I'll carry you
I heard a knock on the door and was expecting Yumiko to come in but to my surprise it was Nakajima. My stomach grumbled after smelling the curry. He placed the tray with food in front of my futon. I put my blanket over my head.
“Stop sulking. I don’t know what happened between you and Akimitsu but let me tell you that he is a good guy and would never do anything to upset you or anyone around him. He is the only person that I know of that has a true, kind heart. Stop making him worried about you,” he told me off. I sat up and slammed my fists on my blanket.
“It’s his fault. I didn’t do anything wrong,” I said annoyed.
“Like I said he probably didn’t mean no harm by whatever he did,” he said with a louder voice.
“You don’t even know what he did,” I yelled at him. He sighed out loud.
“Let me tell you a little bit about him,” he said and sat down. He picked up the tray and placed it in my lap. “Akimitsu didn’t have a very nice past. I met him when we were in middle school. He was a weak and shy boy. He wouldn’t talk much, nor would he play with his classmates. I forced him to be my friend. And slowly over time he opened up to me because I kept bothering him. I think he is doing the same approach with you. I’m not going to tell you everything about him because I want you to try on your own. A friendship is not a one-way street. You give and take. You want to know that you are appreciated by that person like you appreciate them. Don’t let this chance that Akimitsu has given you slip away from your hand. Like I said, I don’t know much about you but if my best friend Akimitsu wants to be your friend, I will support him. Please consider asking Akimitsu about himself and try to get to know him better. He will respond and reach out to you as he always has,” he said with a quiet voice. I could tell by his face that he was being honest with me. I was holding the spoon in my hand and swirled around the curry with it. I honestly didn’t expect that. I was taken aback and didn’t know what to say.
“And eat your curry or else Yumiko will get mad at me. I promised her that I would convince you to have some food,” he told me and stood up. “Also, I don’t mind being your friend as well. You seem like a good person,” he said before leaving my room. After a while, Yumiko and my younger sister forced me to take a bath with them. Akimitsu was nowhere to be seen. I was thinking about what Nakajima had said to me. The hot bath water helped me relax. Yumiko was shampooing Ai-chan’s hair.
“I’m sorry if Nakajima crossed any lines,” she said to me.
“You don’t need to apologise. That idiot, for once, said something sensible to me,” I said in return. A strange feeling had come over me and I didn’t know what to do with it yet. We went back to our room after everyone was finished cleaning themselves. It had been a while since I checked my phone. There were no missed calls but one unread message from my mother. I received it two hours ago. She told me to phone her because she wanted to talk to my younger sister. I dialled her number and passed the phone over to Ai-chan who was really happy to talk to our mother.
“Ayu-neechan, mom wants to talk to you,” she said and gave me my phone back after a while. I stood up and walked over to the open window. The phone was next to my ear.
“He’s here. He’s at home,” my mother whispered into the phone.
“I thought you were staying at Auntie Mei’s house?” I asked her confused.
“I had to come back and his business trip was cancelled too. Both of you, come back home to me,” she said. Her breathing was heavy.
“Mom, I’ll come home, so please calm down. I’ll take the next train with Ai-chan,” I told her but was interrupted by a loud noise and a scream followed. It came from the other end of the phone. “Mom? Mom! Answer me,” I said panicked but the line was already cut off. My mother hand hung up on me. I put my phone in my pocket and opened my trolley. Everything was being shoved in it and I told to Ai-chan to change her clothes because we were going home.
“Ayu-chan is everything alright?” Yumiko asked me worried.
“Yes. Sorry but me and Ai-chan have to cut our trip short. My mother is not feeling very well,” I said in a hurry and grabbed my hoodie. My younger sister was ready as well.
“Aki-chan and Isa-chan just went out to get some food. Don’t you want to wait until they come back?” Yumiko asked troubled.
“No, we don’t have time. I’m sorry, Yumiko,” I said and placed the key to the house in her hand. She squeezed my hand and tried to give me smile. I grabbed my younger sister and we left.
“Ayu-neechan, you are walking too fast,” Ai-chan cried.
“Ah, I’m so sorry, Ai-chan,” I apologised and told her to climb on my back. The next train back home was in 15 minutes.
“Is mom okay?” she asked me and buried her face in my hair.
“Yes, she is fine. I know she is,” I said and hoped that I wasn’t telling her a lie. Ai-chan fell asleep on the train and I carried her all the way until we had reached our house. It was in the middle of the night. No light were on and there was no sound. I took out my house key and opened the front door. It was pitch black inside. Ai-chan was still on my back. I left the trolley in the hallway and walked inside. I stepped on something sharp and a painful sensation went through my foot. I turned on the light to see the floor covered in glass shards. I went back into the hallway and woke Ai-chan up, so I could hold her in my arms in front of me. She was still half asleep and didn’t notice what was going on. The floor got stained by my bloody footprints. I went into my parent’s room to see my mother sitting at the end of her bed.
“I’m home, mom,” I whispered. She lifted her head. Her eyes were red and her hair a mess. She stood up and walked over to me in a hurry. She frantically grabbed Ai-chan from my arms who was still sleeping and left the room. I went after her. She placed Ai-chan in her bed and closed the door behind her. Her hand went up and came back down on my cheek.
“It’s all your fault. I wish you were never born,” she said angered. Her face was looking at me with disgust.