SemisoftCheese

Clair De Lune (Ritsu Route Extra)

Jun 6th, 2013
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  1. For Michael R. McClintock
  2.  
  3. We're back on the hill again.
  4.  
  5. It was a summer afternoon and I had been studying for a few hours. I needed a break.
  6.  
  7. Only problem was, I had no idea where to go. I left the room… and my feet just took me here.
  8.  
  9. The same familiar figure is there, wrapped in a blue cardigan on a hill. She pulls it tighter in the light summer breeze, her bangs rustling slowly.
  10.  
  11. I walk slowly up the hill, my shoes making imprints in the soft, dark dirt, the grass bending its way to my weight.
  12.  
  13. As I settle down, she turns and gives me a nod, then returns to staring at the clear blue sky.
  14.  
  15. I stare at the sky. The same she's staring at. I wonder if she sees more.
  16.  
  17. I remember someone telling me something interesting once. About the color blue.
  18.  
  19. It was that you never really could define the color blue. No-one can tell what blue means to each person. Someone might see your perception of red when you see blue, and you'd never know. You both know blue, but at the same time, you don't.
  20.  
  21. We're looking at the same sky, the same blue, but it might be different. Something inside me hopes it's not, but I know that it probably is. And always will be.
  22.  
  23. I lie down, placing my head on the grass. I live for moments like these.
  24.  
  25. The kind where you don't have to say anything.
  26.  
  27. Ritsu turns to me, a somber look on her eyes. If I were to give it a color, a blue, I'd say it's a dark, navy, blue for sure.
  28.  
  29. "Hisao, what do you think about dying?"
  30.  
  31. Dying? I've given a lot of thought about it… but only in the rational, cold sense. If I don't take my pills, I die. If my heart stops, I die. I try not to think about it otherwise.
  32.  
  33. "In what sense?"
  34.  
  35. I expect her to roll her eyes, but she keeps her gaze fixed on me, steady.
  36.  
  37. "The dying sense, Hisao. The kind where you leave and never come back."
  38.  
  39. I--
  40.  
  41. "I don't really, know, to be honest. I don't think I want to die. Do you?"
  42.  
  43. I'm not sure if I answered her question.
  44.  
  45. She turns to the sky again, and opens her mouth to speak.
  46.  
  47. "Do you think there's something after? Like something extra? Even just another five minutes in another world?"
  48.  
  49. Her voice changes to a flat tone, one of calculated emotion.
  50.  
  51. "Or is it just nothing. That's it."
  52.  
  53. I run my hand through my hair, putting on a wince of a smile.
  54.  
  55. "I'm not really sure. I'd like to think so. It's kind of depressing to think that everything is gone after you die."
  56.  
  57. She keeps her back turned to me, but I continue.
  58.  
  59. "I mean, when I was little, I attended church and everything, and they tell you there's a heaven afterwards where everyone you love is there."
  60.  
  61. I pause.
  62.  
  63. "I think I still believe that, even if I don't go to church anymore. Knowing that there's something after kind of makes life worth living. It makes it so there's a reason to go on."
  64.  
  65. She turns to me, a sad urgency in her eyes.
  66.  
  67. "But what if there isn't anything, Hisao. What it's worth then?"
  68.  
  69. I want to shrug off her question, to handle it nonchalantly, but there's something that Ritsu needs answered.
  70.  
  71. "I guess it's hard to define. You never know when you're going to go. It's a privilege and a curse, in a way. Because you don't know, life is a thrill. You don't know what's going to end, so it's kind of a roller coaster ride. But it's scary at times, and if it's scary enough, you live your life in fear instead of exhilaration. And that's when it becomes stupid."
  72.  
  73. I run my hand through my hair.
  74.  
  75. "I think one of the oldest questions in existence is whether there's something after or not. Something, anything, heaven or hell, people want to know. If they can live again. Laugh again. Drink again. See their loved ones again."
  76.  
  77. I take a breath.
  78.  
  79. "But even if there isn't, all we can do it keep living. There's nothing else to stop us from dying, or living, because that's all that's left. You've just go to take it day by day."
  80.  
  81. Ritsu looks at me, a sad, cold gold in her eyes.
  82.  
  83. "You remind me a poem, Hisao."
  84.  
  85. "What poem?"
  86.  
  87. She takes a deep breath.
  88.  
  89. "The one they read at my brother's funeral."
  90.  
  91. Oh.
  92.  
  93. "Today is the seventh anniversary of his accident."
  94.  
  95. She gives a short snort of amusement.
  96.  
