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I thought it was just another sick joke. No one asked what my opinion on this, and yet it seemed it didn’t matter what I thought because it still would happen. Nothing could be changed. That’s when I realized that it was not a joke and that it would happen. My greatest fear was getting closer than ever before.
It was finally the day, the last day, that I could gather those last minute memories to carry them with on my back to a way too different place. I knew this for months and yet I acted as if I never knew, I didn’t want to know that I would be leaving this place I called my home. Ever since I was two, I lived in a quiet and wonderful town near Tokyo called Yokosuka. The place is perfect for me. Its hills, soft green grass, and mild climate made it a perfect place for me to explore and that would be all I did. On the grass lied bright colored houses of such friendly people and their families. They seemed friendly to almost everyone. Whenever I past a house, these people would be seen working on their house, or taking care of their kids, who were always laughing and playing with their friends. These neighbors, as I past by, would always smile and greeting, and sometimes they would talk to me politely. In this little town, it was easy to talk to adults, even as a kid, and every one got along. Everyone was friendly, the scene was beautiful, and I was happy to be there. A lot of things in this town made it special.
It was like I had been here forever, but my forever was coming to end. My parents always said something about going to the states, but I couldn’t take it seriously. It seemed that everything they told me it would never actually happen, but this time my parents had bought the tickets. The furniture had been fading away one by one leaving completely nothing. As soon as everything was gone, we had to move out and settled in a very small hotel until the day of our departure. What other choice did I really have but to go to this so-called “new home?” I knew that one day I would have to leave my lovely sanctuary, but that day was coming too soon. Why so soon? I didn’t want to leave everything behind, all the precious things that I loved. I probably would never see them again. That was my last year that I could ever see the soft pink cherry blossoms that grew in the trees every spring, the last time I would see happy people wearing their kimonos as they watch fireworks during, and the last time I could go out with my friends on golden week. My friends? How could I forget them behind? That was the last time I ever saw them. It was hard to say good-bye. I was hoping that time, those last moments, could be stopped from going forward so I won’t have to leave. I wanted to be happy on my last day but my heart ached so much that I could barely pay attention to the time and those that surrounded me.
“Alexis? Today, you’re really quiet.” My friend, Noe, broke the uncomfortable silence. “What’s wrong?”
“What do you mean? You should know!” My head was burning with thoughts of my close departure. “I’m going to leave and I’m at the verge of crying!”
It wasn’t a lie. I had been bawling my eyes out the night before, and didn’t get any sleep at all. Since classes had started that morning I had been trying to hold my tears back with no success, and having one of my best friends joking with me wasn’t helping too much.
“Ok, ok, I’m sorry.” He apologized, “But why are you acting like the world is coming to an end?”
“It is to me.”
“Wow, you are so happy.” He’s said rather sarcastically “Why are you trying to think of it as your last day?”
“Try to think of if it as a new beginning instead. If you keep thinking like that, you’ll be even more disappointed tomorrow.”
Easy for him to say, he wasn’t the one who had been forced to learn about how to be a Texan, but even so, his words almost made me cry again. Not because I was in the state I was in or of my heartaches, but because he was always trying to cheer me up. Noe was like a father to me, or even a brother. He was special so I felt grateful to have him as a friend.
“Hey, Noe!” An annoying voice popped up. “What are you doing? Flirting with Alexis?”
Though Chris had a reputation of being annoying, seeing his annoying smirk was actually refreshing. I suddenly jumped out of my seat on the bleachers, ran up to Chris and kicked him in his shin for no apparent reason. He fell back into the grass of the wide field, with a thump as he hit the ground, and held his leg close to him looking surprised and in pain.
“What was that for?” Was the only thing I got out of him.
“I just felt like it.”
“Whatever. You’re not really upset at all are you?”
“What do you know?”
