It’s funny. I remember back in high school—no, it was earlier, junior high. In junior high school I had really low self-esteem. It seemed like everyone else had their lives all put together, and here I was, just…stagnant.
It wasn’t until my last year that I broke out of all that, when Yurika came along. Yurika was another girl in my class who, for whatever reason, decided that I was the coolest person in our grade. She’d come to watch my tennis games, wait for me after school…even run up and surprise me by jumping on my back. With that kind of attention, how could I continue with my previous outlook? How could I think I was being left behind when this girl clearly thought I was at the front of the pack?
I say “for whatever reason”. I did ask her, more than once, but I never got a real answer. I think she felt like it was obvious, that anyone would want to be my friend. Maybe it was true.
She did eventually tell me, very candidly, that she thought I was pretty. Before that I had never thought about girls in that way, and it was a shock to even consider it. And yet it somehow made sense. I remember being kept up thinking about it, for multiple days even, and then I finally had this dream…
We ended up going on a few dates before mutually deciding to go back to being friends—and I do mean mutual. She herself said it wasn’t working out. Last I heard she had moved out to ______ and was living in a house with her brother.
But of everything Yurika did for me, that was the most important. We don’t talk much anymore, but I’m still very grateful to her.
The interesting part in this whole story is that I was in the exact same place the year before. There was a girl, in my class, popular but not one of the popular kids, talented but not in any of the competitions…going through life like she had her own spotlight. You probably know the type. And I followed her around like a puppy. Not every day, but enough. Me and the other girls even made a joke out of it, calling her my “boyfriend”.
We were friends for two years. She was perfectly nice to me, always happy to hang out when she wasn’t busy with sports or other friends. I played it cool, teased her, made her lunch a few times. But secretly I was thrilled to spend time with her.
It wasn’t until Yurika that I realized I had been in love with her. By then she was gone, of course. Something happened and she transferred out to another school.
You know, it’s funny. I can’t remember her name.
from “Memoirs of a Student”, by Shinohara Wakaba
YES WAKABA IS GAY THAT’S MY HEADCANON.
*cough* This is clearly the more important piece of “Memoirs of a Student”. I’m not quite sure the idea in my head came out correctly, but, well, that’s what happens in NaCreSoMo. Hey, it’s all just for fun anyway, right?
“Yurika”’s name is never mentioned in the anime; the character only appears for maybe 10 seconds in the very last episode, in what seems to be intended as a throwaway scene. I wanted another three-syllable name that ended in “-a” (Utena, Wakaba), but other than that the choice would have been mostly arbitrary…except I was scanning through a list of feminine Japanese names, and realized this might be good for a girl who helps Wakaba discover something…
AND OH HEY YURI. THAT WAS CLEVER.
*cough again* Anyway, while it’s not really substantiated by the anime, I do think it’s plausible for Wakaba to have had a romantic crush on Utena, and her being gay would fit in nicely with her particular kind of awkwardness in the kendo captain incident of the last piece.
Wait. Shoot. Spoilers. …oops.
Interestingly, my character of Wakaba here is missing a big piece of her relationship with Utena. While Wakaba may have other close friends, Utena doesn’t, really, except for perhaps Miki and maybe Juri (and of course the complicated relationship she has with Anthy). Utena cares about Wakaba much more than Wakaba realizes.
(I think I failed at making this one accessible to people who haven’t seen the anime. Oops.)
The next installment of “Memoirs of a Student”—
if there is a next one—will be a little bit different. We’ve heard enough of Wakaba’s reminiscences for now.
Today’s March 7th, but my last NaCreSoMo post was on March 4th. I decided to take Mondays off like I did for NaNoWriMo last November, since I have Japanese class Monday evenings. I did actually make something on Sunday: a traced portrait group for the other acts at the concert I mentioned on Saturday, all talented Bay Area artists.
I’m running through my early list of ideas for NaCreSoMo pretty quickly. Then again, that’s not too unusual. Everyone else seems to be getting on a music train, though, so maybe I should jump on that.
Part of NaCreSoMo 2017. Join us!