Sunday, 23 August 2009
04:18:27 PM (GMT)
` Naono got up feeling annoyed. Again.
He padded grumpily out of the dormitories and to the bathrooms, trying not to wake
the other boys. The Aunts probably meant well when they put the misfit in the most
crowded room, but it caused more fights the friendships. When Naono woke up annoyed
he combed his hair more thoroughly. When the Nick, Lee, or Gustave woke up annoyed
one of their roomies usually got a black eye. It's not accurate to say the one who
usually got a black eye was Naono, because he had learned to get out of the room
quickly in the mornings, and he was ignored for the most part anyway. It should be
mentioned however that if it was Naono who received a black eye then a punch in his
stomach generally followed.
Naono was dissatisfied with the room for other reasons. This was hardly
surprising, as he had found reason to be dissatisfied with just everything in his
life. His room, apart from being one he had to share with the maximum number of
people, was horrible also because it was at the end of the hall. Sound from other
parts of the building passed in a straight line down the hall and to him, who
naturally held the bottom bunk closest to the door.
Naono liked to think that the others hadn't forced him to take that bunk because
he was the lightest sleeper. Lee and Nick hated one another more than Nick hated
Gustave, so it made sense that they would want to share a bunk. And since they had
been in the room longest, maybe it was an unspoken rule that they could choose the
bunk furthest from the door. And maybe Lee hadn't meant to elbow Naono into a
wall in his rush to claim to top bunk.
... Of course Lee had accidently thrown all of Naono's stuff from the top bunk
too, thus breaking the bottle that held the notes Naono liked to pretend came from
his parents (who hadn't left him any real notes, so Naono wrote his own.)
By the time he reached the showers and turned on the water Naono was
significantly more annoyed then when he first got up; thinking tended to do that to
him. Especially when he had been up all night listening to some girl muttering in her
sleep and falling out of bed. Was it so hard to stay still and quiet once you're
unconscious? She wasn't even muttering anything interesting. If it had been, say, a
sonnet echoing down the hall while Naono stared angrily at the bunk above him, he
could have at least been irritated, exhausted, and entertained. But no! It was
all gruntings and moanings, except for last night when the girl said something that
sounded like "Whaah?". Shortly after there came the loud 'thump!' that meant she had
fallen out of bed- again- and there was no way Naono would get back to sleep.
This is because Naono, like many dissatisfied people, was curious. Surely if his
attitude was so negative, then by comparison other people’s thoughts would seem
positive. So try as he might to fall asleep, after the girl woke him up completely by
falling out of bed, part of Naono was straining to hear what else she might say, to
see what insights she might have.
But she never said anything after falling out of bed, and the only words
of wisdom she had to share were "Whaah". Pathetic! And he was fairly certain that the
one speaking had been that Mana girl. Talk about humiliating. If she ever found out
he had been looking for wisdom in her...
Naono clambered out of the shower and put his pajamas back on. The towels were of
questionable quality, whereas his pajamas must be relatively clean, considering he
got them soaked with shower water every day. He combed his hair until they gave up
their childhood fantasies of turning into a knot one day, then combed it some more
just to break their spirits, then combed it a bit more, just to spite the hairs that
had got it into their heads to tangled between the first comb and the second.
He examined himself strictly. His hair was boring and brown, and his face looked
relatively nice without his glasses on. Well, he thought he looked nice
anyway. He couldn't really tell without squinting, which made him look as bad as he
did when he wore glasses. Really though, he looked okay, if a tad plain or girly.
Looking girly made him seem younger, or so he hoped. Potential parents like young
Naono sighed and went to go get dressed. The city had cut back on funding for the
orphanage, so they wore hand-me-downs and whatever people gave to the orphanage out
of charity. Basically they wore hand-me-downs. New York City was a tough place to
live; no one had time to stop and give clothes to kids raised in ramshackle
orphanages. They were too busy trying not to get mugged on their way to work.
