Chapter 12:

Chapter 1 - Part 12: I Saved A Life

I’ll Wait For You At The Train Station

I spent my weekend getting out to have fun. Of course, I was alone. I planned to go to Tokyo Sky Tree [1] today. Since my status have always been like this, I’d assume that having fun by myself would be more peaceful and less tiring. Going out with friends was a hassle, I experienced that in middle school. Because I arrived late from the train’s departure, I first took a rest at the waiting area with a canned drink on my hand. The next train would arrive for a short while. To kill the boredom, I picked my phone from the pocket of my shorts and viewed my Twitter. The new posts entertained me, but sooner I stopped. After returning the phone to my pocket, I noticed the guy sitting beside me. I couldn’t understand why I felt a gloomy atmosphere the first time I saw him. He was also scanning his phone but swiping it fast. He wasn’t reading the content of the posts… and I find it disturbing. He looked like someone of my age, but I sprang up doubts because of his worn-out appearance. It was like he had long devoured by depression and stress.Bookmark here

He glanced at my direction and I averted my gaze. Have I been staring at him for so long? I quenched my thirst by drinking the canned beverage in one go. What am I doing? Yeah right, I panicked. I stood up to place the can to the trash bin, then returned to my seat with my phone clenched.Bookmark here

Pretending that I was busy texting, I tried my best to ignore the guy. I looked at the time and noticed that the next train would arrive in a minute. Most people have gathered nearby the railway to wait. Meanwhile, the guy stood up and walked in the same direction slowly.Bookmark here

I have to go too.Bookmark here

I stood up. Upon turning a glance to my side, I saw a smartphone on the chair. It was from the guy who left. What was the meaning of this? Did he leave it there on purpose so that I could return it to him, thus he’d find a reason for us to start a conversation? That was a creepy idea. Now, what will I do? I turned around and decided to leave it. However, after a few steps I changed my mind and picked it up. I don’t really know but… even though the guy looks a bit different, I was not in the position to judge him. The guy was a meter away from me. I scampered towards him and tapped his back. He turned around in shock.Bookmark here

“H-hey… you left your phone.”Bookmark here

I averted my gaze because I still find him creepy, and I did my best to hand over his phone.Bookmark here

He kindly received it from my hand and said, “Thanks.” Then he added, “Now I don’t have to go there.”Bookmark here

I couldn’t understand what he meant by that. He really headed to the station’s exit the moment I returned the phone. I find the act very weird, but I let the topic go out of my head when the train arrived on time.Bookmark here

On a sunny Monday morning, I woke up and the messages from my old friends made my day. Just a simple good morning on our group chat was enough for us to be connected once again. I talked to them about my experience at Tokyo Sky Tree. I also sent them pictures, and because of it, they noticed that I was alone. The pictures might’ve made them envy me because of my city life, but they also find it as a way to tease me for not finding any other friends. Whenever they tease me that way, I always reply to them that they were enough, because they were my “true” friends.Bookmark here

I get up and prepared for school. It took more than an hour for me to get ready before I headed to the railway station. While I was in the waiting area, I saw the same guy as of yesterday; he looked more fine today because he was wearing a school uniform. He was a student of the all-boys high school nearby. For sure, from now on I’d notice him every day. I took a seat four chairs away from him so that he wouldn’t see me. However, it was all futile if he’d be the one to come forth. Right, though I ignored his presence, he went towards my seat.Bookmark here

“Thanks again.”Bookmark here

I looked at him and tried my best to smile. It felt awkward thinking that my smile was so fake and bitter.Bookmark here

“No problem.”Bookmark here

Then surprisingly, he took a seat on the chair beside me. Seemed like he was eager, or desperate, to start a conversation.Bookmark here

“Thanks for saving me.”Bookmark here

I was bereft of speech. After a few pondering last night, I knew that yesterday he planned an urgent appointment with himself.Bookmark here

“Yesterday, I was really planning to commit suicide.”Bookmark here

The reason why he turned to the exit was because I stopped him; that relieved him from the impulse of taking his life.Bookmark here

