In another world, maybe, we could have fallen in love, the both of us.
He should have known, and she as well should have known.
Love was no child’s play, and a girl’s heart at a tender age of seventeen was no child’s play, it is, in fact, one of the most crucial stages of a flower’s heart where it blossoms or decays at a single touch—where the petals fall and the uncertainty of its last petal being true or not. The thing is, they were fools, a foolish victim and a foolish perpetrator.
She was just a girl, a high school girl at a tender age of seventeen, she was no naïve little lady, the tragedies that had befallen her has made her accustomed to the unrealities of life, she is well aware of how cruel and unfair fate is, but love? Love is a matter she is not accustomed with.
Kaji Fumino curls herself into a ball enough to make her spine hurt and her knees feel numb. She sat by the corner, the door to her room locked, and the lamp at a low light setting. She had locked herself away in this room for a good three days, today being the third, pulling an absent just last Friday and calling it a sick day. No food, no water, she has yet to even wash herself. Sneakily, she would use the bathroom when all residents in this condominium were asleep to use the toilet, but no more than that. Even looking at the sight of food or water had made her so nauseous she’d only vomit even at the mention of it.
“Fumino-chan, please… I don’t want to break this door, I want you to come out on your own accord, I don’t mind if you won’t talk, please just eat and drink some water. Teppei has been crying all this time waiting for you to come back…” Tomoyuki begs, Fumino assumes he’s just by the door. But despite that his words went through one ear and exit through the other.
How is it, that people could actually expect her to step back up from this reality, that she would be able to be her boisterous and strong self? She cannot. This is the reality of a broken hearted seventeen year old girl fooled into a family picturesque desire and a false sense of marriage. Had this been a simple cheating affair with one of the boys in class she would not have minded, she could perhaps have just beaten that playboy and went back to the usual routine, but this man—this man who had saved her countless of times, can no longer save her. She was a fool to believe this was all real, that all that spat out from those lips were real, the little signs of intimacies and subtle ministrations too. But for the most part, she was a fool to even think she could be someone any lovable.
She was not so self deprecating, but let us be real, what is a broken hearted flower without its fallen beauty? When the petals fall, it loses its charm until it loses its color and dries until such time the wind blows it to crumbs and ashes. That is what Kaji Fumino is, all her brimming brilliance and fiery strength have dissipated into puzzlement, insecurity, regret and despair.
Fumino remains quiet, it was not that she deliberately didn’t want to respond, she had simply forgotten how to do so.
“B…Buncha…! Pl…ease, please! Let’s eat, let’s eat…!” Teppei’s wobbly voice could easily make sense to her, he had been crying for days straight, she knows, he had been banging on her door and crying hoping for her to come out.
Teppei… Teppei… Teppei… her little brother. Images of his face, his voice had sounded almost like static noises in her ears although heard, she tries so desperately to stand that she accidentally knocked over a few pencil holders. Her hand holds the edge of her desk for support but her knees wobbles.
“Buncha…?!” Teppei is on his tip toes tries to hard to reach for the door.
Tomoyuki immediately stands from his kneeling position and before he could have kicked the door off he had heard a loud thud. He then kicks the door open and sees his niece collapsed on the ground. He rushes to her side, tucking a few stray stands of her hair and sees how pale complexion and thin she had gotten, her eye bags had gotten more visible along with her chattering teeth and cold body temperature. Tomoyuki picks her up in his arms and along with Teppei who was running behind him follows him to the car as they rush to the hospital.
Going home already, Kaji-san…? Good bye.
“Eeeeh?? I heard Kaji-san is in the hospital, I heard she caught a flu!” A student gossiped.
“Right! That’s unfortunate, but can’t be helped—this year’s summer has been colder than usual…”
“And here I thought it was global warming already…”
Students continued to gossip as Kazuma stood in front of the class. Heart pacing rapidly, hospital? Why, why was she there?
“Ehem—excuse me, Homeroom is not yet done.” Kazuma interjected as he slaps his book on the desk, gaining everyone’s attention. “I’ve got a call from the teacher’s office, Kaji-san is in the hospital, so please do send her your prayers, hopefully she’ll come back to school soon.”
Why… why is it that she didn’t react like the boisterous girl she usually was? She would have kicked him and punched him by this time, but why is she so distant? Has he done it too far, perhaps so, but why is it that—
Kazumi turns as soon a she leaves the room and closes the sliding door of the classroom, his head turning to the source of the voice. His eyes widen slightly, the other person was Fumino’s uncle.
“Last time we talked was not too long ago, but I’d like to speak to you. And don’t worry, there’s no one to interrupt or overhear us this time.” Last time was disastrous.
Kazuma only quietly obliges and follows behind the other until they find a secluded spot behind the school.
“Don’t.” A cold silence. “Don’t utter her name, ever.”
Kazuma falls back, he is threatened by the presence before him.
“Sensei, you’ve deflowered her.” He only smiles. “Have you forgotten? She’s still only seventeen.” Another pause although his smile remains unchanced. “Did you really think she would have taken that mishap like any of your other arguments?” B this point a chuckle escapes his lips.
“Perhaps. Perhaps in another universe she would have cries so loudly and punched you in the gut, perhaps in another world she would have chased her dream to prove herself to you, the optimistic perspective. But unfortunately, in this world it is not meant to be. She is a broken hearted girl, a girl who’s barely had any experience in the field of love because she was too focused on helping every single person out there, within her reach, rather than helping herself.” Tomoyuki explains, a slightly sad gaze in his eyes.
“Right now she’s in the hospital; she hasn’t eaten for three days, hasn’t drank water and hasn’t even bathed. She was all stuck in her room. I suppose I’m partially guilty for having not done anything to break the door, but it wasn’t right and I knew I couldn’t barge into her problems. It would only complicate things, and now I sort of regret that I didn’t act up, I wouldn’t have minded if it would complicate things a little further, so long as she was safe and healthy.”
“There is nothing I could say about this, truly nothing, and I regret, I regret that what you say is true. I’ve overlooked and assumed she could…,”
“No. Don’t say that anymore, in fact, you shouldn’t be saying this to me.”
“Please, for one last time, may I go see your niece…?”
“Only if she’ll want you around.”
“Did you… did you really think you have any right or whatsoever to visit…?”
“I didn’t mean for it to be this way, Kaji-san… I…”
“It’s alright, whatever you say can’t make me heal.”
It wasn’t that fact that hurt him, it was that her gaze, her tone and everything about her was so empty ,cold and distant. She was exactly the opposite of how she usually was. Her sadness was Dionysian and tranquil, no it would be rather insulting to call it sadness, it was grief—she was mourning for the loss of what could have been. But perhaps this was for the better rather than prolonging this game of tag. “Kaji-san, please… hear me out—”
“But, I really do hope you get a good job. Continue being a teacher, you’re a great teacher. And I’m thankful for the fact you gave me a future look forward too a reason to study better.” She pauses, a smile drawing on her lips although weakly, “But I can’t.. I can’t stand this pain, you’ve hid so many things from me, humiliated me, made me feel so worthless, you coaxed me to feeling safety and love, you played me, sensei. You toyed my heart, my innocence, my perspective. I feel all screwed up. So screwed up, I wouldn’t mind if I died and became a star, like I told Teppei, and it’s fine if this is selfish. You were selfish too, right? I guess I learned something else too from you.” She turns her gaze from the empty white ceiling to directly look at Kazuma’s gaze.
“Sensei, I can’t trust you anymore.”