I fled to the streets.
The streets were busy and noisy with many people walking around. Once among them, I slowed down and started taking my stroll.
I knew I’d rather be watching the blue sky in the open forever, as an entity. But in contrast, I could make myself disappear in a crowd in the city easily, being highlighted only by the flashing neon light from time to time.
I kept my head low most of the time, except when I was trying to avoid walking into someone.
There were so many couples that I thought people were born into the world in twos. Except that I was born as one.
Sometimes people were within inches of my reach, but my body felt this infinite chasm between them and me. Even though it was early spring and cold, I didn’t want to create that friction between the fabric of my clothing and theirs.
It was almost like the strong force between the repelling ends of magnets.
They smiled; I tried to move the corners of my lips upwards but my eyebrows met each other in the middle of my forehead. All of the sudden, I felt nothing but April's cold and empty night air, which was laced with a smell that I wasn’t quite familiar with.
It wasn’t my lung that was burning. Although I didn’t suffocate, I didn’t breath easily.
I sighed and I walked some more. Time seemed to continue on and on, disregarding how my mind was drifting. Yet, no matter how far it drifted, it never reached that paradise that was supposed to be in the middle of the sea of crowd, each person in it became an island onto himself or herself…
Who is she?
My eyes settled on her.
It would’ve been fine to just call her a “princess” but she was far more regal than a mere princess. It would’ve been perfectly fitting to regard her as Venus but she was far more elegant than a vain goddess.
It would’ve been quite all right to befriend her but she had the aura of a lover, longing to be loved and hurting because of a heartless rejection.
She was tall, slender, with slightly curled long blond hair. Her eyes were the deepest blue and you could simply see forever into the heavens if you stared long enough. Her features were firm and queen-like and yet she was smiling softly to herself.
Although she could’ve lifted her head up high and pointed her chin toward the heavens, she smiled gently with her head bowing slightly as she treaded gently on the concrete streets as if they were grassland.
I thought she descended from the moon to shine her soft light on us in order to guide us on a dark and lonely night.
All of the sudden, she looked at my direction!
I immediately turned away from her gaze, ashamed of my plainness, my dark rimmed glasses and my frail figure. In front of her I’d be reduced to nothing but a sick and underdeveloped peasant girl, without any manners and unable to respond properly to this fair and noble lady.
I turned and sighed. Aside from, Ryoko, there was no one as beautiful as she was. But she and Ryoko were quite different. Yes, they were both beautiful, but Ryoko was a modern sportswoman, radiating with strength and confidence. This girl was something that came out straight from the legends of old, when women were ladies and men were knights.
Not that I cared for drunken men that torn flesh from animals with their bare teeth in order to fulfill their appetites or for when they cut people apart while screaming: “die, you fool!”
I played with my braids as I walked away. I had to leave the scene before I became mesmerized and make a total fool out of myself.
“Ah! Please wait a moment!”
I froze. The voice came from her direction.
“Aren’t you Sayoko?”
I turned slowly and looked at the beautiful creature that was wearing the uniform of our school.
My mouth was agape.
“It is you! It’s been so long!”
My eyes widened like dinner plates as I looked around. There was no one close enough behind me or near me so she was calling out for me!
Kanazuki Mari – my past
I wanted to run away, again.
Two goddesses, two impossible encounters in one person’s life, hailed me within a few hours of a single day in that April.
The brain synapses in my head was rampaging through my mind by firing in different directions simultaneously. Taking a deep breath, I spoke slowly.
“Yes, I’m Sayoko. Do I know you from somewhere?”
The blond seemed to be taken aback. “You…don’t remember me?”
Was I supposed to have met her somewhere in a distant realm described in a long forgotten ancient myth?
“No, um…” My face felt warm. “I can’t seem to recall anything about you…”
Then I proceeded to bow and let out an inaudible sigh.
“Well, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll be going now.” I turned to walk away. After what happened with Ryoko, I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I was supposed to take refuge in the camouflage called “city jungle”, or “the crowd” if you preferred. Someone as nearly featureless as I was could not be recognized by anyone in the jungle. That thought comforted me. Not that I’d be a great spy or anything. As a matter of fact, I often wondered why some people would make movies that made a certain spy so charismatic and famous.
That guy would’ve died the moment he entered North Korea.
“SayoSayo! As usual! Dark as the night and smiles like a ghost from the deep.” The voice of the blond goddess came to me.
I froze. In this entire world, only one person chanted that line to make me smile, even if only for a few brief seconds.
“Kanazuki Mari!” I said. My high-pitched voice had me taken aback.
She smiled gently. The clouds dispersed and the moon was softly glowing while trying tenderly to persuade the neon lights to wane for a moment. The people, the stores, the signs and everything took on a dim glow.
“I’m so glad you still remember me, Sayo. It’s been so long.”
I stared at her in disbelief.
Kanazuki Mari was the only person who talked to me and befriended me back in elementary school.
I couldn’t suppress my grin and my eyes were misty for a second.
“Yeah, it has been. Marimari. I’m surprised you still remember me.”
Mari’s eyes widened. “How can I forget you? Your large and round glasses? Your long and silky hair? Your pale face and those deep brown eyes…”
“Oh stop that.” I chuckled somewhat nervously. The fact that she took hold of my hands didn’t help that much. “I have nothing to be remembered by anyone.”
I paused. Mari took a step back, closed her eyes, put her hands over her heart and showed a deadly earnest look on her face. She became silent for a moment as if recalling a vow she made in a mystical land far away. All the sudden, she opened her eyes and looked straight into mine.
It was impossible to turn away from the gaze of her azure eyes, which was as deep as the ocean.
“I have never forgotten you, Sayo.” She said. Then she took a deep breath…
“You were the only person whose soul sang together with my soul, on that day.”