Chapter 7:

Akari (2)

Is my Youth Romantic Comedy A Figment of My Imagination?

Here I am; back in Dream Land. Except there are no pink puffballs here. Just me and my illusionary fantasies. And the object of my fantasy is just there, sat on the other side of this small art room, frantically working away at yet another artistic masterpiece. The day is quickly becoming evening as the red-orange rays pierce through the window and focus in on the beautiful artist's face. My mind has one hell of a lighting engine as it really brings out her hardworking, gentle personality.

“Ahh, Sato. Back again? I’m glad you came, I’d like a second opinion on this piece.”

“Of course.”

Weird. I know this is a fantasy but this feels even more real than before. Maybe as I have been in this room so often recently or that my brain hasn’t framed this as a date but this just feels completely normal. Like another day in the art club.

“Wow… I’m struggling to think of any words to describe this other than… it’s beautiful.”

“Haha. Thanks… I think I might finally be satisfied by a piece I’ve created. It’s a weird, warm feeling but I think I like it.”

Akari’s radiance is blinding. Her self-satisfied smile making my heart skip so many beats I thought I was having a heart attack.

“What was your inspiration for this work then?”


“Come on. You know what you said before about a piece fulfilling its true potential when you really think about what inspires you, right? I was just curious what inspired you to paint such a beautiful piece?”

Weird. I thought it was a fairly normal question but it seems like she’s blushing. Sure, it’s cute as heck but surprising nevertheless.

“…Well, let me flip the question on you, Sato… What do you think the inspiration was. Try looking at the picture deeply and try and find the emotional heart of the image…”

“…I don’t know if I can but I’ll try…Well, the orange sky is warm and inviting so I’d say it is a positive piece. The people all have very expressive faces and seem…truly happy. Even blissful. But… After looking more deeply, all the people seem to be in pairs. Not just a crowd but a group of many pairs of people. I think that this might be, if I may be so bold to say, a very loving piece. As if everything from the sky to the plants and people are just completely and utterly enthralled with one another. So yeah, I’d say my final answer is simply… love.”

“…Correct. Good job! You’ve really improved, Sato!”

“Haha. Thanks. This painting really shows how much you love painting. All of your pieces have been amazing but this is truly something special. Means I have to work harder to keep up, huh?”

I thought I’d keep the conversation light, choosing not to dwell on the ‘love’ in question. I know it’s my fantasy but it doesn’t mean my brain is working with me. It could just be familial love or sexual love or simply friendship love. The Greeks classified seven different types of love, the horny bastards. Can’t get ahead of myself, even here. I smile at Akari and turn away to go and collect my canvas.

“Um, Sato! Can I say something, please…”

Wow. That was surprisingly loud. She seems nervous…

“I…I…I’m in love with you!”



“I… I know that it might come as a surprise to you but, ever since you began coming to the club more often, I’ve been so happy to have somebody else to draw with. To talk about art. Even though you lack the knowledge and skills at this point, you try so hard and throw yourself into your work. It is just… really cool. So I found my eyes drifting away from my canvas and towards your back as we painted.”

Is this really happening? I’m not the one confessing but she is? Nice job, brain!

“So…if you wouldn’t mind, Sato… I would like to hear your answer to my confession…”

“…Ah! Of course! I’m sorry I was taken back a little. I never thought that you would be the one to confess to me.”

Akari, overcome with surprise, takes an audible breath.

“I feel much the same way as you, A-Akari and… I’m in love with you too. Please go out with me!”

I take the traditional Japanese confession pose by forcing my spine into a neat ninety-degree bow and jut my hand out in front of me, urging her to take it.

“Of course I will, Sato!”

I move up from my bowing position and look up to see a charging Akari! Face bright and tears in her eyes, she jumps at me and…

Softness. Is a girl really this soft? It’s only a hug but it fills me with such warmth and comfort that… I never want to leave. This illusion is too great, too grand. The real world is too cruel in comparison. The hug continues… And continues… Does this mean what I think it does, I open my teary eyes and begin to see the world around me fade. I squeeze my beautiful, imaginary girlfriend once more to embed the memory into my psyche before reluctantly letting go.

