Fate is a mysterious thing, right?
Even though you pray for a good future, it's still no guarantee that you'll get one.
Yet, for others fate is kinder than anything else.
Fate is mysterious.
I waited for almost an eternity to meet someone like her.
When I did, I didn't realize that she was just the thing I needed to experience true happiness.
By that tree, with several names carved on it,
I met her.
The girl of my dreams.
But fate ruined it.
Even though we cried for eachother,
fate didn't help us in any way.
Her tears were dry.
Mine were wet.
even though we both wished to stay together a bit longer,
I didn't regret meeting her.
«I'm home!» I yelled as I opened the door to my house. «Welcome home, Onii-san!» Miki yelled to me from the kitchen. I took off my shoes and went to the kitchen to grab a snack. Miki, my precious little sister, sat on the table and did her homework.
«Where's mom and dad?» I asked her. «Out to watch an opera, or something. I don't know, something like that,» she mumbled, not interested at all. «Um…okay,» I said and grabbed some orange juice from the refridgerator. Miki noticed that and begged me:
«Can't you drink the apple juice instead? I only like the orange one, and there's only a few drops left!» I sighed and put back the orange juice and took out the apple juice instead. «Fine…,» I mumbled. «Thanks!» she said and went back to writing. I poured some apple juice in a glass, grabbed a bag of potato chips and went upstairs to my room to do my own homework.
Ugh, you know what? Fuck homework. I violently threw my bag on by my bed and threw myself on it. Stomach down, I closed my eyes and snuggled my cheek against my pillow. Whenever I grab onto my pillow, I always imagine it being a person. A kind of mother-like figure to embrace whenever I feel too small for the world and insecure in my own skin. Someone that can protect me…and I her.
At times, I would like to forget the world that’s surrounded by reality. If only every single human being on earth could experience their own world that they want to live in. Or rather…I always want to forget. That must be why my heart was so filled with joy when I started walking further down the hill of crystal glass. But, that’s just how I imagined it to be. The Seventh Heaven, the world inside The Andromeda tree.
The shade of blue that was bursting through the golden clouds in the sky was painted on the entire sky, making me wonder if I was in heaven. Is this what it’s like…to truly be swept of your feet? This whole world was like a huge garden. Emerald-colored, big trees all over the place, butterflies flying through the air and the mountains…oh my god, the mountains.
The crystal mountains were the same from the legend. Clear as mirrors and beautifully reflected by the river that was right next to it. Yes… I immediately aknowledged this as the Seventh Heaven. Not because of the sky. Not because of the trees. Not because of the mountains.
Because of her.
I don’t know who she was, or why she was in my world. All I knew, was that… she belonged here. She had her back turned to me, so I couldn’t see her face. Yet… I felt an attraction. She didn’t need a beautiful face to be beautiful. Just being in my precense…Made me feel nervous. I went closer to her and reached out my hand, trying to touch her shoulder.
I want to hold her…
«Ah…» I felt as if my heart fell down and landed in the pit of my stomach when I realized that I’d been dreaming the entire time. I wanted it to be true… So badly. Ah, great. Once again I feel the need to go there. Welp, guess I gotta satisfy myself, then! I raised my head up and changed into a way more comfortable pair of pants and a simple, white button-up shirt before going downstairs.
I'm Yoshiki Kishinuma, and I'm 17 years old. I'm a first year at Kisaragi high, and I live with my parents and my younger sister. I guess you could place me as an average high school student. Even my IQ is pretty average. But if I have to name one thing that's unique about me…I have a strange habit that I've had ever since I was 13 years old.
«Are you going there again?!» Miki asked me, a bit annoyed. I nodded as I put on my shoes. «What's the deal with you and that place, anyway?» she asked me. «Dunno. I just really love hanging there on sunny days like this one,» I replied. Miki sighed and said: «You know it's just a legend, right?»
I bit my lip, not answering her question. It was quiet for a while until Miki mumbled: «Don't be there for too long, okay?» «It'll be just an hour or so,» I said and ran out of the door and started walking.
The habit I have, is that on sunny summer days, I go to the Andromeda tree and just hang out there alone. The Andromeda tree, is a really big oak tree just out of town. Many say it's been there for over 200 years. On summer nights, the constellation Andromeda, is just above the tree, so that's where the tree got its name from. My parents always used to take me there when I was little. What madet his tree special, was that it has over a hundread names carved in it. That may not sound very special, but that's not it.
The names, are names of dead people.
Of course, the legend was not very similar to the original legend about Andromeda, but it’s the legend our city seem to believe in, just because of that tree.
The legend Miki was talking about goes like this: The greek princess Andromeda was a very kind princess who lived in a place where souls of dead humans used to gather. Many of the souls were suffering, due to their cause of death. Andromeda felt really bad for them, so one summer night she looked below her on the earth. She noticed a big tree with a huge hole in it. She meant that it would be a good place with no suffering for the souls to live in. She went down to earth and carved in every single name of the souls, and because of that the souls got captivated in the tree, free from their despair. Andromeda had created a beautiful universe inside it with sparkling fragments and colors that no one even knew existed. It was a place that no one could ever dream of. For the souls, the tree became the Seventh heaven.
There’s a rumor saying that if you carve the name of a dead person into the tree, their soul will go to the Seventh heaven.
