romanced: dream

A majority of us are raised in a society where we go to school, get a job, get married, have a family, and then our children continue that cycle. Where I am at currently in my life is post-going to school, but pre-getting a job or I am even further away from getting married; I have very little experience with relationships and romance in general. I only recently had my first relationship, and we agreed that the title was too… intense, and that we would prefer to stay as friends who date exclusively first, as we get to know each other better.

I am embarrassed to admit that I would actually want to be in a relationship. Not for the sake of being in one so that I am not single or to check part of another box off the unspoken to-do list of life, but more for the life experience that comes from it. Even if this relationship does not lead to marriage but rather ends sourly in a break-up, I don’t mind so long as I can learn something more about myself from the experience. Just being a part of the ride is enough to make me happy. To understand what it means to be somebody else’s significant other, while at the same time, being able to see a person as my own, it is important for me. I want to know that somebody out there who can make me feel and act that way exists.

The concept of love and relationships, it’s not something that can be approached logically. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we as humans are always so fascinated by the idea. No matter what we try to find in somebody else as a mate, sometimes, our hearts may not always agree. Let’s say we want somebody who is tall, Caucasian, and muscular, but we end up in a relationship with somebody who is medium-height, African American, and scrawny. Yet, we are not un-attracted to the African American, despite them being not what we would prefer. And that is because of what they have to offer beneath the surface. While they do not physically resemble what we would want in an ideal mate, the personality and ethics of this African American appeals to us.

The concept of love has a lot of gray areas. For example, one might view a woman getting hit by her husband as domestic violence without any context. But what if the woman wanted her husband to hit her, because that was her kink? I’m not going to explore that idea more, because it is a very…awkward topic, but you get the idea. There are other emotions, primal, hormonal, and hard to understand in general, that cloud our judgement and make us act beyond reason and logic. Yet, that’s what makes being romanced such an exciting and terrifying journey. The unknown does not necessarily settle well with me, but being able to single out that special somebody out of the several millions of people in the world, it’s a wonderful feeling. And it’s a feeling that every human being deserves to have, or at least in the world of my featherlight dreams.

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cracked heart

Our love did not exist. What we had was an illusion. A lie. We tried to be there for each other. Simply but, we were bad together. We hurt each other. We convinced ourselves that we needed each other. But you deceived me. Behind my bcd, you told others how you rely felt. My confidence, my self-esteem, I sacrificed those to be your friend, your confidant. I gave up my dignity. How foolish I was, to do that for anybody. I refused to think that I was in the wrong. I committed every thought and concern to your safety and happiness. Or so what I incorrectly perceived it to be. But you are not worth my love and trust. SOmeone who treated me like a monster in my moment of vulnerability. Somebody so insensitive, entitled, and immature. You do not deserve my attention. You do not deserve my focus. You are a waste of my time. Please do me a favor, and go away. Treat yourself like how you treated me. Maybe then you will understand how much of a brat and coward you were. Stop trying so hard to be the victim of this situation. You really are a disappointment of a human being. I am embarrassed to think that I let somebody like you hurt me. Somebody with such a cracked heart.

Road Movie: Chapter 18

Frida was devastated when she could not help Dakota. As much as she wanted to, there were no other major sectors for Dakota to transition into, nor would Dakota be experienced enough in any of them to help. She was expecting a letter of resignation at some point in the month. There was no way that Dakota could keep working under these conditions. But deep down, Frida knew that it was for the brunette’s own good. One of Dakota’s worst habits was that she always overworks herself and never considers her own feelings or emotions until the damage is already done and the scars have set. It was like the ending scene of Frida’s favorite movie, Old Yeller. She loved something, in this case, Dakota, but it was in pain and needed to be let go. Dakota was her bitch in this scenario. Literally. And in Frida’s mind, she had to let her bitch bite the dust. She needed to set her bitch free.

At work, Dakota was typing furiously away at her computer, trying to finish her next marketing plan. She knew that finding a replacement, specifically a marketing executive who had a decent exposure to the medical industry, would be very difficult. It was not impossible, but it would be the hurdle she would have to overcome if she wanted to continue working at Hillary Jenkins. The question was, did she was to? She grew up with this company in a lot of ways, and it reminded her of what her parents said about being sheltered. Chicago, Hillary Jenkins, her apartment, these were all a part of her bubble. She only worked for another company for a year before transferring back. She could feel the panic settling in and her heart beginning to race. Grabbing her water bottle and trying to calm herself with a cold gulp of water, she could still feel herself shaking. She was beginning to have a panic attack, and at work.

“Dakota, what’s wrong?” Virginia looked at the frightened brunette. “Virginia!” Just seeing another person helped her snap out of her state. “Is everything okay?” The hospitality expert looked gravely concerned from Dakota’s exhibited behavior. “I’m fine. I think.” “You think?” She raised an eyebrow at that statement. “Here, I’ve got time. Let’s talk.” She closed the door to Dakota’s office behind her and took a seat at the medical marketer’s desk. “What’s been bothering you?” “I’ve just been feeling really trapped. I never once left Illinois, and I feel like with everything that happened…. no matter how hard I try to shake the though, I just keep thinking about him. I miss Phillip.” She admitted. “Dakota, you’ve made a lot of progress, but I think with your case, getting over somebody you’ve spend such a large amount of your youth with, it’s going to be hard.” Virginia comforted her. “Virginia, when you moved from Hawaii, how was that? And why did you move? It sounds like paradise compared to here.” Dakota sighed. “Well, Hawaii is a paradise in a lot of ways. But I did not want to be sheltered. Not everyone in the world acts like a Hawaiian. Not everyone is friendly, easy-going, relaxed, or great to interact with. A lot of it for me was that I did not want to stay in one place and never explore the world around me.” The executive explained.

What Virginia said spoke true to how Dakota was feeling. And in Virginia’s case, it made a lot of sense. She was from Hawaii, living on an island surrounded by water. Naturally, she would already feel isolated. She was trapped in a bubble that, to an outsider, felt like paradise. But to her, she must have felt like it was a cage. Sort of how Chicago and Illinois was beginning to feel to Dakota. She felt that the longer she stayed here, the more the thought of Phillip would linger.

