Falling Up and Down (Updated : 14/11/2019)

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Tetrax333
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Falling Up and Down (Updated : 14/11/2019)

Post by Tetrax333 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:32 pm

A special thank you to Mirage_GSM for pre-reading, and proofreading. Can't do this without you bud.

A little note: Had a stroke of inspiration while I was doing some college work the other day and this story has been brewing in my mind for a good while now. This story is mainly focused on Emi and Rin during their college days and how their relationship turns out during that time.

This story is partially inspired by The Beginner's Guide, by Davey Wreden. If you played the game, well, you might have an idea where this story is going.

Table of Contents :

Chapter ? - Fission (You are here)

Year 0 - Opportunities :
Chapter 1 - Our Wants. (Hisao Emi Rin)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Chapter ? - Fission

I plop myself down on my bed, laying down on my back as I look at the bandaged stump that is my left hand. Strange, I seem to have forgotten why I even covered it up in the first place, I think it was... shame, yes, I think that’s right, a feeling of insecurity over my appearance after I had that accident with Dad.

For a while, I hated the stares and the false sympathies that others would give me over it. Hearing phrases like, “I’m sorry for what happened to you” or “Don’t give up, and keep moving” or other variations of it. It got annoying and insufferable after a while.

Maybe that’s why I came to this school. I wanted an escape, a way to silence the fake sympathies and perhaps even make myself feel better by being around people with far worse disabilities than mine. Though the thought is kinda fucked up in retrospect, I suppose I can see why it would give the younger me some comfort in a dark time.

I slowly unwrap the bandage that’s covering my stump, exposing it under the bright lamp. Other than the surgical scars, it honestly doesn’t look bad. I suppose it was never the physical aspect I was so ashamed of, but the meaning behind it.

It was a reminder of a traumatic accident, a reminder that my life would be different, a reminder of the conflict between Mom and Dad and their eventual divorce and a reminder that I was no longer normal.

I think someone on the track and field club mentioned something about it - about how my bandages were less about covering up my stump and more about me not wanting to look at it. I almost beat him over the head over it, probably because it was a bit too close to the truth for me to admit at the time.

But the three years I’ve spent here, I think it made me able to stomach it better. I’m still not fully comfortable with looking at it, but... I think I’m fine now. It’s not as if I have a serious heart condition like Hisao or anything. I’ll just have to get used to this. It may take me three more years, or maybe even ten, but I can do it. And I think that’s what matters.

I’m Miki Fucking Miura goddamnit, and I’m not gonna let one less hand stop me.

Speaking of which, I probably should-

“FINE! GO WEAR YOUR OWN DAMN CLOTHES THEN!”

A loud yell and the sound of a door being furiously opened and then closed, followed with another set of it soon after suddenly rings out throughout the hall just outside my room.

I jolt out of my bed and step outside my room to check what is going on, but I see nothing but several other girls who have the same surprised look on their faces, some of them are only poking their heads out of their room, most likely wondering the same thing as I am, which is what the hell just happened.

“What was that?” I ask.

Naomi, a classmate of mine speaks up. “I, uh, I saw Emi storm out of Tezuka’s room just now, so I’m pretty sure that yelling was hers.”

Oh goddamnit. I was hoping it was somebody other than Emi, but it seems that I’m out of luck. It’s not that I dislike her or anything, but for some reason, I seem to be her designated talking buddy whenever she’s in a bad mood or causing a ruckus, which she does on more than a few occasions.
My guess is that the other girls figured that since we’re in the same club we also happen to talk a lot, which is not the case at all, but hey, what can I do right?

I sigh before resigning myself to my role. I slowly approach Emi’s door and knock to get her attention. “Hey, Emi, it’s me, Miki, do you, uh, wanna talk about what happened just now?”

“Go away Miki, I don’t want to talk right now.” A muffled sound comes from behind her closed door.

“You sure? Cause that sounded pretty damn bad.”

“Just mind your own damn business, Miki. Leave me alone!”

I don’t reply. Considering the tone of her voice, she seems to be genuinely angry right now - not the usual fake anger that she shows to people to get them to do stuff for or with her.

Left with no other choice, I turn around and slowly approach the door opposite of Emi’s. The room of the enigmatic Rin Tezuka, or as I like to call her, the weird painter girl down the hall.

I sigh again, not really wanting to knock on the door. It’s not that I think she’s a bad person or anything, She’s just... weird. I tried talking to her a few times in the past, but she kept talking about weird things that I don’t understand, things like... colors and collecting people? She mentioned it a lot of at least, but every conversation we had usually just turns into very awkward silence. So I kind of just stopped trying after a while.

I knock on her door but receive no response.

I wait for a while, hoping that she’ll speak up, but she doesn’t. So I knock again, receiving no reply this time either. Fuck this!.

