"Every now and then I remember when/We would ride this train together/And thought these precious moments/Would last forever" ~"Sakura" (English Cover) by Ailee
“The train is now departing from Jovalis Station. We will be arriving at Toulington Station at 3:43 pm.”
Krystal Nevis closed her eyes, sighed and leaned back in her seat as the train began moving for the sixteenth time.
“I can’t wait to show you the Toulington Memorial,” her boyfriend, Eric Kwon, said from the seat across from her eagerly. “It’s awesome. I know you’ll love it.” He flashed his signature smile at her as he said this, reaching for her hand at the same time.
Krystal shot her eyes open and saw the empty seat across from her, like she had expected. She was the only one in the compartment.
Stop thinking about him, she thought to herself as she tried to blink away tears. He’s with his parents now. You won’t see or hear him ever again.
She glanced out the window, regretting boarding the train in the first place. She never should have tried to go to Toulington. There were too many memories she shared with him there, despite the reason her friends had used to finally convince her to go.
“Miss, your ticket, please?”
The rough voice of the train conductor snapped Krystal out of her melancholy thoughts as she snapped out of her daze to search for her train ticket in her bag. However, another experience with Eric popped up in Krystal’s mind as she handed the man her ticket.
“Where’s your ticket, Krystal? Don’t tell me you never bought one and you just snuck on board.”
Trying to shove Eric’s teasing tone out of her head, Krystal managed to find her already-punched in ticket and handed it to the train conductor, who quickly glanced it over and handed it back.
“Have a good day, miss.”
Krystal forced a smile on her face as the train conductor nodded at her once and stepped out of the compartment, leaving her alone again. She glanced out the window, hoping to be distracted by the outside view, but only heard Eric give her the “one-time only, exclusive prime tour.”
“Toulington is most famous for its sakura trees, which are not found easily anywhere else in New York. Now, you’re stupid, so you won’t know what a sakura tree is. It’ll be twenty dollars if you want me to tell you --”
“I know what a sakura tree is, you dumbass!”
At the present time, the sakura leaves could be seen blowing around in the wind. The cherry blossoms looked beautiful against the light blue sky and green grass.
“Krystal, you ruined the picture! Your ugly face is in the way of the pretty view.”
Krystal reached into her bag and pulled out the photo album which held all the pictures of her and Eric. She turned to the page which held the picture from the day she remembered, and took it out of the pages. All her hair was brought around to her left side, and Eric had been sitting towards her right when he had snapped the picture.
She put the picture back into its frame and took out the one they had taken right after.
They were both smiling into the camera, one of Eric’s arm stretched out to press the shutter and the other around Krystal’s shoulders. His gaze was not on the camera, but on Krystal, staring at her with loving eyes.
“We are now at Toulington Station. The train will depart in four minutes.”
Krystal shoved the photo back into its frame, making sure the photo didn’t crumple as she did so. She snapped the album book shut and made her way out of the train. As soon as she stepped onto the platform, memories of Eric stealing her stuff and running off played in her mind.
No, she had to stop thinking about him in this way. It was one thing to do it on the train, which she had been on for a while, but she was now in Toulington, a place she had come to for only one purpose.
She began walking to Henderson Street, unconsciously remembering one of the last conversations with Eric as she did so.
“You know, you should take good care of me. You never know if I’ll suddenly leave you.”
Krystal scoffed. “Oh please. You’re going to be stuck with me for the rest of your life. If you ever die, it’s going to be next to me.”
Eric grinned. “I don’t know,” he said, drawing out the last word. “What if you die before me? Then I’ll have to die when I could live longer.”
“Why are we even talking about this? If strangers heard us, they’d think we’re crazy and don’t really love each other, considering the way we’re joking about death.”
“Well . . .” Eric jumped right next to Krystal, putting an arm around her waist. “I am crazy . . . for you. And I promise you, I’ll be loving you for longer than you think, and I’ll be right next to you for even longer than you want.”
“Liar.” The word slipped out of Krystal’s mouth in the present as she remembered the day they had come to Toulington for the last time. He must have known at that time. He must have prepared to leave since before then.
The cherry blossoms continued to fall as Krystal approached Henderson Street. She walked past the sign and headed straight for the place she knew Eric would be.
HERE LIES ERIC KWON.
BELOVED BROTHER, FRIEND AND LOVER.
April 19, 1996 - February 9, 2017
Krystal knelt down next to Eric’s headstone, no longer trying to prevent the tears from falling. She inhaled shakily, reaching into her bag to pull out her photo album again. Krystal flipped to the first page and pressed a finger onto the blurry picture, ready to speak.