“But yeah, I don’t regret leaving the islands. Coming to an inland state too, it made me feel like a part of something much bigger. I had so much more exposure to other people, which was a great change of pace for me. And then I felt like I grew up a lot by being so far away from home. If I stayed in Hawaii, I would always have the comfort of my friends and family, yes, but I did not want to come to rely on them for every little problem I had. By dropping myself in Chicago, I had only myself to rely on. I got hired by Hillary Jenkins, thank goodness for that Tourism degree in the University of Hawaii, and I just kept on working my ass off.” Virginia summarized. “Wait, are you thinking about leaving the city?” She eyed Dakota. “To be honest, I think I need to.” “That’s understandable.” Virginia agreed after a short pause. As much as she wanted Dakota to remain her coworker, she knew that keeping the brunette in Chicago would not help her emotional state. “I guess the one thing that’s on my mind is, do you ever see yourself coming back to Chicago? Or is being around here unbearable for you?” “Honestly, it’s getting to that point.” Dakota sighed. No matter how hard she tried to not think about him, there were just too many memories of Phillip in this city and in this state.

Dakota hated to think of this as running away. She did not want anyone to think of her as a coward, trying to hide from her pain. She had tried to confront it, but as she was now, she was not ready emotionally. She needed space and time away from Illinois. Walking into Frida’s office, she took a deep sigh, as she handed in her two-week’s notice. “I completely understand, and I was going to ask you if you still felt comfortable working here.” Frida nodded sympathetically. She understood how hard it must have been for Dakota to even make this decision, let alone commit to it. “If Hillary Jenkins ever opens up a branch outside of Chicago, we will be sure to contact you. Maybe by that time, you’ll have found another industry, other than medicine, that you can help market.” Frida reassured. “Thank you, Frida. This means the world to me.” Dakota smiled as the two hugged.

“Walking through the city, Dakota continue to take photos with Monique. It was their usual routine when neither of them were busy. “So I finally put in my two week’s notice.” She told her photography-savvy friend. “Are you feeling alright?” Monique looked slightly concerned at this news. “I feel like I’m a lot more free than before. It’s just funny to think how perspective can really affect my view and stance on something. I used to feel so empowered by my job, now it became a part of what was tearing away at me.” The brunette sighed. “Well, I’m glad that you managed to get a way out. And no matter what, I still want to keep in touch.” Monique pulled her friend in for a hug. “Thanks, Monique.” Dakota smiled, returning it. She was surprised by how supportive everyone was of her choices. The only person whose approval Dakota was really worried about was her own. But it seems like that was taken care of. Her friends, coworkers, and family all felt this was for the best, and that gave her enough of a resolve to agree to this choice.

Road Movie: Chapter 5

“So, it’s the first day of winter break! What do you think we should do?” Dakota looked over at Phillip excitedly. “Stay inside, hibernate, drink hot chocolate, watch a funny movie?” Phillip chuckled lazily. The weather was horrendous, it was less than 0 degrees F outside, and he would like nothing more than to stay indoors where their heater was on. “When were you, Phillip Hopkins, the lazy one in our relationship?” Dakota giggled. It was not to say that either of them were particularly unambitious or lax individuals, but between the couple, Phillip was the bigger overachiever. “Go graduate college in 2 1/2 years, go to medical school, and work at the same time.” He growled, laying back in their bed. “Wow, wasn’t this me a couple days ago?” She giggled, poking him playfully. It was amusing to her that he was the one who got her out of bed, and now the roles were reversed.

Eventually, Dakota was able to drag Phillip to their living room, where they drank hot cocoa and were watching Christmas movies. “This kind of weather makes me wish I was a polar bear.” He chuckled,  as they put their hot chocolate mugs down on their coffee table. The two were sitting on their couch, snug up against the snow-covered window. “So you can hibernate?” She raised an eyebrow at him, trying not to laugh. “This is why we’ve been dating for six and a half years. You get me, Ducky.” “Of course I do, Philly cheesesteak.” She cuddled up against his arm. “Oh, look! Frozen is on right now!” He pointed out one of Dakota’s least favorite movies. “Ugh. I really can do without another bout of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” or “Let It Go” right about now.” She quickly turned off the television, as if doing so was quarantining some kind of plague or disease. In this case, that disease would be called “Frozen-Fever.” Coincidentally enough, also the name of a short sequel to the same movie.

“I really just want to enjoy this break, you know?” The two mustered the bravery to finally leave their apartment building, journey through the snow, and explore the Lincoln Park ZooLights Festival. The Lincoln Park Zoo would be transformed every December from the usual zoo set up; it would become Chicago’s ideal image of a winter wonderland. Music, ice carving, carolers, and trees and structures decked out in Christmas lights, it was a sight to behold. Holding Phillip’s hand, Dakota smiled. She enjoyed these kinds of romantic dates with him, because they’re so busy in their day to day lives that they never really got to spend time together. Walking through the hall of light-covered trees, they continued to marvel the colors that filled the night’s sky and danced in the nearby water. The brunette was really happy at the moment. She knew that moments like these were rare, and in the near future, will happen even less as the two of them continue in their careers. That was Dakota cherished every second she spent with Phillip.

“Well that was a fun night!” Dakota giggled. The two decided to go to dinner at a restaurant, Parachute. They came across it from a recommendation by Virginia. The chef and owner, Beverly Kim, was close friends with Virginia because the two had met at a Korean-American Professionals Conference in the Midwest. “Wow, having friends in marketing rocks!” Phillip grinned goofily. They managed to get a table on a Saturday night, despite having no reservation, just because Virginia made a couple calls for them. “It really does! We get so many different connections and clients, it really opens up the world to so many opportunities.” Dakota nodded in agreement. “Look at the two of us. A marketing manager and an aspiring doctor. We’re such Millennials.” The brunette giggled. “That just means that the world is our oyster.”

“That was great.” Phillip looked like he was about to burp. “I’m stuffed.” The two of them were driving back to their apartment in Phillip’s car, a small black Chevrolet. Phillip was behind the wheel while Dakota was sitting in the passenger seat. “Hey, so I was thinking that maybe we could spend Monday going to a drive-in theater? John was telling me about Cascade Drive-In having a showing of The Lady and the Tramp and I know it’s your favorite!” He smiled. John was one of Phillip’s friends in med-school. “I’m down. But isn’t December 12th coming up soon?” She got out her phone. “Philly, it’s going to be on Tuesday.” She reminded him. “Yeah, don’t worry, I know that. I figured why not spend the day before with one of the two women I love the most in my life.” He shrugged. “You’re such a momma’s boy, I can’t even!” Dakota laughed jokingly. “But she definitely is lucky to have a son like you. Somebody who always goes out of his way for the ones he loves.” She finished, trying not to hurt Phillip’s feelings. “She raised me right, that’s for sure.” He agreed, as the car began to pull into the garage.