“Tez-Rin, I’m coming in, okay?” I speak up before opening the door to her room.

When the door opens, I see Rin sitting half-clothed on the floor in her messy room with her head staring intently at nothing.

She tilts her head upwards ever so slightly, maybe to acknowledge my existence.

I sit in front of her, trying to get a look at her face which is buried under her messy hair. “Is everything alright Rin?”

She takes a while before responding. “No... I don’t know what just happened? Do you?”

Her voice is quivering like she’s just barely holding back from crying. Strange, I have never seen her like this. It’s not like I hang out with her a lot, but my impression of her has always been that she’s cold and aloof.

“I came in to check on you Rin, how would I know what just happened between you and Emi just now?”

She looks at me, her face clearly distraught, “I... I need to think for a bit. Can you help me?”

“Help you think?”

“No. Clothes. I need to go somewhere.”

Right, she is still half-naked, and thankfully I did help her get dressed whenever Emi was out for the holidays, so she seems to be quite comfortable with me doing it.

It takes some time to button up her shirt and pants, an activity that stumped me about a year or two ago due to my lack of a left hand. Thankfully I am now quite skilled at it, though doing it with one hand is still troublesome, I suppose.

As soon as I finish dressing her, she slowly gets up, thanks me and leaves to God knows where.

I sigh before getting out of her room as well. I want to try and talk to her; get her to tell me what the hell happened between her and Emi just now, but those two seem to be dead ends at this point - which leaves me only one hope for some kind of resolution.

“Naomi, do you know Hisao’s room number?”

She raises an eyebrow at my question. “Why do you think I know that?”

“Don’t think I didn’t see you snooping around the boy’s dorms and following him around during his first days here, miss ace reporter.”

She reels back at my statement then quickly looks around to see if anyone heard what I just said, “Okay, okay, geez, don’t say that out loud! 119. Why? What do you need it for?”

Huh... What do I need it for? I know little about Emi, and I know even less about Rin, so logically, there’s no reason for me to even care about them. I guess it’s just sentimentality. I never liked seeing two friends fighting with each other or being a downer, even if we’re not particularly close.

“Just gonna ask if he knows anything about those two.”

“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea, I don’t think I can help much though.”

“It’s fine Naomi, keep an eye out for Emi or Rin if she comes back okay?”

“Will do.”

So, I take a quick walk to the boys’ dormitories. I check the clock hanging from the common room’s wall before leaving and see that it’s currently 6 PM - still far from curfew. Good.

Before long, I reach Hisao’s room and knock on the door.

“Goddamnit, Kenji, I told you I don’t want to go into your busine-” The door slides open, revealing Hisao who suddenly has a surprised look on his face. “Miki! Oh sorry, uh, my... neighbor was bugging me all day about some business idea he has. What’s up?”

“Don’t worry about it. I, uh, wanna talk to you about your girlfriend.”

“Rin? What did she do?”

“Well, not just her actually, she... It seems she and Emi just had a fight - a pretty big one from what I heard.”

He freezes for a moment before speaking up again. “Shit... Was that just now?”

“Yup, you know something about it? You seemed to just remember something there.”

“Maybe.”

He goes quiet again. Ah, I see, he’s probably debating whether or not to share this information with me. Sensitive topic and all that.

“Listen, Hisao, Emi’s my friend, I don’t know much about Rin, but she seems legit upset, so I want to make her feel better, but I need to know what just happened first.”

That’s not entirely a lie I suppose. Emi is a friend technically, a friend that I don’t talk to very often and a friend that I kinda hated for some time, but a friend nonetheless

“That’s fair... You wanna come in? This might be a pretty long story.”

“Sure, thanks,” I agree before entering his room.

I look around and see a plain room with barely any decorations in it, save for a few knick-knacks and a large assortment of pills on his desk, presumably for his heart problems. I look at the walls and see two paintings hanging on it. One is a painting of a... clock, I think, or some depiction of it at least, and the other is a much less abstract painting of Hisao and Rin sitting together on top of a cloud. Cute, must be Rin’s

Hisao sits on his bed, while I take the chair in front of his study desk.

“Where should I start?” He asks.

“Maybe just from the first time their, uh, conflict happened?”

“Hm... Well, If that’s the case, then I guess it started when she got her scholarship offer, about two weeks ago.”

Continue to Chapter 1
Last edited by Tetrax333 on Thu Nov 14, 2019 9:41 am, edited 8 times in total.

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Re: Falling Up and Down

Post by Tetrax333 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:37 pm

Special thank you to Mirage_GSM for pre-reading and Proofreading the story.

Year 0: Opportunities

Chapter 1 – Our Wants


HISAO

*tick* *tick* *tick* *tick*

I swear whoever decided to make the ticking of that clock so loud needs to be put in jail for... something, I don’t know. We’re already nervous enough as it is, and the sound of it might just drive me, or Rin, or the both of us off to the edge at this point.
Speaking of which, Rin is currently fidgeting uncomfortably in her chair while biting her lower lip, a telltale sign that she is currently very nervous right now.

