NARRATOR: "It would be nice to be the first person here. To be the first to dig into a piping hot pile of food, to sit wherever I desire... It would have been nice. But even my exceptionally early start has put me behind the most diligent students. I guess there are quite a few people that have early starts here, for one reason or another. A group of students in sports clothes huddle around one table, eagerly discussing game plans inbetween inhaling great gulps of food. Scattered around the hall are a number of bleary-eyed students, probably suffering from the same ailment as myself - noisy birds. And, of course, there are the people that actually enjoy getting up this early, the ones with their bags stuffed with textbooks and completed homework. It's hard not to despise people like that, even more so when you're tired yourself. Picking out a familiar face from the thin crowd, I head towards the nearest table."
NARRATOR: "Lilly sits alone, delicately feeling her way around a small plate of eggs with her fork. It's almost a shame to interrupt her and her clockwork movements. I wonder, is this how a blind person zones out? Simply moving in pre-determined patterns learned over the years, just like how a sighted person would eat while reading a newspaper."
HISAO: "Good morning, Lilly. I didn't expect you to be here this early."
LILLY: "Oh, Hisao, you startled me. I didn't know you took breakfast this early."
HISAO: "I don't. This is an exception to the rule. I'd greatly prefer to be late to school than early to breakfast."
NARRATOR: "Lilly gives a small sigh at my admitted tardiness as I begin eating my food. It doesn't take long for her to lapse back into her previous mindless nibbling. Each short motion lacks energy. I suppose this is similar to letting your eyes wander while performing any ordinary chore. But after a few repetitions of the find food/eat food cycle, Lilly puts down her fork and dabs her lips with a napkin."
LILLY: "Hisao, do you mind if I ask you a question?"
NARRATOR: "Damn. All I want is a little food and about four hours of sleep. And nobody says “can I ask you a question” for a simple question."
LILLY: "Do you think of Hanako as a friend?"
NARRATOR: "Huh, this seems like a leading question."
HISAO: "I... guess so. Why do you ask?"
LILLY: "No real reason."
LILLY: "I do have another question though. Why is it that you think of her as a friend?"
NARRATOR: "This is well above my level. What is she expecting from me?"
HISAO: "I'm not really sure. I guess it's because she's a little different in the way she deals with people..."
LILLY: "Hmm. Since I've known her, she hasn't really connected with anyone. She doesn't seem interested in other people, and I think people are a little scared off by her appearance."
HISAO: "Really? I thought that kind of thing was, well, discouraged here. Discriminating and such."
LILLY: "Hmm, if I were to put it one way..."
NARRATOR: "She furrows her brow in thought, a move which makes me slightly anxious as to what she's plucking from her mind."
LILLY: "I'd say that you're a little naive."
NARRATOR: "Naive? I'd be insulted if not for the slightly cynical grin on her face."
HISAO: "I... see."
LILLY: "While Yamaku has a stronger sense of community compared to other schools, it's far from being free of conflict. Rules cannot remove human nature, after all, only suppress it."
NARRATOR: "That's something I've noticed, actually. Just little things, like how certain people and cliques avoid each other in the hallways. It's no different than my old school, really. Even Lilly and Shizune could be considered bitter rivals, even though they both seem like fairly accepting people. Well, at least the Misha-tinted Shizune does; who knows what actually goes on with her fingers and behind her glasses."
HISAO: "I guess you're right. But when I first came here, everything was a bit of a shock. I kept on making mistakes, or at least thinking I was making mistakes. Like when we first met, and I said “I see” to you. I didn't know if that was considered rude or anything, so I tried to just put it in the back of my mind. Treating people any differently and that kinda thing. So I didn't. I told myself that Hanako and you and everyone else was just normal, and I tried to ignore the obvious. I talked to Hanako as if she were any other person, and so we became friends. At least, that's how I think it happened. But you know, I feel guilty just from saying something like that aloud. As if it took extra effort to think of Hanako, or you, or anyone here as normal people. I don't think that's right."
LILLY: "Hisao, I think you are naive, but I also think that you are a good person. It is perhaps one of your better traits."
HISAO: "I... suppose... I can take that as a compliment..."
LILLY: "Tell me, are you free tonight?"
HISAO: "If you don't count homework, then I'm as free as the breeze."
LILLY: "In that case, would you care to join myself and Hanako for tea?"
HISAO: "Er, I don't really have that much money at the moment, so going out isn't really..."
LILLY: "Oh, I didn't mean going out. Just here, this evening."
HISAO: "You can access the classrooms in the evening here?"
LILLY: "No, that's not what I meant. Hanako and I often use my room for tea parties together. Please feel free to drop by after dusk."
HISAO: "Sure, I see no problem with that. What's your room number?"
LILLY: "225; Room 25 on the second floor."
HISAO: "Okay, sure."
LILLY: "Well then, I had best be off. I have class representative duties to attend to, after all. Until this evening, Hisao."
HISAO: "Yeah, catch you later."
NARRATOR: "Hang on... was I just invited to a girl's room after hours? Is that even allowed? There is the curfew here, but I've never heard any rules about visitors in the dorm rooms. Even still, this is enough to get my sleep-deprived brain jump-started. Add that to a lukewarm breakfast and you have one hell of a pick-me-up."
NARRATOR: "I grudgingly go to class, still a little excited at the prospect of breaking the rules. I feel a little like a kid planning to sneak out of his window at night. Well, maybe that's going a little too far, but when you compare an invitation to a party to six or so hours of lectures, I know which one wins. Misha and Shizune do little to relieve my boredom either. For once, they seem determined to actually complete Mutou's assignments. Nevertheless, the day eventually winds to a close. I hurry back to my room to wash up and comb my hair. Thankfully I don't run into Kenji. Before long I am leaving the boys' dorm."
Next Scene: Mad Hatter