Oh right so here I am again, I'm going on an expedition to Morocco this Saturday, but I really wanted to get this out before then. Despite being slightly more rushed on this one, its actually the longest chapter so far, almost doubling that of my previous posts. So enjoy. And lets all appreciate Brythain who gets a PM super late at night and proofreads it by the morning. That's pretty damn impressive, so thanks again. Without further ado.
Act 2 Chapter 4: Spiralling
Out of my reach but always in my eyeline.
A thousand trees meld with the blur of the countryside, a thousand different colours burst into stars across the dark of the night sky.
“They’re beautiful, aren’t they?”
The wheels turn gravel as his hands shift the gear into first, two cones of light stretching out in front of the dashboard, painting the road in shadows.
“You’re not gonna answer me, are you?”
“Why are you driving? You don’t drive.”
“Don’t you read my letters? I drive now.”
“But you didn’t then, you were sixteen.”
“That’s true, do you remember tonight?” The car reeks of cigarettes and bourbon, as does the breath that fills it.
“Where’s Mom?” My head presses to the window, with the arches of the road rocking my head against it.
“It wasn’t her fault, so she doesn’t need to be here.”
His hands seize the wheel, two beams in the distance focusing inward on us, our car turning toward them.
“You ready, Molly?”
“Do you remember his face?”
“Amir shut the hell up!”
“You really wanted to see them, Molly! What changed?”
“I don’t want to anymore, please stop.”
“You love fireworks.”
“I hate fireworks.”
“Funny how a selfish six-year old can ruin a family, isn’t it?”
“I’m above blaming myself Amir.” My voice feels frail as the words pry themselves from my lips, drowning in the sea of cigarette smoke. Their emptiness is painfully obvious.
My legs, fully fleshed and real, press against the leather of the car seat. The details are slightly different from the last time. The colour of the seats, the postcard of Hawaii, not to mention the chauffeur of this hell-ride.
How long do you have to know you’re dreaming before you can wake up?
“Nightmares work differently. Sorry, sis.”
“You’re no brother of mine, Amir.”
“I’m not the bastard child though am I, Molly?”
I just want to wake up. I just want to wake up.
“She had her legs wrapped around his head like a halo.”
“Screw you, you don’t know Mom.”
“I know she’s a cheating slut.”
The beams focus in on us, as we drift toward the oncoming car, like two lancers charging towards their ultimate demise. The seatbelt imprisons me within myself, binding me to this nightmare.
Though it’s not me that I’m scared for.
“He had a family too, you know.”
I gaze over the expanse before me, loosening my shoulders, feeling my hair draped over them and the warm tears rolling down my cheeks.
“Little Miss Murderer.”
I awake to the wetness of my pillow, the cold night wind from my open window and the reality of another school morning chasing away my paper dreams.
A lot of kids here have met death and his scythe.
But not many of us have been his steed.
Waking up at three AM in the morning after facing your biggest fears is shitty; there’s no other word for it. But at least there’s no-one in the common rooms this early, which is six-thirty in the morning.
Aside from the 'fastest thing on no legs'.
“Why are you up this early anyway?” Emi asks between spoons of her breakfast, which consists of steamed rice and vegetables. Healthy lifestyle and all that, I guess, nothing but the best for girl-perfect.
“Nightmares.” The deliberate shortness of my response is entirely intentional, my morning was going badly enough.
She sighs a little, hopefully picking up my reluctance to talk, but of course she’s not one to give up her intrigue. “Ahh I... well I would actually be running with your boyfriend right now, but since you guys started hanging out I haven’t seen him at the track.”
She ran with my boyfri- Hisao? Well I suppose it’s part of Nurse’s buddy system, though I’m not complaining: less Emi is only ever a good thing in my books.
“Maybe he didn’t like the early rising.”
“Probably not, I’ll have to tell Nurse though.”
“You do that.” I respond, biting the corner of my toast whilst Emi scoops her bowl up in her arms, moving over towards the sink with a familiar clink.
“So you didn’t say anything to him, did you?”
What sort of question is that? I think of myself as less bitchy then the girl accusing me but I don’t get the chance to respond before she lowers her arms in inquiring smugness.
