Thursday, December 11, 2014

Chapter 16: A Sacrifice for Solitude

People come and go in our lives. Most of the time though, we never realize it. We took those people for granted just because we know we're going to still meet them some time in the future. We took 'for every hello, there's a goodbye' and stuck them in our pockets.

What happens when those people had to say goodbye to us? To make it worse, what happens if we made them say those lonely words towards us? Wouldn't it destroy you to say those same words back at them? What about the loneliness we had to face later on? We can always put on a blank smile afterwards. We can always say "I'm fine" while what we really want to say is "get off my case" to those who seemed worried.

Two shadows walk side by side, accompanied by the dim rays of street lights by the sides of the street. It was silent, no other sound can be heard except for the stepping sounds of the two shadows. A breeze silently swept by, giving off a chilly feel to both figures.

"So...", both the shadows said. Startled by the same words coming out of their mouths, they exchanged glances. Of course, it turned even more awkward afterwards. The silence afterwards made it clear, this is something unbearable.

She laughed. He was dumbfounded by her rather cute giggle. He never thought that she's the type of person who can find something to laugh about in that particular situation, thus it was rather unexpected from his point of view. 

"Well... That was awkward", Mikazuki said trying to end the awkwardness.

"Thanks for pointing it out", X pouted. He averted his glance from her eyes.

"You can go first", she said.

"Okay... How did I end up escorting you home?"

"How am I supposed to know?"

"It's not like you're staying at the same lodging as I am"

"Where are you staying the night?"

"An inn south of here. If I'm not mistaken it's called the Serene Inn"

"R- Really?! Well, I'm staying at the one beside it"

"What the hell... What a coincidence, I guess", X said as he covered his face as he almost stuttered due to the fact he wasn't exactly sure what to say. Mikazuki saw him doing that and jumped to conclusions as usual.

"C- Could it be that... Could it be that you were thinking of doing something to me?", Mikazuki asked while acting like running away if X gave her a mistaken answer.1

"As if", X immediately answered her. He lightly gave a karate chop on her head. She gave her trademark 'ouch' sound which X always find a hilarious thing to hear. He can't help but smile a little at that voice.

"Then... I guess I'm not that appealing to you...", she said as she made a disappointed face while rubbing where X had chopped her.

"Ehh... Wait... Umm. If you put it that way-", X answered her worry with a slight panic in his voice. She laughed at him for panicking. He realized that he had been tricked by her.

"Geez... Forget it... This isn't even funny any more", X sighed and shook his head. She burst to a laugh looking at him giving up on the conversation.

"Anyways... You're turn. What's up?"

"Umm... Well.... It's not exactly an easy thing to ask", she said while fidgeting her fingers. "Do you have anyone you like?"

"That sure came out of nowhere"

"I- I guess... Ehehehe...."

"I hadn't been thinking much about it, at least for now"

"Umm... I meant back when we were in the real world"

"Why didn't you say so?"

"Well...", Mikazuki said as she stopped walking, along with X who stopped a couple of steps in front of her her.

She smiled shyly. She was also fidgeting her fingers even more. X can see a slight blush across her face. "What the hell am I supposed to do?", he asked himself and sighed. It's not really something he can answer casually. To make it worse, he misunderstood her ambiguous question. 

"I do", X said after a long silence.

"I- I see..."

"But then again... It's a long time ago"

"Is that so... You still have feelings for her, don't you?"

"Who knows...", he replied. There was a moment of silence between them. Mikazuki looked at X with a surprised face, while X looked up to the sky thinking about what she just said.

"Just forget what I said", he told Mikazuki as he walked away from her. Mikazuki was left alone but didn't move from her position. She continued to look at X who was drifting away from her sights. Soon enough, the only thing she could see was her shadow.

A tranquil room with candles around. Everyone wore black coloured clothing looking towards a single spot in the room, a made-up shrine decorated by flowers. In the middle of the shrine, a single frame was displayed. A picture of a single boy with a sincere smile.

Out on the courtyard, I stand alone and stared at a distant mountain, standing still as if time itself had stopped. I can't feel the piercing gusts of winter air, nor smell the scented candles burnt inside the house.

