Chapter TwelveA Chapter by Ocularfracture
Remy and Sunny go to their first day of Japanese class together, finding out that their new teacher is much more than they bargained for.
The first day of Japanese class happened to fall on a day that I was off, and though I had initially hoped to spend the beginning of the day brushing up on what I already knew, I instead found myself facing teenage girl problems.
I woke up later than I had intended, but I still decided to start my day off with a nice, warm shower to be sure that I was squeaky clean on my first day. I scrubbed myself very thoroughly, taking care to clean every nook and cranny of my body. I washed my hair with both shampoo and conditioner. I even took time to scrape the calluses off of my feet.
When the shower was done, I dried myself off and wrapped the towel around my body before taking a short walk over to the sink where I started by brushing my teeth. I brushed the tops and the bottoms every which way, counting the strokes as I did to make sure that they got perfectly clean. I even flossed thoroughly and gargled mouth wash for a full minute.
Next, I thought I’d shave my face, and instead of using my electric razor, I went old school with shaving cream and a straight razor, hoping for the cleanest shave possible. I even used aftershave for a change.
After I had combed my hair and applied copious amounts of deodorant, I trekked into my room to find a nice outfit.
That was where my teenage girl problems began.
I had a shirt picked out that I thought looked great with a certain pair of pants, and I pulled them on, straightening them out all nice before having a look in the mirror. At first glance, everything seemed ship shape. The pants complimented the shirt and the whole outfit seemed stylish without being overly casual. But the longer I looked at myself, the more I found I didn’t really like the way they looked on me, so I wound up taking them off and rummaging around for a different outfit.
I must have tried on every single article of clothing in my possession, mixing and matching without ever finding anything that really tickled my fancy. This went on and on for an obscene length of time before I finally looked at my watch and realized that I had to get going very soon.
In the end, I wound up just wearing the very first thing I had tried on, which happened to be a pair of black jeans and a black and red striped shirt with long sleeves. Picking up the black vest from the pile of clothes, I tried it on over the shirt and found that it completed the outfit, looking altogether rather nifty.
Shaking my head in exasperation, I grabbed my wallet, phone, and keys and left through the front door.
I had never been to the community college before, and normally I would have gotten lost trying to find it. Luckily, my fancy new phone had a GPS function which gave me perfect directions from point A to point B, and I arrived at the college much sooner than I had expected.
To my surprise, Sunny was already there, waiting for me. I leapt out of my car, bursting with excitement.
“Why didn’t you call?” I asked, embracing her.
“I managed to get off a little early today, so I thought I’d surprise you!” Sunny grasped my hand, weaving her fingers through mine. “Come,” she said. “We need to head over to the bookstore and get our text books.”
My stomach jolted a little.
“They don’t just give them to you?” I asked, sheepishly. Sunny uttered a laugh, making me cringe as I realized it was probably a stupid question to have asked.
“This isn’t like high school, Remy. You have to buy all your own books for college classes.”
“Well,” I said, defensively. “I’ve never been quite rich enough to actually go. I got decent grades in school, but I could never afford college.”
“Couldn’t you have gotten a scholarship?”
My stomach was all twisted up in knots and I couldn’t seem to find my voice.
“Sorry,” said Sunny, squeezing my hand. “We don’t have to talk about this now.”
I nodded, gratefully as we entered the book store.
“Can I help you find anything?” asked the short haired woman who was standing just inside.
“Yes, please.” Sunny’s voice was calm and sweet as she spoke. “We’re looking for the first year Japanese text books.”
“Oh, okay. Follow me, please.” The woman disappeared into an aisle, Sunny and I scrambling to keep up. We followed her through shelves and shelves of books, turning corner after corner. The book store seemed like a terrible labyrinth, and I wondered if I would find my way out again.
After an eternity of twisting and turning, we finally ended up in some dim corner where the book store woman stood, biting her thumb as she looked.
“Oh, dear,” she said at last. “You’re in luck. These are the last two copies we’ve got. I guess I’ll have to order some more.”
She bent down and retrieved two heavy books, shrink wrapped together with what appeared to be workbooks.
“Do you need anything else?” she asked. Sunny shook her head with a smile, and the lady nodded.
