joyousmenma93 (joyousmenma93) wrote,

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Requiem of the Hummingbird, Chapter 4

Hey guys! Here's chapter 4.

Title: Requiem of the Hummingbird
Chapter #: 4
Rating: PG-13/R
Genre: Romance, Drama, Shounen-ai/Yaoi

CHAPTER 4: The Difficult Situation Called Life

Anri's POV

I watched Sojiro amble along the sidewalk as I wave goodbye to him. He sees me at the window with his soft, light brown eyes and he waves at me. As he walks away, I decide to play around the house a bit more. I walk into the dining room and stare at the note left on the dining room table by my mom. After that, I accidentally look at the entrance in here that leads to the hallway. Much to my disgust, the very faint yet noisome smell of blood is still lingering. Patrasche's blood. Just smelling it makes me sick. I shake my head a bit to shake it off, even though I get a slight headache in the process, and look at the kitchen. But much to my surprise, I see a big pile of dirty dishes and things in the sink.

Nobody washed them!


I freak out. I quickly run to the sink, get the detergent out, turn on the sink and wait until the water gets warm. I take out some of the really big things so that I can fit the small things in there and wash them easy. As the water gets warm, I spray a ton of detergent into the sink and all over some of the dishes. The water gets bubbly as I watch the water amass into the sink. I wait a few minutes for it to fill, then I turn off the faucet, take a small plate out, grab a pink sponge, and begin washing it. I only started learning how to wash the dishes a few months ago, before Dad died. I scrub the little plate with the sponge HARD so I can get all the food leftovers and germs off of it. The dish rack is empty, so as I finish the small plate, I put it in there. I take out another plate and I begin washing it. Then I hear the door open and someone comes in.

It's Mom! I'm glad I started washing the dishes before she came home. I would say why but I don't want to right now. She has semi-long, pale blonde hair that reaches down her shoulders and are curly at the ends. She also has green eyes like I do, but they're a bit lighter than mine. She's wearing a brown jacket over a white shirt, matching brown skirt, and black high heels. She looks rather tired as she sees me in the kitchen.

"Anri?" She asks. I look up and gaze at her.

"Hi mom! You're back! I'm working on the dishes!" I tell her so that way she can have a break. She doesn't say anything but she watches me put another plate in the dish rack. She looks at the note that she wrote on the table.

"Anri? Are you...mad at me?" Mom asks softly.

"No! I'm not mad. Why would I be mad?" I ask as I scrub another plate vigorously. She sits down at the dining room table and takes the note
she wrote into her hands.

"Because...I brought Nenji into our lives when I shouldn't have. He...he hurt you and killed Patrasche! I never should've dated him if I knew he was going to be a monster!" Mom cries out.

I get sad seeing her so sad like that. But I don't want to show it. Instead, I continue washing the dishes and put another plate into the dish rack. She looks at me with her sad eyes.

"In case you want to know, the jury sentenced Nenji to 70 years in prison..." Mom says. I immediately stop washing the dishes and look at her with my eyes wide.

"70 years!?" I yelp, but I cover my mouth with my soapy hands. My hand smells nice, but the taste is bad. I grab a rag and wash my hand off briefly.

"Yes. It was originally going to be just 10 years, but they found out that he's been involved with other crimes so they increased his sentence. How could I be such a fool!?" Mom exclaims as she puts her face into her hands again.

"'s not your fault. You didn't know he was gonna be mean and cruel. How could you have known? And besides, he's the fool, not you!" I tell her, even though I know it's not going to help. I go back to washing the dishes. I can feel mom smiling at me even though I don't see it. But then I feel her ambling up to me and then wrapping her arms around me. I stop right there as she embraces me.

"Anri...I'm so sorry. I truly am. I'm an idiot for letting that man hurt you and kill your best friend. I should've known he was going to be a monster. I wish your father were here..." Mom whispers as she hugs me. I put my slightly wet hands into mom's slightly sweaty ones.

"It's okay. I'm sorry too. I wish Dad was here too..." I reply. She slowly lets me go.

"Why don't you let me do the dishes?" She asks. I get a little frightened and quickly return to the dishes.

"No! You just got home from court! I can't have you do more work when you're tired! Plus I'll make one of my little dinners tonight!" I reply vociferously and quickly. I start doing the dishes harder now. She walks away, sits in the living room, and decides to read one of her books while watching Law & Order on TV.