...Still, it was a bit extreme that Naono had to wear a girls vest. It was
made for people with curves, and having to tell people that he was a boy all the time
was humiliating! But his shirt had a hole in it, and he had to cover it with
something, so the vest would have to do. At least the vest had pockets, but he didn't
have anything he wanted to put in them, except his camera. He had gotten it
before funding was cut, right after the ancient Aunt died. That Aunt had always
bothered him. It wasn't that she didn't like him exactly, all the Aunts liked
Naono, it was that she pitied him. It seemed so condescending, the way she looked at
him. He still missed her though. Maybe she had some wisdom that could have
been heard echoing down the hall.
Naono put on his glasses and turned on his laptop on. Then he turned it off. He
checked every morning to make sure the other boys hadn't broken it for fun over
night. The laptop was Naono's most prized possession, even though he had only gotten
it by chance. There'd been a raffle about which room would get a computer to use for
homework, and since the other boys rarely bothered doing theirs Naono had claimed it
for his own. It was petty, sure, but he had plastered it with stickers of things the
others hated so that they wouldn't want to use it.
With a camera, a computer, and a digital watch, Naono was the most
technologically advanced kid at the orphanage. It wasn't much to be proud of, but it
was the only title he could give himself, as he wasn't the smartest, fastest or most
He heard the sound of feet in other rooms, which meant that a few the other
hundred some odd kids were waking up. Naono stuck his camera in the vest pocket and
went to get something for breakfast. He generally ate with the Aunts because the
Aunts never hit him or picked on him, and he in turn didn't have any reason to
He took his time eating a banana though, and was warned by Marge that the bus was
"You're not serious!" Naono said, attempting to simultaneously get up, run to the
door, throw out a banana peel, and look at his watch. His foot got tangled in the
chair leg and her tripped spectacularly, somehow flipping the chair onto his shin and
loosing the banana peel. It landed on the rim of the trash can and then fell off.
"Ow, ow, ow, that is so typical! See you later!" Naono waved as he hopped
awkwardly toward the door, while reaching into his pocket to check it his camera had
been damaged in the fall. He would have been able to manage this if he wasn't so
sleep deprived. As it was he found himself about to run into the reason he was sleep
deprived, who for some reason or another was also hoping on one foot. The
difference was Naono was going too fast to stop, and Mana was going to slow to avoid.
In times of panic, Naono's thoughts disappeared and his mind was filled with
options. Option one, kick her shin and try to jump over her when she bent down, which
would only work in movies. Option two, Naono could throw himself backwards, thus
injuring himself and endangering his camera. Option three, crash into her and hope
for the best.
Naono clenched his camera to his side and braced for impact.
He felt his knee hit her back, and she cried out in pain. Naono gulped. He hadn't
noticed that Sera was with her, and Naono hadn't expected to fall on any
important body parts. Sera was very big, very mean and glaring at him. He
laughed nervously and tried to greet her.
"Naono, you jerk! You did that on purpose." Mana said. Though Mana couldn't see,
Sera stepped forward.
"No, I didn't! I swear!" Naono said. It wasn't strictly true, he could have avoided
it, but given the choice he wouldn't have fallen. Had the option existed he would've
avoided the two of them completely. Sera was right behind Mana now, arms crossed,
giant boots tapping. Naono didn't exactly hide the fact that he didn't like the two
of them, but he wasn't one for physical violence either. He'd just rather fall on one
of them then his camera. Was that so wrong?
Mana left him on the floor and swiped up her backpack furiously, and continued
walking to the door.
"Oh, common! I said I didn't do it on purpose...!" Naono said meekly- Sera hadn't
moved away. Mana turned and glared at him. Naono saw Sera's face growing red and
opened his mouth to apologize as a last resort, but it was too late. Sera's boot made
contact with his nose. Not as hard as she had done in the past maybe, but it stayed
there, daring him to speak. Naono closed his eyes and tried not to whimper. It didn't
work. As soon as he felt the boot move he scrambled for his backpack.
He heard Mana calling Sera in a disgusted tone. Fine, whatever. Feel free to think
I'm not worth the effort of kicking anymore.