“Has he told you why he’s here yet?” Her prying takes me off guard, and somewhat annoys me—that’s none of her business! But another argument with Ibarazaki is just another point on my bitch card, and according to Taro I could do with some more.
“Why?” It’d be hard to hide the aggression, so it’s a good thing I’m not trying.
“Because then you’d know why he needs to be doing exercise.” She snarls her words to me, likely having been waiting for the chance.
“Though I’m sure you’ve given him plenty of exercise all ready. You sure move fast, Molly.” It’s almost hard to tell if her words are still trying to be jokey, though it’s likely an insult if I know the star track runner.
“That’s rich coming from the 'fastest thing on no legs'. You were pretty quick to go for him too, from what I’ve heard.” The tension is clearly rising, with both of us slinging insults at each other, but with the night I’ve had, I couldn’t care less.
“You shouldn’t listen to rumours—they’re rarely true.” As if cued, she bounces towards the door, finished with her food and washing, but damn me if she’ll have the last word.
“That’s coming from Yamaku’s resident rumour mill, though. You’re right, I wouldn’t trust a word you say.”
“Well if you swallowed your goddamn pride for just one minute, you’d realise that I’m just warning you to be careful with him. He could die, you know? How about you stop being so fucking selfish and consider that?!” She bursts, her voice raising to an octave too high for six AM.
“You have the audacity to call me prideful? ’Oh look at me, I lost my fucking legs and now I’m a star runner.’ All you do is epitomise how we’re ‘fixable’! What about all the kids that can’t be ‘normal’ again? Huh? What’s selfish is how you broadcast your running, rubbing the unachievable in the faces of seventy-five percent of the year. That’s selfish.”
I... uh, maybe that was too much.
She flinches a little at my words as they almost visibly smack into her, with each syllable denting that cocky quarter-sneer. “Oh, so here it is again, I figured you’d be over this by now. Jealousy is a dreadful thing.”
And I was just about to apologise and all.
“I couldn’t be jealous of you if I tried, after all, my ‘boyfriend’ doesn’t run with you now, does he?”
She grits her teeth as she pushes the door open, narrowing her eyes at me and muttering under her breath, before turning away and leaving with a slam.
The slam reverberates inside the room, bouncing from wall to wall, and I smile. Like a damn psycho, I smile.
'Boyfriend'. It has a nice ring to it after all.
I pull at another loose thread.
Come on Molly, this is your favourite subject.
It’ll be fine, you’ll have a good time.
You said it yourself: disabilities don’t mean anything.
Who were you trying to kid?
“Kapur, for the third
time, balance this equation.”
Well damn, I thought for sure I could unravel my jumper.
I shake my head to ditch my thoughts, after all, the six students that care are waiting on me.
Hmm, is it that easy?
“Sir, isn’t it already balanced?” I bet the enthusiasm is audibly dripping from my words.
Mr Mutou turns his slim backside to the class and his brain to the board, stroking the stubble of his chin as he reads over the equation.
I hear a cough from behind me, and turn my neck to see a smirking Hisao. He shows me a sarcastic thumb, then is promptly interrupted—nudged by Misha in a plea for help copying whatever ineligible scribble he’s written. He whispers something to her in protest, but caves anyway, sliding his book over to her and pointing something out.
“So it is, I apologise.”
With my well-earned respite I turn my glare to the outside world, my tableside window a living painting of hillsides and the greenery that cloaks Yamaku. The tree growing just off the window claws up the side of the building and the home of its resident squirrel burrows into its bark.
It's just two teens on a date, what could go wrong?
Some more words adorn the air of the classroom as Mr Mutou wrestles for the interest of only a handful of students—and even their
focus is waning.
What if he wants to do something after? Am I prepared for that?
Do I really need Suzu’s advice of all things?
I physically shudder at the thought. I’d rather ask nurse, and that’s saying something.
Maybe I’ll just drop her a text.
“So why is it important to add a catalyst to the reacti-“
The bell for lunch cuts off another one of Mutou’s lessons, sparing an already zombified class and potentially releasing a horde of pupils into the hallways. Everyone rises and bows, then disperses. That leaves my faithful foursome, the class rep, her pink speaker—and Hanako, whose eyes brush mine, before they disappear behind her hair.
