives and started an another. How we would face new challanges and so on. He then requested that everyone to stand up as they started singing the graduation song:

[Author's note 1: You might be more famillar with this song instead]

悲しいことがあると 開く皮の表紙 (Kanashii koto ga aru to hiraku kawa no hyoushi)
卒業写真のあの人は やさしい目をしてる (Sotsugyou shashin no ano hito wa yasashii me wo shiteru)
町で見かけたとき 何も言えなかった (Machi de mikaketa toki Nani mo ienakatta)
卒業写真の面影が そのままだったから (Sotsugyou shashin no omokage ga sono mama datta kara)

人ごみに流されて 変わってゆく私を (Hitogomi ni nagasarete kawatte yuku watashi wo)
あなたはときどき 遠くで叱って (Anata wa tokidoki tookude shikatte)

話しかけるように 揺れる柳の下を (Hanashi kakeru you ni yureru yanagi no shita wo)
通った道さえ今はもう 電車から見るだけ (Kayotta michi sae ima wa mou densha kara mieru dake)

あの頃の生き方を あなたは忘れないで (Ano goro no ikikata wo anata wa wasurenaide)
あなたは私の 青春そのもの (Anata wa watashi no seishun sono mono)

人ごみに流されて 変わってゆく私を (Hitogomi ni nagasarete kawatte yuku watashi wo)
あなたはときどき 遠くで叱って (Anata wa tokidoki tookude shikatte)
あなたは私の 青春そのもの (Anata wa watashi no seishun sono mono)

As that song was sang, I could sense that some broke into tears. We then, class by class, left the hall to proceed to the class for the last time. In the class, the teacher gave us back everything that had been given, like reports, allong with testimonials. We exchanged our email and mobile phone numbers before I stepped out out of the class, and then the school, for the last time. My parents were waiting at the front courtyard. Come to think of it, dad's presence here right now shows that he does care about me.


I headed to the high school I had applied for to see if I got in. At the school, a notice board of the results has been put up. Finding out if I got in was difficult with this crowd, and that only the index numbers of the sucessful candidates are put up.

HEY! Looks like I got in! I shout for joy as I hugged my cousin. I got into class 1-1!

After that, we went to my cousin's school of choice: it was that mega-school. Her name appeared in class 1B of the co-ed section.

Oh, the uniform of the new school looks better than that of the middle school. It's hard to compare mine and my cousin, but it does stand out from the male uniforms of my new school.

From now, I have to start buy new textbooks, uniforms (they cost a bomb), find out the best route to get around to start the new school. I have 3-4 weeks to prepare.

The snow was almost completely melted, and I can see flowers on the cherry blossom trees everywhere starting to grow.

Part 2

[Revised: 13 April 2009]


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