Welcoming a New, Colourful Life
I can't sleep. Again.
Even when I opened my eyes, only darkness filled my vision. I checked the time and realised that I'll have difficulties in regaining energy if such insomnia persist. However, simply lying and desperately trying to close my eyes wouldn't work. I needed to find and effective and efficient way to get rid of this insomnia. When nothing comes to mind, I took my jacket and decided to take a walk.
To where? I don't know.
I just naturally took a route I had been taking for almost a year and eleven months. The snow was falling gently and I could actually find serenity within such ungodly hour upon walking between those snowflakes. I didn't even know this town that much; only route to supermarket, since Aneki often got me to buy stuff, or the arcade. Even the exact path to the arcade had faded away from my memories, since I didn't go there often anymore. I was always scolded by my sister because I didn't know much about the town - I hadn't even seen half of the town - but such thing is useless and trying to remember it was just a waste of energy. There were several other places that I could remember, like Satoshi's house, but again things like that somehow came naturally.
Ah, Satoshi. I wonder if he's doing alright.
It had been a month since I last saw him. I thought he would come to my house to visit me, but I also noticed that his hands were full of student council's activity and other stuff. I wonder if Satoshi didn't change at all, but then again, he had changed from what he used to be in first year. He had been even more responsible and, ironically, more dedicated, unlike what he said during Valentine's day this year. This November, ten months from that event, he was officially going out with Ibara. Well, that's another story.
He couldn't change that much in one month anyway.
Lost in my thought, I just realised that The frozen river was only within meters. Being a familiar place, I decided to go there and sit on the river bank, just like how I had been since I began to solve mysteries. If I was stuck, I would always sit here to gather my thoughts. The sound of the gushing river indeed had a mysterious effect to my trains of thoughts. But now it was frozen, and I cursed myself from not realising earlier that staying in a place with its usual atmosphere taken away had a really sad effect on me. I realised that I forgot the very reason of me, the energy conserving guy, to take a walk. I rubbed my bang and thought about it for a moment.
It had been quite a long time since I last did this.
Surprisingly, the gesture brought back memories I had with the Classic Club. Although the last case was only two months ago, it felt like eternity. I guess I had been already used to thinking and solving mysteries. Maybe mysteries were the only color accompanying my gray-coloured life of energy conservation. Oh well, if it wasn't for Chitanda, I wouldn't even consider doing such thing.
Chitanda. Chitanda Eru.
I looked up to the starry sky and realised that I saw hundreds and hundreds of her eyes staring at me from the cold night sky. For a moment I thought I was going crazy, but then I remembered that Chitanda really had such, mysterious, effect on me. From the first time that I saw her back in the first year, her pleading eyes had a charm on me that I was willing to answer all he questions. It took me a year and a half, exactly eighteen months, to figure out that I actually had feelings for her. And the moment she confessed that she had the same feelings, I had been more than prepared to say goodbye to the gray-coloured life.
Ah, yes, the insomnia.
I reminded myself of the reason I was there, sitting beside the river that refused to flow among thousands of gently falling snowflakes. Such setting gave you the feeling of time being slowed. I couldn't sleep tonight, and also the previous nights. This may be because I was thinking of something. And it must be an impactful, probably awful, thing to think about that I couldn't help but continuously thought about it. What event had I been thinking about that I couldn't sleep?
Of course, the Classic Club.
The Classic Club was officially disbanded by the school. It was true that the Classic Club didn't have any more recruit this year, so it was again supposed to be the four of us. However, that was not the main reason why the club wa disbanded. It was more than what Chitanda and I did- no, no, no, I couldn't blame Chitanda. It was all my fault, that if I was thinking logically that time and refused to answer her curiosity, the club would still exist today. I really couldn't blame Chitanda - I had chosen to take all the blame, leaving her unaffected. And that's why I was expelled from school a month ago.
The girly voice that I missed, the raven hair and purple eyes that I longed to see, Chitanda Eru was there when I turned my head.
