My childhood friend ran away from home and now I have to share a room with her?!
A voice I haven’t heard in so long reaches my consciousness, a voice most angelic and sweet waking me up from an unknown state of consciousness. Gradually, my senses are becoming more aware of my surroundings. Birds are tweeting from a nearby forest, gentle gusts of warm air are cradling the countless leaves above me and the subdued voices of children playing and adults gossiping are drifting across the warm summer air. But only the echo of her voice manages to capture my attention permanently.
My gaze falls on a little girl in a cute red-colored summer dress who is eagerly waving at me as she approaches in an excited, half-running, half skipping movement. Her blonde hair stands out to me immediately as it’s a hair color uncommon to Japanese people. She’s tied it back to a single pigtail vividly dancing along with her ecstatic movements. I note with some level of surprise that the world appears quite a little bigger to me than I feel comfortable with. I clearly recognize this place - a children’s playground I spent a lot of time playing in the past. Right now, my head barely peeks over the fence that had been erected to enclose it even though it can’t be taller than a meter. Have I… shrunk? A quick look down my body reveals proportions that are a lot more child-sized than I remember.
It’s a dream, huh?
I’m even wearing that silly t-shirt with a comic t-rex on it which I used to love so much that I bawled my eyes out when it came out of the washer ruined one day. Fun memories…
Yup, that’d be me. I watch the girl take a sharp turn, rushing through the door in the fence without reducing her speed whatsoever. She almost trips over her feet in the process but just barely makes it, a broad smile on her round face as she’s rushing towards my position leaning against that fence.
Much to my surprise, my younger self responds in my squeaky child voice while the words I actually meant to say with my borderline puberty voice, that can’t seem to decide whether to deepen or stay squeaky forever, don’t create a sound at all.
Oh, I get it. I’m just revisiting a memory, right? Actually, this takes me back…
I used to have a childhood friend. One day in summer when I had barely turned seven years old and barely entered school, she just appeared at the local children’s playground where I was killing some time alone. No other kids had been playing there on that day so the two of us had the place for ourselves and became best friends in no time. She came to that place every day to play and have fun until one day…
My thoughts get interrupted when my friend Koyori leaps straight at me in a rather poor and childish attempt of a hug which turns into quite the collision instead knocking both of us over. My younger self is laughing, scrambling back to his feet while my current self perks up at the sudden influx of sensations.
Crazy realistic for a dream though, I just felt all of that! If I wake up with bruises later, I’ll know!
The two kids are laughing for a little longer while a terrible hunch of mine abruptly turns into certitude.
Oh, I think I still remember this…
For lack of other options, I follow my younger self around for a while as I share both body and sensation with him, only my mind being its own entity. Koyori takes me by the hand and drags me out into a nearby forest where a game of Hide and Seek soon begins. I sit back and watch myself choose hilariously poor hideouts while failing to spot Koyori several times in spite of her hideouts being just as lousy. Guess I wasn’t too bright at the time, huh? Or maybe my glasses were in dire need of an upgrade? After a few games, though, Koyori suddenly disappears and even my current self seems to be unable to find her for an extended period of time until the distant sound of a sobbing child reaches my ears. Or our ears? Well, it probably doesn’t matter.
“Yori-chan, where are you? Answer me!”
I still remember being worried about her getting hurt or being attacked by a wild animal when, in truth, my friend had just decided to curl up behind a group of rocks, the reason being unknown to me at that time.. Tears are all over her face when I find her.
“Yori, what’s wrong?!” Are you hurt?”
My friend immediately rushes over to where I’m standing and hogs my small body until her tears are starting to dry a little.
“K-keichii, I have b-bad news.”
Her little voice still shaky from crying, she eventually drops the bomb.
“I h-have to go away from t-this place. We won’t be able to p-play again.”
More precisely, she dropped that bomb right on my heartstrings.
“What?! You can’t be serious?!”