After about 30 minutes, I finally get all the dishes done. I don't think I washed them right, but not washing them right is better than not washing them at all! I want to give Mom a break. She just got back from court and must be really tired and sad. I don't want to raise any tension. I have a habit of doing that unintentionally. After I finish the dishes, I decide to pull a box out from the freezer, put the contents in the microwave, and cook it. I take out a plate that's in the cupboard. One that's already clean along with an also already clean fork and some oven mittens because my dinner gets hot when it's out of the microwave. I don't want to singe my fingers.

So I eat dinner and work on my homework. My homework takes me about 30 more minutes to complete. All I have are a simple math worksheet, a study guide for a book I'm reading in English, and a history worksheet which is about the Yayoi Period and the introduction of wet rice farming, pottery, and metallurgy brought by migrants from China and Korea. I get them done and I decide to go to my room. I want to cuddle with Usamero, my plush bunny. I know I'm a boy and I'm too old to be playing with stuffed animals and that it's childish, but I can't help it. I love soft, cuddly, plushy things. Plus I really am childish. It's just how I am. I lay on my bed with my head against my many stuffed animals as I cling to my bunny and my favorite light blue and white and yellow fleece blanket. Patrasche isn't here to leap on me and lick me and cuddle with me anymore, so I have to deal with Usamero being here. My legs feel cold and clammy but I deal with it. I see a lot of dog hair on my bed. It's all Patrasche's evidence. It's evidence that he was here. I end up closing my eyes while clinging to my bunny. But the dream I have...isn't a dream. In fact, it's a nightmare I'd like to forget.


It all started a day ago when the bus pulled up near my house and I got off of it and began walking on the sidewalk. I looked at the house on my left, which belongs to a neighbor of ours named Nagihara-san, the red tree that my mom planted on our lawn, and some of the little blue, white, and yellow flowers popping up from the grass. I kneel down and decide to look at them. I gaze at the cute little flowers for a while until I look up and see a shiny red 1970 Cutlass Convertible in the driveway. That's not Mom's car. That's Nakai Nenji's car! Then I hear a dog barking and someone yelling. The barking belongs to Patrasche! The yelling is coming from Mom and Nakai-san! I start to get really scared, but I gather the mettle to go in anyway.

What I see...left me frozen in my tracks.

My mom is on the ground with a big purple bruise on her face, and Nakai-san is standing above her VERY angrily with a very sharp and shiny meat knife in his hand.

Nakai-san has really thin black hair and dark brown eyes. He's always wearing a black leather jacket over a ragged white shirt and blue jeans and black shoes. I really hate leather on clothes. On furniture leather is fine, but clothes? No! It's evil! Leather on clothes is evil to me. Bad people wear leather jackets! And Nakai-san is one of them! I knew that from the beginning, but I didn't tell Mom because it'd make her mad. Well, it would've made her mad if she was oblivious to the fact that Nakai-san turned out to be a cruel and heartless wrench. He's standing over my mom, who is half-conscious, with a knife in his hand, and my dog is barking at him.

"Outta my way, you mutt!!" Nakai-san yells and he kicks my dog. I immediately get mad and I ram into Nakai-san, causing the knife to fall out of his hand.

"Leave my mom and dog alone, you bully!!" I yell as I knock him to the floor. I know this was a reckless thing to do, but I had to save my mom and my dog! Patrasche continued to bark at Nakai-san. Mom slowly got up. I saw her and tended to her.

"Mom! Are you okay!?" I yelp as I try to help her up.

"I-I'm fine. Anri! Call the police!" Mom yells.

I grab the phone, but much to my infuriation the noise is amassing on me like a ton of bricks. The yelling, the barking, the hate, the anger,
it's all making my hears and my head throb. My heart is pulsating hard and fast and I want it all to stop. But even though I grab the phone,
I realize that Nakai-san's in front of me and I'm cornered. He's staring at me with gritted teeth, HUGE evil eyes, and a face full of nothing
but rancor, anger, and vehement hostility. His eyes are bloodshot and he has the knife in his hand again. I tried to run away, but I wasn't fast enough and he successfully managed to punch me in the eye.
HARD. So hard that I fall to the ground. It hurt so bad. It hurt so bad I couldn't even get up quick enough.

