Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Another Endings (A Story by Linh Daikon)

Mom died when we were very young but not too young to get through the feeling of losing someone whom we loved so much. We’d been through the darkest moments of our lives.

We had to learn and got used to a life with out mom. Father Shuto often cooked too much food for the meal. Little brother Sora still had the habbit of looking for mommy’s treat after getting home. And I'm still dealing with the feelings of emptiness, the hole in my heart. Father used to say, mommy is now at some place where happiness arrived and she always watches us from above every single day in our lives. I just wonder, whether mom is truly happy if she’s not here anymore with her beloved family. 

Therefore, I know how I feel to live a life without mom. And it must hurt more than a thousand times when someone suddenly loses both their parents. Yuuhi came into our lives with a heavy heart. 

It was a hot mid-autumn day when Shuto got home earlier than usual. He brought home a girl whom was at the same age with Sora, with a mournful face. 

“Sora, Hiyake. This is Yuuhi. From now on, we are her family.” 

Yuuhi’s parents died last week. They’d been in a car accident on their way to the hospital. In a moment, Yuuhi was left alone. She lost her parents, even her little sibling her mom was about to gave birth. 

“Doesn’t she have any relatives?” Sora asked, he doesn’t seem to like Yuuhi to become part of our family. 
“Sora, from now on, Yuuhi is the sister of you and Hiyake. Yuuhi is a member of this family.” Father said while cooking dinner. 

Yuuhi said not a word since she got here. She just sat quietly with her eyes staring at the memories that were gone too fast. She has such beautiful long black hair and dark brown eyes.

“I don’t like having any sisters. Also, this tiny apartment has no room for her.”
“I’ll make her a new room. But, until I have time to do that, you guys have to share your room with her.”
“I don’t want to share my room with a girl.”

Yuuhi seemed to be more mature than Sora. She had no comment on sharing a room with two teenage boys. Or maybe, she just had no choice.

“Just use my bed. I’ll sleep in that sleeping bag on the floor. Sora will give you one of the drawers to keep your things. And if Sora made you sad, you would tell me, okay?”

She nodded her head lightly. Then, she started unpacking her stuffs in a small suitcase. It seemed that she didn’t prepare anything to live a whole new life. She only brought with her some clothes, a scrapbook and a sleeping lamp. 

The first night she spent with us, Sora couldn’t stop complaining. Yuuhi left the lamp on at night. The light drove Sora awake and crumpy even though he slept on the top of the dunk bed. When Yuuhi fell asleep, Sora crawled down and turned the light off. 

I didn’t care, well, at first. I’m not a light sleeper like Sora. The sound and the light have no affect on me at all. After everything was settled down, I quickly fell asleep. I dreamed walking along the beach while the strong billows dashing on the shore. Then I heard someone crying but I cound’t be sure where the sound came from the wide ocean or it just wandered around me. 

I woke up as someone shouted out loud. It was Yuuhi. My eyes didn’t get used to the dark so I couldn’t tell what just happened. Sora woke up, too. He quickly turned on the light. 

“What just happened?”

Father opened the door. In our room, all the lights were on. Yuuhi sat in front of me, her hands were holding my arm tightly. She cried and seemed frightened. At that time, though I couldn’t really understand what was her problem, I felt like the darkness had frighten her.
She scared to remember the bad memories that took away her beloved family, father said. The cops came into her room at night telling her that both her parents were dead. The darkness scared her. It reminded her of the painful memories she wished to forget. We left the light on that night for her. Sora also started to take her as a member of this family.

Yuuhi was surprised when father Shuto said he would take her to school. She had never been to any school before. Whether it was because of her health or knowledge, her parents never took her to school. 

She was in the same class with Sora. Due to some not-so-friendly introduction from her teacher, the classmate seemed to dislike her. They looked down on her because she had no family and was adopted by us. It is said that we took her in because we felt sorry for her. For the worst, she did believe all of that although it was clearly not true. She started to feel ashamed of herself. 

Sora didn’t protect her. He didn’t want to get involved because it could affect his hounor of a student council. Also, Yuuhi’s study result was bad, really bad. She was under lots of pressure in studying which made her really tired. I still didn’t understand why her result was that bad because she’d been such a hardworking students both at home and in class. Sora said it because Yuuhi was stupid. But I knew that was not true.   

Her strong point was all about picturing. She was good at art and she had the ability to communicate with pets. It took us a whole year for the neighbor’s dog to get used to us. But Yuuhi only needed a week to be friends with all the animals in this neighborhood.
Father Shuto, from the day the members of the family started rising, worked overtime to take care of us. He’s a surgeon at the city hospital. He often spent some nights working instead of going home. The household chores were equally divided for the three of us. The only problem was Sora, who seemed to have no interest in doing “housewife’s responsibilities”. All the chores that Sora left undone, Yuuhi did every of that. I had the feelings that Yuuhi was afraid of something. She was trying her best for us to accept her. I knew how it felt.