Why am I even here? At the principal office no less.

That’s right, Rin told me that she wanted me to go somewhere with her, saying that she needed help with something. I, of course, obliged. I had thought that it was just one of our routine trips to the art supplies store, or maybe she needed me to carry a few things to her room, but then she brought me here with no prior warning whatsoever.

I would say that I should’ve expected it, but to be honest, the situation is a lot more nerve-wracking than I had initially thought.

I had initially thought that Rin broke some rules or something, and she needed emotional support to face the principal, but that’s not it.

It’s true that she needs emotional support, but then the principal mentioned Rin’s art exhibition and the room suddenly felt like it was frozen.
I know for a fact that Rin hated that exhibition. Even though she didn’t have a hard time telling her parents about it, she did cut a lot of the more gruesome details. She was in control, she was able to cherrypick the things that she liked about it and go on from there, but here... I don’t know what’s going to happen.

The principal looks at her watch impatiently. She did say that someone should be here soon, but fifteen minutes have passed, and no one else seems to be around.

Fifteen minutes turn into twenty, then suddenly the door swings open.

“Sorry, phone call from some students.” An unenthusiastic voice speaks up.

A tall and rather lanky man walks into the room and sits in a chair that’s right beside the principal’s desk. I analyze his face, trying to discern some sort of intent from it but I fail in that regard. The man looks dreary, almost as if he’s in a constant state of depression, complete with bags under his eyes and disheveled, curled long black hair.

“Okay then,” The principal lets out a sigh before continuing, “Tezuka, Nakai, This is Mr. Kitagawa Hisoka. He is a professor at the Tokyo University of the Fine Arts, and he is also a member of this year’s scholarship board for it.”

Mr. Hisoka simply nods his head a bit before giving a dreary “Hey!” To both me and Rin.

The principal clears her throat before continuing, “Mr. Hisoka here was present during the exhibition that you and Mr. Nomiya arranged and He was thoroughly impressed by your work and has convinced the board to give you a full scholarship to study there.”

Woah… A full scholarship!

This is great news, wonderful news even - for anyone except Rin that is. I look at her again, and her expression still hasn’t changed from what it used to be a few minutes ago, nervous and confused.

Since Rin will probably take some time to respond, I decide that I should at least say something in response to help Rin out. “Mr. Hisoka, I, uh, I know that I probably shouldn’t be asking, but... Rin did walk out of the exhibition that time, so...uh, it’s just-,”

“I don’t really care. Her paintings were good, too good. It’s stupid to just pass up on someone that talented. ” He gives an explanation before I even finish my sentence in that oddly dreary and monotone voice of his.

“Indeed, Tokyo University of Fine Arts is one of the most respected art universities in Japan, perhaps even the world. We personally think that it would be an amazing opportunity for you, Tezuka, and it will open up even more amazing opportunities for your future.”

The principal explains enthusiastically, but it’s hard to take her words at face value. She probably does mean it when she’s talking about Rin’s future, but considering her position at this school, it’s not hard to imagine that her motivation is a lot less altruistic than it sounds.

Imagine, if you will, an armless girl from Yamaku Academy, enrolling at one of the most prestigious art universities in the world, with the best-case scenario that she’ll be famous for both her art and her disability.

I can imagine Yamaku’s reputation would just skyrocket after something like that.

But to Rin, going to an art university as prestigious as that is almost like a nightmare scenario of uncertainties. On one hand, it’s true, going to an art university is the most logical next step for her, to both improve and to be able to make a living off her talent. But at the same time, it would mean that she would have to abandon who she is, do things she hates doing the most, and worst-case scenario, what happened at the exhibition will happen again, this time with no way out.

I don’t know what she’s thinking, but I know that this isn’t easy for her to process, judging by her constant fidgeting.

“I... Can I...” Rin takes a deep breath before continuing. “I need to think about it.”

The principal looks surprised by her statement. Meanwhile, Mr. Hisoka seems rather unperturbed by it.

“Tezuka, I understand that this is a big decision for you, but-,”

“It’s fine, the deadline for the submission is still about a month away. You can think as much as you want.” Mr. Hisoka cuts off the principal’s sentence in order to explain that.

Rin simply nods at his explanation.

“Well, there you go, please consider what is best for your future Tezuka, you can go back to class now.”

Again, Rin nods before we stand up and leave the office.

The walk back to the classroom is quiet, very quiet. With the students busying themselves with final exam preparations and the university entrance exam, the air around the third years’ classroom is tense with the nervous thoughts of its students. Me included.

I guess that’s another bright side if Rin decides to accept the offer, she won’t have to worry about university entrance exam since she’s already guaranteed a place in one.