“C'mon loser,” Taro’s full form towers above me, his slung arm jiggling with the bobbing of his body. “Suzu and lover boy are on lunch duty, she said something about ‘ground rules’ for tonight when she grabbed him.”
The chair makes a cruel squawk as I push it out, my hands against the desk for balance, though I still wobble slightly with the speed of my rising. Taro’s working arm reaches out for me, but I right myself before it’s needed.
He snickers to himself and smirks, “If you were drunk, you’d be leg-less.”
“You’ve used that one before,” I reply with a punch to his not-so-crap arm. “Outside today?”
“Let me just check the humidity.” After licking his thumb, he raises it into the air before rolling his eyes in mock consideration, nodding his head a couple of times, “It’s a perfect day for an outdoors lunch.”
“Isn’t that how you measure wind speed?”
He just shrugs back. “Who cares? I already told them we’d meet them out there.”
“Let’s go then.”
Autopilot engaged, I follow Taro out into the hallway, his nonsensical rambling going over my head the entire way.
Doors pass us, weaving in and out of the background, a blur of activity cocooning us as my legs chime with impact on the floorboards. It’s funny how the intricacies of your surroundings only seem to pop out when you’re terrified—like the sign above room 2-2, why is it silver-plated? None of the others are... Wait, that one is too. Is it the whole floor? Who’s idea was that? Is it even silver?
And whose idea was this ‘date’ thing? Can’t things just stay how they were?
I mean how does that even work: confess your horrible heart condition to me, give it a day and ask me out? That’s dumb.
But it worked, I mean I said 'yes' didn’t I? Does that make me dumb?
Another set of stairs creaks beneath us. Repeated ticks from my prosthetics and the panting from Taro accompany our descent to the bottom floor of Yamaku, and its steel-and-glass double doors leading to the outside world.
Still leading the way, Taro pushes open the doors with a bulky shoulder, spilling natural light into the hallway. He holds the door open with the sheer mass of his frame as I squeeze past him and out into the grounds.
The familiar greenery bustles with activity as students in their darker shaded greens sit in their cliques, with a few isolationists on the benches and a second-year couple rather passionately and inappropriately kissing as they sit almost wrapped around each other. It's not a very Japanese thing, and I can imagine what will happen if Shizune catches them.
Taro obviously notices me staring at them, as he yanks my arm with his good one and sticks his tongue out with a ‘yuck’ accompaniment. His breath smells a little like onions, which is weird because we haven’t even eaten yet.
The rows of flowers along the side of the path emit that clinical feel Yamaku is famed for, red and yellow rhododendrons perfectly mirrored on either side, flawless and lifeless. I suppose it’s meant to be pretty or something, but too much time staring at bedside flowers and not enough enjoying the flowers on the outside alienates a person.
As Taro hops to avoid the flowers to the right of us, I make no effort to avoid crushing them with my artificial legs, taking a good three of them down as I cut through them. Not that it matters anyway, they’re replaced like every week or something. Or was it every month? It wasn’t me either way.
Usual spot claimed, we sit down, the grass soft and even beneath us. Taro’s continual small talk still flies past me and into the breeze. Less ignorable is my hunger though, it feels like a pretty long trek from the classroom to here, even though it took maybe five minutes.
“What are they getting?” I ask, cutting off his ramblings of ‘dinosaur DNA’ or something.
“I… uh, breads and um… I don’t know, definitely breads though, weren’t you listening?”
“Something about pterodactyls?”
“I, that,” he leans forward quizzically, seeing if I’m serious or not. “Not even remotely close. Wow.”
“You were definitely talking about dinosaurs.” I lean away, avoiding his breath and sweat as much as possible.
“I… I was talking about Suzu, how did you… you know what? Never mind.” He shrugs and looks away from me and a pang of guilt roils inside my stomach. I probably should have been listening.
“So… you guys okay then?” I ask, lightly gripping his shoulder and steering him back to face me.
“Are you really asking me that, Molls? She’s got less emotion than a brick. Only time I hear her compliment me is when she’s underneath me.”
“Look, I’ll probably regret this, but if you really want I could speak to her, I guess
“It’ll make no difference and you know it.”
“Ahh okay then I don’t nee-“
“But I suppose you could give it a try.”
Behind him, a sea-green food machine stretches across the flower bed with my date in tow.
“She’s just so goddamn frustrating!” Taro continues, grabbing his forehead with his hand, oblivious to my signals to stop talking.
“I know, I’m such a bitch right? Here’s your bread, fatty.” Suzu’s emergence from his rear quadrant causes him to visibly jump and stutter out the tatters of an explanation, but my signals likely gave him away—she glares at him before sitting very clearly close to me and leaving Hisao to sit next to the sweaty and flustered boy.
“Later,” she barks, her eyes burning holes in Taro before moving to me and simmering me. Then, as quickly as it had claimed her, the anger escapes her and she smirks at me. “Lover boy was just telling me about your date, I’ve done you a favour and told him to meet you at your room instead.”
What the hell, Suzu?
Almost psychic, she leans a little closer to me. “Trust me, I’ve done you a favour, he had a real snoozefest planned, and that’s coming from a narcoleptic.”
Across from me, Hisao opens his mouth to protest. With a finger pointing upward, he’s promptly silenced by Suzu’s glare and Taro’s grip. Both remind him that arguing with her right now would be suicide. Defeated, his shoulders slump and I catch him whispering something about ‘romance’ before shutting up.
“By the way, that was a particularly nerdy moment in chemistry, Molls,” Suzu pronounces between the bites of her sandwich, all traces of anger gone from her voice, a tough reminder that she remains the hardest person to read that I know.
“How would you know? You were supposed to be asleep,” I reply, less sassily than I hoped—instead I probably sound cold. The mood isn’t exactly cheerful right now anyway.
“Meh, partially.” She replies either ignoring my tone or missing it all together.
“If I can interject, you lo-“
“You can’t,” Suzu cuts Hisao off before he can even finish, twisting her body back to face me as though physically blocking both boys out of our conversation. “We need a date ourselves, I’ll borrow you after class tomorrow?”
Though I’m not sure I like the sound of a ‘date’ with her, I do need to talk to her about Taro like I promised. I don’t need to reply, as she’s already moved on to talking about some girl in the year below. Assuming I’d say yes, I mean, she was right. But am I that predictable?
The guys opposite me whisper to one another, Taro in particular closer than he's comfortable. And from the look on his face I know he’s talking about. Which as you’d expect, makes Hisao twitch a little more, also more uncomfortable than his usual self. His eyes ask for an escape and I return my own look of entrapment, as even the skyline over us feels riddled with cracks.
“You could have made an effort you know.”
“That’s probably not the best thing to say to your possible future girlfriend.”
“W-well, well okay.” He smiles pretty widely at the idea of a girlfriend, and I do too, because he's definitely made more of an effort than I did. Standing outside my dorm door with his light brown trousers and neatly ironed shirt tucked into their waist, shoes straight out of a spy movie, polished to a shine, is a date-ready Hisao.
And standing in my door frame is a dishevelled me, in an old grey jumper with jean shorts, frayed right around the prosthetics for easy access. Just me, no frills.
I probably should have tried harder. I always look better in the mirror.
“You sure you don’t want us to go down to the theatre in town instead?” he asks, hand rubbing the side of his head as usual.
“Suzu told me what you thought was on, I promise you it’s not what you think it is.” At my reply, he widens his eyes in surprise, clearly just now realising what the title of his date film means.
“Wh… surely they’re not allowed to show something like that? Especially with a school this close?”
“I told you it’s a dodgy place; there’s a reason we don’t go there.”
“I uh, okay maybe your room is
a better plan. Do you have something we can watch?”
“Is the window not good enough for you?” I reply, very witty for my standards.
He stands there in silence for a minute, staring at me in the hallway. Before opening his mouth and raising a hand, before lowering it and closing it deliberately. Okay haha very funny.
“I might have something. Come in.” I back into my room, the clack/thump from my prosthetics quieter on the thicker carpet of my room than the usual grounds around Yamaku. He follows me inside after my beckoning, this time more familiar with my room.
