Innocence - Chapter 1: "What I Know"Mature

Who am I? What am I? What’s my purpose? 

These questions echoed in my thoughts, swirling back and forth since I heard it in Philosophy class. Someone I hold dear told me about it before. For a friendless teenager, it was something that reminded me how it felt like to be alone.

Knocks on the door wrinkled my brows early in the morning.  Sensing the cock-crow light seeping through the curtains; I could tell I will be late for class. The sounds of my brother as he tried to wake me up every morning, exasperated me. The thud of his footsteps, calling out my name and the grumbles he would make when he’d be annoyed too.

“You’ll be late for class, Sammy.” Akira said in his usual calm tone, with his back on door and arms crossed to his brawny chest.

I could feel the coldness of the room beyond the bed. Half-awake, a long sigh finally got out of my small lips when he said, “Dad’s waiting, idiot!” So I got up blinking myself awake and mumbled something I couldn’t remember that even Akira failed to hear, and took a bath as fast as I could, ignoring the cold water.

He was wearing a shirt today. Good for him. Akira would usually walk around the house shirtless, showing his chiseled chest, broad shoulders, and awesome abs. It would always embarrass me, really, because most of the time we were alone in the house. Not because I once read a magazine talking about oedipal love. Or is it because of that? Maybe it bothered me after all. That damn magazine! But were not even related by blood, so…  What the hell am I thinking? He’s still my brother!

If only dad was not waiting, I would just ignore him and go back to the dream world. Talking about the dream I had, it was always the same thing… about that kid covered in blood and fell on a bridge. And every time I would try to remember the kid’s face, my head would hurt; a sharp pain breaking my head into half. Seemed like the kid had no face (or maybe not). I could not remember.  I started having these dreams ever since my head got hit by some bullies in school. That was when I was trying to get my bag on the pool and someone from behind nudged me on the head and fell on the school pool. I told Akito, my adopted father, that I just slipped and fell, keeping the bullying a secret from them. I did not want to worry them. I owed them. A lot.

 

I always woke up late. I could feel Akira was thinking that waking me up every day was a drag, since he was the kind of person who would always complain. But Akito was the one who asked him about it, which maybe was the reason why he was not protesting at all. Akira looked up to Akito very much. He had always been admiring his father.

I would always envy them actually. After all, I was an orphan. My name is Sam. It was a name given to me by a priest in the orphanage where I used to live. Father Emmanuel thought the name fitted me. It meant ‘the God has heard’ or ‘morning’ and ‘bright’. People with the name Sam have had deep inner desire to use their abilities in leadership and personal independence. They would rather focus on large, important issues, and delegate the details. However, it was the complete opposite of me. I had always been a gloomy person. I preferred being alone on a corner. Never charming nor charismatic, which was not an ideal for a leader, but I had always wanted independence. Like Akira, I had constantly looked up to Akito. Both of them, actually.

“There you go, Sammy” Akito said, his voice was cheerful as ever, as we arrive in front of the school gate and he handed a packed lunched. Whenever I looked at him, I could easily recognize the resemblance of him and Akira that I forgot he was already forty seven. They were like twins. Dark hair and brown eyes, tall and lean, and even their monotone voices (which worry them they would send the opposite sex to sleep as soon as they open their mouths) were alike.

“Thanks Akito.” I said and got out of the car.

“Hey! How many times do I have to repeat myself that’s ‘dad’ for you.”  He said, while a lavish sedan honked angrily. “By the way, I won’t be home tonight. Just eat with your brother and do your homeworks.” He pursed his lips and held his breath. “I’m sorry about this…I know your brother is an idiot for making fun of you all the time. You know he’s a toddler trapped in a Johnny Bravo body.” He inhaled and bit his lips, forming creases on his cheeks. “Well, bye sweety!”

Akito and Akira adopted me five years ago from Harrison-Laurent Orphanage somewhere in Region 56. Ah, the region 56, the region surrounded by tall trees as if it was shading the whole place. It was a desolated district that the houses were miles apart or even more. You would almost rarely see people there. The orphanage itself was joyless. The orphans just grew up without feeling the love of a new family. I was lucky. I was only eleven then, sleeping under a tree when Akito found me. He had a very thick black beard and a ponytail, reaching for my hands and asked my name. Puzzled, Akito could easily tell from my big round teal eyes. Akira was there too, staring at us. He was very quiet, just observing his father as I grabbed his hand.

From spending years on the orphanage, I never had the courage to ask the people there about how they found me. I was scared, even ‘til now.  Having no memories from my past, I was always afraid of what I might find out. I didn’t even know how many years I had stayed there. Or what my real age was. am I really sixteen? Just like how the other orphans felt: the past was only a hopeless memory that should be forgotten. It could never move someone forward. A curse. 

But what am I scared for and why? Although I knew the answers myself, I tend to brush them off. I didn’t want to think about it.

Being in the Mizuki family was a blessing. A hope. A beginning. Akito and Akira were very kind and generous. They treated me like real family. Akira’s mother and sister died in a painful ordeal two years before they adopted me. Although they did not mention about it, it was something that I learnt eventually. Uncle Natsume said they died in a fire. They were raped and were stabbed multiple times. ‘It was a brutal scene’ like he described. The suspect was captured right after, and was found out to be a member of mafia. Due to that nightmare, Akito left the police force and later became a private detective. While, Akira now became a member of the force himself, elite just like his father once was. He was youngest there-- only twenty one.

Thinking about what my real purpose was, may be this was it… to fill in what were lost. To stand-in what the Mizuki’s lost. Or whatever it was, I didn’t really matter. Their pain was my beginning. Their lost was my gain. It was a selfish thought, but an obvious fact.

“What are you spacing out for, Ms. Mizuki?” Mr. Smith said and the whole class laughed with him.

I heard the class whispered names for me too. Idiot, nerd, loser. I was a laughing stock in school anyway. I thought it really was a mistake for me to be in here-- in Ethelstan International School, one of the elite schools known in 214 Regions in the world. I got in because Akito wanted me here, not because of my grades. I belong to Class D, which was a very humiliating part for me.

I am a first year high school student. The first time I came here, I knew that it would be something like this: A commoner among the rich kids, of course what would you expect? Discrimination. There were others being bullied too in this school—just another plain citizens like me or those dead kid versions of Richie Rich—treated like dirt, a nuisance and plague. Although fortunately for scholars on their uppers, they were considered gifts and were respected by others.

Never did I experience this kind of treatment back in the orphanage. I was precious. We were all precious gems there. After all, we were all the same.

Yeah, laugh all you want, I thought, pulling my newly dyed dark auburn hair behind my ear.

They think I’m a freak. They said I always give off this strange somber aura that they didn’t like to come near me. They said I was depressing to look; always sulking, thick hair and full bangs, pale skin, large and thick eyeglasses. An outcast, not a nerd.

My life in school sucked. Every time I would go here, I would always look at my watch; hoping time would run faster so I could go home. Always looking forward to see the people who were looking forward to see me, waiting for me, and worrying for me.

But with the student council’s president… I thought I could stay a little longer. With him around, life in school just changes to pink-colored rose from gray and black.

The End

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