“I was prepared yesterday. I get rid of all my hesitations, but when you stopped me, my courage scaled down swiftly.”Bookmark here

Suicide. I have been thinking about that for long, but my strong will and optimism thrived. I know how it feels to think about doing such an act, so I couldn’t just tell him to stop. Suicidal people were those sick of living and understand that killing oneself was a solution to relieve them of the problems that they couldn’t handle. When I was bullied every day in the class, I also think of it as an answer and my last resort. I was surrounded by darkness and was preoccupied with the thought: “Since my everyday was a living hell, wouldn’t it be better to just end my life? If I was playing a game and my character keeps on dying, the best option was to give up and quit”.Bookmark here

“So you planned to take your own life. Why?”Bookmark here

Talking to a stranger with “Suicide” as the main topic was strange, but I think lending him an ear would help. He was the one to approach me, and I sensed that he was seeking refuge. He hasn’t freed himself from having suicidal thoughts. Once the train arrived, we’d eventually have our separate ways. I’ve decided to spend my time waiting by hearing him out.Bookmark here

He smiled nervously at my query and answered, “I’m sure you won’t believe me. I’m just bored and afraid of taking responsibility. Sounds stupid, isn’t it?”Bookmark here

“It’s not stupid. That’s always what life is. It’s boring, shallow, and dark.”Bookmark here

I answered my own opinion of the matter. I believe we were on the same boat. At most times, I feel bored. That was the reason why I do my best to visit new places that would help me kill boredom. However, it would only help me distract myself, it doesn’t give me happiness. In due time, I’d get sick of doing the same activity. I haven’t searched for a good interest yet, so I was growing weary about my boring future.Bookmark here

Despite that…Bookmark here

He continued, “I’m the type of person who doesn’t get satisfied with what I have. When I found something interesting to do, I’m so bad at it and people always reject my hard work, because of that I lose my motivation. Also, my future is already set in stone because I’d take over the family business. Even if I found something that I want, it’s futile. I hate the future that awaited me, and I don’t want to take responsibility on doing something that I don’t like.”Bookmark here

“Doesn’t it sound like you’re just complaining about your life? This is just my opinion but… you’re not alone. All people feel the same way. No one’s content, we always have things that we hate.” I elaborated, “I think those people who have found something that they want to do is also struggling. Those who have dreams are blinded by their dreams. They’ll do whatever it takes to achieve it. There’ll be a time when they wish to give up and get sick of it. There’ll be an instance that they’ll hate what they usually love. There’ll be a moment that they’ll curse their passion.”Bookmark here

I looked at him with all the optimism that I have. I smiled and added, “An artist will work every day to improve his skill in drawing. A writer will write every day to expand his skill in writing. A singer will practice every day to have a good voice. You may say that they love what they do, but deep inside the compassion lies their frustration. You can’t be the best all the time, after all. How about those who haven’t found their passion yet? Here’s my answer: they still have freedom.”Bookmark here

Staring at my face, he inclined his head and parroted my words, “Freedom?”Bookmark here

I nodded.Bookmark here

“Yes. Those people who haven’t found something that they love are still free to choose what they want to be. Unlike those who find their dreams, they’ve already fixed their attention to it. However, you and I, for example, are still free to do anything that gives us interest cuz we have plenty of time. Great things have yet to come, that’s what I often think whenever I feel bored, then I try my best to find something that’ll entertain me.”Bookmark here

I continued to the other topic, “In regards to your issues about taking over your family business, here’s the only thing that I can say. Learn to love it. Instead of thinking that it’s gonna be your responsibility, think of it as a ‘privilege’ given to you by your parents. I’m sure they trust you, and all you have to do is to fulfill their trust.”Bookmark here

He dropped his gaze at my response; he smiled and replied, “I didn’t expect those words to come out from a stranger. Thank you for encouraging me to stand up once again. You know, I always have fear about living. I feared that no matter what I do, I’d remain insignificant to anyone. Today, all that I do is to obey my parents, to continue my studies and attain their expectations. I don’t feel like living my own life honestly.”Bookmark here