Unfortunately, sometimes in life, no amount of begging and tears can sway the opinion of an adult. Yori’s mother is an actress who’s appearing on many movies on TV. After filming concludes, Yori would have to disappear from my life against both of our will. That’s the harsh reality that both of us had to learn back then. My little self soon starts bawling his eyes out. I can’t really remember ugly-crying like that very often in my life but, according to my mother, she’d never heard me cry this badly before. Mom would eventually come pick me up after bystanders called her on the phone. Yori had been crying too, I remember it clear as day which is probably how I am able to jump through time a fair bit. The scenery changes abruptly. Now, the loving embrace of my mother is tightly wrapped around not only me but around Koyori as well. Both of us seem to have calmed down for the most part and mom eventually leaves us alone to say goodbye to each other.
“I still don’t want you to go…”
My younger self is heavily pouting, constantly struggling to stay one step ahead of those blasted tears just waiting for another opportunity to break free again.
“I’m so so sorry, Keiichi, this is all my fault…”
Koyori’s eyes are reddened from crying. Is she actually blaming herself for causing this when in truth her mother has caused this situation? The way she’s clinging onto her composure really prompts me to spring to action but my current self unfortunately can’t take any influence whatsoever. Then again, if I were time traveling in my dreams, that’d be even more crazy than reliving scenes from my past.
“It’s not… your fault…”
Koyori seems to perk up a little at this while I nod approvingly at my younger self trying to cheer her up despite being in tatters himself.
“Still, do you hate me now?”
So she’s not convinced yet. Anxiously eyeing me, twirling a single strand of her blonde hair.
Didn’t I confess to her or something here?
I feel a sudden heat flood little Keiichi’s cheeks so I am definitely on to something here.
“Yori-chan… you know I…”
Suddenly, little me fingers around in the pockets of his shorts, finding a small piece of paper there. He lunges forward, grabbing the little girls’ tiny hands. I can feel the piece of paper disappear from my sweaty fingers into her soft palms. Koyori seems confused for a second but then little me explains with a heavy blush on his face.
“I really want to see you again s-so I made my mom write this down for you. There’s our phone number and address on there.”
Our hands stay connected; little me is holding on to them even tighter now,
“Yori-chan, please promise me you’ll come back some time! I-I love you and I’ll promise to marry you when we’re old enough!”
Whoa WHOA?! Did I really say something so cringey so casually back then?! To think mom must have been nearby, watching this… now I kinda want to die…
Koyori’s eyes widen in shock but only for a split second before her face lights up like a campfire on a cozy summer evening. Reminds me how cute Yori was. I really liked that part of her back then…
“Then I love you too, Kei-kun!”
It worked? Guess little kids don’t need a good pick-up line to score?
A hearty laugh escapes Yori as she pulls me into a crushing hug.
“It’s a promise then.”
Little later, my tearful eyes follow the small blob of red in the distance until it eventually escapes behind a curve in the road. Mom found someone to talk to so we’re nowhere close to leaving the playground yet, neither little me nor current me being in the mood to stay at this place any longer.
Normally, this is when you’d wake up, right? Why’d I dream about her anyways? It’s not exactly like I forgot about Yori but like… she’s a ghost of a past that’s no longer an important part of me - or at least that’s what I’d like to think. If I met her today, I’d probably still feel happy. What might she look like now? She’s my age and girls at my school are growing in many places lately… Hey, if I’m having thoughts during my dream, does that mean it’s a lucid one where you can change it according to your will?!
Suddenly, a really really bad idea powered by youthful hormones and idiocy evolves in my head. A quick recap of last evening's activities flush across my inner eye as the little figure of my past self vanishes and the beautiful scenery with it. After a few moments of uncertainty, a new scene materializes. Koyori has returned but…
Crap, crap, CRAP! T-this is… TOO MUCH!
My eyeballs are in acute danger of escaping my eye sockets. In front of me stands a teenage version of Koyori though I can no longer marvel about her cuteness. F- no G-cups barely hidden by a fairly minimalist bikini are wobbling just on my eye level, ready to be touched. Dizzily, I fall over in shock.
Strangely enough, her voice sounds very unlike hers when she speaks my name. She starts leaning over me, ready to seduce me. I panic - I’m not ready for this yet!
*Knock Knock Knock*
And this is how mom saved me from getting seduced by my own fantasies while lucid dreaming. Doesn’t this kinda sound like a light novel title though?
*WHAM WHAM WHAM*
Alright alright, I’ll get up, give me a sec…