Dakota’s phone buzzed as the brunette was with Phillip in their apartment living room. “Oh, Frida sent me a Snap.” She was referring to SnapChat, which to almost everyone’s surprise, the 85 year-old knew how to use better than most high-schoolers. “Oh geez. She’s getting hammered.” The brunette laughed in excitement as the video played. Frida was in a club with flashing neon lights, holding a party yard cup, screaming. It was a sight to behold, and to anyone who did not know Frida, they probably would be very concerned at that point. But Frida was the type of person who could take 48 shots of vodka, go to work the next day, and still get her job done faster than anyone else. “I just can’t believe some of the people you work with. Especially your boss. She’s crazy.” Phillip raised an eyebrow in amusement. “How she never got internet-famous is a huge mystery to me.” “She probably doesn’t want the fame. She’s the type of person who does outrageous things not to be noticed, but more because she’s old and wants to enjoy living her life out.” Dakota explained, yawning. She was tired. “Alright, I’m going to go to bed.” She stretched, leaving the room. “Wait for me!” Phillip dashed after her, not wanting to keep her up with him being awake.

“We’re losing him! Quick, somebody hold him while I bandage him up!” It was a blur. All that could be heard was the blaring noise of a siren and the loud screams of people who were scurrying about the road. “We can save him! You need to hurry up!” “I’m trying my best!” “And what about her?” “She’s going to be fine compared to him. She might have suffered some minor head trauma, but she was not crushed by the door. He has definitely damage to his organs. The body is suffering from internal bleeding. And the way he is bent, that is not natural! We need to focus on him first!” The sound of the siren drowned out anything else. It belonged to an ambulance. A body could be seen, being carried on a stretcher into the white vehicle with flashing red lights. And then everything faded into black. Was it a dream? Or was it a memory?

Road Movie: Chapter 1

“BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!” “Ugh… five more minutes.” A young woman with shoulder-length brown hair and blue eyes groaned as she rolled out of the bed and onto the floor. Her name was Dakota Logan, a 25 year-old sales manager. “Ouch.” “Hey there, sleepyhead.” She smiled at the sound of that voice. “Hey, Philly cheesesteak.” It was her pet name for him. A tall young man with short black hair, her boyfriend, Phillip Hopkins. “Come on, Ducky. Get up!” He groaned, dragging her off the floor. “Hey, let go of me!” She laughed and he did just that. The brunette fell back on the ground again, landing squarely on her hips. “I get that Mondays suck and all, but they would suck a lot less if I don’t have to go into work covered in bruises.” She frowned, getting back up, rubbing her bum. “Come on, let’s go! You’re going to be late for work! It’s already 8:15!” He called from the kitchen. “Oh shoot!” She shrieked, running into the bathroom. She needed to brush her teeth, change, eat breakfast, and get to work by 9. And this is why she hated Mondays. Scrubbing away her morning breath, she frantically made a checklist of what she needed to get done. Okay, so change, eat, and then Lyft to work. She rattled off to herself. Phillip usually drove himself, and they shared a car, but Dakota had Lyft discounts from work, so it all worked out. Gargling and spitting into her sink, she quickly grabbed the nearest blouse and pair of dress pants and quickly put them on over her pajamas. She had no time to change out of them.

“Dakota!” The frantic girl was startled to hear her name. She turned to see a stout elderly woman with pug-like facial features greeting her. It was the director of sales, Frida Caldwell. “It’s 9:02. 2 minutes late. I’m docking your pay.” She joked with the manager. “I’m so sorry!” Dakota was so frazzled that she did not realize Frida was kidding. “Oh geez, child. You are a mess. Here, let’s get you to your office.” She ushered the younger girl off to her room. “And for the record, no, your pay will be fine.” She reassured the anxious executive. The two had a grandmother-granddaughter dynamic, although in most cases, Frida was like the stereotypical crazy grandmother you would see in comedies. Hillary Jenkins Marketing Firm, where Dakota worked, was a large building located off to the side of Millennium Park. They got a nice view of the park and the lake, because of how high up the building their firm was. Dakota still remembered the first time she set foot in the building: she was a nervous freshman in college, interviewing for an internship at the firm over the summer. Back then, Frida used to terrify her.

“Hello.” A stern looking Frida glared at an 18 year-old Dakota. “H-hi. My name is Dakota Logan. Nice to meet you.” She was trying her best to stay calm. Dakota had interviewed and used to work part-time at the local library back home, but this was a job for something she actually wanted to do. Just having that emotional connection and need for this made her uneasy. “My name is Frida Caldwell. I am the executive director of marketing here at Hillary Jenkins. Dakota, was it?” “Yes.” She shyly nodded. “I eat little girls like you for breakfast. Why do you think that you can handle the world of marketing? And why Hillary Jenkins?” “I love the idea of helping others, specifically helping their businesses. If I can get a great concept out there for others to try and increase that sort of awareness for companies with good morals and values, then I would love to.” The brunette explained. “As for me being young, yes I am, but I am also more than happy to learn from every experience here.” She could feel herself gaining more confidence talking about marketing and her need to work here. “As for Hillary Jenkins, this is one of the best marketing companies in the world. No matter where I end up working afterwards, or what I end up doing, I know that I can carry away a lifetime’s worth of experience.” “You’re definitely an honest person. And we believe in honest marketing here. I will talk to the Human Resources department and get back to you at the end of the week.” Frida nodded approvingly. Unbeknownst to Dakota at the time, Frida had already approved the brunette’s application to intern.

“Home, sweet home.” Dakota sighed in relief as she plopped herself down in her chair. Her office had a nicer view than her home, but she was not complaining. A view like this made working for this company worthwhile. That, the experience of working in marketing, and the pay. Dakota had been with Hillary Jenkins for quite a while now. She interned for two years in college, started in another firm for a year, and then applied for an opening here and got it. It felt like full circle for her, because she had worked with almost every sales manager here, except for Virginia. Being paid a manager’s salary three years out of college, it was great for Dakota and Phillip. “Dakota, how are the hospitals going?” Frida looked at her. Each sales manager in Dakota’s firm was in charge of marketing to clients from different industries. Dakota was in charge of the medical sector. Her current customer was none other than Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where Phillip was currently working as a nurse. She had a huge advantage, dating a medical student. She had insider knowledge on how doctors and nurses think and what their needs were. And then there were her coworkers.

