I Had You
I'm not even mentally prepared for this…
You always just show up unexpectedly…
"Oh!" she says, just like that, without a care in the world – as if her sickness was just a mere cold that any six year old could heal from within days, as if she hadn't had me bear with sleepless nights just thinking about her.
"Who are you again?"
There she goes again…being so active…using that light of hers to conceal the darkness in her heart; to distract those who want to look in to it with her brightness…
…when are you going to stop acting, I wonder?
Is she feeling better? Is that why they let her out? No – her skin, it's paled since I've last visited. Isn't she cold? Sick people have the tendency of getting cold easily and therefore succumb to their disease. But why is she still trying so hard?
Thoughts like these seem to bombard my mind and I end up losing focus. My head's all about you…
"Hey, where's Watari? I've been waiting for him, you see"
Just when I started wondering if you think about me as much as I think about you too…I almost forgot my place. After all this time, things won't change. She's still the girl who's in love with my best friend, and I'm…
"Watari's…still in school." Smile. Yeah, that should be the polite thing to do. I shouldn't let such selfish thoughts take over me. I wasn't raised by her that way, after all.
"He's in the classroom so…" oh well, I guess I'll start doing my job as Friend A. Lead the girl to her humble prince is what I can do.
That was until she grabbed me, ever so suddenly, in a carefree manner – like a daughter keeping her father from going to work. "I am a kind hearted-angel. And callous as you are, I shall give you a chance to make up for it."
And she's at it again, taking me into her world full of color with another stupid excuse like that. But it's not as if...I didn't find such an excuse terrible, somehow just hearing those words lifted my heart ever so slightly.
For some reason being the substitute isn't as bad as it sounds.
"This cute one's mine!" she screams and just rambles through the deadly pack of girls rummaging through clothes on sale right before my eyes.
…I'll never understand the conflicts between women under the category of clothing.
These bags she's making me carry are beginning to make my shoulders ache. Seriously, what kind of violinist forces her accompanist to play, to send her food, to see her, and to carry her unreasonably heavy shopping bags?
This one. Miyazono Kaori. The girl that just miraculously survived a flock of wild racoo—I mean girls.
"Uh…I have a lesson..—" as usual, she fails to hear me out
What a selfish girl. Oh well, sorry Aiza-san…Hiroko-san…at this rate I won't be able to attend.
Because right now I'm prioritizing an insane, greedy, violent, demanding, beautiful and out of the ordinary violinist. Forgive me mother, I failed to do the right thing. Shame on me.
"Can't just ignore someone in need when you come across one!" and she waves goodbye to the child she enthusiastically picked up out of nowhere. In need? In need? Why don't you look behind you and tell me who's in need?!
But I can't bring myself to say that, to her at least.
After an entire day of being dragged around looking through girly amenities, I do indeed feel as if my arms are about to just slip out of my body and fall dead, lifeless on the floor. Then she smiles "That girl held my hand really tight! It was so cute! It was as if she was saying 'Don't ever let me go! No matter what!' I bet she was scared that if I let go, she'd wind up left behind and all alone."
Left behind…and all alone. I've felt that not too long ago.
But just months ago…I had something...someone to play for. Someone to ease my worries of ever being alone – because usually that person just barges in without asking. Like a thunderstorm, booming into my life with all its might. But now…
"Wow! It's so dark! It's creepy!"
You didn't really leave your bag behind, did you?
You didn't really go to school today, did you?
"I wanted to come here no matter what…because I was starting to forget it."
Realization hits me. How does it feel, I wonder? To have to sit back and watch as the day passes by, wondering if you'll be able to go out tomorrow, wondering if you will be better tomorrow, or if you'll get better at all. I bet you'd want to immediately return to your everyday life…where the good days lie. Just to get rid of all the uncertainty of being a patient. One day out? Why Friend A when she can have someone better?
"Are you going to forget? The girl who explored the school grounds at a late hour. The girl you helped rescue a lost child. The girl who snuck out of the hospital…and waited for you. Will you forget her?" Yet another unexpected sentence coming from her. Why do you always do things I'm never prepared for?
So…she waited for me? She wasn't given a day out? What has she been doing lately? If she wasn't allowed that would mean she isn't better at all, right?
But these thoughts remain caged within my pool of thoughts.
I want to live in people's hearts. So that they won't forget me.
You're really selfish, aren't you? You're always afraid of being forgotten…
But in the end I say "I won't forget. Even if I die"
And as I take her back to her humble room, where she awaits the day she may be healthy once more.
Tears fly in the wind – the reason of which I could not ask of her.
On the steps of the hospital entrance, I watch her turn around in the manner I always seem to observe from her. And she smiles – acting like nothing happened, like no tears were shed just earlier. And then and there she tells me good night.
When will you stop doing that?
"Hey…do you remember the time I told you 'I had you'?" I blurted out. Wait, why am I bringing this up right now? She halts and faces me once more, that smile still plastered on her face.
"What's this now?" she steps to face me properly, hands tied behind her as she listens to my words, her expression tells me she anticipates me continue.
"Earlier today…when that lost child returned to her mother. You said she squeezed your hand really tight, as if she wanted you to never let her go, otherwise she'd end up left behind and all alone. Right now…you're dragging me by the hand wherever you go, and all I can do is follow you. In the end I end up basking in awe at what you do." I stop there to look at her straight in the eye. I notice that her smile had disappeared and she presented me with a face of pure seriousness. I wonder if you're taking these words of mine to heart? I hope you do – thought the selfish side of me.
"If you let go of me…don't you ever wonder? If I'll end up left behind and all alone…just like her?" what am I doing…? Why am I saying these things to her? The one I can tell is going through a rougher time than I am…
Why is it I become selfish at the worst times possible?
