Chapter 0:

1

When The Ocean Waves Called Out To Me


What lies deep within someone’s heart? Is it something for others to know? Or is it for oneself only? I never knew the answer to that. But today I wanted to know the truth, know what lies deep inside someone’s heart, and what it means to follow one’s own heart, when I saw her face, shun of any emotions, standing as if was devoid of even the least of life itself, yet sparkling beautifully under the moonlight.

But even in that emotionless face, I felt a glare of hatred and anguish, whether, towards me or life, I didn’t know at that moment.

After I came home from school today, exhausted from the everyday lectures, I could feel my soul calling for a hug in stoic hope. The weekly jump magazine was just out, so my mind was more concerned with the latest chapter of the manga I was reading than anything else.

I spent my afternoon like that, idly reading the magazine or doing other things up until evening, after which the sunset blossoms red and gold, and I usually come to my room to study or complete the home-works the teachers had given. While I was going through the books in my bag, I found a small note rugged between a book quite heftily. It was barely fitting in-between the pages of the book, wrinkled as a result.

“A love letter?” I thought as I pulled the note out from there. The page was rutted, and from the outlook, it didn’t seem the writer had taken much care during its composition. Quite the devastation to look at, only if it was a love letter. I looked for the name of the person who sent it, which, to my surprise, was from one of my classmates, Mizuki Yuki.

“Dear Aki,

This will be the last you will hear from me. Before leaving, I wanted to say something to you, so I left this note behind for you to read.

When the first time we met, you stirred something deep inside my heart. You couldn’t understand it, but to me the pain was too hard to live along with. There used to be days that I thought I was okay, or at least that I was going to be. We'd be hanging out somewhere and everything would just fit right, and I would think, 'It will be okay if it can just be like this forever.' But of course, nothing can ever stay just how it is forever. It’s crazy, isn’t it, when you want to live as you like, but your heart says otherwise. I just don’t know what to do any more, it feels like the inside of me has become hollow. Can you tell me if there is something left in my heart, something I can cling onto, or is it too deep for anyone to dive into?

That said, if you are reading this, don’t come looking for me. This is a goodbye, for the both of us. I will end it all, from where it all started. Thank you for everything.

Mizuki Yuki”

It took me a while, as my mind went blank after reading the lines in succession. “Yuki…” I read the name correctly. After all, that’s one name I can never get wrong. But at the same time, my entire existence was fighting against myself to accept that.

“What is this?”

My eyes weren’t wrong to see it, though I wish they were. It was a note left behind by Yuki. She had left it behind, only for me to read. Only me.

But why had I read the note in the first place? Only if I didn’t pull it out , only if I hadn’t pulled the books out from my bag in the first place.

“How can it be? What is even happening?” My body fell on the bed as if it was stripped of all of its strength. I still can’t believe something like this is happening. But why? What is it that I don’t know about her? Even yesterday we chatted over line for so long, then how did it end up like this now?

I can feel an unease in my heart. I am scared. Is this happening all because of me?

“What am I thinking?” I forced a slap over my cheeks, “This is no time thinking anything like that.”

I turned my phone on, and the first thing I noticed was a pop-up of an unread message sent by Yuki. “A message from her?” I pressed the pop-up message, when suddenly my phone slipped from my grip. My hands were getting sweaty, and shivering, along with me. I rubbed my hands with my trousers and picked the phone back up.

Our conversation yesterday surfaced over the screen. I scrolled down to the very bottom of the message bar, when reading her final message, I turned the phone off.

I bit on my lips, as hard as if they would bleed. Everyone is kidding with me right now, even my dearest friend. What am I supposed to do now?

I got up and sat upright. I tried to call her, but her phone was switched off. After that, I scrolled up and down in my contact list repeatedly, and contacted every one of her friends I could, but no one knew anything about her.

My hands were still sweating, mushing the screen with the touch of my fingertips. I heftily rubbed the screen with my trousers, while checking if I missed someone or not. It was one after another, but every time it only shattered my hope's bit by bit.

“Still no clue.” I placed my arm before my forehead. I sat on my chair, violently swinging my head left and right, trying to think what to do now. I have already contacted everyone I could, but to no avail. I clenched my fist and slammed my arm on the table.

She was clear that she didn’t want me to come looking for her, but I still couldn’t accept it. I want to hear what she has to say, and even if for that, I will keep looking for her. And I know that if I gave up now, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself ever again. My heart was aching because of my ignorance, forgetting about that promised place long forgotten, where she might still be waiting for me.

Suddenly a thought came to me, and I picked the letter that was idly lying on the table, going through it once more.

