Rainbow of the Horizon
Wait, did I hear correctly?
"U-Umm… Uncle? Can you repeat what you just said?"
I'm suggesting of letting Ringo-chan live in this house while you are still in that condition."
how did it come to this
"W-W-W-Wait. Uncle, what is going on? How come I didn't know this?
Dad? Anything to say? Are you all really okay with this?"
"We're narrowing it down to the best possibilities. We've been here for a while talking this all over. We finally came to this agreement and now we need to hear your position with this."
"I-I-I don't think I can agree with this. I myself am aware that I can't handle myself alone anymore but there are a lot of factors to take in.
Whatever happened in any case?"
"Why is Gin so furious about this?" his father thought.
"We understand what you are pointing at, son. But keep in mind that the variables are also circumstantial.
Like I said, both sides have already agreed on the best possible scenario in which those circumstances are in mind too."
"I understand what you're coming from, Dad. But how about Uncle Shuu's perspective with this? We've already talked about this and came to an agreement when Uncle suggested the similar situation at one time which I greatly opposed."
"I know musuko. It does sound like I'm turning from my word with this. But the situations have changed and no one has anticipated this happening. Your reasoning is crystal clear and I still hold on to our agreement, but this is for your sake too.
We don't want you to… suffer… much more…"
For one moment, Uncle Shuu showed a very sorrowful face as he spoke.
"Little sis, do you have anything to say?"
Of course I'm also surprised with how things went just now. I also do not know about this but I think I have to accept the suggestion."
"As said just earlier, this is the best possibility to come after assessing the situation. Besides, we've both already lived in a house in Japan together, so it shouldn't be much of a problem. And with enough reasoning, I will support this judgement.
Dad himself told me that not everything a parent says to the child is right, but not to be applied in a bad way. I said that, but I feel that this decision might be for the best."
"But I still…"
"Hahh… Alright, little bro, I didn't expect that reaction coming from you, seriously. You're not acting like your usual self, I'd say."
"Honestly, up until you heard what Dad said, I've been testing you. It's not like you to jump to superficial reasoning. You usually think out of the box or assess the situation even faster than us, levelheaded at that.
Well, look. I can't see that from you right now.
If this still doesn't make you agree then who knows what we should do…
Let's alter the proposition then. How about Ringo will temporarily move to your house to check up on you, alongside that, I will also move here."
Are you sure about that, Yuna?"
"Of course I am. I also get that what Gin is pointing out is that he's keeping in mind the policy that the couple agreed with. That, I guess is one of his positions. I understand his discipline towards their relationship.
But it just so happened that the current being of things fall into what is the situation right now. Thus, leaving us all with this last resort.
Try to think of it, little bro."
Thinking things through, I realized that what Sis told me was right. I am not acting how I used to be, thus, I didn't get to observe thoroughly.
You're right, Sis.
If I think it through, I suppose Rin is the one that is mostly close to me in a daily basis. And if it comes to Sis also moving, that will not affect her much since she remotely works full time in their house."
My mother added, "Also, there is Kei who is also working and Anna is busy with school works too. Of course I can't just leave the family house since I'm taking care of it and Otō goes to work too."
"It is also the same with Shuu and his wife."
Hahh… Sorry for not using my brain when it was really needed. I think my disorder is affecting my abilities too.
Alright… we've got an agreement. So Rin and Sis will live here in my house until I go back to my normal state of well-being. That is, if only Sis is with her here—she will be Rin's chaperone. If Sis leaves, frankly, Rin is out too.
Then, I need your opinion, Sis. If you two move today, will that be okay?"
"I don't see a problem aside from making an office inside here. So I'll ask you the same question, will that be okay?"
"I suppose we should, while it's still early."
"So…! Now that everything is settled, we'll go back and sort our things right away."
"Then I should prepare a room for you two. Thankfully I haven't been switching off a lot today so I think I can manage until making dinner. Please don't worry too much."
"Well, we also need to go back in the family house so we'll be going, son."
"Also, musuko. This will obviously sound the opposite but…
I'm entrusting our daughter to you."
~ ~ ~
In just two hours, the two sisters successfully moved to my house. With that in mind, I prepared the guest room upstairs to be used by both of them, especially for Sis so I purposely made the room environment ergonomic.
Now the times are coming where I'm starting to think that having big rooms are advantageous. Two beds fitted no problem at all.
But when you think of it, I suppose I will not be alone in this house for quite some time.
Thankfully, I made dinner with no problem. At least for today. I don't know what might happen to me with the next time I make dinner again with my condition.
