Miki the roses
In the second year, I met two girls who took an interest in me. They were in the same class as Izumi the previous year, so maybe they thought I was as cool as her. Miho and Tomoko were very funny and smart. They included me in their circle, and I was laughing again.
Then there was Miki. Her long reddish hair and grounded presence made me think of a thick thicket of red roses. Her desk was far back by the door, and I could see her mysterious profile from where I sat with Miho and Tomoko. Miki was also from Izumi’s class the previous year, and already had a good friend called Yu, an ace softball player.
In the autumn, the second-grade students went on a school trip to Kyoto. We formed small groups to plan things to do during free time in Kyoto downtown near the hotel we stayed in. Miki came to me and told me we could hang out because she thought I had the same taste like hers. It was unexpected as I thought she’d go with Yu, and I was flattered, too, that she had taken notice of me.
During the trip, we took off the uniform and wore our clothes at the hotel. I had brought my floral print romper I had bought when I visited my sister in Tokyo. It had a California feel, like the clothes worn in my favorite TV show, “Beverly Hills 90210”. I soon learned Miki also liked the TV show, and “Friends,” too, which had astarted airing in Japan a couple of years before. We also loved movies. She was into classic Hollywood films, like Gone With The Wind, and my favorites at the time were also classic films like Charlie Chaplin, as well as contemporary Chinese/Hong Kong/Taiwanese cinema.
By the time we returned home, we had become close friends. She maintained her friendship with Yu, but as she had the softball practice after school, Miki and I started hanging out. We sometimes went to the cinema, and at other times we browsed around the shops. And we kept on with our afterschool hangouts for the rest of high school. Miki wasn’t a prickly stem of rose but a bunch of fresh morning roses that invigorated my glum teenage soul.