Like in any sales department, Hillary Jenkins’s managers were a diverse bunch. There was Maria Sanchez, an energetic 28 year-old, half Filipino, half Latina who mostly worked with fashion and retail. When she was not helping clothing stores sell their products, she would normally be found screaming in Tagalog or Spanish over the phone at her parents or husband over some a cute animal video she found on the Internet. Then there was Justin Marks, a tall Caucasian 35 year-old brunette who loves sports, and worked with professionals in the athletic and sporting industry. Whether it was gyms, sporting goods stores, or famous Chicago athletes, Justin was Hillary Jerkins’ go-to man for that. Then there was Virginia Ko. She was a year 28 old Korean lady, originally from Hawaii. Virginia started in Hillary Jenkins right before Dakota’s return, but they got along immediately by making fun of Frida together. She was generally very relaxed and her clients were typically from the hospitality industry, ranging from hotels to restaurants to traveling. And finally, Frida Caldwell. Everyone’s boss. She was the director of the sales department, and she enjoyed mocking everyone. She started working at Hillary Jenkins when it was first founded 60 years ago. Rumor had it that she was best friends with Hillary Jenkins herself, even though the company’s founder had been dead for more than 30 years. Frida was one of the most energetic and ridiculous 85 year-olds there ever was. She got a heart attack a couple years ago, and then went out for body shots the following day, even though it was still a work night. She was secretly a newly crossed sorority girl in a should-be retired woman’s body.

“So the PR team there just wanted to make sure that we can continue increasing brand awareness, especially for their practices. I was thinking that they could maybe do a video series on what pregnant women would do to help reduce birthing pain, just to contribute something to society and that might help?” Dakota explained to Frida, who was waiting for the brunette’s updates. “I think that’s a clever idea. Doing that will help increase doctor credibility and it will, like you said, contribute something to society. Plus, doing these kinds of videos, it will be really easy to engage in potential clients digitally. I like it.” Frida nodded approvingly as she got up. “Good job, Dakota. Keep up the good work.” She walked off. The brunette was proud of herself for the idea. Noticing the time, she quickly got up. She needed to go to the conference room and meet up with the representatives of Northwestern Memorial Hospital face to face so that she could pitch to them her ideas.

“Thank god that’s all over.” Dakota sighed as she stumbled back into her apartment. Her clients loved the idea and they were going to implement the video right away. She had to go to Northwestern Memorial, help the doctors film the video, and then give critiques on what she felt could be improved. It was tough, because Dakota was not a film and TV person, so her directing skills were not something she was confident in. But she had an idea of what she wanted for the video, and knowing that they were targeting future mothers, they made sure to keep the video light, playful, and interacting. Should this marketing campaign go successfully, then Dakota would have secured a repeat client in the hospital for Hillary Jenkins and would gain a huge commission from the firm for her idea. It was already midnight, and Phillip should be coming back from classes soon. Being a medical student, he was already studying a lot, but then when he was also working part time as a nurse, he was always busy. But it’s already been five years. He only needed three more before he graduates, and starts working as a doctor. Dakota was lucky to be dating somebody like Phillip. She still fondly recalls how the two of them first met.

severance: realization 34

Even if you and a ex-friend never quite recover the relationship you once shared, there’s no reason to be sad, nor is there a reason to be angry. So long as both of you are happy with the lives you currently lead, then that is more important. This is something I just realized recently between a handful of things. The first was when I was watching an episode of The Actor’s Studio on Bravo, not really because I wanted to, but because it was on right before Top Chef. One of the actors said that sentimentalism is just undeserved happiness or emotion. What’s the point in dwelling in the past when the present deserves more of your attention? Secondly, I just saw my ex-mentee/roommate the other day. At an event where I was invited to. It was awkward, yes, but I saw that they were really happy (obviously not to see me, but in the midst of their friends). Seeing that, coupled with the fact that I was already gaining my own form of happiness, it made me realize how it is okay if I never recovery the friendship I lost with them.

Severance is a noun meaning the act of cutting off or ending a relationship. It sounds final, intense, and grim, but it does not need to be perceived that way. For me, I see it as an opportunity. When you are around the same people constantly, you form habits and norms. Your perspective is essentially stuck in the same way. But when you change the people you surround yourself with, how you see the world can change too. Currently, the company I have, they are all good people. Optimistic, kindhearted, selfless, considerate. The kind of people who helped me recover from my second suicide attempt. They helped me realize what kind of person I am: a hardworking, protective, and loving person who just wants others to be happy, while at the same time, an unforgivingly sassy pastry cook who does not have a filter. I am proud of who I am, flaws and everything, and I will not apologize for being me.

While yes, my ex-friend/mentee/roommate was a huge factor in my self-loathing behavior, a part of me still does care about them, because I am a naturally caring personality. That being said, seeing how happy they were, it made me feel relieved. It was reassuring to know that while I may have hurt them during my state of depression, that they recovered. Just seeing them happy, it does not matter to me if I am the cause of their happiness or the exact opposite of that. Knowing that they are no longer hurting makes me feel more inclined and able to move on with my own life. I no longer have to be weighed down with these thoughts of guilt, needing to justify how when I was depressed, I had no control over my actions. All of that can be finally placed behind me now. I do not care if my relationship with them ever mends.

As I am now, I already have a great group of friends. I know that I am already a very likable person. If I was not a likable person, I would not have so many friends or have made so many friends in just the past two months alone. People who see me as crazy or insane because of that previous suicide attempt are just people who have not met me or gotten to know me on a personal level. The people who can see past that and the ones who I value. The ones that understand how badly in pain I was, and do not treat me differently because of it, I appreciate greatly. The ones who do think I am psychotic, unnecessary for me to live a happy life. They will understand eventually how depression works, and then be more sympathetic or understanding. But I will not be there waiting for them. I will have already moved on with my life. Severance changes perspectives on not only you to others, but you to yourself. You can see the qualities that were previously forgot about in tunnel vision. You can continue to grow and blossom.