Indeed I was upset earlier with this decision. But I realize that I'm acting dumb, which is probably affected by the disorder. Usually, I will have a careful assessment of something, but clearly I just jumped the gun earlier.
But on the bright side, it's nice that there is someone in my house aside from me, and at that, I am glad. I'm kind of forgetting how to live with others, as I have been living with myself for a year now.
"Wahhh… That's some good food~
Thanks for the dinner, Gin. I'll be sure to make dinner next. We can't have you working too much with that condition of yours."
"Thanks, Sis. I appreciate it."
"But hey… Now that I'm looking at it, doesn't your house seem like a lot barer than the last time I came here?"
"Ah, that… I did some withdrawing of things I don't need before we went to Japan and I'm used to living minimally because of the Void. So yeah, minimalistic life it is."
"Wow… I wish I could be you with organization and sorting out things. I always clean up every two days since mess quickly accumulates on my desk and room.
At least I'm sharing a room with Ringo so she can help me clean."
"No, Sis. Clean it by yourself."
"Owww… That's cold, little sister."
"Hahaha… This house hasn't become this lively until now."
"It sure is tough living alone, huh."
"I guess…? I pay my own bills and the loans for this house. And now I can only rely on selling prints since I can't work at Giotto's again…"
"That's one depressing face you have there.
Well, don't worry too much about that. I'll be giving my share on the bills. You know, I'm the one that suggested that I too will live here, so that's the least I can do to not be troublesome."
"Again, greatly appreciated, Sis. You're a great help. Thank you."
"By the way, Potato. Since you're out from school, what will you do now aside from making prints and art for sale?"
"Honestly, I really don't have anything to do. I guess I can also sell original works for a higher cost. That is, if I won't drool on the paper."
"Ah, yeah. That sounds disgusting so you better be careful, little bro.
You too, Ringo. Stop your habit of drooling when sleeping."
"Ah, Sis. I should warn you in advance that I have an extreme case of sleepwalking."
"Uh-huh. When we were in Japan, Gin was doing push-ups while sleeping."
"Woah, that's amazing in itself!"
"Well then, I guess we should put our dishes aside so it can get washed. Let's all retire for the day early. I'm pretty tired myself… Yawn~"
"I'm surprised that you can still yawn like that when all you do is sleep, Potato."
"Let's just be thankful that my body clock is not yet ruined."
And let's also be thankful that we all had a good sleep at peace.
Though, Haku got all the coziness.
▪ ▪ ▪
Thus, the start of the weekend marks the beginning of my long-term leave. The sun rose up again from the horizon.
Being with less switching off since yesterday, I'm taking advantage of it and woke up early as I immediately fell asleep when I lied down last night.
Today is Saturday so I don't expect the sisters to be waking up sooner than 7am. Keeping that in mind, I prepared breakfast while waiting for them.
Realizing it now, Rin from time to time lets herself in the house and go eat breakfast with me, and sometimes even lunch. It's actually rare for me to eat on the dining table with three chairs occupied, is what I had in mind.
While I was contemplating behind the kitchen counter, I didn't realize that the two already woke up and are now coming down.
"Good morning, Potato… Yawn~
You sure are early even though it's weekend…"
"Oh, Rin. Morning. I figured I'd make breakfast for today."
"Mm. Thanks. But don't push yourself, 'kay?"
Yes… I know the neglected case right now is temporarily disregarded. But I still feel awkward inside, alright? I don't seriously know when I will ever get used to this atmosphere inside my house.
Just look, it has already sunk in to my head that Rin and Sis are living with me in this house, but that's not the problem. One thing is that Rin is my girlfriend, but I'm so not used to this setup, being in a family that houses more men than women. Now it's the opposite in this house! That's just my shallow thinking, though.
How am I supposed to act right now, is what I pondered into myself as I continue to fold the leftover rice on the wok.
"Ungh…! That was a good sleep…!"
"Ah, morning, li'l bro."
"By the way, Rin. What's up with that baggy shirt? That's so oversized. Lol."
"Ahh, this is actually my sleeping clothes. I just saw this when shopping one time and this caught my attention. This was in the women's section, just saying.
I just found the time to wear this recently since it's getting cold fast."
"Hmm. Yeah. I wonder if it will snow again around the same time next month.
Well, breakfast is ready."
~ ~ ~
"Quite surprising that you're still not working at this time, Sis."
"Not like you're still not used to me procrastinating, Ringo."