"You dare to push me away!? You worthless little retard!? You can't do anything! You're useless and nothing but trash!! It's time for me to
fuck you up here and now!!" Nakai-san screams angrily and violently as he's trying to put the knife in me. He's on top of me and I'm trying to push him off, but he manages to leave a lot of cuts on both my arms. I'm trying and trying to push him off of me, but nothing worked.

I'm lying helplessly on the floor as his screaming booms and echos loudly in my ears. I want it all to stop! I pray and pray, but the horror does not stop no matter what. I know I'm dead...

That is...until I hear barking again.

I look up to see what's happening.

Patrasche is barking at Nakai-san and throwing his paws at him.

He's trying to protect me!

"Wha--Hey--Outta my way you dirty mutt!!" Nakai-san is yelling angrily and trying to stop Patrasche, but nothing stops my big fluffy dog.

"Patrasche!!" I yell as Patrasche manages to make Nakai-san go up against the wall. He manages to stall him enough for me to get back on my feet.

But Nakai-san screams in a vitrolic voice.


What comes a few seconds after scares me to death and leaves me frozen.

Nakai-san pressed the knife into Patrasche's heart.

Patrasche falls unconscious.

His breathing fades, and blood is pouring out from the wound. I don't hear his whimpering or barking anymore. All I see is his big, white and grey haired corpse lying in front of me, along with Nakai-san staring at me with bloodshot eyes.

"You're next, you fxxxed up brat!!" Nakai-san screams again as he throws his bloody knife at my leg. I yelp in pain as he manages to leave a big wound on my leg. But then I see my injured and battered mom approaching him with the phone in her hand.

"You leave my son alone, you
beast!!" My mom screams as she whacks Nakai-san at the back of his head with the phone. He manages to fall to the ground unconscious...right next to Patrasche's corpse. Mom looks at me with wide, fear-stricken eyes.

"Anri! Call the police! NOW!" She yells. She threw the phone to me.

I grab the phone, but I don't call 911 right off the bat. Instead, I run outside on the porch and do it. I tell the woman that we need cops and an ambulance. I turn the phone off, but I don't stay. Instead, I run from the house. Far far far away from the house. Before I knew it, I was underneath the boardwalk and in front of the beach, lying on the sand and wailing and crying, realizing that I just lost my best friend in the whole wide world. He's gone forever and he's never coming back. Ever.

(end flashback)

It's around there that I wake up from my nightmare. I sit up as fast as a jack-in-a-box and look around my room. I see that everything is normal. But still, tears start to swell up in my eyes and I cling to my bunny. I can still hear Nakai-san's voice that booms and roars like the atomic bomb. I feel the band-aids on my arms and the bandage on my leg that Sojiro put on, and I don't like the feel of them. But I deal with it because they're supposed to heal injuries. But there's a big, gaping wound in my heart. A gigantic wound for which there's no bandage big enough.

I squeeze my eyes shut and cling to my bunny tightly as the tears begin leaking out of my eyes, even though I don't want them to. I start to sob and whimper. I've lost the two people who are the most important things in the whole wide world to me! First my dad because he had really bad cancer and they couldn't cure him, and now Patrasche because some demented psycho murderer pedophile murdered him! What did I ever do to the world to deserve this!? I finally snap as I bury my face into my pile of pillows and stuffed animals and howl and cry into them as passionately and loudly as I can, while trying to tone down the sound so that way I don't annoy my mom. I bury my face into them as deep as I can, but they don't swallow me up like I want them to.

Mom comes into my room. I don't see it, but I can feel her presence. Even with my loud crying I can hear her footsteps. As I taste and feel my warm and salty tears smearing my face, I feel something soft but heavy on my back. It's my mom putting my big Pikachu blanket on me. My Aunt Yukako made that blanket just for me. Mom puts it on me even though it's spring, not winter. But I don't care.