Still... What should I say to her now? Do I encourage her to go for it? Or should I just tell her to do what she likes? Regardless of the consequences.
“Rin, I don’t really know-,”

“Stop. Don’t talk, please. For one hour, no, maybe a full day. I don’t know, just don’t talk to me for a while. Please.”

It’s hard seeing her like this, but it’s not like I don’t understand her feelings regarding this.

“Okay, just tell me when I can, okay?”

Rin gives me a disappointed look, probably because I talked just now, but she quickly returns to her usual, oddly focused gaze as we wordlessly separate and head to our respective classrooms.

Mutou looks at me when I enter my classroom but says nothing about my tardiness as he wordlessly scribbles down math problems on the blackboard.

When I’m finally seated, I try doing some of the problems he has written down, but my mind keeps drifting back and forth to Rin and everything I’ve done here so far.

I don’t necessarily understand her, and I don’t think she understands me fully either. But that talk we had on the dandelion field showed me something important. That ultimately, you don’t have to fully understand someone or something to love them.

When I had my first heart attack, I wanted so badly to understand why it happened to me. To pick apart every single variable in my life just to see where I messed up. I was so caught up in that idea that I had completely forgotten to even live my life properly.

Rin showed me that I shouldn’t be thinking like that. That perhaps it’s just better to accept things for what they are, rather than what they could be. She lived her whole life without arms, so she used her legs to do things, no doubts, no anything, just pure adaptation.

The best part is, she showed all this to me without uttering a single word. Perhaps she never intended to say anything in the first place. Perhaps, just like her paintings, her actions and behaviors are simply a way to communicate without words.

Whether or not that’s the case, I know for a fact that I want to help her make the decision that is best for her. It’s just that I don’t even know what decision will be the best for her.

Either way, while I’m busy with my thoughts, I hear the school bell ring, signaling the end of the school day.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

While I’m packing my things, Mutou decides to approach me, and I think I know why.

“Hisao, can I speak with you for a moment?”

“Sure, it’s not a problem.”

“I’ve seen your university application, and I just want to confirm it with you.”

“Is... there a problem?”

“No, no, it’s just... Tokyo University huh? The big T itself. I have to say, that’s very ambitious of you.”

I laugh at that. Indeed, shooting straight for the top is incredibly ambitious and somewhat dangerous, but I feel like I should strive for the absolute best if I can. But I put in Chiba University as a second option for my application since it’s near where I live and it’s still a damn good university regardless, just in case I fail.

“Yes, it’s just... Some things happened that, well, it made me realize that it’s best that I start thinking about what I really want to do with myself, and seriously studying physics seems like the way to go.”

Mutou nods sagely as he hears that. “That’s good, I suppose that science club we started wasn’t a waste, huh?”

“Well, we did get two new members, so we have already outgrown the student council by this point.”

He laughs at that jab. “Ah, I shouldn’t be laughing at that. In any case, if you are serious, then I assume you know what you’re going to do in the future?”

“Yes, I think I want to be a proper scientist, or rather a proper physicist.”

“Good to hear. Well, with your grades, I’d say you have a good chance, but do try to improve it further.”

“Of course, I’ve been studying for that and the final exams since a while ago.”

Mutou simply smiles before going back to his desk. “Well if you have any problems, feel free to talk to me about it. Good afternoon then, Nakai.”

“Good Afternoon, see you tomorrow,” I bow my head as he leaves the room, leaving me alone with my thoughts.

The future huh?

When I first came here, I never thought that I would regain any semblance of optimism that I once had regarding my future. But here I am, aiming for the top university in Japan. I think that’s thanks to Rin and Emi.

I’ve only known them for a few months, but my relationship with them feels a lot more real than any other relationship I ever had. Perhaps one of the reasons for that is because not only do I see them as friends, but they’re also people I respect and admire, people I want to be like.

It makes me feel like I have something to shoot for, a real tangible goal to reach.

Yeah, I think it’s really as simple as that.

But still, I will have to talk to Rin about the scholarship, preferably sooner rather than later.

That question lingers in my mind still. I may be sure about what I want to do now, but Rin is another story entirely. Whatever I say to her, It’s surely going to stick in her mind and influence her decision, it happened before, and it will probably happen again.

I just hope that I won’t steer her back into that dark abyss again.

Continue...
Last edited by Tetrax333 on Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Falling Up and Down

Post by Oddball » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:45 pm

Interesting take on the characters and the story itself seems to have lots of potential. The only thing that gets to me is the shift in protagonists. It seemed like you were building Miki up to be the POV character only to drop her.

I mean, you're only two chapters in so far, so she might make a comeback, but so far it's just felt a tad odd. Especially give how you did such a good job building her up.
Not Dead Yet

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Re: Falling Up and Down

Post by Tetrax333 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:33 pm

Yeah, might have gotten a little overboard on the characterization department, but I guess what's done is done :?. I was trying out something new and starting off with a character with zero perspective on the matter couldve been interesting, thats mainly why I did it.