“You’ll need to concentrate more on studying. I couldn’t understand, you were in the same class with others, but why couldn’t you be like them? You’re not disable, you just didn’t try your best, Yuuhi. I don’t want to see this horrible result in your studies anymore.” 

Father didn’t realize, Yuuhi was dyslexic. Even though she once told me that she’d read lots of novels, her speed of reading is extremely slower than I could expect. She couldn’t remember the letters, the words, and often misunderstood some letters. Numbers were not also her strong point. Mathematics drove her crazy. It took her hours to solve an easy math problem. I thought this was the main reason she was not sent to any school during her childhood. 

Yuuhi seemed desparated when she couldn’t pass the mid-term examination. The teachers forced her to come to school and study more. Sora and her classmates started to make fun of her. But somehow, Yuuhi didn’t give up. She studied harder and improved little by little. Still, she wanted not be ignored by anyone. 

“Dad, Yuuhi has dyslexia. She couldn’t study in our type of school.”
“Yuuhi is completely normal. She just didn’t try her best.”

Sometimes I wish father was a therapist instead of a surgeon. Because if he were, everything would be different. 

I wanted to help Yuuhi. She’d been trying so hard and it scared me that she might be too stressful trying to achieve something that was clearly not made for her. I went to the library, studying about dyslexia. Dyslexia is not too serious, of course. But it did cost a lot to get through. 

I started working part time at a small café in our neighborhood. At first, Sora often made fun of me for being a waiter. Well, I didn’t care if it was that funny to someone because I knew what I do, the reason I took this job, I had nothing to be ashamed. On the bright side, when Sora finally knew my reason, he started to help. 

In a month, Sora raised enough money from the help of all the students in my school. Being a member in a student council did had its perks. The classmates started to like Yuuhi. As she told me, everyday, she loved going to school because there were friends waiting for her. I was so happy to know that. 

Rakuen hated the fact that I kind of dumped her for the past four weeks. Rakuen is my girlfriend. We studied in different school and met each others on a date with our mutual friends. Rakuen was not really my type. But she was such a sweet, friendly and out going type of person. I liked Rakuen because of her opposite characters which occurred everytime I was with her. 

“You seems to take too much care on your sister rather than your girlfriend. I didn’t appreciate that.”

She always acted childish at some usual things in our lives. Sometimes, I found it lovely to have a girlfriend asking for some love but otherwise, it could be really annoying. Rakuen didn’t seem to like Yuuhi, or it was just what I thought. All the time she spent visitting my house, she usually brought up some topics that Yuuhi would never interested in. Such as these topics about idols, bands, beauties and datings. Yuuhi had no time in doing what teenager loved. I sometimes wondered, how could Yuuhi have no boyfriend or whether she had a crush on someone. Yuuhi is a type of girl everyone would fall in love with.  A girl who is sincere, simple and takes good cares on others. 

“When will your dad separated your room for her? I’m worried that the three of you sharing one room with a girl.”
“Why did you have to worry about that? Siblings in a family share the room. It’s normal.”
“It’s abnormal when Yuuhi is not related to either you and Sora.”

I was kind of insulted when Rakuen reacted like that. Although, everything she said was true. We sometimes found it kind of weird when sharing a room with a girl. The three of us were going through purity, and Yuuhi was not related to us. I could understand what made Rakuen worried so much. 

Rakuen wanted to prove all her worries has its reason. When Yuuhi is around us, Rakuen always acted romantically which she never used to. I was always the one taking the lead and I had to admit, it felt great when your girlfriend switched places with you. Yuuhi was like somekind of drugs driving Rakuen to act romantically. Sometimes, I felt wrong making Yuuhi a part of the game that satisfied me. 

At first, Yuuhi didn’t seem to care. But as the time went by, Yuuhi was trying hard not to care. I knew it because she was not an expert in hiding her feelings. I knew she didn’t enjoy watching these romantic actions that Rakuen gave me. Somehow, I started to feel annoyed when Yuuhi was around in the middle of our time. 

I caught Yuuhi wearing the most beautiful dress I had ever seen in my entire life. She always dressed simply but everything looked great on her whatever it was. She was standing in our room, looking at the mirror and didn’t seem to expect someone to see her. Her face turned lovely red. 

“You are beautiful, Yuuhi.”

I complimented her without second thought. It made her embarassed. She didn’t know how to react as if no one had ever complimented her like I did. 

“You look nice, Yuuhi. You'll be the best wing man I've ever had.”