Soon, the day passes and it's now Friday, May 11th, 2010. I decide to wear my new dark blue buttoned shirt and beige shorts today. I always remember to put on a clean white undershirt before I put my shirts on. Yes, I ALWAYS wear white undershirts. And I ONLY wear underwear that look like shorts, not the pantless ones called speedos (or panties as girls call them. I hate that word). I never wear those. They show too much, and I don't like revealing clothes! It's a little cold in the morning, but it gets warm as the day goes by, so I deal with it. I make a peanut butter sandwich (ONLY peanut butter. I NEVER put jelly on it) to put in my yellow Pikachu themed lunch box, along with a bottle of iced tea, chocolate pudding (I remember to put in a spoon), a pack of cookies, gushers, and a strawberry flavored Special K fruit crisp. I don't use bentos. Just normal Western lunch boxes. I check to make sure all my school supplies are in my blue school bag. Everything is there. I also decide to put in two mangas in case I finish something or get bored and feel like reading. I also check to make sure my coveted PokeWalker is in my pocket. I intend to get a lot of watts from it today.

I say goodbye to my mom as I trot off to the bus stop along with other kids, even though I REALLY hate my school bus. The kids on it are very loud and noisy and vulgar, the bus driver keeps playing loud rap music (Which I LOATHE with a passion!) every single day, and there's trash all over the place! Sometimes I'm not able to get a decent seat on the bus! Today's no exception. I have to sit at the edge of one bus seat next to this really fat kid I don't know. I struggle to put the seat belt on, and I manage to get it on. But even with the seat belt on, I often feel like I'm about to fall off the seat, and I don't want that happening! If I do, everyone's gonna laugh at me. I cling to the seat in front of me the whole time and, as the bus gets to the school, I quickly dash out. But not before getting squished and pushed a bit by some kids.

Gym's my first period for the day, so I'm happy. I'm the first to arrive. Well, I'm always the first to arrive at most of my classes because some of my classes are really close to each other. I'm not in the normal gym classes. I'm in Adapt PE, which is for kids with disabilities like me. Soon, the rest of the kids and my teacher, Goto-sensei, come. There's 7 kids in my class besides me. There's a girl with Dyspraxia, a girl with asthma, a boy with two prosthetic legs and a hole in the top of his ear, a boy in a wheel chair, a boy with a slight cast in his eye, a girl who's pregnant, and a girl who looks as though she could be a feminine-looking boy. Or is she FTM (female-to-male transgender)? Nobody in here changes their clothes for gym because this is Adapt PE, and changing clothes isn't required. That's good for my FTM classmate over there. Soon, I hear voices calling me.

"Anri-kun! Anri-kun!"

It's one of my new friends, Aoyagi Chisame, aka Chii or Chisa or Chia. She's the Dyspraxic girl. She's nice and bouncy and has fluffy violet red hair and dark blue eyes. My other friend, Sasa Misora, comes behind her. She has straight black hair and hazel brown eyes. She has asthma and is rather frail.

"Good morning, Anri-kun!" Chisame exclaims happily.

"He...Hello, Anri..." Misora whispers.

But I simply sit against the wall. Both of them notice and they decide to sit next to me.

"You okay?" Chisame asks.

"No. I'm sad," I reply.

"Why?" Misora asked. I don't reply, but Chisame speaks up.

"Well...if you ever want to talk or let out your sadness, you can always talks to me or Misa-chan here! We're all ears!" Chisame exclaims happily.

Even though I've only known her and Misora for about a month, I've become rather close with them enough to trust them. So I end up pouring out my tale of woe, even though I don't want to. They're both shocked.

"WHAT!? YOUR DOG WAS MURDERED!?" Chisame and Misora both yell loudly in unison. I flinch, but Chisame immediately realizes this.

"Oh! Durn! I'm sorry! We didn't mean to yell. We're so sorry!" Chisame exclaims again softly. Misora wraps her arm around me and snuggles up to me.

"We're here. Don't cry," Misora whispered gently and softly as she pulled me close to her. I end up shedding some tears, but then I feel someone ruffling my chair. It's Chisame.

"How cruel! That stupid man took your precious dog away! That's evil! Animal cruelty is horrid and evil! If it were my dog being hurt by a beast like him, I'd beat him to a pulp! We're sorry it happened to you, Anri-kun! I wish there was something I could do for you...whoa!" Chisame cheers me up a bit and I feel happy, but then I see her hand starts wiggling a bit.

"Ah! hand is being difficult! Agh! Stupid hand, stay still!" Chisame is trying to control her hand, but apparently it's being defiant and disobedient. I can't help but laugh. I'm not laughing at her being Dyspraxic. I'm laughing because she's trying to cheer me up and then she starts having a problem. I can't help but feel warm and glowy inside.

