Teachers in school told me it’s a good idea to have a pen pal to help improve my English. So I thought, why not learn from someone who’s living in the States, huh?
You must be wondering, why you? Good question.
I observed you once. Don’t ask me where, because I want to keep that a secret.
But back then, I noticed two things about you.
One, you have a beautiful smile that reminds me of peach blossoms and falling snow. Don’t make me choose between the two, because I dig both. So imagine my surprise when I found both of those traits in something as simple as your smile.
Two, you’re so real that if anyone attempted to get inside you, they’d probably drown from how deep you are.
I volunteer to take a tour, though. If you’ll let me.
Did that come off too strong? Forgive me. I tend to do that with people I’m eager to learn about. And there aren’t a lot, for your information.
You must be wondering, how the hell does this freak know my address? Which is another good question, but I’d rather not answer that right now.
Not because I’m a stalker, though you probably think I am at this point, but because I’m not even sure you’ll see this, let alone reply.
Before I move on to the boring chore of introducing myself, let me tell you what compelled me to write this letter.
And yes, I know I mentioned the teachers, but we both know that’s an excuse to get your attention, a lame one at that.
My real reason is: I want to get to know you.
The girl behind the rare smiles and the ‘fuck the world’ attitude. The girl who wears her black hair short and her lips pink. The girl whose headphones seem to be her only friend (what do you listen to, by the way?).
That might give me a few points on the creep meter, but I wanted to be honest with you. No secrets and no lies.
I promise I’m not a dick—not for long, anyway. And I’m not some sort of an otaku as you’re probably thinking right now. If you don’t know, otaku is a geek in English, or so I was told.
Now that all of that is out of the way, allow me to do the introductions.
I’m Akira and I was born in Japan. Tokyo, to be exact.
In Kanji, Akira is written with the characters for ‘sun’ and ‘moon,’ so I’m sort of like the whole package, having both sunlight and moonlight. Am I a catch or what?
I’m a senior in high school, so we’re similar in age and you don’t have to worry about old geezers. Unless that’s your thing. I’m not judging.
So now, the million-dollar question: Can you be my friend, Naomi?
More awkward silence.
Did that sound pathetic? Desperate?
Probably. At any rate, interpret it in your own way and let me know your reply.
If you don’t want to, simply don’t send back anything. I’ll move on after a week or so.
But if you do reply, I’ll probably do a year’s worth of victory dances.
Just don’t get any ideas about what this is. I can only be your friend, Naomi.
If you go and fall in love with me, I’ll have no choice but to disappear.
And that’s just sad.
Three years later
Everyone harbors a secret.
Some are mundane; others are downright twisted.
Apparently, my whole existence falls under the latter, because my mom is keeping it hidden like it’s some sort of national intelligence.
Or maybe it’s international, considering where she came from.
I kick the pebbles in my way as I unhurriedly make my way to cheer practice.
Blackwood College is one gigantic building with an ancient feel to it. A few towers stand proudly at every corner as if they’re the watchdogs of this place—or that’s what I’ve thought ever since I enrolled here.
Once again, courtesy of my dear mama, who hasn’t only made sure I study in rich people’s private universities, but also that I play the part by cheering and being in the popular crowd.
Who even likes cheering in college? Certainly not me. I’d rather live my twenty-one-year-old life listening to hard rock and having as little contact with humans as physically possible, thank you very much.
I’m not an antisocial who thinks stepping over people is okay. I’m merely an asocial who likes to leave them alone in hopes they’ll do the same in return.