ACT 1Slow Beats

Scene 1Setting the Threads.

The early morning sun beams down through the car window, into my eyes. It's quite an unpleasant feeling to say the least. I don't know how to feel about this trip; It feels like I'm being put somewhere I won't cause any trouble.

I glance to my side, looking at the driver seat. My sister looks more cheerful than I do. Maybe she sees something in this that I don't. I feign a smile as the car came to a stop, the sight of iron gates behind her signals our arrival. "Yamaku Academy," it's a school for students with physical disabilities. It definitely feels appropriate for me, even before my current situation.

I step out of the car, doing my best not to slam the door behind me. I come around to the side walk and turn towards my sister as she steps out. I focus on her car for a moment.

I've always thought it was a modest car, for someone who could easily get something better. When my attention returns to my sister, I notice she is staring at me. I wonder if I was making a face or something.

"Feeling nervous Hiroshi?" My sister places her hand on my shoulder, sending a small jolt through my body; it feels odd for a moment.

"…Should I not, Katsumi?" It's a strange question in the first place, but I'm sure she means well.

"You do have a point. Just don't over exert yourself now." Katsumi chuckles a bit at the silliness of her question, but she still gives a concerning look a few moments later.

I nod at her a bit. She is a doctor; she knows what's best for my health, though reluctant as I am to do as she wishes. I try to give an encouraging smile, but I'm sure Katsumi can see right through it. She pulls my bag from the trunk as she walks towards the gate.

"Let's get you set up in your room, so you can get to class." She pushes the gates open and moves through, I follow closely behind.

The male dorms are pretty generic as I step through the hall, stopping once Katsumi does. I take a deep breath as my eyes start to scan the area around the door, noticing the staircase a few doors down and a few vending machines. My thoughts fade as Katsumi opens the door. She grabs my attention again once I get inside.

"Wow… the room isn't as spacious as I thought it was going to be," Katsumi is more surprised about the room than I am, but I have pretty low expectations about a lot of things, so maybe I shouldn't judge her reaction so much.

"It's about the same size at home, Katsumi," I try to make the best with what I have, considering how Katsumi is covering most of the costs, our parents aren't involved here.

"At least you like it, Hiroshi," Her words are sincere as she puts the bag on my bed.

I find myself quickly sorting things out and getting my clothes put away, as Katsumi examines the room a bit more.

Soon enough I have everything set, though it wasn't much to begin with. Katsumi is surprised by my pace. I make a grim face, even though I don't intend to. She then gives me a serious look.

"I'll be sure to get Mom and Dad to send the rest of the things you need as soon as possible," She sounds optimistic, though I assume she is just going to take care of it herself. I surprisingly feel bad that Katsumi does so much for me, considering how things usually go for me.

"All right, but don't feel like it has to be rushed or anything...," I don't want her to feel like she has to take care of every aspect of this situation, but I don't know what to say to her without sounding rude. I sigh a bit, and then I smile, which in turn she does the same. At least she knows it is real smile.

Katsumi looks at her watch, suddenly gasping. I figure we have spent more time on the dorm than we should of. She quickly moves towards the door, turning towards me.

"Come on Hiroshi, you're going to be late for class if you don't hurry!" I nod in agreement and quickly keep pace, though I try not to exert myself too much, knowing that wouldn't be good for me either.

My heart starts to beat quickly. I start to feel nervous again as I realize that in a few short minutes, I will have to introduce myself to the class.


Once we get off the dorm, Katsumi notices she shouldn't be rushing me and slows down. My breathing is heavy as I chuckle a little at her delayed reaction. She looks at me playfully, yet sort of mad. This was the same face she makes when she does these kinds of thing. It is a pretty rare sight to behold.

The joy I feel fades away quickly as we reach the doors of the main building. While I am impressed by the look of the school, Katsumi has other thoughts on her mind.

"Hiroshi… Don't worry about the other students…," Katsumi's tone was a lot softer than before, so I try to focus. "I know how you think people feel about you, but that's just in your mind, here in Yamaku, everyone has something about themselves that might stand out, so they won't judge you for it," I sigh, being reminded of what I have to deal with shortly.

It's hard to feel like no one is going to judge me, I know things are wrong with me…, and it won't win me any points with anyone, just like in the past. Neither will my heart condition.

"…I'll try my best, Katsumi….," I speak honestly, but I don't know how far my efforts will go when the moment of truth comes.

I feel the expression I was making after I spoke. I've always had a naturally sad look on my face, kind of transitioned that way over the years.

Suddenly Katsumi reaches over and hugs me tightly, making me feel a little bit embarrassed, but I hug her back. It was a comfort, to say the least to have someone care about you, even if it is just your sister.

"Take care of yourself, and be sure to call me if you need anything, Hiroshi," Katsumi softly flicks my forehead, something she does often as a way to get me to focus on what I have to do. It is annoying, but I'm used to it.

"Thanks, I will Katsumi," I wave to her as she leaves. I know she probably has to get ready for work soon.

I turn myself around to face the door, taking a moment to breathe. I push open them and step inside, my heart beating fast, unsure of what to expect.