"Time is like a river. It is always moving and changing, yet it's speed seems different for each person who travels on it. No one can stop it or slow it down; not one person can change the flow of time and their destiny. Destiny wills us to meet and part with so many people as we mingle and intertwine ourselves in the web of fate. Each life is lived with so many regrets. People regret. They regret what they did and what they didn't, but they move on, swept away by the ever-changing flow of time. Something that doesn't change with time is a memory of days long passed. The memories of younger days are forever a part of a person, engrained deep inside their heart…
"It was a long time ago. I was only a young girl, a child. Even so, the memories still burn deeply inside my heart. I still remember the first time I saw her… my teacher… my kyoshi. I was fourteen years old and yet, I couldn't even run fifty meters without falling down. Everyone always teased me senseless. She taught me how to do it. She helped me. She told me that I'd be just fine. She helped me run fifty meters without falling. At that moment I felt like I could do anything if my kyoshi was there.
"I still feel the joy that welled up inside me when I cleared the horse in baruma for the first time. At first, I felt embarrassed about it, and it didn't help that the boys all decided to act like jerks and drool over them. Then, when my kyoshi said that she would wear them with me, I felt my courage rise within me. If my kyoshi was with me, I could conquer the world. She gave me the choice of wearing the old pleated skirts or baruma in the end. I was going to use the pleated skirt, but my classmates all told me to where the baruma. They all stayed after school and cheered me on. It was all because my kyoshi told them that they should support me, and each other as well. It was all thanks to my kyoshi that I gained the confidence to wear baruma and clear the horse.
"My father is always away on business in Europe. I never see him. My mother died a long time ago, when I was only a small girl. All I had to remember her by was a small picture that I always kept close to my heart. The day before Parents' Day Weekend, I lost the only connection with my parents to a canal through a series of accidents. I thought I would have to spend that weekend alone. I was so excited about showing one of my parents what my kyoshi had taught me. I wanted them to see me run without falling. I wanted them to see me clear the horse. I wanted them to see me succeed… just once. When I lost that picture of my mother, I lost all hope of that ever happening.
"On Parents' Day Weekend, my kyoshi made the parents and their children run together in a marathon around the city. I was the slowest one there, but it didn't matter. My kyoshi told me it was okay if I took me longer to finish, but I had to finish. That was what my kyoshi wished of me. I did finish. I was the only one who finished. When I actually took the time to see where my kyoshi had led me, I felt my heart swell up with happiness and sadness at the same time. I looked up and saw my mother's grave. My kyoshi told me that this time was just for me. The memories of Mother's death came rushing back to me, and yet, I felt happy. I spent my whole parent's day weekend with my kyoshi. I practiced everything I'd learned from her. I knew deep down that my mother was watching me, and I was glad that I'd lost her picture, if only to have her see how happy I was with my kyoshi.
"My kyoshi was always there for me… for us. She fought for us. She respected us and helped us when we needed it the most. She helped me feel satisfied with who I was. She told me that what mattered was my heart, nothing else. When our entire homeroom class was having a fight, she stayed with us the whole time and helped us work it out. She saved our relationships, our friendships. When the boys were being treated like janitors with unequal rights, she stood up for them and helped them with the cleaning. When they rebelled against the teachers for the sake of a friend's reputation, she stayed there all night to find the salary that was supposedly stolen by the boy in question. When that student confessed that he did take the vice principal's money, but only hid it in the discarded paper bin without any intention of losing it, she gave up her own salary to save the boys who rebelled. She gave up what she had worked so hard for. Our kyoshi did so much for her students.
"When our kyoshi turned out to be a man… everyone said that he was a twisted pervert who was just trying to get close to little girls… and that I was his primary target. It hurt to know that I'd been deceived by the one person I thought I could trust, that everything I'd learned from my kyoshi had been nothing but a lie. He didn't say anything to deny it either. My hopes and heart were shattered, and I was left to pick up the pieces. He left Gochiso and our school.
"A meeting was held to determine whether or not Seitow Sannomiya Private School should become an all-girls school. At first, the only one who objected was Gochiso's Lulu-bachan, who was acting as that man's deputy. When she spoke, I remembered all the times I spent with my kyoshi. I realized that my kyoshi wasn't a fake. Whether a man or a woman, my kyoshi taught me how to run fifty meters without falling for the first time in my life. Our kyoshi shared our problems with us. Our kyoshi helped boys with their cleaning duties. Our kyoshi did the parent-school visit with us. Our kyoshi became angry for us, protected us, and fought for us. Sensei believed in us.
"I will always cherish the year I spent as a student in the second year indigo homeroom class of Hibiki Amawa, a true kyoshi. This… this was my story. This was the very motive that drove me to succeed in school and in life. It shaped me into the young woman I have become today, and I don't regret a single moment of my second year of junior high as part of Hibiki-sensei's Indigo Homeroom class."
