As I walked alone up the west wing, skirted the sides of the round and large Mirauditorium at the back end of the building and back up the hill to the dormitories, a pang of hunger came over me.
My glassPhone told me it was well past 1330. I had missed lunch completely. It must have been a great lunch as well, for it was the welcome feast for all the students. For it would have been the first time all current-year students gathered together, first and seventh grade students coming in a week earlier than everybody else owing to orientation week.
Thinking back on it, I wasn't sure if I would have actually felt better or worse being surrounded by the sheer people of it all, especially from the gaggle of new students with their bright eyes and brighter future. I wIsh I had their eyes and future.
My legs working on auto-pilot navigating the turns of the school's facilities, my mind finally settled down enough to mull over Deeta's words.
What hurt me the most was not the insinuation that I was guilty of robbing the worthy people of their opportunity for greatness. I was not even hurt by her veiled racism. I'm used to that by now.
It was actually the part where she reminded me that I chose this life on my own volition.
Of course, in a way, she was correct. I did give my consent. Six-year-old me did.
I still remembered how my dear mother had told me stories of how being an Idol is Good and Right and Fun and how lucky I was that the government finally allowed 'us' to join the program. And thus my dear mother enrolled me for this program with my, a child's, agreement.
Did she really expect me to understand the whole extent of the clerical responsibility and the emotional ordeal I would have to take on?
No, of course not. I knew better after eight grueling years. It was less of a registration for a new and exciting program for the Non-Ninhonjin community and more of a human offering.
An offering from the Wakabayashi family for the good of the community.
An unwitting offering from a daughter for her family's future. For her mother's peace of mind.
She, being a pureblooded Nihonjin was deeply concerned whether or not my mixed ancestry would impede me in life. A fair concern that I only understood as I came of age. And father didn't really know how to deal with it, bless his heart. He was a good husband, a good father.
But he was just a sportswriter, a minority sure but his life was never complicated by intricacies of being mixed until my mother had me. And even then, he subconsciously pushed it to mother, whom he believed would know better. He was correct.
A little girl, most likely a first year, bumped into me. She seemed impossibly tiny. Her twin tail didn't even reach her shoulders yet. She looked at me with fright.
I must have looked too pensive.
I conciously gave her a beaming smile.
"Be careful, okay? Congrats on your first day of school."
"T-Thanks, Onee-san!" the girl smiled back and ran down the corridor. My smile faded.
She reminded me of my first day of school, clad in my new clothes and a shiny new rucksack on my back. And somehow I made it each day to my supposedly final year. Some of those little girls that I had started school with hadn't been so lucky....