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Re: Falling Up and Down

Post by Tetrax333 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:29 am

Thank you to Mirage_GSM for proofreading as always.

EMI

“One more lap come on, just a little bit more!”

I turn around and start running backward in order to catch a glimpse at my running partner who is currently wheezing his way through the track.

The thought of running ahead of him to gain a few more laps for myself crosses my mind, but I push it from my head. I think running beside him should give him some motivation to keep moving instead of just giving up right then and there, though I don’t think he would do that honestly.

We’ve been going at it for a few weeks now, so his stamina is getting better and better, and he seems to be quite motivated these days. Today I decided to increase the lap count from five to six, mainly as a test to see if his heart can take it, and sure enough, despite his wheezing, it seems to be able to.

Soon enough though, he and I finally reach the finish line.

“Great job for today. I thought you wouldn’t make it, honestly.”

“Well... That sure is... reassuring to hear,” Hisao squeezes his words out while trying to catch his breath.

“We’ll walk around the track to cool down, and then we’re done for today.”

As we walk, I can hear the sound of his breathing getting steadier and steadier. I honestly thought that he would bail on me again after a few days or so, but he’s a lot more serious about this than I initially thought. Well, whatever I suppose. This is good for him and me, so I’m not complaining.

“Oh yeah, hey Hisao, I finally filled out my university application yesterday.”

“Did you finally decide to enter pirate school?” He says with a cheeky grin.

I lightly punch his shoulder in retaliation. “No dumbass, me and my mom went to Kokushikan last holiday, and that’s where I’m going.”

“Kokushikan huh? I heard It’s a good university - and pretty expensive to go to.”

“Not for me.” I puff out my chest, boasting a bit to him. “I got myself a scholarship thanks to some recommendation I got from Yamaku. I guess winning those track meets finally paid off.”

“Oh wow, that’s wonderful Emi, what are you going to study there?”

“Physical Education... As expected I suppose.” Hisao and I giggle at that statement while continuing our walk.

“It really is great to hear that you’re finally finding what you want to do, I just wish that... Never mind.”

“Woah! hold on there, don’t think I didn’t catch that, Hisao. What’s wrong? Don’t tell me you’re still not sure about your university choice.”

Hisao reels back for a moment, probably because of his slip-up just now. “No, I already figured out mine, it’s just..” He looks away for a moment before continuing. “I don’t think Rin figured it out yet.”

I stop in my tracks when I hear that. “Wait what do you mean? I mean, she’s obviously going to an art school, right?”

“Well I mean, logically she should; it’s just that... Well, you know Rin isn’t exactly the most logical person. I think she needs some time to think for a bit.”

I get what he means, about Rin not being the most logical person and all that. But still, what else is she going to do? Go to a business school? Yeah, I can’t imagine that at all.

“That girl, I swear Hisao, she’s just plain stupid sometimes. I mean first she walked out of that exhibition, leaving me and Mr. Nomiya hanging, and now she doesn’t even want to go to art school? What is that girl thinking?”

Hisao lets out a sigh. “I understand how you feel Emi, but we really should let Rin decide these things for herself.”

I turn to look at him, wondering if there’s a deeper meaning in those words.

I mean, I get it, I’m not stupid. Deciding for yourself is better than forcing yourself to do something, that’s obvious. But I’ve known Rin for three years now, and every waking moment of her life that isn’t eating, sleeping, or doing something random, she puts into painting. She even said herself that she loves painting.

So for Rin to be so doubtful about what university she’s going to is just confusing and stupid to me.

“Have you talked to her about this Hisao? I don’t really want to see her become a ronin for a year.”

He shakes his head. “No, she doesn’t want me to talk about it, but speaking of which, she did get offered a scholarship yesterday.”

“Offered? She didn’t look for it?”

“Nope, some guy, a professor from Tokyo University of Fine Arts offered her a full scholarship there.”

“Woah! a full scholarship? Okay, now there’s no freaking excuse anymore. I’m going to personally talk some sense into her somehow. Is she in her dorm room?”

Hisao shrugs while heaving a sigh. “I don’t know actually, I haven’t checked on her this morning. Don’t think she wants me to.”

What is with his attitude? It’s almost like he’s just giving up on her or something. I mean for goodness sake, you’re her boyfriend, you should be the one pushing her to take the scholarship not me. Well, fine Hisao, you can take on this attitude all you want, but I sure as hell won’t.

“Hisao!” I shout, startling him in the process, “This is no time to be wishy-washy about this! This is about her future! YOU should be more worried about her than I am right now.”

He lowers his head before speaking. “Emi, I know that. I’m going to talk to her about this after class, so go easy on her in class today, okay?”

