Chapter 3:

In Three Years Time

The Fall of Prince Hayashi

Hey guys! It's Zen here. If you have this in your library, then you just got bombarded with edits. Sorry about that! I've decided to shorten the chapters to a reasonable length after I realized the first one was almost 6,000 words long. I will still be posting on Mondays and Thursdays, but the chapters should be better fit for an online platform versus what it was before. Thank you all. 

Kota Hayashi.

The first day we met back in high school. It was right after winter break, with everyone in high spirits thanks to Christmas and New Years. I spent the whole of winter break at home playing video games and enjoying Mom’s cooking, which made me optimistic for the next year. WIth everyone happy, it wasn’t a shock that Hayahsi’s arrival was greeted with joy. Our school didn’t get any transfer students, so when news of a handsome gray-haired student floated around, it became a hit overnight. The girls swore that their prayers for a new boyfriend for the New Years was coming true, while the guys were excited to have somebody new to bother arrive.

My first class in my first year was English, the subject I hated the most. It never made sense to me how to write or pronounce things in English and my teacher liked to pick on me to read because of how quiet I was. I total, imagine every morning starting with messing up a room full of people who already hated you. It was enough to make a normal person cry. Coming back to school I felt butterflies grow in my stomach. I was already doomed to have a horrible new year, all because my teacher was so eager to ‘teach’ me English.

The classroom was bright this early in the morning, with all the students running around. Only a couple of kids were in their seats, studying away for a future test or on their phones. I took my seat in the back, right near the window. The sun kissed my seat in such a way that I was never too hot or too cold. My bullies were everywhere around me. I took in a deep breath and let myself get lost for a moment. As long as I didn’t say anything right now, those guys would forget about me till lunch rolled around.

The classroom roared as my teacher walked in. Her name was Ms. Miyamura, and she was a small and short woman. Her face was squished together, like there was a constant sour taste in her mouth. All the students who were running around seconds earlier were now all seated. Another fact about Ms.Miyamura: she was a strict teacher. Her eyes glazed over the room for any imperfections she could point out. I held my breath in, hoping that she would pass making a comment about me today. She loved to point out how blurry my glasses were or how oily my hair was.

“Alright class,” Ms.Miyamura screeched. “Today, we have a new student. Everyone treat Mr. Kota Hayashi with respect on his first day.”

All the eyes darted to the door, as Prince Hayashi waltzed in. He was just as the rumors described him. Tall, handsome, mysterious, and a head of grey hair. Hayashi looked like a celebrity, blessing us with his mere presence. From the audible gasps throughout the class, all the girls in the class agreed.

Hayashi bowed his head down the perfect amount and then gave us all a blinding smile. “My name is Kota Hayashi. Please take care of me while I’m here.”

This guy seemed nice. I felt my body tense as Hayashi’s eyes surveyed the classroom. He was a little bit too nice. The same sweet and sticky kindness that the bullies showed me when teachers were around. The type of kindness that made people overshadow your problems, like the huge angel wings hiding small devil horns. I looked at Hayashi and decided it was best not to contact him at all. It was only a matter of time till he learned to hate me as much as everyone else did. The sooner I stayed away, the easier seeing him turn against me was.

I never thought that Hayashi would be two-faced. That Hayashi was going to be someone who was my ‘best friend’ behind the screens we played on. That this one student who seemed like the ruler of school secretly saw me as somewhat an equal.

Kota_Prince_Hayashi178: Souta, can you talk to me for a minute? It’s something serious and I need your help. Just...message me back ok pal.

My eyes flew open as my body soared out of bed. Where was I? What was that? My heart was thundering against my chest, as if it was going to explode in the matter of seconds. Relax. I needed to relax.

Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out.

“I’m in my room, in my bed,” I said. My heart was still roaring. “There’s a nightstand next to me and my phone is on top of it.”

Breath in. Breath out.

“The clock Mom brought me is there too. And...and then there’s the closet,” my heart was starting to slow down.

Breath in. Breath out.

“Then….my desk, with my computer and the schedule for my first year at university.”

My heart had finally slowed down, as the tension and fear left my body. This was the fourth time this happened to me this past week. A nightmare, followed by a panic attack. I threw my thin blanket off my body and kicked my legs out over my bedside. For the second time that night, Hayashi’s face haunted me. I ran a hand through my hair, not surprised to find the soft strands covered in sweat. Thanks to the nightmares and summer heat, I was drenched from head to toe.

When was the last time you took a shower?

“He would be laughing at me right now,” I whispered. “That fake prince charming…loved getting attention.”

Once I found out about Hayashi’s suicide, a sea of emotions hit me one by one. Anger. Hate. Frustration. Desperation. With all of these emotions drowning me, I came home and dropped the milk off to my Mom. With the smile Hayashi taught me to fake, I told her that I would be busy for the rest of the day, that no one should enter my room all day. Then the moment I locked the door to my room, I slid myself down the wall and let the large tide come crashing through. I must have cried all night that first day. I cried till my eyes held no more water in them, till my heart felt only pain surging through it. If my parents heard me, they did nothing. I sat down in my bed and laid back against my pillow. I drowned in the emotions I felt and let the light of day fade into night.

