James A. Baldwin
“Do you remember this?” she asked as she held up a creased and worn photo. In it were two small children, a little girl and a little boy. The girl was grinning from ear to ear, her golden locks tied up into pony tail and held up by little pink bows. She was wearing an adorable outfit, the type of outfit that is wasted on the unappreciative young and envied by those finally old enough to care about style.
She had arms slung around the little boy’s neck, much to his displeasure. The little boy was glaring at the girl and his arms were trying to pry her off. His flushed cheeks betrayed any misconception that the two didn’t get along, and his disheveled black hair had a pair of baby pony tails tied up with matching ribbons to the ones the girl was wearing.
“Yeah,” he said, leaning to peer over her shoulder at the treasured photo. “That’s us, back rd when you first transferred into my school in 3 grade.” His arms, which were wrapped comfortably around the blonde woman sitting before him, tightened their hold and his head came to rest upon her mess of golden locks. “That was my favorite year.”
She leaned back into his embrace, her eyes slowly closing as she lost herself in bliss. “Me too.”
“Ne, Osborne-san, when did you get to Japan?”
“Why did you move here?”
“Where are you from?”
“Why is your hair blonde if your dad’s Japanese?”
“Are you rich?”
Lucy’s eyes swam as she was surrounded and interrogated by her new classmates. She had only just moved to Japan a couple weeks ago and she still didn’t completely understand Japanese, even though she had grown up hearing her father speak it. All the foreign sounds fought for their place in her brain, crashing and bumping into each other in a jumbled mess.
She could feel tears forming in the corners of her eyes when all of a sudden there was a wall between her and the others, created by a boy, another one of her classmates, passing straight through the middle of their circle to his desk, just next door to Lucy’s. Though he had said nothing, his intrusion had provided Lucy with the brief moment of rest her brain needed in order to sort itself out and she was able to regain her composure.
Her classmates however were less impressed by his unconventional trail, for, just as Lucy was turning to smile at him and say thank you, they too turned on him, only their expressions were far
harsher. “What do you think you’re doing, Kano?” one boy, Kumou Yukine-san, if Lucy remembered correctly, asked, his voice full of outrage. Others around him echoed their agreement.
The boy simply glared back at him. Just as everyone was beginning to assume that he wouldn’t reply, he said, “I’m sitting, Kumou-san, and you’re standing. Is that not obvious?”
This wasn’t the response Kumou had wanted, as was obvious by his roaring shouts that echoed through the classroom. While the rest of the class tried to calm him down, Lucy found herself trying to hold in her laughter. She didn’t particularly like Kumou and was mildly pleased that someone had put him in his place.
Before Kumou could whip out a retort, however, the teacher came in and class started.
Lucy, still curious about her unwitting savior, turned to the girl sitting beside her. “Psst.
The girl turned to her ever so slightly, her eyes betraying the excitement she felt at being singled out by the foreigner. “What is it, Osborne-san? And feel free to call me Yui.”
Gesturing with her neck to her male neighbor, she asked, “Who that?” she asked in her broken Japanese, casting a glance over at him, “And why he glaring like that?”
Yui blinked in surprise at Lucy’s subpar Japanese before she glanced around the room as if to make sure no one else was listening before she leaned even closer to Lucy and whispered, “That’s