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Monday, 15 November 2010

Cathrine Chevogn: Chapter One: Chosen Fate

05:47 Posted by Cindy Wong Dela Cruz , , , No comments
“ Bonjour. The table awaits.”
The warm rays of the sun greeted me.
I am in Japan. I thought to myself. I slowly sat on the bed and let my eyes wander around the room I was in.
It only took a single word to sulk in the bright morning. Grand.
“ Why does it has to be like this?” I eyed her.
“ It is the uttermost request.”
“ No, please.” My tone dropped. “ Let there be a commoner room or a house.”
Such a waste to destroy. “ We have to take precautionary measures, just in case.”
“ Yes. We understand. Please get yourself ready.”
Spring—the day of my first school at East Royal International Academy. I’ve heard of the school—elite, influential, wealthy and royals were the students in there. I thought I got to find a decent school than this.
I took a breath. “ Please leave me alone.” The ladies were tailing me.
As soon as I heard the car away from me, I felt relieve. I walked towards the academy grounds.
Exquisite. Not bad after all.
The murmurs started as soon as I entered the grounds. Everyone was talking behind me more or less mystified by my presence.
“ You think she’s something?” I heard a girl.
Probably a little lie wouldn’t harm or pretending that is. After all, I came here as that would be my weapon.
Classes were about to start and I walked towards the first class I am in—Language class. I stood near the door waiting for the teacher to arrive.
I’ve seen familiar faces. Sons and daughters of wealthy people were my supposed to be classmates. I don’t want to have any conflicts or any exposure among this class but then, there might be.
Italy’s Mayor’s daughter was among them—a good old comrade, Myshcka Demoure. She was explicitly beautiful, the same face the last time I’ve seen her around. Much as to my surprise, a man was walking towards this direction.
It cannot be him.
The last person I wouldn’t want to see. Except for the hair and his eyes, he was the same person a night ago. Why was I being hunt down with the same face? Numbness crept on my body.
And I heard myself. “ I miss you.”  I closed my eyes and took a long sigh.
A braided girl walked down to my direction. She seems to be another person of this class. Her head held high. She seems to be anxious.
“ Are you in this class?”  My voice was off.
She nodded. I studied her face. I cannot be mistaken—A Shein descendant.
I smiled at her and introduced myself.
“Danielle Shein.” She introduced herself. I pursued a smile as I stared her get inside the room. Not a minute passed, the teacher came and gestured himself to let me come inside.
I introduced myself to everyone and as expected from the lowly wisdom implanted among them, the very thing that I tried to outrun came as a major necessity among them.
At the tip of my sight, Ms. Demoure stood up. She cleared her throat and was ready to bring to a halt among a girl’s wrong impression on me. She was ready to introduce me. It was my cue.
“ Pardon Mademoiselle, please.” I looked at her eyes—conversing, being able to let her join on my little game.
If they were not willing enough to go with the flow, I would not take the risk of being bolder. I must leave, if this was the only way to protect what I want to fund for myself. I cannot let them barge in or ruin the things I wanted to create.
I clenched my bag then I heard myself saying,  “ If my presence is a bother to everyone, I deeply apologize for the commotions.”
I must leave in an instance. I turned to Ms. Demoure. I will speak to her later. “ You’re really nice. Thank you for defending me but I can’t allow you.”
I turned to the teacher. “ Monsieur, I want to see the Academy President.”
“ I deeply apologize, but it is the request of the President that you be in this class. Please sit down beside Mr. Fukusawa’s table.” He gestured the unoccupied table beside the person I’ve met earlier.
He can’t really be him. He can’t be. And I have no option as well or rather, no choices that is. I walked towards the empty table as the lesson started.
Uneasiness gave me anxiety. I am aware by the commotion earlier and perhaps the words and the whispers were still alive. But no, a pair of eyes is giving me ghost bumps. I tilted my head to the person sitting beside me.
He has chocolate brown eyes and with long lashes that makes him identical. He blinked and as soon as he opened it, he was glaring—fiery. I was staggered.
Did I offend him?
“ I’m sorry.” I said to him and went back to hear out the lesson. 
The class was no more interesting than my previous education. I took a sigh, got my bag and went out.
So this is what it feels to be on a crowded school—on a real school. And just like any other education I had, I was nothing but alone—on my own self with no one to confide, to rely and to talk to. I let a smile pursed on my lips.
Why did I end up being in this kind of circumstance? This is what I’ve decided so I must stick with it—endure it. After all, at all cost, everything must be endurable whether you are at your limitations. There are no choices. It is the only option you had.