“Fine, fine. I just don’t want to see what happened last year happen again, you know?”

Hisao tilts his head in confusion. “Last year?”

“Oh, right, you don’t know. Rin participated in an art competition last year and won third place. I think it was a national competition between high school students, they have to submit a painting and send it to Tokyo.”

“I mean... third place for a national competition is good, right? Don’t see how that’s a bad thing.”

“Well, I guess. The thing is, that competition had lasted for three weeks. That means she had a lot of time to prepare and stuff, you know, experiment maybe...” I sigh as I start to remember the details of the events. “Rin only started working three days before the submission date.”

I look at Hisao and see that his eyes are wide open in surprise. Yeah, that seems about right.

Before he manages to respond, I continue the story. “She told me beforehand that the art teacher signed her up for it, but she just kept putting it off until the last three days. I tried really hard to convince her to just do it, but then she got really upset and didn’t see me for a few days. Until suddenly she just... started doing it. Worst of all, in those three days she barely slept or ate. I was really worried you know?”

“That seems... bad,” Hisao responds, his face looking somewhat distraught.

“All I’m saying is that, from my experience, that girl needs a lot of pushing in order to do things. I mean can you imagine what would happen if she had started painting since day one Hisao?”

I look at Hisao, expecting him to agree with me. Instead, he now looks even more unsure than before. Great... just perfect.

Well, it’s fine I suppose. He should be able to talk some sense into her at least, I mean he was the one that convinced her to do that exhibition thingy, so he should be able to convince her to go to art school.

I pat Hisao on the back to get his attention. “We should go back and take a shower, class is going to start soon.”

“Right. Thanks, Emi.”

“For what?”

“For telling me that story about Rin.”

I let out a small chuckle. “No problem.”

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“And so, with that definition, although most mammals reproduce by giving birth, some mammals don’t, uh... Tezuka, can you tell me a mammal that doesn’t reproduce by giving birth?”

I turn my head from the teacher and to Rin, somewhat thankful that I finally have some form of distraction from the droning and boring lecture in front of me. Still, I don’t know any particular mammals that do that, so I don’t think Rin does either.

She turns away from the window and looks at the teacher then blinks a few times, maybe thinking or trying to remember an answer to the teacher’s question. A good 10 seconds pass, and Rin still hasn’t said anything yet. I guess she really doesn’t know.

“A platypus. I forgot the word for a second.”

“Great job Tezuka, I see you’ve been studying. Anyway, back to this.”

Huh... I guess I was wrong.

The teacher continues his boring lecture, and Rin returns to staring out of the window. Her answer actually did catch me off-guard since usually when a teacher asks her a question she just shrugs and says that she doesn’t know. Maybe she just happened to know the answer?

I shouldn’t be thinking about it too hard. Rin is Rin after all. I don’t think it will do me much good to think about what’s in her head.

The bell soon rings, saving me from the boring lecture.

After I’m done packing up I look at Rin who still hasn’t moved a muscle since the bell rang. I want to just yell at her about the university thing at this point, but I decide to hold back for now, honoring my promise to Hisao earlier.

Still, I don’t want her to stay in class for another hour, so I should at least convince her to go back to her room.

I tap her on the shoulder, but she only responds by slightly moving her head towards me, “Class is over dummy, you should head back to your room, you look really out of it today - more than usual anyway.”

I give her a small chuckle, but Rin still won’t say anything.

This awkward silence between us continues to the point where it becomes a bit too uncomfortable for my taste. If Rin isn’t going to talk to me now she’s probably not going to do so soon, so waiting here for her is just going to be a waste of time which I can better spend elsewhere. Like at the track field.

“Okay then, just tell me if you need anything okay?”

Rin simply nods, so I turn around to leave the class.

“Emi, you’re my friend right?”

Her sudden question surprises me, so I turn my head in her direction and see that her head is still facing the window.

I smile regardless before answering her. “Of course, you’re my best friend right?”

She goes silent for a good minute before continuing. “Will we still be friends after we graduate?”

That... I haven’t thought of that. I live relatively close to Yamaku, but Rin lives quite a ways off at Niigata. Even if she decides to go to Tokyo to study art, Kokushikan is still quite far away.

I like being Rin’s friend honestly. She’s funny, quirky and special. I don’t think I will ever find someone like Rin again in my life, but maybe... Life will separate us regardless, maybe one day we won’t even see each other again, and I will lose someone else in my life.

I shake my head, trying to push away that scary thought. “I sure hope so Rin, I mean we still have phones right? We can just call each other sometimes and catch up.”

Rin finally turns her head to face me, her emotion being unreadable as always. “I would like that too. That would be really nice. I think.”

I let out a small laugh at that, feeling glad that she feels the same way.

“Well don’t stay here for too long, Hisao is waiting for you.”

