Being the head of this branch for some time not only means that I know more of my staff, especially the senior ones, but also my set of personality differences for family and work gets blurred. The office is filled with copies of certificates I received, and family photos. I’ve been here for almost a decade to have me decorating the place, but most of the things do not belong to me. They either belong to the company or the supervisors of this branch before me. Golf and traveling brochures hidden in the drawers serves as a reminder of how much they do not care about the staff. My picture at the end of a row of portraits of supervisors who had been here, and their years in office below the picture in the frame, tells me that I’m the first female supervisor here and had been in office for longer than each of the previous supervisors. Although that’s a fact, I don’t actually care about that, but my colleagues (including from headquarters) kept praising me for it. The years those men served are actually short compared to other branches, and the staff who had been here earlier than me said that they did not care about the staff’s welfare.
When I try to look or think about my children, I somehow couldn’t get my mind to register anything about them besides the order they are born in and the faint feeling of me and my husband’s presence combined. Itsuki doesn’t seem to have this problem I’m facing as he doesn’t understand my disability. I can’t hear the voices of the children too, and don’t know what curse or illness I’m having as I don’t have that problem with other people’s children. Why is it preventing me from knowing my own children? It’s so bad that Saeko was tasked to help me. That, and the recent revelation of what happened to Itsuki at work since college days, and the possible strangeness inherited from me, it’s hard to tell what my children would be like when they grow up. Hopefully not like my youngest brother, Kousei: he developed a severely mismatching behavior and is physically weaker than his peers.
When my staff visit my office, the thing that catches their eye when looking at my certificates is that I have a first-class degree of a well known university in California, with photos attached as proof that I really did attend there. Sometimes, I am shocked of my own achievements. The exams I took felt unnaturally easy: I didn’t understand the questions well, but I get high grades for the answers I wrote or have the best answer to automatically come out of my mouth (complete with hand gestures to go with it). It has been like this since I was born, so I can’t say if this is not normal, or if my brain and body is has its own behavior separate from my mind.
Other women don’t even stay in the workforce for long since they chose to be housewives, but I don’t want to. My education would be wasted if I did and, not counting Saeko and uncle, I have the most qualifications an most paid among all of my relatives and in-laws.
What made me able to enter that university when only a small percentage from my typical high school could barely even make it to the top local university? It started around the time I returned to this dimension in my high school second year.
Watching a video from an adverted future of my death, it made me think about my future and see past my affection with Itsuki. I really don’t want to see him anymore, but I was already cursed to love him forever from the time he landed on top of me, even though I already know the Itsuki from then is now Saeko. I’ve to see Itsuki in his male form daily to keep myself mentally stable or I’ll suffer the mental torture I went through in the other dimension. Don’t you know how hard it is to keep myself sane while studying in a top university overseas? I have to see his face everyday. I married him only because my affection with him is too strong that I couldn’t bring myself to love anyone else. I had to admit, he is kind of okay for me. I only looked down on him because of his poor academic skills.
The next hurdle was my parents: they gave birth to me while they were still teenagers and did not persue further education. That, and being the first child out of five, means that family income is constrained and there’s no good example in the immediate family of achieving well in studies. Thankfully, uncle Kenji is helping out, but I find him creepy when I unintentionally found him with some papers of my mother as a test subject from shortly before my birth. The timing made me think that I could be a product of the “test” in question. My unexplained uncontrollable behavior that uncle finds “normal for girls” is the only explanation I was given. I know there’s something not right with my body as it seems to have been tampered with from around my birth.
During my third year of high school, when everyone is talking about which university around the country they would like to enter, I came across a notice about a standardized exam called Toful or something to see how good I am. I’ve never heard of this test prior to this, and neither did I take it seriously, but I scored quite well. The grades are comparable to professional writer. Someone from that organization came down to my school to tell the teachers that I had won a college scholarship and could skip a year. They even brought in the media with them. It brought the attention of the whole school to me.
The time between my high school graduation and the start of college, which was in September instead of April, felt like I had already entered the adult world. I worked for full time at Hatsuya until it was time to get ready, where I said that I might not work for the company again after university graduation.
As you know, I had already returned back to work with Hatusya for the first time since I left for university. Around when I had my first child, I had worked with a company that harassed and ill-treated me with wages lower than men who are in the same position as me. I tried to tolerate it, but I couldn’t take it anymore when they showed me attitude upon asking for maternity leave. We women were even threatened to sew in court for reporting them, but it’s pretty clear that the company would be on the loosing end and I did not hesitate to do so.
During my first few months there, everything seemed different from what I had been used to or had seen on TV. Though video sharing sites that are not made for films or broadcasting from there does reduced the shock factor. Anything considered big back home is seen as medium or even small there. I’ve made some friends there and even met a few again while working at Hatsuya again.