“ Hi.” A voice called upon me.
I looked up and smiled. It was Shein earlier.
“ Don’t be intimidated with our classmates. They are just worse than that of socially inclined people.”
She spoke as if she too was repugnant among the vile manners of the students in our class.
“ Is being wealthy the standard of today’s people?” I asked her.
She thought about it.
“ For some it is. Look around you, wealth is people’s necessity like air. You can’t live without them.”
Yes, people view it like that—a necessity, their life—the only nutrients that keeps them being alive.
“ And I believe it is also one of your ideology—your taciturn of life.” I looked at her.
“ It wasn’t until now. People held up those wealth because they haven’t experienced being one with it—lived before or the effect of their own milieu.” That was a very rare answer indeed. No one reasons out just like her.
“ And you think, wealthy is being uncanny?” I asked her again. I was eager to hear her fascinating reasoning towards me.
“ Yes. It’s been hard around to be able to have a tail of those labels around you. You felt yourself obligated when in fact you don’t want to, chained like a prisoner and even if they tried to, there isn’t liberty. You’ll have them until death knocks on your door.”
I smiled at her. She had the faintest idea of my own reasoning—such bold and subtle ideas, plain but rather evidently the root of today’s century.
“ You have a good sense of perspectives.” I said to her.
“ You think I do?” She was assuring. Is she not sure about her views of life?
“ I do.” I assured her. “ We have the same views but none was ever to grasp the truth behind it.”
No one did except her. This made me fascinated about her. She was no more than simple—but no one has seen she was more intricate yet her face resound of placidness. Though her smiles gave warmth to someone like me who has a cold heart, her emotions are easily read. “ Perhaps, people, though wanting to be freed doesn’t have the heart to be free at all. For if they want, their choice would lit up the fire to pin down what they are fighting for.”
I took a deep breath. I could feel she too, studies myself.
“ Sorry about my classmates earlier. I believe that the President has his own reason why you came to our class. Please cheer up now.” She was cheering me up. My heart suddenly leap—such rare people to dig in my world, she’s exceptional. She reads what I’m feeling
 “ Thank you. You are so kind to me though I am a stranger to you. You have a good heart.” I smiled at her.
Our conversation was interrupted. Ms. Demoure was standing behind us. She can’t maybe tell others about me.
“ Hi. Thank you so much for defending me though there is something that I need to speak with you.” I had to calm myself.
I was anxious. I swayed Ms. Shein and the conversation has to be in accordance of my plan.
It went smoothly but she was hesitating. She didn’t fully understand the change that I wanted to have. She wouldn’t understand even if I tried her to make it up to me or make her realize that it is the most important thing to me.
I know my earnest pleading looked me idiot and this is not supposed to be my actions but I’ve got to try. I’ve got to earn her.
“Okay. But, we’ll try. No promises about it, though.” I heard her. My heart suddenly took a leap of joy.
I hugged her just like old times. “ Thank you so much. I’ll definitely pay your kindness back.” Just like old times when both of us were comrades. “ Thank you. And also, I want to become your friend.”
“ Yes.” She answered and smiled.
And just like the old times, I introduced myself to her but she was the same—the polite little girl who address me by my full name.
We parted.
My feet lead me to a Café Inn. I heard the tingling sound of the chimes and the warm welcome of the workers greeted me.
“ Hello.” I smiled at them. A girl came towards me and took off my school coat. “ You are very nice. Thank you.” I told her promptly.
“ Are you new here?” She asked me.
“ Yes, I am.” I wandered around to find a vacant place. Fortunately there was.
“ What can I get you?” she asked back.
“ Do you have Cappuccino Latte?”
“ Indeed. I’ll get you. How about any hor’s d oeuvres?”
“ That will compliment.” I smiled at her and sat down.
The place was no more than a warm and welcoming home. A man of sixties came from the kitchen.
I let a laugh and stood up and walk towards him. After all this years, “ Bonjour Monsieur Dujard. Strawberries are in wild bloom. Is there any possibility that you mind making me one of those rare Strawberry Parfait with Honey and Vanilla?”
His head looked up with amazement.
“ Impossible!” he exclaimed.
I smiled earnestly, “ It is possible.”
His eyes beamed and took my hand. “ It is you. Pardone ami Mademoiselle. Pardonne.”
“ It’s okay. It’s okay.” I assured him so as not to be conspicuous to the other students inside.
“ Mizuki, bring the finest gourmet I’d finish a while ago.” He barked at the girl I met earlier.
