Warning: Self-harming mentions.
The night bathed the indigo sky in faint white lights, gleaming through the windows of the school. Hanae had stayed too long, losing track of time. Once she saw her wristwatch, she could not help but be surprised. It was almost six o'clock, the weather fooling her. As much as it was winter, the night had arrived sooner than she had imagined. While running through the corridors, a carefree figure appreciated in front of her. Drying the sweat with a small towel, Izuno walked towards his locker changing to his shoes, leaving the school ones.
"Izuno!" Calling him, he greets her with his hand in the air.
"Hanae..." shocked by her presence, he stopped doing his things. "What are you doing so late here?"
"I was helping Sonoko again" lowering her sight, Hanae observes the great difference in height between them both.
"Sometimes I feel that they abuse your kindness."
"True. Oh yeah, since you're here ... the curry was delicious!" She said, making fists in her hands as she placed them in front of her.
"The one you did was delicious as well ... although the pieces of onion were something big."
"Kozue cuts very badly" she turned her glance, so that he doesn't notice the lie.I'm sorry, my dear friend.
"Leaving that aside, it really was." Izuno begins to stir the hair of the girl he loves as if it were his younger sister, even if they were the same age.
"I thought that yours was going to be disastrous with Tachikawa in the group. Once, she told me that she is a mess in the kitchen" with a slight blush on the cheek, Hanae adds a laugh.
"What are you talking about, Hanae?" perplexed, Izuno stops ruffling her hair. "Kanon did the curry."
"Come on, you don't need to hide it."
"Hanae, I'm serious. Kanon made the curry. We were all being inept, being all guys and she the only girl in there."
The chestnut stepped back, her eyes blank. She placed both hands on her lips, her world falling a few by the sudden revelation. Izuno did not understand her reaction, leaving him scared. He had said something, generating that look on his beloved Hanae, and wanted to eliminate it at all costs.
"All this time…" «I'm not very good at cooking.» «Will you let me cut the vegetables?»
«I'm only useful for this, ehehe.»
«As you say, I'm very clumsy in several things, so it's the best thing I can do to don't act like a freeloader.»
«The miso soup is instant do not worry, maybe I could've burned your apartment.»
"Hanae..." Izuno's hand remained in the air, insulting the act of being unable to do anything for her.It wasn't instantaneous. Kanon prepared it for me. And I did not thank her appropriately. It was warm. Exquisite. She did it for me. All this time ... all this time she ..!
Hanae crushed her teeth, resisting the urge to cry. She watched her hands, finally noticing the detail. The girl who put a facade at school always had the bad luck to cut her fingers by chopping or chopping while cooking. The band-aids she used on her fingers at home had diminished, which indicated that it was not necessary to hide them. Every day to go to school, Hanae applied tons of base to cover the scars. Now, given that Kanon was engaged in that work, there was no longer any need, given that she no longer cut herself. Hanae's heart did not know with what emotions to explode. She hugged herself, wishing to curse, remembering that she is inept for that gift.Why?! Why?!
Leaving a confused and worried Izuno behind, Hanae starts to run towards the end of the world, chasing a golden sun that revolves around her.
The rumble that left the opened door made Kanon jump, remembering a scenario of the thousands of horror movies he had seen with Hanae. The blond girl was training Milky with one of the many toys she had bought for him over the months, trying to make him stop scratching the chairs, cushions and walls, seeing if this would lighten a bit the life of that girl who had won a special corner of her heart, breaking that depressing barrier that separated her from others.
"Welcome home ..." having the silhouette of Hanae in front of her, who was sitting, was enough to cut her breath. The brunette was with both arms extended to her side, her hands made fists in frustration that Kanon did not understand. "...Manai-san."
The slap Kanon received was the worst part. Hanae collapsed, her face being covered by her short hair. The black lock of Kanon rocked with the impetus of the blow, causing her to place her hand on the red mark that was starting to take form.What did I do wrong…? Is she still angry about the fact that Higashimura-san and Izuno-kun know about those secrets that unite us?
"Why ...?" Her tiny shoulders trembled, her voice coming out in a delicate whisper.
"Huh?" Opening her sapphire eyes, without understanding, Hanae gives up with that pure act of innocence that Kanon transmitted.
"Why?!" throwing herself at her, holding her by the collar of her blouse.
The night had come, eating them in the apartment room like a hungry wolf. The stars were not enough to illuminate Hanae's face, the waning moon frightening Milky, fleeing into the darkness of the nearby corridor. The chime on his neck echoed, like a sad reminder of the loneliness that torments them.