"This happens a lot back at our house, Potato. Then you will see her ending up putting an all-nighter."
"Hmm. That's to be expected.
Wait, isn’t your boyfriend going to question you, moving here and all?"
"Oh, now that you mention. I haven't told him yet. Oh well, I'm sure that he will 100% understand the situation so no worries."
"Nah. I don't think anyone would believe a story of a guy having a sleeping disorder."
"Yeah, right. You haven't even introduced me to him, let alone know his name, Sis. And it's been a few years already since you started going out."
"It's better if you just meet him in person, Ringo."
Unbeknownst to others, Yuna actually has a lover in which just like Rin, I have not met yet. But I guess it's kind of similar to Kei's case.
What's up with the scary rhyme?
But from what I've heard, the guy is a year older than her and they met in a cafe because of a situation of some sort. Their relationship has already been 5 years. Sis is already 24 so it will be no surprise if the guy proposes sooner or later.
I'm honestly intrigued.
▪ ▪ ▪
Monday, around the time after lunch.
Oh, well… Here I am waking while my body is prone to the floor of my living room. What a great time to switch off.
"Get up, get up… Heave-ho~"
Just as I got up, I heard a knock on my front door. And as I was just near, I immediately opened the door…
With Shiro and Rin in front of the door.
I guess it is note-worthy to say that Shiro is looking at me with a very suspicious face.
Yes, yes. I get it…
"W-Want to come in and have some tea…?" I said with a somehow frightened tone.
"Care to explain, Gin?"
"W-Well… Things happened…
On the other note, classes aren't done yet, right? So why are you with-"
The moment I looked at Rin, only one thought came to mind. I stood up from the couch and gave her a very weak head chop that is comparable to the feeling of a mere touch.
"Silly girl. You keep on telling me not to push myself and here you are getting a fever."
"It's expected to see her this quiet, with a fever and all."
"Just a second, Shiro. I'll tell you everything once I go back."
I carried Rin on my back and went upstairs to let her rest in her bed.
"How manly for someone that is also sick," Shiro whispered even when no one can hear her.
"Sis~ we have a patient here."
"Oh, wow. That's a cold."
"So… to put things forwardly, Rin and her sister are living here, as you may have seen when Rin perhaps told you to go here instead of their house earlier."
"Yep. That happened."
"This all happened with the decision of both of our parents. It was only Rin originally but her sister decided to tag along. All of this is because no one is available to watch over me with this condition and I can't be left alone anymore.
"Can you please keep this as a secret to everyone?"
"And if they decided to visit?"
"No choice, then."
Alright. I can't stay long since my time outside school is limited. Though, thanks for the good tea. Get well soon."
"Hahh… That sure was unexpected. Anyways…"
Yeah, right. Forget about my condition. This time, I'm not the patient here.
This could just be the first time that I saw her sick. Thinking about it, she has always taken care of me when I'm the one bed-ridden, and she still takes care of me until this time.
Truly, I have regretted not being able to repay all the things she gave me, and in my point of view at least, that was the reason why we came to an argument in the first place. It was all because of my stupidity that it happened, and I blame myself for that.
But that is to be set aside. It is now my turn to make her mend from her sufferings.
~ ~ ~
"Hmm… 38.7 degrees. You really need to rest this out, Rin."
"Sorry that I can't be of any help, Gin. Work is always on the way."
"It's okay, Sis. You can focus on what you're doing while I tend to Rin."
"What… about your condition…"
"That's not what I or you should be concerned about. Just let this fever pass and you will be well."
"But… your nightmares…"
The sick struggled to speak up what is in her worrying mind. Up until this point in which the one that takes care of is the one being taken care and yet, she still thinks selflessly.
As much as I am astonished, I'm more worried.
"Nightmares or whatnot, I don't care. I can't let your sickness get worse, you know. Please don't worry at my condition as you might be the one to catch my nightmares. You should prioritize rest above all.
If you need to sleep, then go ahead. I'll make you something light to eat and I'll peel an apple for you. Rest well, Rin. I don't want anything to happen to you."
Thus the door momentarily opened and immediately closed with my exit from the room.
Now I can understand what Rin felt whenever she saw me ill. I am nervous… I am worried. My heart does not want to stop beating hard. My sweat is pouring, cold.
I'm more scared at this than what might happen to me…
…sooner or later.
And so, I realized—this is what it feels when someone you care for is in pain. If this was a few years back, I'm certain as to what I might think.
I will probably say… "How ironic."
