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Lilly Extra: Envy

mehkanik Oct 21st, 2012 1,754 Never
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  1. Lilly Extra: Envy
  2.  
  3. Jealousy and love are sisters. -Russian Proverb
  4.  
  5. =====
  6.  
  7. For once, it's quiet. It's rare that I enjoy silence -- but today is one of those days. I sit alone in the tea room, before Hanako and Hisao enter and spend lunch with me.
  8.  
  9. My hands are focused on the warmth of the ivory teacup in front of me. It's all that connects me to the world I'm in right now.
  10.  
  11. Darkness -- my eyes are open, but what I see is no different from when they're closed. I've never seen a thing in my life with my eyes, only felt and imagined.
  12.  
  13. Sometimes... I wonder what color is like.
  14.  
  15. What I wonder most often is something that pains me in an unusual way.
  16.  
  17. What does Hisao look like...?
  18.  
  19. That is a question I will likely never know the answer to. All I would require to satisfy my curiosity would be feeling the contours of his face.
  20.  
  21. That's not an available option for me, though.
  22.  
  23. It appears that beneath my nose, Hanako and Hisao have become... an item, I suppose. Touching his face would imply intimacy and that's not something I want to do to Hanako.
  24.  
  25. When Hanako told me, I was a little stunned.
  26.  
  27. I hadn't the faintest that she was interested in him in that sort of capacity. Or that she'd act upon it.
  28.  
  29. Truth be told; I've had my heart set on the transfer student for a small time now.
  30.  
  31. I've since pushed those feelings away. It's not like I'd have time to enjoy such a relationship in the first place. Hanako deserves it more than I do, as well.
  32.  
  33. I know better than anyone that the end of this year in Yamaku marks the end of my time in Japan. Why should I rob her of a future when I know mine with him would end so prematurely? When this year is over, I'm to return to Scotland, where my father plans to guide my future.
  34.  
  35. Although I always wear a smile and a face of poise, I can't help but curse my inability to see. For all of my efforts to stand on my own, there's always the times where I must rely on someone else.
  36.  
  37. In this case, the real world has few job opportunities for someone who can't see. No doubt my father plans to set me up with an accommodating job within our family's company.
  38.  
  39. I just wish it wasn't the case.
  40.  
  41. I'm on a predetermined road and I have no means to breaking out of it.
  42.  
  43. All because the fact that my eyes aren't like everyone else's. There are no prosthesis for eyes, it isn't like losing an arm or leg. My life from the beginning was changed and I was set to rely on others when all I've ever wanted was to stand on my own two feet.
  44.  
  45. I grip my teacup, which is rapidly cooling. A grimace is probably readily spread across my face, but I have no need to hide it. There's no one in the room to actually see it.
  46.  
  47. Hanako is always telling me how much she wishes she could be like me. Graceful, beautiful, proper. Unphased by everything that could ever happen to me.
  48.  
  49. I smile and tell her not to be. She has one thing I'd be willing to trade it all for.
  50.  
  51. The ability to just... see. I want to see the colors of Hisao's eyes. The curve of his smile when he laughs. The warmth of his hair. Sunrise in the morning. Stars during the night. Fireworks during the summer. The shades of the ocean.
  52.  
  53. It unsettles me, feeling like this. I've always presented myself as a lady, prim and proper. Yet, I'm harboring these ill feelings. It's unbecoming. And shallow. Of all people -- I'm feeling this way towards my closest friend.
  54.  
  55. It's unwarranted and selfish.
  56.  
  57. Still, no matter which way I tell it to myself, I keep on feeling the same way. Hearing their laughter, their closeness, experiencing it during our tea time -- the feeling just continues to swell.
  58.  
  59. I can hear footsteps distantly outside of the door.
  60.  
  61. I quickly trade my faltering frown for my well-practiced smile. The door is pulled open and my head is already turned in their direction.
  62.  
  63. Sound and memory forms abstract shapes to show who and where people are for me. The sound of heavy heels and boots inform me of the two who are entering.
  64.  
  65. "Ah, Hanako, Hisao. A little later than usual, I thought you two had forgotten about me."
  66.  
  67. My smile folds a little. One day, they're going to forget about me. As much as I won't be able to, they will.
  68.  
  69. "N-No, we didn't! Hi-Hisao were j-just caught up t-talking about a g-good book." Her usual stutter is there, but so are unusual pauses of hesitation when she speaks. There may be a pinch of truth to the statement, but I feel there may be a dash larger of lie.