"If you stand out there too long, you'll catch a cold", she said. She walked from inside the house and stopped beside me. She joined me and stare at the distant mountain.

"Ironic isn't it?"

"What is?"

"How he can smile while no one else could. He's the only person I knew who could smile no matter what. I, on the other hand, could only give a blank smile with no meaning"

I held back my tears before it could roll down my cheeks. The freezing temperature didn't make it feel any better either. Somehow she notices this and gave me a hug from behind. The warmth from her hands can be felt on my neck.

"It sure is hard on you", she whispered in my ear.

"You don't even know the half of it", I brushed away her arms and walked into the snow and stared up. I sighed and saw my breath in the form of a white cloud. I started walking towards my house gate, but I felt something tugging me on my neck. I looked back and saw her gave a sincere smile while holding two pieces of black cloth. I'm sorry... It's one piece of cloth, with it's middle part stuck on my neck. It was her beloved black muffler I gave to her a couple of years back.

"If you're going to take a walk, I'm coming with you", she said as she wrapped her muffler on my neck. She knew where I'm going, since it's basically where I go if I wanted to think.


"Cause you have my muffler", she answered my question as she took my hand and started walking ahead of me.

"The hell...", I followed behind her as she tugged my hand.

"That's not a good thing to say you know"

"Are you gonna take a walk or complain on anything I'm going to say?"


I sighed at her words. I'll let her do whatever she wanted this time. I really don't want to be accompanied at the moment, but I never really mind her presence since the start, not even the black muffler with girlish white petal design on it bothered me.

I still remember that day like it was yesterday. The day a certain little girl was sitting on a tree branch looking at the sunset. Back then I was simply annoyed by the fact my parents are fighting again, so I decided to take a walk and found a park. I found a bench nearby and decided to take a nap. She then told me that it wasn't good to sleep there, and well got into a little fight. After that day, I always found myself unconsciously go to that park almost everyday. Even though I only attend the same middle school, I ended up getting close to that girl before that. She's among those tiny number of people which don't piss me off, along with Takagi. I can always complain about many things and she would always listens. Yeah... She's no one other than Hisako, my closest friend in this whole universe filled with a couple billion other random strangers.

After a walking to the park near her home while responding pretty much all to the things she said, I stood under the tree I usually slept under. She was standing next to me, blowing her hands and rubbing them together. I took off her muffler and threw it around her neck. The moment she realized what I did, she tried to give me back the muffler, but I told her that she needed it more than I do.

"I have something to tell you", I said. She had a surprised look on her face after I said that.

"I think it might be best if we don't see each other any more"

"W-Why?", she managed to ask even though she stuttered at first.

"All I've ever done is just bring my problems to you and took advantage over your kindness", I told her. My eyes were unfocused and just stare towards the distance, unsure at what am I looking at.

"I never minded, have I?"

"I know, but I just don't want to do this any more"

"Please don't do this", she said as tears started to form on her eyes.

"Is there any particular reason for me to not do so?"

"I... I have always liked you"

"I have always liked you too Hisako", I looked deep into her purple looking eyes.

"Then... Then why?", the tears forming on her eyes finally fell.

"The more the reason for me to stay away from you", I said as I erased her tears with my thumb. As much as it pains me to say, I don't want her to end up with someone like me. Someone only does whatever he wants, someone who who always makes trouble, someone who will most likely end up as human trash.

"Please understand that I don't want you to end up with someone like me", tears started to form on my eyes. I pulled Hisako towards my chest so that she couldn't see my tears. Besides, it was painful enough for me to say those words at her, but her sad looking face made it even harder for me to hold back my tears.

"What do you mean by someone like you?", she asked as she held my arm with her cold hands.

"Don't ask. Just move on with your life without me", I said as I brushed off her hand from my arm and walked away.

It was that day, about two years ago, when I decided to live my life as a shut-in. I stopped all interactions with the outside world and just indulge myself with life without bothering anyone. I've brought up enough problems, to Hisako, to Takagi, even though I don't really want to say this, but also to my parents.

1 Mikazuki only meant to tease X. However knowing X that has a bad interpretation of jokes... You know what to expect

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