On Valentine’s day some of my kids gave me chocolates and so, as tradition here dictates, I should return the favor come White Day. However, White Day is this Sunday. And, the students that gave me the chocolates all happen to be third year students and come tomorrow they will be graduating and moving in to the next stage in their young lives: High School. And to further complicate matters, all Junior High Schools in Yokohama have graduation at the same time on the same day. I happen to work at two schools and so I will have two senior classes graduating the same day. Naturally I would like to attend both but being that it is impossible to be in two places at once, I had to choose. For the third year in a row I was scheduled to be at School A on graduation day. So, this year I wanted to be at School B for a change.
This meant getting Silky himself on the line and pleading my case:
Me: “…so, can you make it happen?
Tony: Anything for you, Loco, my man. My job is to make your job easier. I’ll put your request in but I’m sure it’ll be approved.
Me: Glad to hear it
Tony: By the way, and in the spirit of making your job easier, I have some news.
Me: Let’s have it.
Tony: Well the school pairings have changed and you won’t be teaching at school B come April.
Me: I won’t?
Tony: Nope. You’ll still be at school A, but now school A has been paired with school C.
Me: C? I see. Where’s is that?
Tony: That’s the good news! School C is also in Yokohama, but much closer to your home. Chinatown was a hike for you wasn’t it?
Me: I’d gotten used to it?
Tony: Well this new school will cut your commute time in half won’t it?
Me: Depends. Is School C near the station? Or do I have to walk 20 minutes or take a bus…
Tony: Actually、I don’t know…I’ll check on that and get back to you.
Me: Thanks. Wouldn’t wanna go popping champagne without all the details.
Tony: You’re a funny guy, Loco. You should write a book or do stand-up or something to showcase your talents.
Me: Nah, that ain’t my style…Later Tony.
So, tomorrow I’m off to school B to see my kids off into the bright futures ahead of them.
But, today I still had White day business, so I had brought in a box of chocolates (the good stuff, with Macadamia nuts inside) and planned to give all the students who’d hit me off a taste. One of them,Yuki-chan, came to the teacher’s office this morning to say goodbye. Apparently the seniors were leaving really early today. Basically they’d come only for home room and to clean-up a bit. Guess the school had to get their last licks in.
“Loco Sensei, I just wanted to tell you that I…” she began, and started welling up. I’ve been her English teacher since she’d started here three years ago.
“Hey, none of that,” I said patting her shoulder trying to keep my emotions from rising. “I got something for you.”
I ran to my desk and came back with the box of chocolates. “For white day, ne. Take a few…” And I offered her the box. She only took one, and then the dam broke. she gave me a hug and said, “I love you!”
I looked at her realizing I wouldn’t be there tomorrow to watch her graduate, and she was probably expecting that I would.
“I’m gonna miss you…” I said, and chucked her on the chin. “You be good, now, and come back and visit me sometime, ok?”
“Hai!” she said, snapping to attention. “I promise I will!”
I walked with her a little towards the front door and then gently shoved her along, waved goodbye and turned around back towards the teacher’s office.
“I love you, Loco sensei!!!” She shouted at my back. I didn’t look back. I couldn’t.
Down the hallway I saw several more of my seniors headed towards the teacher’s office. More chocolates. More hugs. More “I love you” s from the girls and “I’ll miss you” from the boys. This went on for the next hour. I must have signed about 100 year books.
I’m so drained.
Having to make choices like this is so fucked up.
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