Chapter 7:

Inevitable Passage「Mitsuki」

Two Points

1Bookmark here

Spring.Bookmark here

Today marked the end as well as a new beginning. Looking back on my three years of middle school, I've never really changed.Bookmark here

I started middle school with two friends and ended it with one.Bookmark here

Just when I thought I could change—he left me. It wasn’t like we had a choice in the matter. We were just kids, after all.Bookmark here

When I found out, I slowly counted the days go by before his move, like plucking petals out of a flower one by one.Bookmark here

Since the day we parted, things had returned to how they used to be, to a time where he and I never met.Bookmark here

I'm a selfish person, so I can't help but feel envious. Taiyo-kun is making a lot of friends there in Yokohama, while I'm stuck here, never changing a thing from three years ago. He must have met great people. He always talked to me about them whenever he called.Bookmark here

Whenever he did, I couldn't help but feel my heart ache. I should have been happy for him—so why...?Bookmark here

Taiyo-kun was an idiot.Bookmark here

It felt as if the thread tying us together moved farther and farther away. I could feel the string tugging at my fingers ever so slowly.Bookmark here

I was afraid.Bookmark here

If I pulled back, would it snap?Bookmark here

“Wanna grab a drink, Mitsuki?” asked Haruto-kun.Bookmark here

The reassuring sound of his voice pulled me back from deep thought.Bookmark here

As we sauntered down the concrete road—the beautiful sakura petals surrounding us danced at the mercy of the wind.Bookmark here

These fluttering petals represented the days we’ve been apart.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I'm kinda thirsty right now,” I answered.Bookmark here

2Bookmark here

Haruto handed me a can of cola.Bookmark here

“Thanks~” I accepted it. Opening the can, I brought it to my lips and sipped.Bookmark here

Refreshing.Bookmark here

We were at the park where we three used to play. It was empty today, it seemed. The swings only slightly swayed from the wind. I could distinctly remember the three of us playing there. Taiyo-kun always liked the swings the most, I liked the slides, and Haruto-kun liked the bars.Bookmark here

“So, uh, Mitsuki. Somethin’ bothering you?”Bookmark here

“I was just thinking of Taiyo-kun, that’s all...”Bookmark here

Gulping down the rest of my cola, I threw it inside the trash bin just beside me.Bookmark here

“I miss the days where we would just play here all day,” Haruto-kun said. He approached one of the swings and grasped the chains.Bookmark here

“We’re not kids anymore... We’ll be high schoolers soon.”Bookmark here

“Do you wish things never changed?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Not necessarily. As long as time continues to pass, change is inevitable.”Bookmark here

“Inevitable, huh?” I murmured to myself.Bookmark here

Does that mean that my time is frozen?Bookmark here

I looked up to the clear afternoon sky. Reaching out my hand towards the shimmering sun, the ring on my finger shimmered similarly.Bookmark here

“What’s wrong...” I said as I approached Haruto-kun.Bookmark here

“—with acting like a kid sometimes?”Bookmark here

I sat on the wooden swing. It felt hot.Bookmark here

“You’re right.”Bookmark here

I heard Haruto-kun’s voice. Then, he joined me as he sat on a swing adjacent to mine.Bookmark here

“Mitsuki, are you gonna continue track?”Bookmark here

“Yeah. After all, it’s the only thing I have left.”Bookmark here

We spent the next half hour or so playing together in that park like little kids.Bookmark here

That’s right—even before Taiyo-kun came into my life. Haruto-kun was always there for me.Bookmark here

Haruto-kun changed my life just as much. Although we were the same age, he was like an older brother to me.Bookmark here

At that moment, we relived our old memories as childhood friends.Bookmark here

All of a sudden, my phone rang.Bookmark here

“A call?” Haruto-kun asked.Bookmark here

The identity of the caller took me by surprise.Bookmark here

“It’s Taiyo-kun.”Bookmark here

I answered the call, putting the phone to my ears.Bookmark here

“H-hello?” I asked in a low voice.Bookmark here

“Yo, Mitsuki.”Bookmark here

I could barely hear his voice on the other end, yet my face lit up with excitement.Bookmark here

“S-so, what’s up? Why the sudden call?”Bookmark here

“Sudden? Isn’t it yours and Haruto’s graduation today?”Bookmark here

I was so surprised that I completely forgot.Bookmark here

“Y-yeah...”Bookmark here

As the call continued, I could feel my heart pound harder.Bookmark here

“Congratulations.”Bookmark here

“Thanks and you too... Isn’t your graduation ceremony a week from now?”Bookmark here

