1. Math Test
Nagasaki, Keiho Middle School
Sakura took a deep breath and sat down. Maths had never been one of her strengths and, as a matter of fact, they were going to start their Maths test any minute. She was feeling a little irritable. Why did a Maths test have to ruin a perfect, normal day like this? The teacher looked around, cleared her throat and began: “You should all know that we have a maths test today. I will distribute the papers now. You have until 11:10. Good luck.” Sakura chanced a quick smile at her friends, accepted the sheet of paper from her teacher and looked at it. First of all – the date. Trying to make her cramped handwriting look nice, Sakura wrote: ‘9th August/1945’. She added her name and looked at the first question. Her heart sank like a stone. Vowing silently to practice harder next time, she moved on to the next question. She saw that she actually understood it and brightened up. Twenty minutes later, Sakura was finished with all questions, except the first one. She frowned slightly and checked the big clock on the wall in front. It was 11:00 am. She tried to concentrate and looked desperately around the classroom. Instead of helping, it distracted her even more, since she only caught sight of her lunchbox and felt how hungry she actually was. She instantly felt angry with herself. Why was it so hard to concentrate? The rumble of aeroplanes didn’t help, though. But at least it was cloudy and she didn’t have the sun bothering her…. Suddenly a wailing interrupted everything. The air raid alarm! Everyone started screaming and the teacher instructed them to follow her down to the bomb shelter. Sakura hurried to walk next to her best friend, Mei and hugged her comfortingly. Mei sobbed into her shoulder: “Will I ever see my family again?” Sakura couldn’t do anything else than to look at her with big, scared eyes. Everything seemed a dream. Or to be precise, a nightmare. Would they actually survive? Would they live to see the next day? Everyone seemed to be asking themselves the same question. Even the teacher was crying silently. Sakura wanted to tell everyone to hurry up. They surely wouldn’t get to the shelter in time with everyone shuffling along like that. They arrived at the doors of the school and Mei grabbed Sakura’s hand. A whistling pierced the air. Was that the bomb dropping to the ground like that? The teacher hastily checked her watch. 11:02. She turned to her class solemnly. There was no point hiding the facts. “I am sorry that it had to end like this. I have enjoyed your company since –“. No one heard any more of what she said. They were deafened by the blast. She couldn’t even say it. Not in the chaos that followed afterwards. But they didn’t see the chaos that hit Nagasaki. They didn’t experience the sadness and grief that followed. They didn’t see their parent’s faces. They were all dead before they hit the ground.