Chapter 1:

Notes from Akira ちゃん

Notes from AKIRA-CHAN

Are you in love with freedom?

In the days following my best friend's death, I've been receiving a series of notes by a sender who introduced herself as Akira-chan. I didn't have any acquaintances with that name, but I entertained our time together. 

Despite my best efforts to move on, grief is an understatement. 

Playing detective keeps me curious as to why he went through with it. When I read the first message Akira-chan sent, I didn't ignore it. 

It wasn't like the other texts from haters who preached like they were close to me or my best friend. When he was alive, he didn't exist. When the funeral occurred, everyone remembered him. 

But there's something intriguing about Akira-chan that accompanies her words. Everyday, she begins our conversation with a theory. Everyday, she ends each hypothesis with such ambiguity that I develop insomnia.

Tonight I missed a hangout to watch the blood moon. Instead, I waited for Akira-chan to hop online. 

It didn't take long for her status to turn green. Immediately she greets me, asking if I'm alive. 

I chuckle, finding her company soothing. After returning the favor, I ask her if she knows about the rumors spreading like wildfire throughout the community. 

They say it wasn't depression. Then they say he didn't have any mental illnesses at all, Akira-chan types, isn't that interesting? For people to assume he shouldn't have felt what he felt because he didn't show signs of suffering...

If my best friend was in a high school movie, he'd unintentionally brew jealousy amongst the students. 

A stereotypical yet ideal life, he was desire itself. Teachers loved him like a pet. Admirers bathed in his presence. With his physique, his girlfriend won the lottery. 

She's at a better place, Akira-chan adds, I paid her a visit earlier.

I didn't know Akira-chan acquaints herself with his girlfriend. Accompanying my subtle smirk, I ask her if she plans to visit me too. 


It's nearly midnight now, and the blood moon has likely passed. Then again, I haven't paid attention to my friends' messages. 

Going outside is the best way to heal from bereavement, they’d say. But I can't feel anything. 

They don't understand that hanging out in a group feeds my isolation. It may be unintentional but everyone's rubbing it in my face, reminding me just how lonely it gets. 

While I never considered myself chronically online, Akira-chan is an exception. 

Staying at home and having my feelings heard were, by far, the best emotion I've gotten since. And I promised my friends that when I said I need some alone time, it's strictly for self care. 

So for the sake of satiating my curiosity, I ask Akira-chan for a new theory on why he did it. 

Well, some are obsessed with living life. Then there are those embracing death. But I love learning about the contradictory ones... like he who desire life by playing chess with death, and she who accepts death yet clings onto life.

I'm so glad Akira-chan's a speedy texter. Within seconds, she pings my phone. 

The feeling of life and death, it's like a virus. Don't you think?

It can be a virus now that I ponder of its depiction. When a loved one dies, the suicide rate of those close to them increases. That's what psychologists say anyway. In reality, nobody truly sees it like that, otherwise none would be asked to stop overreacting. 

Even though your best friend looked blessed from the outside, everybody has an instinct to live or die. And as much as people don't want to acknowledge it, it's not only environmental factors...imagine what it's like living everyday, feet planted on this earth, but your mind's elsewhere. It doesn't feel real. "Zombie" isn't the right feeling either. Zombies are zombies because the mind is dead but the body's alive. What would you call someone like that, but self aware?

Trapped is the first word that I thought of. 

And do you think people like your best friend asked to be trapped? 

On the night before my friend died, I invited him to attend a school play. While I was not one to admire theatre, his passion towards acting was enough of a reason to research what makes people enjoy a performance. I didn't understand why some individuals would be passionate about something "fake". 

Looking back, I was a fool for not appreciating it as much as he did. 

He lectured me on the beauty of being someone he's not. He was somebody's hero today, and a villain tomorrow. On stage, he'd rescue the princess. Then the following semester, he'd unleash his army of soldiers onto innocent villages. Praised for his ability to adapt, the teachers handed him different roles like candy. 

It sounds like his mind was busy, Akira-chan comments, pulling him in every direction, begging for his attention. Somewhere down that line, he was introduced to a new desire. People don't understand, but you and I do.

I am used to the silence of my desolate home, so when a loud knock causes me to turn towards the window, I gasp. 

See, I live on the third floor of this forsaken apartment complex. But right now, her beauty distracts me from all logic.

The woman smiles, then points to my phone. Another ping. 

You are not alone. I'm here for you.

Akira-chan's message gives me warmth. She's an addicting catch, knowing all sorts of sayings to allure me to her presence. 

I turn my phone off forever, and open the window. 

Damn it, I think as she reaches for my hand, no wonder he died.

Notes from Akira-chan

Notes from AKIRA-CHAN