Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko

The Story so Far: Yuriko’s second week of high school redux has begun with mysteriously appearing lunches, problems with the girls’ basketball team captain and an sense of uneasiness, as she continues to be suspended between one world and an another.


Volume 1, Issue 13

"The Center Cannot Hold"


Yuriko hesitated before lifting the door to her shoe locker. Love letters, mysterious lunches – what will today’s toy surprise be? she wondered. But nothing fell out, so she looked under the flap. Today’s bento box was wrapped with a little flourish at the top, in a cherry blossom patterned furoshiki.

"Okay," she said, "I sense a trend." Sticking the box in her bag, she proceeded to homeroom for cleaning duty. Today she made an effort to chat up Jun, hoping to learn a little bit about him – and by extension, Aya, but she found the boy taciturn and unresponsive. One of the other boys whispered to her later that Jun had not too long ago lost an older brother and that he hadn’t been the same since. Yuriko pondered this tidbit as she cleaned.

Sayaka found Yuriko sitting at her desk chewing on a pencil, lost in thought. The girl stood for a moment looking down at the blonde, then began to chuckle. Yuriko stared at her for a moment in confusion, smiling unsurely.

"What’s so amusing?" she asked.

Sayaka gestured at Yuriko's hands. "It’s not often one sees polished nails and the boy’s uniform together on the same person."

"Oh, that," Yuriko said blandly.

Sayaka looked concerned. "Are you alright?"

Yuriko spoke as if she hadn’t heard the other girl. "Do you know anything about Aya? I mean, about her family or anything?"

Sayaka looked around to see who might hear. "Not much, but," she looked around again and lowered her voice, leaning towards Yuriko, "I heard that her sister died some time ago. She was pregnant and the baby died too. Her family is very over-protective of her now."

"Oh." Was there some connection there? Maybe they died in the same accident? Or maybe… Yuriko’s train of thought was interrupted by the girl’s appearance. She greeted Aya, but watched her closely for anything unusual.

"Did you get another lunch box today?" Aya asked brightly.

Yuriko nodded. "It seems to be my lucky week."

They rose for the teacher. Abe-sensei looked as if he’d slept in his clothes…or more likely, not slept at all. Yuriko was beginning to feel concerned for the man. Ratty and bewildered was one thing, but this…to add to her feeling of discomfort, every time she looked at the front of the class, his eyes were there, boring into her own. Yuriko spent most of homeroom studying the surface of her desk.


Sayaka glanced at Yuriko again. The blonde seemed a little distracted today. She nudged Yuriko with her foot and watched with surprise as the older woman's head snapped up.

"She's called you twice," Sayaka hissed under her breath. Yuriko apologized to the English teacher, stood and read the passage. Sitting down once again, she mouthed "Thank you" to Sayaka, who just nodded.

"What is *with* you today?" the girl asked after the teacher left.

Yuriko shook her head. "I'm not sure, I feel funny – like I don't fit my skin."

"Oh well, welcome to high school." Sayaka said lightly.

Yuriko smiled. "No. I mean, I know what you mean and maybe you're right. Maybe it's just because I'm back in school, but…."

"Could it be that all the old insecurities are popping up?" Sayaka asked.

Yuriko thought about that, then shook her head. "No – it's not that." She paused. "But I don't know what it is," she finished lamely.

Sayaka decided to change the subject. "I wanted to ask you before. The writing and art clubs are going out today after school to enjoy the changing of the leaves. We'd like it very much if you joined us."

Yuriko rocked her head back and forth as she considered. "I'd like that, but…I'll have to leave a little early. I have a prior appointment."

Sayaka assured her that it would be fine. "Don't forget to bring paper – we're composing haiku!"

"Of course we are," Yuriko said acerbically.


It was a nice outing. The art students sketched while the writing club traded impromptu haiku. Yuriko laid back on the grass, and watched the light overhead flicker through the leaves. She let the cadence of the extemporaneous poetry soothe her frayed nerves.

"What about you, Yuriko-san?" a male voice asked. She cracked an eye open and turned her head. Ogawa, the writing club Vice President was leaning over her with a pleasant grin.

Yuriko yawned slightly and sat up. "What about me?" she inquired.

"Well, we were wondering if you had a haiku to share with us."

Yuriko looked around her, at all the young faces that watched her in anticipation. Several of the art club members had ceased to sketch and now hung on her every word. Inexpressable sadness welled up in her for a moment.

She put her hands behind her head and grinned. "I have two – which one do you want?"

"The dirty one!" one of the boys in the art club shouted. They all laughed.

Yuriko put her hand up to quiet the crowd. "The first one." She cleared her throat. "A breeze on my cheek/ the gentle breath of the sky/ as you stroke my face." The girls all sighed audibly with longing. Yuriko jumped, remembering where she was and with whom. "Oh, sorry," she said sheepishly. "I meant the leaves, of course, when they fall."

"Of course," Ogawa said graciously.

"Second," Yuriko said, pulling her legs under her and took a deep breath. "The burning ember/ the sun's last moment of life/ ignites the forest."

The general consensus was that Yuriko wasn't bad at impromptu haiku.

Mie closed the distance between them and looked up at Yuriko with a puppy dog-like expression. "That haiku was soooo beautiful!" she cooed. Yuriko gave the girl a cold smile as she stood.

"Thank you." Turning to the rest of the students, Yuriko made her apologies, reminding Sayaka that she had to leave. Picking up her book bag, one hand in her pocket, Yuriko wandered along the paths through the trees towards the street.

Behind her on the grass several pairs of eyes followed her. One pair were concerned, one were filled with fantasies and one, gazing in the direction she went the longest, were filled with too many emotions to express.