“Just follow me up to the register, then.”
We wound our way back through the twisted, terrible maze of bookshelves, nearly running to keep up with the long legged librarian. By the time we had finally reached the register, my calves were beginning to ache, and I was panting slightly.
“Will you be paying separately or together?” she asked.
“Together,” said Sunny quickly, pulling out her debit card before I had a chance to react. The book clerk picked up her scan gun, shooting red laser beams at the barcodes.
“Okay,” she chirped. “That’ll be $105.26!”
Suddenly, I found that it was difficult to breathe. The air seemed thin, or maybe it was that my lungs had grown tired. Sunny just smiled, taking the plastic bag from the cashier and guiding me out of the bookstore. Once we were back in the main lobby, my breathing returned to a fairly normal state.
“Dude,” I gasped. “Those books were, like, fifty bucks a pop…”
“Fairly cheap as far as textbooks go,” said Sunny, beaming. I snorted.
“And this is why I never went to college. I couldn’t have afforded the books alone.”
Sunny glanced at the clock on the wall.
“We’ve still got some time to kill,” she told me. “I believe there is a cafeteria down the hall. Would you like to go grab some drinks?”
I shrugged with a slight nod, vowing to myself that at the very least, I would pay for whatever refreshments we got. Down the hall we strode, hand in hand, Sunny looking out the windows on our left, while I gazed with interest at some black and white photographs on the wall to the right.
When we reached the end of the hall, we found, to our dismay, that the cafeteria had already closed up. The dining room was still open to the public, however and as we stepped inside, Sunny pointed out a row of vending machines along the wall.
“Look,” she said. “There’s a hot coffee machine here!”
“That actually sounds great,” I sighed, pulling out my wallet. “What would you like?”
“Um…” Sunny peered around at the various machines. “I’ll get back to you on that.” I nodded as she went to have a look around. While I waited, I fed a dollar into the coffee machine, requesting a small cup of coffee. The machine was actually pretty cool. On the front was a list of different hot drinks it offered, followed by their corresponding punch codes. I watched as a paper cup dropped into the compartment near the bottom. A moment later, coffee was drizzling down, filling it all the way to the top.
“Neat,” I said, taking the warm drink.
“What is?” asked Sunny, joining me once more.
“This coffee machine thingy. See? It’s got three different sizes you can choose from, and you can get coffee, cappuccino, hot cocoa, green tea, and chicken broth.”
“Oh, how neat!” Sunny smiled, tilting her head. “Maybe I’ll have a large green tea.”
“Sure thing,” I said. “My treat!”
Feeding some more cash into the machine, I punched in the code and waited, eager for Sunny to see it in action. There was a strange whirring sound inside, and then once again, a cup dropped, followed by a shower of hot tea.
“Wow,” said Sunny, removing the paper cup from its compartment. “That is pretty neat! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. Thank you for the tea.”
“You’re welcome,” I said, grinning my head off. Even though it was only a cheap cup of tea and nothing at all grand, I still felt an enormous burst of relief and happiness to be able to do something nice for Sunny. Every time she spent so much as a penny on me, I felt worse and worse, as though I was racking up an enormous debt that I would never be able to pay off. Even though she did it with a smile, promising that it was all just fine, I couldn’t help but feel like a leech. The few times I was able to do anything for her, even something as meaningless as tea, it was with all of my love, and I hoped she could feel it.
“Well,” said Sunny, wrapping her arm around me, “I guess it’s probably time we head to class, don’t you think?”
I looked at my watch, baffled at how much time we had managed to spend at a vending machine.
“That’s probably a good idea,” I said, nodding. Sunny took my hand once again, and together we walked back down the hall, in search of our classroom.
To our surprise and delight, the room in question was just straight back down the hall at the far side of the building. Several people were already inside, sitting in between rows of tables, chit chatting, and they hardly seemed to notice us as we came in.
“Where do you think we should sit?” I whispered to Sunny, my stomach swishing around with slight nervousness. She shrugged, sitting down in the nearest chair and beckoning for me to join her.