  70.  
  71. Why would she lie to me, though?
  72.  
  73. I turn my head away, continuing to uphold my smile. "I'll reheat the tea, it got a little cold." Perhaps Hanako's a bit sharper than I'm giving her credit for? Maybe she knows how I feel for Hisao. She might be trying to keep me from getting upset.
  74.  
  75. That seems so... farfetched, though. I don't doubt Hanako's aware. She's a bright girl. I don't think she'd lie to me for the sake of my feelings though.
  76.  
  77. I pour the two their cups of tea, preparing them the ways they both prefer. Hanako's with only a spoonful of sugar and Hisao's with honey and a splash of milk.
  78.  
  79. The other two are silent. I can hear them shuffling around a little bit, as if they felt uneasy. Hanako's hand slides across the table quietly as does Hisao's.
  80.  
  81. "Ah, how cute." I accidentally speak my thoughts, my smile widening. They're holding hands.
  82.  
  83. "Wh-What?" Hanako's voice is a bit more stifled than usual. She's more embarassed than normal, so it only confirms what I can hear.
  84.  
  85. I close my eyes, sipping my tea.
  86.  
  87. "Nothing, don't worry."
  88.  
  89. Nothing. That's an interesting way to describe this strange, churning sensation in the pit of my chest.
  90.  
  91. I spend most of the lunch period with the two with my unseeing eyes directed out the window, my chin resting on my fingertips. Hanako and Hisao are talking about the usual things, chess and books as well as the occasional mention of dinner together. I'm trying to ignore it by focusing on other things.
  92.  
  93. Namely everything outside these walls. There's an entire world going on out there, outside of my restricted area of awareness. I probably won't be a part of it in my lifetime.
  94.  
  95. "L-Lilly?" Hanako's voice draws me back into reality and out of my shapeless thoughts.
  96.  
  97. "Yes, Hanako?" I turn towards the source of her voice.
  98.  
  99. "Are you okay?" She's a bit more resolved than normal. I smile, nodding. Hanako, you're growing too fast. Soon you're going to outdo me.
  100.  
  101. I've spent so much time encouraging you to grow and then suddenly -- you start off on your own and I'm not as important to you anymore.
  102.  
  103. I guess Hisao has helped you more than I have. Or maybe you've helped yourself? Found a little bit of that confidence and self-image I've always wanted you to have?
  104.  
  105. A small sigh escapes me. This is a good thing. I just don't know where it leaves me, other than alone.
  106.  
  107. I want these days to go on forever.
  108.  
  109. They won't, though.
  110.  
  111. Hisao stands. "Well, I've got to get to class."
  112.  
  113. "Leaving early?"
  114.  
  115. He chuckles a little. "Yep. I didn't finish my homework, so I'm hoping to get the rest done before class starts."
  116.  
  117. I laugh. "Good luck then, Hisao."
  118.  
  119. He walks away, pulls open the door and then closes it behind him.
  120.  
  121. "Wh-What's wrong?"
  122.  
  123. Hisao gone, I let my facade crumple a bit. My eyes lower and my smile falls into a frown.
  124.  
  125. "Hanako?"
  126.  
  127. "Y-Yes?"
  128.  
  129. "What's it like to see?"
  130.  
  131. I can tell Hanako's caught off guard. My sight isn't something I'm sensitive about or make a fuss over. People never ask about it because of how ambivalent I am towards it.
  132.  
  133. To suddenly give a show of weakness regarding it is new. Even for myself. It's never bothered me until now.
  134.  
  135. "Uh, i-it's nice sometimes. I pr-probably take it for granted, th-though."
  136.  
  137. "What about colors? What are colors like?"
  138.  
  139. Hanako's quiet for a moment. "Like my eyes. What are my eyes like to you?"
  140.  
  141. "They're b-blue. They re-remind me of deep water. Crisp, b-but they only reflect."
  142.  
  143. I smile. That sounds very much like myself.
  144.  
  145. "What does Hisao look like?"
  146.  
  147. Hanako's quiet.
  148.  
  149. "You know how I feel about him, I'm sure."
  150.  
  151. Continued quiet. She's pulling and kneading the cloth of her skirt nervously, I can hear it.
  152.  
  153. "I don't plan to ruin anything between you two. I just haven't met anyone like him before, so I wanted to know what he looks like. I'll never know."
  154.  
