Alex sits down on the bench, opening the photo album for the first time since he moved into his new home, which proves to be a strange experience for the boy. He actually has a few, but for some reason he chose this one, the one full of the two best friends of his old life. It is full of good times, bad times, and days in between. The very first page happens to be one full of pictures from their first meeting. Just looking at them brings a smile to his face. Thanks to the pictures, he can almost clearly remember that day. It isn’t difficult for him to tell his audience of one about his life, at least not at first. ********** It was the end of summer in the year two thousand one. Not many people were at the orientation for aspiring first graders when he and his mother arrived. There were only three families still waiting. His best friend Tenshi was with them, but he didn’t know who the two girls she was talking to were. They rode his bus, but he was always driven by his mom so he never talked to them and didn’t even know their names. All of them had met the teacher already and decided to head into the playground while their parents talk to Miss Foster.
The boy used to be very shy, it was so bad that his mom had to force him to make friends with Tenshi! This was another point where “Mom knows best” as she walked him out to the playground and told him to go play. He looked absolutely terrified, or at least that’s what Tenshi would tell him whenever she brought that day up. Not that he denies it or anything.
Tenshi quickly introduced him to the blonde and brunette. Renko and Maribel, two people who would be invaluable friends in the years to come. He couldn’t help but wonder why Renko was wearing a black hat with a white ribbon on it when it was far too large for her. When he asked she told him it was because she found it funny when people asked her about it. Maribel was shy too, but not to the extent he was.
All it really took for them to start their friendship was a simple question from Tenshi, “Why don’t we be friends?”
There was no hesitation from Renko, Maribel agreed too, and so did the boy, after a moment of silent debate with himself. He worried he would be hurt by them or that they would wind up being mean to him. Still, he managed to put his fears aside and made two great friends in the process.
The four of them played until their moms had all finished talking to the teacher. Well, all of them except his that is. The girls didn’t want to leave him though, they were having too much fun! Their parents, in an attempt to go home and get dinner ready (or something) promised that they could go to each other’s houses during the weekends and play. That made the children feel better so they all said their goodbyes and left, but not before playing for a little while longer as their parents took pictures.
To this day, the boy treasures the pictures and hopes that they do too. ********** As he flips through the pages of the album his one girl audience watches him with a smile. “Why do you keep saying ‘boy’? Why don’t you say ‘me’ or ‘I’?” She asks him as he settles on a few more pictures.
He shrugs. “I figured it would sound more like a story like this.” He looks at the pictures closely. Ah, his twelfth birthday. Probably one of the best days he had before things took a turn for the worst. ********** It was an early morning for the boy. He had to make sure the house was clean and that there were plenty of plates and cups, just in case someone dropped one. It didn’t really take him that long, he cleaned the house almost daily anyway. He was awake before the sun even rose that day just so he could be ready for when his aunt arrived. All his chores were done with as little noise as he could manage, his mom needed her rest after all.
A quick and simple breakfast was made and the table was set. Even though he was told many times before that he didn’t have to wait, the boy still sat patiently at the table for his mom. The sun was just rising, so his mom would be up soon. Just like the boy, she was an early riser. He wasn’t waiting long, in fact the food was still warm when he heard her walk down the stairs. His mom walked into the kitchen as she ran her fingers through her long blue hair. It struck the boy as odd that his mom dyed her hair again. Or did she just let it go back to its natural color? It doesn’t really matter.
After a hug and his mom telling him “happy birthday” they sat down and ate their breakfast. His birthday fell on a Saturday that year, so his mom took the opportunity to have a long talk about his week at school. Nothing really important happened during the week, but they still enjoyed their talk.
After breakfast was done and dishes were cleaned they sat in the sparsely furnished living room. The boy worked on homework, and his mother read a book. By the time he finished his work the doorbell rang. He jumped up and ran to the door to greet his aunt.
His aunt greeted him with a hug and kiss to the forehead. With how close they are it wouldn’t have surprised them if they someone thought they were mother and child.
The next few hours were spent catching up. The boy talked about his friends and school, while his aunt told him about some of the students she taught. See, at that point she wasn’t a principal yet. Just a regular teacher, who taught English and History.
Eventually the doorbell rang once more, and like before the boy ran to the door to answer it. Waiting outside were his three best friends, each carrying some form of present. What surprised him was the fact Renko was carrying a homemade cake!