“I’ll get you back, you know.” He said competitively
My friend’s stupidity got me to forget for little while, and I was finally able to lighten up a little .We continued to play like it was an ordinary day but I was at school. It wasn’t a bad school, but I didn’t want to be at school. It was too hard to be at such a great place when you knew it was going to be the last time.
When our playtime ended, we got back to class and then I began thinking about horrible things again. Why did it still haunt me? As the day continued, my friends tried to cheer me up but it wasn’t going to work. Though the weight of the pain I felt is pushing against my shoulders, I could tell that those whom I talk to and those whom I know had a greater force on their shoulders. I knew I was being selfish as I was, and I was only thinking about myself when there were others who are upset that I would be leaving as well, but all I could do was be sympathetic for myself. It was a long day for my friends and myself, but the time eventually past and the day came to an end. I had no choice but to say goodbye, whether I liked it or not. My friends had cried and whine but I had no choice. When that day of departure comes, that is when I will be gone, and have to start it all over again. I didn’t want to start all over, I had already lived ten years here, and I didn’t need to start it over.
That day drew closer and closer and I became stiff, and my heart was racing. I want to stay here longer with my friends, but I couldn’t, my parents wanted me to get home quickly so we could prepare for our long miserable flight, our sixteen hours of pure hell. I still wanted to observe the little things, so in ten years from now, I would still remember where my school was and how big it was, where my house was and how it looked, or where the ocean was and how it smelled like. If I were to ever came back, I would want to know what had changed about this place I call my home.
My heart jumped out of its place and my heart began to race, as I turned around to the man who called my name. It was Gabriel. Like any one of my friends, he was someone who I would always remember but he was a little different. He was the first person I had ever confessed to, my first love, the one who stole my heart.
“Hey, Gabe, What’s up? Where have you been?” I didn’t want to sound disappointed.
“Oh, sorry. I had an appointment so I didn’t get here til later.”
I didn’t know why seeing his face made me feel the way I did, but when I saw his face I felt like crying even more. My attempts to hold it all back didn’t work after all.
“Why are you crying?” He asked.
It’s silent but he finally spoke. “…Do you want me to walk with you?”
I just nodded my head slowly. I felt weak and my legs filled with pain, like I had been walking all my life, an eternal path that I have been stuck on, and yet I continued to walk. I was not nervous or anything, just hurt. I wouldn’t be able to see Gabe anymore either, how could I possibly cheer up? THUMP! A sound interrupted my thought. I turned see that Gabriel, who had walked in to a pole. His face was red from the bump on his head. I didn’t get it at first, his vision was fine, and he had been looking forward the whole time, yet he wasn’t paying attention. Was he thinking about this too or was he trying to make me laugh? I did laugh and cried because of it.
“You did that on purpose.” I exclaimed with my lungs filled with the sound of laughter.
“So, did you stop crying?”
Though his face was red from running into the pole, it was obvious his was red from blushing. This was why he stole my heart. He might have looked like a student who doesn’t care but he was kind and thoughtful to others, though he was always trying to look though.
“At least you’re not crying anymore.”
He stepped closer to me and brought me into an embrace. I could only hold him back. At that moment, I was so happy that I had a chance meet him. I wanted to be there with him but we both knew. If only god could have left my life like that forever, I would never let go. I felt him kiss my cheek before he let go, I didn’t want him to let go, but it couldn’t last forever.
“When you leave tomorrow, don’t cry ok.”
“I’m not going to cry!” I protest, though I already knew I was lying.
“Because I’m not going to be there.”
“I promise, ok.”
We shared our last kiss before we said our good-byes. The difficulty in saying good-bye, it could make anyone break down. We were aware that we may never see each other again and it would hurt a lot, the pain in my heart was incredible. There would be no one like him. All I could do was go back to the hotel and wait for the sun to rise. I would never forget anyone, nor would I forget my home, my lovely sanctuary. I have no regrets, even until now. I lived the way I wanted to and love those whom I wanted to love, there’s nothing about it that I could regret.