From under my bed, I slide out the fat wooden borders of my TV, dragging it along the floor with particular difficulty in some corners. With Hisao’s help, we manage to place it on the dresser against the wall, plugging in all the necessary cables and the definitely more modern DVD player with its slicker design.
“Go look in the top drawer please.”
Hisao does as he’s asked, opening it and pulling out a stack of movies from the past, when I was a kid with both my legs. He looks back to me, before smirking and reaching in again and pulling out a couple of the mangas from within it.
“I thought you might have a couple of these,” he laughs, but I glare at him till he stops and hooks his finger in his collar and tugs comically.
That forces a giggle up from the bottom of my throat. “You can borrow some if you’d like, they’re good reads.”
"I think I’ll pass,” he chuckles before reading the title of one of the books. “Hmm, okay, maybe this one.”
We both laugh, a pretty remarkable sight from the guy who only the other day had me crying into his chest.
Again looking into the drawer, his face takes on a more quizzical look.
What’s he found?
“Hey Molly who’s-”
“It’s nobody and nothing. Shut the drawer.
Unsure if I’m joking, he looks at me, his eyes on mine, concern filling them with every second of silence between us. The first to back down from the stare-off, he closes the drawer with his left hand, movies still held firmly in the other. He gulps audibly at the sudden change in my mood, and I can’t help but feel like I'm being cruel for suddenly turning on him. But I think he’d do the same in my position. I don’t want ghosts haunting our first date.
“I’m sorry if I upset you,” he says after walking the distance between the TV and the bed, laying the four movies in his hand out across it.
“No, I’m fine. Let’s just leave it.”
Clearly as happy as I am to be moving on, he smiles again, a little more timidly sure but still an improvement. “Right. Well, what should we watch—not that there’s much choice?”
I smirk back, lightly smacking the back of his head from my seat on the edge of the bed, “You were always welcome to bring your own.”
Feigning pain, he rubs the back of his head and tilts his head up so his eyes look down to meet mine. “Violence is the first step to a breakup, and I don’t even have a TV.”
“Good thing we’re not dating then, eh?”
Successfully outwitting him, I bounce my finger from movie to movie counting back and forth in a process of elimination. Finally my finger lands on 'Massive Effect: Sheppardo’s Revenge’, a terrible CGI film about a captain fighting aliens. I'm amused to see how Hisao appears so happy to watch the violent film, as he rushes to put it in the disk tray. Then, he sits down to the left of me on my bed.
Sitting on the edge of the bed, my robot legs just hovering above the ground, I figure now’s a good a time as any to transform. I don’t really know the etiquette, but Hisao’s seen me without my legs before and I’m only on the bed anyway. Nurse said I need to constantly check for skin damage, so there’s my excuse.
“Mind if I take my legs off again?” I ask, my voice less crackly than the last time he was here, but still quivering more than I’d like.
“S-sure.” He stutters again, that awkward air back in its prominent place between us.
The left one proving more trouble than the right, I slip both of them off and place them below me and to one side, having the happy side-effect of shuffling me closer to Hisao as the introductory credits roll onto screen.
“Should I turn the lights out?” he asks, placing both hands on either side of him and getting ready to stand up.
“Oh no, you’ll like this, pick up that remote on the bedside table.” I grin probably more than anyone has a right to be over a stupid little gadget that I use every day. But it sure feels cool sometimes.
Picking it up and looking it over, he points it at the ceiling and presses the off button, turning all the lights in the room off, but lighting his face up with interest.
“Jeez, how come you get all the cool stuff?” he asks.
“Really?” I jest, outstretching my arms down to the stubs off my legs to make a point.
“Oh yeah, right. Sorry.” He looks genuinely sad for a moment before putting the remote down again, the room now dark enough for the screen to look, well, like a screen.
“Can I lean on you?” I ask in both an attempt to make it feel less awkward and more date-like and also to get a bit more comfortable. I’ve heard boys are good pillows.
“Oh, yeah, sure,” He says, unassured, scooting closer to me as I do the same. Then I wrap his arm over my shoulder and prop myself up against his side.
This feels… nice.