‘I will end it all, from where it all started’

“The place where it all started.” It might just be my imagination, but still it’s my last hope. I didn’t wait to take a breath. I grabbed my phone and letter and stuffed them inside my pocket, while heading outside.

My destination, our school, the place where we had first met and where everything had begun, where our fates first intertwined.

It was already night by then, and the school gates were already closed. It’s the same place crowded by souls in daylight, yet now creaked with the lullaby of the crickets. I climbed the rusty fence and entered the school building. It was quite dark in the hallways, like a pencil sketch, a masterpiece made by the easel of a creator. Through the other side the stray moonlight seeped to abruptly fade the sketch of the pencil lines.

It was so silent that my footsteps resonated back to my ears, while the crickets were on cue with their serenade. I slowly continued heading towards the rooftop.

While the sound of my footsteps swung back and forth to my ears, my mind was filled with other thoughts. “Will I be able to find her or not, or even if I am, is it already too late?”

All kinds of emotions were flowing through me, and I was being swept away by all of them, like a violent wave gushing towards me. Yet I kept on hanging onto the fainting glimmer of hope still left in me.

But after reaching there, when my eyes set sight on the rooftop, a wave of relief washed over my face. Yuki was standing there on the rooftop rails, the same place where she first called me out on that cloudy day, when the sun was concealed behind the overcast sky.

While she was standing there, hearing my footsteps, she looked back towards me, and our eyes met each other. Her eyes, her glare, it was throbbing with pain. But what resonated to me in her eyes was a wound stuck deep in her heart, a pain she couldn’t bear any more.

“Yuki?” Hearing me uttering her name, she turned her gaze away from me. “Yuki, please look at me. I’m here now, so don’t worry.”

“Why are you here? Did I tell you to come.”

“No, you didn’t. But this is just too big of a joke to be playing!”

“Does it seem like a joke to you?” Her words were sharp and direct, “Who are you to even say something like that?”

“Yuki, you are my dear friend, as I am to you, so I want to really know what you are feeling.”

She looked back. “You should know, you were my best friend. You were. I know you loved me. I loved you too. But I didn't love you like you loved me. I don't hate you for that.”

“What are you saying, you don’t love me? Then what about the…”
” I know when you think about how I went, you'll get it. I was always uneasy about being alive. The idea of being dead makes me feel clear. When I think of it, it makes me think of peace. It makes me happy. I am looking forward to it, to the absence of everything. And so I want you to be happy for me, that this is better for me. That I found what I needed. I know you won't be. But it's the last thing I want. I want you to be happy.”

The moon was shining right above her, casting an uneven shadow that connected her to the floor below, as if it was a message by the moon that it does shine. I couldn’t see her face properly, but even then inside my decayed vision I could see the reflection of her tears that were rolling from her cheeks.

It’s not a matter of ending one's own life, because even after I was so close to her, I couldn’t tell the pain she was going through. As her friend, I am nothing more than a pathetic loser.

She kept standing there and looking down, as if to get a broader view of the world in front of her. While she was staring in front of her, trying to catch her attention, I broke the silence.

“I don’t care whatever you feel about me. But please come down from there. It’s too dangerous.”

“Isn’t that obvious!?” She yelled, as she hit me as if nothing in her life was so obvious as this is to others. Her voice was softer than usual, but the words carried more than what they meant.

As she looked away from me again, I tried to grab her attention once more.

“Yuki, please step down. You fall down like that.”

“Then why don’t you come and pull me down...” Her voice carried less anguish, but a clear feeling of loneliness. “Or do you want to tell me that you don’t care any more?”

I truly am a pathetic loser.” My legs are shivering, I didn’t even have the resolve to move. She is standing there, waiting for someone to pull her down. Yet still… yet still…

“Yuki, don’t say that you are willing to die. Don’t say that you have nothing left.”

She didn’t say anything in return. “ ‘Her dear friend?’ Give me a break. If that’s so, then why is it like this? Just why? Oh Kami-sama, I beg of you, please give me one last ounce of strength, I beg of you.

My mind was crushing me down, yet with what strength was left inside of me, I started walking towards her. Her eyes didn’t blink a second back at me, as if she was waiting for the slight feeling of her hand being grabbed by someone else and being pulled down. But that was just my imagination.

“I guess I will be a loser till the end…”

They were like still images engraved in my eyes. Before I could reach her, she jumped off of the rails.

“Yuki…!!” I screamed as I rushed towards the rails, though tripping over an edge of a stone and falling down. I had stretched my hands as far as I could, yet it wasn’t even barely enough to reach her.

The last thing I could remember was hearing a loud shriek, possibly from a passer-by who noticed something unusual and came to check, and the blue and red lights, little more than smudgy illuminations in my memory.