"Why!?" Her sweet voice had turned into a painful mixture, unable to be interpreted by the amateur writer. "Answer me!"
Kanon turned her face away, unable to face Hanae's eyes. A cinnamon that occasionally became reddish, representing a warm fireplace on a winter night alone were now a reflection of the joy it gave her. A bitter memory of something that she was only losing, without knowing the reason. Her heart ached, everything hurt. She didn't know the reason. The Hanae in front of her, she had only seen it in nightmares. Kanon wishing to return something she offered, now it was her fault that Hanae suffered. Observing how she put a strong act to contain the tears provoked repulsion at her own existence.
Seeing no reaction, the brunette does not hesitate to cling more to her, bringing her face closer. She lets out a moan of frustration, giving her an extra punch.
"You're an Idiot! A fool! You are an idiot, Kanon! The biggest fool I've ever met in my life! More idiot than Izuno!" Her heartbreaking voice after those insults was not enough for Kanon to react, not even noticing it was the first time the girl of her dreams had called her by her first name, until Hanae added the following in a delicate whisper. "Why did you lie to me?"
"What do you mean, Manai-san?" With a lost look, Kanon was carried away by Hanae's shaking.
"Don't act innocent! I'm talking about curry. It was delicious! Also the miso soup of last time! I know it was not instantaneous!"A delicate tear escaped, sliding down her irritated cheek." And it was you who did it! Then why?!"
Their hearts were beating in unison, their faces closer than ever. A simple push, just a small one, would have results that both seventeen-year-old students would never imagine. Kanon closed her eyes, assimilating Hanae's words. She was understanding the discomfort, or rather, she had understood it from the beginning. Having her so close, only to herself, it was hard for her to contain an impulse that she had never experienced before. A feeling of possession, of longing, of desire. Having her so close, unimaginable situations ran in her mind a thousand times an hour. Without hesitation for a moment, she lifted Hanae's face, her lips being closer than ever. Hanae's eyes ceased their internal crying, unable to know what was thinking that girl who she met by pure chance of a lost cat.
Kanon lowered her face just before the distance was zero, getting lost in the delicate porcelain hands of Hanae. She took them, feeling his warmth, floating in illusions. Still angry, the girl who puts a different front at school was confused by the attitude of the blonde with the tendency to commit clumsy actions. She held them tight, lifting them, intertwining their fingers.
"Because I like you."
Hanae's heart stopped, Kanon's face showing no change.
"Huh...?" Confusion gripped her, unable to believe what she had heard.
"Because I like your hands" she corrected herself, to then smile. "I hated to see them hurt. The first day I noticed, the second as well. Especially when we were at school. I noticed that you covered them with base. You fought so hard to hide it ... it annoyed me. The only thing I could do to thank your kindness was to cut me the vegetables, avoiding more cuts. Because you do the same with me."
"What is all this ...?" Smiling due to Kanon's honesty, she answers, crushing her fingers against her hand, forming a bond between them. "Even if they look like the ones from a magazine model, causing me a lot of envy to tell the truth ... I like them too."
They lowered them, resting both palms on the ground, still joined.
"I like your hands."
"I heard you the first time, silly."
Remembering the warmth of her hands, Hanae was doing her homework. Kanon had left without dinner, given that both were bloated with the curry of the home economics class. The heartbeat of the thrid year high school girl did not stop, she was not even interested in Milky purring around her, demanding, for the first time, love, attention and affection. Ironically, the Hanae wanted the same needs at that moment, unable to understand the reasons.
Unfortunately, her stomach began to roar, indicating that, unlike Kanon, the curry hadn't been enough food, which she naively thought moments ago.
After warming up the leftovers from last night's dinner, she discovers that no matter how much she had her pet, the small table was too big for her. As much as the food was hot, it was cold for her. As much as her light shone, it was dark for her.I had forgotten how lonely it is to eat alone.
After finishing cleaning, she begins to organize the papers that lay scattered around her, wondering at what time there were so many. Wanting to make a bit of order, she recognizes that several of those writings were not hers. Feeling the texture of the papers, an aroma permeated its way, recognizing the delicate perfume of Kanon. That embarrassed her, then realized that her apartment smelled like that clumsy blonde with a black spot in her hair.At what point did our relationship become like this?