I didn't really believe in that rumor, but I loved the story as a child. I always dreamt of visiting the Seventh heaven, if only for a few minutes. I wanted to visit the souls and befriend them. Now, I only laugh at those naive ideas I had as a kid. But I still visit the Andromeda tree on days like this one.
It's as calming as ever. Even after a stressful day at school, I always find peace here. I laid down on the ground, and let the leaves cast a shadow down on my face as I closed my eyes. The wind was softly blowing, the grass was soft and the sky was as blue as it could be. Everything was so peaceful.
What?! Panicked, I opened my eyes and got up from the ground. Was someone…calling me? Sigh, probably just my imagination… I’ve heard that when you're really at ease, your brain starts creating things in your mind that don’t really exist. I laid back down on the grass and closed my eyes.
Hey, can you hear me?
There's no mistaking it. Someone's definitely calling me! I got up again and walked a bit closer to the hole in the tree. «Um…Hello?» I asked nervously. Gosh, what the fuck am I doing?! There's no way someone…
So you can? That's good!
My heart jumped as I heard the voice again. An awkward silence floated around in the air because of me not replying. Eventually, I coughed and mumbled: «A-…are you real?» The same voice giggled. It was…cute. The voice was obviously a girl's voice. So soft and kind…It put me at ease as I heard the same shimmering giggling again.
I think so! Are you real?
I chuckled and said: «Yeah. I'm pretty sure I'm real». The voice giggled again, a bit louder this time. «Where are you?» I asked her. For some reason, even though I was supposed to freak out, there was something about her voice that made me feel attracted. I wanted to see her.
I'm inside the seventh heaven! Wanna come and see it?
Gulp. What did she just say?! T-the seventh heaven!? Pfft, there’s no way… «Don't lie. You're just inside the hole here, right?» I said teasingly and laughed off my slight fear. I would call myself a believer, yet… I’m scared of supernatural things. Once again, a silence floated through the air. The voice sighed and said:
If you only knew all the things I could tell you, we could be dancing with stars in the night.
The next thing I saw, was a pale shimmering hand sticking out of the hole.
«WAH!» I yelled and jumped in surprise. She giggled again. That hand…it wasn't human. It was too pale to be human. It was kinda…glowing.
Please…don't be afraid. I want to show you my world.
She sounded honest, yet playful at the same time. I'm curious. What's the worst thing that could happen? Just getting to know the person that beautiful voice belonged to, would be totally fine by me, even if that silly dream that haunted my childhood wasn’t inside this tree. «Why? Why do you want me to come?» I asked her.
I'm bored. I want to show someone with flesh and blood how my world is. Don't be scared.
The idea was too tempting. I forgot everything that had to do with common sense. I just want to see it. The seventh heaven. Reluctantly, I reached out my hand to touch hers. Is…Is this really okay? Just as my hand touched hers, a really warm feeling filled my heart. Her hand wasn't cold nor warm. It was just…plain.
Are you ready?
«Yes», I said determined.
Close your eyes and don't let go of my hand.
I did as she told me and held my breath in excitement. I'm scared. I'm really scared! But I can't back out now! Then, she pulled me into the hole without warning.
At first, I was in pain. But just a second later, the pain turned into a feeling of becoming light-headed. It's almost like the air was filled with helium and flower scents. Did the ground disappear? I moved my legs, and panicked when I couldn't feel anything below me. Just where did she take me?! Am I flying? I still didn't dare to open my eyes. Suddenly, I felt the girl's presence getting closer to me. Soft fingertips were gently stroking my eyelids, making me relax a bit more. «Open your eyes…», the girl whispered. I did as she told me. Painfully slowly.
It was unreal.
This whole thing is so unreal! I was surrounded by a huge barrier of a heavenly shade of sparkling blue. The sparkling fragments were just like stars and they were shining in the most beautiful way possible. My eyes were not used to such beauty. My dreams about seeing this…can never compare. My sight got bleary at the beauty and I had to rub my eyes to believe the . I reached out my free arm, to try to touch the fragments.
«Can you count them?»
Just as she asked me that, I realized that I still was holding the girl's hand. I can see her now…right? I turned to the direction of the voice, only to be met by two big, sparkly eyes in the same shade of blue as the barrier looking at me with a warm expression.
My heart tried to pound itself out of my chest as I laid my eyes on her.
The girl had long, dark-blue hair that reached the middle of her back. Her lips were in a sweet, red color and her skin was pale and shimmering. Her petite body, was covered with a shimmering white dress that reached her knees. Everything about her, made me think of those religious pictures of angels. But the thing that dazzled me the most, was her eyes. They were more sparkly than the barrier and her eyelashes were really thick and long, so it almost looked like she was wearing tons of mascara. Yet she wasn't. I could tell. So beautiful…
She smiled at me and said: «I always try to count them. But I never succeed. I always lose count when I'm halfway through». Her dazzling laughter that followed the end of her sentence, made me think of those small girls at playgrounds that were oozing of childhood innocence. Counting stars? When I think about it clearly, I tried to count stars too, but it's not as easy as it sounds.
«Is this…the seventh heaven?» I asked her. She shaked her head and smiled. «This is just the barrier that appears when we're on our way there. We're there soon, don't worry!» she said. I couldn't help but to smile with her. Just who is this girl?