seijin no hi – coming of age 2

Continuing from seijin no hi – coming of age.

###

It was a frosty night. I arrived at M’s house and met the familiar faces.

“Just saw her two weeks ago…she seemed fine…”

We huddled, comforting one another.

Walking inside, through the white chrysanthemum arrangements, I approached the casket laid at the end of the room and faced M. She had make-up on and was in a white kimono. The smoke writhed out of the incense sticks next to her.

M and I were never best friends. We had nothing in common. She was delicate and precise. Me, in a baggy uniform, not caring how I looked. She went off to college, to succeed. I labored in the corporate world and succumbed. Yet, we had laughed, cried, and shared three years in high school.

Had I gone to the ceremony and seen her, I might’ve noticed something. I could’ve done something to snap her out of her misery…talk to her, just listened to her, anything…I’m sorry…I couldn’t help…

Blinking tears back, I lit a stick and placed it in the incense holder, then bowed to M’s family. Her wailing mother in a black kimono leaned against M’s younger sister in a tear-stained dress. Her father sat there, tie hanging askew, bloodshot eyes searching far away.

I would never want to see my parents in agony like that…M chose to end her life somewhere in a state of unhappiness. Well…I’m not particularly happy either…

I walked outside, in the cold, looked up at the clear sky, at the twinkling stars, and brushed away a tear.

###

Cherry blossoms had fallen when the bi-annual bonus season approached. We at the payroll had to enter data for the entire company to equitably distribute the profit. There was no room for mistakes. The third test run was performed, and we were checking the result at random.

“Will you check this person?” My boss handed me a piece of paper with a name, the department he belonged, his position, and his hire date.

I went into the record room and pulled a printout. Searching through names, I found the employee and wrote down the classification of the employee and amount he was allotted.

He just started and is getting much more than I am!

I looked at his profile; male, a university graduate with the Engineering degree.

I didn’t have to look up mine.

###

I submitted my resignation to the company.

“Are you getting married?” My boss studied me.

“No.”

“Is anyone in your family ill?”

“No.”

“Then, what is it?”

“I just…I…”

“Since there is no good reason, I can’t accept this.” He tossed the letter.

A female co-worker was getting married and invited me to her wedding.

“You’ll come, won’t you?”

“Of course…”

“Good! Oh, I’ll miss you after I leave this company.”

It seemed that marrying or having children was a way for my resignation to get accepted. One big problem; I had no potential partner. I had to come up with another plan.

“Did you hear about that girl in Tokyo office? She’s leaving to go to college. She’ll be the oldest student in her class!” People snickered.

Going to college sounded intimidating, but studying at ESL schools abroad was affordable and attainable. I had always wanted to see the world.

This will allow me to go to school and travel!

By the time I paid the tuition and got my visa, I had a new boss at work.

“So, you want to go to school?” He weakly smiled.

“Yes.”

“When are you supposed to start?”

“In a month.”

“In a month…” He took my letter of resignation in his hand and examined.

“Yes, next month…sir…?”

He moved his attention back to me. “Well, I’m sorry you’re leaving…”

“Thank you, sir.”

 

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