He hurriedly went aboard the counter. “ I can’t believe it.”
“ Me too, Monsieur.” I smiled again.
We talked about the times we’ve shared and the things we’ve grown apart.
“ I really apologize for talking casually at you.” He said out of nowhere.
“ It’s fine. I intend casualties and plain and simple today.” I finished the parfait he had made me. “ Ah, the same exquisite taste.”
“ You could’ve done better than that.” He complimented.
“ Yours cannot be compared. A student cannot be higher than her own mentor.”
“ And you are an exemption.”
 I smiled.
“ Pardon me for asking but why did you decided to left?” he asked me.
I took a deep breath. “ Monsieur, you said I am an exemption. I was not more than happy by what they have funded me for but I was not in absolute state of my existence if I don’t do the things everyone is doing. I want to have a change.”
“ You’re putting yourself in danger.”
I was staggered. He sounded more seriously like I was about to be in the pit of grave danger. I shrugged at the idea of it and continue with our conversation.
“ This academy is different. Your ideology might have been stained or at least you’ll be having second thoughts but more probably it will change your outlook.”
I shook my head. “ No, it wouldn’t make me one. They are the ones to be changed. This place is pathetic when you look at it with your own naked eye but deeper in its soul, there is more than that. Like the spring—the three seasons came—tarnished the world, empty it and let it alone by, but it comes back like a new life that sprung—newer, better and stronger. It’s still the same but in different season.”
“ With all you had, I know you could be triumphant. Such rare of you.” He said. “ I’ll let you alone for a while.”  He stood up and walked back to the kitchen.
My phone rang.
“ Bonjour.” I took it.
“ How was my daughter?”
It was Father—it was unexpected for him to call me.
“ What is it that I heard that you didn’t introduce yourself properly?” He’s being infuriated.
“ This is part of our agreement, Father.” I had to sound calm to him.
“ But that is preposterous! This is getting out of your bounds. Have some shame on the family!” His voice is soaring.
“ No. Do not interfere with it. I told you this is part of the agreement.”
“ Then, you’re going back in an instance.”
This is getting out of hand. I’ve let him reach his own limits.
“ You agreed. You promised!” I reasoned out with him.
“ Then act like you are.”
“ Father, you cannot let me. I’m sorry but all will be in accordance to my own will. That is what we have agreed. No one has to interfere. This only last for two years.”
I’ve said what he needs to hear— to let him calm down. We’ve argued a million times yesterday and the other day before.
“ I’m warning you. I will not tolerate any of your misbehavior.”
“ I’m old enough to take care of myself.”
There was silence.
“ Did he come by?” I asked him.
Why would I still bother? Why?
Shards of glasses were being streaked on my chest. Of all the questions, why did I still have to bother? Or ask? Or care about him?
“ Yes. He was miserable.” Father’s tone dropped off. “ Is there any thing that I might be able to help both of you?”
“ Miserable? I suppose you got it all wrong, Father.”
I laughed mockingly at the idea. That’s not supposed to be what he’s feeling right now.
“ No, dear. I read it on his eyes. I believe it’s all a misunderstanding. You have jumped into a wrong conclusion.”
“ I can’t be wrong, Father.” I insisted.
“ You two have a lot of things to talk about.”
“ No, you don’t have to tell me where I am.”
I don’t want to see him despite my longing.
“ I’m afraid that’s too late.”
Shaking, I turned off the end button.
He can’t be. He’ll ruin it.  Why does he have to come back?
“ Are you okay?” A voice drifted the realization I would be having. I glanced at it. My seatmate from the earlier class was standing beside me.
“ Yes, I’m all right. Thank you for the concern.” I guaranteed him and looked away.
“ That’s better.” He pursed his lip. He didn’t walk away.
“ Do you need anything?” I asked him.
“ Oh, no.” he denied. “ There’s nothing.”
“ I see.” My only replied and looked at my foot.
“ Actually there is.”
I held my head high, wondering about a passive conversation again.
“ I’m supposed to take you a tour around the grounds.”
“ Is it necessary?” I asked him quickly. I was tired enough to walk a little further—no, the arguments my Father and I had made me restless.
“ I’m afraid it is. The President requested me to do so.” He said. He was looking kind of bored and he was probably hesitant about this.
“ Thank you, but if it would be a bother you, I can explain myself to the President. You don’t have to do this.” I calmly told what he wanted.
“ I cannot disobey the President’s request.” He answered.
I know he’s not going to let it a go so I stood up and followed him.
