Finale: The Boy and the Girl
June 28. The voice came from a female college student. She was holding a lunch box wrapped in a cloth serving as both a cover and a handle. Gripping the handle tightly with both hands, she took a quick, decisive breath, as if too steel her resolve.
This girl, despite being nothing more than a normal human citizen, served as a key historical figure in the Global Unification War, being the one person whom the fabled Crimson General fought the whole world for. However, that was all over now; it had been more than a year since then. She was currently at the entrance to a graveyard, and she had stopped momentarily in order to put her thoughts and feelings in check before going in.
“You told me to be happy...but in the end I just couldn’t be,” she thought out loud. “Not without you.”
She sighed, holding back tears. “I mean, how could I possibly be happy if you’re not around? And…it’s… it’s already been over a year since you left us...I must sound really pathetic, huh? Still clinging onto you even after all this time...” She caught hold of her hair, or at least, what was left of it. “See? I even cut my hair. Jason told me you liked girls with shorter hair. And, well, you won’t see me, but somehow, you know, I still wanted to look good in front of you.” She paused, looking at the lunchbox that she was carrying.
“This is so stupid.”
Another pause. She then continued, “But anyway, I’ve finally learned how to cook, Red. I’m pretty confident about this one, so...” She bit her lip, as if trying to find her way but still ending up getting lost. “Red, please tell me: How do I move on? You left me with so many plans for myself, for you, for the things I want to do, and so much regret for the things that I didn’t do. Who would have thought that the first successful meal I’d offer you would be at your grave?”
Soon realizing how futile talking to herself was, she decided to take the first step forward and entered the graveyard.
“Oh wow,” came the voice of a boy. He was sitting in front of a tombstone that was decorated with a metallic Bo Staff and several letters enclosed in a box in front of it. The box had been opened, and the boy was reading all of the letters inside, creating a neat pile of paper beside the box for the ones that he had finished reading.
“So let me get this straight,” he said out loud. “Dad has remarried, Jason has a girlfriend, Rose has started talking, Roger is engaged to Cynthia, Anabelle and Sharon are both pregnant, and…wow, there’s just too much info for me to handle. Well, isn’t that just insane? Then again, I’m just glad that they’ve all come to move on with their lives after that war...”
This boy had black hair and dark-brown eyes. He was wearing a jacket over a plain shirt and jeans as he sat on the grass reading the letters.
“So in the end, I really was able to protect all of them, huh?”
There was now only one final letter in the box, a piece of paper with the words “From: Catherine” scrawled over it. As the boy picked it up, a painful smile crept on his face.
“That’s right,” he said. “It’s been a year. She’s probably happy and in love with some guy out there right now...”
The girl froze at the sight in front of her.
Several meters away, there was an all-too familiar boy sitting in front of the tombstone that she was supposed to visit. This boy was reading the letters addressed to...
She was too far away to be able to look for the blood-red eyes she had grown accustomed to, to confirm who this person was, who she almost hoped it was. Still, her heart tightened. She could feel the strength in her body fading and her eyes giving way to tears of joy.
From that moment on, there was no longer any hesitation in this girl’s mind.
She had had enough of that.
With her body shaking, she bent her knees and gently placed the lunchbox on the ground. Once that was done, she let out her tears and ran with all her might towards the boy.
It was the back that she had known for so long. For the longest time, she had been staring at that boy’s back as he marched towards a battlefield that she could never even dream of coming close to. The last time she saw him, that same back was turned to her as he rushed toward what seemed to have been his doom. But now there he was, and the battlefield has long since ceased to exist. Everybody else had already moved on with their lives, and this time it was her turn. She would move forward, together with that boy.
She spread out her arms and charged straight ahead as the boy unfolded the final letter in the box.
“I love you, Red.”
The boy’s eyes widened in surprise. At the same time he read that sentence, he felt someone embrace him from behind, and with that was a familiar female voice filled with emotion.
The embrace was tight, and he could feel the girl’s tear-filled face rubbing against his back as she continuously sobbed. The boy smiled.
“Come on now,” he said, grabbing the girl’s hand and turning his head slightly towards her. “Stop being such a crybaby, Cath.”
“But, but...!” The girl buried her face on the boy’s back, shaking uncontrollably. “I’m just...so happy...” She sniffed. “I don’t know how you did it, and why it took you this long, but…I don’t even care. The tears just won’t stop …I’m so, so happy right now…”
Heaving a sigh, the boy dropped the letter and allowed himself to be held by the girl as she repeatedly said his name.
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