P. 1
Chapter 1

Chapter 1

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Published by Florentina Roman

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Published by: Florentina Roman on Dec 03, 2011
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11/19/2013

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Unable to hold on to the dream, Takashi opened his eyes, surprised to see the curtains from the window pulled and the sun bashing the room in light. He took a glance at the watch on the bedside table only to confirm that he had overslept. This was unusual. ‘How come I didn’t hear the alarm go off?’ He usually rose at the first ring of the alarm clock and prepared for the day ahead. But since today was his birthday, he decided it wouldn’t be so bad if things were done different just for once. He let a smile touch the side of his lips as he got out of bed and stretched. He was now 17. Why not pull out all the stops and really enjoy himself? It wasn’t like anybody was going to scold him if he skipped classes, ate ice cream all day and just stayed in bed. But then his face grew serious as he remembered that he had a part-time job to go to in the afternoon, which helped him pay all the bills. Sure, the money his “dad” sent covered most of the expenses, but he didn’t want to live like a leech, sucking money from a man he hardly knew and didn’t think of as his father. Not if there was anything he could do about it. Resolved to having only half a day for himself, he went to the bathroom, switching on the lights as he was accustomed to doing when waking up at 5 o’clock in the morning and it was pitch black outside. He chuckled when he realized that there was no need to do that now in broad daylight. He turned the water on to fill the tub – another thing he would do different, instead of taking a quick shower he was going to enjoy a long bath, all the while checking himself in the mirror for any noticeable change as testimony to the year that had passed. But his hair was as dark as always, though it now reached his shoulders and looked like it needed a cut; his hazel eyes seemed darker, but he assumed it was just because he had just woken up. His face was just as smooth, making him feel slightly embarrassed, wondering how long it will take before his bear started growing. The room began to fog up, making the mirror steamy, reminding him just in time to turn the water off. He got out of his pants and slid into the tub, wincing when he felt the water, cursing himself for not checking the temperature. After a few moments, when his skin adjusted to the heat, he sighed and closed his eyes ‘It’s a good way to start the day!’ he thought, concentrating on the feeling of the water surrounding his body. He could feel the sleep tempting him to go back to whatever he was dreaming before, but he wasn’t going to waste the day.

Feeling refreshed after spoiling himself with 30 minutes of laying in the tub, just waiting for the water to grow cold, he went to the closet, dropped the towel around his waist and stood naked, pondering what he should wear on this special day. The soft cold breeze brought him back to reality and he quickly took a pair of jeans and a clean shirt, forgetting about the careful planning he had in mind – which had initially included the way he dressed. He made sure he had some money in his wallet, took the keys and left

But he didn’t like to share too much about him with strangers – because in the end. just centimeters away from the front door of the building. I hope I didn’t hurt you or anything. the locks of dark hair curling behind the ears and around his face. “…sorry for the little accident. not today. where and what he was going to do that day.” He waved a hand at her. He rushed to go inside. He couldn’t help himself not think about the picture that rested on his desk in his room. awakening both happiness and pain.” The boy laughed and let go of his hand “Don’t worry. Ephram. just hang out in the mall. She wore her usual long red. turned around and left. breaking the confinement of the frame and reaching the inside of his heart. no matter how nice Mrs. And he became at last aware of the shops he went by and the people around him. without too many questions when it came to his background and going as far as making sure he had a meal on the table now and then. maybe catch a movie if he felt like spending half of his money. “Sorry about that!” he mumbled as he tried to get up. He was sure she wouldn’t have minded. he considered her an outsider. But he soon realized she was in part so kind because she was lonely and needed someone to talk to and she loved butting in. That is until he saw the ice cream shop. Then he noticed the rest of the face. before she started an entire series of questions as to why. Today… we have no classes!” “Really? That must be nice. She was nice enough with him. the most black eyes he had ever seen. “Hi Takashi! Aren’t you going to school today?” He turned around. He headed for the mall. Mrs. making both of them fall. The fair-haired woman with dazzling blue eyes and enchanting smile. in his affairs. “Are you ok? I’m …” he stopped in mid sentence a little surprised to notice he was almost 10 centimeters taller than him. a smile that seemed for him and him alone. the cute dumplings he had as he smiled. he was going to spend some time wandering in the mall.the two room apartment with no exact idea about what he was going to do till it was time to go to work. He looked at the other person and found himself staring at a pair of black eyes. window shopping. Ephram was. who. to face his landlord lady. bumping into someone in his rush. looked at clothes and various things but nothing appealed to him. He shook his head. at least this part was true. So are you going out with your friends?” “Yeah. I guess. maybe she would have even made him a cake and insisted on buying him a present. He somehow knew she would have wanted him happy and making the best of this day. renting him the apartment. His mother wouldn’t have wanted him sad. things he could never tell anyone… He wondered why he hadn’t told her it was his birthday and that he was actually skipping class. He went in some shops. worn-out robe and that ridiculous hair style that reminded him of the sixties. He looked at his watch ‘10:30 already?’ It seemed impossible that he had been walking through the mall for half an hour oblivious to everything. That had been one of his first thoughts that morning and decided to act on it. He offered a hand to help him on his feet. wanting to know too many things about him. He shook his head and smiled “Not today. I don’t think you broke anything vital!” He looked at him for a .

