Chapter 1:


My Bridge to Life

This world is ruled by two: Eros, the god of life, and Thanatos, the god of death.

Like those around me, I was conditioned to long for Eros and his ways. Who else would give me friends, happiness, and a place to wholeheartedly enjoy standing on?

Ah! He gave me Chizuru too! She was the one I loved most, and her secret nickname was “My Bridge to Life.”

Initially, her existence was something I had envisioned forever. To me, Chizuru was a timeless god all on her own—everything and everyone around me changed, but she stayed the same. It isn’t a stretch to say that our friendship had no other direction but to grow.

Something you should know about Chizu is that she’s silly—in a creative way.

On my birthday and Valentine's, she drew the both of us holding hands and being wholesome. On non-special occasions, she draws me into a lovely art style being mutilated by her favourite, cute-looking mascot. (Yes, a great difference, I know.)

Something happened. I don’t know what, but I came down with an eye condition. Every piece of clothing I wore seemed to be a range of blood hues, and the agonising vibrancy of it only grew when I interacted with Chizuru. She was destestably blind, and that unsaid light bloomed faster than our friendship.

"My phone’s dying storage is because of our memories; she clearly means so much to me, so why is it an obstacle to be around Chizuru? Look at her—heck, I can’t.”

“Because my expectations were cut short? I thought we would go to high school and be together forever, but oh, how real life hits! I can’t even play with her hair anymore. No more of her 'wow, you’re obsessed with skies, huh?’ quips."

"Could it be a dissociative identity disorder?"

“Do I love her romantically? Whoaa… I’m gay for her?’’

Nothing was a satisfactory conclusion; they were all meaningless guesses.

"I'd rather be Isekai.”

At this point, I was desperate to pull away from Eros’ world—whether it be by sleeping or daydreaming about suicide ideations. But an isekai wouldn’t be enough. They would only be temporary, half-hearted measures.

"Was it because of her heart that she chased life more than I did?”

Accepting that, I came to an answer.

“I loved Thanatos, didn’t I?"

Only then did I realise that this was no eye disease. My eyes had spoken for my heart—all along, life just wasn’t for me. This was why it was burdensome to be around Chizuru.

“Then, shouldn’t I jump off that bridge?"

But before Chizuru became "my bridge “ , she was "Chizuru, my best friend who was like a timeless god”. So to salvage things, I attempted another route—the route to revert her back. I tried being ruled by two gods: Chizuru, the timeless god, and Thanatos, the god of death.

It was meaningless.

I should’ve leapt from Chizuru’s bridge the moment I concluded what I did. Call it pathetic escapism, but if I had done so earlier, no harm could’ve happened—not even a scratch on her.

I could only describe us and what happened like this:

Our connection at the start was a thread.

Every time I made a crack on you, the bridge, a bead was given as an apology.

As they increased, it became a bracelet. Bracelets don’t last; that's because beads are heavy on the thread.

Now, the bead’s beauty covers up the ripping thread. I overlooked that what I gifted you could’ve been unrepairable while praying for it to be everlasting.

Praying gets nowhere, though.

The beads overflowed.

and the thread snapped.

She left the cleaning up to me, but all I did was stare at the junk.

“Finally. This hypocritical showtime’s over.”

"Yay! exactly as planned, Thanatos, the bridge towards Eros’ broke! There’s nothing in the way now."

I was delighted. There would be no regrets if I eloped with Thanatos now. And I wasted no time doing so—the same day I bid goodbye to my bridge was the day I was able to wholeheartedly attempt leaving. Sadly, it was very insufficient, to the point where Thanatos scolded me.

"You're unprepared. You’re not used to physical pain, and joining me from where you are now won’t grant peace like you hoped."

He had a point. I was still in Eros’ accursed land; it was already insufferable living here. How was it possible to die happy in the same place?

"You're right, Thanatos! That was thoughtless of me. Then, here’s an easy solution: from today on, I’ll train myself for the pain ahead! Please wait for me; I’ll join you at the place where I was happiest.”

A year passed—visible cuts from my wrist were slowly making their way to cover my arm, and on a daily basis, I would purge my food as well as strangle myself with a rope.

But regrets and second thoughts began plaguing Chizuru. I longed for our memories to come true as they were replayed in my head, and heck! I even backseated my memories!

"It was so selfish of me to think that at one point in my life, I could be the one to grant you happiness."

"Chizuru, I never said it out loud, but were my actions not sufficient to show that you were precious? I never told you, but you were my bridge to life; you meant that much to me.”

"Chizuru, you know the voices people have in their heads that they talk and vent to? You stayed that person to me in Eros’ ever-changing world.”

"Chizuru, I’ve always thought that you wouldn’t be able to understand. Even though I talked to the mental version of you, in reality, you were never told anything.”

"Could some of these regrets be avoided if I was a better communicator?”

With these thoughts, the one regret I had in life was Chizuru. It was worrisome—the bridge to life makes her come back this way.

So I went to Ace, a genie. I wanted him to slap a name on why I had these regrets, and I hoped that the closure of a label would dispel whatever I felt for Chizuru.

"Aoi, you were dissociating. Chizuru was your byproduct."

"Aoi, in my eyes, the objective scenario is just that you’ve moved on and that you’re just trying to hold on to any feelings of sentiment because you’re pretty sure that’s what good people do."

I was reluctant to believe that the answer would be so shallow. But if his words were interpreted in cases that didn’t involve her, Ace had hit a nerve. Essentially, I had a flawless personal image. If you asked someone to describe me, they'd either say "kind” or “innocent”. Around Chizuru, I kept the image of being the "extroverted" and "popular friend" that she had, hiding the fact that social anxiety-chan threw herself at me quite a long time ago.

"Perhaps I’ve strived too much around others. Till it’s reached this point—the point where I felt the need to do so around myself, to become good at its perfect form."

Ace’s words gave me closure, but the sentiments I had around Chizuru lingered. Since a label didn’t help, all sorts of things were done.

I burnt myself out. I drew and commissioned art of us and wrote lyrics and song titles related to her that I was pretty proud of. So in short, our bittersweet memories were deluded into art—this story being one of them.

"Why did I want these emotions to corrode anyway?”

Sure, they gave me pangs in the heart, but this meaningless melancholy for her alone will never give me hope for life ever again. I must’ve been afraid they would, since they were fragments from my bridge connected to Eros.

“Chizuru... I’ll leave my dominant wrist clean, and on it will be a tattoo of the drawing you made of us. That way, I'm sure that I’ll be able to meet death with a genuine grin as I bring some part of you along with me. Ehe, in a sense, it seems like in the end I was able to keep you timeless after all."


My Bridge to Life