Chapter 9:

Closure

The Weight Of Ignorance


I walked up to the closest flower store and bought some Chrysanthemum flowers. Akira wasn’t a big fan of flowers but I’d hoped she would appreciate these. After buying it, I had realized that I hadn’t spoken to Kokone about any of this. Kokone had kept quiet about my mother’s visit to the funeral so that I didn’t feel bad. I hate to think about it but that girl was more mature than I thought. I quickly took the train and went to her house. When I reached the house, my legs were trembling. I always wanted to visit Akira’s parents to apologize but it was for this reason exactly that I’d been avoiding it.

I rang the bell and a small girl that I’d spent a lot of time with opened the door. She looked shocked to see me there.

“Is it weird for me to be here?” I said to the dumbfounded girl while scratching my head

“N-no it's not like that. It’s just that ever since that day you’ve never visited”

“C-come on in” She said

“Are those flowers perhaps for your cute little sister?” she said looking at me with a smug look.

“No, they’re for your sister” and now she looked even more dumbfounded

“That means-”

“Yes, I’ve postponed this long enough” I said with my hardened resolve

Kokone responded to me with a smile.

“By the way Kokone, Thanks for everything up until now. I know you didn’t bring up my mother’s visit to the funeral so that I didn’t feel bad. All along, I thought about how I wanted to protect you but in reality, I was the one being protected by you”

“It’s fine. I still love being pampered by you” she said with a smile and saying something completely unrelated.

“Kokone, there’s still something I need to talk to you about”

“It’s about that girl, isn’t it?”

“Still smart as ever huh”

“Well, I grew up with you and Akira after all”

We both burst into a laugh after that. It was like the old times, it really gave me a sense of nostalgia.

“Kokone, I want to be her friend. I want to have fun with her BUT I still want you in my life and I swear Kokone, you will be the most important person in my life. No one will replace you.”

“Well, I know no one can replace me. Even if they tried, they probably won’t be as cute as me” she said

“That’s right”

“Yuuto, I’m sorry about the other day. I was being selfish. I always wanted you to make friends and get over Akira but when it actually happened I got a little stressed and scared that you wouldn’t want me around anymore.”

I hugged Kokone

“Kokone, I always want you to be with me as my little sister. I want you to help me if I ever go back to pathetic. I would’ve been a mess if not for you right about now.”

Kokone was usually calm and reserved but when I said these words she burst into tears. She never explained why she was crying but I assumed that the mood had become a little emotional.

After a while, I realized that I still had something to ask her.

“Kokone, can I ask you something? Why do you like me? I was just a mess throughout the last month.”

“Huh? That’s obvious. We all have our ups and downs but you’re a kind and nice big brother to me, so I’ll always love you”

So my mother was right, there wasn’t really any one specific reason that a person likes someone else.

“And.. why do you like me?” she asked me with a grin

“Because you’re my cute little sister” I said as we both began to laugh again.

Just as I was leaving, Akira’s parents had entered the house.

“Yuuto? It’s been soo long. Has Kokone been any trouble recently?”

“Mother, why do you think that I would be trouble for Yuuto” she said with a pout

“No, Ma’am Kokone has been helping me out a lot for the last few weeks. Once again, I’d like to apologize for what happened to Akira and for not showing up for the funeral” I said as I bowed

“Lift your head kid, We know you regret everything you’ve done. Life isn’t about where to start or the middle, it’s about where you finish” Akira’s father said to me.

“Where are you off to Yuuto? Why don’t you stay for dinner? I can make some extra”

“Sorry ma’am but I need to visit Akira now”

“Good luck kid”

I bowed before I left.

****

I took a cab to the cemetery.

It took a while but we eventually reached the cemetery. I got off and paid for the cab. The closer I got to the entrance the more nervous I was. Should I have not come? Maybe I could still turn back now? But did I want to? While having these thoughts, I reached the entrance.