▪ ▪ ▪
Two days after Rin was brought home by Shiro because of getting ill, it does seem that she is now all better with her condition.
I say that all, but I myself fell into slumber the night before this morning.
Finally, the girl recovered from her fever.
"Hey, morning. If you're feeling well and all now, skip your classes for today so it won't come back."
"Ahh… good morning, Sis.
Moving out of her blanket, she saw Gin sound asleep with his head rested on the bed.
"Gin is amazing, you know. He nursed you back to health in just two days.
I'm telling you this now, Ringo. He really is a great man."
She then looked intently on the sleeping face of the man and reached out her hand to his head but halted.
"Also, he never once switched off while he was watching over you. Yes, not even for a whole day. He was wide awake, looking out for you."
With her hand stiffened, she still placed her hand on Gin's head and slowly strokes his hair back and forth.
"Gin… Thank you…"
~ ~ ~
"Yawn~ Now my body clock is done for…
"8:18… Slept for a bit long I guess. A little awkward to have woken up on their room, though."
"Finally awake, I see. Come, sit down already. I've prepared breakfast."
"Ohh… Thanks, Sis.
Umm. How are you feeling now, Rin?"
"I'm feeling a lot better. I'm back at 36 degrees."
"Ahh… That's good to know. I guess nursing you paid off, huh. But still, take a bit more rest just to be sure."
"Are you going back to school tomorrow?"
"Yeah. I feel like I will be missing a lot in these three days of absence."
"Good for you, then. Hahh… Says the one that may just be out of education for a month or two…"
"Don't let that get to you. I'm sure you'll be back to normal in time."
"I hope that's true. If only I know how long will this brewing 'storm' last."
~ ~ ~
And so the two of us were left in the house as Sis needed to submit her reports in a rather rare endeavor of coming to her office of work.
The natural light has started to dim ever so subtly at the sixteenth hour of the day.
Thus, we are sat on the couch with Haku with the television turned on.
"Hweh… Uhh… I fell asleep again, huh."
"That makes it the sixth time for this day. You still haven't beaten your thirteen times in one day."
"Quite the records, Rin."
"I'll be making dinner tonight, okay?"
"Yes. I look forward to what you can make from the fridge."
At random, Rin stayed quiet for reasons that I can't perceive. Her eyes are directed towards what's in the TV, but I am sure that her thought is somewhere away from it.
"Something bothering your mind?"
I'm just thinking… If ever this lasts for a long time, then you won't get to leave the house at all."
"At least I am not alone and it won't be boring if not because of you and Sis.
But in your point of view, I guess that is already given."
"Yes, I'm glad that that is what you think of our current circumstances. And if this really ever becomes long term, I've been wondering…
"You know what, let's just continue this tomorrow. Don't you agree?"
"Yeah. I think that's much better than today."
"After dinner tomorrow, I guess."
"Awww. Now you're teasing me. But I guess the time is just the best.
You're so accurate in time, Rin."
"Ahahaha. It works better that way."
The next day, Rin came back to school after completely recovering from her fever. The seconds, the minutes, the hours—they all fly away fast.
Another day in the calendar which was encircled came to our lives.
September 20, 2018. 365 days have passed since that drama.
"Sis…! I'm going out for a bit."
"Are you sure you won't pass out outside, lil bro? Don't blame anyone if you switch off."
"I'll keep that in mind. Will try to keep myself from collapsing on the streets."
"Also, let me make dinner later. I kind of fancy ramen tonight."
"Oohhh… I'll look forward to it. I'll be off then.
Seriously, thank you, Sis."
"Hah. You got it."
"Well, I'm kind of happy to have an older sister."
"Now then… should I put them on a vase or something?"
~ ~ ~
Under the shade of the great tree in the school grounds, there sat three people as they quietly watch over the students walk out of the gates.
"Where's Jean, anyway?"
"He went home without us since he's with Ai-san just like usual."
"Hehh… courteous until the end, huh. I wonder how is he progressing with Ai-san's parents' approval."
"Nee-chan…! Sorry for the wait."
"Well, now that Anna's here. We should all go home now. See you guys tomorrow."
"We'll try to visit Gin some time."
It was obvious that Shiro was trying to tease Rin while the others don’t know of the situation.
"Urk… he'll be glad, Shiro. I'm sure…"
"That's extremely awkward."
"Do your friends not know of you moving to Nii's house, Nee-chan?"
"Aside from Shiro, they don't know. But I seriously thought that she could have said it already to everyone, but apparently, that's not the case.
I wonder what has gotten to her."
