Chapter 27:

Lost, Completely

Second Chances

It’d been three days since I woke up in this miserable body. Moira is nowhere to be seen. I cannot move. I cannot speak. I'm just floating aimlessly, in this timeline.
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Chiaki’s mom always visited me during the evening, wearing her business suit, always with a smile on her face.Bookmark here

Chiaki’s father stopped coming on the second day. Chiaki’s mom said that he was tired from his work so he preferred to rest at home. But I don’t think that’s true. He likely didn’t want to see a crippled boy that caused him to lose his only daughter.Bookmark here

The more I thought about it, the more it hurt.Bookmark here

I didn’t want those things to happen, but I fixed it, even though it’s not on this timeline.Bookmark here

Even if... I could never return their daughter to them here, ever again.
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I looked at Chiaki’s mom as she peeled the apple as always.Bookmark here

I wanted to comfort her, “I’ve saved your daughter. And I promised you both that I would take care of her for the rest of my life.”Bookmark here

But, no voice came out.Bookmark here

“So, I asked the doctor,” she said. “He said it'd take you at least three months of therapy for you to be able to make slight movement, or speak again.”Bookmark here

This is miserable, and pathetic.Bookmark here

I couldn’t do anything but look at her, or the ceiling.Bookmark here

My parents… how was their funeral?Bookmark here

Hideki… has his family moved on since his death?Bookmark here

Chiaki… where was she buried?Bookmark here

Yui… what happened to her?Bookmark here

The whole world turned against me when Moira snapped her finger.Bookmark here

They were all alive, standing, talking in front of me.Bookmark here

Now, they are all but dust and ashes.Bookmark here

Memories. Faded with time.Bookmark here

How many times do I have to deal with this ridiculous fate of mine?Bookmark here

“I got a hold on an old friend of hers,” Chiaki’s mom said. “Her name was Yui, and she said she’d be visiting us tomorrow.”Bookmark here

Yui… she was the only one unaffected. But because I didn’t really interact with her before, all our conversations never happened. To her, I might just be another stranger.Bookmark here

“I’ll put this here,” Chiaki’s mom said, putting the apple on the bowl. “Nurses will come and make juices from it so you can drink it.”Bookmark here

Pathetic. I attempted to yell.Bookmark here

The monitor beeps.Bookmark here

“Shin, what’s wrong suddenly?” Chiaki’s mom asked.Bookmark here

Everything. The whole world. What do you expect me to do here, Moira? Live a whole life here?Bookmark here

I slowly felt my energy being drained away, as I fell asleep.Bookmark here

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“Shin, this here is Yui.”Bookmark here

I opened my eyes and looked at Yui. She still has her charm, her long hair still braided.Bookmark here

“Hello Shin,” she said. “I was Chiaki’s university friend.”Bookmark here

Yes. I know.Bookmark here

“Chiaki was a really sweet girl," she added. "One time I forgot my notes, and she borrowed some from me, also sharing some exam tips that I’d missed out.”Bookmark here

I know, Yui.Bookmark here

“She helped me more times I could count, and inspired me to overcome a guilt that I had those few years ago.”Bookmark here

… I know. You told me. Me, and Hideki.Bookmark here

Damn it. DAMN IT, MOIRA!Bookmark here

The monitor started to beep.Bookmark here

YOU HEAR ME, MOIRA?Bookmark here

The beep escalated.Bookmark here

“I’m so sorry, did I—”Bookmark here

“Shin, shin. Focus. Calm down, ok?”Bookmark here

I’ve had enough, what else do you want? MOIRA!Bookmark here

The nurses barged in again.Bookmark here

Stop doing this to me every time!Bookmark here

I blacked out.Bookmark here

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“Is it breezy?”Bookmark here

I opened my eyes, Chiaki’s mom said she wanted me to have a change of pace, so she offered to take me on a wheelchair for a stroll around the hospital’s garden.Bookmark here

She put a blanket on me. “There, I did this to Chiaki when we were pushing her baby trolley around the park as well. She was—”Bookmark here

Chiaki’s mom stopped talking. She pushed me near to a bench and sat herself down.Bookmark here

She wiped her tears away, but they were still flowing uncontrollably.Bookmark here

“Chiaki…” she called out.Bookmark here

I saved her, Chiaki’s mom. Please. Don’t cry. She’s alive and well. Last time I met her, she was wearing a cute floral-patterned kimono. I held her hand. She stood beside me.Bookmark here

“… I’m sorry,” she said. “Even though so many years have passed.”Bookmark here

“It must have been hard for you too,” she added. “Chiaki—she talked so much about you. If only we could spend more time with her, and be home earlier that night. Then it wouldn’t have happened—”Bookmark here

It’s not your fault. It’s not.Bookmark here

I couldn’t say anything but only to glance at her.Bookmark here

Her hands were slightly trembling.Bookmark here

She took a few deep breaths to calm herself down. “I’m sorry you had to see that.”Bookmark here

“Shin,” she called me. “Today will be the last time I come to visit you. Chiaki’s dad and I received an overseas job and we won’t be able to come back for a few years. I’m sorry.”Bookmark here

It’s ok. Don’t let me burden you down.Bookmark here

She wrapped her arms around me again. “Take care, and live, Shin. Live.”Bookmark here

I will.Bookmark here

I will.Bookmark here

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It was in the middle of night, when a noise woke me up.Bookmark here

I saw a girl with double ponytails standing in front of my patient bed.Bookmark here

She didn’t have any expression on her face.Bookmark here

“Hello Shin,” she said. “I know this is hard for you, but it’s meant to be. You’ll have some special guests tomorrow. Then, you’ll understand why I did this.”Bookmark here

Before I got to answer her, I slowly lost my consciousness.Bookmark here

No. Moira... please.
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Come back.
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