Story: Estrogen (chapter 20)

Authors: Juxtaposition

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Chapter 20

Title: Chapter Twenty

[Author's notes: Disclaimer: The following is a work of fiction, any events that may mirror real life are of pure coincidence.  The plot and characters are properties of mine, please do not reproduce unless permission has been given.]

Estrogen - Chapter Twenty

In September, I started university promptly.


After three years of seeing the same faces every single day, this big campus had my heart thudding.  I did not know anyone here; at least, no one I could recognize anyways.  It felt lonely to be standing in this school yard alone and watching all sorts of people pass me by.  The variety –and ethnicity- of people I saw was astonishing; and I began to wonder if these people would be more accepting than my friends.


Thoughts of them still dimmed my spirits; but thankfully, not as much as previously.  Some things were just not meant to be.


How is your first day of school?  Will you be living at home?  My class started today.  Truthfully, I’m a little intimidated.  There are so many talented actors here. 


It was four in the afternoon and I had just gotten home from my first day of classes.  It was from eight to two; this abundant amount of free time confused me.



I had, what, six hours of class today!  How about you?  This university schedule thing is a little too new for me, and I wonder if I will have the motivation to do work when I’m barely in class.  Have you gotten homework yet?  Apparently, I have to start reading my textbooks right away! 

Don’t worry about those people in your class!  Perhaps you may feel that you are not as good as them right now, but I know you will work hard to stand at the top of the ladder! 


Aside from the change in schedule of school, now that I am an university student, even my parents are giving me more freedom than I anticipated.  My sister would look at me with envy, and I would smile at her with triumph.  Enjoy your childhood, I wanted to tell her, you will miss it.  As I miss mine every time I looked at the list of readings and work I have to do for each class.

Class about to start, txt me later.  – Erika

So I shut my cell phone and looked out of the library window at the sunny afternoon scenery.  Even though technology had cut down the distance between us, there was no hiding the fact that messages just simply could not compare with face-to-face interaction.  For the first time in my life, I understood what it meant to miss a significant other.


How was your first week of class?  I thought I’d never survive all the lectures and the introductions.  I have a test in two weeks and we’ve barely started!  I’m beginning to miss senior high, how about you? 

But I suppose we all have to move forward. 

On a side note, I’m not sure if you knew of this, but Hoshimura-senpai apparently has an older sister.  Interestingly, she is actually one of my professors for this semester.  The physical resemblance is little, for she is quite a bit older.  However, something about her just seemed to ring a familiar bell for me.  Actually, she was the one who approached me after class ended.  She said that Reika-kun mentioned us to her, and she was looking forward to interacting with me. 

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this.  It’s like added pressure on my shoulders.  Now I have to do well in her class. 


The world was big, but it was a little too small at the same time.  To think that out of all the universities, all semesters, all courses and every teacher, Erika could fall into the presence of yet another Hoshimura.  My fingers paused at the thought of Hoshimura-senpai.  We had met up only once before university started, and Ito-senpai was in presence.  It was always comfortable to be in Hoshimura-senpai’s company, but something about Ito-senpai’s reluctant manner told me of disparity.


Sometimes, I still think about the phone call all those weeks ago; wondering just what Ito-senpai was trying to tell me.


My communication with Erika started at about once per hour, then once per day, then once per a couple of days, and finally to only a few times in a week.  This decrease of contact was hardly noticed with both of our schedules and it was only when we began to speak of matters that the other party did not know did we realize how much of our lives were moving away from each other.


They say that distance made everything beautiful, but has anyone ever noted that distance could also take away one’s love?


Our e-mails were getting longer when we barely communicated through the week of mid-terms.  Neither of us wanted to burden the other with our stresses and pressures, so the content was usually filled with unimportant gossip and polite chit-chat.  She would never know how many copies of my sketches were turned down; how many all-nighters I had to pull to finish projects on time; and how much I struggled with the mathematics that were required.  Similarly, I would never know of her harsh discipline when it came to the performing arts; how every breathing second meant memorizing a new script; and no matter when or where she was expected to be perfect in her performances. 


They say that a melt down was never the product of a single breaking point, but of a crack that had been gaping ever since a beginning that no one could quite pin point.


I hope all of your mid-terms are now finished!  I just finished my last one about ten minutes ago and now I feel as if I can finally breathe again. 

We have a break for three days and I wanted to go back.  Will you be available? 



Yes, they are finally finished!  I can’t even bring myself to care about how I did on them right now, I’m just glad they are all done!  To think that we have four years of this!  Ugh. 

Which days are you planning on coming back? 



One step at a time and keep on breathing; that’s how we’re going to get through this! 

Tuesday and Wednesday.  I have to go back on Wednesday, so Tuesday is probably going to be the full day. 



Easier said than done at this point! 

Those days sound good, shall I pick you up at the bus station?  Where do you want to go? 



We can meet at wherever we choose to go?  I haven’t been gone that long to not know my way around!  Maybe we can go to the zoo and go catch a movie afterwards?  I realized that we’ve never been to the zoo together.  How does noon sound for you? 



Sounds good!  Text me when you get here.  I will prepare to meet you for noon! 


Except that text message never came because I forgot my cell phone at home.  It was when I was at the front gate of the zoo that I realized I did not have it on me.  There was a moment of pure panic when I looked all over me and around me.  Logic told me that I must have left it home or lost it on my way here; the cause wasn’t going to be of much help now that it was already gone.