I truly wanted to ran and hug her, kiss her, tell her how much I loved and missed her, but I knew I must contain myself. We weren't a couple anymore, and I had decided myself that going away from her was the best for both of us. In the end, I could only stare at her, spellbound by the beauty that I treasured the most. She was looking as dumbstruck as I might be, or spellbound, and silence fell between us for what seemed like hours. I guess she had her mind mixed up with various feelings, and it would be difficult for me to understand, for I am not as emotional as she is. In the end, she slowly walked towards me and sat beside me, a little more than half a meter away from me. We both chose to stare at the frozen river.
Ironic or predictable it might be, but in the end, I couldn't believe that I ended up the same way as Sekitani Jun. To me, that history was like the backbone of my will if solving mysteries, apart from Chitanda's "I'm curious!" of course. It was such a sad thing to think that one couldn't find a way to convey his feelings to his friends, only to be recieved 45 years later by a lazy guy who didn't even care about him. Of course, our difference is that I had chosen to sacrifice myself, unlike him being sacrificed, for the one I loved the most.
"You can't sleep?"
"Ah. And I guess you, too?"
"How was school?"
It was silent for a moment. I didn't even know why I asked, but maybe, just maybe, that I actually missed high school life, a life I chose to forget. Then again, I might be asking her indirectly about the former member of the Classic Club: How were they doing? What did they do afterschool? Were they getting along well?
"Well, it is quite lonely since you aren't there anymore. I miss you."
I was happy that her feelings towards me didn't change at all, and it was actually pretty bold of her to spoke those words out loud. However, I was then mature enough to set my feelings aside for her brighter future. She then moved closer to me and locked her arms on mine, hugging like we always used to do as lovers. And it seems that she actually tried to contain herself, too, since she was calling me by "Oreki-san" and not "Houtaro" anymore.
"Say, don't you miss school?"
That was maybe the hardest question to answer. If she was asking about school life, studying, listening to lectures, having lunches with Satoshi, Ibara and her, I had pretty much burried such memories deep within my heart. That wasn't a particularly bad memories, but it was my choice to forget about high school life. I was currently trying to find job and got an interview for working for an amateur mystery movie. I needed to get past those moments and continue my life as energy conserving as possible.
But if she indirectly asked about our afterschool time together, precious moment that we had forged, deep within my heart I was longing for such moment to come back. I still loved her, and no matter what, I would always love her. I miss her.
"Maybe a little. It's more like I miss you."
"You.. Still love me after all that happened?"
"All of that is my fault and my choice.. And yes, I have to admit that I still love you."
Even thousands of year after this, even if the world come to an end, my answer would never change. I love her. I love the girl named Chitanda Eru. And this love is what driving me to do all for her happiness and her future. Even if it destroys me, saps all of the energy I had conserved for my whole life, if it is for her, I'll do it. I'll do it gladly, Chitanda. You wouldn't even need to ask.
"You know," she then grabbed my other hand and placed in on her stomach. I was a little surprised by what she did, but when I looked at her face, she was smiling. It was a smile too beautiful that I once thought that I don't deserve it. She then continued, "I'm pregnant."
My eyes were wide open with shock. I didn't even think about the consequences before, but now there's no way for me to beg for forgiveness. I had regretted not thinking twice and even then, not only had I destroyed the Classic Club, the I just realised that I had ruined my beloved's life, wounded her pride, stained her purity. And there's no turning back. However, there wasn't even a single hint of sadness or regret in her eyes and smile.
"I don't know how to beg for forgiveness."
"Don't be sorry, Houtaro. It's our child, and I'm happy that my first child is yours, too."
"It was my fault for being curious. It was all my fault. And I can't even stand up for you when you are expelled. I am sorry, Houtaro. And thank you, for everything..."
She then closed her eyes, as if sleeping on my shoulder. I patted her head, and that was when I realised that I would definitely choose her to be my lifetime partner, to be the woman I would dedicate my life to. Yes, I would work hard for her, and I'll raise our child with my own hand, my own power. I'll make her life a fulfilling one, too. Eighteen years I had walked on this earth, and that was the first time I actually have a goal. A meaningful goal.
"I promise I will let you and our child live a happy live. I would put everything I have and I can do for you. I promise I will be a responsible person, a responsible father for our child as well. So, after you graduate from university, let's get married."
"Yes. Thank you, Houtaro. I love you."
"I love you, too."
And the night continued as we stayed hugging each other, remembering that such moment was the start of a new page in my life.
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