Shoichi Irie. Age twenty-three. I'm a junior in University.
The world around me always seems to be changing; stepping out of one shape and into another. My own life is mundane. Nothing ever happens, nothing ever changes. I follow a schedule day after day, like a robot. As I sit in this classroom, I watch the normalcy outside of my window and tune out the voices of my classmates. I am not like them. My life consists of homework and good grades, not swaying drunk in the night to blaring Techno. That's not the world I belong to.
But sometimes, I wish I could talk to them.
One side of me wishes I would get over my nerves and engage in conversation, the other side prefers to stay away from them. All of them. I feel like I've got some mental issue sometimes, but I was tested. The results?
Does that mean I'm at risk? It seems like I'm terrified of others. There was one time when two girls asked me to help with their homework and I couldn't figure out what to say, what to do. I was terrified. So like the introvert I am, I murmured an apology and ran off from the girls like they were demons. The expressions they must have been wearing burn in my mind, even though I never looked back.
I don't know why I'm so afraid of others. They must feel so awful, like there's something wrong with them. No…the one with the problem is me. I hate how I treat them. It isn't fair. Every day is like this, with me wondering what my issue is. Why do I feel such a mixture of emotions? Why can't I just be who I want to be?
What is my purpose?
The door to the classroom opens. Out of instinct I follow everyone else in looking. It's HIM. He walks in with a megawatt smile and his peers flock to him like birds. The female birds have want in their eyes, while the males look on in admiration. I swear he has a white aura around him. He's like a star, even his hair. It's white and sticks out at different angles.
He stands in the middle of the swarm. He and the birds laugh and trade an occasional swear word. Soon he comes to take his seat beside me, but not because he wants to. This was his assigned seat, right next to the 'loser who stares out windows all day', as my peers fondly call me. The birds near him continue to chatter excitedly about some party, while birds who are farther away lean closer to hear. I look back to the window and dismiss them all. They talk about the silliest things…they are the ones who sway drunk in the night to blaring Techno. Their barrier is as clear as day: I am not a part of their world.
The talking has lowered to a dull roar and I feel a poke at my shoulder. I turn only to have Mr. Star himself smiling at me. He gestures to a note on my desk. I look down. His handwriting is surprisingly elegant, cursive-like, and doesn't match him at all. I figure he writes a little sloppier to the birds. I wonder who he's trying to impress as I read the note carefully.
Hey Sho-chan~! You look a little anti-social, man. Come to the party tonight.
I can't believe it. I stare at the words. An invitation. Is it really to me? I glance nervously at him, but he's back to chattering with the birds. What should I do? Answer? Ball it up and chuck it over my shoulder so the person behind me catches it, changes it to 'Theirname-chan' and gets invited instead of me?
I pick up my pen and write back. My writing looks so inferior to his.
What time is it?
I slip it onto his desk and hope it floats off into the ground to be stepped on. A part of me wants to forget about it already. But no, he notices. He writes back, and I watch his mechanical pencil scratch out every letter. It comes back my way.
Starts at 8. When do you want me to stop by? I'll take you to it.
Quicker than before, I reach for my pen, anxious.
My eyes travel down and I see that he's written 'Dorm #'. I still can't believe this is happening. I accidentally smudge the ink with my hand. A bird has caught on and leans to see the note over Mr. Star's desk. It sits back after a moment and whispers to nearby birds, who all mull it over quietly. Somehow, the bespectacled shy guy is trading notes with Mr. Star. The girls want him to look their way, the guys want to be like him. I'm in the spotlight, but I don't care. For the first time in my life, I don't feel the gazes burn into me.
Dorm #: 501
I pass the note back, and the plan is solidified. Mr. Star nods to me with a smile. As I think, I realize he's the only one who ever smiles at me like that. The only one in the whole world. If he's the sun, the biggest star around, then I'm the moon. I can't shine on my own, but he lends me his light. He passes me one final note, and this one makes me feel like the floor has dropped out from under my feet:
See you Saturday then. Be ready for the time of your life.
He's drawn an arrow pointing to the smudge.
My cheeks flush red hot and I turn away. One again, I question what's wrong with me. But this time is different. I am now standing at the start of a path, destination unknown. Something is pulling me down that path, and I find myself curious to where it leads. The teacher up at front signals the beginning of class. I only manage a quarter of the notes. My mind has flown to this weekend, and there it will stay until 7:30.