Original post: http://ks.renai.us/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=7281&p=131217#p131217
With an eager whisper, I mimic the words of the people on the television. My eyes flick between the darkness beyond the open window and the counter on the screen as it ticks towards its inevitable end. At last, the count reaches single digits. Three… two… one…
“Happy New Year!”
Synchronised to the second with the crescendo of the chant, the first of the fireworks leap into the night sky and burst with a brilliant flash of blue and a percussive boom. More fireworks follow, and with each a new feast of light and colour for my eyes, and a thundering reverberation in my chest. On the left a firework arcs high and explodes into a huge green star; so huge the sound comes nearly a whole second later. On the right a near identical explosion sends out streams of crimson, each tiny particle glowing as bright as the stars themselves. Several smaller fireworks shoot off in the centre of the display, emitting high pitched squeals which pan across my ears from left to right before erupting into fountains of golden stardust. At the same time, a wave of even smaller fireworks detonates amidst the fountains, showering them in iridescent purple sparks which curl around with a fizzing noise. I practically squeal with delight at the display; this year’s arrangement is definitely the best I’ve experienced so far.
Like the saying goes, though, all good things must come to an end, and the fireworks display is no exception. Several seconds pass with no indication of further pyrotechnics, and I admit to myself that there is nothing left to enjoy. A quiet ‘aww’ slips out under my breath as I turn my head away from the window. The girl opposite me drains the last of her cup of tea before speaking up.
“I take it the fireworks are over, Hanako?”
I sigh in disappointment.
“No matter. There’s always next year.”
“B-but they just started… it always ends so s-soon…”
“They have to end sometime, Hanako. Especially near a place like this; not everyone can be as… receptive of fireworks as you are.”
I snap my head up towards my companion in realisation.
“Oh! I’m s-sorry, Lilly, I… I f-forgot…”
“That’s quite alright. No need to diminish your enjoyment of something on my account.”
“But h-how can I… knowing that you c-can’t…”
“I’ve been blind since the day I was born, Hanako. Do you ever think I miss being able to see? How does that saying go? You can’t miss--”
“What you never h-had.”
Lilly takes my hand in hers, smiles, and nods, before releasing her grip and slowly pouring us both another cup of tea. I take mine, whispering a thank you, and gently blow on the dark liquid to cool it down. On the other side of the small table we use for our regular tea parties, Lilly does the same. I sip my tea slowly, while Lilly turns to look out the window. Well, not really looking, and sort of towards the wall next to the window, but it’s mostly right.
“That said… sometimes I do wonder what the fuss is about.”
The statement surprises me.
Lilly giggles lightly, hand covering her mouth.
“I suppose, but I meant the fireworks.”
“Oh! Um, the noise d-doesn’t really give you the f-full experience, huh? I could d-describe it if you like.”
“That would be lovely. After all, I can’t imagine people would be so excitable over just the noise, now, would they?”
“Okay, well, um… fireworks shoot upwards from the g-ground really fast, and they h-have trails of glowing f-fire, and… wait, what did you s-say?”
“You s-said you couldn’t imagine p-people being excitable over just n-noise.”
“That’s right. The beauty lies in the visual, does it not?”
“Well, yes… sort of… it’s p-part of a whole though. Um… wait here.”
“Hanako? Where are you going?”
“I’ll be right b-back!”
I stand up and stride over to the door, opening it without a second thought. I step through the doorway, and head over to a nearby room; one I can’t say I’ve ever been to of my own accord. Taking a deep breath, I knock on the door, hoping that the occupant is not elsewhere. To my relief, the door opens and both the people I was looking for peek out from behind it.
“Hanacchan? What are you doing here? And in your pajamas, too~!”
I blush furiously, having forgotten the state of my attire. All of a sudden I feel quite exposed.
“Um… c-could I speak to H-Hakamichi, p-please?”
“Wahaha~! Yep, yep, come on in~!”
Misha opens the door wider, stepping aside to allow me to enter her room. I hesitantly step past her and Shizune, and stand awkwardly, unsure of where to place myself. Misha skips past me and hops backwards onto her bed, causing the springs to squeak and groan in protest. In contrast, Shizune steps quietly to a chair in the corner and seats herself on it. Misha pats the bedspace next to her, inviting me to sit. I oblige, trying not to make eye contact as I do so.
“So~, what’s up?”
