- Fuck you, alarm clock. It’s Sunday and I don’t want to do this anymore than you do.
- Wait a minute. I’m in my room. That whole…yesterday thing. Did that even happen? Was Susumu ever really here? Everything just felt so surreal. I’ve heard cases of people hallucinating severely. Maybe that happened to me. It’s not like anyone would actually care enough about me to threaten to kill me or try to save my life. I should just resign myself to my fucking fate. A life of mediocrity and despair.
- FUCK, ALARM! SHUT OFF ALREADY! Jesus, I don’t even remember turning it on.
- …I DIDN’T turn it on. What the fuck? There’s a note next to my clock.
- “#312. I’ll see you in 10 minutes.”
- That’s not my handwriting. Then…it wasn’t a dream. She IS real! There’s hope after all!
- Um pants, pants, I need pants. How do I…ew.
- *PFFFT PFFFT*
- Some perfume. That’ll do the trick. Ok! Um…booty shorts! That’ll work. Um, shirt. Shirt, shirt, shirt…tank top! Close enough! Ugh! It’s a bit small on me. But it’ll have to do! I’m gonna be late. Legs don’t fail me now.
- Your face will recover from hitting the floor. I gotta get somewhere fast. Alright let’s see…300, 301…going the right way at least. It should be…right around this corner!
- And…it’s a janitorial supply closet. What. Something’s not right here. The looming shadow in my peripheral vision does little to dissuade me otherwise.
- That’s not Susumu.
- “Good morning, Sally Sunshine.”
- “What is this?”
- “Just a bit of a joke. I hope you don’t mind too much.”
- “Well, maybe a little…”
- “So what are you going to do? Punish your Enjerupi?”
- “Your mouth says grjhfsdfjbhvc but those beautifully blushing cheeks say, ‘Yes!’”
- “So where’s your room?”
- “Across the hall. Glad to see you dressed for the occasion.”
- “Shut it.”
- “Oooh, feisty. See, you do have a fight to be alive in you. You’re a fighter, Aik!”
- “What’s that?”
- “You’ve never seen Rocky?”
- “Baka! You have to see it!”
- I can barely compose myself as I see Saki pulling me into her room. She’s wearing an oversized Detroit Red Wings Jersey. It’s so white and red like the flag. I can’t help but think they borrowed Meiji’s flag for inspiration.
- “Can I get you something, Aiko?”
- “What do you have?”
- “There’s Hawaiian Punch, Capri-Sun, Sunny D, Ovaltine, or Gatorade.”
- “I’ve never heard of any of those drinks.”
- “They’re American.”
- Her whole room is like a trip to America. There are pictures of Mount Rushmore, the White House, Disney World, Hollywood, New York, Detroit. Lots of American places. Pictures of Elvis, McDonalds, an eagle, baseball. I would never guess a Japanese girl lived in this room. Her bedspread is the American flag.
- “Like the decorations? I did them myself!”
- “Really? I never would have guessed.”
- “I know, it’s a bit…embarrassing. But it’s what I love. I love America. There’s something about America that’s admirable. The way they champion freedom and truly do what they want. Sure, it’s not glamorous, but it’s freedom at its finest.”
- “Huh, I never thought of that. I thought they were just fat, lazy assholes.”
- “That’s just a generalization, baka.”
- She sticks her tongue out at me like a child would to a playground friend. As easily as our conversation started, it ends rather abruptly as Saki goes back into watching her laptop as if I wasn’t even here. Saki looks so carefree, sitting in her chair, staring into that which cannot react. It’s as if she never left it: our conversation and flirting but a brief intermission from the regularly scheduled programme. Her room, as it starts to set in, is her inner sanctum. There’s little room for another person in here, despite the size, and it is a bit messy, to say the least. It’s thoughtless, rude.
- “Insulting, even.”
- I did not just say that out loud.
- Dammit, yes I did.
- “Uhhhh I said is that the sun or heater?”
- “It’s hot in here? We-he-hell sorry about that, hun. I do tend to have that effect when I’m in a room.”
- She gets up to change the thermostat as I do my best to make myself comfortable on her bed, but just can’t seem to find a good spot.
- “U-uh, please don’t sit on the bed?”
- “Ok, sorry…”
- “No, it’s my fault, I suppose. I should be a better hostess than this! But we can’t all be morning people, now, can we? There’d be no one left to stay up at night!”
- Her weak chuckle and awkward gesturing reads more as accident than intent. The worst thing I could do is make eye contact and let on that I’m seeing through her guffaw. And that’s when I see it.
- A slightly used pair of Sony Handycam Video 8s. The giant microphone on the end earns a chuckle out of my otherwise strained demeanor, though I fear it may have had unintended consequences.
- “I didn’t think it was that funny~ What’s on your mind, Amaya?”
- I’m terrible at poker.
- “Out with it, baka! A joke is funnier when it’s shared!”
- “Oh, you shared something alright.”
- “Those dusty old pieces of junk on your shelf! What is this, 1997?”
- “Why, I never, Aiko! These are treasured heirlooms!”
- “Heirlooms? My parents owned one of these! God knows where it is now.”
- “These belonged to my brother and I.”
- There’s a hint of a somber tone in her voice, swaddled in her efforts to keep from crying. She clutches her hand to her breast to carry herself through her memories of him and the lingering idea that those memories are all that remain.
- “When he could, he would record little videos for me when his work kept him busy. And I’d record a little video for him to watch when he had the time. It became our thing. I’d wake up to a little cassette on my nightstand and I’d try to sneak my response into his lunch sack before he went off for the night shift. It was beautiful. It was being a brother without…being there.”
- I have to say something now, considering she’s just beared what seems to be a once forgotten part of her memories to me.
- “You were most fortunate to have such a loving sibling. A rarity in this day and age.”
- I move in to embrace her, arms spread just wide enough to take all of her midsection in. She takes me with her in the sweeping heaving of her chest. Every lift and drop carries what it feels to be the weight of the ages upon it, but it struggles. Her breathing is ragged, staggered. Her lungs are fighting her each step of the way. Even they don’t want to carry on, though her sense of duty tells her she must.
- She turns her head only slightly so I can’t see her face. Her delicate, tear-streaked face. I don’t look up to see if she’s smiling, not that it matters. She puts a finger on my forehead and then gets up, keeping me in place with that one finger. I should be outraged at such a gesture, making me look like some slave. Were it not for the accompanying elegance, I would say something. But it’s so quick and gentle, it’s hardly noticeable. She takes her other hand and guides my hips, stroking and nudging me into place on the carpet as if she’s done this countless times. We’re now kneeling on the floor next to each other as Saki leans into me to sit herself down on the tawdry carpet. She tries to whisper something into my ear, but I can’t hear her over her rustling shirt.
- “I-I said…I’m not wearing anything underneath.”
- Oh my.
Night Rain: Chapter Thirteen "Morning After"
Hanako Jan 5th, 2013 336 Never
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