Saora seemed satisfied. He told me that Yuuhi will be his bait at the prom tonight. With her beauty, everyone would be envy. She would make all the girls jealous and that would be the moments when a girl need a compliment which will come with Sora. Sora just used Yuuhi to get what he want.

The bait was a huge success. Yuuhi became the center of attention and lately, a person sitting alone in a corner. Sora dumped her to firt with other girls following his plan. How about your plan, Yuuhi?

She turned down everyone wished to have a dance with her. But when I asked whether I can have this dance with her, I sweared that I could see sparkles in her eyes.

We danced. Our steps and rhythms went perfectly together. She danced beautifully. For the first time in my life, I saw her smile. The most charming smile anyone could have. Why did she hide it for such a long time before? 

Her toes were hurt because she barely wore high heels. She refused my care whenever Rakuen was around. I didn’t know why, at that time, Yuuhi was everything to me. Rakuen was only a friend of mine. Yuuhi was much more important. 

“Hiyake, you have to choose, right now. Me or her?”

I had no second thought. Yuuhi said not a word, just kept silent while I was carrying her on my back. I left the party with Yuuhi, left the girl who was once my girlfriend standing crying out loud.

Yuuhi didn’t talk on our way home. She was lighter than I thought. She was always skinny which worried me sometimes. I tried to start a normal conversation but Yuuhi did not replied. She was mad at me, I guessed, because I chose her instead of my girlfriend. 

She did ignored me. She refused everything I do for her. It hurt my feelings. Then, we got involved in a cold war with each others. I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings but too bad, I did. I blamed myself for being such an idiot. I wanted her smile on her face. 

I stopped the fight to prevent any painful feelings I could throw at her. I left the room and walked to the balcony, hoping that the cold wind could come and ease my soul. Later, Yuuhi walked to me. She shared the feelings that she’d been hiding all the time, which almost drove her insane. 

She loved me. She never took me as her brother. She was really happy when I chose her instead of Rakuen. But along with the happiness she had, she felt guity for stealing someone’s boyfriend. She blamed herself for being selfish wanting me to be hers and only hers. She appologized for turning our relationship a mess. 

I took her hands. Somehow, right from the beginning, I'd never taken her as my sister. 

Father Shuto got angry when we told him our feelings toward each others. I knew he wouldn’t accept us right away. He took Yuuhi in because he wanted all the good things for her. Her little hands squeeze my arm as if she was shivering. I hold her hands tight because from now on, I’ll protect her. 

I came across Rakuen a few years later. She didn't ignore me but instead, gave me her blessings. She smiled and kissed my son on his cheek. Yuuhi took his for some sweets so Rakuen and I could talk. Rakuen said that right from the beginning, as she saw Yuuhi, she knew right away that Yuuhi and I were meant to be. She got jealous and tried to win over my heart but deep down from her soul, she knew that we were zinged, and there's nothing else she can do. 

"People spend their entire lives finding true love and somehow, forget to love truly. I'm really glad that you guys find each others." Rakuen said. 
"How have you been, Rakuen?"
"From the day you left me at the prom?"
"Sorry about that."
"I'm just kidding. I'm good. There are so many things going on with my life lately. I've been traveling a lot. You know, just living my life. Enjoy it while I'm living."
"That's nice to hear."
"How about you, papa?"
"Still struggling with my dad."
"About your marriage?"
"Well, no. That's not it. Dad keeps asking us whether we're ready to have another child, he wants a granddaughter."
"Keep working, papa." She laughed. "So, um... how's Sora doing?"
"He hardly come home before midnight, working as a bartender keeps him very busy. Oh, and last week, he said that you were in town. Have you guys met?"
"Actually, I'm here today because Sora wanted to take me to the Mid-autumn Festival. But he's late, as usual. He'll never change, right?"
"I'm not surprised about that. So, you guys have been seeing each others, huh?"
"Well, I'm not saying that there's something between us, but we won't know right away. This is not some kind of love at first sight which I had with you."
"You had love at first sight with me?"
"You didn't see it, did you? Never mind, then." She paused, and "...about Sora, would it be okay for us if we started dating?"
"My ex dates my brother? Well, it might be weird, to be honest."
"You dates your sister. You married her. How come that wouldn't be weird?"
"We're not related."
"Neither do we."
"You haven't changed a bit, Rakuen. Fine, good luck with my brother."
"Good luck with your next child."

We laughed as we passing by each others. Yuuhi gave me a cone of cotton candy. She smiled, the smile I had fallen for. My little family, the lifelong treasure I would cherish for the rest of my life. 

From the distance, I saw Sora waving and Rakuen smiling. The two of them held hands and wore matching tees. There's another happy ending to this story, are you thinking what I'm thinking?

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