For most of the day and well into the afternoon the four of them played board games, talked about seemingly pointless things, and just enjoyed each other’s company. Really, it wasn’t that different from a normal day. The only difference was the fact his aunt was there and they were going to have cake.
Renko and Tenshi kept trying to tell the boy something, but wouldn’t actually say anything while the other was around. Of course, looking back it’s pretty obvious to him what they wanted to say. Still, back then he was just a confused child who only cared about having fun with them. Maribel seemed to enjoy the awkwardness of the other two girls though. She wouldn’t say anything, but it was obvious she knew what they wanted to say.
When it came time for dinner and then cake Renko insisted that everyone should try her cake. Now, everyone knew Renko wasn’t the best cook. But this cake was pretty bad. That didn’t stop the boy from having more than one slice just so he wouldn’t hurt her feelings. Of course when Tenshi outright told her it was bad she got upset. Maribel and the boy lied and said that it was delicious, even if they were wondering if Renko had a sense of taste or not.
Still, despite being a pretty normal day, other than his aunt constantly taking pictures, he had more fun than usual. Perhaps it was because it was his birthday and that made it all the more special? Regardless, he’ll never forget that day, or that cake! ********** Alex flips through more of the pictures with moist eyes. He’s leaving a lot out when he tells the stories. It’s highly unlikely his audience would care about the fine details, or the ones he can remember. She did just want to know more about him his friends after all. Nothing wrong with leaving out the parts where Tenshi confessed to him, or when Renko threw a slice of cake at her in response.
“Alex,” the blue haired spectator said during his pause. “Do you miss them?”
“Of course I do,” he responds, “They were like family to me.” Indeed, between spending the night at their houses frequently and them spending the night at his place it gets hard to not see them as family. “It’s okay though, I’ve made a lot of new friends. I’ll miss them, but it’ll be okay. I can just call them whenever I want anyway.”
“Will you tell me more about your old friends again sometime?”
“Sure thing, Kogasa,” he says, standing up in the process. The sun is starting to go down and they’ve been in the park for a while. “We should probably head back now.”
“Okay,” she says with a smile.
She holds on to Alex’s hand as they walk through the city streets…
Okay, so I'll be posting the shorts that tie into Myouren Academy here. Sorry it took me so long I'll try to be better about time management.
Anyway, I'll update the shorts periodically and I'll get back to the actual story!
It was early in the morning, probably two whole hours before he had to go to school. It wasn’t unusual for him to get up so early, he needed the time to wake up and get some chores done. He had gone about his normal routine of making his bed, packing his backpack, putting away his CDs, and making sure his alarm clock wasn’t going to go off again. His room was bland and had the bare minimum when it came to furnishings. It wasn’t his choice, if it was he would have posters and pictures hung on the walls. No, he couldn’t afford such things. Not with his mother’s medical expenses. ********** Once again she spent another night wide awake. The only reason she knew that the day had changed was the alarm clock buzzing from her son’s room. The woman laid in bed as her son walked through the house, cleaning as usual. Her immune system was shot and she didn’t have the energy to even walk. The only room that needed to be cleaned was hers and the master bathroom that was adjacent to it. It was almost an hour before her son slowly opened the door. As she did every morning she pretended to sleep.
“Mom, I’m leaving. Misses Hearn will be by later to make you breakfast.” He said those same words every morning. Not a single word was different, and yet, his voice brought the woman to tears. But she kept quiet; she didn’t want her son to know her pain. She wanted to remain strong, for his sake. ********** The boy closed the door and walked through the sparsely furnished house one last time before he would walk to school. Most of the furniture had been sold to pay for the first set of bills. Since he was still under eighteen, they were getting money from social security because his father passed away years ago. But, that was their biggest, should have been, their only source of income. The boy worked hard after school at a convenience store in the center of town. His mother had forbidden him from getting a job since she wanted him to focus on school, but he knew they couldn’t live off of the money they were already getting. At the end of the month, they barely had enough to pay the bills, not to mention his mother’s medicine was getting more expensive as time progressed.
With a sigh, the boy walked out the door of the house once more and was greeted by his only two friends. School started in an hour and a half, and they would need a whole hour to walk there. They could wait for the school bus, but the boy was picked on or ignored so they chose to walk.
“It’s better for our health” his brown haired friend would joke. She provided laughter in a dark time in his life. His other friend, a blonde girl, provided comfort where he wouldn’t normally find it.