Naono heard the bus start to drive away without him. He sighed, rubbed his nose,
and ran to get any seat still available. Over hearing Sera bad mouth him was worth it
if he was only a minute or so late to school.
Upon arriving through the back entrance he preferred, Naono received a very stern
glance from a hall monitor. Ordinarily Naono got written up, but since it was almost
the end of the year he was being cut some slack. He ran to his locker only to find
that someone had taken the liberty of wrapping chewed gum around every lock in his
row. There was no way to dial his combination without touching it. Naono shouldered
his pack and went off to his first class. It was nothing personal- it was New York
Naono caught the school bus home, sat towards the front, and was for the most
part ignored. Then someone began throwing a spit covered apple core around the bus
and it got chucked at Naono. It was disgusting, and some of the goo got on his camera
lens as he was reviewing pictures. Naono chucked it as far away from himself as
possible, which was the other end of the bus. Okay, yeah, maybe he aimed a
little bit for Sera. Who could blame him? She had kicked him to the face! Apparently
he didn't aim well enough though. The apple landed in the hair of its original owner
who was one seat ahead of Sera. The boy in question flipped him off, and Naono ducked
back into his seat. Apple-guy was far larger then Naono.
As apple guy went to get off the bus he pretended to spit on him, and laughed as
Naono covered his face.
"I really hate this city..." Naono muttered. One day he was going to get himself
a family and get out. The reason why none of the other orphans like Naono was
that he couldn't accept the idea that he would stay in the orphanage until he turned
eighteen and then go off to try to find a cheap apartment. Naono wanted to be
adopted, and was prepared to do just about anything to make it happen. This attitude
creeped people out. Of the one hundred or so orphans in their orphanage, only a
little more than twenty were teenagers, and sixty or so were in elementary school,
though nearly thirty of those weren't even eight years old yet. The rest were
toddlers. But every single one of them seemed to fear the cold determination Naono
held towards getting adoption. He wasn't just a stupid, starry eyed dreamer who
wished for adoption. The Aunts liked that, but his fellow children avoided him.
He got off the bus and stayed a full three steps behind Mana and Sera until they
got to the door. No need to go looking for trouble, he figured. Mana slammed the door
behind her, which seemed unnecessarily rude, but what with falling out of bed
every night, maybe she was a bit cranky. Naono sneered at her back after he
opened the door for himself and the other stragglers who still had to go in. He only
lost coordination when he lost sleep, but maybe Mana lost her usual (fake) serious
yet sunny demeanor.
Naono lowered himself onto his bunk, then leaned down and swapped out his laptop
for his backpack. He had recently discovered a whole new and extremely practical
application of the internet. There were whole blogs where infertile people who
wanted kids consoled each other and exchanged names of places to adopt. Naono now
spent hours each night scrolling through his list of favorited websites, adding the
address of their orphanage to each and every one. Some of these kind souls flew all
the way to China to complete their family. Surely some of them would be
willing to take a trip down to New York City? A slightly higher amount of parents
seemed to have been coming since Naono started, his effort couldn't be
completely in vain.
Mommy2B:Why can't we have our own baby?? We've been married two years, we're
ready! : (
Kathryn_G: I know it's hard sweetie. I feel your pain.
WantsAHome43: There's a place on East 42nd with one hundred kids, both genders, all
Kathryn_G: "East 42nd"?
Mommy2B: I want my own child, not some gang banger invading my house!
And on it went. Naono heard a door open and shut, and figured that one of the
Aunts had decided to crack down on the kids who were trying to stay up late. Quickly,
he shut off his laptop and stuck it back under his bed, remembering to plug it in for
once. He went to bed ruefully, but this time it was quite awhile by the time any
mumbling woke him up, and she didn't fall out of bed. He drifted back to sleep with
the distinct impression that if he cared enough (or dared) to ask he might find that
this was important. But his final thought before losing consciousness was simply,
so maybe tomorrow I won’t trip so much.