Chapter 9:

True false

TRUE false

Upon hearing what my word, she had a surprised expression, and in the very next second, it was back to normal, like she had expected I would say it eventually.
Bookmark here

I’m right, aren’t I?Bookmark here

She looked me in the eye.Bookmark here

We’ve met before in Switzerland. We’ve met five years ago.Bookmark here

Yes, you’re right. We have met before…Bookmark here

Her confirmation raised more questions for me than answers. I don’t even know where to start. If she remembered, why didn’t she say anything? Why didn’t she contact me before? But I couldn’t ask any of those, because she had a different matter to discuss.Bookmark here

…but even if you’ve remembered that I won’t let you change the topic so easily!’Bookmark here

What topic?Bookmark here

What the hell were you thinking? Jumping in the river like that! Have you lost your mind?Bookmark here

Oh, right, I jumped in the river last night. And I was saved by her. Wait, she fell in the water too. Is she okay?Bookmark here

Hey, you fell in the water too! Are you okay? Are you hurt?Bookmark here

Yeah, I’m okay. But I won’t let you change the topic. Tell me! why did you do that?Bookmark here

Oh good, she’s okay. But what should I tell her now? I have a ton of questions I wanna ask her, but first I’ll have to explain myself to her. But do I have to? Isn’t it obvious? She must know that I failed the exam. Then why is she still asking me?Bookmark here

Do I need to tell you? You should know it yourself.Bookmark here

Know what?Bookmark here

She’s really gonna make me say it.Bookmark here

I failed! What else?Bookmark here

I did everything I could. I stayed locked in my room, studying the whole time. I worked hard like crazy, and still…Bookmark here

She didn’t say a word while I spoke.Bookmark here

You remember what you said? For the kind of goal I had, that was my only option. So that’s what I did, and yet I failed, all the same. Now that I’ve failed at that, my only goal, my life has no purpose anymore.Bookmark here

So, what else would I’ve done if not try to end it?Bookmark here

Silence befell the room. None of us said anything for the next few seconds. Throughout that time, her gaze was fixated on me, and after what I had said, those few seconds felt like an eternity to me.Bookmark here

You haven’t changed a bit.Bookmark here

What?Bookmark here

From the time we first met, all those years ago. You’re still the same. You’re still an idiot.Bookmark here

Huh? What is she talking about? From what I remember, she was the idiot.Bookmark here

I’m not an idiot…Bookmark here

SHUT UP!Bookmark here

What? What got into her? Why did she scream it out?Bookmark here

There is something horribly wrong with your thought process. Don’t you realize that goal you were pursuing was not for your sake? You kept fixated to become the top student to prove everyone who judged you wrong. But what was in it for you? Did you gain anything by becoming the topper? Did you wanted to become one for yourself?Bookmark here

Of course, I knew that! But just knowing that fact doesn’t change anything. I’ve devoted my entire life to that goal, I couldn’t just forget about it and move on.Bookmark here

Why not?Bookmark here

What?Bookmark here

You admire your father, right? Do you know much time he had wasted on theories that he failed to prove, theories that were wrong? Had he stayed stuck to them, had he not realized his mistakes and moved on, would he have become the man he is today?Bookmark here

If I were of his caliber, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.Bookmark here

But you were trying to be like him, right? Then didn’t you try to accept your failures like him?Bookmark here

My Dad never failed! In his entire academic carrier, he was the top student. He never failed, not even once!Bookmark here

Were you there to see it?Bookmark here

No, but…Bookmark here

Did he tell you himself, that he never failed?Bookmark here

…No, but everyone knows that.Bookmark here

To the others, the journey does not matter, only the destination does. You’re no different. You look at people see how amazing they are, without ever considering how much hard work they had to do to get there, and how many mistakes were made along the way, how many failures they had to overcome.Bookmark here

I had nothing. Nothing I could say against that.Bookmark here

Everyone makes mistakes, everyone fails sometimes. We’re all humans after all. What matters is how we take it. what we do after failing, that’s what makes the difference.Bookmark here

So, you’re saying I should look for a different goal, a different purpose in life?Bookmark here

That’s what I was trying to tell you that evening, but you interpreted it completely wrong.Bookmark here

Can you blame me? What could I have done? I couldn’t suddenly find a new purpose in life.Bookmark here

You wouldn’t! Not locked up in that room.Bookmark here

When she said that, I understood what she meant. Her words from five years ago echoed in my head. My facial expression told her that I had understood.Bookmark here

