Can You Remember Me? Chapter 4 Part 2
I reach for the metal handle of Class 3-3. I wonder what boring lecture Mutou is droning on about. I wonder if I can remember the names I’ve learned today.
There's someone in my seat.
I sit back down in the hallway, wondering about the boy who took my seat in class. Wondering about the boy, who I saw in the small glass window of the door, looking concerned about something or another. His face is focused but distracted at the same time. His hair matches his weariness with its faded brown, almost gray color. His eyes tell the same story. A diminishing light, slowly fading as the seconds tick away. Eyes that are becoming shallow with worry, almost despair. Eyes that are fighting to hold up a fake smile.
He’s a star that just realized the darkness of space that surrounds him. I’ve seen that look before. It was the same look I had, back in my first day of class. The day I first transferred to Yamaku two years ago.
I still have that look. Eyes lost in time. I wonder if he’s worried about that, too.
His eyes are sweeping across the classroom, taking in the information of the room. His eyes almost meet mine, but I duck down in time. I move away from the glass window of the door. For some reason, I’m afraid to look into his eyes. Like he’ll figure me out in seconds the moment he sees me. So I retreat back into the hallway. I’m blushing, hiding my face in my hands, my fingers meeting the bangs of my hair. I’ve done a lot of talking today, but I’m still too shy for such a romantic gesture.
That boy is another curveball to my regular day. Another constant that shifts to a variable. I can barely comprehend how strange this day feels. It feels like I’ve jumped into a different dimension where interesting things happen to me.
I decide that, at least in this weird dimension, I’m not meant to go to class today. I’ll deal with the consequences later. I wander around the halls, a tragic hero with no place left to go. I’m still holding the pass from the Nurse in case a teacher stops me. Luckily, the Nurse is always too lazy to write down the time. I have about ten minutes until the lunch break, so I decide to visit the roof. Roofs are reliable and have a nice view, just what I like. The only directions you need to find a roof is ‘up.’
I find the stairs and head all the way to the top. As I open the door to the roof, the brightness forces me to squint as I enter. It’s a nice, breezy day without a cloud in the sky. I sit on a bench at the far end of the roof, now facing the door to the stairs. The sun is pouring down on me, a radiant warmth enveloping me. I look up at the bright fireball in the sky, and its reminding me of someone I met today. No picture, no name. Just someone that I’m sure exists and I’ve met.
The sun keeps shining on me as I try to collect memories of this person. I bet you never had a crisis like this, you damned celestial body. I bet you’re sure who you are. You’re the sun, and that’s all you have ever been and need to be. You’ll never wonder what it means to be a person, to have meaningful memories, to have a past. You’ll never ask what I need to ask myself every day- who, when, why, how. I’m sure the person I’m trying to remember isn’t nearly as condescending as the sun.
After I’ve had enough of basking in the sunlight and my subsequent misery, I head back down the stairs, but… Why was I up there in the first place? It’s still a minute before classes are released. There’s a pass in my hand from the Nurse, but there’s no time I was excused. Did I go to class today? I head down the steps in confusion, but I won’t question it further. Life takes me where it wants to go.
Apparently, life has no idea where it wants me to go either. I stop after two flights of stairs. I have no idea what floor my classroom is, or if I even need to go back to class. Suzu could probably tell me where I’ve been or what I was doing. I unbutton my arm sleeve. “3-3.” Ahh. The facts. Certainty. Safety.
As I move the buttons back together on my sleeve, I hear the apocalypse beginning. The end of times pounding my ears from every direction as I stand, dumbfounded on the stairs. Lunch time. The doors crack open like a whip, a mob of green and white uniforms erupting out of each hallway. I get swept up in the madness. All I can do is shuffle along the stairs with the crowd.
I’m spit out of the river of students and find myself in an unfamiliar hallway. Well, every hallway is unfamiliar. The classroom numbers hanging above the doors don’t match “3-3.” So much for getting lucky and landing on the right floor. I look back at the hallway, into the blur of uniforms and hungry students. I’m not very interested in joining the carnage. I turn to the other side of the hall, looking for another escape. Another wave of students is heading for the stairs, the sound of polished shoes and crutches now surrounding me. Stuck between an immovable object and an unstoppable force, I dive into the nearest classroom to escape.
I shut the door behind me, taking cover in an empty classroom. The shouting voices are muffled. Only the occasional, booming laugh disturbs the peace, but those sounds pass as quickly as they came.
I stay by the door, listening to the hum of the students outside, waiting until the hallway is safe again. My ear is pressed against the door, listening carefully. My eyes are closed to focus more on the sound outside. I must look like a master thief, the sound of stomping feet like the tumblers in a lock.
It’s quiet in the hallway now. Just as I move my face from the door, a girl’s voice comes from behind.
“Are you talk-“
“Ahhh!” SMACK. My face slams back into the door, still warm from where my cheek was pressed on it earlier. I didn’t notice anyone was in the room with me. My face is numb from the impact, and a mixed feeling of shame and embarrassment fills me. I feel like I got up too fast. The voice says nothing, so I try to make contact while my vision is still blurry. I’m still facing the door, though.
I wait for an answer, my hands rubbing my eyes to hide some embarrassing tears.
“Polo.” The voice says. Definitely feminine. Calm. Deadpan. I’m not sure I heard her right.