At the table in front of ours, sat a blonde girl with pink streaks in her hair and shorts that would have been inappropriately short if not for the neon pink tights she wore with them. She was picking at the cover of her text book and telling everyone about how she had bought a used copy which, she discovered, was outdated.
The girl sitting at the table across from her was young, probably fresh out of high school, with long, jet black hair all the way down to the small of her back. She mentioned how she hadn’t gotten her text book yet, and wondered if she would be able to have it shipped in time for the next class.
Near the back of the room sat an older man who I guessed was in his forties or fifties and probably Asian. He was idly listening to a scrawny kid in sportswear, chuckling with amusement as he gazed out across the classroom, taking everything in. There were several more students on the far side of the classroom, all talking among themselves.
“Looks like quite the class,” said Sunny softly, squeezing my hand. “Don’t look so nervous, it’ll be fine.”
I nodded, opening my mouth to respond, but was interrupted by the opening of the door as an extremely short and rather old Japanese woman appeared, dragging a suitcase behind her.
She moved through the rows of tables on her way to the desk at the front of the room, rattling off something that I couldn’t understand. Once she had taken her place in front of everyone, her eyes darted out across the room, as though searching for something.
“Where is your textbook?” she said suddenly, addressing the girl with the long, black hair.
“I…” The girl stood, fidgeting slightly. “I didn’t know what book I needed,” she said. “I thought you’d tell us today…”
The teacher’s eyebrows rose into the air, a stern look engraved into her face.
“You have no business in this class if you are unprepared,” she said through her thick accent. “Please leave my classroom until you are ready to learn.”
For a moment, the girl just stood, hesitating, until the teacher raised her hand in a dismissive gesture toward the door. As she turned to leave the classroom, I could see that she was trying with all her might to bite back tears, and I felt so sorry for her. If it hadn’t been for Sunny, I would have made the same mistake, and looking out across the room, I noticed that she wasn’t the only one who was without a book that day. It seemed unfair to call her out like that, and I could tell right away that this was going to be the teacher from hell.
“Ja,” said the old woman, leaning forward with a piercing stare. “To begin, please rearrange the tables into a square shape around my desk.” People exchanged confused glances, each hoping for a prompt from someone else. Finally, Sunny shrugged and began turning our table so that it faced the wall instead of the white board. The others followed suit, shoving tables and chairs around until at last, we had a messy uneven square, which we all sat down at awkwardly, looking to the teacher for approval.
She nodded slightly and sat down at her desk, where she proceeded to spout some combination of Japanese words that none of us understood.
“My name is Onuma Sensei,” she said in English. “Please open your text books to page 2 and locate the character charts.” There was a mad shuffling sound as everyone scrambled to open their books in a hurry, presumably afraid of being called out for taking too long.
Onuma sensei nodded once more, smiling gently in a way that seemed almost wicked.
“Today we will begin to learn the character sets ‘hiragana’ and ‘katakana,’” she said. “First, I will take attendance of this class. When you hear your name, please say ‘hai.’” She pulled a folder from her suitcase and flipped it open, sliding a pair of reading glasses onto her face.
“Cameron Allen,” she said. Across the room, a boy with glasses jumped slightly, uttering a nervous “hai.”
“Lemy Crover,” she continued.
“Hai,” I said, biting back laughter at her pronunciation.
She continued down her list, shouting out names and receiving responses from their owners, all but one girl- presumably the girl whom she had sent out for not having a text book. When at last, the attendance had been taken, she flipped her folder shut again and looked out at the students, taking care to eyeball each of us individually.
“My name is Onuma Sensei,” she repeated cooly. “So you know my name, but I must learn your names. How you think I will do this?”
No one spoke. People shared uncomfortable glances, clearly afraid to speak and risk facing her wrath. As I looked around at all their intimidated faces, suddenly it dawned on me: It was not that she was genuinely pissed off about the one girl’s lack of a textbook-- that much was obvious, as she hadn’t gotten on anyone else’s case about it. No, the whole stunt was all about fear. She wanted us to be afraid of her so that she would have the upper hand. She wanted power, and by making an example of just one student, she demonstrated that power, showing everyone that she could simply choose to remove them from the class at any time and for any reason.