Fuuko smiled slightly as the crowds applauded my short speech. She shook the administrator's hand and returned to her seat amongst her classmates. It had been about four years since she had last seen her kyoshi as he rode away from her on the train. It was the last time she truly smiled. She promised everyone that she would smile again only on her graduation day, which she had yet to do. She silently waited, believing that her Hibiki-sensei would be there to see her sing… and smile, to support her with his strong and encouraging presence. There wasn't a doubt in her mind, until she was called upon to perform her solo. When she was called, she boldly stepped up to the microphone. She wrapped her slim fingers around the microphone and turned around to see her friends, Fukae Akira and Himejima Fujio cheering her on. Even with their support, Fuuko still felt as if something was missing.
"The song I am about to sing was written and composed by me at the end of my eighth grade year. The story I just told you was my inspiration for this song. I just hope that I can perform it as it was meant to be." The music started and Fuuko began to panic. When it came time for her to sing, her words came out as quiet mumbles before she gave up and hung her head, the music stopping with her voice. Her friends watched her and a heavy tension formed in the room. Fuuko eyed her father, sadly noting the disappointment written clearly across his face and felt tears threaten to fall from her eyes. Her father had come all the way fro his work in America to see her graduate from high school. Then, Fuuko noticed a hauntingly familiar silhouette standing in the back of the gymnasium behind the crowd. The man to whom the figure belonged smiled at her proudly and mouthed a message to her. The young woman's heart stopped when she understood the message and the tears she had been fighting with all of her will rolled freely down her cheeks. Fuuko lowered her head so that her bangs covered her face and eyes and remained still for a moment.
'You'll be just fine.'
Fuuko looked up with renewed confidence and signaled for the music to begin again.
There will be a blue sky before the end of the rainy seasons, just one step earlier, my heart fluttered, this year as well, summer will come soon after and the town and the people show their joyful feelings. Speaking of myself, I still remember you. A new wind blows in this town now. I felt slightly anxious, so I hugged you a long time. I want to grant your wish and stay with you, even if for only a day.
As she sang, she focused not on the words themselves, but on the memories that inspired them. She sang to the one who changed her life forever, to her kyoshi.
While still having the heart of a boy, he became a man. Even though we can't return to that day we met. If I close my eyes, I can see your smiling face. Could it be that you're still singing that favorite song?
She remembered the sound of her kyoishi's voice as clearly as the first time she'd heard it. Her kyoshi's voice… a sweet song, performed with the gentlest voice Fuuko had ever heard. The memory of it alone brought comfort to her worried mind and heart.
I can still hear that gentle voice and melody. During times of sadness, I will remember you. As time passed, I began to hate myself as someone was hurt, by those light words of refuse that habit of weakness, for any small reason please scold me for trying to run away…
'Even if it is just to hear your voice again!'
The melody that two of us were singing, you can hear me humming it still I cried for an hour, when I couldn't see you anymore…
Fuuko concentrated on her music for a moment and tried to portray its unspoken message to the one who created these memories with her.
I send the sounds of my guitar over the phone as I play for you to listen and when I play that phrase of refrain my chest grows heavy yet I still play on. The season when we met, those vivid passing memories I may be lost and confused about the future, but I will not forget you…
Fuuko began to feel her chest tighten painfully as she became choked with emotion. Even so, she continued to sing.
While still having the heart of a boy, he became a man even though we can't return to that day we met. If I close my eyes, I can see your smiling face. Could it be that you're still singing that favorite song? I can still hear that gentle voice and melody. During times of sadness, I will remember you. I send the sounds of my guitar over the phone as I play for you to listen and when I play that phrase of refrain my chest grows heavy yet I still play on…
A single tear rolled down her cheek.
The season when we met, those vivid passing memories I may be lost and confused about the future, but I will not forget you. I will not forget you…
Fuuko took a deep breath as her song came to an end. The gymnasium remained silent. After several moments of almost unbearable tension, one person began to clap. Fuuko scanned the room for the one who was applauding her and her eyes fell on the man that had been standing in the back, watching her from afar. Soon after, the gymnasium was filled with fervent applause from the entire audience, students, staff, and parents alike. Fuuko, however, didn't notice any of it. Her eyes and ears remained fixed on her kyoshi and the sound of his applause, the symbol of his approval.
"Sensei…" she mumbled. The entire gymnasium fell silent, expecting another speech or something of that nature. "Hibiki-sensei… will you please come forward and represent your class on our graduation day? Will you please be our kyoshi again… even if it's only for a moment?" The entire graduating Indigo class looked around curiously and began to talk amongst themselves. The vice principal stepped forward and began to reprimand her.