As it’s one of the top universities, it’s not surprising for there to have students from all over the world. There were students from Japan like me, but I was the only one who did not go to cram or prestigious school. I think this was why there was the media attention over me when I was given the scholarship: an average high school like mine usually could barely make it without studying. As for the dorms, I shared it with an another girl who lives in the same region as the campus and has her own car, but far enough to need a place to live there without being stressful or risk being late with the unpredictable traffic.
Communicating with Itsuki from there wasn’t as easy as it seemed due to different timezones that affected when we could see each other online. I never knew why, until very recently, Itsuki could only communicate to me only as text while he’s at work. He doesn’t want me to see or hear him with his transformed self when wearing that Mizuho uniform. He made no mention of Saeko and even denied her from contacting me, which I’m angry about when I found out, but I couldn’t get angry with him because I can’t express anger. He doesn’t dare to make fun of me, but ignored my warnings about disturbing Saeko, though he does that less frequently lately.
Speaking of my husband at work, he was employed shortly after I suggested to uncle Kenji to attend a programming convention in 2005. Even before I forever fell in love with him, I found my attraction to him stronger than the other boys who were fighting for my attention because of my popularity. Itsuki initially got into trouble with those other people for “stealing” me without even asking the girl (me) they were fighting over with. It was a shock to those other guys as he seemed to come out of nowhere as many don’t even know him, not even as a rival fighting over me. Itsuki’s earliest memory of meeting me was when he fell on me, and not the two girls in the background at his first day of work that happened earlier. I guess he doesn’t remember seeing unfamiliar people that, at a later time, would be their long-term close friend. Well, since I was well known, he might have heard overheard his classmates talking about me and not really cared about me. To him, then, I was unreachable as there were so much competition ahead of him, and having top grades. I never really understood why he was in the music club when he’s good with something completely different such as programming and things like that.
So, even though I scored so good in high school why did I not transfer to a better one or choose it while back in middle school? Well, it’s complicated. The schools near where I lived then are of an average level, and the nearest that matches my level is Mihara Academy. (The same place Itsuki’s female counterpart of the other dimension attended.) However, I find that school to be too large and I don’t want to strain the family income because of the fees and materials: my parent’s wages were low and had many children to manage. We were already on financial support from relatives, though eased up a bit with the older ones working part-time. Then there’s that dimensional change that happened to the most of my second year and meeting Itsuki. History might have been completely different now if I had chosen Mihara.
Itsuki’s programming skills is a stark contrast to his poor academic performance, which, when I first found out, was surprising. Nobody said he was at the event, and I was so coincidentally to be at a branch near his parents’ place at his first day of work. He worked there most of the time until 2009, where he was, for reasons relating to Saeko, sent to a branch at Mizuho Academy. I don’t care what he does in there, but having to (biologically and mentally) become a woman upon wearing the uniform he has to wear makes me scared. His behavior as a woman is serious with no sexual desire unlike the usual male self, and one self can remember clearly remember what he did as the other self, but with different approaches. I would want to say that my husband has to cross-dress for work, but his body is very much transformed to that of a real woman to be classified as such, so I don’t know.
Whose big idea is it to turn anyone who wears the Mizuho uniform, regardless of disability, age or gender, into able-bodied young women? Well, sad to say that the very company I work for is responsible for this, but they were just fulfilling what the founder wanted that others don’t have the technology to make it work. The plans for the academy’s current campus is a result of taking ownership decades ago. Before that, the academy, which was smaller, had problems of obesity, distraction with the opposite sex, students being helplessly attacked, and being discriminated because of something beyond their control. The school was co-ed, but, unlike most schools, more than three-quarters of the students are girls. Officially, they still enroll male students, but they are indistinguishable from a female students and easily mistaken for an all girls’ school. This is due to a mandatory rule of wearing the Mizuho uniform upon stepping into the campus to everyone, including visitors. The uniform itself would turn anyone to look and behave like a young woman between the ages 15 to 25 for reasons that are actually quite reasonable. Somehow, this thing happening is not known to people outside Mizuho as the uniform makes you to not do or say what they don’t want to without even knowing that you can’t, though this is limited to only revealing things like this, being evil, or any rule/law-breaking actions.
From what I’ve observed, people don’t usually mix with people who are visually very different as though there’s an invisible barrier and the uniform actually encourages everyone to talk to each other as equals. Due to the frequency of students seeing each other outside school more often than other kinds people in the campus, students are not able to remove the uniform from the first day until some days after graduation. This would mean that everyone has to do physical exercise or sports activities in it, the male students would have to live with a girl’s body and be laughed at for graduating from a “girls’ school”. For them though, they are given the additional option to forever become an actual female, with everyone that knows them and official information saying as though they were born one, or have testimonials and certificates issued under the name of Mihara Academy, an affiliated academy. That is all I know: Itsuki and Saeko would know more about it as they have been there for years.