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Motoko Isawa

by Carmen Lopez

Carmen Lopez Motoko has one reason to go so far from home, but what she finds may break her.

Written like a (slightly melodramatic) shojo manga, it's a bit of a departure from my usual style. It is canonical and a bit of foreshadowing...
My new classmates were nice enough. They keep asking me questions about my life which was much different than theirs. I told them about gathering vegetables from the garden before school, about the daily rainstorms that provided us with our water for that day, about the work I did in our family’s business of cultivating berries, about how we wanted our lifestyle to be a model for he rest of the world. In return they told me about how they hated to get up in the mornings, how they couldn’t wait to leave school to go hang out somewhere, how they dreamed of travelling the world. Their world was just as foreign to me, but as I lived it in it, I found it wasn’t so bad even though I missed nature.

I was glad some things were going well because I was having a personal crisis. My reason for coming had everything to do with him. We’ve known each other our whole lives. I developed a crush on him when I was eight years old though he of course remained oblivious. When he moved far away, I longed to see him again but my family’s financial situation would not allow for random travel. In a stroke of luck, I got the opportunity to be a foreign exchange student and I immediately picked the city where he was under the guise of wanting to study the meteor rocks. I was far too embarrassed to tell them the real reason, but I think his mother may be aware…

We had a very nice reunion when I first arrived. He took me took me on a tour of his family’s urban daycare and we got to take care of the Pokémon like old times back on the island. His aunt prepared foods the way they always did on the island and our dinners were filled with interesting conversations. One night, he drove me somewhere south of the city away from the lights so we could see the stars. I teased him about getting rusty in his calligraphy skills and he responded by beautifully writing out the kanji that made up my name. Against my better judgment, I allowed myself to get my hopes up. Perhaps in our separation, his feelings toward me had deepened. I found myself feeling giddy and love-struck. I even contemplated confessing my feelings to him and daydreamed of ways to do it.

It all came to a screeching halt when I met his new friends, when I met her. I saw how he was with her and I immediately felt something ugly rise up. It was a feeling I hated, the feeling of jealousy. The worst part was that I didn’t know what on earth he saw in her. She was certainly beautiful with brown, wavy hair and green eyes that reminded me of the rain forest. I felt lesser in comparison. But she seems so uptight and conservative. Her face was unreadable and I wasn’t sure if she was sizing me up or not… I didn’t want to be around her, but the fates had other ideas. He said that they had work to do and invited me to come along. I should’ve turned and ran away immediately, but those brown eyes captivated me. I agreed before I could stop myself.

As I listened to them discussing the plans they wanted to put before the student council, I realized I’d never seen this side of him before…or maybe I just never understood it. Back on the island, I would just laugh softly at all his ambitious ideas and then pulled him away to the beach, or the gardens, or the falls. But she was able to harness his ideas and create a plan. He was his mother’s son all right. He’s always been passionate, but now he was actively going after what he wanted.

We were incompatible.

My goal was to return to the island and live every day in nature without a care. His life goals were far bigger than the island. I hated that realization and now I’ve even become polluted with the hatred I have for this girl who stole his heart.

I feel like I’m suffocating

Almost unconsciously I felt myself rise out of my seat and run out of the building. They were alarmed and called after me, but I no longer care. It was freezing, but it didn’t register. I didn’t care where I was going…as long as it was away from him.