She remains silent, her expression never wavering for what seemed like hours. But no matter how long it took in reality or in my mind, I will never stop facing her until I am given an answer. Why? I'm not quite sure myself.
No sounds were heard that night aside from the passing of cars late at night.
And she's still staring. Maybe that question was much too sudden for anyone to be able to answer. Moreover, why did I ask the girl who likes my best friend such a question? Arima Kousei how stupid can you be?! Oh well, I wouldn't be surprised if some distance were to ensue between us after this…
At that moment she moved her mouth "Then…" she starts off, and I listen.
"In that case…doesn't it mean that you'll have to be the one to let me go?" She showed me another one of her smiles, but her eyes showed no trace of a joke anywhere. They were looking at me with the same solemnity I was with her.
And that's when I felt my expression sadden, and some mist was starting to get in the way of my vision and my head dropped slightly. Great, she took notice of this. Now she probably thinks I'm spoiled if I'm not even able to that…
But…could I even muster enough strength to do such a thing?
"Say…" she mutters in a tone a little above a whisper yet audible. My eyes travel back to find her face, but it isn't there.
She has her back turned as she says "If…hypothetically speaking…I just…you know…suddenly…disappeared …will you still be able to play?" her tone was shaky but clear enough to be understood. Her shoulders seemed to tense up as each word was uttered out.
I feel my eyes widen slightly at these words of hers.
Disappear…? She doesn't mean…
And when did my playing become the topic of discussion here?
Another question among the many questions she's given me that I didn't know how to answer.
I would open my mouth, as if I had answer, however nothing came out. I didn't know what to say, so all I did was look back at her with my stupid shocked expression.
Should I say 'of course' to relieve her? I'd be lying if I did though…because losing her would mean I'd have a repeat of those same feelings that enveloped me in a dark sea just two years ago. But if I say 'I don't think I could.' That would break her, wouldn't it? After all she's done for me the least I could do was answer this question and make sure she gets to bed satisfied, right?
"Please answer…" she choked out, and that's when my heart felt like it's been crunched around someone's palm. In desperation to find a good enough answer, I felt my eyes begin to well up, but I couldn't show weakness at such an important moment like this. Forcing the tears away, I just answer her.
"…I don't know." And my eyes hopelessly fell to the ground.
And thus the silence returned and I've been sucked back into my whirlpool of thoughts, and they drag me as they spin about my mind. Only, this silence seemed so much shorter than the one before.
Is it because…?
"I see." And my head turns up again to see her turn around with that smile that could light up this quiet night. But I didn't miss the tear marks that painted her face yet again. "Well then, because of your inability and insensitivity to answer that question you'll have a punishment the following days. And that is…" her eyes showed a glint of mischief and her expression told me she was up to no good "To rid your wallet of its necessities to buy me whatever I want you to buy. No questions asked"
"Hah?! You can't be serious—"
"PUN. ISH. MENT."
"I live alone! I have bills to pay!" I tried reasoning out, my head fuming in irritation. Now she made it feel like nothing happened even for me. Amazing, really, how she's able to do such things.
"Fine. If you're that desperate not to spend for me then…" she pouted for a few moments before turning to me again, and once more, she presents me an expression of resolute.
"Make sure that by the time you know, you tell me. Okay?"
Here we are, gazing at each other again. The night breeze, the smell of autumn filled my nostrils and the subtle sound of cars passing by filled my senses with comfort. For the second time tonight, I am certain and firm with my answer.
"Alright. I promise. I'll be the first one to tell you." And I smiled the last genuine smile I had for her on that night.
And with that, she was at ease. "Don't forget." She reminded as she headed for the automatic sliding doors of the hospital.
"I already told you I won't" I gave her some reassurance, hoping the best for her and that she'd be able to rest easy tonight and her following nights.
And Kaori stepped inside, breathing in the scent of an empty hospital after work hours. This is something she's already used to…but being used to it makes it all the sadder. But straightening up and taking a few breaths to relax, she mumbles to herself
"I'm glad it's you…"
"Hey, it's me, here to fulfill a promise" I say cheerfully and crouch down "But first I'm here to scold you. You made me buy you all that stuff and in the end you were gonna leave them behind. That isn't cool. And my shoulders hurt because of that, you know? And plus what about the caneles you've been making me buy? Now I'll have to eat all of them because you just cancelled them so suddenly. " With a sad smile I read the name 'Miyazono Kaori' on the cement as I lay down a bag of caneles. "I bet if you were here and heard all that you'd call me jackass for complaining this much, huh?" I chuckle and kneel in a much more comfortable position.
"I finally have the answer you wanted from that night. I know, I'm terrible for being so late. Well…I'd be lying if I said I could play it the same as before without worries. But…probably…I could still play because I had you. And I'll just assure you right now that even if I did forget you, the next day you'd be waiting for me me at my doorstep like how you followed me around for our Rondo Capriccioso performance. Do you remember that?" I chuckle yet again and I'm greeted with silence, but somehow the cherry blossoms that flew around are the answers she was giving me. For some reason they seem to be so much brighter and much more…energetic compared to my previous springs. "Oh well, I can't keep Hiroko-san waiting to have a lesson today." I stand up and smiled down at the flowers and caneles I left for her "Well…I guess…no, you're the reason I can still play. It's because I had you for that short year, that I'm standing here, on my way to becoming a happy pianist. You wanted that, right? Heck, if Aiza-san heard me, I bet she'd call me cliché." I gave one last look at her petal-covered grave and smile genuinely.
"Thanks for everything…Kaori."
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso