My last summer in the suburbs seems so far away now, I feel like the time I spent with my friends was apart of someone else's life, a different person who shared the their memories with me, I only remember fragments of moments, like scenes from a movie I can flicker through them like pictures in a camera, my friends from back then seem so perfect, sometimes I wonder why I remember it how I do, why do I remember the things I do? What happened to all the moments that I can’t recount?
I wonder what happened to the suburbs, did the war affect them as badly it did the city? I haven't had the chance to go back there, to see the people I once knew, to relive the moments from that summer
I spent my earliest times within the confines of that small town, on the outskirts of New Japan, not close enough to hear the noises of the hustle and bustle, but not far enough away to be naive that my world was confined to this place, this small town where every man knows his neighbours dog, where every child knows the layout of each house and every flower of the garden across the road
My world changed so quickly, my American father was relocated to New Japan in an outpost that was supposedly placed for American and Japanese growth, I remember the faces my friends pulled when I told them, but the words have faded with the shifting of time. The faces of friends who were confident they would see me again, telling me that they would visit, tears were shed by some, then it all came crashing down around me, my perfect little bubble of the suburbs, pure innocence, gone.
Back then in the suburbs was a time that allowed me experience the peace and purity of friendships of my youth, but like the rebels on the frontline have told me many times, something pure as peace will never last, people love to destroy purity, that’s just human nature, when they see something as pure as a flat grass plain, we as people think of way we can build onto it and use it for ourselves.
The ball flicked towards me, I stopped it with my foot and quickly passed it to Gaz who kicked it and lost his balance falling flat on his arse with the grace only an eight year old can achieve "c'mon Gazzy!" I called as I ran past with him on my stumpy legs, grass flicked up around me as I frolicked and giggled in the sunlight, scenes such as this often push themselves to my consciousness remembering times of peace, times when I was young and could giggle and play in the sun
I often think of my friends from back then, they seem like perfect images in my mind, left un corrupted by the war, Gaz my number one man, the kid I would often spend my time with, laughing in the garage at dumb jokes, talking about girls, movies, music, things that I consider a luxury now. I remember David, he was a year older than all of us so we felt a lot cooler when he was around, Jack was the last of the guys, he was always just there, quiet, withdrawn, I wish I had gotten to know him a bit better.
All these people who I lost at the tender age of 13, back then I thought my world would implode and that everything would turn to dust around me, I was naive, childish, looking back I should have never let people affect me so much, but you cant change the past, if I could there is so much I would change, so many mistakes, but I learnt from them, I needed them to become who I am today, it may sound arrogant but my mistakes and my accomplishments have shaped history in more ways than the average person knows.
The trucks arrived, my belongings packed into brown cardboard boxes, the army escort arrived to pick up my father, my mother and I, whilst waving my last goodbye to my friends who waited at the edge of the street I stepped into the car, the rumble of the engine seemed distant, my mind still remaining in the home now left empty, memories already beginning to fade, faces blurring, moments being altered and lost
The city now looming before me, a new chapter was opening up, a 13 year old Asian-American filled with thoughts of nostalgia, attempting to hold on to everything from his youth, averting his thoughts from the year ahead, a new school, new friends, a new city, "where will I go to school?" I asked my parents who sat silently next to me, "I’m sending you to the public school, the sergeant tried to convince me that military school will do you some good, but you're not quite ready for that just yet Bud" my father replied in his usual caring tone
My mother sat looking ahead, contemplating a new job, a new house, new neighbours, but mostly thinking of how I will fit in, but she had no need to worry, I was likeable, back then, before the scars, the propaganda, and the stories, some people could call them legends, some call them rumours
My story began as soon as I stepped out of the car into New Japan, out front of the skyscraper that I would be living in for the next four years, the rumble of cars scared me for the first few days, after that it was just an irritating drone of never ending noise, it never seemed to stop, with school around the corner my life had changed faster than expected, I began to concentrate less on holding on to old memories and focus more on the present, struggling to keep up with the speed of everyday life in the city that never sleeps.