 

Sky Bird: Chapter 25

“Congratulations! You have finished another year of high school!” Ms. Park smiled at everyone. It was the last day of school. Unlike most schools, Kendall’s high school had all of the finals on the same day. Everyone had just completed their Physics finals. “Kendall, can I see you after?” The teacher looked at him. “Uh, okay.” He was nervous. Did he mess up his final? Everyone filed out as Kendall sat there nervously. Once the classroom was empty, Ms. Park got out a folder and walked over to him. “Kendall, as you know, I used to be a scientist at UCLA for their Physics program.” She began. The brunette started thinking why she would preface with that statement. It probably was not a scolding? Although he has watched Hell’s Kitchen before and seen Gordon Ramsay faking out contestants like that before. “Are you doing anything this summer?” “Probably working part-time at Mitsuwa, but that’s really it.” “I see. Would you like to be a quantic optics intern at UCLA? This would be a great opportunity for you to learn more about engineering and you will be mentored under an industry professional. And it’s paid.” Kendall’s jaw dropped. He could not believe it. That was a perfect opportunity for him. “How do I apply?” “Just fill out these forms. I will handle the rest. UCLA always looks to me to recruit people for this program, and I will highly recommend you for this because you excelled in this course.” She smiled. The brunette quickly handed back the forms, all signed and filled out. “Thank you so much, Ms. Park.”

“Time’s up! Hand in your exams!” Ms. Ling stood in the front of the class as people passed their papers over to her. It was third period. Kendall felt great about the exam overall. He had went over the topics repeatedly and he knew what to expect for this test. “Kendall, you have had a rocky road with this course. But I’m proud to have had you as a student and to see you grow. Keep doing your best and if you need any college recommendation letters, my door is always open.” Ms. Ling offered him. “Thank you, Ms. Ling. That means a lot to me.” The brunette almost felt like crying. He never felt so touched before, having so many wonderful people in his life. “Absolutely. You have a lot of potential in the engineering field. You’re a smart kid.” “I’ll make sure to take Chem AP with you my senior year!” The brunette promised. Today was a good day for him. Even if he failed all of his exams, Kendall never felt better about just being himself. After spending half a semester loathing himself, thinking little of his own abilities, he was surprised by how much his teachers actually valued him. It was much needed.

“How did you think Pre-Calc went?” Sophia was sitting with Kendall, Jared, and Matt, picking their brains on how the exam went. “It was not the worst. You’ll do fine.” Matt assured her. It was lunch time, and the boys just finished Pre-Calc honors. Sophia had that exam for her sixth period, and was nervous about it. “You’ll do fine. You were smart enough to date me.” Kendall grinned cockily. “And I was even smarter to dump your arrogant ass.” She frowned sarcastically. “Ha! And I thought Fanny was sassy.” Matt sniggered. “I am sassy.” The blue eyed brunette froze. “Uh….” Fanny was right behind him. “Well, I just technically finished sophomore year. No Japanese final since I got a 99% in the class, and sixth period is post season.” He turned to Jared. “Babe, are you doing anything after lunch?” “I have my Chem final and that’s it.” “Want to go do something during sixth period?” “Sure.” The blonde nodded, trying to diffuse the awkward tension between Fanny and Matt. “And Matt,” the Chinese boy started, wrapping his arm around the brunette’s shoulders, “don’t you ever forget how sassy I am.” He whispered into his ear, before getting back up. “I need to go back to helping Carly study for Algebra 2. I’ll see you guys.” He walked off as a confused and terrified Matt whimpered. “Aren’t you glad you’re not dating him?” Sophia smirked at Kendall. “Yup.”

Fifth period Japanese 2 was quiet for once. Kendall, Megan, Sophia, Carly, Fanny, and Sharquiqui were the only people who were exempt from the final, so they sat off to the side. Everyone else had scored less than a 94%, so per Kawaguchi-sensei’s policy, they were required to take the final exam. “I’m so bored.” Kendall wrote and passed a note to Sophia. But the girl was busy studying, so she just shook her head and returned to her Pre-Calc Honors book. Sharquiqui and Sophia were both studying intently for their next and final exams. Megan and Fanny were nonchalantly doodling together, barely staving off the boredom. Ugh, this is boring. Kendall sighed to himself. He could not even enjoy his freedom with his girlfriend. Sharquiqui and Carly were talking about the potential existence of a plankton that can make your food turn glow in the dark. The wait was torturously slow. He just wanted the day to be over. The brunette drifted off to sleep.

“Hi, Kendall.” The brunette found himself in the field of flowers again. He turned around, trying to see where the voice came from. It was not the same voice as before. This was not Sophia who was calling out to him. “Who’s there?” He called, expecting a response. Nothing. There were no other people in the field as far as he could tell. “Hello?” His voice echoed off into the distance. “Who called my name?” “It was me.” A bird glided down, and perched itself in a small bed of flowers before the brunette. “Who are you?” “Darby.” It chirped. “Darby?” It was his grandfather’s name. The bird flapped it’s wings, and took off into the air. “Wait!” He beckoned, hand outstretched. It was too late. The bird had disappeared into the horizon. Before the brunette could do anything else, a white light filled the sky. The brunette woke up to a bell ringing. “Alright, see you all if Japanese 3. Unless you failed this final, in which case, you suck at life.” Kawaguchi-sensei frowned. “Hey, Kendall! Let’s go!” Megan whispered, tugging his arm. Fanny was waiting at the door for the two. “Oh, shoot. Okay, hold on.” The sophomore grabbed his bag and joined his sister and the Chinese boy in walking to the gym.

“Hey, there, Kendall!” School was finally over. Kendall, Jared, Fanny, Matt, Chloe, and Megan were greeted by Carly and Sophia. The eight of them were in the front gates of the school. “We’re finally done with another year.” Jared groaned as Fanny latched onto his shoulders affectionately. “We’re finally done with our first year.” Chloe and Megan giggled at the couple. “Well, let’s go on an adventure!” Matt proposed to everyone’s delight. The eight took off for Fanny and Kendall’s cars; Jared, Chloe, and Carly were riding with the Chinese boy, while Matt, Megan, and Sophia were with Kendall. “Alright, Chloe, you’re waiting for Megan’s text, right?” They were relying on Megan to let them know where Kendall was going to drive to. “Where are we going?” Sophia looked at her boyfriend. “Anywhere with you, it’ll be a great adventure.” He smiled at her. Matt and Megan just groaned in irritation. “Geez, stop rubbing it in that we’re single!” The two passengers crossed their arms in frustration. The couple just ignored them. Kendall was genuinely happy. This past semester, he managed to let go of a longstanding grudge, gain an incredible internship opportunity, and most importantly to him, find a girl who he was madly in love with. While he did not know for certain what his future had in store for him, Kendall knew that even if he finds himself in rock bottom, he will always find a way to soar above the obstacles, and take for the sky. Figuratively, or hopefully, literally with his dream plane, “Darby.”