He put on a brave face and walked to the school. Once again, he remained silent unless directly spoken to. But, his friends didn’t mind. They were happy to be there for him, and he was happy to have them. He still missed his blue-haired companion that moved away two years prior, but there was nothing he could do. He didn’t have her new number, nor did he know where she moved to.
He didn’t care, these two flanking him and laughing were all he needed. ********** Her son had left with his friends leaving her alone once more. It couldn’t be helped; he still needed to attend school. Besides, it wasn’t like she’d be alone all day, people would stop by and take care of her.
She hated that. She didn’t want people to wait on her! She didn’t want people to take time out of their busy lives to visit her!
Once again she reached into the drawer of her nightstand and pulled something out. ********** The boy didn’t return home until after dark again. He told his mother that he’s studying with his friends, but in reality he’s working despite her wishes. It killed him to lie to her, but it had to be done. Much to his chagrin, he became quite adept at lying.
His mother was asleep again, and there was a note on the kitchen table, again. The note was the same as always, “She’s taken her medicine and ate dinner. I’ve helped her to the bathroom and bathed her. She’ll probably be asleep when you get home, take care of yourself. Laura Hearn.”
The note went into the trash like all the others and he cursed whatever gods exist for his mother’s health. Though he curses them, he prays that she gets better. He wondered if there was ever a more hypocritical person than him.
After a quick meal of instant ramen he went to check on his mother. Once again she was “sleeping”. He knew it was an act, she couldn’t hold still long enough for it to be genuine. Still, he let her continue this façade. It was only fair seeing as how he was lying to her. ********** She waited to hear the door to his room close before she pulled out a spiral notebook and pen. Laura gave it to her when she said she wanted to write to take her mind off things. It’s true she wanted to write, but it wasn’t to take her mind off of things. She cried as she wrote on the page. The first page was ruined by her tears and shaking hands so she tore it out. Her next attempt was even worse, the third and fourth just as bad. On her fifth attempt she was able to get it right. Folding it up she placed it on the night stand and pulled something out of the drawer one…
Time… ********** It was early in the morning, probably two whole hours before he had to go to school. It wasn’t unusual for him to wake up so early, he needed the time to wake up and get some chores done. He had gone about his normal routine of making his bed, packing his backpack, putting away his CDs, and making sure his alarm clock wasn’t going to go off again.
At his mother’s room he opened the door like he usually did. “Mom, I’m leaving. Misses Hearn will be by later to make you breakfast.” No response. He watched her for a little while.
She wasn’t moving.
She wasn’t breathing. At least, not that he could see.
He rushed into the bedroom. “MOM!” He cried. There was vomit on the floor and her bed. Her hands were cold and stiff, and her face was pale and lifeless.
There was nothing he could do…
His mother had passed on from this earth leaving him all alone in this empty house.
Collapsing to his knees he wept for his departed mother. He stayed there crying until his friends came in because he was late. They found him a sobbing wreck. One of them called 911 and her parents, and the other tried to get him to leave the room.
They were unable to get him to move until Mister and Misses Hearn arrived. Mister Hearn, who was a police officer, was able to lift and carry him out of the house and to his own next door.
The funeral came within only a couple of days. The boy attended, but heard nothing. For the next two weeks he stayed in the Hearn residence, utterly defeated. He couldn’t bring himself to go to school, work, or out with his friends. Everyone watched him closely, worried he would try to end the pain he felt.
But he didn’t feel pain.
He didn’t feel anything.
He just existed.
His aunt came to pick him up at the end of the two weeks, and at that point he had started to get better. But to him, it was just an act. He still felt empty and hopeless.
His aunt, his last living relative, gave him new hope though. She told him of the town she would take him to, the school he would attend, and the people he would meet.
Two people watched as he climbed into the van, but he didn’t see them. He didn’t want to see them. The van shifted into drive and he didn’t look back.
Never did he see the note.
Never was he told his mother didn’t die of natural causes.
He didn’t see the empty pill bottle on the floor beside the bed.
He would live his life thinking that his mother died of natural causes.
Or so his aunt believed…
In reality, he did see the note and empty pill bottle. The note still remains unread, laying at the bottom of his suitcase. When will he read it? No one can say. He will read it when the time is right.
For now, he stares out of the window of the van listening to his aunt speak. But, he’s getting tired. It wouldn’t hurt for him to take a nap, would it?
Of course not.
He closes his eyes and lets himself drift off to sleep. He’ll need the rest if he is to go to school tomorrow. ---------- As the name of the picture says, I am a HORRIBLE PERSON!