This is a dream.
This is a memory.
This is reality.
This is life.
It is unexplainable.
Standing in front of me was a girl, a beautiful girl. A girl I've never seen before. A girl I could have sworn was not there five seconds ago.
Tantalizing indigo eyes. A petite form. Platinum blonde hair that trailed past her thighs. Clenched hands. A shaking body.
Lost against the darkness of the night, lightly silhouetted by a streetlight a few feet away, she was otherworldly.
"I like you."
I love you…..
For going on a date with me.
For making me happy.
For making me feel important.
For loving me…..even if it was for just a moment."
Hugging me tight, IA whispers each of things in my ear. But I can barely register it. All I can see is what I can't see.
I've never been so scared. I've never been so miserable.
Why did things have to work out this way?
"Well, what do you want to go on first?"
Thinking to herself for a moment, IA stands against the bright lights. Blue. Green. Yellow. Red. Orange. Bathed in color, I'm already starting to understand why IA brought us here.
She belongs here.
I can't say why. There isn't a single clue, a single piece of evidence to prove that thought. IA could just be some random girl who really liked this amusement park. But it's something more than that, something deeper. For IA, in some weird way, this place is home. I can just feel it.
I could be wrong. I could be reading too deeply into this moment and simply be interpreting all of the wrong things. But I have a feeling I'm right.
Maybe one day, I'll find out.
Slipping her hand into mine, IA leads the way, skipping with a sort of childish glee. Amused by her unintentional boldness, I stay silent. I don't want things to change. Don't ask me why. But you know, in a weird, nonsensical way, this is all sorta fun.
I'm glad I said yes.
"I….I don't understand."
Tears running down her cheeks, IA doesn't say a word. Slightly swollen and red, those perfect lips open and close. A word never forms.
Gasping for breath, she simply shakes her head. Her grip weakens and in those moments, nothing moves.
"How? How is this even possible?"
The words fall from my lips – unwanted, redundant, but said netherless.
And just like that, they lay there - broken, shattered, untouched.
"So….Do you have a place in mind…?"
Walking a couple steps ahead of me, IA suddenly whips around. Her hair swings skyward and for a second, I lose her in the middle of it all.
Walking backwards, hands clasped behind her back, a smile sits on her lips.
"Yeah. I know exactly where I want to go."
I get the feeling that it'll be pointless but I try anyways.
"Where are we going?"
Smirking ever so slightly, IA shakes her head no. "Sorry. It's a surprise."
Sorry my ass. This girl is clearly enjoying herself.
"Are you a murderer?"
Quirking an eyebrow, her eyes twinkle against the night sky. "Nooooo….."
"Would you tell me if you were?"
Sticking her tongue out, IA twirls back around. Lithe. Graceful. Mysterious. And clumsy?
Because she's falling, a downwards motion. Arms sprawled out, IA prepares to catch herself. But my legs were moving before I even said go.
And just like that she's in my arms. Tiny. Light. Amazing.
Breathing heavily, a blush assaults her cheeks. "Thank you…"
And fuck it all, there's not a word left in my mouth to respond to that. I simply don't understand.
"No….NO! We can't. We CAN'T! ALRIGHT? We just can't…."
Wrenching herself from my arms, breathing heavily, something in her shatters
Wrapping her arms tight against her body, IA begs me with all of her might. I understand. What went wrong? Can I make it better? Or is it really impossible?
Standing alone, just a few feet away, a fresh set of tears slip from the corners of her eyes. One. Two. A thousand. Gleaming like stars against her cheeks, my heart burns.
"Please Yuuma…Don't make this any harder than it needs to be."
"Come on! Let's go on these next!"
Pulling on my hand, IA bolts off, running faster than I thought possible, her feet barely touching the ground. Yanked by the sudden force, I have no choice but to trail behind.
Her laugh, unrestrained and melodious, echoes against the music that surrounds us. It's captivating. It's bewitching. It's contagious.
Bubbling up, my laughter explodes, harder, louder, there's no stopping it. There's no stopping us.
Footsteps slamming across the deteriorating pavement, the world is ours. We rule it all.
"I want the yellow one!"
Skidding to a stop, I stare at the teacup in question. Thick and study, discolored with age, ornate drawings crawling up the sides – it has certainly seen better days.
"I don't know IA…I haven't been in one of these since I was a kid….."
Already in the cup, settled in comfortably, IA stares at me from across the wheel. Eyes wide, she begs, "Please Yuuma? Ppppplllllllleeeeeeaaaaaassssseeeeeee? This is my favorite ride."
And goddammit, I don't even know what's wrong with me. This girl makes it too hard to say no.
"Don't go IA. Stay a little longer. Just a few seconds more. Can't you?"
"…..So where are we?"
Standing in the middle of a dark and empty looking lot, I'm starting to wonder if this girl really is a murderer. Damn it all – me and my stupid life choices.
"Hey Yuuma? Close your eyes for a second?"
Seriously? It's honestly come to this? I'm going to die in a dark and abandoned lot? This is how my life will end? Well at least it's better than some dirty alley…..