"My cat died three years ago. I cried for two days straight, even when I was having an asthma attack. I know how you feel, Anri. Me and Chii are here if you want someone to talk to," Misora explains softly as she holds my hand. I squeeze her hand and smile a bit.

"Thanks. Mii-chan, Chii-chan...thanks a lot," I tell them and they smile at me.

Even though it's time for morning exercise, me and Misora are excused. Misora because she as asthma and me because I'm not in the mood for exercising this early in the morning. I walk around the gym and talk with Misora and Chisame.

Soon, homeroom comes and I'm with my two other friends, Manjoume Saharu and Okudaira Tokio. But I'm also a bit uncomfortable because my childhood enemy, Ogawa Kouji, is also in homeroom with me. Saharu is has pretty light brown hair and blue eyes. Today, she's wearing a long sleeved purple shirt, blue jeans, and white sneakers. She has her favorite flower accessory in her hair. Tokio has short, straight dark blue hair and dark brown eyes like chocolate. He's wearing a short-sleeved white shirt with black jeans and brown shoes.

"Anri-kun! Good morning!" Saharu calls out to me and approaches me. She sees my sad looks and gets curious. So does Tokio.

"What's wrong. Your eyes are all puffy and red. Are you crying?" Saharu asks.

"Yeah. You look like you're sad. Care to tell us why?" Tokio asks with her.

I tell them my tale of woe. The same response comes.

"WHAT!? YOUR DOG WAS MURDERED!?" Both of them scream in unison, but this time Saharu continues ranting.

"I can't believe it! That big ol' dog Patrasche who you love and cherish and hug a whole lot!? Killed!? And by some psycho murderer person!? That's just downright cruel! I'd like to jab a knife in his heart, that's what I'd like to do!" Saharu yells angrily.

"He's been given 70 years in prison for it, along with a bunch of other crimes he committed behind our backs," I tell her.

"Hmph! Serves him right! Killing Patrasche like that! Anri...waaaah!" Saharu exclaims angrily, then cries and hugs me. She knows about Patrasche. She's been to my house a few times. She loves Patrasche. They'd always play together. Next to me, my big fluffy dog Patrasche was her best friend. She's been my best friend since childhood so we've been through a lot together.

"That's horrible! Just utterly horrible! First Senri-san dies, then Patrasche! You don't deserve all this crap! No sir! You're too sweet and kind to suffer like this!" Saharu exclaimed. Senri's my dad in case you were wondering.

"She's right. There should be a limit to how many deaths in your family you have to endure in such a short period of time!" Tokio exclaims with her.

"I know..." I reply softly.

So we decide to not talk about the deaths of my dad and my dog anymore and talk about other things. But we were not able to do so right then because as I was about to change the subject, I felt a violent pull on my hair.


Someone's pulling me by the hair! Saharu and Tokio gasp with shock.

"You're such a big sissy, y'know that!? Listen to you, gettin' all girly weepy over a dead dog!"

Ugh. I know that strident and raspy voice. It's Ogawa Kouji.

He's this plump and fat kid whom I've known since I was young. He's horrible! He has flat and thin brown hair and small brown eyes. He's always wearing dirty and tattered sports jerseys and jeans and HUGE sneakers that are twice his own shoe size. Plus his jeans hang below his butt so I see his undergarments a lot, which I hate. He's pulling my hair and calling me a sissy and I flail around and try to get him off, but my diminutive stature prevents me from doing so.

"Let me go, Ogawaaaa!!" I yell and importune.

"You're a pussy!" Kouji yells back at me, but Saharu and Tokio successfully manage to pull him off of me.

"You leave him alone, Ogawa! And he's NOT a sissy, so shut your mouth!" Saharu retorts angrily. Kouji is beginning to get choleric. I see his face getting red and squinty.

"You shut your mouth, Manjoume! Why waste your time being friends with that weepy little sissy!?" Kouji yells again. Tokio helps me up while Saharu confronts Kouji.

"Fine! If you won't shut your mouth, I'll do it for you, heart printed underpants boy!!" Saharu yells as she shoves a fist in front of
Kouji's face. The homeroom teacher, Kikuno-sensei, comes in and breaks the two up.

"Alright alright! Stop this right now! What's this all about?" Kikuno-sensei asked strictly.

"Ogawa keeps calling Anri-kun a sissy just because his (Anri's) dog died! He pulled his hair too!" Saharu yelled as she deliberately pointed to Kouji.

"That ain't me!" Kouji retorted angrily, but Kikuno-sensei isn't buying it.

"I've had just about enough of this! Ogawa, go to the principal's office NOW!" Kikuno-sensei yells, but he doesn't listen.

I don't want to hear what he says. I hide behind the teacher's desk and cover my ears TIGHTLY so that way I don't bother to decipher anything he says. There's a lot of yelling and Kouji's being defiant and disobedient until he finally abdicates and walks away. I hide under the desk, trembling with fear while trying to block everything out and bury myself deep into my skin. Kikuno-sensei comes and gently guides me out from her desk and calms me down. Saharu and Tokio do too.

This is my schedule: I gave gym first period, homeroom, math second period, health 3rd, study hall 4/5th, 6th lunch, history 7/8th period, English 9/10th, Art 11th, and finally, science 12th period. If there's any class I hate out of all my classes, it's history. Not because of the lessons and the teacher. In fact, Honna-sensei is actually very nice and I like her. The reason I hate history is because of this kid in there named Yamasaki Taichi. From what I can gather from other people, he's a junior and a member of a street gang. Two his lackies are in the class with me too, and it's just horrible. They constantly cause trouble and sass talk the teacher on a regular basis, so class becomes pretty chaotic. I don't want to make a scene or unknowingly become a target for them, so I deal with it.

During science class, I decide to go and see Kajiura-sensei, the social worker. I won't miss much because everyone's taking a quiz and I finished early. I walk through the hallways in zig-zags because if you walk in a zig-zag, you walk more steps. I want to get more watts in my PokeWalker so I've developed a habit of doing this.

So here I am.

In Kajiura-sensei's room.

Sitting in front of the mahogany table and clinging to her moose doll.

I look around the room. Not much has changed except there's a lot of papers on her desk. Work papers, obviously. I briefly take a look at my PokeWalker. I put it on silent so the noise won't disturb anyone. Much to my surprise and joy, I gathered 610 watts! That's a new record! I decide to use 10 of them to catch a new Pokemon. I caught it! When I do, Kajiura-sensei looks at me.

"Hi, Anri-kun!" She exclaims in her sweet voice.

"Hi, Kajiura-sensei," I reply as I put my PokeWalker back in my pocket.

"How are you?" She asks.

I don't reply right off the bat. I've already told a lot of people how I felt, and I only just started befriending Kajiura-sensei, so I don't want to make her feel sad. I don't want to tell her about Nakai-san and Patrasche, so I keep quiet and change my reply.

"Overwhelmed. Stressed. Scared. History class is horrible. Yamasaki is being loud and evil," I tell her.

"Oh? Is that so? I know exactly how you feel, sweetheart. That Yamasaki's nothing but trouble! I've called his parents constantly and told them about his behavior, but they don't do anything! All ranting aside, what else is new?" Kajiura-sensei explains. She's nice and sweet, but she can be strict when she wants to be. I don't see it much.

"I...I never told mom about this, but...I think I made a new friend...but I don't know yet," I tell her. Her eyes become bright and she smiles sweetly.

"Really? How nice! So who's your new friend?" She asks me.

"Like I said, I don't really know if he's my friend yet. We only talked twice in the past two days. Ummm...his name is Shibuki Sojiro," I explain. Right when I say his name, her eyes and smile get bigger.

"Sojiro-kun? Shibuki Sojiro-kun? How wonderful! I never knew!" She exclaims, which leaves me surprised.

"You know him?" I ask.

"Yes! He's such a sweet boy! In fact, I think you'll really like him, Anri-kun. He's one of the nicest kids in the school. He's donated cans and books to the Food Drive and the Book Drive recently. He's a big bookworm, but he's really sweet. I think you two will get along just splendidly!" She explains.

If Sojiro's really that nice and well-known enough for Kajiura-sensei to like him, then I guess maybe I'll like him too. I squeeze Mr. Moose as I lose myself and begin ruminating.

Sojiro's face comes into my head. I still feel the bandage wrapped around my leg. I removed some of the band-aids he put on my arms because they healed while some of them I left alone. I start to hear Sojiro's rich, young voice that feels all hummy-vibratey, and I start to smell him too. He smelled like salty sea water at the beach and yesterday he smelled like hot cocoa. I wonder if there's a type of soap that makes people smell like hot cocoa? I see his soft smile from when he comforted me at the beach and played with me at my house yesterday. I begin feeling his slender hand rubbing my back like he did those few times, even though he's not here right now. I'm about to ruminate more until Kajiura-sensei says something that pulls me out of my reverie.

"It must be hard...having two people you love die within three months of each other. Your mother told me about your father and your dog," She says.

I guess I didn't need to tell her after all. Mom did. Why did she do that? Did she do it while I was at school yesterday and I didn't know?
What time did she go to court again? As I'm getting all my thoughts together, my heart starts feeling heavy and I see a big glob of tears
leak out from my malachite eyes. Apparently she notices and tries to cheer me up. I want to stop myself from crying, but I can't. All I can
do is sit there and cling to Mr. Moose and wail. I don't want to cry and wail in front of Kajiura-sensei, but I can't help it. She wraps her
arms around me and tries to coax me, but the only things I hear are my screaming and the phone ringing. She doesn't answer it.

Soon, I stop crying. Kajiura-sensei and I talk more.

"Your father was a very nice man, even though we didn't talk for very long. Do you remember when I came to your middle school and we discussed some things? Your dad went on and on about you. was the funeral?" She told me.

I think back to the funeral. It was deathly quiet, and the only person talking was the priest in the church. People were quiet and there wasn't any lightning fast movement or sounds like crashing glass and nobody being vulgar and ribald. But I didn't want to be there. I didn't like it. Not because of the priest's speech being totally boring, but because of the people that attended. Most of them were people I had never seen before. Why would they attend a funeral for a person they don't even know or care about? Of course I cried at the funeral. Who doesn't?

"I didn't like it."

"Of course you wouldn't. Nobody likes funerals."

"I do know that Dad's dead and he's never ever coming back. Ever."

"I don't think he's completely gone."

"He's gone and he's never coming back!"

"Yes, but his memory still lives on. The things he did for you still live on. He'll just be around in a different way, that's all."

I don't want my dad around in a different way. I want him around in the same way as before. I want him to comfort me when I'm sad and play with me and give me kind advice and not get mad at me when I say something to him like Mom does and tickle me when we're having fun and being mischievous with each other and buy me things when I do good on tests or do chores around the house like feed the dog or make my bed or do the laundry. I want to feel his big arms around me and smell his scent (which to me smells like buttercups) and see his kind, gentle face and feel his large nose rubbing against mine. I want all of those things back. But now they'll be gone forever. I'll never see, feel, or know Dad ever again.

When I look at the clock, I see that the period is about to end. I put Mr. Moose back in his chair and I decide to leave.

"Thanks for helping me, Kajiura-sensei," I tell her.

"Anri-kun...if you're sad or overwhelmed or need someone to talk to or cheer you up, you're more than welcome to come to me. That's what I'm here for," Kajiura-sensei tells me in her sweet voice.

"But won't you be busy? Won't I be burdensome or bothersome?" I ask.

"No no no! You're never bothersome at all! I have a lot of kids come to me for solace and comfort when they feel sad or need to let off some steam. You're no exception...considering what you've been going through. Well, the bell's about to ring so I guess we should be going now," Kajiura-sensei explains and she hugs me again. We say goodbye to each other, the bell rings, and I leave the school. But not before she tells me that whenever I need help with dealing with this difficult situation called life, her door is always open.

She's right. I DO need help when it comes to dealing with the difficult situation called life.

Compared to my morning bus, my afternoon bus is great. There's no radio so the driver can't play any vociferous and superflous music. The driver's a nice man and he's strict when it comes to the kids' behavior. He keeps all the windows locked tight so that way they don't scream crude and ribald things out the window (though the kids somehow always manage to unlock the windows) that I don't want to hear but have to on a regular basis. Of course, my bus isn't perfect. I still have to deal with the kids on my morning bus, so that hasn't changed. I really really wish Saharu was on my bus with me. She lives on Okiura Street, not too far away from where I live.

