Make your dreams, or die trying.
I'd miss you if you went, so don't go.
Stay a little while; talk with me.
We can afford to dream.
Take my hand.
She thinks again, about how they promised they'd grow up together—how they'd graduate school, get jobs, get married. Maybe it would be to each other, maybe it wouldn't.
They were children when they decided this, and children are entitled to their own dreams. Dreams are infinite—without consequence.
But if they are without consequence, she wouldn't be standing here. She can't figure it out—why she's here, and why things are as they are.
And so we're staring out the window again,
waiting for a chance to pass us by.
They sit on opposite sides of the room; he stares out the window, and she stares at it. He disregards the fact that it is covered in grime, but for some reason, it bothers her.
He's smiling again. That bothers her, too. She just doesn't see how he can smile right now—can't tell if he's hiding something, or if he's just given up on himself. It's enough that he keeps saying, "I might not come back." Or, "I wonder what it's like to disappear."
And she just shakes her head, because she has no words to say. There are no words. If he has given up on her faith, then she may as well do so, too. She wants to tell him that he still has a chance, but she is only fourteen. She doesn't know anything about the world. She doesn't want to.
Listening to 2x4 on constant repeat,
resisting the urge to shout the lyrics
out to the world above us.
She listens to 2x4 on repeat as she leans against the rails. She listens to that a lot lately, because it reminds her of him, and how they never talk much anymore. It reminds her that he is 'too pale to get out into the lovely light of the day.'
She comes to this bridge a lot lately. She remembers coming here with him all the time, and they would shout across the water when they were angry or upset. Most of the time, she would be the one to shout, but she liked his company too much to come by herself. She showed him many times how to throw his voice, but he could never throw it very far.
But even though no one else could have heard his voice, she still could. She didn't want to imagine a time where she could never hear his voice again, because if he really went, she would miss him.
If he survives, she wants to bring him here again so they can shout. And this time, maybe she'll forget about her animosity for everything except him. This time, she won't just shout anything.
We're halfway there to our goal,
but the men block our way.
It's like the world
is moving really fast,
and we just can't keep up.
She walks through the park, trying to really notice things. He likes these gardens, because he said it reminds him of big, open spaces and freedom. He said he likes that he could wander, lose track of time and not care. He would be too busy thinking about nothing to care about anything around him. Back then, he had nothing to worry about.
When he asked if she wanted to come, she agreed, not wanting to imagine the times he came here alone. Once, when her curisoity bested her, she asked him, "Isn't it lonely when you come by yourself?"
He smiled the kind of smile she misses in him: that smile that hides no lies. "I don't notice."
She misses the time when he was honest. He had that twinkle in his eyes when he told the truth: a reminder of his light-heartedness. She misses that about him, too. She misses him.
Maybe she'll see that twinkle again if he survives. They can come back to the gardens and he can stare at her with that light-heartedness. She wants to watch him smile as she picks a rose for him and say thank you.
If that happens, she'll say thank you back. But somehow, she's not certain it will.
It seems like a no-brainer, really:
just outsmart them and be on our way.
Go honking on home in an Alto,
if the sopranos stand down
and let us steal the show.
She stumbles across her drawer of old cassettes while looking for a place to store her CD collection, so she sits down to go through them. She discovers many of her old parents' cassettes that she didn't want them to throw away. The Carpenters, ABBA, Alla Fitzergald, and Frank Sinatra, among many others, are all stacked neatly along the left side of the drawer. And on the right, she discovers a row of tapes that look blank at first sight.
She takes them out, and on the front of each other, & Mura, followed by a number, are marked. She is curious, thinking that maybe this is one of the mix tapes that she and Seiichi used to make. So she put it in a cassette player and plays it.
"Oof! It's heavy..."
A laugh. "I put grip tape on it to make it easier for you to play. Here."
"It's so weird..."
"Give me your hand."
The sound of a racquet swinging through the air. Breathing.
"This is how you return?"
"That's not fair, Mura. You play tennis."
Unceasing. "Don't pout, . I'll teach you how to play, so cheer up, okay?"
My mother's voice. "Look over here, , Seiichi-kun."
"Smile, ."The sound of a camera shutter.
This show doesn't belong to us,
but we're taking it anyway,
because this is our dream,
and dreams last once.
So thank you, folks.
Thank you and goodnight.
She looks at the photo of her and Seiichi: smiling, side by side, her arm around his shoulder and him smiling. The frame is covered in dust, having been tucked behind the mirror for the past many years. She isn't sure why it's there of all places. Maybe her growing assets took priority over her forgotten memories.
She blinks. If Seiichi doesn't want to remember, then why do I have to...?
She brushes the dust from the frame and slips it in her messenger bag, along with the mix tapes they made and the recordings of their younger selves.
There are other things she finds hidden in the room. Under her bed is a chest that she forgot about, filled with many miscellaneous objects. There is an eraser that Seiichi gave her in elementary school when she forgot hers. His name was written all over it, so she never used it. After these many years, it retains a trace of its sweet scent.
There are letters from Seiichi—back when they finished elementary, and she moved schools. She finds birthday cards he sent her, too, with faint markings on the front from where pressed flowers used to be before they wilted.
She tucks the letters in her bag, and leaves everything else untouched.
In her bookshelf, she discovers a large binder of the many things Seiichi sent her in the mail. There is a slip solely for guitar picks, which he assumed she would like from their color and design. She would smile, because she doesn't care much about the design. She only uses them because Seiichi initialed them all.
The folder doesn't fit in her bag, but she sets it down by the door so she won't forget it.
Tucked in with her textbooks from school is a notebook that Seiichi gave to her one year for Christmas. It is filled with his favorite poems—mostly ones in French that she often had to ask her teacher how to translate. Even in Japanese they made little sense to her. Even in Seiichi's fading writing, they make little sense to her.
It is hard to believe how many years she has had these under her wing for. So many memories, all of which had successfully eluded her until now. She feels disappointed in herself for forgetting about these, even though she knows that it's human to forget. But all of this seems too important. How did she forget?
How did he?
March 5, 2013.
Happy birthday, Mura.
- Princo & Ribbon.