Posted in 1.5: A Baobab Enigma (Tues, 9/3/02)

Chapter 1.5: A Baobab Enigma

By nature, Timothy has always been a mild-mannered kind of a boy who tends to go along with everything and get along with everyone. He prefers life to be like a lake– peaceful and still. Sometimes, he likes to pretend that he is as invisible as a drop of water in that lake. Enjoying nature hikes and sunsets, he often gives the impression that he is older than he looks.  

Three days ago when they first started the assignment, Tim had wondered some of the same questions that Charles had asked about Sakura’s trees, except Tim had kept his comments to himself, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings…

[Flashback to 3 days ago, Tuesday 9/3/02]

Tim, Sakura, and Regina are quietly working at their group table. Tim is taking a break from finishing a beachfront scene when he happens to see Sakura’s trees. She is coloring them pink. How curious…Tim thought.

Then he began to wonder to himself, “What kind of a tree would have pink leaves?” He had no answer initially, so he spent the next few minutes trying to recall all the trees that he had seen so far in real life…Were there any with pink leaves?

Then suddenly, an idea hit him– what if those pink things weren’t actually leaves? Maybe she was drawing something else, like fruits! Or…flowers even. Sure, he’d seen flowers on trees before–he remembered a photograph he had once seen in a National Geographic magazine–it was a flowering baobab tree in Madagascar. In that photo, the flowers were orange, but maybe it’s possible that they could be pink, too. He knew that sunlight sometimes played color tricks on the eye. Maybe at certain times of the day, the sun could make baobab flowers look more pink than orange? Hmmm…Could it be that she’s drawing a baobab tree at sunset? Aha, maybe that’s it! He smiled proudly to himself for figuring out this puzzle. And now that he’d uncovered a logical explanation for the existence of pink trees, he no longer thought they were strange. In fact, he now wished that he had been the one who had come up with that idea.

Then, for the first time since they’d started 6th grade science class together last Monday, Tim wondered what Sakura’s name was. He glanced over at her folder to see “sakura saito” scribbled in a corner. “Well, gee…like I can say that…” Discouraged, Tim returned to his own drawing.

[Flashback ends]

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Posted in 1.4: Democracy (Fri, 9/6/02), Chapter 1

Chapter 1.4: Democracy


Ms. Z (Ms. Z): 6th Grade Science Teacher

6th Grade Students: Boy 1 (B1)- he is Tim’s friend, Timothy (Tim), Charles (C), Regina (R), Sakura Saito (SS), other students

Scene 1 Act 2

It’s Friday, September 6, 2002, the second week of 6th grade. The bell for 2nd period to begin just finished ringing.

Ms. Z: Alrighttt! Did you hear that bell a-ringing?!? I sure did! Let’s stop the chit chat because we’ve got a lot to do! Charles, put that phone up!

*Students snicker* (Charles laughs while he slides his phone back into his backpack)

Ok, where was I? Yes- a lot to do! And once you turn in today’s assignment, have I got a surprise for you! 😉

This news set off a fresh burst of excitement and chatter within Ms. Z’s 6th grade science classroom. Kids always liked a good surprise. Ms. Z smiles and pauses to savor this moment. It reminded her of why she had gone from a 10-year career in medical laboratory management to being a middle school teacher. There was just so much life here; it’s never boring. Then, out of the corner of her eye, she notices Sakura pulling out that first group assignment from 3 days ago. “Ah yes, we need to finish our habitats” she murmured.

Ms. Z: Okayyy let’s simmer down guys. Just remembered we need to finish those habitats! Today’s the day they’ll be put up for everyone to see, EVEN if you DON’T FINISH! You don’t want to be that group! So- get into your lab groups and let’s get some work done!

(Students start shuffling toward their group tables)

Like yesterday and all the days before that, Sakura is again the first to get to the group table today. She takes her usual seat while waiting for Tim and Regina to finish chatting with their friends. Sakura didn’t have anyone to chat with. Ever since the first day of science class, Sakura’s desk neighbors had felt like she didn’t want to talk to them, so by now, they largely just ignore her. Sakura never seemed to mind, but then again, no one really knows what she’s thinking since she rarely speaks.

Tim and Regina finally join her, 3 minutes later…

R: OMG you guys. Guess who’s running for student council?!?

Tim: (Grinning obviously) Haha you I guess?

R: You betcha!!! You guys are going to vote for me right? (gives Tim a wink)  (smugly) Because I already have theme ideas for our Halloween party and everything. And besides, we’re like LAB PARTNERS.

Tim: (Still grinning) Yeah of course I will! You’re like the perfect person for student council! I wouldn’t even vote if you weren’t running!

R: (Taken aback) Ummm….you don’t have to go THAT far haha…Just remember to vote for me. It’s a pretty big deal.