She gives me a simple nod before she goes back to staring through the window.

Though I wish she would give me a more... normal response, I feel satisfied with it, so I leave the classroom.

As I walk through the now relatively quiet corridor, my mind begins to wonder about the life I have here in Yamaku and the life I will have in university soon. I remember the days when the time felt like it moved so slowly, like when the lectures were especially boring or days where I couldn’t run due to the nurses’ orders. But now it feels like I did all those things about a week ago.

Is this what they meant about time feeling faster and faster as you grow older? Hisao said it was time relativity or something.

Well whatever I suppose, it’s not too important to think about right now. Final exams are coming, and I still have so much to catch up on, which means more painful studying, which means less time to run.

I sure hope university doesn’t suck as much as high school. Though from the stories I heard, the assignments are gonna be much more plentiful there, which is just perfect.

Continue...
Last edited by Tetrax333 on Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:42 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Falling Up and Down

Post by Tetrax333 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:31 am

Thank you to Mirage_GSM for proofreading this chapter.

RIN

Worms, Clock, Clouds, University. No... Can’t be thinking of that, so please go away.

Something else... Something else that’s nice to think about. Maybe the ones that aren’t nice to think about will be fine too. Just anything but that. Not today, or tomorrow.

Creepy rubber ducks, with weird tentacles and goat eyes. That’s something not nice to think about. I wonder if I can paint that later.

Painting, the smell of paint, the sensation of the brush hitting the canvas. Yes, I really like those, they’re all very nice things to think about and experience. Except that time... Or that time... Or that other time.

I can’t think about that right now or think about anything. Every time I do the thought just keeps coming back like it’s a dog fetching a stick... No, more like a worm digging through fruit. No... like a leech sucking off blood, a really large leech named university for some reason.

University, college, art school. They’re all the same but why do people sometimes call it differently? It’s confusing, it makes no sense, and it’s scary to think about. I don’t like to think about it, but scary thoughts usually linger in my head for a long time. It’s quite the problem.

I’m tired, very tired. This bed is quite comfortable, though - not as comfortable as the one at home, but it’s very nice to sleep on. But soon this bed and this room won’t be mine anymore, it’ll belong to someone else for three more years, and then after that, it’ll belong to somebody else, and so on and so forth. Unless the school shuts down before then of course.

This room will change, the posters on the wall will change, and maybe this bed will be replaced. Those changes will happen no matter how much I like the room as it is right now. I think there’s a word for that, what was it again?

... Inevitable! That’s the word.

What a scary word, no, a scary concept.

But I need to change. No matter what, I will change. It’s truly inevitable.

But why now? Why this? Why me?

It’s too sudden, too fast, too big. It’s like... like... I don’t know, I can’t think of anything that’s appropriate right now. I’m just really tired.

*Knock* *Knock*

I wish yesterday didn’t happen. I wish it would have happened some other day. But when?

When would be the right time? Tomorrow? Next week? Never?

It can’t be never though. I know that this is a once in a lifetime scenario for me so I should take it. But every part of myself feels so confused and scared of what would happen if I do accept it.

*Knock* *Knock* *Knock*

“Rin, are you there?”

Will I disappear? No probably not.

Will I change? Most likely.

Will I change so much that I won’t even recognize myself anymore?

... I don’t know. I had that happen to me before. But I have to change right? I have to be better and to do that I need to change.

Mom and Dad would be happy if I accept too. I want to make them happy, so that’s another reason to accept.

“It’s me, I’m coming in okay?”

Oh... So that knocking was on my door, and it’s Hisao, too. People keep coming in and out these days, it’s been hard to tell.

What should I say to him? Something interesting or the usual? I think the usual should be fine for him.

“Hello.”

I see him smile a bit, but I don’t know why. “Hey! haven’t seen you since two days ago. Have you been thinking?”

Thinking. Yes, I have been thinking a lot these days.

“Yes. I think I’ve been thinking too much. My head feels like mush. Not the good type of mush like chicken porridge or clay, and more like mud... really really wet mud, too.”

He lets out a sigh, opens his mouth, closes it, then opens it again, and closes again. A very strange gesture.

He doesn’t say anything, not yet anyway, so I ask him a question. “What are you doing here?”

“I... I was hoping I could talk to you about this whole situation since Emi has been really bugging me about it. I’ve been thinking about the right things to say to you for a couple of days now but I got nothing. I was honestly hoping that I could come up with something on my way here but... Well, here I am, and still, nothing comes to mind.”

I see. So that’s how it is. He’s in his usual “worried and anxious” state right now. I guess that’s why he was flapping his mouth a bit earlier. He can’t find the right words to say. I get it, I really do.

Even right now he looks down and worried. I don’t like seeing him like that, it makes me feel down and worried too. Which isn’t good right now. Also for some reason, he’s walking to the chair and not to the bed. Maybe because there’s not enough space here?