"Kuzuha Fuuko! We've been through this. Hibiki Amawa was never your sensei! He was just a dirty pervert looking to get close to innocent girls like you. If he's really your sensei… if he really cares so much about his students… where is he? Where is he on such an important day?" Sound footsteps echoed throughout the gym and stopped the vice principal's rant. All eyes were on the man walking up the aisle with an air of determination about him. As he reached the stage, he stepped over to Fuuko and smiled kindly. Fuuko smiled back and handed him the microphone.
"Thank you, Kuzuha-san…" Fuuko nodded happily. The vice principal was about to snap at the young man, but he began to address the crowed of students and their parents. "I would like to thank Kuzuha for allowing me the opportunity to speak to you right now," he began slowly. "My name is Hibiki Amawa and I was a teacher here when the graduating class were second year students in junior high. I admit that I did a lot of things that I am not proud of. I lied about my gender, broke almost every rule in the teacher's handbook, and even more so, I endangered the emotional state of my students by deceiving them. Still, they accepted me as if I have done them no wrong. For that, I will always respect them to the highest degree." He turned to his former students and smiled.
"I am proud of all of you. Each one of you... I am proud of you Himejima, Aoki, Fukae, Iwaya, Ohmono, Deyashiki, Fukushima, Ashiya, Nishinada, Noda, Yodogawa, Ohishi, Mikage, Naruo, Amagaski, Shinzaike, Manase, Uozaki, Kasuganomichi, Umeda, and Kuzuha. You are the ones that make me proud to be a kyoshi. I am so honored that you still consider me your kyoshi. Thank you." Hibiki bowed low to them and stepped off the stage. He was then met with a thunderous cheer and welcome from his students. After the graduation ceremony was over, the new adults all decided to celebrate their newfound freedom at a nearby club.
Fuuko decided to stay behind and visit her mother's grave instead. As she sat next to the well-kept tombstone, she reflected on her last day as a high school senior. From then on, she was officially a student at Tokyo University. She smiled bitterly. "Father must be so proud that his daughter was accepted into such a high-level college," she remarked bitterly, sarcasm evident in her voice. "Not that he cares anything about me… just as long as my grades and my image don't hurt his reputation like they did before…"
"Before what?" came an inquiring voice from behind her. Fuuko turned her head to see who it was and was slightly shocked to see Hibiki standing there with a friendly smile. "Mind if I join you?" Fuuko shook her head, motioning for him to sit next to her. He took a seat and looked at her amiably.
"Why did you come back?" Fuuko managed to ask in a very small voice. Hibiki looked away and smiled sadly.
"If I hadn't, I would have broken my promise. I told you and the others that I would come back some day… without the makeup and the lies." They sat in silence for a while before Hibiki gathered his thoughts enough to speak.
"Kuzuha…" he began, getting the young woman's attention. "Never be afraid to be who you are. Don't pretend to be something that your not. If you are going to pursue something, than do it for yourself and no one else. Just because your father expects perfection from you doesn't mean that you must live up to his expectations… as long as you are satisfied with yourself. That's what truly matters. Please remember what I've said. This is my last lesson to you as your kyoshi." Fuuko watched Hibiki warily as he stood up. She knew what he was trying to say, but she was too afraid to hear the words from him.
"This is goodbye, then, isn't it?" she asked him sadly and felt tears sting her eyes when he nodded. She stood up and faced him, smiling as she always had when she was young. "Whenever two people meet, there is sure to be a parting. However, when the threads of fate intertwine their feelings to the point where the people develop a relationship, it makes the inevitable farewell even more difficult to face. I don't know why you forgave me so readily, but I want to thank you for it. Thank you for believing in me, Kuzuha. I was able to become a better kyoshi because of you." Fuuko smiled widely, forbidding any tears to fall from her eyes.
"Goodbye, sensei," she managed to whisper, her gentle voice sound. Hibiki smiled at her. "Perhaps we will see each other again someday."
"Perhaps, indeed, Kuzuha," he replied, although knew that fate would never be so kind… or so cruel. With a final bittersweet smile, Hibiki turned and walked away from the young woman who had blossomed from the child that had been his very first student. Fuuko watched his back until it was no longer in sight before letting her tears flow without restraint. She stayed by her mother's grave for hours, her heart-wrenching sobs echoing over and over into the twilight between the words she had longed to speak, but hadn't the courage let flow from her lips.
"Because I love you sensei…"
A/n: I know that this was kind of a pointless fic from an anime I doubt many people have even heard of. If I'm wrong, then review and tell me.
Disclaimer: I don't own I My Me! Strawberry Eggs. Please don't take away my $7 in change by suing me.