SS: So…can we finish the assignment? (Shows them their unfinished habitat drawing)

R: Wait, you haven’t said you’d vote for me yet!

SS: I’m not voting.

R: WHAT?! Why not?!? It’s the STUDENT COUNCIL! They only have ONE election a YEAR! It’s like, the BIGGEST thing this ENTIRE semester! How can you NOT VOTE?!?

SS: So in an election, everyone has to vote? I thought I had free choice in this stuff…

R: Well, I mean-

SS: Anyway, we only have 10 minutes to finish…

R: (Looks back at the classroom clock) OH WHAT THE?!? OMG we need to get to work guys!!! We’re DEFINITELY submitting a completed picture today! I don’t want people to call ours ugly!

On the first day of the “We Love Planet Earth” curriculum, the lab groups were instructed to design a habitat using plants, animals, and natural resources that they could find in nature. Today is their last day to complete it. As the groups continue working, Charles happens to walk by Sakura’s group and notices something that he finds odd. 

Charles: (Staring at Sakura’s drawing) What the…is that a pink tree? Haha! That’s hilarious! You know we’re only allowed to draw stuff we can find in real life, right? (Calling some nearby students over) Hey guys, look at this! She drew pink trees! (Some students start gathering around Sakura’s drawing and join in the laughter. Sakura doesn’t say anything…)

Other students: Haha, everyone knows trees aren’t pink…

Charles: Yeah, how’d she not know? I mean, like-

Other students: Didn’t the instructions specifi-….

While the students continue poking fun at Sakura’s pink trees, Regina decides to take advantage of this interruption to do some more campaigning for her student council candidacy. She goes off to the side to chat, leaving just Tim and Sakura at the group table now. Though Sakura appears to not be bothered and continues working as before, Tim is now starting to get a little irritated by this not-so-pleasant crowd…

———-End of Scene 1 Act 2————–

Dedicated to my classmate who drew pink trees

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[Interlude] The Appearance of Sakura Saito

Hi there, thank you for your readership so far and for being supportive and easygoing. I really appreciate your patience as I’m learning how to become a better website designer through this project! 🙂

Anyways, today I wanted to take a break from the main storyline to tell you a little bit about how Sakura Saito came into this world 😛 There’s a story for every story. Hope you enjoy.

In the Beginning…

On February 27, 2018, anotherlife1 (AL1) was in the middle of studying for a fairly important  national exam when all of a sudden, there was an urge to draw something. It was quite a distracting feeling. So, thinking it wouldn’t hurt to sketch for a few minutes, AL1 picked up a blue drawing pencil and began. Thirty minutes later, this little girl appeared…

CLICK HERE for original character sketch of Sakura Saito

The completion of this sketch seemed to be the key to unlock Sakura’s life. As soon as the final stroke was completed, AL1 got an impression of what kind of a person Sakura was– her personality, her likes and dislikes; even the burdens that Sakura was carrying on her little 11 year-old heart and the fantastical hopes and dreams she held on to. Scenes from Sakura’s life began flashing through AL1’s mind,

one after

one after


Hours later, the whirlwind of ideas, colors, and voices brought on by that seemingly quiet little girl finally abated, and after letting out a sigh, AL1 headed back to those practice questions that were half unfinished…back to real life.

And that was how Sakura Saito entered this world. Who could’ve thunk?

*Next installment tentatively scheduled for…..June 6, 2018? (anotherlife1 is moving this weekend…it’s going to be just splendid)

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Posted in 1.3: "We Love Planet Earth!" (Tues, 9/3/02)

Chapter 1.3: “We Love Planet Earth!”


Ms. Z (Ms. Z): 6th Grade Science Teacher

6th Grade Students: Boy 1 (B1), Timothy (Tim), Charles (C), Regina (R), Sakura Saito (SS), other students

Scene 1 Act 1

It’s Tuesday, September 3, 2002, the second week of 6th grade. The bell for 2nd period to begin just finished ringing.

Boy 1: Hey what’d you pick for your team activity?

Timothy: For what?

B1: That field trip. Didn’t you bring your permission slip?

Tim: Oh that park one! OH CRAP! Is that due TODAY?! I thought it was next week!

B1: Oh that sucks, man. You’re going to end up in that animal rights group for sure haha

Tim: (Scowling) UGH. that would SUCK!


Ms. Z: Ok class, let’s simmer down! Today we’ve got a lot to do, but…guess what?


*Students snicker*

Ms. Z: Charles. Do we need to talk again?

C: No, Ma’am.

Ms. Z:  Let’s start off this week on the right foot ok?

C: Yes, Ma’am.

Ms. Z: Ok class- so where were we? Oh YES! So first things first- permission slips for the field trip! Let’s pass them up! Are you guys EXCITED?!? It’s going to be great! But remember- just because you turn in a permission slip doesn’t mean you get to go. You’ve got to show me that you know how to behave yourselves. Three strikes and you’re OUT! You hear that Charles? I think you’ve already earned your strike one.