  155. Hanako takes a deep breath. She knows why.
  156.  
  157. "Kind. His h-hair's kinda messy, it makes him look g-goofy. He's f-feels like a tower to me, e-even though he isn't that ta-tall." I laugh a little, covering my mouth as I do so.
  158.  
  159. "His eyes? What color's his hair?"
  160.  
  161. "They're both br-brown. Warm. Re-reminds me of earth, like wh-when gardening."
  162.  
  163. I laugh a bit louder than normal. "I guess that's good for you then, isn't it? Earth lets things grow."
  164.  
  165. Hanako giggles a little.
  166.  
  167. "You've grown a lot this half of the year, Hanako. Soon you're not going to need me anymore."
  168.  
  169. "I-I don't th-think so."
  170.  
  171. "You've already begun to become your own beautiful person. You won't need me to be your shield or helping hand. I'm glad for that."
  172.  
  173. I sigh.
  174.  
  175. "But I'm a little... sad. I feel -- replaced?"
  176.  
  177. "I ca-can't replace you."
  178.  
  179. My frown lilts into a smile. "Maybe not, but you won't need me anymore. I'll always need someone and by the end of this year, the two people I need most won't be around anymore."
  180.  
  181. I'm envious of that. They'll have each other, but I'll be gone and far away from the two people I care about most.
  182.  
  183. Hanako places her hand on mine.
  184.  
  185. "We-We'll always be there f-for you. Just l-like you've b-been for us."
  186.  
  187. I smile, gripping her hand tightly.
  188.  
  189. When did our friendship flip like this? I was her support, her shield from the world. She was able to open up to me because I couldn't see the scars she's sensitive of.
  190.  
  191. I take her hand in mine, placing my other hand on top of hers. Her skin's soft on one side, but rough on the other.
  192.  
  193. Somewhere along the line, she found someone who could see her for who she was. Someone she wouldn't have to hide from.
  194.  
  195. I guess... I've lost on all fronts, haven't I?
  196.  
  197. My best friend is growing out of her need for me, because of the relationship she has with the person I yearn for.
  198.  
  199. I smile, rubbing my thumb along her skin.
  200.  
  201. Maybe leaving would be good for me?
  202.  
  203. =====
  204.  
  205. The day came faster than I anticipated. Hisao and Hanako are both seeing me off, Akira leading me onto the plane. For now though, we're sitting and waiting at the gate.
  206.  
  207. "My, my -- I just realized how thirsty I am. Hisao, do you think you could bring me somewhere I could get a drink?"
  208.  
  209. "Sure, no problem. I'll be right back, okay?" The end half of his sentence is aimed at Hanako, who I can hear nodding. She has a habit of nodding a bit on the hard side, so I can hear her hair whipping back and forth a bit.
  210.  
  211. I extend my hand, waiting until Hisao takes it to let me know he's in front of me. I link our arms, something I always do. Although with him, I'll admit it's become something of a guilty pleasure.
  212.  
  213. As we walk through the airport, Hisao names off the small stores that are located in them. Almost all of them would have something as simple as a bottle of water, but that isn't quite what I'm looking for.
  214.  
  215. "Hmmm. Would you mind continuing, Hisao?"
  216.  
  217. "Sure... but we've passed at least four places. Sure you don't want anything from there?"
  218.  
  219. "I'm sure. I actually want to talk to you about something."
  220.  
  221. Hisao gulps nervously. I smile. "Don't worry. It isn't anything too severe. I just want to talk to you about Hanako. After all, I'm leaving her in your care."
  222.  
  223. Hisao's silent. I don't think he knows how to respond to this. I doubt he's been expecting it. We've all spent a lot of time together, between school and festivals and going up to my family's summer home.
  224.  
  225. "So, somewhere private would be nice. I wouldn't want anyone to eavesdrop."
  226.  
  227. "Alright."
  228.  
  229. Hisao leads us towards somewhere on the further end of the airport, where there's an empty gate. I suppose there must not be any scheduled flights, because the sound of lively people has become rather distant.
  230.  
  231. "So, uh... What did you want to talk about?"
  232.  
  233. "Hanako, silly. Would you mind coming a little closer? I would like to see who it is I'm entrusting Hanako to." I'm wearing a smile, but beneath it all, I'm practically shaking.
  234.  
  235. 'Seeing' is a vague term I use, so as to not make anyone uncomfortable about using it around me. I reach out my hand, placing it against his cheek. My fingertips glide across his features, detailing a black and white picture in my head.