"I guess I'll read the last thing she wrote and I'll give it back tomorrow..." Taking the papers, she took note of a detail. "They're in pencil ... you spend so much time here that I don't give you enough time to pass them to your typewriter..."«Before, those marks I made them out of solitude, because loneliness hurts. Feeling the edge of the cutter in my body was pleasant, a way to bear the pain that caused me the outside world. If I didn't express anything, I expressed it by hurting myself. But Kae has given me a light that neutralizes all that pain, it has given me hope that I can be accepted by others. I thought I had been returning that warmth, the one that saved me but, I was unable to notice that Kae was crying in silence. Saying "sorry" wasn't enough. And I feel a fool for that. I don't like to see her hurt. I like to see her happy. I want to make her happy. Those times that I spend with her I want them to be only mine. And for them to be, I must pay attention to everything and avoid making her cry again.
"What in the world...?" Hanae hugged the papers in her chest, trying to become one with them.«I am sorry. I did not notice you were crying, I'm sorry..»«I asked for an extra one thinking that I had lost mine and in the end I found it. You need it, right?»
"I have to read everything from the beginning" desperate, Hanae starts to browse the papers that were in her possession.
Plunged into reading, Hanae's heart was shattered, as when she was when breaking an origami when she got it wrong.«That day I met Kae, her injuries were insignificant compared to mine. Still, that warmth that she transmitted to me, I wanted to give it back to her in a certain way. I did not want her to take the trouble to feed someone like me, so I chose to lie to her. Watching her eat made my heart explode in happiness, returning to her company that she was offering without realizing it. Every second that passed I was afraid my stomach would roar with hunger, what a shame it would have given me if it happened.»
"That day…"«Then you would stay for dinner, although I do not have much to offer you. I have leftovers from yesterday's dinner, I hope it's enough for two.»
«I ate something on the way, do not worry about me.»
«Oh I see.»
Hanae embraced the papers, remembering that cold back that seemed close but, at the same time, distant. She remembered how Kanon watched her eat with joy on her face, she having no understanding what made the blond girl so happy.
"There must be things before that day... Anything.. Kanon has been writing this story for a long time after all..."«I always do the same. I never liked the sound of the sharpeners. So when I discovered that the knives could be used, I did not hesitate to look in the mirror. Hurting myself was something gross. I felt the blade on my torso, causing wounds that helped me endure the pain caused by their teasing. The pain caused by being the daughter of a single mother. A mother who works at a hostess bar down in the Red Light District but still struggles to give me love, food and education every single day. I don't know who my father is. Being different was reason enough to exclude me. The blood was falling, I did not flinch. It was the only way. My only escape route.»
"It is not possible that…"«Manai-san ... Manai-san ...»
«What's wrong, Tachikawa?»
«I was looking at some typewriters, especially a model that I would like to have. I was distracted looking for the price and well ... I fell on top of a pencil and pen counter. »
«... I don't know if you are someone incredible or just an idiot ... and clumsy.»
"Don't ehehehe me..." Hanae imitated Kanon's laughter with pity. "It's not a laughing matter, you idiot! Kanon showed them to me because she wanted me to... and she didn't want Izuno to think about what they really were... That's why she prefers knives to sharpen pencils!"«When Kae came into my life they decreased. I wanted to give her back that warmth she transmitted to me. I thought I was able to save someone like she did with me. But I was unable to detect her silent crying. Can I do something to remedy it? They all say: "Kaori, you're a good for nothing," but Kae tells me I'm an idiot and, I like it when she says it.»
"Why did I never ...? Why did I never realize this?" looking as if her life depended on it, she managed to get a dictionary. Hanae looked for those kanjis that made up the names of the two characters, and then wrote them down on a piece of paper.はなえ
(Hanae) = 花恵
"If it is read in this other way then one of all its meanings is ..."花恵
"And if I do this..." she looks for a new page, and writes again.かのん
(Kanon) = 花恩
"I'm sure I'm right ... if the first kanji is read like this.."花
"And the second one this way..."
" = "Ori"
"Kanon wrote an autobiography just changing her last kanji... how did I not notice it before? I'm the one who should apologize for not noticing this crying of hers! I underestimated the writing of kanjis for her grades in Japanese, but she likes certain readings and forms, why did not I notice it before when reading?!"
Hanae's fingers began to write a number, sending a brief message. Where are you?
Hanae ran through the streets, hugging the sheets that the writer had forgotten in her apartment. The temperature had dropped, being a cold winter night, her uniform rocking with her footsteps, her breath condensing from the cold that had just appeared. She did not know how much time she had left, she just wanted to get to the meeting point as quickly as possible.
The people, the flow of time. Everything stopped before her eyes.«If I try to count every simple emotion, I noticed that I forgot the warmth I felt next to you. If I try to count every simple emotion, I noticed that I forgot the voice I heard coming from you.»
A fragment of the story made its way to her mind, causing her to shake her face.Stupid, you do not have to count them, feeling them is enough.