I decided I wasn’t going to buy into the whole evil tyrant gig. I wouldn’t feed this fire by remaining silent. What everyone needed was an ice breaker, and since no one else was jumping up with a pick axe, I decided that it would just have to be me.
“Name tags?” I asked, feeling my stomach flutter with excitement.
“Good guess,” said Onuma Sensei, flashing me that sweet, yet villainous grin. “What you get from a business man who introduce himself?”
I tried not to let my confusion show as I thought carefully about her words, trying to understand what she had asked.
“A… business card?” I asked.
“Correct! In Japanese, we say ‘meishi.’ Can everyone say ‘meishi?’”
Scattered voices chirped out from the silence, repeating the Japanese word apprehensively as Onuma Sensei nodded, pulling a stack of papers from her suitcase.
“When you hear your name,” she said, “please come to collect your meishi.”
Once again, she began listing off names, this time allowing her accent to take over completely. The so-called “meishi” were long strips of paper, folded in half to be placed upright on the table. On one side was a person’s English name. The other side featured their name in Japanese, carefully written out in permanent marker.
Calling my previous self-education back into play, I silently sounded out the name “Remi Kuroba” as it was inscribed on the back side of my name card.
Once everyone had their cards placed neatly before them, Onuma Sensei smiled, opening her mouth to speak. Before she could utter a sound, however, the door swung open, and in walked the long-haired girl, clutching a textbook to her chest. Her face was all red and puffy, her eyes bloodshot.
“Yes, excuse me?” said Onuma Sensei. “This is a Japanese class. Can I help you?”
The girl’s mouth fell open, her eyes wide with incredulity.
“I… I have my textbook…” she said softly. The stern, old woman just raised her eyebrows, flipping through a notebook.
“You are late for my class,” she said, offhandedly. “In the future, please make sure to arrive on time.”
The sadness melted clean off of the girl’s face and was replaced by a look of utter disgust.
“Is your name… Karen Dabis?” asked Onuma Sensei as the girl started forward.
“Davis,” she corrected, bitterly.
“That is what I said. Please take this meishi and find a seat.”
Karen seized the folded slip of paper and threw herself into an open chair next to the girl called Daria with the pink and blonde hair.
“Please do not forget,” said Onuma Sensei, addressing the class as a whole. “If you are going to be in this class, you must take it seriously. Please now refer to the charts on pages two and three.”
She walked everyone through the two basic character sets, talking forever and ever as I sat, boredly, wishing I could skip this part. Had it been any other teacher, I might have tried to argue that I already knew my hiragana and katakana. I might have written something down in order to prove my point and have the chance to relax for a bit. But I knew this teacher was serious business, and so I had no choice but to play along and listen to her drone on for what seemed like an eternity.
I was forced to do the practice packets, scribbling each character down five times before I could move on to the next boring character that I already knew.
Time crawled along as slowly as possible, really making me wish I had been more aggressive in my protests toward Sunny’s offer to sign me up. I thought it would be fun… And maybe it would be, but all I really knew was that the first day was the worst.
“Is it too late to get your money back?” I scribbled on a sheet of paper, passing it to Sunny. To my surprise, she elbowed me in the ribs, seizing her pencil from behind her ear. After scratching her response, she nonchalantly slid the paper back in my direction.
“Don’t be a wimp,” it said, simply. I frowned, tapping my pencil on the paper, deciding how I should reply. I knew that I wasn’t being a wimp, but I’m sure she wouldn’t see it that way, no matter what I said. I still felt awful about all the money that Sunny had dropped on this class for me, and I didn’t really think I had the people skills necessary to sit in a room full of other people my age and not go insane.
Only a small fraction of it had anything to do with my distaste for learning the parts I already knew.
Clicking the mechanical pencil, I touched it to the paper.
“It isn’t that,” I wrote before passing it back.
Sunny stashed the note under her textbook just in time to avoid Onuma Sensei on her way around to check everyone’s progress. She bent in close, examining my quick and messy scrawls.
“Oh, oh, oh!” she cried, reaching out a hand and placing a stubby finger on my hiragana “su.”
“Did you put a circle on this?”
I bit my lip, nodding ever so slightly.
