A girl no older than eighteen stood on the steps of the sleek and expensive private school. Her uniform was thrown on haphazardly and she constantly fiddled with her fingernails, a habit she had developed for when she was nervous or upset.
She had her backpack slung over one shoulder and her name tag reflected the sunlight. She had a slightly hunched posture due to her condition and an awkward sort of walk (which, though it looked normal enough, it was more like a small shuffle with short strides).
It was the start of the school year and as a transfer student, she was thankful. Even though she knew the kids would make fun of her and ignore her, she still had the tiniest hope that someone would want to be her friend. That maybe this school would be different from her last one.
You see, Yoo Sowon had always been different. While other kids would play together, Sowon had no one. When Sowon asked to play with them, she'd only get beaten up and spit on because she wasn't normal.
Born with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism, life had always been difficult. Even though she was a savant, her social grasp of the world was that of a ten year old. Still, she wanted more than anything to become a self sufficient working member of society. It would be hard to find a company who would not shun her away because of her social handicap, but she wanted to prove them wrong. To show them that anything was possible and that she could indeed fit into society.
When Sowon was seven years old, her mother abandoned her after the death of her father who was an abusive drunk and drug addict. With nowhere to go, she became a ward of the country and was sent to an orphanage until she found a permanent foster home at the age of nine. She'd just recently moved out, now that she had turned eighteen.
Sowon had been told she was too old to live with a foster family once she turned eighteen and with the help of her foster family, she was able to secure a roof top room. Because she couldn't get a part-time job (no one would hire her) the landlord took pity on the girl. As long as she helped the landlord with upkeep of the property and her business for no pay, she could stay rent free.
It wasn't ideal, but Sowon thought it was better than being homeless.
Which brings us back to present day where Sowon had yet to enter the building. She had never seen a building as sleek as the Seoul Academy of Arts and Science (SAAS) and it was a little intimidating. She had been offered a scholarship by the school as part of their program called Helping Hands.
Each year, the school awarded free tuition to one student who had special needs so that despite their handicap, they could feel like they had a chance at a good education. Sowon had heard about it through her foster family and applied. When she had recieved the acceptance letter she was shocked.
This could be her chance.
Staring down the doors, she remembered how the normal kids treated her when she was little and she was suddenly hesitant to move forward. Glancing at her pink wrist watch, she realized she'd be late for class if she didn't hurry up.
She hesitantly reached forward, shuffling towards the door, and stopped midway in a last second of doubt before ultimately pulling it open. She got one foot through the door and then the other.
One step at a time, right?
The letter had told Sowon specifically that that morning, she needed to go to the main office first to recieve her schedule and directions to her first class of the day.
She didn't want to make a mistake on the first day of school. She was determined to live a quiet school life because all she wanted was to learn, to become smarter and wiser. She didn't want her autism to define her or her ability to get a job.
Sowon made it to the main office thankfully without any problems since it was literally right near the entrance of the school.
The secretary heard the door open and looked up from her computer screen. "Oh you must be Sowon. I'm Miss Lee, the school's secretary. I'll let the vice principal know you're here." Sowon gave a silent nod of confirmation and found herself surveying the room in curiosity.
The walls were a soft tan color, many cubicles filled up the room with teachers, and a faint sent of Vanilla hung in the air. Sowon decided she liked the main office because it was quiet and yet chaotic at the same time.
"Miss Yoo?" A deep voice brought Sowon out of her musings and her eyes caught sight of a short, stout, old man in his late 60's. He wore a navy blue suit and a white tie and he seemed very authoritative, but there was also a soft look in his eyes.