In the eyes of the beholder

I walk alone in this path of life, alone and sheltered from the world, they are beautiful, and yet I am the beast. I hide from society's cruelness, afraid to be hurt once again. I am the beast... Again they tormented me with their foolish smiles and laughter of fake friendship. Here I am to tell my story, my name is Hiroko, and I was an exchange student from Tokyo Japan. My parents sent me to the states to continue my studies, hoping to expand my knowledge... I'm currently staying with my aunt, who seems to be never home. She seems so much different from my own mother, even though I know the same mother brought them to earth. If not for my English, I would have never managed to survive in this new world, many call...America. With people of different color, ethnicity, fashion and language. My first day of school soon started, I was to start in high school as a sophomore in a school that produced great scholars. As I surveyed everyone, they all seemed so different, loud and without shame. They all came in different colors and sizes. I looked down at myself, ashamed for my ignorance, and so I continued on walking alone to my classes. Hoping to escape their stares, it was quit obvious to me that I am Asian, Japanese at that... and as I looked around, no one shared the same features I had, all were tall, if not short and big... and if there were anyone who shared my features, may they be Vietnamese, Korean or Chinese, I didn't see them. Or they were wise and took shelter within their barriers. I guess I should have done the same. Girls stared and laugh, giggling, I don't know if they were meant for me or for someone else, but I guess I shouldn't hide it anymore I was the one they were laughing at, for no one else dare sat in front... Guys stared, some smiled my way...I blushes deeply, still ashamed and embarrass, do they share the same views as does girls? Am I supposed to be afraid? My father always told me of the story of a young samurai warrior; brave as he was... for he was my great grand father... As I was doing my work, the girls from the back came up to me, introducing themselves rather quickly, they spoke fast and clear English, I am only to be ashamed of mine with my heavy Japanese accent. They seemed nice, I think. But that was it that was just it, nothing more, no further questions nor friendly conversations I had hoped for. And so, after learning my name, Hiroko, they left, turning their back cold on me. Their stares turned me to at times, I wonder why? this distracted me greatly, but thank the graces above the bell sounding us for the lunch break rang, I quickly made my way to the library, hurriedly balancing one book from the other and my bag as well, the lunch crowd was large, larger than what I've seen in Tokyo. They were loud, many shouted and many called each other with unpleasant names I dare not repeat. Such weird customs they have... and yet I dare pity myself for being so ignorant and sheltered as a child. The crowd was fierce, I cannot even count how many times I had been pushed or bumped, and yet I apologized, sometimes even forgetting my English. *Laughs at herself* I struggled greatly to reach safety, it felt like fighting against a tsunami, with one big waved, I was pushed down to the ground hitting it hard, leaving my books to scatter all around, I quickly picked them all up and there, I met him. He smiled at me, a kind warm smile and quickly gathered the rest of my belongings, and he didn't hand them to me just yet, but grabbed my arm, and dragged me away from the giant stampede. Not until did we reach the haven gates of the library did I manage to capture a glimpse of my savior...*blush* it was obvious he was Caucasian, his eyes were of the color of the deep blue sea, his hair was chest nut brown, rather long though, reaching up to his shoulders. And he said his name was Mathew, he was in my of my classes, English Literature. I talked to him with great ease, managing to relax and finally know that I had found a friend, he explained to me that he was greatly fascinated with the Japanese history and literature. And somehow our conversation ended with a discussion on video games, *chuckles* I must admit, I have played a game or two, if not for my brother, whom I missed dearly, and I look forward to seeing him soon, as he promised he'd join me here in the states after his service to the army was over. And so from that day on, my days of loneliness and confines with books in the library turned out into lively days of friendship and heart warming talks with Mathew. He was a junior in high school and I was a sophomore, and one day... a day I can never forget, he offered me a ride home. I guess you can see by this time our friendship seems to grow even more by day. Yet what I could not stop thinking, he never once asked, nor stared in shame at me, nor asked on how I acquired the long scar on my left cheek. I guess this was the reason the girls stared and laughed at me, and guys just stared blankly, some without shame laughed and pointed... Not soon after, the nightmare continued on, worsening by days passed. Letters with threats were sent to my locker, desk and books, oblivious phone calls were left on the machine, yet I cannot understand why. And here I begin to cry. Until they all got worse, and soon finally, as I was walking to my bus stop. The girls who once stared and laughed, and when I though it ended, for a while, it didn't, they were just in hiding, waiting for the right time to attack, like a lioness, waiting to pounce on its prey, and I was that prey. They yanked my hair, pulled me down to the ground and pushed me against a hollow tree, bruising my back, my arm and my leg. I didn't dare fight back, even with the 'training' I had with my brother as a child, and that was how I got my scar. They laughed, they pointed, they screamed and they shouted words. Words that will haunt me, they were no better than the kids from home. And yet with all that, after all these years not once did I fight back. My hands were bruised and bloody, my face, puffy and hurt. And my emotions torn away from me. My happiness forever gone... they taunts will forever haunt me... calling out to me... "You are the devil!", "ugly! Your ugly, you and that nasty scar! Stay away from Mathew, he doesn't deserve someone like you." none of the injuries hurt as much as hearing does words, for Mathew was the only friend I had...and would always will be. many times, how long have I heard does words? And still I cry. I returned home, my aunt was waiting for me in the living room, suprised at what she saw. I ignored her everybody and her every word of concern forgetting my manners, climbing up to my room, my haven. Here there was no mirrors, no light, only a light such dim. And here I cried. A knock was on my door, my aunt called out..."Hiroko-Chan, Mathew called...please come out." I dare not answer her, for my tears answered for them. With a burst of energy, I never though I had, nor had I had the courage to do so. I climb out of my room, and headed to a near by temple. My eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness, as custom, I lighted an in scent. Bowed my head in prayer, yet, my tears never stopped to fall, I cried hysterically, calling out to the heavens. My was my fate so? I cried, and an angel appeared. A beautiful lady wrapped in silk garments, so beautiful I hid my scared face. She smiled at me, through my bitter tears, and asks. "HIroko-chan, what may is your wish?" I bowed low, it did not take me long to answer her. And I said. "To be beautiful." she smiled again and answered to my wish." you have what you already wish for young one." i was puzzled at her answer, and yet she left me in darkness. I headed home in the darkness of the night, a puddle of water formed before me, as I stood before the door to our apartments building. I looked at my reflection. She seems sad, bitter, battened and yet beautiful, despite the scar, despite every else. I am beautiful; words cannot bring me down, for I know I am beautiful, no matter what they say. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.