Kiku and Alice story (JPXUK)
'I was sure I heard it right.' I clenched my coat nervously as my boss continued to announce the bad news.
"As instructed by our chairman, this group will be dissolved. Only few people will be left here to look over branch activity. Most of you here will be sent to Headquarters for the turnover of duties, relieving your posts as office staff, and be ordinary branch staff on the later…" she continued.
It may not seem like it, but my boss was saddened with the news as well. And it seems I feel lucky for being safe.
I looked over to my colleagues and saw their restless faces. One of them haggled his arm around me and said, "Ah you're so lucky, Honda-san. You're not going anywhere!"
"Ah… It seems…" I sympathetically patted him. "I wish you all the best of luck." I let out my sadness with a soft sigh. They were indeed feeling restless.
Thinking about moving to another country frightens me, even if I knew they won't be staying there for too long. Once their purpose is done, they'll be brought back to their home country. It will come back to normal soon enough. This is temporary. I reassured them.
But I feel like it's too sudden. I was too shocked to even let out my reaction, even though my colleagues are rushing me for my response. I only gave them a nod as I mumble, "As long as everyone will be sent home after, then this is fine by me." Somehow, they all agree to that statement and gave themselves a pat on the shoulder.
'It will be fine.'
I went home after work and laid on my futon, staring at the ceiling blankly for a while. "I guess I won't be seeing most of them by next week…" I sighed heavily and rolled over to fix myself for a bath. Taking a bath helps relief my stress. I was relaxed as soon as I submerged myself with the warm water. I found myself staring out the window, wondering how everyone truly felt about the news this morning. Thinking about going to another country for work does sound like you're having a vacation at the same time. New scenery, new environment, new people… "It may sound exciting, but I rather stay here. I'm comfortable here. Besides, I couldn't afford to leave my family. Also, I recently made new friends. I want to be where I am now. I am fine. I am happy the way it's going right now. I don't want to change that."
I somehow empathize most of everyone's emotions so, I tried my best to comfort them. Even if turns awkward most of the time. I claimed to be soft spoken. As a man of culture, I respect everyone's personal opinions and offer myself an ear to listen. But I often find myself not saying anything.
Sometimes, I want them to figure out the answers to themselves. My words of wisdom were limited after all. Granted that it was not the help they expected from me.
I went to my parent's house one day and saw them watching the news on TV. A foreign channel for some foreign news. Coincidentally, it was about London. But my parent's have this distasteful look on their faces. With my curiosity, I asked for their opinion about the foreign land.
The words that were repeatedly said were—Scary, Dangerous, Troublesome, Not for the weak…
I guess I shouldn't have asked. They're too worried for their son to be out there to the unknown, even though I'm already an adult.
It was the farewell party and we had a feast. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Karaoke left and right. We vowed ourselves that we'll see each other soon despite the temporary reassignment.
"England you better prepare for us! We, Asians, will dominate!"
I laughed when my best colleague announces that. We seemed to have developed a stronger bond after a year of being together as a team. The hardships, failures, and success that we shared bounded us together. It felt like family.
"We'll see each other soon. Kanpai!" We raised our glass.
"Kanpai!" Everyone cheered.
I looked over my watch and saw that it was afternoon. "Alright, time to do my usual task." I opened my email and saw a message from the Headquarters, containing everyone's plane ticket details to England. 'This is weird. Why am I included?' I was puzzled so I scrolled down and to my fear—I saw something horrible.
"W-What?!" I exclaimed and sat up on my seat.
"What's wrong, Honda-san?" The colleague next to me asked cautiously and looked over to my computer screen. "No way! Y-You're included?"
"I-I…am lost of words. What is the meaning of this?" I feel like fainting at that very moment. It was too shocking for me.
With everyone receiving the same email as I have, they began to question the person in charge. The only explanation we have coming from the HR department—was a MISTAKE.
I can't believe they let it slide. And here I am rushing myself to get my things packed. "How troublesome…"
There was nothing I could do.
And so, I travelled to England with everyone. But I'm the one leaving with a heavy heart.
-End of Prologue-