“Yup. I’m still rehearsing my speech.”Bookmark here

“Oh yeah, you’re the Valedictorian, right? You’re really amazing, Taiyo-kun.”Bookmark here

Taiyo-kun was always smart. I couldn’t help but admire him.Bookmark here

“I feel a bit embarrassed... I had a lot of friends here who helped me a ton. It was because of them and especially you that I was able to make it.”Bookmark here

I became silent.Bookmark here

Why me? It wasn’t like I helped him a lot. I only gave him words of support.Bookmark here

I tried to search for what to say next. However, the awkward silence only continued.Bookmark here

“Frankly, I think you’re much more amazing, though... You’re really strong, far stronger than me. Even after all this time, you were never lonely.”Bookmark here

Why?Bookmark here

“Unlike me, you have a dream. You’ve already found purpose. You said you wanted to be a professional athlete?”Bookmark here

Why?Bookmark here

“You’ve already got your future planned. You’re the amazing one.”Bookmark here

Why?Bookmark here

Why do you keep insisting that I’m better than you?Bookmark here

That person didn’t exist. That Mitsuki didn’t exist.Bookmark here

I’m not lonely? To hell with that! I was always lonely. Ever since that day, I’ve been nothing but lonely. I only put up an act whenever I talk with you, yet you never realize it.Bookmark here

I’m strong? I’ve done nothing but rely on you.Bookmark here

I have a dream? A purpose? Even now I was still unsure.Bookmark here

I have my future planned? Don’t kid with me!Bookmark here

I’m amazing? I was anything but amazing.Bookmark here

At that moment, I wanted to barrage him with those words. To tell him that he was wrong. That Mitsuki wasn’t me, I should know it best. I was never that person, not for you, not for Haruto-kun, not for anyone.Bookmark here

I’m lonely. I’m weak. I’m lost. I’m a mess.Bookmark here

Taiyo-kun was an idiot.Bookmark here

“Mitsuki?”Bookmark here

I heard him call out my name. What should I say? What was the right thing to say?Bookmark here

“Mitsuki, are you alright?”Bookmark here

A second calling.Bookmark here

“Why aren’t you saying anything?”Bookmark here

A third calling.Bookmark here

It seems that we were both idiots.Bookmark here

After all—Bookmark here

“I’m fine.”Bookmark here

A lie was all I could manage. As always, I lied.Bookmark here

I was stupid. I just couldn’t tell him the truth. What? What was I so afraid of?Bookmark here

I—Bookmark here

“Mitsuki—”Bookmark here

The call abruptly ended.Bookmark here

I hung up.Bookmark here

I sat back down on the swing, returning the phone to my pocket.Bookmark here

“Hey, Haruto-kun...”Bookmark here

“Did something happen?”Bookmark here

“It’s fine. Let’s go home.”Bookmark here

I stood up and looked at Haruto-kun.Bookmark here

“Mitsuki... why?”Bookmark here

I widened my eyes, I felt something warm graze my cheeks.Bookmark here

“Why.. what...?”Bookmark here

“Why are you crying?”Bookmark here

“Huh? Cry?”Bookmark here

I ran my fingers down my cheeks. I felt something wet.Bookmark here

It was—Bookmark here

“Tears...?”Bookmark here

Haruto-kun suddenly stood up. However, I dropped down and crouched as the tears flowed endlessly.Bookmark here

“Taiyo-kun you... idiot...”Bookmark here

I desperately tried to wipe them off, but they just wouldn’t stop.Bookmark here

“Of course I’m lonely! How could I not be?! How can you not see that?! How can you not notice?!”Bookmark here

Those feelings I couldn’t tell him, shouting with everything I had, I released those pent-up emotions.Bookmark here

“I’m lonely... I feel... so cold... So please...”Bookmark here

Then—an embrace. I was blanketed by gentle warmth.Bookmark here

However, it was not Taiyo-kun.Bookmark here

“It’s alright, Mitsuki... I’ll be here, whatever you have to say—you can tell me, and I’ll listen.”Bookmark here

His words—Haruto-kun’s comforting words only served to fuel my tears. Now, there was no way they could ever stop flowing.Bookmark here

“I love him so much... I love Taiyo-kun so much...”Bookmark here

“Mitsuki, hold out your hand,” Haruto said.Bookmark here

I didn’t know why but I followed.Bookmark here

“For you.”Bookmark here

It was a button from his Gakuran uniform. It was the second button of his uniform—I understood now.Bookmark here

“Let’s go home,” he whispered into my ears.Bookmark here

He helped me stand up. My body still trembled, my voice still stuttered, my emotions still wavered.Bookmark here

I only nodded.Bookmark here

Debrishi Kar
Abraham B. A.
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