I scoot over a bit to make some room so he could sit down. He notices, thankfully, and begins walking here instead of there. That’s good, very good, I want him here, right next to me instead of there in that chair.

“Why are you so confused right now? You usually don’t have any problems with words. Unless you’ve been developing some sort of mental problem... You haven’t right?”

Hisao chuckles a bit. “No, I haven’t. It’s just that... My head keeps coming back to the exhibition, or before that actually, where I kind of pushed you to do it and then the night at the atelier and then everything else after.”

“You shouldn’t worry about that Hisao. That was in the past.”

“I know that. And I know that you don’t want to talk about it anymore, but... You’re thinking about it, aren’t you? I mean why else would you be so worried about the scholarship deal.”

Wait... Maybe... Is that it? Is that why I’m feeling so anxious?

“I... I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about a lot of things recently. About me changing myself.”

“That’s what you were saying before too. Maybe this is the same thing for you? The same thought process at least?”

“No... I don’t think that’s it. At least, not exactly. I thought the exhibition would help me change for the better. By doing stuff I don’t like doing but have to do. Like-”

“Eating watermelon-flavored ice cream because it’s the only thing available, right?”

How did he know I was going to say that?

“Yeah, how did you know?”

“You said it before actually.”

“Oh, I see. But University is a different thing entirely. It’s more like... Buying an entire supply of ice cream but you don’t know their flavors. But since you already buy it, you have to eat all of it, and sometimes you get flavors you really don’t like. But you have to finish it otherwise things will go bad. Catastrophically bad.”

Yeah... I think that’s a good way to put it. Ice cream is always a good analogy for some reason.

“But... Sometimes you get to have flavors you really like right? It’s not always going to be bad... Maybe you’ll enjoy it, or some part of it at least.”

He’s right. If I follow my ice cream analogy then he’s right. There’s bad flavors but there are good ones too, and if I can enjoy the good then maybe I can handle the bad ones too.

But I’m still so unsure. What if it’s wrong? What if that analogy is wrong? What if Hisao is wrong? What if this whole thing is wrong?

The atelier huh... Maybe that’s it. Everything felt so painful back then. Painting, talking, thinking, even being with Hisao was painful. It felt so wrong, and yet I painted and painted. I made so many great things, wonderful things. But it really did feel like I was painting with my own blood at that point.

Destroying myself... Destruction... Destroy…

“It’s really scary Hisao.”

“What is?”

What is so scary? University? Me? Him? People? Art? I don’t know, and I don’t care.

“Everything. This whole thing. It’s just scary.”

I close my eyes. Maybe some sleep will get me to stop worrying for a bit. I don’t remember things when I sleep, so hopefully, I’ll forget this too. At least for a little bit.

“You’re going to sleep? Rest will do you good I suppose.

Yes, “Yes.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow then. I’m sorry I can’t really help you sort this out.”

“That’s not true. I think... Things are a bit clearer now. Thanks.”

I open my eyes, and Hisao is smiling. That’s good, he’s not down anymore.

“I’m glad to hear it. Anyway, I should get back to my room, it’s already past curfew.”

Makes sense. If it’s past curfew then he should go back. But I don’t want him to go, not yet, not tonight.

“Hisao, stay here for tonight.”

He looks confused and surprised. Weird, it’s not like we’ve never slept together before.

“Are you sure? You seemed to be in the mood to be left alone earlier.”

“That was then. Now is now. Please?”

I try my best to emulate Emi’s signature puppy eyes look that people seem to like for some reason. I don’t really get it, but it works on Hisao.

He laughs a little. “Well, I can’t say no now I suppose, especially when you’re looking at me like that.”

I close my eyes again. Wanting to just fall asleep. But I feel ticklish for some reason, around the forehead area. But it’s not ticklish like when someone tickles my left ear, more like... less than that. Is there a word for it? I’ll look it up later.

He’s playing with my hair I assume.

“Your hair is getting long, shouldn’t you cut it?”

Yes, he’s playing with my hair.

“Later. Sleep. Tired.”

Another laugh. “Okay.”

Having two people in this bed is rather uncomfortable, but not too uncomfortable. I can still sleep fine, and Hisao should be able to sleep well, too. We did it before, so we should be fine.

I feel something grabbing me, pulling me into a hug. Not a tight one, he seems just put his arm over my stomach. I can open my eyes and look but I don’t want to, I’d rather sleep now.

Besides, this feels nice. I like having him here. I don’t understand why he does these things for me sometimes, but I don’t think I should care right now. He’s here, that’s all that matters.

With him, I can be me. And that’s a good thing.

Maybe not with other people. Maybe not in any other place. I need to change for that.

But here, with him, I don’t have to.

“I can be myself.”

End of Chapter 1. Continue...

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