“I was once like that. When I was a kid I was bullied. All that I wished each day was to escape my prison cell. Fortunately, my wish came true. I have a few friends and they’re far away but, I believe that I could rely on them whenever I have problems. What I mean is, we have our very own time clock. You too would find meaning in your life, you’d find something good so be patient.”Bookmark here

He smirked, as though in disbelief of what I was saying. “I lost. Today I found something great.”Bookmark here

“That’s good to hear.” As I smiled at him, the train arrived with no delay.Bookmark here

“Okay, I gotta go now.” I stood up and turned around. I looked back and queried, “Are you gonna ride the same train?”Bookmark here

He stood up and nodded, “Yeah.”Bookmark here

“Let’s go.”Bookmark here

I went ahead of him and entered. He on the other hand turned back and said, “My bag…” He looked everywhere, “I left it somewhere.”Bookmark here

“That’s bad. The door’s gonna close soon.”Bookmark here

“You can go ahead then, I’ll look for it first.”Bookmark here

I nodded with a smile, “Okay. Hope you’ll find it.”Bookmark here

He bowed his head, “Thanks again for talking to me.”Bookmark here

“No problem.”Bookmark here

I see. I haven’t asked for his name yet.Bookmark here

“We haven’t introduced ourselves to each other. What’s your name?”Bookmark here

He stared at my face. “I’m Akamatsu Yasuhiro. And you?”Bookmark here

Before I could reply, the doors closed. All that I could do was to wave him farewell. It was the first time I talked to a guy of my age. I know that the topic was kinda serious but… to be honest, relieving him from all his worries gave me a purpose. Because of simple and honest words of advice that encouraged him, I saved his life. I was aware that my words would fade in lesser time, but even if an hour of extended lifespan was raised, that would mean a lot to me. I never thought of it as a method to prolong his suffering, rather, what I gave him was a small hope -an evanescent ember in his dark world.Bookmark here

It has been a while since I found myself having worth. Through all the months, I haven’t been productive at anything. Yes, I study well and maintained my good grades, but that was just a common course in my life. Today was different. I was happy about it. What if I run into him again? I guess I’d just say “hi” and get on with a casual conversation. Unlike Yamada-san, Akamatsu-san’s problems don’t give me trouble. I was listening to his stories and follow up a piece of advice, it wasn’t like I’d get involved in something dangerous and horrifying. Yeah, accompanying him was much better.Bookmark here

They both needed help, that was out of the question. Nonetheless, I have the authority to choose the person that I’d give a hand. My conclusion? It was to stay safe.Bookmark here

I was surrounded by depressed people. Both were the opposite. Yamada-san’s daily life was a living hell and she doesn’t feel her importance to her parents. Meanwhile, Akamatsu-san doesn’t have people troubling him around, yet he couldn’t obtain happiness. He was being tortured by boredom. His parents have high expectations for him, but the outlook must be paid by his unwilling responsibility. I couldn’t conclude that Yamada-san’s life was worse. There was no level or phase when it comes to problems. Either way, once we’ve been trapped into the spiral of anxiety and depression, the result would stay the same. Depression, if not treated, would always proceed to its final stage which was “Suicide”.Bookmark here

Depressive disorder was like cancer, it begins with anxiety, followed by depression, sequenced to despair, and ends in suicide. It was no doubt one of the top terminal illnesses in the world which a few people notice. I was aware of such a disease, so I do my best to accept the truth but remain optimistic.Bookmark here

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Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー Tōkyō Sukaitsurī) is a broadcasting, restaurant, and observation tower in Sumida, Tokyo, Japan. It became the tallest structure in Japan in 2010 and reached its full height of 634.0 metres (2,080 ft) in March 2011, making it the tallest tower in the world, displacing the Canton Tower, and the second tallest structure in the world after the Burj Khalifa (829.8 m/2,722 ft).
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