Hanae arrived in front of a stationery store, watching Kanon's back as she left. She walked without her uniform jacket, her white long-sleeved blouse showing off some of her wounds. That black lock that stole her breath did it again, causing no words to escape when she opened her mouth. Kanon started walking, going away. Hanae extended her hand, a mirage breaking through.I do not want her to leave.
In slow motion, the girl she met thanks to her mischievous cat, was lost in that voice that called her name again and again, remembering that that little word illuminated, saved her world every day.
"Manai-san. Your message caught me off guard, did something happen? It was very punctual" smiling, she held the bags of her purchase of the night.
"Well, what do you do at this time in a stationery?"
"My typewriter broke. The ink got stuck and I had to buy a couple of things to fix it."
"I see…"Yes, she spends so much time in my apartment that she writes in pencil. Your machine must have broken down when you return late from dinner and not have time to clean it up.
"Take this" extending her arms, Hanae shows the papers that Kanon had forgotten.
"My story!" Running in relief, she receives it, to end up embracing her life made into charcoal. "How could I have forgotten it?"
Biting her lip, as she always does, the words that escaped from them, Kanon would regret not having caught them forever.
"I like Kaori."
"...Manai-san ...?" Kanon despaired. IT was hard to understand what was happening.
"I love Kaori" full of seriousness, Hanae throws that warm cinnamon into an electric blue pool, the mixture of their eyes forming a brand new color. "But she's an idiot. Hurting herself in that way ... why doesn't she trust Kae more after knowing her secret!? Why not tell her the truth instead of lying to her by showing her something so ... painful?!"
Kanon opened her eyes, understanding the meaning behind Hanae's words. Her heart revived, cursing the failure to capture the first words. She had discovered it. And she had confessed it. And she hated herself for not taking the first time she said it seriously. Under the gaze of the moon, undecided how to respond, she looked for the right way to give an answer, being guided by a simple premonition winter gave her.
"I like Kae."
Hanae was lost in the breath that escaped from Kanon, turning like a cloud coming out of her mouth.
"But Kaori doesn't want to cause her more problems."My heart is made of paper. Once they crush it, it does not return to its original state. That's why I make art with paper. To see if I can replace it. And this fool named Kanon does both with me.
"Kae just wants to help Kaori. That warmth, that lukewarm feeling that Kaori gives her ... calms her origami heart" when she finished, she noticed that she had talked more about herself than she intended.
"Manai-san ..." A knot Kanon had never felt began to form in her throat. She took a step towards her, afraid of the interpretation she could give. Anyway, that did not matter to her. "At first, Kaori didn't know what that light was but, she had hope. That hope was gradually withering because of her mother's job and not knowing who her father was. Bullying for being different. The alleged classmates in secondary school find her own personal writings; more bullying. That was her way of escape but, without noticing it started, to incorporate her into her. She transformed her story into an autobiography. Then, as time passed, she met Kae, a girl who despite her loneliness could shine. But she also felt empty. She wanted to return the fact of saving her but, noticing that she was not able to notice her sadness, Kaori felt that she was not doing it right at all."
"Kaori is an idiot. A fool." Closing her eyes in stubbornness, Hanae squeezed her fists.
Kanon's steps increased, the distance narrowing between the two.
"Kae is an angel for that fool."
"Ah ..." Hanae's gesture was stolen, observing that they were millimeters away. Her eyes shone next to hers, mingling.
"I want Kae. I like Kae very much" Kanon extended his arms, then shuddered and backed them out, doubting if her action would be correct given the words she would say next. "I love Kae."
Hanae raises her face, giving her best not to cry.
"I also like Kaori a lot. I love Kaori" without giving it more thought, two small drops were coming down her right cheek.
Kanon's tender smile calmed her heart, reaching out to brush her hair. Hanae, selfishly longed for, that the first gesture that Kanon made, resulted in the embrace that never came.
"Thank you for bringing me my story, Manai-san" stopping, Kanon turns her back while she starts walking. For a moment she stops, watching Hanae from a distance. "See you tomorrow at school."
Against her will, Hanae runs to the writer's hand. The hand that protected her from being cut while preparing dinner. Kanon felt the warmth through her light.
"See you tomorrow" she whispered to the wind.
"See you..." Kanon goes for the other girl's hand, "Hanae."
Responding to her, their hearts exploded in happiness.
"Yes, see you tomorrow... Kanon."«Maybe we met in an unexpected way. Maybe our meeting was just a coincidence. Still, I would repeat that day for all eternity. This warmth, this love, I would not replace it for anything in the world.»