The film plays on, the two of us chatting in between the movie dialogue and important action scenes. I squint my eyes at the gore-heavy sequences and argue about the weapon tech whenever there’s a lull in the fighting. Our main hero hacks into devices left, right and centre whilst withstanding many a shot of alien goo. We simultaneously jump at the horror moment near the end of the film, breaking our rather comfortable position.
Oh, oh crap.
I feel myself slipping from the edge of my bed, regretting taking off my prosthetics. One hand on the sheet and the other gripping the underside of the bed, I attempt to steady myself. Both rounded ends of my thighs are hanging over the edge, my position looking ever more precarious.
“Umm, Hisao?” I turn my head up to face him. Concern is all over his face, and his arms are outstretched awkwardly, as if unsure whether or not to help.
“Need a hand?” he says, attempting suave and failing from the vocal croak half way through.
“If you could?”
He reaches under my arms pulling me up, seemingly surprised at my weight.
“I’m not heavy, am I?”
“Ac… actually the opposite.” Still hoisting me up slowly, he speaks from directly above me.
“Th-that’s probably because of the l-lack of legs.” Joking about my condition is something I’ve always sucked at, but that was pathetic even for me. Still, I chuckle just to make sure Hisao knows it was a joke.
Needless to say, his laugh is obviously faked and awkward. Although his face is directly, well, facing
me, he avoids eye contact, still lifting me until I feel the flat of my back on my bed.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.” He shifts his arms from underneath me, but maintains his position above me.
“Don’t apologise, it’s just, I’m not used to you doing it,” the feeling of his hand stretching out behind my head and cushioning it calms me despite his face’s slow advance towards mine. Though it’s not the excitement of before. “You okay?”
Worry is probably a good tone right now, I’m gripping his forearm pretty tightly, partly for balance but mostly to stop him getting away. He’s cheated me of a kiss before, and sci-fi action films have a way of getting your blood pumping.
“Why are you smiling like that?” he asks coyly, getting a breath closer and almost taunting me with his proximity.
Hisao, you little tease.
“Oh, it’s just you’d have to be a little dumb to not kiss a beautiful girl under you," I say demurely.
He laughs a little, in a new and sexy way. Though how much of that is just in my head and how much of that is really him remains debatable.
“Especially when that girl might just want to be your girlfriend.”
The corners of his mouth rising, he lowers himself, coming even closer. Close enough for the butterflies to wake up inside my stomach. He opens his mouth to say something, but stops himself, and bridges the final gap between our lips. A soft warm feeling sweeps over me, and captures my affinity for him.
It’s true what they say: time really does stand still when you kiss. The intimacies of his lips register in my mind, and the contours of his face bear witness to mine.
Should I have my eyes closed?
Just as my eyes shut, our lips break apart, the gap between them screaming at me instantaneously. Hisao rears away slightly. His head separates from mine, pulling against what feels like magnetism.
“So you’ll be my girlfriend?”
I can’t help but giggle like a little girl, smiling so wide my cheeks hurt. These are words I wanted to hear from the boy I wanted to say them. A boyfriend does sound nice.
“I’ll think about it,” I finally reply, my voice close to a whisper and the shadows on the wall scorched still from the light of the TV. “We missed the best bit thanks to you.”
“You’re the one who fell off the bed,” he says amidst his shuffling, his arm beneath me wriggling behind my head and the one previously there retreating back over me till our hips touch. From our sides the height difference is pretty obvious, the rounded ends of my thighs to my head being around the same length as from his thigh to his chin. That gives me ample room to bury my face in his neck, and the faint scent of shampoo and cologne that comes from it.
The image on the TV screen flickers for dramatic effect as another alien impales itself on our grizzled hero’s machete. Blood splatters across the camera and over our protagonist. A virtual cigar in his mouth, he turns to the camera, and presumably mutters another cliché about death.
“That’s highly unrealistic. Didn’t they say the aliens were made of super strong metal?” I ask Hisao, who seems more interested in smelling my hair than watching the film.
“Wh-what? It smells nice,” he defends, caught in the act and defenceless. He shifts into a more rigid and awkward position, more ‘Hisaoish’, to quote Suzu. “Isn’t that sword made of pure energy though?”