“Remy-san! You don’t actually put a circle on this character! You put a loop, like this.”
Yanking my pencil away from me, she erased what I had written in the first box and replaced it with her own, demonstrating the proper way to write it, according to her.
“I’m a detective!” she boasted, setting the pencil back down on the table and striding away to criticize someone else’s work.
Once she was far enough away, I glanced over at Sunny again, hoping she would read the note and give me a response of some sort.
Tragically, the note remained hidden for the whole remainder of the class period, and it wasn’t until we were packing our things to leave that she picked it up once more and glanced over it.
“What is it, then?” she asked, folding the paper and sticking it in her pocket. I frowned, looking out the window at the rapidly darkening sky.
“It’s… It’s just that…”
“Mina-san!” cried Onuma Sensei, addressing the class with the Japanese word for “everyone.” She rattled off some incomprehensible gibberish, punctuating it with a perky “sayonara!” Everyone exchanged uncomfortable bows, and then at long last, we found ourselves free.
Snatching up my things, I fled from the classroom as quickly as possible. After a few moments, I noticed that Sunny wasn’t with me, so I slumped against a wall to wait for her. The school was extremely dark now, and even the lobby’s television had been turned off. As I watched students pour out of the main doors, I wondered if Onuma Sensei’s class was the last class of the day.
Before too long, the hallway was completely empty, save for a lone janitor who was pushing his cart along slowly. He nodded at me, his eyes heavy with exhaustion from a hard day of work, and I returned his nod, offering a sympathetic smile.
I took one more glance down the hall, slightly irritated at Sunny for taking so long, and then shuffled past the custodian and back to the classroom, where I peered in through the window. I had expected to see Sunny still in there, but to my dismay, only Onuma Sensei remained, organizing her things in that tattered, old suitcase.
Frowning, I moved away from the window, and glanced back down the hall in the direction from which I had come. Had she somehow managed to leave the building without me? With one last glimpse into the classroom, I hauled myself back toward the front doors and peered out through the glass. As far as I could tell, Sunny was not out there, and I could not seem to figure out where on Earth she could possibly be. My breath fogged up the glass as I scanned the parking lot, hopelessly, and I decided that my best bet would be to just call her and see if she was willing to disclose her whereabouts.
Sliding my phone from my pocket, I turned around only to find Sunny standing directly behind me, smiling contentedly.
“Woah!” I shouted, nearly dropping my phone. “Could you stop sneaking up on me!? You damn near gave me a heart attack!” With shaky hands, I stuffed my phone back into my pocket, looking daggers at Sunny, whose face had fallen beyond anything I’d ever seen.
Feeling slightly bad, but not yet ready to relent, I turned away, opening the door.
“I’m sorry,” she said softly. I shrugged, stepping outside and holding the door for her.
“Where were you?” I demanded.
“I was just using the bathroom… Didn’t you hear me tell you I was going to?”
I shook my head, stomping in the direction of my car.
“Well, I’m sorry,” Sunny said, jogging to keep up with my long, angry strides. “Please don’t be mad. It’s not a big deal, right? I mean, why are you taking it so personally?”
I dug my keys out of my pocket and fingered through them, locating the one for the door. Jamming it in the lock, I turned it until it clicked, and then yanked open the door.
“I’m not… like, mad at you,” I grumbled. “It just freaks me out the way you disappear and then sneak up on me as if you’ve been there watching me the whole time… like, invisible, or something.”
“Is that really what this is all about?” she asked, wrapping both her hands around one of mine. I sighed, tossing my head back.
“Only partially,” I confessed to the stars. “I guess there’s just a bunch on my mind.”
I ran a hand through my hair, sucking in a huge breath.
“Well,” I said. “I feel crummy about how much money you spent to put me in this class. Also, the teacher seems like kind of a b***h, and I really do not feel like doing that homework assignment.”
“The homework?” Sunny raised an eyebrow, piercing me. “It’s just flash cards.”
“Yeah, I know… But it means I have to go out and spend money on stupid index cards and waste a bunch of time cutting and gluing characters that I already know. I mean, I shouldn’t have to waste my time and money. I already know this stuff.”
