Over the next few weeks I turned that question over and over in my head, wondering if that would really be the best case for me, and more importantly, whether I was ready. Although I had gotten used to suppressing my urges at the gasoline station, there was no shortage of dented furniture and broken items that had been disposed of from my room. The self-control that I had barely managed to achieve at work was the most I could handle, and I knew that exhaustion would only fuel my lack of inhibition.
Despite that, it had been two years since I last truly immersed myself in a social setting, and I would be fooling myself to believe that I could support myself working at the gasoline station my whole life. Several part-time jobs had gone and went in the time that I was on my own, and I was hesitant that going to university would be just as fleeting. If it’s going to be a repeat of those days, then I’d rather not get started at all. I don’t want to get hurt again… and I don’t want to hurt others again.
The debate was endless in my head, and I couldn’t seem to come up with a logical answer to it. Neither choice was right, and yet neither was wrong. I decided to leave the question alone for a while, and to stop overthinking it. After another passage of time, the answer came to me on its own, drifting towards me as I lay on the brink of slumber.
I was scared, but I wanted to change. My past had been a history of fear and violence, both from others and towards myself. If I had really hoped that my future would be different, I would have to make an effort myself. Yeah, I… have to work towards it myself.
Those thoughts and sentiments lingered in the air around me as I closed my eyes and fell asleep, cementing my decision into my brain.
* * *
After that brief period of wonder and doubt that encapsulated my mind, I promptly devoted myself to work and studying, staying up late to try to remember all the knowledge that had been repeated endlessly during my third year in high school. While revisiting text, I found that some information came rather easily, but I realized that others had been lost before they even reached my ears in high school. Even just studying brought back the harsh memories of those times, and I spent a decent amount of time battling myself and my emotions. If I was going to go back to school, I was going to have to get used to such reminiscent tasks and scenery. I drilled that thought into my head as well as I could, but not without crashing my chair and table into the ground and walls a couple of times in the process. Those days were difficult, but still, I was safe in the small space of my enclosed apartment. Although I had to replace many of my belongings, it had been a long time since the stench of blood dripped from my hands. Occasionally, I had battered up my fingers and dealt with cuts as a result, but that was nothing in comparison to the sight of bodies falling limp at my feet. I was aware of the fact that I could be repeating my mistakes by going to college. Even so, I was resolved to pass the entrance exam, and to try facing my fears. If I was going to have to test my control, then that was what I had to do. I didn’t want to see myself ten years down the line, still the same and regretting it even more.
Just like that, those six months seemed to go by in a flash, and before I knew it, it was late January, and the entrance exam season had ended. I wasn’t aiming for much; I just wanted to get into a nearby public college to continue my education while working at the gasoline station that had accompanied me through the past few years. While the work had grown close to me, I knew that I could not continue only working there forever. For the time being, I hoped to stay there for as long as I could. But in the long run, I was dreaming of a possibly more stable career.
In the time I spent studying, I had discovered the unique and intriguing perspective of viewing the world through a historical lens, and tracing the development of humanity through the study of anthropology. In my first encounter with such a work, I was curious, wondering how the human species managed to survive and progress through all the stages of history. In that massive network, just where was I, a small and practically imperceptible link in the midst of it all? I was incredibly poorly versed at the subject, and had had no real exposure to it prior, but the notion strangely brought a sense of comfort over me. Somehow, when I looked at the world from such a view, I felt relieved. It may have been a rash decision to choose my future path from such an instantaneous emotion, but it was where I wanted to go. I knew no other field that gave me the same rise of emotions, and for the first time in a long while, I almost felt a desire to return to school.