Chapter 24:




Why is she traveling away?

Maybe she’s just going on a vacation?

As if my eyes had separated from my mind, I doubled checked the notification despite having it clear in my memory.

“One-way flight to Japan.”, as depicted on her screen.

That’s half a planet away.

My eyes aimlessly darted around as my mind tried to pull out even one possible explanation. But as much to my dismay, there wasn’t even a single thing that seemed logical. However, there was one question gnawing at me ceaselessly.

“Why hasn’t she told me about this?”

Did she not trust me? But why? After everything we’d been through, she was still keeping secrets from me? All those years, and for what?

Just fucking why?

Suddenly, the door to the bathroom opened, and Kiri was again in my sight.

“Hey, Stan can you get me a-”

But before she could finish, the expression that was in her eyes probably obstructed her. I sensed a question coming up, so I interjected it with my own.

“I saw your flight booking notification, do you mind clearing my mind on that, Kiri?”

She gave off a surprised face, yet there was also a hint of bewilderment.

“I don’t get what you’re saying, Stan.”, spoke Kiri, as she hesitatingly approached the chair opposite mine.

Actions speak louder than words, and like so I picked up her phone and showed her the notification.

“Do you get it now?”

As the realization came through to her, she replied with nothing and just merely settled herself down the chair. An exhale could be heard, and not long after were words.

“I’m flying to live with my dad.”


Despite her answer being nowhere near my guesses, it felt coherent somehow. And as I scanned through my recollections to find the appropriate reason, Alice suddenly came up.

“She told me she never wanted to meet her dad again and never spoke of his existence, ever. Could it be she felt betrayed because her dad left?”

Of course, how could I forget? It was her dad that was the root of Kiri’s runaway in the first place. The fact that he left her was the reason why she had all these problems. But then again, if I had known the reason beforehand then how did it slip through my mind, how could I just forget about it and mindlessly have fun with Kiri?

However, that wasn’t the cause for my anxiety right now. Rather, it’s the fact that all of that fiasco about helping John seemed so meaningless to her. Even when we spoke heart-to-heart on that rooftop, she never mentioned anything about her father. She merely mentioned her obsessions and fixations, not a single word about the cause that troubled her the most.

And so, a realization entered my mind.

She actually never fucking accepted her past.

An inexplicable wrath consumed me, whether it was from my own ignorance, or for the girl in front of me, it didn’t matter. Since what was left only seconds later was a sense of disappointment. And with it, I disclosed my mouth.

“That whole fiasco about helping John and Abigail, didn’t you do all of that to fix your problems, to in your own words, accept your past? If so, then why are you still obsessed over your father, Kiri?”

“I’m not fucking obsessed over him.”

Her abrupt burst of anger shook me, and my eyes darted toward her face. Her eyes widened, and her teeth were sharp, but it was not long before it all went back to a despondent expression.

“Yes, to forget about my past was my motive. But I’m sure I’ve told you this once before, Stan, I did it for you. On the night that we agreed to help John, you told me that the bullying in middle school still affected you, a fixation you called it. And so, I helped you by asking you to help me, to make you satisfy that fixation of yours.” She made a short pause as if readying herself. “But that whole bully fiasco we had in middle school was only one other annoying thing for me, but what truly mattered was you. I needed you to stay with me back then.”

“But you said- ”

Before I could even form half a sentence, she interrupted.

“-That I needed a hero in my life that is fearless and will do anything to protect me. And you became that hero when we met again Stan, and you did save people like John and Abigail. But…”

As baffled as I was, I started to assume.

“But it wasn’t enough?”, I spoke. “Are you insinuating that I didn’t save you?”

Sliding her head to the side, she looked at me as if saying ‘yes’. And even though I was the one who guessed it, I was still completely baffled as to why it was the case.

Standing up, I raised my voice.

“I don’t get what you mean. If you still have problems and bad thoughts then we can talk it out, and fix it. Or are you thinking about our distance apart? We’ve been contacting each other on the phone, we’re still in touch. I don’t get how you still need a hero or what metaphor is behind it, but I know that I can be him, you can trust me.”