“It’s for a grade,” Sunny said. “And index cards aren’t the most expensive thing in the world. Just bite your lip and get it over with. We can do it together, come on.”
At long last, I looked Sunny in the eyes. She was smiling up at me, completely serene, as though I hadn’t completely lost my temper with her.
“Let’s go get our coffee at Cappuchina’s,” she went on. “You can pay if it makes you feel better, or I can if you’re feeling poor. And then we can go get our index cards from the store. I can buy them so you don’t have to feel like you’re wasting money. What do you say?”
“Then I’ll be wasting your money,” I retorted.
Sunny just laughed, pushing me down into my seat.
“I’ll meet you at the coffee shop, okay? I’m obsessed with you!”
Shutting my door, Sunny waved, flashing me a smile, and strode off toward her own car.
I heaved a heavy sigh, starting my engine and rubbing my eyes.
I hadn’t told her how unsure I was about whether I could handle an entire two months of the class. I hadn’t told her how sorry I was for snapping at her. I didn’t even know if I would be able to say all the things I wanted to tell her, and as I drove off toward Cappuchina’s, I played through dozens of fake conversations in my head, trying to practice talking while also attempting to predict what sorts of things Sunny might say in response.
The closer I got to my destination, the more I began to feel that I should just omit the part about my uncertainty and suck it up. Even if the class was hell, it could be useful to learn a second language. Most Americans couldn’t be bothered to deviate from their native tongue, and those who could usually just learned Spanish, which seemed like cheating, to me. Spanish was so similar to English that I could usually understand what was being said, even though I’d never taken a single class.
Japanese, on the other hand…
It was a completely different language altogether, and not Latin-based like English, Spanish, French…
No, Japanese didn’t even use the same alphabet! It was a completely new and altogether different language that one needed to learn from scratch. This thought bolstered me as I drove, giving me the breath of motivation that I so desperately needed. Typical Remy.
If ever I needed to face a problem that seemed far too tedious for me to be bothered, all I had to do was convince myself that what I was doing was some fantastic and epic feat. I just had to make myself believe that no matter what it was, it was always a grand tour de force, even if it was just cleaning my house, or cooking dinner.
I pulled into the parking lot of Cappuchina’s, feeling like a super hero, ready to conquer evil. Stepping from the car, I took a quick moment to enjoy the fresh, autumn breeze before heading inside to get our drinks ordered.
The traitor barista was working again that night, and as I entered the café, he shot me a small nod of recognition. I threw a small smile back his way, hurrying up to the counter, ready to place the order.
“How’s it going?” he asked in his usual dazed and windy tone.
“Not half bad,” I said, preemptively removing my wallet from my back pocket.
“You’re dressed pretty snappy.” I looked up to see him eyeing me over. “Go somewhere special today?”
Laughing, I looked down at my second hand treasures.
“First day of Japanese class,” I told him. His eyebrows traveled slowly into the air.
“Japanese, huh?” You know, I took that as my foreign language in high school. Konnichiwa, brother!”
I allowed my mouth to flop open in surprise.
“Your high school had a Japanese class?” I cried. “You are so lucky! I’m jealous!”
He chuckled his wheezy laugh, leaning forward onto the counter.
“Everything’s better when it’s free,” he said. “Innit funny how they force kids to go to free school when they don’t give a hoot, but then charge them for it later when they finally do care?”
I was reminded of all the money that Sunny had spent on the class and part of me cringed at the very suggestion.
“I’m Steve, by the way.” He stuck out his hand.
“Remy,” I said, shaking it firmly. He nodded as though reminded of something he knew, but had forgotten.
“So what can I get you today?” he asked. “Caramel cappuccino again?”
“Uh… Yeah. Also, a small soy latte and two scones, please.”
Steve punched my order into the screen and then announced the total which I paid in cash. Handing me my change, he turned away to prepare the drinks. No sooner had he turned his back than the bells jingled on the door and I swiveled around to see Sunny striding in, a smile on her face.
“Hey,” I said, embracing her. “What kept you?” Sunny brushed the hair out of my eyes, beaming.
“I hit all the lights just wrong,” she said. “I was starting to fear that I’d worry you. Sorry if I kept you waiting for a long time.”
“That’s alright,” I said, squeezing Sunny’s cold hand. “I was just shooting the s**t with the barista. Turns out he took Japanese in high school, so we share quite a few things in common.”
“Order up,” called Steve, indicating the neatly arranged snacks on the counter. As we approached, Steve pulled something out of his pocket and held it out in front of me.
“It’s my card,” he said. “It’s for my lawn mowing service, but just ignore that part, ‘cause my contact info is on there, too. I just thought if you needed, like, a conversational partner for practice, maybe I could help or something.”
I smiled, sticking the card in my wallet.
“Thank you!” I said. “I’d give you mine too, except I don’t have one… But I’ll totally give you a call, or something.”
Steve nodded with a brief “cool,” and then Sunny and I were carting our snacks back to our usual table near the window.
I waited until Sunny was sitting comfortably and then caught her eye.
“Something on your mind?” she asked.
“Look,” I said to her. “Back at the college… I guess I kind of snapped on you, and that wasn’t very nice. So I would like to offer you my sincerest apologies.”
“So formal,” said Sunny, her eyes closed, grinning into her cup of coffee. “No worries, Rem. It was a stressful day. Plus, I probably should have done a better job letting you know my whereabouts, so you did have some right to be upset. I’ll tell you what: I promise not to sneak up on you anymore if you promise not to yell at me again… unless I really deserve it, that is.”
Sunny smiled sincerely, but inside, I could feel my heart sinking a bit.
“You’d have to do something pretty spectacular to deserve being yelled at,” I said. “I sure hope you don’t think you deserved that back there…”
“Only partially,” she smiled. “But don’t dwell on it, okay? Everyone has their moments. If you didn’t, I’d worry that you weren’t human.”
I let out a small laugh, realizing suddenly how grateful I was to have met Sunny.
“Well, I can assure you I’m definitely one of those,” I told her. “And I can probably assure you that I won’t yell at you again. However… I want to talk to you about Japanese class for a second.”
Sunny gazed at me intently, her eyes fixed firmly onto mine as she sucked back her coffee.
“It’s just… Well, you put a lot of money into that class for me and everything, so… I just want to make sure one more time that you’re really okay with it. If you’re having second thoughts, I wouldn’t be all too heartbroken if you just got your money back.”
Sunny laughed pleasantly.
“Is that it?” she asked. “Come on, be a man. Stop making excuses to quit so soon. I know Onuma Sensei is a bit, um… intimidating, I guess… But don’t let her scare you away! She’s only doing that to weed out the weak links. You’re not a weak link, are you, Rem? I bet you we go back in for the next class, and only half as many people are there. Let’s make up part of the population of people who persevere.”
I gulped down the last of my cappuccino, just smiling to myself. Sunny always had a way of looking at things with so much more optimism than I could ever find in myself. With such a cheery disposition, it was no wonder her name was Sunny.
“What would I do without you?” I asked, feeling fuzzy and warm. “You’re my better half.”
Sunny smiled, taking my hand on top of the table.
“We’re a match made in heaven, aren’t we?” she said. “Just two peas in a pod.”
The way she looked as she smiled over at me… It was as if I could see some new twinkle in her eye that wasn’t there before. Her gaze pierced me with an overwhelming feeling of warmth and tranquility, so much so that I didn’t even seem to notice myself dozing off.
“Oh, Remy,” I heard Sunny say. I opened my eyes to see her sitting across from me, her head tilted slightly and a look of sympathy painted across her face.
Sunny chuckled, standing up.
“Let’s save our cookies for a rainy day,” she said. “We need to get you home so you can catch a wink or two. Come on, let’s go! I’ll drive you home, okay? We can come back for your car later.”
Nodding wearily, I let Sunny help me to my feet and lead me out the door to where her car sat, waiting for us. She planted a soft kiss on my nose before stuffing me into the passenger seat and closing the door behind me.
© 2012 Ocularfracture
A Glitch in the Skye
AboutI've been writing since I learned how. I'm not saying that 5-year-old work was any good. All's I'm sayin' is that the passion has been there as far back as I can remember. My mother always read me sto.. more..