He had a good physique, tall about an inch ahead of me.
“ I…I am…” Was he having a hard time talking? I smiled.
“ Fukusawa Li, aren’t you?” I told him his name.
“ I… yeah.” he answered. “ I am Li Fukusawa.” He held his hand.
I shook it. “ Cathrine Chevogn.”
Quite true, I am Cathrine Chevogn, half French and half Japanese. I decided to take a bolder step—to outrun the European world I lived. I sought to came to Japan a day ago—it was a quick decision for me but in the days to come, I will live among it.
His hand was warm unlike mine’s cold and dainty hands. I took off my hand and continued walking with him.
“ Why did you transfer school?” he then asked.
I didn’t know how to answer. Then he added, “ Your parents are working here?”
I laughed at the words he said.
“ Am I wrong? What’s funny.”
“ Nothing. Sorry for my rudeness. I just want a new ambience and milieu for my education.”
“ You don’t like France?”
“ No, that wasn’t what I meant. I just want some few changes.” How can I be so carefree talking to him?
“ I see.” He took a breath. “ Earlier, when you meant as average girl, what do you mean by that?”
This leads me back again for the same conversation I had with Ms. Shein and Ms. Demoure—reasoning and ideologies of wealth.
“ Were the poor students banned to enter this academy?” I asked him.
“ But this is an expensive school—no scholarship like normal academies or any assistance to give the students.” He reasoned out.
“ I quite understand—every student here are the same—lusting for their own sake, guts, glory, fame and wealth. Even the ideologies of the student are the same—wealth. Is that the standard of every person who resides here?”
I was getting annoyed.
“ They are not the same, Ms. Chevogn.”
“ Then tell me your ideology might as well, I had to be corrected.” I smiled.
“ There are two types of people—one is the superior and the other are the inferior ones. We comprise at the superior but being outnumbered by the inferior ones. We had become like this to maintain the balance of nature but they are growing and fast, leaving us behind a parcel of number. I am not to speak that eradicating them is the best idea—they are human composed of dignity and emotions, but having a total outlook of the world we have been given the responsibility of nurturing them—the reason why we also need to nurture ourselves. The balance of nature must remain—having the same labels of our existence.”
“ Fascinating, but you missed it.” I looked upon him. His face draws confusion. “ You are setting a standard above your races—the standard of being superior. But how do you know that they are inferior and you are superior? Is it not measured by materialistic wealth or the glory your race had? This is not racism, of course, but an understanding. You cannot call yourself rich unless you have been poor enough.” I paused. “ I regret to say, that I would not take back my word to judge this place—always and has been. Wealth is the standard and will always be.”
“ No.” he cut me off. “ When I entered this place, I swore to make amendments of the standards here.”
“ Two years was long enough to change it, but still it hasn’t began. You’ve wasted too much of your time, Monsieur. If that was your before-principle, then this place has already changed you to become part of its own manipulation.”
He was bewildered at my claim on him. He’s weighing his own options and his actions.
“ Thank you for walking together with me but I think you have so much things to ponder on.” I told him, bowed gently and walked away.
The day almost wore me off. I was tired to have another arguments—pathetic and nonsense. I climbed up on a buildings rooftop to ease some good freshness without bothering me.
But even to my surprise, a despairing scene welcomed me. A braided young girl gushed her tears and it flowed like rivers.
Tears.
No. I must not see tears.  I clenched my fist to overrule my emotions. This was also what I was running away—the dripping tears on my face, the same feeling the girl is having.
This would be the sensation I should have been, let my emotion draw on me. But no, I’ve got to fight and learn to suppress my emotions and master over it.
“ Don’t cry.” I told her like I was also comforting myself—a warning for me.
But if my feelings were heavy such as this, will I be able to still say, ‘don’t cry.’
Sometimes, all you need is to let it flow—let it come and when you’re satisfied you can let go of it. You knew that you have overcome it—winning over it.

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I love traveling and being immersed with different cultures. It has cultivated my love for learning and has exposed me to different perspectives. I'm a travel specialist during the day, while writing has always been my first love (considering my love of books, of course). I am an editor of Lapis sa Kalye (Hindi ito ang normal mong nababasa)**a Facebook page which promotes Philippine Literature, one of the writers of the published book - **PENDULUM. I was also the Editor in Chief of our online magazine which published free literary works. I also post my works in Wattpad reaching more than 70k reads.

And when I need a real breather, I take pictures and edit them. I'm still developing my style in this area, I don't usually follow Photography rules, I just try to have fun along the way.

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