Antithesis of Self
The next world, resplendent with sin-laden cherry blossoms
Unseeable in life; unseeable again in death – Jun’ya Ota
The night has descended and the smell of darkness fills the air. Stink and pungent similar to that of an open grave. I brave myself to enter this lonely fortress, a remnant of era long bygone, and climbed upon these ominous stairs.
There is no why.
I feel just as if my body is moving on its own, captivated by daze and let my mind blown upon by velvet invincible air current. If I can, and I realize it, I should have screamed at this moment. Because at this moment, my mind is by its own a blank slate, driven by incomprehensible force I can’t explain.
There is no right or wrong in my mind. By the time I saw that light, my body was moving on its own and my mind couldn’t help but to indulge in this forbidden euphoria. Although where I tread my footsteps right now is a no man’s land. No sane teenage girl, let alone man, would dare to visit this giant silent mausoleum of forgotten halcyon days of our bubble age.
But here I am, defying logic and my own sanity.
The sight was so irresistible, my own thought echoes through my head ready to tear it apart. It is mysterious and unexplainable but if I’m about to put into words, strange warmth surges upon my body every time I gaze upon that light. I cannot describe what that faint violet light was but the voice in the back of my head keeps on screaming ‘this is it’.
I need to reach the light!
My body follows that voice and finally reached the top of this silent tower. A sturdy set of door covered in rust. I collect all my powers to push the door open and now I can see it clearly. The vision of the night sky decorated with pale full moon. Two hundred meters above the ground and I can feel the strong gust of wind sending my balance into disarray. The normal me would cower in fear. A girl shouldn’t find herself at such vintage point. This is what common sense would call as ‘madness’.
But then again the normal me hadn’t witnessed the beauty of that mesmerizing phenomenon. The light that suddenly appeared along with echoes of childish songs brimmed with nostalgia. If… if I didn’t decide to take a shortcut through this old and dilapidated part of town, I wouldn’t have witnessed such miracle!
It is worth it all, I keep screaming in my head as my mouth formed slightly deformed smile carved from fear and excitement. Now I am here and my heart is beating fast to see that light once again. I keep throwing my gaze to all directions hoping to catch a glimpse of the violet beauty.
And there it is!
The light is hovering in the air idly. That light is surrounded by tens of another light of similar nature. They are just there hovering and almost feel like dancing a strange otherworldly choreography that is beyond human imagination. It’s almost mystical and surreal. Surely such vision cannot exist in this world. Through many pictures and photos, I have seen of natural phenomena around the world that I had once seen in books, magazines, and televisions, none can match what is fixed within my gaze right now.
The lights are moving, dancing, and playing with each other as if they are alive. Those lights are so cheerful although here is no way for a human to comprehend the emotion of such beauties.
Without reasons I let out a small laugh. The small laugh is accompanied with salty tears on my face. I then realized that I won’t be seeing such phenomenon anymore after this night. It is so rare and unbelievable I doubt this self can be graced of seeing this vision for a second time.
Until a thought passed through my mind.
I feel the lights to be corporeal enough so perhaps it is possible for to… catch it? I can catch and grab one. I can keep it in my bento box and perhaps install one in my room. Seeing one dancing and playing in idyll is enough for me and there is always chance that the other would join the lonely light.
In the end I brave myself and rush forward. I reach out my hand to the light with wide smile on my face.
This is it, my heart exclaimed.
And in the end my body took a deep dive to the pavement below.
I don’t get it… Is it all worth it?
Hakugyoukurou ~ Light Trap (August 1997)
Summer rain can cause one to be so idle…
Even if summer ends soon, the sensation of summer rain remains unchanged.
That is why I have no argument to rationalize me sitting idly watching cheesy daytime soap opera in such day. The show is not even good yet I don’t have the power to lift my fingers and change the channel.
I am simply idle for the sake of being idle.
Oh, god… please save me.
It is not an over exaggeration if I were to say that boredom is a fate worse than death. As I drift more and more into the stillness, I just can feel more and more how each rain drop on the window sounds like a meteor colliding into the earth. You can say that I’ve turned crazy but that’s just my brain’s mechanism to make sure that I am still alive in the middle of big city in Japan rather than an ancient tomb from the age of Jomon.
There it goes again, another trick of my mind. I wonder how I should interpret it. A bee lost in this room perhaps? If I were a girl, I should’ve run into panic spree trying to get it out. Then again if I were a girl I doubt would still be sitting around like this for the whole day.
Or maybe it’s the sound of doorbell which sounds more likely than an imaginary bee.
Or maybe my mind turns out not playing any trick at all and somebody really is waiting outside my apartment for lazy me to open the door so they can get in.
Okay, I’m at fault here.
As I opened the door, a girl is standing still in front of me. She’s wearing a black sailor school uniform with umbrella in her left hand and her bag in the other. She has pale complexion to the point where she almost looks like a porcelain doll. Her long black hair that reaches past her shoulders wasn’t seemed to be well covered by the umbrella because it looks pretty soaked. Basically she looks exactly as what people would like to call a yamato nadeshiko right to her distant gaze that is seemingly radiating with ancient Japanese pride.
That is if you try to ignore the eye patch that covers her left eye as well as the burned bandage that covers from the fingers of her left arm up to her elbow. Unsuspecting person might think she’s an out of place cosplayer or perhaps a chuunibyo.
The girl didn’t say anything. She just keeps on gazing with her blank expression. Somehow in situation like this, I can only make a faint smile and let her in.
“Here’s a towel to dry your hair.”