Along with the police, people from the neighborhood had gathered in front of the school gates, trying to see what all the ruckus was about.

Later I was taken to the police station for questioning, as I was the last person to see her. While I was sitting there in one of the rooms, I heard Yuki’s mother as she broke down in tears in the other room. To me, it felt like her inner soul was pleading for help and there, though at that moment, the person who could reach there and give the kind of nurture to soothe those salty tears was the person she had lost forever.

I was traumatized, an eerie pain engulfed my heart. I pressed my hands over my ears, trying to block the sound around me and everything, though the sound of Yuki’s mom crying still resonated in the back of my mind. I couldn’t put it off. Even when the officers were questioning me, all I could hear was that same sound of crying ringing back and forth in my head.

After the officers were done questioning me, they let me go, realizing that they can’t let me stay here in the state I was in for any longer. As I was walking down the exit, suddenly out of nowhere, Yuki’s mom appeared right in front of me. She grabbed my collars as she violently shook me, though soon after I broke into tears.

“ ‘Why have you killed my daughter? Why have my only family taken away from me?’ -Just say it. It’s all my fault, so make me feel guilty!”

But she couldn’t say anything, and neither could I. I was at a loss for words, my mind not being able to construct even a simple word to console her. All I could do was stand there silently and accept her rage, after which I gently made her let go of my collars.

As I was coming out from the station, I looked back and said one last thing.

“I am sorry.” My eyes were like buckets filled to the brim, and that anytime they would trip over and wash everything away. I held onto my tears as I walked away, not letting a single drop flow through my eyes.

After returning home, I was first greeted by dad with a rather unpleasant look on his face.

“Where have you been at this hour?” He asked with a strict tone, stubborn as it seemed to get an answer out of me.

“A friend's place. He had something important to discuss with me, though…”

“Though what?”

“Sadly, we didn’t get the chance.” I replied, as my voice ringed my exhaustion, like an empty husk rattling.

“And what’s so important to discuss at this hour?” I stepped in front of me, blocking my path.

“You don’t need to know that much. Just let me go.”

“First, tell me where you have been.”

“Which friend?”

I had finally lost my cool. “That doesn’t concern you!” I yelled at him with the ounces of anger left inside of me, followed by a wave of guilt that flowed over my face. My eyes were wide open, and my body seemed like it was about to break down.

Dad was startled as I raised my voice at him. He might have become angry for that fact alone, but for some reason he didn’t even say a thing in return, just leaving me alone and went to his room.

I also went to my room and closed the door. I fell on my bed, as it made a creaking sound, maybe a way for it to say ‘Welcome back.’ I pushed my face against my pillow, as it accepted me with its soft and gentle grace.

“Is it okay to cry now?”

Tears rolled down my eyes as if my pain had at last condensed into a deluge of rain. My heart feels like it was stampeded by a bull, then fiercely torn apart into pieces with its tusks. I kept crying, and didn’t hold back a single tear that was left in my eyes. Even if tears are sure to cleanse a person's soul of all its wounds, I don’t think any amount of tears would be enough to make me feel amended right now, but even then they won’t stop flowing.

While I was having dinner with my parents, I kept silent about everything that happened at the school. The three of us were silent for the most part, occasionally giving a look at each other, though not a single word was spoken. But even in that myriad silence, I could hear the beats of my heart, like a clock striking at midnight. I tried acting all normal, though I wonder if they can see through it or not.

After having dinner I quickly went back to my room again. I turned off the lights, and went to bed without doing anything else. But a goodnight sleep was now like a long forgotten tale for me.

I opened my eyelids, though all I could still see was the same darkness that fathomed the room. I rolled to my right, as I felt something near my feet. It was the jump magazine I bought today.

“Dammit, I can’t take it any more!” I threw the magazine in a corner of the room. I got up from my bed and opened the window to get a breather, while gazing outside at the skyline, covered by buildings lit by various colors. The moonlight entered the room, illuminating a corner of the fading darkness.

I wonder why Yuki couldn't accept my love for her. Was all that was left in her heart something that only gave her a reason to die, a wound that she couldn’t heal for herself?

I couldn’t save her that moment, or maybe I could have never saved her, even if I had done things differently. At the end, I was scared, scared to face the reality. So I left it alone.

They say there is always a solution to the mistakes we make. For those which can be fixed, I could just reflect on them and say that I could’ve done this and that. But, if I can’t fix that mistake, what do I do then? Can someone please tell me?

I turned my phone on, from where I went to her line messages. “What is it that you feel, Yuki?”

I love you, Aki.

Nellien
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