"How is Nii, by the way?"
"Well… Normal as ever, I guess…? And I already got used to him passing out here and there. It's actually quite funny how he's so fine and then you blink, he's down."
"I kind of want to see that.
I hope… that he isn't getting lonely?"
"Hmm… He's not, I think. He's probably more cheerful than before when he was still living alone. Also, he's really good at taking care of people."
"Wooow. That's news to me."
"I even thought to myself that 'that's rich coming from someone who spent two years of his life in isolation with only talking to himself.'
But aren't you grateful for him, Anna?"
"Y-Yeah… It's been a year since I moved back here and what I saw was completely different from what I expected Nii to be like. Aside from grandpa's death, I rarely see him cry, to be honest.
But if I put things in other ways, I should be the one thanking you, Nee-chan. Because of you, that gloomy brother of mine changed as a better person.
Really, I wish for you two to always be on each other’s side."
"Anna… I will always keep on supporting Gin, now and to the future. What you wish for is what I wish for too.
Seriously, that guy can't just be left alone."
"Hehe… I'm really happy to have a sister like you."
~ ~ ~
Just as what Sis told, she really did make ramen as the sundown meal. The mood was very bright and the vibe of people having a meal altogether on one table was greatly emitted.
Thus, the quiet night was disturbed by the joyous meal. The dishes are now drying out, and came the time of rest.
"Quite the nostalgic dinner, I'd say."
"Mhm… It truly is. It was like that time exactly a year ago."
"A year ago… indeed. So much had happened that it felt like it's an eternity already.
One year had passed since the embarrassing confessions that I told. But I still missed out with a lot of things even after that.
Well, this is a good example…"
From the side of the couch, I took a vase and placed it on the coffee table in front of us two. It contains flowers that stood out because of the gradient of white, to pink, and to red.
"I don't really know what to get so I went with a simple one. I'm quite proud on how I arranged it."
"Carnations… Thank you, Gin.
Let's hope for more years to come for us."
"Yeah… For more years to come."
Say, Gin… Once you are cured with your disorder, what do you want to do?"
"Uhh… It's so sudden that I don't know what to say…
Hmm… Well, I'm pretty much almost embedded in this house at this point, so I will probably want to go outside a lot. Maybe hanging out here and there, or going to some place."
What I thought to be a decent answer was judged by her eyes that want to know more. I am sitting tight on pause but she has no way of averting her eyes from me.
"I would want to go back to work, I guess. I will definitely do a lot of cooking as I will not be doing that a lot, even at my own house.
There's something that makes me want to be cured quickly. I promised that I will come visit him in that day…"
"Even if it snows on me, I will definitely not miss that day."
"Ah… So it's almost that time…"
"He's the reason why I am 'Gin' and I haven't even thanked him for all those years. I really would be overjoyed to see him with my own eyes. But… I know to myself that it will never happen, not in a hundred, or thousands of years.
Hmm… I'm getting emotional again. Hahaha…"
"It hurts me to be seeing you like this, to be honest."
"Even though you don't show it, I know so well that you are going under your pain that it has become a part of your life. I want those pain to disappear, honestly.
But you always taught me of the unavoidable cruelty we are all experiencing. That's why I haven't given up with all this time. If I was someone that can't do anything for you, I might not be able to forgive myself.
I'll stay, no matter what."
It pains me to say… but that is also my line. You're so strong that even you're not scared of this. Because in truth, I'm extremely afraid. With all this memories pouring down like a waterfall, I can't help but be hopeless. It's the same feeling that I had as a kid.
I'm scared that I might disappear someday. Even with all the reasons of my existence, including you, I'm still at the edge of the chasm, about to fall to my bottomless despair.
So… So Rin… I really, really need your help. I want to be strong… so much that I can calm my own despair for good. I want to be strong like you, Rin… I want… to…
Slowly losing his words as his eyes close down with his body falling, Rin caught her and rested her head on her lap as she strokes Gin's sable hair with a sorrowful smile on her face as her tears ever so slowly drip from her eyes.
"I will… I will make you strong… I promise…
I will always be here… I will wait for you… I will always wait for the time where you will wake up from all your nightmares…"
I am Gin… I am silver… I am gray…
Hey, Kuro. We haven't had a chance to have a chat. Try to show up at least once, would 'ya?
The piano starts to play once again.
That does it for 019!
Question to you, AkaGin. Why do you always do a slice of life romcom approach then transition to something dramatic?
Thank you for reading!
020: Ringo Akanami's friends.