Note: The conversations enclosed in [...] are text messages. I will post new chapters every three days till September 5. Hope you will keep reading, supporting, reacting, commenting, and help me with spreading this to more readers! Thank you!
It had been about two weeks since my mother’s death. Many people came to visit me, offer me sympathy and helped me with the rituals. It makes you realize that at times like these, people are necessary. It makes you realize that you cannot live alone. At some point in life, you will need the support of other people. I had realized it first hand now. I have now started to cherish these relationships with other people.
And there are also a bunch of people in this world whom I have come to hate, having experienced first-hand. Especially on the internet, the attention-seekers. When I finally opened Facebook after about a month, I noticed that many people had tagged me in many posts. And all the posts revolved around one thing: My mom’s death.
There was one post by my classmate which read as follows:
[My heart is filled with sadness for your loss. Please accept my deepest condolences and know that my thoughts are with you during this time. May your memories of your mother sustain and strengthen you as you navigate the difficult days ahead. Please accept my condolences.]
And damn it had more than 2k engagements.
Wow, congratulation. You got what you wanted!
I had almost commented that in his post. But erased it and thought not to do so.
The thing is I don’t like what my friends are doing. They are using my mom’s death to increase their influence. To appeal to the social media world that they cared about others and they gained sympathy. Damn you.
If they really just wanted to console me or offer their sympathies couldn’t they have just directly messaged me? I mean if they just wanted to support me at my difficult times there was no need for them to post and tag me for everyone to see. No, they could have come to visit me, couldn’t they?
The only ones who came to visit me directly instead of this internet shit were Ryan and Lena. I was really really happy to see them.
Because of all this, I lost interest and logged out. I even deactivated my account.
I clicked the exit button and then among my apps, I noticed a black app with the figure of a white tiger or maybe a lion? Swifter
I had once opened a Swifter account but hadn’t even used it once. I decided to click and opened Swifter.
There were many swifts in different languages there.
Just then I received a notification. I use Swifter after so long and I immediately receive a notification, eh?
I clicked and it showed that someone had just followed me.
“Wait? What is this? Is it Japanese or Chinese?”
I wasn’t sure which but I guessed it should be one of them.
There was a follow-back option as well and I clicked on that. I saw many swifts of him or maybe her? I scrolled through their swifts which I couldn’t understand but the pictures of many anime characters were cute. My phone again vibrated. This time I had received another notification and a message.
First I clicked on the notification. Someone else had followed me. I clicked on the follow-back and then went to check the message.
It was a message from the first one to follow me.
[Thank you for following me back!]
“Hmm? What should I say?”
I couldn’t think of anything great and just typed a simple [Thank you] that earned a like.
Then again my phone vibrated, notifying me that I had received another message but the sender was different.
I checked the message. It was from the second follower and it contained the same message as the earlier person sent. In other words, [Thank you for following me!]
“Is this a courtesy to say this on Swifter?” I mean I received this from two persons in a row now.
I again typed a simple [Thank you] and thought that I would get another like but instead, I received another message.
[Where are you from?]
[I am from XXXXX. And you?]
I waited for her reply.
[I am from Japan.]
Is that so? I was about to type that but before I could, I received another message quickly. Whoever the person was, s/he a fast typer.
[I am a girl. 16 years old.]
Oye, oye, is this all right? Does anybody just give away their gender and age to anyone they meet randomly? I mean, I have no way to confirm whether it was true or not but still.
She didn’t text anything after that.
Wait, am I supposed to reply? Realizing that, I began typing.
[I am a boy. 18 years old.]
[Is that so?]
I had thought that the conversation will be over now but I got another text.
[Where do you exactly live in XXXXX?]
Why does she need to know that? What will she do with this information? Although I thought that in my mind I replied to her in earnest.
[I live in XXXXXXXX. Where do you live in Japan?]
[I live in Shimane!]
I waited for a while but didn’t get a reply. I had nothing else to do so I decided to check this Shimane place.
I opened Google and typed Shimane, Japan.
It showed many search results along with a map and an image of an ancient castle-like structure and below it was written Shimane Prefecture.
“Now that I remember Japan is divided into several prefectures, right?” I remember reading about that somewhere.
I clicked the first result and began thoroughly reading about it.