Sky Bird: Chapter 24

“So how was school today?” Mr. Skye looked at his children. It was Monday night, and they were all eating dinner together for once. “Well, I won this challenge thing in my Physics class, so I got extra credit.” Kendall started, unsure if he should mention Sophia at this point. “And we got an A in our Japanese movie project.” “Kendall, aren’t you avoiding something really important?” Megan stared at him expectantly. “Uh… well… so, everyone remembers Sophia Puckchareon, right?” Kendall’s parents and Gil nodded slowly. “What do you guys think of her?” “She’s very funny and smart.” Gil pointed out. “She’s really smart, right? You said she’s taking a lot of honors classes, and she’s on honor roll?” Mrs. Skye noted. “She’s pretty cute. I know you have a crush on Carly Ahn, but Sophia would suit you better.” Mr. Skye finished. “Well that’s good, because she’s my girlfriend now.” The room went silent. Mrs. Skye looked mortified. Mr. Skye’s face looked blank. Gil’s jaw dropped. “Wait. When? How? Why? What?” Gil babbled. “Son, I’m proud of you! Even though it took you longer than your siblings, I’m glad you finally got into the dating game!” Mr. Skye patted his eldest son on the back. “When will we get to meet her again?” Mrs. Skye looked at him, concerned. She wanted to make sure that her son was dating the right kind of person. “I’m sure you’ll see her soon enough.” Kendall smiled.

“Hey, Sophia, are you doing anything this Friday?” The brunette texted his girlfriend. He was laying in bed, getting ready for the rest of the week ahead of him. “Nothing. Did you want to go out or something?” “Yeah.” Kendall smiled to himself. He wanted to take Sophia to LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It was an iconic place in LA, especially the white lamp display; it was an entire square with rows of street lamps lined up. There was something breathtakingly romantic about the sight, which was why he wanted to take here there. “Alright. Where?” She sent back. Sophia was in her own room at this moment, and she was curious what kind of places Kendall thought were date-appropriate. For her, it was a real test of Kendall’s idea of romance and its compatibility to her own. “Have you ever been to LACMA?” He sent back, grinning to himself. He knew she would love it.

“So I’ll see you tonight at 5?” It was Friday, fifth period. Sophia and Kendall were sitting together, discussing the details of their date later that night. “Yup. I’ll pick you up.” He smiled at her. “Do they really need to sit separately?” Fanny rested his head on his hands as he pouted. He was sitting with Carly, Megan, and Sharquiqui at a different table than Sophia and Kendall. “Bitch, I don’t know why you’re complaining. You get three lovely ladies all to yo’self.” Sharquiqui pointed out. “And I’m not into ladies, lovely or Yubin-like, so that’s just a wasted opportunity.” The Chinese boy rolled his eyes. “Megan, do you know where they’re going?” Carly looked at the younger girl. “I don’t, but I know that they’re meeting at 5 at my place.” She smiled mischievously. “You’re thinking what I’m thinking, right?” Fanny looked at her. “Crash their date?” She laughed, enjoying the prospect of doing that. “Yup. Chloe and I will pick up Carly and Sharquiqui, and then go to your place and we can tail Kendall’s car.” “Hold the fuck up, I will not be a part of this!” Sharquiqui frowned. “Too fried chicken?” Fanny raised an eyebrow at her. “Shut the hell up, fool. No! I have to teach another seminary at John Hopkins tomorrow, so I’m flying out tonight! But seriously, have a lot of fun. Make sure to record all of this. I will live vicariously through yo videos.” “Got it.” Fanny grinned.

It was finally 5pm. And as expected, there was a knock on the door. Kendall got up, and opened it. It was none other than Sophia, wearing a white blouse and a dark blue dress. “Wow, you look… amazing.” He trailed off. It was hard to believe that he was dating somebody who was kindhearted, smart, and beautiful. She was his perfect girl. “So this is Sophia?” Mrs. and Mr. Skye walked out and greeted the girl. “I’m Kendall’s mom.” “And I’m his brother.. no, I liked. I’m his dad.” Sophia laughed as she hugged Mrs. Skye and gave Mr. Skye a firm handshake. “Have fun, you two.” Mrs. Skye smiled. Sophia was a very polite and warm person. Just from seeing her, Mrs. Skye knew that she would be a good girlfriend to her son. “Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Skye. I will try my best to make sure that your son will be back before 12.” She promised as they left. “Mom, dad, I’m heading over to Chloe’s!” Megan chimed as she left, shortly after Kendall and Sophia were already gone. “Oh, okay. Have fun!” “Everyone’s out? Well, I guess I can play on wi-fi battles or something.” Gil grumbled, getting out his DS.

“Hurry, hurry!” Megan gasped in a hushed voice. She ran into Fanny’s car, and they started to follow Kendall’s. Carly, Chloe, Fanny, and Megan were all wearing pitch black clothes as a way to blend in. “Wouldn’t Matt and Jared want in on this?” Chloe looked to her older brother. “Eh, I’m not close to Matt and Jared is terrible at keeping secrets or staying under cover, so I didn’t want to invite either of them and potentially blow our cover.” The Chinese boy was specifically referring to how his boyfriend overcompensated with pretending to be straight, which made it very obvious that he was secretly gay. “That’s true.” Carly nodded in agreement as she took out her video camera. “I am so ready for this. They’ll thank me if they ever get married.” The Korean girl laughed. “Carly, this is why we’re besties.” Fanny smirked. “Fanny, keep going straight.” Megan was in the passengers seat, keeping track of Kendall’s car.

“Okay, we’re here.” Kendall parked behind a 99 cents store, which was the only place nearby with somewhat free parking. There were signs saying that he needed to purchase something from the store, but they just ignored that. “I can’t wait to see LACMA!” Sophia clapped her hands together excitedly. The two walked over, crossing the bustling Los Angeles traffic and making their way to the heavily illuminated square. “It’s so beautiful.” The Thai girl trailed off, awestruck. Against the dark sky was a forest of white pillars, each carrying a beacon of light. There was something inspiring about this. As if everyone’s hopes and dreams can stand together and against the darkness. The two shared an embrace. “They’re so cute together!” Carly squeaked from afar, her camera recording everything. “Sophia, thank you for always supporting me. You were always there for me, whether I knew it or not.” Kendall looked at her graciously. “Kendall, you were the first friend I made when I transferred schools. You accepted me when others did not. I will always be grateful to you for that.” She returned. The brunette leaned in and gave her a kiss.