It seems you understand.Bookmark here

Look for it in the world.Bookmark here

Exactly! Instead of locking yourself in that room, you should’ve explored the world, to look for what you wanted to do.Bookmark here

But it doesn’t matter what I’d wanna do. I’ve failed to follow in the path of my father and sister. I’m sure they wouldn’t even wanna see my face anymore.Bookmark here

That’s not true, actually, right now they’re in a plane on their way to Japan.Bookmark here

What? Why?Bookmark here

I’ve told them what you did last night. So, I suppose they are coming here to chew you up.Bookmark here

Why would you do that?Bookmark here

What else was I supposed to do? They deserved to know what their idiot Akio has done.Bookmark here

Now what? I couldn’t face them before, how would I face them now? They are coming here. So even if they are angry, they were still worried, how will I explain myself to them? Especially to Sis, she gets so worried if I get a little paper cut, I can’t imagine how she would react this time.Bookmark here

What will I say to them?Bookmark here

Just tell them the truth. Tell them your exact feelings. I’m sure they’ll understand. They were all so worried about you.Bookmark here

’All’? who else did you tell?Bookmark here

Everyone!Bookmark here

What do you mean by everyone?Bookmark here

Ishiguro, Nozomi and Tomonaga.Bookmark here

Now why would you tell them? This had nothing to do with them!Bookmark here

After you passed out, I had to take you to a hospital, I needed help for that so I called Ishiguro. He probably told Nozomi and she probably told Tomonaga.Bookmark here

You called Kenzo?Bookmark here

Yep.Bookmark here

And? Did he help you?Bookmark here

Of course, he did! How do you think you end up here?Bookmark here

He helped her? Really? Why? Didn’t he hate me? That’s what he said. Then why? Why would he help save me?Bookmark here

Did he go back home?Bookmark here

No, he’s in the police station.Bookmark here

Wha Why?Bookmark here

Why do you think? Handling our double suicide jump.Bookmark here

Oh…Bookmark here

Don’t worry, he said he’ll manage, you won’t be interrogated.Bookmark here

Were you interrogated?Bookmark here

Yeah, a little bit. But Tomonaga handled it. His father’s high-ranking officer in the police, so he helped me out.Bookmark here

What? Tomonaga was here too?Bookmark here

Yes, and so was Nozomi. But since it was late night, she had to go back home soon. And both Tomonaga and Ishiguro went to the police station, Ishiguro is there as your proxy.Bookmark here

Why would they all come here? After all, that happened. After everything I did. Especially Tomonaga, he always hated, didn’t he? Why would he even wanna know about me? And Nozomi? I said all those horrible words to her, I even made her cry. Then why? I don’t understand.Bookmark here

Why?Bookmark here

Huh?Bookmark here

Why would they try to help me?Bookmark here

I don’t know.Bookmark here

She is lying. She’s definitely lying. She always knows. She knows everything. She understands this world, she understands people, much better than I ever did. If she didn’t know, then why did she call Kenzo for help. She must’ve known he’ll help.Bookmark here

You’re lying! I know you know why.Bookmark here

She took a few seconds before speaking.Bookmark here

Even if I do, you should ask them yourself.Bookmark here

What? Fine then, there’s one of the people I hurt right in front of me. I have a lot of questions for her too.Bookmark here

Ok, then tell me this. Why did you save me? Why were you there at just the right time? Were you following me?Bookmark here

You think I’m a stocker? No! My apartment is right next to Yutsugi bridge. I saw you walking toward it from my balcony. I got a bad feeling from the look on your face, so I rushed and followed you.Bookmark here

You could tell I was going to kill myself just from the look on my face?Bookmark here

Yes, but that was not all. I knew you had failed in your entrance exam and how you felt about it.Bookmark here

How could you know about my feelings. Even Sis didn’t know.Bookmark here

You’re the one who told me.Bookmark here

What is she talking about? I never told her, I never told anyone.Bookmark here

No, I didn’t.Bookmark here

You didn’t actually tell me, I don’t think you could put them to words even if you wanted. You were never very good with words.Bookmark here

Then how?Bookmark here

Because you have a different way of expressing yourself.Bookmark here

What way?Bookmark here

You remember that evening? When we saw the sunset at Lucerne Lake?Bookmark here

Yes, I do.Bookmark here

You painted a picture of that sight, didn’t you?Bookmark here

Yeah… I did, but how did you know?Bookmark here

The next day when you left in a hurry, your father asked my dad to transport your belongings to Japan. That’s when I saw it.Bookmark here