“Maybe the aliens are made of strong enough metal that they can absorb it?” I reply, trying and failing to snuggle back into Hisao. Well, it was cute whilst it lasted.
“That one couldn’t, look at all the blood!”
I grimace at the scene. His childish exclamation reminds me that I’m still lying next to a boy, a smart, fun, kind boy. Who also loves gore. Nobody’s perfect I guess.
“I’m not a fan of blood you know.” I try to joke, tugging at his sleeve. My eyes dart subconsciously to where my legs used to be. He shifts uncomfortably and his gaze darkens.
I have got to stop depressing this boy.
“Ahh, yeah. Sorry I forgot. It uh, it was in an accident then?”
His suddenly timid questioning and gentle turn towards me emphasise his nerves. It’s a fair question, but I mean, I don’t have to answer it, do I? It’s strange, we barely know anything about each other really. I mean, what, he’s been here like 3 weeks, a month? Maybe Emi was right, maybe I’m the fastest thing on no legs.
He exhales, disappointed by my silence but remaining on his side to face me.
I wish you could understand Hisao. I really do. But, I have a lot to answer for.
“Molly?” Hisao whispers from my side, his lips and arms looking inviting in a different way than before. The ebbing desire from earlier is a million miles away as the air turns solemn.
“Hisao,” I breathe, feeling the words choke out of me. Not tearing up, but twitching a little, my eyes find his again, and again, and again. My breathing and swallowing are irregular and my hand is somehow on his. “Have you ever wished you could hate something you loved?”
My question clearly confuses him as he just brings his head forward as a cue for me to continue talking. The light from the TV now barely touches his face and brown locks. Credits are rolling across the display and darkening the room exponentially.
“I just, really wanted to see the fireworks okay? That’s no accident, and maybe if I didn’t then…” My voice trails off as the words catch in my throat. I can’t relive this now, and I’ve got to stop ruining these moments. Aww crap I’m tearing up again. Hypocrite
I’d be confused too, but does he really need to do this pitiable look? I mean tears or not, we just kissed. We couldn’t even do that right. Suzu might have a point with this romance stuff, it sure as hell ain’t easy.
Is this romance though? I’m just crying again. Doesn’t seem romantic.
He probably wouldn’t brushing the tears off my cheek if it wasn’t.
Having done all he can do, and asked all he can ask, Hisao inches closer to me again, the bed covers wrinkling beneath him. His eyebrows are furrowed in the confusion that I’ve caused for him too many times already.
With a resigned sigh, he presses his lips to my forehead, moving his hand behind my ear and twirling a strand of my hair in it, tugging a little tightly at first, and shaking slightly. He's hopefully as new to this as I am.
“I don’t understand you at all.”
“G-good, I like to keep things interesting.”
“You’re a discovery waiting to happen,” he replies shyly, matching the fading out of the movie.
“You wouldn’t be the first to try.” I jibe, trying to regain the semblance of confidence in my voice but likely failing and instead sounding wimpy.
Lifting his head up and disrupting my rather comfortable position dug into his shoulder, he looks down to me and raises and eyebrow, before laughing a little and settling again. Moving me needlessly. Thanks.
“But I’m probably the smartest to try.” He counters after deliberating on just how he wanted to say it. And honestly, that’s true.
“Yeah Suzu gave up after a week so you’ve been in the running the longest.”
Content again, we sit to the calm whir of the DVD player, the final credits and logo flashing on the screen and leaving the room in a dark tinge of blue coming only from the curtains of my dorm window.
I’m not sure I want a boy poking around in my head, especially one that might know where he’s going.
Two walk this lonesome road.
Across the room he sits, his memory buried in piles of envelopes, living between the letters of each word. Staring me down from his coffin of fonts and postage stamps. A fountain of type, sealing him from me.
Even from here, I feel his searing gaze on me and Hisao.
Memory or not, you’re real enough, and memory or not you’re no part of me.
You may have made it past the door, but what’s hidden behind is no red carpet. There are two committed to my memories, along the synapses and neurons in my brain. One I love and one I used to love.
As the menu flickers back onto the screen, I can’t help but wonder where Hisao will fall.