The last of my tears are wiped away, I turn around to get a look at the person behind the voice. When I turn around, her face is inches- no, centimeters, from mine. The only detail I catch is her large, green eyes. I jump in surprise, not knowing she was right behind me. My small flinch twitches me forward ever so slightly. This wouldn’t be a problem… if her face wasn’t leaning in at the exact same moment.
Oh no. I can only watch in slow motion as my face slowly meets hers, too late to stop.
“Mmmph!” I say, pulling back from the strange girl as quickly as I can.
Her eyes stay open the entire time, only shifting her eyebrows slightly. She still says nothing. My first kiss. And it’s with a girl who I don’t even know. Yet, I’m compelled to blush and cover my face anyway.
I finally see the mystery girl. Dark, red hair. Messy and slightly wild, but it seems to glow slightly with its redness. Her eyes are large, receptive fields of green, and her short bangs only make them seem bigger. Oddly, she’s wearing a guy’s uniform, with a tie and pants. And she’s tied knots on each arm sleeve, but… where are the arms?
Oh, right. I’m at Yamaku. Even when caught off guard, disabilities are not all that surprising anymore.
She blinks a few times, like she’s just finished a train of thought and is ready to start another.
“I said ‘Polo.’”
Another deadpan delivery. Is she just going to ignore the fact that we just kissed?
I’m not okay with this. My first kiss was just ignored? Sure, I might forget it later, but it’s fresh in my mind.... I swallow my feelings anyway, and go along with her lack of interest.
“Why did you say ‘Polo’ anyway?” I ask.
“Like the game.” She says, her eyes meeting mine. She doesn’t even notice my reddened face.
“Do you mean Marco Polo?”
“I never said ‘Marco’ though.” Have I said anything that even sounds remotely like that word?
She speaks again with the same, stoic look. “I thought you were counting. Or talking to the door. I like to do that sometimes, too.”
“You talk to doors?”
“Sometimes. When they are hard to open. You were talking to the door, too.” Oh. I probably looked strange when I was waiting at the door. She keeps on talking. “Are you deaf? I thought you might be since you could not listen to the door. You had to lean in very close to it.”
“No, I’m not deaf. Is that why you leaned in to me? And we… err… accidentally...”
“Yes. I thought you might not hear me.”
“Oh. Well why didn’t you say anything before? I was in the room for a long time.”
“I think you are strange.” Oh. She thinks I’m the weird one? What the...
I reply, slightly offended. “Well I think you’re strange.”
She smiles slightly. It’s more like just a slight curve of her lips, like she made a clever joke. I’m glad she made the conversation a little less tense, though.
“Oh. That is good.” She says with her satisfactory smile.
“It’s good that I think you’re strange?”
“Yes. If you didn’t think I was strange, you would be quite strange.”
Is she self-conscious about how weird she can be? I don’t think I’ve ever met someone like that. I like her, though. She talks in a roundabout way, but I appreciate that some conversations don’t have to go anywhere. It’s comforting how casual she seems to be. I guess I can be too?
“My name is Seiki. Class... uhh…” I forgot again.
“Yup, you got it.”
I wait for her to introduce herself. That’s just common courtesy, right? But she does nothing but sway gently left and right, her vacant arm sleeves dangling to her sides. I don’t think she plans on introducing herself.
“So what’s your na-“
She’s rude, but in a funny way. And as far as I can tell, completely unintentional. I decide not to ask for her homeroom; I get the distinct feeling she doesn’t know it either. I tell her what’s really on my mind instead.
“Oh, by the way. You were…ehh… my first kiss.”
“It was nice.”
And that’s all she says. What do I need to do to get a little reaction from her?! It was a FIRST. KISS.
I decide not to press the matter. It might be better to forget it even happened. Rin is now preoccupied with staring at the chalkboard, which is just as empty as the classroom. I wonder what she could be looking at?
“So, I have to go get lunch now. Do you want to come, Rin?” I ask. I really do like her company. I think Suzu would like her too- they both space out just as much.
Rin points to a small box on a desk near her. Oh, she has her own lunch. How did she… you know… make that? Hands might be a requirement for cooking…
“Are we friends?”
Rin blindsides me with this question. Well, I do like her. And she was my first kiss, which she sort of complimented me on. ‘It was nice’ counts, right? I’m a good kisser?
“If you want to be friends, sure.”
I don’t want to mention the amnesia.
“I have never kissed a friend before, though. Does that make us not-friends?” Rin is still staring me down with those huge, green eyes.
“I don’t think so. I think we can still be friends. Only boyfriends and girlfriends kiss each other… and it was an accident!” It was an accident. I hope she realizes that.
“I’ll call you my girlfriend. That way you are still my friend too.” Rin’s smile returns, and she seems resolved. I don’t feel very resolved, though.
“Ahh…Please refrain from calling me that.” I’m not offended, but I’m not prepared for the disaster that would be.
“I wonder what Emi will think. She will probably laugh.” Rin says, avoiding my request completely. “Do you know Emi? She is the opposite of me.”
“How is she the opposite of you?”
“She has arms but no legs. I have legs but no arms. She runs faster, though.”
Well, this is Yamaku. I’m sure I’ve seen someone who fits the description… and we do have athletes. I don’t know anyone who runs with no legs, though.
“Sorry. I don’t know anyone like that.”