Sky Bird: Chapter 23

It was finally Monday, first period. The moment of truth for Kendall. He sat there, nervously with Matt and Fanny, waiting for Sophia to talk in. “Hey!” Sophia ran in, panting. “Sophia! You’re late!” Mrs. Johnson frowned. “I’m so sorry!” She apologized frantically, making her way to her seat. “They locked the back gate, so I had to hope the fence.” She sighed. “At least you did the smart thing. Remember Kendall earlier this semester?” Fanny sniggered. “Shut up, Fanny.” Kendall growled. “Are you okay, though?” The green-eyed brunette turned to her. “Yeah, I am.” She nodded. “You’re not hurt or anything?” Nah. I’m used to hopping fences.” She admitted. “Learning new things about you every day.” Matt laughed. “Okay, guys. Since we can’t just have you guys doing nothing, I’m going to be putting on a movie based on a book you’ll be expected to read next year if you’re taking English 3 AP. It’s the film adaptation of Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved. Fun fact, Oprah Winfrey played the lead!” Everyone looked at each other in amusement. “Alright, let’s do this!” Matt and Fanny shouted. “Wait, Beloved? Oh, that’s a scary novel! Carly told me about it.” Sophia turned to Kendall. “Wait, are you scared easily?” Sophia smirked. “Dude, I’m Thai and those ghosts are terrifying. I doubt anything from the American horror genre can be remotely as bad.” “Alright, let’s begin!”

“I thought you said you weren’t scared by American horror films.” Fanny shook his head at Sophia as they walked to Chemistry Honors together. “I don’t know why I lied to Kendall. I guess I didn’t want him to think I’m weak or vulnerable?” She turned to him. “I can get that, but if you’re going to be in a relationship with him, it’s perfectly fine to be honest. Yeah, it’ll be annoying that you guys will be getting all lovey-dovey-boo-hoo-I’m-so-scared-hold-me-boyfriend-annoying, but that’s just natural with young love.” “Love? I’m 16, Fanny! 16 year olds don’t fall in love!” She rolled her eyes at his comment. “You’re probably right. I mean, maybe in year, you guys will outgrow each other, break up, and block each other on FaceBook, but that’s just life.” Fanny chuckled. The Thai girl looked horrified. “Oh come on, it’s not as bad as it sounds! Even if Jared and I break up, I might be all hurt and shit first, but then I’ll get over it.” He mentioned, trying to make her feel better, but evidently failing. “Okay, I’m not going to you for love advice.” Sophia shook her head. “You’re going to go to Carly with her majestic relationship with Damian?” The Chinese boy raised his eyebrow skeptically. “Okay, touche.” Carly and Damian’s break-up was so devastating that whenever Carly’s friends see him, they outright ignore him.

“Alright, so here’s what we’re going to do today in Physics.” Ms. Park looked around. “Since we want to have some fun, we are actually going to play the marshmallow challenge. Do you guys know what that is?” A small blonde junior raised her hand. “Yes, Hannah?” “Isn’t it like Chubby Bunny? So fitting a ton of marshmallows in our mouths? And what does that have to do with Physics?” Ms. Park stifled a laugh. “No, it’s not that! It’s a game where you have four pasta noodles, tape, scissors, rope, and a marshmallow and your goal is to building the tallest, stable structure to hold the marshmallow on top.” Everyone looked at each other, concerned. “So let’s go at it individually.” She smiled, handing out the supplies. Today was going to be a very fun class. The brunette smiled to himself, thinking about how he would get the marshmallow to balance. “And if you get the highest structure, I’ll give you 5 points extra credit. More incentive!” She wanted to make sure that everyone would try on this. “I’ll give you all 15 minutes, since we need to take time to measure them and everything.”

“So it wasn’t awkward in first period?” Carly and Sophia were in the gymnasium for their fourth period together. “Nah, we watched a movie, but I lied to him. I told him I wasn’t scared easily, but who am I kidding myself?” “I’m surprised he doesn’t remember you being a scaredy-cat.” Carly giggled.” You’ve known each other for so long! Not one Halloween Party where you were scared?” “It’s more like Beloved is just scarier in general.” She admitted. “It’s not like the rest of the stereotypical scary movies in American culture. That movie actually made me want to scream and cry. It rivals Thai ghost stories.” “Uh, do I want to know?” Carly shuddered. She hated horror movies. The only person in their friend group who wasn’t scared was Megan; she loved scary movies. “But you really shouldn’t lie to Kendall. Especially if you’re about to get into a relationship with him. You guys need to trust each other.” She reasoned. “Yeah, you’re right. I’ll go talk to him after this.” Sophia wanted to make sure that whatever it was between her and Kendall, there was honesty.

“Kendall!” Sophia ran up to the brunette. It was lunch time, and he was with Matt and Jared eating lunch in front of the library. “Hey, what’s up?” He turned to see her standing next to him. “Can we talk?” “Oh. Uh, sure?” He got up and headed off with her. “I’ll see you guys later!” He waved. Matt and Jared exchanged looks of amusement. The two made their way towards the black top, where almost nobody was. “So, what is it that you wanted to talk about?” “So when we were watching Beloved, I might have lied. I told you that I was not scared by non-Thai things, and that was a half-lie. I didn’t think that American things could scare me. Except Beloved was terrifying.” The brunette began to snicker. “Wait, that’s what you wanted to tell me? That you were scared of Beloved?” He was laughing at this point. “What’s so funny? I’m trying to be honest with you, since we are…. are we in a relationship?” She looked to him as he stopped laughing. “Sorry, it was just really cute the way you thought it was that important to tell me. I appreciate your honesty, Sophia. And yeah, why the hell not? Do you want to be in a relationship?” Kendall grinned at her. “Of course! Why else would I try to be completely honest with you, right?” “Okay. I want to you to be girlfriend.” He nodded, holding her hand. “And I want you to be my boyfriend.”