But that picture didn’t come back with our luggage.Bookmark here

I know. Because I kept it.Bookmark here

What? Why?Bookmark here

I wanted to give it to you myself. I wanted to talk about it. Because when I saw it, it didn’t look like a painting of what we saw that evening, but it looked like a visualization of my words from back then. It didn’t look like you were trying to paint that scene but to visually represent my words and your own.Bookmark here

Oh right, I painted her in the painting as well.Bookmark here

You were describing me as a goddess, right?Bookmark here

She nailed it! That’s exactly what I thought while painting her. Although it’s a bit embarrassing to admit, I can’t deny her hypothesis.Bookmark here

Yeah, you’re right. But don’t think just anyone could tell it from looking at it. I guess you can because you’re so good with words.Bookmark here

Huh?Bookmark here

The way you described that sight, it was so perfect. Even though I forgot so much from back then, I remembered your words, and somewhere along the way, I convinced myself they were my words, and each time I remembered those words, that divine sight came right back into my mind.’Bookmark here

I’ve always spoken my mind, my whole life, maybe that’s why I can describe things as you say I do. But you’re different. You tell anyone how you truly feel, you don’t even admit it to yourself. Which is why you couldn’t convey your emotions through your words. But you speak through your paintings.Bookmark here

That painting of the sunset?Bookmark here

Not just that one, you have a talent for imagination. When you paint, you paint a visual representation of your emotions that you’ve imagined.Bookmark here

Really?Bookmark here

Remember your painting from the first day of our school?Bookmark here

‘…Yeah.Bookmark here

You painted a boy on a boat in the sky, and people looking at its reflection in a lake.Bookmark here

It still sounds so stupid.Bookmark here

The boy is you. The people looking at the lake are those who always judged you. They are all looking downwards as to look down on you, while you’re always above them, they’re not looking at the real you, but only a reflection.Bookmark here

You are all alone, in a world that you don’t understand. In a world that’s wrong. In a world where you’re not supposed to be. Deep down even you understood that, that’s why you painted it.Bookmark here

You have no one who understands your situation, no one who truly sees you because all they see is the false you in the reflection. They don’t look at you, and you don’t look at them either.Bookmark here

And is that why you suggested that name?Bookmark here

‘’The truth is false’, the image the people see of you, that they consider true is false. But your name was even more accurate. ‘True false’, because it contained both the true you and the false you, both the true world and the false one. It had many different ‘Trues and false’.Bookmark here

And you understood my situation just from all that?Bookmark here

Yes, and once I got that, the rest was easy to figure out.Bookmark here

You were trying to figure me out?Bookmark here

Huh… You remember that trip to Switzerland?Bookmark here

Of course.Bookmark here

I saw you on the very first day of that trip. You looked kinda down. So, you piqued my interest.Bookmark here

How did that look interesting to you?Bookmark here

I knew who your father was, I’ve met your sister before so I knew you were very good at school as well, so I just didn’t understand that why would someone as blessed as you would be so sad. That question seemed like a mystery to me. So, I wanted to find out the answer.Bookmark here

I tried to understand you by following you around without letting you know.Bookmark here

Wait, so you were stocking me?Bookmark here

It’s called observing a subject.Bookmark here

I’m not a lab rat!Bookmark here

Anyway, when didn’t understand even after following you for six days, I decided to talk it out of you.Bookmark here

And that’s why you pretended to be lost.Bookmark here

No, I really was lost.Bookmark here

What?Bookmark here

Even after talking with, you that day, I still didn’t understand you. You became the subject of my curiosity, a mystery I couldn’t understand no matter what. So, in the end, I just declared you an idiot and moved on.’Bookmark here

You were the idiot!Bookmark here

But I guess that explains that at least.Bookmark here

So, is that why you never contacted me again?Bookmark here

No, I did come to see you, when I heard what had happened, I wanted to see you right away. So, when we came back to Japan, I visited you with my dad. But you seemed completely out of it, I don’t think you even recognized me.Bookmark here

She’s right, I don’t even remember it. Maybe because she came with her father, I might’ve missed her, still…Bookmark here

I was really glad to see you alright on the first day of our school, but you didn’t seem to remember me. I figured it might’ve been because of the trauma you had that day. You probably wanted to forget everything about that day, about that trip. I didn’t want to remind you of that trauma so I didn’t say anything. But did try to give you a hint, by trying to copy your painting, excluding me.Bookmark here

