Shoujoai ni Bouken: Adventures of Yuriko
The Story so Far: Yurikos 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 todays toy surprise be? she wondered.
But nothing fell out, so she looked under the flap. Todays 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 hadnt 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.
"Whats so amusing?" she asked.
Sayaka gestured at Yuriko's hands. "Its not often one
sees polished nails and the boys uniform together on the same person."
"Oh, that," Yuriko said blandly.
Sayaka looked concerned. "Are you alright?"
Yuriko spoke as if she hadnt 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
Yurikos train of thought was interrupted by the
girls 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 hed 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
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
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
"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
"Well, we were wondering if you had a haiku to share with
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
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.