"Please Yuuma. I can see the doubt written on your face. I swear I won't kill you."
I don't know if I can believe that.
"Please? I promise…."
I really hate myself sometimes.
"Ready? 5….4…..3….2….1…..! Okay Yuuma. You can open your eyes now."
No sudden pains, no weird smells, that's always a good thing – WOW. Was this all here before?
"Hey IA. What is this place?"
"It's an old amusement park called Magic!Land. I used to come here a lot as a kid. It was and still is my favorite place in the whole world. I was so sad when they shut it down."
And I can see it. Despite the old and dirty rides, the rusty chains, the garbage strewn around, the graffiti covered booths, I can see it, the wonder this place used to hold.
Wait a second….
"Hey IA - how'd you get the lights and music to work? And so quickly too?"
Smiling to herself, she simply responds, "It's a secret."
"Just tell me why."
It's amazing really, how wide such a small space can turn out to be. Drawing deeper into herself, IA frantically shakes her head no. A flurry of blonde. Lips sealed, tears flowing free, our happiness is long gone.
Knees giving out, legs giving up, hips unable to withstand her weight, IA crumbles to the ground.
A broken marionette.
"Don't touch me."
Indigo crying, a soul breaks, desperate and stubborn.
"Yuuma. Yuuma! Please. Please! Don't….Don't…"
But I'm not giving up that easily…
"I'm not leaving you to deal with this by yourself."
I'm in this too far deep to turn around now.
"Let me help. Tell me what's wrong."
Shaking in my arms, her fingers grip on tight, I can feel her nails leaving marks. Blood springs under her fingertips and it slowly drips down my arms. Talking into my shirt, a tiny voice so broken, IA speaks up, lost and breathless.
"Yuuma….You don't understand. You don't understand at all. It's….complicated."
"Then tell me so that I can understand. Don't you see? I'm not letting go."
Not now. Not ever.
Balancing on a low railing with catlike grace, IA walks slightly above me. Like one of those tightrope performers, every step is confident and well placed. But even so, her small hand grips tightly onto mine. Bouncing with each step, her long hair brushes against my arm. Humming to herself, I think she's singing some song that was popular a few months back. I don't think she has a destination in mind. Not this time. But that's alright. After that last ride, I needed a break.
Staring straight ahead, IA continues on, not even bothering to see if I'm paying attention or not.
"If we randomly met on the street on any given day – before today, that is – would you have spoken to me?"
I could lie. It would be so easy. Open my mouth and say 'yes'. But what would I gain from that? What would she gain from that?
"Because you would have been a stranger."
"Do you dislike strangers?"
"No, I just don't trust them."
"Do you trust me?"
Walking under the moonlight, away from the bright lights, the paleness of IA's skin gently glows, giving it a translucent look.
"Hey Yuuma? You know what I really regret?"
Coming to a stop, IA looks down at me with eyes full of sadness and a little bit of something else. Squeezing my hand, she quietly admits,
"Never taking the chance to talk to you earlier."
Is this actually possible? Have I been…? Is this all…? The fuck….?
"That's the thing…."
Flopping forward, IA's head bounces against my chest. Leaning into me, she presses up closer, how is this even happening?
Whispering against my neck, she admits,
"I don't get it either…"
Slender arms wrapping around my shoulders, her quiet voice tells me, "All I did was advantage of the situation that was suddenly in my hands."
Pressing in even closer, her damp cheeks brushes against my own. Impossibly close, her unexplainable voice whispers against my ear. This is a secret that shouldn't even be real. "Yuuma, you have to understand. All of a sudden, I had the opportunity to talk with you, to be with you. And I took it. I took it without ever asking why or how. It was simply too good to give up."
What do I even say to that? Do I even know this girl? Did we meet somewhere and I just forgot her?
Who am I kidding? There is no way I could have forgotten a girl this beautiful.
Awww Fuck. Let's just get this over with….
"I'm sorry but…do I know you?"
Smiling sheepishly, she shakes her head no.
Ok. Good. So at least I'm not that jerk.
Speaking softly, she admits, "We've never met."
"Then how do you know my name?"
"Sorry, that's a secret."
Grinding the tips of her white boots into the ground, the girl leaves it at that. Keeping her mouth closed, the sound of grinding dirt fills the silence between us.
This is weird. What the fuck is even happening right now? Does this kind of thing even happen in real life? Honestly now.
But despite it all, I can't sense the slightest bit of malice from this girl.
For a minute or so, nothing changes. Staring at me with those indigo eyes of hers, her fingers fumble with the hem of her shirt.
This girl is clearly nervous. She's biting her lip so hard, I wouldn't be surprised if it just started bleeding. But still… for some reason, she's standing right in front of me. Why?
There's a shift in the air. Taking a deep breath, the girl blurts out, "I really like you Yuuma. And it's because I like you that I'm going to be selfish. Go on a date with me?"
A smarter person would have seen that coming. I am not that person. Go figure.
Shit…..this is gonna get awkward. This girl is beautiful but I have a policy against dating random strangers.
"Look, you're gorgeous but – "
Cutting me off, words rush out of the girl's mouth, running, fumbling, tripping over one another just to be said, to be heard.