So, that was it, everything is clear now. Why she did what she did. Why she didn’t contact me or tried to remind me of the past. Yes, everything’s clear, everything but one thing.Bookmark here

That still doesn’t explain one thing though.Bookmark here

Huh?Bookmark here

Why did you save me? Why did you try so desperately, to keep hold of my hand? Even though I pulled you alone with me, you still didn’t let go, why?Bookmark here

…Because I felt guilty.Bookmark here

Why? Why would you feel guilty?Bookmark here

Though your painting told me how you felt, I still didn’t understand why you felt that way. So, I tried to observe you again, every time you seemed down, I tried to talk to you, I tried to lift your spirits. I even straight away told you what you should do, but you still didn’t understand, and not only that, you fell into complete darkness because of what I said. And then when you needed me the most I wasn’t there. I abandoned you.Bookmark here

Is that how you felt? You can’t be any more wrong. It was not your fault, it was not anyone’s fault but mine, and mine alone. I was the one who chased you away, who chased all of you away. I did it to myself, so whatever happened to me, I deserved it.Bookmark here

You don’t have to feel guilty. It was my fault, after everything I said why won’t you hate me?Bookmark here

I don’t hate you.Bookmark here

How can you say that after everything I said about you?Bookmark here

Ah… you didn’t say anything about me. I was only a bystander during that showdown of you guys.’Bookmark here

Oh, yeah you’re right. So, then, why didn’t you talk to me after that day?Bookmark here

For the first time during our conversation, she took her gaze off of me. Her face seemed sort of reddish.Bookmark here

I… I was embarrassed!Bookmark here

Why would you be embarrassed to talk to me?Bookmark here

Her face got even redder and soon she turned around to face the wall behind her.Bookmark here

Well… during your trash-talking, Tomonaga mentioned… hmm… well, he said… he said that you… ah… liked me…Bookmark here

This time my face got red, even more than Yukawa.Bookmark here

Oh Shit!!!, damn that Tomonaga! He got me stuck in this situation. What should I do? What should I say? Oh my God. At this point, I think I’ll prefer to die again than to say anything. Actually, I’d like to run out of here. Anything that’d save me from facing her.Bookmark here

I was saved by the return of my old friend, Kenzo, who entered the room, almost seconds after Yukawa finished her sentence.Bookmark here

KENZO- ‘He’s awake?Bookmark here

YUKAWA- ‘Yeah! You talk to him, I’ll be outside.Bookmark here

Yukawa left the room as she said that. I guess she was just as embarrassed as I was.Bookmark here

And now, it’s our reunion again, after one and a half years this time, I and Kenzo meet again. But this time the situation is much more complicated. I have no idea, how I should talk with him. But two things are clear, I need to thank him for saving me when I passed out and I need to apologize to him for what I said that day.Bookmark here

KENZO- ‘Hey.Bookmark here

Hey.Bookmark here

Feeling better?Bookmark here

Yeah, I guess.Bookmark here

Akio, listen, I’m sorry.Bookmark here

What? Why is he apologizing? I’m the one who did wrong to him.Bookmark here

Why are you apologizing?Bookmark here

Because it’s my fault. It’s my fault that it’s come to this.Bookmark here

What? No!Bookmark here

Some best friend I am! I abandoned you when you needed me the most.Bookmark here

What? He feels that way too? But why? He hated me, right? I may have not done anything to Yukawa, but I definitely hurt him. Then why? Is that how all of them feel?Bookmark here

Kenzo! I’m the one who needs to apologize. After what I did that day, I deserve to be abandoned. In fact, it’s me who abandoned you. So, I don’t understand! Why did you help me? Didn’t you say you hated me? Didn’t you say you never wanted to be a part of my life?Bookmark here

That’s true. That’s how I’ve felt at the beginning.Bookmark here

In the beginning?Bookmark here

As a kid, I never had anyone who understood me, you and I are alike in that way, but unlike you, I didn’t even have a mother. Everyone around me compared me with you, even my dad.Bookmark here

But one day, I met Aunty Saeko, she was different from the others. I tried to be mean to her because I knew she was your mom, the guy who everyone says is so much better than me. But she was so kind, I couldn’t resist her forever. In fact, I gave up in just a few hours. She made me realize what it’s like to have a mother.Bookmark here

I started to envy, I started to hate you. In my head, your image was of a spoiled brat, who gets everything in life and looks down on others. I never even wanted to see you.Bookmark here