I walked in with my legs trembling. I walked around looking for the grave and then finally found one grave that said: Akira Kanazawa. Everything I didn’t want to face was right in front of me now. I didn’t want to turn back. I knew if I ran away now, I’d never be able to forgive myself. I hardened my resolve and sat down in front of her grave. I placed the flowers on the grave and look straight at the name “Akira Kanazawa”

“Akira, I want to say this to you one more time and properly- I’m sorry for betraying you. I won’t make excuses, it was my fault for being afraid. I know there’s nothing in this world I can do to make up for what I did, but I’m trying my hardest to ensure I never act cowardly again.”

Now that I had started talking, I felt a bit more at ease. The more I shared with Akira, the better I felt. I told her about the fight Kokone and I had. I told her about the new friend I’d made. I told her about the pathetic routine I went through after her death.

“Akira, I’m sorry for everything that happened but I’ve decided something- I want to be happy, I want to love myself. I know what I did was unspeakable but even so, I want to try my best to live a happy life. Don’t worry, I’ll live a full life for both of us. I’ll take care of Kokone. So, Akira whenever I come to where you are, please welcome me without holding too much of a grudge.”

After speaking for what felt like hours. I got up and got ready to leave.

“Thank You, Akira. For everything” I said one more time before leaving.

I left the cemetery and took another cab but not to my home. I was going to visit my aunt.

****

I took the bullet train to visit my aunt. It was about a two and half hour ride. I was a bit nervous but after visiting Akira’s grave, I felt a lot more confident. I felt like I’d finished the biggest part of my fears and anxieties. I hope she forgives me. I got off the train and took a cab to my aunt’s house. I hadn’t told her about my arrival since I wanted to surprise her.

It was only a 10 minute ride from the station. I stood outside a house that had been the same since my childhood. It was a fairly large apartment. Come on Yuuto, You visited Akira, this couldn’t be harder than that. I rang the bell and the woman who opened me was completely surprised. Upon seeing me she fell into tears almost instantly.

“Y-Y-Yuuto?”

“I’m sorry for not calling before coming” I said with a small smile while scratching my head.

“Don’t be dumb. I’m so happy you finally decided to visit.”

“Yuuto, I’m sorry” she suddenly blurted out to me. I didn’t know why she was apologizing but it was a heartfelt apology.

“What happened aunt?” I asked her

“I knew that you heard your uncle and me fight. I knew that you had made your decision to go to Tokyo. I wanted to stop you and tell you to continue living with us but I didn’t. I’m sorry. I’m really really sorry.” She said while looking down.

“I never hated you or was angry you Aunt. I had thought that maybe uncle was right and it was true. I was getting in the way of you having your own family but I never stopped considering you my family. I tried my hardest to keep my distance so that I wouldn’t be a bother. Just hearing you say this has made me realize how much of a dumbass I was”

“Language Yuuto” she definitely a mother to me. Even if she wasn’t my birth mother, I still loved her.

“Yeah yeah” I said while shooting her a smile.

We went inside and I saw my uncle who also gave me a heartfelt apology. I went to meet my cousin who was 2 years old. He was a cute little guy. His name was Yuusuke. After a while, we sat to eat dinner. We had some curry and rice.

“So, Yuuto, tell us how life in Tokyo has been. Most of your emails were in a business format”

I told them all about my life in Tokyo. How I had met Akira. How everything from there went down. The more I spoke, the more I realized how much I had learned in these last three years. The memories had made me a little teary-eyed.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t want to cry today. I was trying to be strong for at least today” I was already on the verge of tears when I was at the grave but I held it in.

“Yuuto, There’s no need to be ashamed of tears, since tears bear witness that a person had the greatest courage, the courage to suffer.” she came as hugged me.

“Let it out, Yuuto”

I woke up the next day on the bed that I had spent many years on. I went to the table and ate breakfast the same way I did for the initial years of my life. I wanted to stay for a while longer but I had to get back to high school. It was a little sad to part with my aunt and uncle. I was also going to miss Yuusuke. I didn’t spend a lot of time with him but enough to get attached to him.

“Goodbye Yuuto. Please visit again”

“Yeah, I’ll be sure to. Next time I’ll bring Kokone along”

“I would be glad to meet her”

After this exchange, I went back to Tokyo in the hopes to restart my life and live without too many regrets.