I was a failure of a friend. Although Hayashi wasn't the best friend a person could have either, he was still there. We played video games together and talked about normal things with each other. Like girls, other games, and school. We were boring teenage boys, each with our own plans for the future. I left Hayashi to fend for himself all alone in Kumano. Where no one really knew him for who he actually was. Instead he let himself dissolve away, to be permanently known as the “prince of high school” forever.

My only friend from high school was dead for the past three years without me knowing. I cried my heart out that day because I knew how much of a coward I was. I ran away from my fears in Onomichi. I ran from social media, others and my responsibility. I had the luxury of being a new, better person, meanwhile, Hayashi was facing his demons till the very end.

All of those comments from people who barely knew Kota, when the one person who actually knew him a little was running from it all. He would be laughing at the irony of all this. Laughing at how odd this all is.

“There’s no way that I’m going to sleep right now,” Running my hand down my face, I grabbed my glasses off the nightstand. There wasn’t much light this late at night, but the bright red numbers coming from my alarm clock clearly read 2:38am. Great. What a wonderful time to be awake.

It was instinct that the first thing I would do after waking up is going to the bathroom. This house was a steal in the sense that it was the perfect layout for our small family. As an only child, I got the second largest room in the house with my own connected bathroom. There was one downfall to having your own bathroom: you were the one expected to clean it. Preparing myself mentally, I clicked the light in the bathroom on and felt my eyes burn from the light. God, why did you have to make us so sensitive? Especially to something as dumb as light.

I looked like absolute crap now. If I didn’t have under eyes from playing video games before, I definitely had them now. Running my hand over my face, I could feel the prickle of hair stubble everywhere. Oh yeah, I was supposed to shave yesterday. I ran my hand back up against the hair and felt the pain of thick hairs everywhere. I never minded a beard or a mustache. But in university nobody liked a hairy face, except some of the foreign students. A baby face, one that showed innocence and cleanliness, was ten times more preferable. I looked at myself in the mirror closely and took in a deep breath.

I had a nose bigger than other people. My face was round, my skin washed over with a hint of color and my brows as big as my father’s. I never thought I was the worse looking person. There were people twenty times worse looking than me. If I were to rate myself...I’d give myself a six out of ten. With a beard I had a chance at being a solid seven out of ten. I felt a smile on my lips as I played with the thought of a beard. I would look like a real man. A person who looked like they demanded respect and attention, not a weak university student.

Hayashi secretly wanted to grow out a beard too.

“Yeah...he did, didn’t he?”

I shut the light off in the bathroom and slammed the door shut as I walked out. I didn’t need to pee and I was wasting my time staring at myself in the mirror. Filling my head with useless thoughts about useless things. The first thing I was going to do tomorrow was shave this hair off my face. Even if I had to use Dad’s old electric razor.

Before I could properly start getting angry, my stomach growled. It sounded like a hurt dog, begging it’s owner for help. My hand traced over my stomach and the curve at the bottom where it drooped down slightly. I was starving. I hadn’t eaten something of substance since the day I found out about Hayashi’s death. Like a criminal in my own home, I was sneaking into the kitchen at night. Grabbing apples and cheeses rather than whole meals. It’s all my stomach could take in. Anything heavier to eat felt like a twenty kilogram weight in my stomach. I heard that Mom made my favorite soba noodles today. I should try to go eat something before I passed out from malnutrition.

It wouldn’t be the first time that happened.

My father thought I was weak for letting things get to my head. Mom always tried to understand my side of the story, yet after so many years grew weary of my ways. I knew I couldn’t let this news take over me. Something that happened over a year ago was slowly taking over me now. If I told my parents the truth, what would they say? They would look at me, all attempts to hide their confusion obviously failing. They would ask me: so what? So what if Hayashi ended his life? It must have been something that no one was expecting. I should have moved on. I was not the reason he ended his life nor was I responsible for him. But….I can’t. I can’t let go now that I know. Hayashi was suffering on his own the whole time. I felt a tear drip from my eyes as my heart sunk. I couldn’t help him because I was a coward. Just like how I couldn’t fight to defend myself, I couldn’t save Hayashi by being there with him.

I let the tears drip down my face, tracing the shape of my face till the droplets landed on my hands. I grabbed my phone, tears still spilling, and went to Loogle.

Loogle Search:

How do I get over a death? |

Over 2000+ results. 20 pages

I’ve faced a lot in my life. Bullying, rude customers, bad grades, bad days. Was death the next obstacle in my path? What about after that? Was anything worse than death? I finally wiped my eyes, my hands covered in salty tears. I needed help. My parents were no good and my life lacked any real friends. I needed someone who knew how to deal with this all ten times better than how I was dealing with it.

Gr. Gr-owl.

Of course my stomach was still begging for food. Getting up from where I was sitting, I pulled myself slightly together. I needed food to think things through properly, at least that’s what Mom tells me. The moment you run out of fuel, your body goes crazy. It goes on it’s own tracks, leaving you and rationality at the station. Taking my phone with me, I decided to go venture to the kitchen.