C: (Shocked) WHAT THE–!!!

Ms. Z: Excuse me, you want a strike two?

C: (Immediately stops talking, but is clearly angry at what he perceives to be an unfair punishment)

Ms. Z: (In very cheerful tone) Alright, so next thing is….ddddrrrruuummm rollllllll!….we’re starting our “We Love Planet Earth!” Chapter today! Which, as you may have guessed, is why we’re going to the state park at the end of the month! (*SMILES*)

(Some of the students get excited)

This ALSO means, you get lab partners today! So I’ll put up the groups on the screen, and I want you guys to sit with your group and complete your first lab group assignment together! (*Smiles*)

….Alright! There’s the groups and here’s the assignment- you may START!

(Students start moving around…*grumble grumble mumble*…Some students seem really excited to be in the same group as their friends. SS is not one of them)


Tim: (Takes a seat across from SS) ‘Sup. So you’re in my group?

SS: Yes? (Looks confused- unsure why he’s asking that question…does he not know her name?)

Regina: (Joins the table, taking the seat right next to Tm, also across from SS) Hey guys! (*Smiles*)

SS: (*Smiles* back, trying not to show her slight disappointment)

R: OK! *Claps hand together* SOOoo, what are we doing? (*Turns to look at Tm, perkily*)

(SS looks confused while thinking, “Didn’t we all get a copy of the assignment just now? Can she not…read?”)

Tim: (Suddenly nervous) Uhh…ummm… let’s see…I guess it says we design a habitat…like, with nature stuff. I mean, like, you know, with things we can find in nature. (*Chuckles nervously*)

R: (Skeptical that Tm knows what he’s talking about) Don’t you have the instructions like, right there? You can just read it to us, right?

Tim: (A little taken aback initially but quickly tries to recompose himself) Oh. I mean, YEAH! Yeah, of course! Haha, yeah let me do that. *Quickly grabs instructions and proceeds to read it out loud*

As Tim reads, his voice starts to fade…the camera zooms in on Sakura. She is unimpressed, to say the least. The drama unfolding in front of her was not how she imagined science class to be like. And after a few seconds of staring at her lab partners in disbelief, her eyes suddenly widen, and she lets out a small gasp as it dawns on her that this drama, unlike the ones on television, has no option to unsubscribe…

————End of Scene 1 Act 1—————–

Dear Journal,

I am scared.

A lot happened in science class today. Most of it bad. I still don’t think anyone in the group knows my name. There were a lot of awkward laughs, and I had to hear them all. I never signed up to be a Pokemon trainer! Ugh.


You know, it’s not always good to know things. That’s what I think I learned today. I would rather be clueless sometimes.

*Note to self: Don’t eat too much for breakfast tomorrow. You never know…

Sincerely grossed out, Sakura

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Posted in 1.2: Welcome House (Year 1990)

Chapter 1.2: Welcome House


House 3

At the corner of Ephemera Drive and Bagatelle Circle is a somewhat  simple-looking house built of somewhat sturdy materials. Neither grandiose nor uncomfortable–it’s the perfect size for a couple who wants nothing more than for their neighbors to regard them as completely modest, maybe even the most modest of the entire gated community.

Mr. and Mrs. Saito first started house-searching after Sakura’s existence was confirmed by ultrasound. They fell in love with this not-too-little gem at first sight. It looked like a beautiful house in which to raise a beautiful family. They even loved the quaint-sounding street names, which made them feel like they were in a Disney-sort-of fairy tale. That was how they had envisioned life with little Sakura.

Sakura used to find the street names funny too, until she looked them up in the dictionary one rainy day. After thinking about it for a bit, she decided to keep the news to herself and not tell her parents all she had learned. She was 6 years old at the time.

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Posted in 1.1: 6th Graders (Mon, 8/26/02)

Chapter 1.1: 6th Graders (Monday, August 26, 2002)

Dear Journal,

Why are adults so stupid? Today during lunch, there was a boy being pushed around, like, literally. Maybe they picked on him because he was chubby-looking. But still, we’re not supposed to be allowed to push people around like that. Adults were the ones who made up the rules in the first place! And guess what? They didn’t do anything- not even AFTER I told a teacher about it.  

So what if there’s a lot going on on the first day of school? So what if lunch was about to end in 2 minutes? I don’t think it matters when you’re being bullied- it always sucks! And none of the teachers were helpful! Like, at all!

This is what I think: if adults don’t really care that much about a rule, then they shouldn’t tell us to follow it in the first place. So stupid.

Man…looks like 6th grade won’t be much better than 5th, huh.

And it’s only Day 1… GREAT

Sincerely, Sakura

Dedicated to my childhood friend who was bullied

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