But then I met you by fate, or to put it more accurately Aunty Saeko brought us together. After I spent time with you, I realized you weren’t the person I thought you were. You were a pretty decent guy. And before I knew it, we became best friends.Bookmark here

Now I understand why Aunty Saeko did what she did. She probably knew she won’t be around for long. So, she introduced us to each other. She must’ve thought the two of kind that we were, would take care of each other. But I failed her.Bookmark here

After her death, I came to hate you again. The child that I was, was not able to understand things clearly, in the face of the pain he was feeling.Bookmark here

I told myself that I was only around you because of Aunty Saeko and left your world.Bookmark here

I was confused. I tried to help you get together with Yukawa truly as a friend, and at the same time, I wanted to prove to everyone that I was better than you. By the time I realized how I truly felt, it was too late.Bookmark here

So, that was it. Now everything makes sense. His first outburst. Him leaving my life and then suddenly showing up again. It all makes sense. I never truly understood him. It wasn’t just him, I was confused as well. Yes, there were so many things that I was wrong about. About him, about myself, and about my feelings for Yukawa. But I know how I feel now.Bookmark here

Kenzo, thank you! For saving my life.Bookmark here

‘…Don’t mention it, bro.Bookmark here

Yep, that’s enough. This much heart-to-heart is quite enough. Any more, and we might never be able to talk with each other ever again, we’d be too embarrassed, at least I would be, we wouldn’t want that, would we? That’s just how boys are, but I’m glad we cleared things up.Bookmark here

So how was it?Bookmark here

KENZO- ‘How was what?Bookmark here

Our results were supposed to come out today, right? How did you do? Did you ace it again? Were you rank 1?Bookmark here

‘…ah about that… are you sure you wanna talk about results?Bookmark here

Yeah, I’m fine now, it wouldn’t bother me even if I wasn’t in the toppers.Bookmark here

Oh, then I guess you’re good!Bookmark here

What do you mean? What’s my rank?Bookmark here

…Ah, 6th.Bookmark here

Oh…Bookmark here

Wait, that’s it?Bookmark here

Yeah, I already told you it wouldn’t bother me.Bookmark here

Why would it? I already failed the entrance exam, so what does it matter on what rank I end up on? Besides, I have a different view of the world now.Bookmark here

So, will you tell me? What was your rank? Did you ace it again or not?Bookmark here

Hmm… No!Bookmark here

What you didn’t?Bookmark here

No, I was rank 4.Bookmark here

What you fell to rank 4? How did this happen?Bookmark here

Well, I guess, since I was only trying to best you, I couldn’t maintain the first position. I didn’t have enough motivation.Bookmark here

Huh… Just like me. He was right we are two of a kind. Two idiots chasing after petty goals. But now I’m curious, who are the top three students?Bookmark here

So, who are the top three?Bookmark here

Oh, rank 3 is Nozomi, and rank 2 is Sasaki.Bookmark here

Ah, I did expect Sasaki but Nozomi, she sure made a great leap, directly from rank 5 to 3? That’s seriously amazing. It’s just like you said Yukawa, everyone with a greater goal made it to the top. But wait, what rank did Yukawa end up on?Bookmark here

And rank1?Bookmark here

Yeah, yeah, the top student in the school, rank 1 is your former crush, Chizuru Yukawa!Bookmark here

Amazing, you’re truly amazing. Can’t say I’m surprised; you definitely deserved that spot. But I’ll have to correct Kenzo on one thing.Bookmark here

You can cut the ‘former’ part.Bookmark here

What? You still like her? But didn’t you say you were over her?Bookmark here

I did, it was not the truth. If anything, I think I was confused just like you.Bookmark here

What was there to be confused about?Bookmark here

I thought that I wasn’t in love with her because I didn’t have any reason to fall for her. I thought I was only attracted towards her beauty.Bookmark here

And? You do have a reason now?Bookmark here

Of course, not just one. I’ve been oblivious, they were always there. So many reasons, so many events that’d make me fall for you. It’s because it was you, and only you, whatever your reasons were, but each time, I was in darkness, each time I was depressed, each time, I felt alone, that no one understands me, that I had no one, you and only you came to me, you grabbed my hand and pulled me out of that darkness. You were the only hope of light each time I fell into the abyss. You saved me so many times, you showed me a new way to live, you gave me a reason to live. How would I not fall for you after all that?Bookmark here

Yep, that’s it. Chizuru Yukawa, I love you.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.