I could go home and get it, but what if it wasn’t at home.  And at this time of the day, my parents would be at work already and my sister at school; calling home was not an option.  My next thought was to call Erika, and what do you know, she wasn’t picking up.  I glared at the pay phone and huffed heavily.


Her and her stupid habit of not answering unknown numbers!


So I sat on a bench outside of the zoo and waited.  I sat, I slouched, I lounged, I all about fell asleep on the bench, but I still could not see Erika.  I glanced down at my watch and it was almost two o’clock.


Perhaps I never should have left the zoo to look for Erika, but instead of blaming it on myself or on Erika or on the string of events, I would just conclude it as fate.


After two hours of waiting, I thought that perhaps Erika did not want to move from the bus station since she obviously would not be receiving my text.  Jogging along the bus terminal next to the zoo, I hopped onto the first bus that took me to the intercity bus terminal.  It was forty-three minuets later when I arrived. 


The platform was crowded with people arriving and going, but I did not see Erika.  Of course, I would never know that Erika was now heading towards the zoo.  On her way over, there was an accident on the high way and all traffic was shut down for over an hour.


So I sat on yet another bench and waited.


When you had a goal to wait for, time did not seem to be so endless.  However, when you were waiting for uncertainty, time was your worst enemy.  At exactly five to five, I hopped onto the bus that would take me back to the zoo and prayed that Erika would be there.


Of course, she was not.


Now, I was ready to cry.


No!  I told myself.  I am a grown up, I cannot cry!  Think!  After twenty minutes of deliberation, I decided to go to the one place I was certain of.  It took me one hour and twenty-seven minutes before I was walking down the familiar little road towards Erika’s house.  It was already dark when I saw another figure walking towards her house.


There were about ten paces between us when we both stopped and looked at each other.  I couldn’t remember who moved first, but we met each other half way with an amused grin; tired and worried sick, seeing each other at this moment was the best ending to all of our struggles.


“And while I was stuck on the bus, I tried to call you, but you didn’t pick up.”


“That’s because I forgot my cell phone.  I don’t even know if I left it home or I lost it!”


We recollected our adventure of the day while walking towards our senior high.  In the end, when all plans were ruined, we could only think of one place that we both wanted to visit.


“Ah, so you were the unknown number?!”


“… yes.  You have got to start picking up unknown numbers!”


“I dislike having to deal with telemarketing!”  I threw her a sour look and she chuckled lightly.  “Sorry.  I will make sure to pick up from now on.”


Then we smiled at each other and walked on in silence.  It was sort of awkward, not having seen each other in a while, not knowing what to talk about, and both a little tired but unwilling to show it to the other.


“Have you been back to school?”


“No.  I’ve thought about coming back, especially since Reika-kun is still around and all, but…”  I trailed off and offered a shrug.


“Yeah, I know what you mean.”  She sighed and looked up at the sky.  “University is ridiculously busy and there seems to be a plethora of things that I always want to do.”


Those would be things that I would not be able to partake in; at the same time, there were things that I wanted to do that she wouldn’t be able to partake in.  Walking with her reminded me of our distance and I wondered why I’ve never felt the unease that was so often associated with long distance relationships.  To put it nicely, it was because we were certain of each other and our relationship was one built on trust.  However, to put it pessimistically…


… I didn’t even want to think about it.


When one no longer cared for another, there needn’t excuses for one’s lack of emotions.


There was a silent agreement on my end as I looked down the dark road that led to our senior high.  Every passing building looked ever the same and ever so different at once.  We’ve had times when we had to walk to and fro school at ungodly hours, but to know that we were no longer students… that was new.


“How is Hoshimura-senpai’s sister?”


“Strict.  She is quite different from Hoshimura-senpai.”  Perhaps in Erika’s mind, she would always see the negative aspects of Hoshimura-senpai that I failed to see.  “However, she is a kind person and intelligent.  She said that she’s been in my university ever since her school years.”


“Must be nice, to have someone you know.”


“She’s my professor; I can’t really treat her as a friend.  University is big, and those in one of my classes, I don’t even see in other classes.  It’s really not like how senior high is so close knit.”


It was a struggle on both ends.  I didn’t tell her about my own difficulties with school work and designs.  I realized how true it was that passion did not equal to career.  Even though I’ve had so much exposure to the world that I wanted to be in over the last few years, my grades were still just satisfactory.


“Next semester, we will have to put on a play.”  Erika said.  “Would you like to come and see us?”


“Not really.”


She looked over at me in surprise, thinking that it was only cursory to ask but I would go anyways.  I looked back at her and offered her a cheeky grin.  “I would like to go see you, but not really the other people.”




And I laughed at her mildly amused expression, thinking that this was what it was like.  Except back then, it was Erika who would be in my shoes and me with a slightly embarrassed expression.  It’s been two years, and so many things have changed; but, I wanted to think that there will always be things that remain true.


“It doesn’t look any different, does it?”


We stood in front of the school gates and looked up at the building.  No light was turned on inside, so we were left starring at a silhouette illuminated by street lamps and the moon.


“It’s only been a few months; it can’t have changed that quickly.”




In the future, I wondered if we will have the same desire to visit our senior high and relive the memories of those times.  Or will the passing of time wash away our previous memories so to make way for new ones; forever burying what used to touch us, what used to move us, what used to be important to us.


We returned to Erika’s house later that evening.  The next afternoon, she boarded a bus and drove away once again.

To be continued...

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