At this point, I was an expert of sneaking around the house. I knew where every creaky panel was, how many steps each room was from each other, and just when my parents woke up during the night. Like a spy, I made sure my moves were smooth and soundless. I held a crooked smile on my face, trying to imagine the look on my parents face if they ever saw me walking around like this. My father would just add another fact to the ‘crazy stuff my son does’ list.

The kitchen was in sight, illuminated by one night light plugged into the wall. Both of the bathrooms and the kitchen had a night light because my parents were getting too old to walk in the dark. Especially my mom who had a habit of stubbing her toe everywhere.

I opened the fridge to find it almost bare except for a couple of containers. One container near the front was clearly filled with soba noodles. I grabbed it, opening it up and being swarmed with the smell of broth. It filled me up with warmth, melting a layer of the sadness away from inside me. I could imagine Mom making these noodles. Letting them boil till they were soft and smooth, draining the water out and dropping them in broth. A delicacy that I loved. I knew Mom had made these on purpose and the way they sat at the front of the fridge was like a message to me.

Taking the container and placing it down on the table, I closed the fridge with one smooth swoop. There was a risk of my parents waking up if I heated up the soba here in the kitchen. I shrugged my shoulders and sighed. Cold soba would be fine today in the hot summer night. I looked back down at my phone and clicked on the first page result I saw.

How to deal with grief in five ways:

Talk to someone about it

Talk to a therapist about it

Express yourself in art

“Yeah sure, let me write a stupid poem for him,” I muttered. “That would definitely make him turn in his grave.”

Closure is not a necessity to move on

Understand that death is natural

Wait...closure? I scrolled back up the list and held the soba in hand. I decided to head back to my room and eat in peace there rather than stand in the cold and lifeless kitchen. Sneaking back into my room, I closed the door behind me with my foot. I sat on the floor of my room, since I didn’t want to drop anything on my bed right now. Placing the cold noodles on my lap, I scrolled back to Loogle. Closure….was that what I was missing? The reason why Hayashi left?

Loogle Search: How to get closure?

Over 300+ results. 30 pages.

I clicked on the first result and scrolled through.

Closure is something that many of us chase, but only a few achieve. We as humans love to ask “Why?” Why did he leave me? Why did it all fall apart? Why do we exist? Humans demand answers, yet sometimes, nature keeps those answers away from us. Closure is a delicacy that few have, yet you don’t need it to live. Sometimes, you just need to move on.

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“What idiot wrote this?” I muttered, taking another sip of cold broth. “How useless. Doesn’t even show you the answer to my damn question.”

I threw my phone to the side and stared at my soba. Closure. That’s what I needed. Or else I wouldn’t make it to university or outside this room. I would rot away another three years here as the world moved on from around me. Stuck in a place where the only thing that consumed me would be ‘why?’. But how? How could I find information about a dead person? Or about the life they hid behind screens? Hayashi was everything but an open book, with the information I knew even considered a top secret.

I took another sip of cold broth as my mind stirred. What could I use to trace him back? To find what happened to my best friend the months before his end?

I felt a vibration next to me, as the screen of my phone lit up. Great. Now that I threw it to the side my phone was crying for my attention. I leaned over to where I threw my phone and picked it up. Who the hell would me a message at three in the morning?

Winkstagram Notification: You might know Harry_29 on Winkstagram. Want to add them?

“Of course,” I mumbled. It was a stupid Winkstagram notification. I would have been surprised if it were anything useful. Winkstagram. The app that started this mess, and kept dragging me back into this hellhole that the world created for me in middle school. When would I get a break? Why was the world so determined to break me every time I got back up on my own two feet. How many times would I dream of a better future and be disappointed for?

“I could just throw this out the window,” I whispered at my phone, my finger tracing the screen. “Then maybe it’ll all go away.”

Something inside me stung, like bandage on me was just ripped clean off. The moment I felt the stung, numbness hit me in full speed. I was wrong. Nothing really goes away. I learned that three years ago, when I turned my back on everything and hid. Turns out that the things haunting me just layed low, till something else could weaken me. Now, here I was. My shell I’ve spent years building in ruins after a fact that I’ve learned three years too late. Nothing changed. I still couldn’t sleep. I still had cold soba. I still was a loner. Except, this time Hayashi was gone forever.

If I do nothing, nothing will change.

Closure. Aka the reason why everything unfolded the way it did. I was going to get closure and move on. No matter what happened or how dark the truth is. I wanted to find out. No, I needed to find out what happened. Or else I could never leave this all behind.

I threw my phone behind me and took the soba noddles out of my lap. Rushing towards the desk, I took my seat in the chair and pulled open the drawer. My year old laptop. I had brought it with the excuse of university when I really just played PC games on it. Flipping open the screen, I was flashed with light as my laptop turned on.

Kumano was calling me back. That dreaded town was begging me to come back. I didn’t need the fanciest apartment, nor the best food. All I needed was time. A month. And then after that I’ll come running back home, either with the truth or with the faith that I tried.

Loogle Search: apartments in Kumano

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