  236.  
  237. Defined, but not too hard of a jaw. A plain nose, not crooked. No scars on his flesh, or blemishes. His hair, like Hanako said, is pretty messy. I find myself giggling.
  238.  
  239. "What? Do I look dumb to you?"
  240.  
  241. I laugh, placing both hands on his cheeks, smushing his face together.
  242.  
  243. "No, quite the opposite. You're much more handsome than I imagined. Hanako got quite lucky. Kind and attractive."
  244.  
  245. "Pssh. You exaggerate."
  246.  
  247. I take a step closer to him, struggling to keep my shaking under control. I guess it's only my heart right now that's trembling.
  248.  
  249. "I assume you're going to take good care of her? Her government aid is going to run out fairly soon. Most of it was already gone when she was sent to Yamaku."
  250.  
  251. Hisao nods.
  252.  
  253. "Of course. We've already talked about it, actually. I have to talk to my parents on helping us afford an apartment."
  254.  
  255. My smile weakens a little bit. So they'll be moving in together after school ends? That seems a bit... fast. Although, for Hanako -- it's probably for the best.
  256.  
  257. "So it sounds like you've got everything under control."
  258.  
  259. "Yep. She means a lot to me, just like she does to you. I want to do my best to make her happy."
  260.  
  261. There's that kindness that made me fall for you.
  262.  
  263. "Can I be selfish, one last time?"
  264.  
  265. Hisao's caught off guard by that.
  266.  
  267. "I think if anyone, you're the least selfish person I know."
  268.  
  269. "You'd be surprised." I tell him, as I pull him into a hug. Once, just once. I want to hold and be held by him.
  270.  
  271. He obliges, hugging me back. "Don't forget to email, call, whatever, alright? Hanako's taking this kind of hard, even though she isn't showing it."
  272.  
  273. "I know."
  274.  
  275. I turn towards him, out of his shoulder.
  276.  
  277. The hug wasn't my selfish act.
  278.  
  279. My face nears his, my hands on his shoulders. His hands are still around my shoulders, though.
  280.  
  281. My lips are probably just barely an inch from his. I can feel his breath on my face, on my lips. It smells like hazelnut. That's the flavor of coffee you had this morning, wasn't it?
  282.  
  283. I close my eyes, moving closer, waiting for the moment my lips touch --
  284.  
  285. His cheek.
  286.  
  287. "Good boy."
  288.  
  289. "H-Huh?"
  290.  
  291. I remove my hands from his shoulders, taking a step back and folding my hands on my lap. "You passed, Hisao. My selfish little test for you. You have my absolute trust with Hanako."
  292.  
  293. "Jeez, really? I was panicking, I had no idea what in the world you were doing." He breathes a sigh of relief.
  294.  
  295. "If you were serious, I'd be put in a real bad spot, you know? I don't want to hurt either of my best friends." He tells me, linking his arm with mine.
  296.  
  297. "Want to grab that drink now?"
  298.  
  299. I nod. "Absolutely."
  300.  
  301. He doesn't want to hurt either of his best friends... my smile takes on a peculiar shape. A little late for that, Hisao. I won't blame you, though.
  302.  
  303. =====
  304.  
  305. Eventually, the plane arrives. I say my goodbyes to Hanako and Hisao, hugging each of them. My embrace with Hanako lasts a while longer because she doesn't want to let go.
  306.  
  307. "I'll visit, I promise." I squeeze her shoulders a bit to give her some resolve. When I'll be able to, I don't know. But I'll come back eventually.
  308.  
  309. "Be good, you two. I'll miss you both." It's hard to hear them over the crowd, but Akira takes my arm, telling me we're going to be late if we take too long.
  310.  
  311. As we walk away, I place my fingertips to my lips.
  312.  
  313. They still feel warm.
  314.  
  315. "Lilly, you okay?"
  316.  
  317. "Of course, why?"
  318.  
  319. "You're crying."
  320.  
  321. Of course I am.
  322.  
  323. "Well, I'm leaving the best life I've had behind, with people I love. Why wouldn't I be crying?"
  324.  
  325. I say I'm okay, because I am. Still, that'll never change that I've long since accepted this and that's what hurts the most.
  326.  
  327. Akira takes my hand. "You'll be back before you know it."
  328.  
  329. I wipe one of my eyes.
  330.  
  331. "I hope so."
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