today?’ he asked himself as he opened the door to the ice cream shop. He didn’t feel like sitting in a gloomy room. that were waiting for him just feet away. Just as he was about to ask the pretty girl behind the counter for the biggest ice cream they had. He calmly looked at them. chocolate of course. Kinemi. the reality he lived in. “Hey. he isn’t.second or two then winked and continued on his way to join a group or boys and girls which seemed to be about his age. But it was by now an inseparable part of him. He ignored the comments and laughter he heard behind him and kept going. he thought about stopping by and sitting on a bench as he did now. he heard laughing behind him “Are you ever going to buy or do you just like to watch?” He turned around to find himself caught in the same black eyes he had seen earlier. looking at Takashi. bump into people. sorry. but calmed himself down and turned around to the girl. Mr. regretting the kindness he had shown him. showing close to 11 so he turned right. took on step back and managed this time to walk by him and his fan club. Outside the shop. But we do have other flavors: vanilla. He felt a slight annoyance. but so did he and they ended up bumping again. as if he had been to blame. reminded him he hadn’t had breakfast and that ice cream wasn’t exactly the best choice for the first meal of the day. but he never had the time. He settled for a sandwich and a soda for breakfast. smelling the flowers. “Do you have chocolate ice cream?” The smile on her face faded a bit as she shook her head “Not today. smelled and tasted.. forcing himself to watch a movie. ‘Oh well. he had to hurry from school and it was way too late to stop in the park at 11 o’clock in the evening. The growling in his stomach. those stupid brats along with that arrogant jerk had cut his fun. alone and unwanted. ‘This wasn’t what I had in mind’ he mumbled but he was actually getting bored so what was there left to do? He entered the grocery shop from the back door and went to the store room in search of the owner. He found the way out of the mall and headed for the park. unsure of what to get. ‘What’s wrong with me. Thank you!” He turned around. ‘It doesn’t feel too bad..’ He tried to block the negative thoughts. he looked somewhat puzzled. for the four girls and three guys behind him were the group that was with him earlier. He sighed. next to his work place. The other girls that were behind him giggled. who was now. walking by the windows of the shops. noticing the amusement in them. Every time he passed it. when he got off work. But he wasn’t about to give up on the ice cream on account of that. He didn’t care about that kind of thing. actually lunch by now and changed his mind about the movie. with everything he touched. He’s in the front . apparently. are you in here?” ‘Of course. ch. losing time. glaring at the black-eyed guy. When he came to work. “Watch where you’re going!” the guy smugged.” “Never mind. he hadn’t paid attention to where he was going and how he had ended up there. aware of his presence. He hadn’t seen one in so long he had lost the taste for it. It wasn’t like him to space out like that. I still have time’ he said to himself as he saw the big clock on the wall opposite him. that came with every breath he took. admiring nature. even be that nice and ask if the other was ok. But as much as he hated admitting. got up from the bench and left the park. strawberry. He moved to pass by him. He went to the counter and stood there. kiwi.

’ He took an apron with the words “Kinemi` Shop” written in red and some vegetables drawn under it. hiding the hallway to the back. working so hard to ensure himself a future.” “I like to see young man. surprising the man. “Ah. he was hit in the face.m. breathing heavily. could only shake his head in amazement and resumed placing the prices on the new products he had received that morning. Kinemi” and he disappeared in the back. “Yeah. so I came earlier” he decided to stick to the lie he had told his landlord “I could use the extra money. You have your whole life ahead” said the white-haired man. He felt numb for a moment. would you mind getting some beer from the back? We need to refill the fridge. the day he had found how old he was and how. came by his side and placing a hand on his shoulder – a gesture he had come to learn and get accustomed to “Takashi. Then a knee to the face that made him kneel to the floor gasping for air. No sooner had . Kinemi to lock up early’ he put an affable smile on his face and straightened behind the counter. He fought to get up. holding on to his stomach as if it was about to fall off. Takashi reached and grabbed his fist. Takashi. pushing his air out of his lungs and making him bend from the waist. I know” and for the first time that day. Before his mind had come to understand that. What are you doing here this early? Your shift doesn’t start till 5 and it’s not even 1 p. but don’t overdo it. feeling his knuckles make contact with the cheekbone and the nose and actually hearing the nose break seconds before the scream came. then staggered back. behind him. giving him enough time to launch his other hand to the man’s face. hearing him ask. ”Don’t worry! Now let’s take care of the customers!” he said as he approached a young woman that was looking at the variety of tomatoes cans arranged on the top shelf “Can I help you?” Mr. his smile came from the heart. the two men if they wanted anything. in front. Shouldn’t you be at school?” I didn’t have classes today. as always. The clock on the wall told him it was 30 minutes past 10 ‘Oh. As he stepped from behind the curtain. Takashi caught himself from yawning as two customers walked in. he received a hard punch to the stomach. He blinked to clear his sight and kicked the man in his crotch with all the force he could gather in his legs. but Takashi knew he was almost 80 and still going strong. He took two packs of beer in each hand and came back in the front. great! What on earth can they want at this hour? And here I was hoping to convince Mr.serving customers. Mr. Kinemi. tied it around his waist and made his way to the counter. while the other searched desperately for something to cling to. He had a flashback from the past. dropping the beers and holding one hand to his face. He was a good man. Just as the man was about to punch his face again. Mr. As the two men approached him. you would have said he wasn’t a day older than 60. Kinemi.” “Sure thing. Mr. He stopped falling and realized he was leaning against the wall. Kinemi had laughed at his shocked expression. that was blood on his hand and face. Looking at him.

. before he was thrown against the wall. ‘Oh.the man fallen on his knees. followed immediately by two others to his stomach. head first and then slid to the floor unconscious. shit! I forgot there were two men’ was the last thought that went through his head. holding his crotch and howling in pain that Takashi received another punch to the face.

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