  97. "He was always playing with cars, and while he was riding his bike, one of them forgot to brake."
  98.  
  99. She clears her head by shaking it.
  100.  
  101. "Anyway, they picked this poem to read at his funeral."
  102.  
  103. She pulls out a piece of lined paper out of her pocket, the blue lines faded and the edges worn soft and fuzzy. The kind where it's been carried around so many times it's as soft as cloth.
  104.  
  105. She focuses her eyes on the paper and begins to read.
  106.  
  107. "It's called, Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep."
  108.  
  109. She looks at me once more, a quick check, and then starts to read.
  110.  
  111.  
  112. "Do not stand at my grave and weep.
  113.  
  114.  
  115. I am not there. I do not sleep.
  116.  
  117.  
  118. I am the thousand winds that blow.
  119.  
  120.  
  121. I am the diamond glints on the snow.
  122.  
  123.  
  124. I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
  125.  
  126.  
  127. I am the gentle autumn rain."
  128.  
  129.  
  130. When you awaken in the morning's hush
  131.  
  132.  
  133. I am the swift uplifting rush
  134.  
  135.  
  136. Of quiet birds in circled flight
  137.  
  138.  
  139. I am the soft stars that shine at night.
  140.  
  141.  
  142. Do not stand at my grave at cry.
  143.  
  144.  
  145. I am not there; I did not die."
  146.  
  147. She puts the poem back at her pocket and stares at me, waiting.
  148.  
  149. She starts again.
  150.  
  151. "You know, it's funny, Hisao, in a way.
  152.  
  153. You think all you have is time, and it robs things away from you without a second glance. It's been seven years at it only feels like yesterday."
  154.  
  155. She sweeps her bangs out of her face, her eyes fixated on the sky behind me.
  156.  
  157. "Like all the colors ran out of the world."
  158.  
  159. I don't know what to say. I say what I feel a machine would, what comes out automatically.
  160.  
  161. "I'm sorry for your loss."
  162.  
  163. I wish I could say more. I wish I had more to say. Such a canned phrase. It doesn't mean anything.
  164.  
  165. "It's not your fault, Hisao. It's nobody's fault."
  166.  
  167. She pauses again.
  168.  
  169. "It's just something that happened. When it did, I was halfway around the world, like I always am. Satoshi wasn't a bad brother."
  170.  
  171. She looks away again.
  172.  
  173. "It's just that I always thought there was more. That whenever I stepped off a plane, he'd be there to greet me. A rock, as constant as the color of the sky."
  174.  
  175. I decide to speak up.
  176.  
  177. "It's not your fault, Ritsu."
  178.  
  179. She sighs.
  180.  
  181. "I know it isn't. But it puts everything into perspective. When you've got everything locked down, and you're 110 percent secure, and things are going smoothly, shit happens. And it makes you wonder why. Why the other stuff matters. Silly little goals you chase for your own ends, and they don't mean anything at all."
  182.  
  183. She blinks, twice.
  184.  
  185. "I don't think it matters whether there's an afterlife or not. Satoshi's gone. He's gone as much as a know, and that's all I need to know."
  186.  
  187. Her voice takes on a tone of urgency.
  188.  
  189. "Life's best lived by the living. I can't bring him back. All I've got left is me, and what I've done. Who knows what it matters in the world, if it matters at all."
  190.  
  191. I don't know what to say. Her voices loses the tone of urgency and is replaced by one of resignation.
  192.  
  193. "But you've got to get up in the morning. You've got to shower, and you've got to keep going. For whatever it's worth. Because it's all you've got left. To be honest, it's all you ever had in the first place."
  194.  
  195. She gets up from the hill, the sun a gentle orange in the sky.
  196.  
  197. "Sorry for dumping this all on you, Hisao."
  198.  
  199. I give her a smile.
  200.  
  201. "It's okay. That's what I'm here for.
  202.  
  203. She smile back at me warmly.
  204.  
  205. "I've got to do some stuff, so I'll see you later?"
  206.  
  207. "Later."
  208.  
  209. She walks off and I lay my head back on the hill.
  210.  
  211. My companion sees the blue in the sky, as much as she can.
  212.  
  213. I think she's pretty tough to go through all she did and come out on intact. The death of her brother and what landed her in Yamaku.
  214.  
  215. She's a tough cookie, and she'll keep going forwards.
  216.  
  217. But something changed for her that day. Something like the color blue.
  218.  
  219.  
  220.  
  221.  
  222.  
  223. "Clair de Lune" is a piece by Claude Debussy
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