Myriads of assuring speech exploded in my mind, and I put no restrictions on them and just fired it all away with the slightest hope of convincing Kiri. Yet, despite all that, I was still ignorant of the meaning behind Kiri’s words, and so it was no surprise that all my effort went into disarray.

“I get that you’re trying, Stan. But it’s not the same, you’re not my dad. And don’t take it as an offense, it’s good that you are you. But…”

She didn’t finish, so I did it for her.

“But you don’t trust me enough. Heck, you don’t even trust me enough to tell me that you’re going away.”

“I would have eventually, Stan. It’s just not the time right now.”

As a multitude of screeches masticated my insides, I kept it all in and did not speak another word. I knew then that there was no more point. I knew then that I wasn’t the one she trusted.

And a tick hit me.

“I’ve just been a bit bored recently you know, and the city at night really is fun. You know, you should go with me sometimes too.”

That was Kiri’s explanation for why she was going out at night at the end of our middle school years, leading to her bullying back then. But that was what she said, and it certainly did not seem like a reasonable explanation, even if it did match Kiri’s personality.

Something felt off here…

“I heard her parents divorced back when she was in middle school, at the end of those years.”

Ah, right, it all fucking makes sense now. Come to think of it, how come something as horrible as Kiri’s family getting divorced did not even come across my mind back at the end of those middle school years? I know that until I talked to Kiri’s mother two and a half years later did I realize her family had divorced, however, it didn’t seem odd to me back then that I only know it now because I had forgotten most of the bad memories.

But who’s to say that I even knew in the first place? Because if I did, I surely would have been aware of what was troubling Kiri in those middle school years and helped, thereby, I wouldn’t have asked why she was going out at night.

Nonetheless, the answer is obvious now.

It’s because she never even told me in the first place.

“Kiri, you actually never trusted me, did you? Even back then.”

But before Kiri could even muster up a response, I had interpolated with continuity.

“I’m talking about our end of the middle school years, even prior to my rejection and our falling out. You remember the reason why the rumors started right? You went out at night and had fun, and you told me that it was exactly just like that, having fun.”

It didn’t take long until she realized my implication.

“I’m sorry I lied, Stan. I just needed a friend back then and I can’t afford to lose you too-”

“But that’s not what I’m saying. I would have stayed with you nonetheless, actually, that might even make me stick with you even more. I know that you started all those night strolls because you were lonely after your dad left you, Kiri, you longed for someone. And if I had known that I would have never rejected you and persevered through.”

What came after my desperate need to show my affection was, unfortunately, an uncontrollable wrath.

“But what fucking ticks me is that you didn’t trust me back then. If you really wanted me to stay with you then why didn’t you just share with me your troubles? Wasn’t I your best friend, didn’t you love me? Then why were you afraid that I would leave you? Why, Kiri?! Why did you not trust me?!”

My rambling continued until my vision went hazy, and my voice struggled to form. As much as I hated to admit it, Kiri didn’t trust me now, and she had never trusted me then. I was nothing but a friend, a playmate, and certainly not a hero in her eyes.

My pulse decelerated, and I could feel my nerves tensing down. As if accepting the reality, or more like accepting defeat, I sat back down to the now chilly chair.

I laid my vision on the girl in front of me. I didn’t know why, but perhaps I was hoping for a response. However, she was just staring at the floor, and I felt my presence turning hollow by the moment. With each passing second, the more torturous I felt, but it was also deserving.

After all, I was only an insignificant person in her eyes.


Her sudden voice caught me completely off-guard, and I recoiled a bit from the eerie presumption that she had just read my thought.

“What?”, I asked in awe.

“I know it feels terrible to know that I didn’t trust you. And I’m sure you’re self-deprecating right now. But Stan, I swear that you really are an important person to me… And I love you as Stan. But you’re not my dad. It’s hard to explain.”

She tried to give me words of assurance, but I wasn’t sure if it had any effect on me. I could only muster up an ambiguous exhale as a response, and Kiri could only look at me with a convoluted expression.

Hesitantly, and still, in an instance, Kiri disclosed her lips.

“Let me tell you a story, Stan.”

MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon