By Kamui Maiko 神無為舞子
Yes…She said yes…
I must have swooned because as soon as I was falling, a pair of arms caught me. Immediately, her scent rushed into my nostrils.
For a moment, I couldn’t tell if she smelled like the ocean, the school’s swimming pool or a middle-sex perfume from CK. But the scent drove my mind into hyper speed.
“Oh god, are you all right?” Ryoko said. Her soft bosom made contact with my left shoulder.
Was I wrong to feel warm? My heart was racing so fast.
Ryoko was right there with me. Her scent, her hair, her feminine but powerful arms captivated me but made me dizzy at the same time…
No! I couldn’t react that way!
Jumping right out of her reach, I bravely tried to stand straight.
“Um, I’m sorry.” No, no, that’s not what I wanted to say.
“But is there something you need?” What? What did I just say? Get a grip, girl!
Ryoko looked at me with uncertainty in her eyes.
I could swear I was literally melting from inside out. Though it was only mid-spring, but being so close to the light of my life didn’t help any.
“I…I saw you the first day at the entrance ceremony.”
What? She meant like last year?
Ryoko seemed to shrink a little, but quickly straightened up and smiled. “You know I always caught other girls staring at me at the pool, on the sports ground or in class.”
She toed the ground gently with her right foot with her hands holding together behind her. She was wearing a pair of white Nike sneakers with white laces without socks and I could see her tanned ankles. God, I love her size 10s. How could she not like them? They have helped her to walk straight up and proud on this dirty and worthless planet; they have helped to propelled her forward in the cerulean waters of this earth as well as in the featureless regulation-sized pool at our school; they have aided her so she could plant her steps solidly as she traveled through time, space, as well as walking by that cherry blossom tree.
So that I was able to gaze at her everyday, so that I was allowed to behold her in close distance. So she could catch me in her arms…
I thought I was going to faint again.
She continued. “But you didn’t. I saw you the first day of school last year, when we were both first year students. But you didn’t.”
I didn’t…do what?
“You never looked at my direction, Sayoko.” Her smile waned a little.
But I’ve been looking at you all this time!
“I…um…you know, I don’t really look anywhere but up.” I chuckled nervously. Oh no! What did I say? Oh god, please…
Her facial lines tightened a little though she bravely maintained her smile. “I know.” She said. “I always see you looking up. Your pale face not showing anything and your beautiful, brown and deep eyes gazing into the distance that I can’t reach.”
But I don’t understand…
“I…I’m sorry if I’m making you feel troubled. It’s just that…in recent days, I…I’ve been feeling like something was ripped out of my heart leaving a hole behind.” Ryoko said silently.
“Do you know why, Sayoko?”
I nervously looked around and hating myself every second for not responding the way I desperately wanted to. I was once again suffocating and my mind reached out to grasp that straw floating past by me.
“I…I’m afraid I don’t, Miss Sannomiya.” I stuttered. “Actually…I think I have to get back to my friends now.”
My tears finally welled out of my eyes. I cursed the day I was born.
I ran past her on my way out. Not only I did everything wrong, but I even ran away.
My heart was pad-locked and my thoughts were going out of control.
But I wanted to stay there; I wanted to talk to her. I even pictured us sitting in the bench near the fountain right outside of the theater.
Everything just shot up the sky-high rollercoaster and blitzed down without waiting for me to signal ready.
Falling into the void called me
I must have had walked home on my own power because I remembered talking off my coat as I entered my room.
My legs gave way and my butt fell to the floor; my neck felt like it was broken because as soon as my butt hit the floor, my head hung.
I couldn’t recall how many times my cellphone beeped, alerting me about a missed call or new email.
I guess I had gone go back inside the hall where the Sci-Fi action movie was showing but I left immediately after I sat down. My tears were streaming as I left the theater. Leaving my friends behind, I rushed home; on the way, I probably ran into people because I vaguely recalled being yelled at by some old man, and then by some lady, and then by some kid, and then…
I ran, and I ran, and I ran…
My mind was fumbling for some reaction but nothing came. I ended up here, being alone in my room.
Images of me trying to respond to Ryoko continued to play in my mind. I shook my head, but like the movie played in the theater, my stuttering, my reluctance and my cold response played over and over again, frame by frame.
The frames streamed continuously as if everything was happening at one instant and I was there and I was forced to watch it because I couldn’t look away.
I struggled and I prayed deep inside. Oh god, please. Oh god, please. Oh god…
The images played silently and ceaselessly.
My mother wasn’t home yet. I vaguely remembered something about overtime.
What was overtime…? Oh. Right. Working.
After a while, I found myself looking at a corner of my room, where the painted light blue wall met the carpeting. Loose strains of fiber poked their heads above the carpet.
I kept my head and my eyes immobile as I continued to stare at the corner. I imagined being shoved into it and squeezed so hard that I became an atom, no, a quark, and just disappeared inside for days.
I thought I could see the smallest spot in there. If only I could fit inside and hide…
God. I still hated trying to react to anyone. But having the light of my life just inches away was just too much for me to bear at that instant in time.
If time ran forever in all directions and if it were a direction/space/cover in itself, why didn’t it cover me? Why was I there to begin with? Why was I there when I wasn’t ready to face the light?
I thought I was having a dream. In the dream, I fell very slowly from a very high place that I couldn’t describe. It was no larger than a dot, perhaps as big as the head of a pin. There was no way I could stand on it securely.
And so I fell.
The fall was excruciatingly slow and the space beneath me was dark. I was falling face down.
I really should’ve called it a descent but I was screaming so hard as if I had just jumped off a skyscraper and that I was falling to my death. But no, even time slowed down so much so that I could feel every second of the terror at someone’s leisure.
I finally fell into the darkness, which melted and assimilated me to be part of itself. Its fingers caressed my pale skin and then all of it liquefied and drenched me. I opened my mouth to let out another scream but the black bile flowed bitterly into my mouth and slid smoothly down my throat and finally, permeated my body, into each muscle fiber and bone…
I snapped my head up and screamed.
I had to see the sky even if it was the nighttime.
I jumped up, ran out of my room, my house, and then into the streets.