“I… I was w-wondering… what are f-fireworks like f-for Shizune? B-being… you know… d-deaf.”
Shizune arches her eyebrow quizzically as Misha delivers the question in sign. Shizune soon starts signing herself, and Misha interprets the response for me.
“Shicchan says it’s the same as anyone else~!”
“W-what? But, you can’t h-hear them g-go off, s-so…”
“She doesn’t need to, Hanacchan~! Shicchan knows when the sound hits because she can feel~ it. She doesn’t need to know what it sounds like, just that it has a sound and that it’s loud!”
Misha dips her voice, whispering ‘like her finger snapping’ with a smile. I stifle a giggle at the jibe.
“Then… h-how can I explain w-what fireworks l-look like to L-Lilly?”
Shizune frowns in concentration, taking her chin in her hand and tapping her lip as she thinks. After a few seconds, she snaps her fingers – an ear-shattering sound that causes both Misha and I to flinch – pushes her glasses up and begins signing.
“Well, obviously Shicchan can’t hear music, right~? She can feel it sometimes, but that’s not the point. Anyway~, even though Shicchan can’t hear music, she can still appreciate its beauty by looking at sheet music, and watching people perform it, or to it. So~, you just have to find a way of expressing the same feelings but in different ways. Does that make sense?”
“Um… I think s-so. Thank you… b-both of y-you.”
“Wahaha~! Any time, Hanacchan~!”
“S-see you. H-happy New Y-year.”
“Happy New Year to you too, Hanacchan! Buh-bye~!”
I make to leave Misha’s room, but I’m stopped by a big squishy hug from Misha. At a loss as to what to do, I look over to Shizune, who just stifles a soundless giggle with her hand. When Misha lets go, I linger, wondering if Shizune is to do the same, but she merely nods. I return the gesture and depart, with Misha waving out the door behind me.
Before I return to Lilly’s room, however, there’s something I need to get. I quickly stop in my room, fish out a portable CD player and accompanying CD – a gift from Lilly for last Christmas – then lock up and head back to Lilly’s room.
“Hanako, where did you go? You’ve been gone for quite some time.”
“I had to t-talk to someone. And I had to g-get something from my r-room. Sorry for w-worrying you.”
“My, my, don’t apologise. I’m sure it was important.”
“Y-yeah. It’s to do with the f-fireworks. Shizune said that as l-long as I was expressing the same feelings, it didn’t m-matter how I described the fireworks.”
Lilly sets down her tea cup, which appears to have long since been emptied, and gives me a surprised look.
“You talked to Shizune?”
“Y-yeah. Well, Misha, but you know… a-anyway, could you please stand up?”
“Stand up? Whatever for?”
“J-just trust me.”
I place the now-unused tea set back on its shelf and move the little table under Lilly’s bed so that the floor space is clear. I give her room one last check for obstacles, before setting the CD player upon the bedside table and hitting play. As the track loads, I step towards Lilly, take one hand in mine, and place my other lightly on her waist. Lilly takes the hint and places her other hand on my shoulder.
Then the first notes of the music ring in and I begin to dance. I’m not sure exactly what to do, but I improvise something resembling a waltz. Lilly, despite being unable to see where I step, manages to follow along rather well. For several minutes we circle the room, three steps at a time. Step forward, step right, feet together. The music shifts into a more upbeat tune, and I add a small bobbing motion into each step. Step backwards, step left, feet together. Shortly afterwards, the tempo of the music sharply increases, and – while not quite to the same extent – so do we, throwing in some twirls and dramatic stops in cue with the music. On returning to position from one twirl, I notice the large smile on Lilly's face, and I can't help but allow one to come to my own.
Like the fireworks, though, eventually the music comes to an end. With no music left to dance to, Lilly and I stay standing for several seconds before it becomes clear no further merriment is to be had for now. A quiet 'aww' slips out under Lilly's breath as she cautiously takes a seat on her bed, having to feel around first due to becoming disoriented during our dance. The girl opposite me rests her hands in her lap before speaking up.
“That was wonderful, Hanako.”
“Fireworks are like that, except w-with colours and light.”
“I see. Thank you very much Hanako. Fireworks truly are a beautiful thing.”
I sit down next to Lilly, and wrap my arms around her.
“H-happy New Year, Lilly.”
“Happy New Year to you too, Hanako.”