A Different Type of City

April 12, 2010
I sat on the balcony as the indigo sky deepened around me, the cool, night air causing me to shiver slightly. I slipped my bare feet through the railings and let them hang free off the edge. Sighing, I looked down at the backyard of our apartment complex. It wasn’t much, with the sparse trees and poorly mowed lawn, but it felt like home. It had offered me a place of solitude when I was angry and a place of joy when I brought one of my friends from school home with me. I didn’t want to leave, I really didn’t. This was my home. Tokyo was where I belonged.

The city was just beginning to come alive with its nighttime life. From where I sat I could see the different clubs and stores starting to show their true colors. The flashing lights and booming music had annoyed me when we first moved here from the suburbs, but now it brought comfort. It was real to me. A new “city in the sky” wasn’t.

A single tear dripped down my cheek as I thought of the move. If only my dad wouldn’t have left. If only they hadn’t decided to expand the city to the unexplored territory above us. If only we didn’t have to be the poorer part of Tokyo.

Just because we weren’t as wealthy as the rest of the neighborhood, we were being punished. Punished in an unusual sort of way. Some didn’t see it as punishment, some saw it as a new life. A chance to start over.

But not me. The whole idea disgusted me. It was basically “let’s take the worst part of this city and stick them in the middle of our new experiment.” Of course, I couldn’t make the decision for myself. My mom came to the conclusion that it would be good for us. “Good for us, or good for you?” I thought bitterly, “This was you’d never have so see Dad again.” No one had taken into consideration that I would lose all my friends in the process.

“Haruhi?”

A soft voice behind me made me turn around to see my mother standing in the doorway. “Haruhi, sweetie, I know you don’t want to go. Just, please, give this a try,” she murmured in Japanese, “This is hard for me too. Try to understand. I just want to give you more opportunities. This seemed like a good chance for us.” I looked into her dark almond-shaped eyes for a second, and I knew she meant it. She sat down next to me and put an arm around my shoulders. We sat there together, watching the city we’d both come to call home.


* * *


The next morning, we left.

They loaded us onto the elevators, baggage and all, and, just like that, we shot up towards the clouds. Towards the new Tokyo.

In ten minutes, we were standing there, looking out of the elevator at what seemed like a different world. For one, the grass was artificial, so I found when we reached our new home. It was really a house this time, not a small, blockish apartment! Instead of trees and blue sky, there were thin wisps of clouds around us, as if the city was permanently covered in a strange white fog. The buildings were…different. Instead of being brick or steel, they were made of a silvery, metallic metal that reflected the brilliant sunlight. It was a stretch from real Japan, but I knew that I just needed time to adjust.
“Shall we?” my mother asked from where she stood next to the open door. I nodded. Squaring my shoulders bravely, I took the first step into my new home.





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