“Are they holding hands?!” Megan and Fanny were shocked to see Sophia and Kendall walking into their Japanese classroom, hand in hand. “Aw, I’m so glad for them!” Carly laughed. “Oh, young love. These bitches are crazy. Make sure that they use a condom. Don’t want somebody to be somebody’s baby mama!” Sharquiqui shouted. “Uh… that’s a bit extreme.” Kendall glanced at her as they sat down. “Skye-baka is dating Puckchareon-san? Well, Puckchareon-san, be careful. You might catch his stupid.” Kawaguchi-sensei warned. Sophia just rolled her eyes at the comment and turned back to Kendall. “At least being in class with you will make Mondays go by a lot faster from now on.” She beamed at him. “Time flies when you’re having fun.” He agreed. Fanny, Megan, and Sharquiqui all groaned as Carly giggled. “I swear, if Jared and I were ever this sappy, I apologize now.” Fanny frowned. “I think I am getting physically ill from watching this.” Megan shook her head in irritation.

Sky Bird: Chapter 22

“So you guys kissed?” Carly gasped. Sophia and Carly were getting brunch together on Sunday. “Yeah. It was so awkward.” Sophia put her hands on her face, embarrassed. “Oh, come on, it couldn’t have been that bad, right?” “Okay, fine. I really liked it and I thought it was sweet of him to drive all the way to my place to talk to me like that.” She confessed, putting her hands back on her lap. “So are you guys official? Or at least spoke since that night?” Carly asked before taking a sip of her tea. “Not yet. I’m really scared to.” “What’s there to be scared about?” The Korean girl raised an eyebrow. “You guys both confessed to each other. Isn’t the next step to start dating?” “I’ve never done this before, neither has he, so it’s just really awkward.” Sophia shook her head, trying not to blush. “Hmm… Well I still remember from when I used to date Damian, how he’d always take me on dates and stuff. Granted, we kissed after maybe the third date, so you guys are going in a very different direction than I did.” Carly chuckled. “Kissing before the actual dating? But I’d say just go on a couple dates with him. And if it doesn’t work out, just laugh it off and go back to being friends. Don’t let the romantic feelings make anything weird, okay?” “Alright, Carly. I’ll try. But if things go south, then what?” “Then we just cut Kendall out of our lives. Easy peasy!” She laughed.

“You didn’t talk to her since then?!” Jared and Matt looked at Kendall in disbelief. “Well…no? I’m not sure what to do.” Kendall sighed. He felt like he blew it royally. “Don’t say that. I’m sure she appreciated how straightforward you were, you know, driving to her place and talking to her in person? It shows that you’re a decent person.” Matt pointed out. “How did you and Fanny end up together again?” Kendall looked at Jared. “We started dating in the beginning of the semester. It was pretty awkward actually…” The blonde started. “Why was it awkward?” “Because it just happened for us. The first time, uh.. well… so I might have been checking him out in the locker room? He was taking off his shirt, and then I noticed his butt and how perky-” “Okay, can we please not get that much into detail?” Matt interrupted, clearly uncomfortable with Jared’s summarization of Fanny’s body. “Okay, but basically Fanny caught me checking him out. And he thought it was hilarious, because he had a feeling I was gay because I kept saying words like ‘fag’ and he had a feeling I was checking him out for quite a while.” “And?” Kendall was not quite sure where this story was going. “Well, he and I just started talking more and we started to go on dates. It was pretty thrilling at first, because it was all done in secret, but we started to realize how badly we needed to go public about it. Both of us felt like it was an itch that needed to be scratched, and that’s when we came out to you. Well, accidentally.” Jared chuckled. “But for the dates, did you guys just initiate it?” Kendall pressed, wanting to figure out how this whole concept of dating worked. “Yeah, we kept talking, and then I was like ‘let’s get dinner sometime!’ and then it happened. We kissed on the first date and everything.” The blonde laughed. “Alright, so I’ll just text her now.” Kendall sighed, pulling out his phone. “Hey, Sophia. Are you free for a meal anytime this week?” He sent. “Sure. What time?” She shot back.

“Kendall! Let’s go!” Gil tugged at his older brother’s arm. They were supposed to go to Little Tokyo to hang out together for the rest of the day. “Alright, give me a sec.” Kendall rushed to pull on his socks and shoes. “Okay, coming now!” The older brunette ran down the stairs and joined his little brother in the car. “Alright, let’s go!” The engine revved and the two left the apartment complex. “Why did you want to go to Little Tokyo again?” Kendall looked at his brother. “Mostly because I miss actual Japan.” Gil sighed. The middle schooler has been having Japan-withdrawals since spring break had ended. “Well, I’m with you on that. I miss Japan too.” He sighed. It truly was a wonderful country. And Little Tokyo would probably be the best approximation to it outside of Asia. “Hold on, I’m going to try to park.” Kendall saw a parking structure just off the Japanese Village Plaza. “Alright, and we’re parked!”

“I love this place!” Gil and Kendall were getting takoyaki from a small stand across the street from the Tokyo souvenir store. Sitting down on a bench underneath the large umbrella in the center of the plaza, the two brothers continued to snack on takoyaki while talking about life. “So for high school, Algebra 2 Honors, English 1 Honors, and Biology Honors?” Gil looked to his brother for class suggestions. “Yeah, that’s probably the best. And which sport were you thinking?” “Either football or cross country.” “Hm.. knowing you, try cross country. Megan, Chloe, and Fanny can look after you.” Kendall pointed out. “That’s true. Fanny’s on varsity so he can help.” “Yeah, I’ll try cross country, and if I don’t like that, I’ll try football or maybe even soccer?” He looked the brunette hopefully. “If you do soccer, let me know. Jared’s going to be captain next year.” “Will do!” Gil grinned.

“So what’s for dinner?” The younger Skye looked to his brother. They were still in Little Tokyo, but it was already night time. “How about Kula?” “Ooh! The revolving sushi place?” Gil’s face lit up immediately. The two made their way to the restaurant and put their names on the waiting list. While they were waiting, the brothers were admiring the array of paper lanterns that hovered over the plaza. It was breathtaking to see the white and red orbs illuminating the blue tiled roofs of the buildings nearby. This sort of view made Kendall wish he could move to Japan. Never has he felt so grateful to be part Japanese. “Oh, look, it’s our turn!” The two turned and saw the hostess calling their name. “Let’s get some sushi on our bellies!” Kendall patted his stomach jokingly. “Yup!” The two walked back over to the restaurant, and took their seats in front of the revolving sushi belt. It was so interesting, watching plates of sushi just move past them. But for some reason, Kendall just could not stop thinking about her. No matter what he tried to do to distract himself. He could only think about spending these memories with Sophia.