Soon, my bus pulls near my stop sign and I'm the first to leap off the bus and onto the sidewalk. I take a bit more time in getting to my house because I'm walking on the sidewalk in zig-zags so I can get more watts. I get home, say hi to Mom, and put my Pokemon in my PokeWalker back in my game. I unlocked a new area! I secretly celebrate my little accomplishment as I turn off my game and try to find something else to do. I sit down on my bed and pull Usamero, my bunny, out of my pile of pillows and stuffed animals. I put her on my lap and talk to her. I know I'm too old to be talking to my stuffed animals, but now that Dad and Patrasche are gone, who else should I go to for solace at home? I can't do it with Mom because if I say the wrong thing she'll get mad. And I have a habit of doing that. A LOT. Even when I don't mean to.

"Hey Usamero, I made a new friend. Kajiura-sensei, the social worker. She's really nice. I like her a lot!" I tell her. Usamero doesn't respond. She simply stares at me with her black button eyes, her pink triangle-shaped nose, her long floppy ears, and her rosy cheeks. I hug her and hold her close.

"You think so? I knew you'd understand, Usamero! And speaking of friends, Sojiro-san seems nice. Don't you think?" I ask.

I put my hand on her neck and make her nod.

"You agree. That's nice. Kajiura-sensei likes him, so I wonder if maybe I'll like him?" I tell her again. I pause, then speak again.

"You think so? But you've only met him once, and that's yesterday!" I retort, even though Usamero's nothing but a plush bunny that my Aunt Yukako made for me. I pause again, then speak again. This time, I hug her again.

"That's right. Maybe he IS nice..." I whisper as I hug my bunny again.

Sojiro appears in my head again. I hear his voice, smell his scent, feel his touch, and see his bright smile as I embrace my bunny and close my eyes. I don't know why, but it seems whenever I think about Sojiro I feel all warm and glowy and pleasant inside. My chest feels warm and cozy and not as heavy as it was before. But then I open my eyes again and look down at my bunny with a somewhat despondent look.

"Usamero...I really really hate being autistic. People think I'm girly. Ogawa calls me names like sissy and pussy and wuss and this other word that rhymes with maggot that I don't wanna say. It's an evil word! I'm not a sissy, am I?" I tell my bunny. Even though Usamero is just an inanimate object and doesn't speak, she just gave me an answer.

"I'm glad you understand. Being good and kind doesn't make you a sissy or a wuss. It just means you know what's right and what's wrong. One thing's for sure, I definitely don't wanna be like those teenagers who do drugs and drink alcohol while underage or beat their girlfriends a whole lot or join street gangs or carry guns around all the time! Did you hear about that school shooting in Kanagawa? It was at a school for disabled kids and five of them died! I mean, what did they ever do to deserve that!? The shooter claims he wanted to massacre the school because he thinks the kids there "ruined his life!" I wonder if maybe he had a disabled sibling and felt lonely and unwanted? I know how that feels, though I'm an only child. I know what it's like to be lonely and unwanted..." I explain to my bunny as I hug her again. But then I feel something down below my stomach. I think I have to go to the bathroom.

I do so, then I ask mom what's for dinner. We're having chicken, rice, and vegetables today. I like vegetables. My favorites are broccoli and carrots. Mom says that when I was little, I always rejected sweets and candy when doing good at something. Instead of asking for candy like gummy worms or peanut butter cups (both of which are my favorites), I asked for corn or broccoli or carrots. Carrots are good for your eyes. I eat them a lot and I watch a lot of anime too, so carrots are good. I know it's unusual. I'm still surprised at it myself. After dinner, I do my homework. After I finish, I sit down and watch Law & Order with Mom. Today's episode is an interesting one.

After that, I decide to play my game a bit more. Then I take a bath and put on my orange pajamas. It's almost 9:00, so I quickly go to bed. I always sleep with my bunny and my fleece blanket. I ALWAYS sleep before 9:00. Kids need lots of sleep or else they won't be able to have a good day. I saw on the news that if you get more sleep, you'll be more motivated and robust and focused during your day. I don't want to be like those teenagers who stay out all night and don't come back until waaaaaaaay late. I wrap my bunny in my blanket and my malachite eyes finally close. In order for me to sleep, I have to be ABSOLUTELY stuck in darkness. The ENTIRE room needs to be pitch black or else I won't be able to sleep. My door is closed, the lights are off, my eyes are closed, and I finally drift off into my mind in a dormant state.

And before I know it, Sojiro's in my dreams again. He's flashing his smile at me and I feel his soft touch on my back.

Why do I dream about him so much?

I didn't realize it then. That's going to come much later.

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