“What the hell am I doing here?”
A 15 year old girl, with long hair up to the middle of her back, thought. Her fair complexion hid the blemishes on her face, bangs covered her forehead and a pair of glasses did the same for her trembling eyes.
“Why do I even have to do this?”
She was standing on the center of a small stage in a mini-hall with bright lights that were focused on her obviously nervous face. Some curiosity-stricken teachers were there too, along with an old-looking Japanese guy, seated like some audience.
“Please sing now, Ms. Munoz right?”
The girl wished she could run away from there. She hated being forced to do something, more so something that would put her under a whole cloud of shame, but she had no choice for if she didn’t follow she’d be scolded by her teachers.
She had to start. She closed her eyes and thought of the lyrics to the only song she has successfully memorized.
“Itsumademo isshoni oboretai~”
She continued singing until the end of the first chorus.
“Perfect humiliation, Chesca.”
The girl thought.
A man’s voice exclaimed.
Chesca blurted out. The Japanese guy waved his hand and a woman whom Chesca saw for the first time approached him, and the latter whispered something to her.
“You may go now, my dear.”
The woman said to Chesca.
Chesca went down the stairs on the right of the stage and out the mini-hall. The next thing she saw was the scenic view of her school. It had three majestic floors that housed the classrooms, laboratories, faculty rooms, offices and a huge amphitheater in the middle of the building.
A voice from behind her called out. She turned around and saw Janitta, her friend. The latter had long hair up to above her waist, white skin and, same with Chesca, bangs covered her forehead.
“Let’s go back now.”
The two girls walked back to their classroom in a very relaxed pace. They arrived there after what seemed like forever and classes went on as usual.
Dismissal time. Chesca and Janitta went to the cafeteria with Princess and Vanessa, their other friends, to wait for their carpools. They put their bags on one of the tables and bought some snacks. After that, they sat around a table to eat.
“Anyone know anything about that singing thing in the IMC?”
Vanessa broke the silence that seemed to envelope them. The other three shook their heads and continued to eat.
“Come on guys! What’s with this awkwardness? As if we haven’t been together for years!”
The girl persisted.
“Awkwardness is not the word, Van. It’s what you call ‘effect of sudden humiliation’.”
Chesca answered. Janitta and Princess nodded.
“The effect of what?”
A girl’s voice from behind Vanessa said. It was Czer, another one of their friends.
“Nothing Czer. Just shocked with that singing thing this morning,”
Chesca answered. Czer laughed while she made her way to the counter to buy some food. Meanwhile, Princess’ driver arrived so she went home and Janitta was already called by Elna, her carpool mate.
“Where are those two?”
Czer asked when she went back to the table to find only Chesca and Vanessa were there.
Vanessa answered. Czer sat down with the two and began to eat.
“Spill it out Czer; I’m sure you know what that activity was!”
Chesca exclaimed. Czer looked at her directly in the eyes which after a moment began to tremble.
Czer said in a low voice. She started to look worried.
Vanessa asked with really curious eyes.
“Remember that Jap guy who was there the whole time?”
Czer added. The two girls nodded in unison.
“Try not to shout okay? That man is –-”
The girl’s words were cut when someone tapped her on the shoulder.
It was one of her carpool mates.
“Oh, gotta go! Ja ne! Mata ashita!”
Czer shouted to the two as she ran towards a white van and rode it.
Chesca mumbled. After a while, she and Vanessa heard a loud and husky honk which meant that their carpool was there already. They grabbed their bags, ran towards an old jeepney and rode it. After a while, the carpool started to move out of the school gates.
“Would you like some juice, mister?”
Asked an old skinny woman.
“Oh please and thank you.”
Replied a tall and wrinkled man. The woman rang a bell which was then placed on a seemingly antique table and a maid, easy to distinguish with her uniform, came at once. The old woman gave the order and the maid went out of the room in a gentle but fast pace. The woman then faced the man.
“Please wait here. I will tell Ms. Chesca to proceed here once she arrives.”
The old man nodded in reply while the woman walked out of the room. When the sound of her heavy footsteps disappeared, he looked around the complicated and intricate interior of the room. It was so majestic he felt as if he were in a castle.
“So this is where the next Japanese teen superstar grew up huh? Sweet.”
ja ne – short “goodbye” in Japanese
mata ashita – “see you tomorrow”