It was a nice dream. While it lasted.


This was nice. No dramatic reveal that she is secretly a violent stalker or prostituting herself out to older men. I must be in a pretty good place if the most I could come up with is being confessed to by a beautiful upperclassman. Don’t get me wrong, in the real world, I don’t think that we are anywhere near the stage of dating but she has another 5 months before she graduates for us to become even closer. I still have a chance and this time, I’m finally going to take it slow.

The school day once again passes like molasses through a sieve but it does eventually grind to a halt. Before attending the art club, I would often hang around after class to talk to Shun or Sakura but, with the thought of Akari sitting there painting away by her lonesome is something I refuse to abide. I rush out of the classroom as soon as the bell chimes. I think Sakura was trying to say something but I have not a minute to wait. Sorry, my friend but I must continue to build up my affection points with Akari. There is not a mi-

She’s not here. Weird. I must have been too eager. I don’t think I’ve been the first to arrive before. Well, doesn’t matter. I can work on my art in the meantime, whilst I wait.

Almost an hour passes and I must admit, even though the art is coming on nicely, I am starting to worry. She loves art more than anyone I’ve ever met so I can’t imagine her slacking off and skipping. Maybe I should g-

“Sorry Sato, I had to have a meeting with the guidance councillor!”

She’s here! Yes, I would’ve waited for triple the length of time to just glimpse upon her beauty.

Wow. I’m really into her now, aren’t I? As soon as I start coming up with cheap, dodgy poetry, it means I’m smitten.

“No worries. It gave me some time to work on my piece. I actually wanted to ask about-”

“Um, Sato! Can I say something first, please…”

She seems… worried? No, she’s blushing a little bit. This is it! Could she be confessing? Could my dream finally become true!

“I… I… I’m moving to Holland! At the end of the month, actually… I’ve been given a chance to study at an arts university over there and… well, I can’t say no. I… I wanted you to be the first to know, Sato.”


I knew it was all good to be true. Still, I have to be polite and pretend it doesn’t bother me. Time to fight back the tears…

“Wow! That’s incredible. I already knew you were incredible but studying in Europe is really incredible. Congratulations!”

“Thanks Sato… It does mean that I’m going to have to stop coming here, though. There’s a lot of stuff to prepare and I can’t continue as club president like this anyway… Would you take over for me, Sato? The other members are shadow members like you but… I like your art.

“…I will. Thank you, Minamoto.”

“…Please… Just for the little time, we have left here…Call me Akari, ‘kay Yuusuke?”

“Of course, Akari… Well then, why don’t we do some painting. For old time's sake?”

She forces out a pained smile and gently nods her head.

So we paint. We paint and paint and bare ourselves on our canvases. The fleeting time we have left together is not spent speaking and reminiscing but by putting our all into our final pieces of expression. We both finish at near the same time and, without a word, pack up our pieces and clear away one final time. We both grab our bags and prepare to leave. But then:

“Thank you for coming so often, Yuusuke. I’ll definitely remember you.”

She opens her arms and embraces me warmly; like an older sister attempting to reassure her younger sibling. I…I’m filled with sadness but… maybe this is what closure feels like. I wish I could have confessed to her but this sort of ending doesn’t feel all that bad. A confession wasn’t needed. We express all we wished to in our art. And this time… I think that might be enough.


She’s gone…It’s been a month since we last met but I’m now the President of a club I joined due to my own lustful pursuits…No… I love art as much as I loved her. I’m the only one who comes here now. Sometimes a member pops in or the advisor drops by for some coffee. It is lonely here now, sure, but there is something cool about being the president as a first-year.

But my work is certainly suffering from this solitude.

It’s weird. One day ago I felt as if nothing could stop me from painting. As if I’d found a creative outlet to heal my bitter heart. But today… I feel empty. As if a wall has been erected straight through my grieving brain. As if the hopes and dreams I had been pursuing had crumbled in my hands; turning to dust and being blown away by a stiff breeze. Another heartbreak, it seems. The illusions giveth and the illusions taketh away. Goodbye, my sweet Van Gogh. May you paint a world where you can pursue your true passion.

Akari Bad Ending (?)

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