After reading, I got a good bit of detail about Shimane. It was a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūgoku region of Honshu. Matsue was the largest and the capital city of Shimane. The castle-like building I had seen before was apparently called Matsue Castle. It was a famous tourist destination. There were some other places worthy of praise as well. Like the Oki islands which was a cliff-like structure in the Sea of Japan and Tsuwano which looked somewhat like a castle and somewhat like a shrine. It was adorned in bright red colors.
It had been about fifteen minutes since her last message. Thinking that I wouldn’t receive any messages now I was about to click the exit button when another message arrived and it was a very long one.
[So, you live right next to the capital of XXXXX! I checked about your place on Google. So it was the former capital of XXXXX and is also known as the city of education. I also checked about various tourist destinations. There are many temples and churches in XXXXXXXX and the view of YYYYY mountain could be seen from your place, right?]
Seriously? What the hell?
I couldn’t help but smile. She had been doing the exact same thing that I was doing. Just as I was checking her homeland, she had been checking about mine. Ah, what the hell?
Now it was my turn to type a long message. I just piled up whatever I had gathered about Shimane and texted it all.
[Seriously, you were also checking up on my homeland? Looks like we were doing the same thing.]
She sent two laughing emojis along with her message.
She followed with another message.
[I am going down for dinner. But I will be back in about 15 minutes. Please wait for a while!]
She texted. And true another message didn’t arrive. I looked at the clock. It was about 5 pm here.
“Japan and XXXXX are in a different timezone, right?”
I recalled that and checked the time was in Japan right now.
“8:15 pm, huh?”
So, there was a difference of about three hours and fifteen minutes between Japan and XXXXX?
While waiting for her to reply, I checked on other things about Shimane. It was quite a beautiful place. Especially Lake Shinji. I had only heard that Japan was a very good tourist destination and boasted many natural and historical attractions. But today I finally got to know more in-depth. It almost made me want to visit Japan.
[Sorry for the wait.]
Wow. This girl is punctual. She had messaged me after exactly fifteen minutes.
[Oh, finished your dinner? What did you eat?]
Only after sending the message, I realized that I had asked something very very stupid. Normally would anyone ask someone what they ate at dinner while chatting? Not to mention, I had not even met this girl once. I wanted to delete that message but before I could she had already answered my question.
[I had Yaki Soba. It was delicious.]
[Oh. I see.]
I was relieved. I had thought that she would be weirded out like some of my female classmates but fortunately, that was not the case.
[What do people in XXXXX usually like to eat?]
[Most would like to eat Mo:Mo.]
I personally liked that as well.
[Oh. I see.]
I felt like she didn’t understand what sort of food it was. So, I downloaded a photo of Mo:Mo serving from Google and sent it to her with a small message [This is Mo:Mo.] under it.
And simultaneously, I received a message as well. It was a picture of something like noodles with [This is Yaki Soba.] written under it.
Seriously again? We both did the same thing again. Oh, come on. I was getting excited for some reason.
[It seems like we are in perfect sync!]
She messaged before me. And I agreed to that.
[Seems like that.]
After then, it was like a cultural exchange program. We texted each other about our culture and different tourist destinations.
I had a lot of fun. This might be the first time that I had enjoyed talking with someone online. And not to mention that she was someone I had never ever met before. I hadn’t realized that it had now been four hours since we had started chatting. Have I ever chatted with someone for so long? No, never.
[It has been almost four hours now. Amazing how I didn’t realize the time.]
[Yeah. Me too]
[It is quite late now. So, I think that’s it for today. I would like to talk to you some more!]
I looked at the clock. It was 8:38 pm here so that meant it should be 11:53 there. It was pretty late.
[Yeah, okay. I would like to talk to you again.]
Those were my honest feelings.
I was taken aback by that message. I didn’t realize that the corners of my mouth were raised slightly up and tears were starting to form at the corner of my eyes.
[Yeah. Good night.]
I put my phone down.
Just two simple words. But it was capable of making me happy. I had missed those words for so long now. I imagined my mom saying 'Good night' with a beautiful smile on her face with my eyes closed. Ever since she was gone, I had missed those two simple words so much.
And today, when a complete stranger, living miles away from me said those two simple words, I was so happy that I couldn’t help myself but cry.
That night, I wept again, remembering about my mom and dad and about those I had lost.