Me: “So, was the chocolate good?”
This was after valentine’s day. I made it myself with the chocolate that mum gave me that had some kind of biscuit in that’s crunchy. Of course, I had tried some myself to make sure it doesn’t taste awful.
Takuya: “That chocolate was so great that it sent me to heaven! I will give you something better on White Day. Just wait.”
I sensed that he couldn’t think of what it would be without spending a lot of money or going through a lot of trouble to get it. Maybe he doesn’t even know what it would be.
Me: “I’m fine with anything really. It doesn’t need to be expensive or something.”
I said that because I knew boys would tend to overdo things when it comes to impressing girls.
Me: “Say, now that you are almost a third year student, do you have any plans after high school? Quite a large number of people around the country are already aiming to enter the top university in Tokyo, judging by the past years.”
Takuya: “No, I don’t want to move away from my family all by myself. Well, the universities within 2 hours from home are quite okay though. How about you?”
Me: “Well, I don’t really know myself. I actually want to move back into Tokyo, where I grew up before middle school. So I was thinking of…”
Before I knew it, Takuya was already hugging me. He seemed to have a hint of sadness. Somehow, I wasn’t able to resist him and I’m starting to feel as if I need him more in my life. I might be feeling love, but of a kind that is completely different from that between a parent and a child.
Takuya: “I wanted to say this later, but I don’t know what will happen in the future. You’re the first girl who’s not a relative that I’m close with. All the other girls that know me don’t see me more than just a classmate. I don’t know if you will be hit by a car and fall into a deep coma for a very long time or something. Even if we promise to meet up again after moving to somewhere far away, there’s a slim chance of meeting again. I just want you to… Just want…”
Me falling into a coma? I think he’s exaggerating on that part, but he seemed oddly serious on the part of something happening to me.
Takuya: “I LOVE YOU, IKAKA YUMIKO-CHAN!!!”
Did I just hear what I think he said? We’ve known each other for only half a year, but he’s already saying that he loves me? Huh? What’s this strange feeling running through me that has gone stronger when he said that?
I’m speechless. I don’t know what to say to him.
Me: “Say, do you think of this?”
Brother: “I would say you would look good in this instead, but in this colour instead of the one featured in the picture.”
Since around summer, my brother seemed to have suddenly have knowledge about female clothing and better understanding of a girl’s feelings. I never asked how he knew, but I’m guessing that it has something to do with impressing that girl I see him hanging out with without his other friends, or staying at the dormitory of an all-girls’ academy. He has yet to introduce to me who that girl is, or show me a photo of himself in Mizuho.
When we were younger, we both looked as if we were twins born about a year apart. You could say that I looked and behaved like my brother, and he would also try to imitate me. Around middle school, I never understood why my uniform looked so different from my brother’s since it had a skirt instead of trousers. I never complained because that is the one my parents bought for me and I didn’t know what the difference between male and female was, until my body grew more towards like that of a grown up woman. It’s now impossible for the two of us to look exactly alike. More recently, we are even hiding secrets from each other, but somehow, the strong feeling of my brother wanting to look a lot like me, and me wanting to look a lot like him, still lingers.
It’s now the first few weeks of March. Quite a number of schools are having their graduation ceremony around this time. For the third year seniors in my school, that would be around the fourth week of the month. Except staff and the first and second year students involved with the graduation ceremony, everyone else need not come to school.
Brother: “Say, I am expecting a delivery this Friday at my other place, so I would need to be there. If I had known that there is a school break on that day earlier, I would had written the address of our house instead.”
Me: “Going all the way there just to collect a package? Shouldn’t you have written our home address instead?”
Brother: “Well, I wanted to enjoy the contents of this package as soon as I received it, but since I chose the cheapest option available and it’s in a warehouse overseas, it would take some weeks for me to receive it and I can’t change the address once they shipped it.”
Just what did you order that makes you get so excited about?
Me: “So will you be coming back after you received it?”
He showed a sign of uncertainty about it, as if there’s a problem that he couldn’t tell me about. From his past actions, it’s usually something that has something to do with Mizuho, but I don’t know what it is.
Brother: “After playing with it for a while, yes. I don’t really have a reason to stay there unless I’m so addicted to it that I forgot about the time.”
Now, what kind of item in a package would have him to do that? Knowing him, it could be as simple as a set of woodblocks from Europe. Who knows what strange things he ordered? Maybe it was even just an excuse to head to the city and not have me to follow him. There is a bus service from my town that goes there more directly than the train, but it takes a longer time to get to than the train, especially when you just missed the bus do to the infrequent timings. The only time they add additional services in between the listed timings is when the bus company is expecting high passenger load from festive periods or during the rare cases when the trains are not able to operate. The bus company operates in the city and is also a subsidiary of the subway trains there, which explains how it’s still running despite low passenger load.
I had visited Takuya’s house the following day to hang out with him. It’s located at Oarai Town just above his family bakery shop close to the seashore there. It’s really quite a nice place with the sea breeze blowing through the window. Although, being winter, this also means that it’s cold. I still have yet to give him an answer to Takuya’s confession of his love to me, but we were behaving as if I had already given him a positive reply.
We seem to have developed a mutual feeling with each other without realizing it ourselves. Our relationship is now quite close that we found ourselves kissing each other without any mention of it and yet still be able to talk as if we weren’t or didn’t. If only Takuya is a year older would I be able to marry him, because I strongly felt the longing of just doing doing things to each other and nothing else.
Before I left, Takuya gave me an early White Day present, and a wrapped box that he said it contained something precious to him. I wanted to give something back, but I had nothing with me. We were shouting to each other on seeing each other on the opening ceremony at the start of the next academic year next month.
Little did I know back then, that was the last time I saw Takuya alive, or seeing the town as it was.