"Please. Just this once. I'm not looking for anything permanent. I'm not looking to actually date you. You don't have to pay for anything. This isn't a joke. After today, you'll never see me again. I…I just want to experience what it's like to be the one at your side, to be the only one in your eyes. I want to know what it's like to be part of your world. Please….Just this once?"
Desperate words. Frantic eyes. Trembling legs. A shaking voice. It's simply impossible.
"Arrgghh…Alright. I can't see why not."
I hate myself.
And just like that, those indigo eyes light up. Overpowering the darkness, blazing orbs of light, it's impossible not to be drawn in. Why this girl wants anything to do with me is unimaginable. Looks like there's no going back now….
"….So what's your name?"
Smiling brightly, the girl proclaims, "IA. My name is IA."
"I can't Yuuma. It doesn't work that way. This much I know. Our time is up. I have to go now. My time is up."
"Damn it IA! What are you, crazy? Why would you spin that damn cup so fast? Shit!"
"Awww. Come on Yuuma!"
Stupid teacups. Stupid me for not being strong enough to say no. Stupid IA and her indigo eyes. Stupid world for refusing to stay still. Tilting, spinning, a blur of bright lights. And in the middle of it all is IA. Crazy, beautiful, angelic IA. Arms spread out wide, hair splayed out, laughing from the top of her lungs. Free. Translucent. Otherworldly. Fucking unbelievable.
"All of the fun is in the spin and you know it!"
Lies. Its all lies.
Small hands grip my arm. And all of a sudden, I'm spinning again. Around and around. Before it was just IA. Now it's us. Bright lights. Colorful lights. Small hands. Impossibly long hair. A laugh that blocks out everything else. And most of all, bright orbs of mesmerizing indigo.
Is this what it means to fall in deep? Fuck my life and beautiful girls that refuse to give up.
"Hey Yuuma, do you want to something kind of pathetic? That bench you and your friends always sit on? The one in front of the all girls school? Yeah. That was my school.
Well here's the thing. Everyday, at exactly 4:15, I'd go up to the fifth floor, room 537. And I'd sit by the window and watch you. I'd just sit there for hours on end and I'd just watch you. Only you. I know – that's kinda creepy. But it's the truth.
I can't remember when I even started that habit. I don't even remember why I started to watch you in the first place. I simply did. One month. Four months. More.
I fell in love.
Maybe it was the pink of your hair. Maybe it was the fact that I could pick out the amber in your eyes even from a distance. Maybe it was the way you smiled. Maybe it was the way you never called out to girls passing by like your friends did. Maybe it was your kindness. Maybe it was the way you could simply lose yourself in your music. Maybe it was the way you just seemed so comfortable with who you are.
I don't know.
Then I started to think. What if one day I went up and talked to you? What if one day I said 'hello' and introduced myself. What if we could become friends? What if….we could become something more?
And everyday I thought of the possibilities, the future I could have. I played out every scenario, every variation, all while watching safely, so far away on the fifth floor. 'Maybe tomorrow I'll go down,' I told myself. Maybe next week. Maybe next month. Maybe…Maybe…But I never did.
And then…it was too late."
"Yuuma! It's just not that easy! Don't you see!? I'm…..I'm…..!"
"I love you. I love you."
Pressed against my lips, the words repeat themselves over and over.
"I love you so much."
A breathless murmur. An undeniable sound.
"I love you Yumma. I love you. I love you."
"…You're crying. Why are you crying? Is something wrong…?"
Bathed in the glow of the amusement park lights, the misery on IA's face is clear and painful to see. Shaking her head slowly, she whispers, "No. You did nothing wrong. Nothing wrong at all."
Gripping onto my arms, taking a small step back, her eyes momentarily harden.
"I hate you. I hate you so much! Why did you have to be so nice to me? Why did you have to make me so happy? Why….why did you make me fall for you all over again?! I…I thought it'd be enough if I could just be by your side, just for a little bit! But now…I don't want to let go! This is all your fault!"
"Then the solution is simple…. We can always meet again tomorrow, can't we?"
Around and around. Hands clasped, fingers locked, a blur of color and light. The world is spinning out of proportion. Nothing is still. Closer. Closer. Faster. Tighter. Closer. A single breath. No air at all.
Is this what it feels like to dominate the world?
There is only me. And her. Just us. Bright colorful lights. Music that was popular years ago. A gentle touch. Soft lips. Fingers that refuse to let go. A simple kiss that paralyzes the body and all you can do is breathe it in.
Inhale it. Accept it with all of your being. Embrace it. All until there is nothing left but this unexplainable feeling.
I got hit by a truck about a few weeks ago.
I never even made it to the hospital.
My funeral was today."
I can't remember what happened next.
Did I block it out?
I think I cried.
There was probably a flash of pure light.
A burst of indigo.
The ghost presence of lips pressed against mine.
A lingering touch.
And then nothing. Absolutely nothing.
And as the lights died down and music screeched to a halt, as I stood there all alone in the darkness, I realized….
I lost the angel I never found.