I handed out a spare towel I always keep in my apartment just in case situation like this emerges. While she’s drying her hair, I’m preparing a glass of her favorite Japanese tea for her to enjoy.
“Make yourself at home.”
Actually I don’t need to say that. This girl has visited my apartment to the point where I have lost count. In fact my neighbors and landlord have gotten used to her they never say anything about a high school teenager visiting a university student like me.
“Sorry, for the late welcome. I was dosing off back then.”
I tried to rationalize my tardiness.
She finally spoke. As always, she speaks almost in whispers. Maybe you need to focus all your attention to her to get what she’s saying. For many times I told her to speak louder and livelier so she can make friends more easily but it seems all my words fell on deaf ears.
“I’m glad you visited me. You just can’t believe how I’m getting bored to death around here. It’s a good thing I opened the door just in time or maybe you will change your mind and going home instead.”
Rin shook her head.
“I have no plan to. I was thinking to wait until you get home.”
Her personality may be a little too stoic but when it comes to determination I have to give her an extra score.
“Why didn’t you go to Umegiri-san’s office instead?”
Then again I have the feeling she doesn’t get along to well with her.
“Come to think of it, Umegiri-san hasn’t called me to her office since last week.”
Maybe that’s the reason why I find myself idle lately.
I’ve known this girl for quite a long time and I’ve gotten used to her lack of words. People who don’t know her might find her rude but for me it’s just her being her usual self. How do I put into words? Perhaps her absence of emotion is actually how she expresses her emotions. I know it doesn’t make sense but then again it’s why I love interacting with her. It’s the nature of a human being to be attracted to something or someone that makes them curious. Nothing for me sparks my curiosity flame more than this girl.
As for now, she’s just enjoying the Japanese tea I serve her while watching the TV show. Actually, you can’t call it watching. Maybe staring blankly is the more precise term.
“Do you enjoy it?”
That was pretty blunt as always. With the consent of the lady, I took the remote and began shuffling through channels. To be frank, nothing much can be enjoyed from daytime television nowadays so I’ve decided to tune in a channel that is more neutral than the others. News channel.
“We’re here to bring another report from Nakatomi Plaza.”
Oh, great. Another suicide case.
“I thought they have locked the place down. Have you heard about the news?”
She again shook her head.
“Basically there’s some kind of suicide spree in the abandoned Nakatomi Plaza for the past few months. In the beginning of this year, five girls committed mass suicide by jumping from the roof. Three months later, a worker who was supposed to survey the location for demolition plan committed another suicide by hanging himself. The police decided to close down the area afterwards because of another suicide two months ago.”
And it seems the most recent suicide takes place in another area of the plaza that was not undergone police lockdown.
According to the news, the victim this time is a high school student from around here. There’s no left-behind suicide note and the family and friends of the victims told the news that she didn’t have any problems or whatsoever in home and school. The same goes to the other previous victims maybe with the exception of the victim from two months ago who was reported to be a target of bullying.
“The place has become some kind of an urban legend.”
“I think I heard my friends were talking about it in school.”
She spoke to me in whispers. Does she find stories like this to be interesting?
“Suicide Plaza, they said. They began to wonder whether it’s a favorite place to commit suicide or perhaps the building has some kind of supernatural power that can cause people to kill themselves.”
“Interesting. They make it sounds like Aokigahara Forest.”
“Something similar to that. Some even considered exploring the building to find out.”
“There is always fascination to stories like this.”
“What do you think, Seiji?”
“What do I think?”
I don’t actually know what to think about this. Nakatomi Plaza is located in the most worn out area of the city. The remnant of the bubble era when business was booming and suddenly crashed down in one night. There’s no way for me to visit that area with no reason. It takes determination to get near places like that. Despite my circumstances, I’m not an avid believer of supernatural phenomena. I have practical reasons why I do not wish to approach places like that mainly the potential of crime. But according to what I heard from my buddies, even the homeless and street gangs now avoid that area due to the mass suicide phenomenon.
“I don’t know… Don’t you think Umegiri-san is the more appropriate person to be asked about cases like this?”
“No, Seiji. I’m asking about your thoughts on suicide.”
I’m stupefied. Then again it’s in-character of her to ask dark subjects that most girls of her age rarely want to talk about.
“Personally such thought never once crossed through my mind.”
“Why is that?”
She keeps on pressing me without averting her gaze from the television.
“Hmm… An author once said that life is beautiful and worth fighting for. I’m not sure about the former but I believe in the latter. Besides I think it’s ignorant to think that we can just walk away with our problems like that. Unless your goal is to torment those you left behind then suicide is not a valid answer. That is why I personally think those who commit suicides are not only pitiful but are also cruel people. Of course those people who force that person to commit suicide is the cruelest of them all but then again I will be more proud if I can show those cruel people that I can defeat them in their own game. It just feels more satisfying to show them how wrong they are rather than to just succumb from their pressure.”
“Is that so?”
The way she talks sounds very flat and maybe devoid of enthusiasm.
“Hahaha… I guess I’m kind of an idiot, am I not? Maybe you can say that my mind is just too simple to ever considering something as deep as suicide.”
“You really are a simple person, Seiji.”
Ouch… that really hurts, you know. She should be really more considerate with her words.
“So, what does our Miss Deep here have in her mind about the subject?”
“As of me…”
She fell silent. Afterwards, she averts her gaze to the window of my apartment. The window that has become marbled from the raindrops outside. I don’t know what she is gazing at. Perhaps it is at the window itself or perhaps at the murky skies outside. She keeps on gazing until she finally opens her mouth.
“…maybe I am too broken to commit something silly as suicide.”
To be continued