Fish. Yes, Shizuka did she wanted to be a fish. They were talking about the aquarium just before the accident.
『Would you hurry, Kei-kun? I was waiting for you the whole time.』
He is still unable to run away from the suffering and pain. Nevertheless, if he recall Utaha’s words, there is only one place he should go.
Am I still averting my eyes unintentionally?
Let’s go to Soumiya Park.
Although the sun is going down, there is time before sunset.
He started to pedal once again. He has been cycling for half a day already. Making the rounds around the house of his childhood friends, he stopped at Utaha’s house and headed for the park again.
It was like when he was a child. At that time, he had endless amount of time and an unlimited amount of energy, able to spend the time playing innocently without knowing and worrying about anything.
He knew that time will never come back ever again. Like overflowing water from a hand unable to return back, once time has passed there is no going back.
If that is the case, then why is he frantically looking for Shizuka’s lost words?
The act of trying to regain time that have passed is nothing but futile.
As he was thinking about this and that, he have arrived at the entrance of the park. There are quite a few bicycles lining up in the storage area. It seems like there is still a lot of people.
They are probably kids accompanied by couples, friends, people who came alone to take pictures, people walking their dog and have their own purpose for coming here.
Keito walked quickly in the park. He don’t even know why is he in a hurry.
The area is blessed with greenery and the wind felt good on the skin. That is probably the reason why there is still a lot of people even though the sun is setting.
It seems like everyone came out when the rainy season was stopped in between intervals and the gloomy clouds have disappeared.
The facial expression of the people that he passed was equally cheerful and he could hear their chattering and laughter.
The stream that flows into the park has an abundance of water. It must have collect that water during the rain.
Simply put, this place is packed with life.
That is why,
It made the shadows, death and darkness hiding in the corner prominently stood out.
Those words are by no means portraying a negative image. It is just the opposite, similar to the feeling he experienced from Utaha’s behaviour.
Naturally, Keito turned towards that image.
There used to be a small aquarium at that corner.
The building had been demolished a long time ago and now it became an established flowerbed. There was no one sitting on the nearby blue bench
A girl stood there, right beside the bench.
She stood there entwined with the shadow, darkness, death, weather and null.
Keito could only see her back. Her face was facing the direction of the setting sun, which was west. Is she looking at the deep burning red sun?
Due to the illumination, the girl herself looked like the shadow, darkness, death, weather and null.
Her long hair faintly fluttered in the gentle breeze. The hem of his uniform was shaking.
Even if it is her retreating figure, there is no way he could mistake her for someone else.
Shizuka, is over there.
First of all, prioritize that desire――nonetheless.
The distance between where Keito is standing and her is only a few meters. If he walked, it would only take ten seconds to shorten the distance and find Shizuka standing there.
He wanted to walk up to her. However, his body would not move. So he stood there and stared at Shizuka’s back for a while.
That indication of a smell rising from her back, is a characteristic of lost words.
Even though it is was impossible, it was there. It seemed to be there, but it was dim and sparse.
There are no sign of people nearby. Although other places were crowded with people, it seems like only this corner has been detached.
Regardless, he advanced step by step. He felt that the sound of him treading on the soil was awfully loud. However, Shizuka’s lost words still have her back faced towards Keito and showed no sign of turning around.
“Shi-chan, there are no more fish here.”
Pressing down his trembling lips, he raised his voice and said that first.
The aquarium has already been demolished before that accident. It was something Shizuka shouldn’t have known when she was alive, but Keito thought she would came here looking for fish.
He placed his hand on her thin shoulders. He was aware that he can’t control his hands from shaking.
Even if he touch lightly, Shizuka still did not turned around. Giving up, Keito turn to the front.
Shizuka’s face which was struck by the setting sun, stood out stained in red.
Even if she doesn’t simile at him, even if her eyes doesn’t perceive him, even if her mouth doesn’t call out to him,
Standing over there was definitely Shizuka, who supposed should have been lost her in spring two years ago.
“Shi-chan. Sorry for the wait. I came to pick you up.”
Keito can’t grasp the recurring thoughts in his chest.
Joy, sadness, nostalgia, and fear.
He was certainly happy to be able to meet Kaoru again, But at the same time, it was scary.
Right now they are close and shut tightly but what would those lips will say? What would her soft voice conveyed to Keito?
Regardless, Keito has no choice but to moved forward.
“There is a place………I want to take you.”
Keito easily grabbed her hand which he was unable to do so on that day.
Keito’s right hand touched Shizuka’s left hand. There was no life coming from her cold porcelain-like skin.
When he gripped her cold and dry palms, He can see sweat oozing from his own hands.
He tried to step forward but stumbled at the first step.
As if forgotten how to walk, Keito’s legs can’t function properly.
“Ah…….looks like I am shaking.”
After realizing that, seems his legs have finally listen to him.
When he pulled her hand and started to walk slowly, she followed without any resistance. Keito led the way as Shizuka is being pulled along.
“Shi-chan……..what have you been doing for two years?”
There was no response.
“I ………..enrolled to Kikusui Highschool. Sarasa-chan and Takumi are there as well. Junichi went to a different school. I met him today after such a long time.”
There was no response.
“If my wish can come true, I want to………enter highschool……..together with Shi-chan.”
He told her a wish that would never happen in front of her face.
However, she is not showing any response as to whether is able to hear Keito’s frail voice. Nevertheless, Keito can’t help but to kept saying something.
How long has Shizuka been there?
When was the last time Keito visited the park? In April, he had to welcome the new members to the art club and doing some sketches. He also walked around Shizuka.
He wasn’t there at that time. Then, the longest was about two months?
It was around that time when Keito is able to see lost words. Then it is possible she was there that day and he just didn’t notice it yet.
If that is the case, when has she been standing there?
Might be yesterday, two months ago or two years ago.
There is no way there is an answer for that, but when he thought about her time makes Keito unable to endure it.
If he let go of Shizuka’s hand, he felt like he will never able to hold it again that is why he kept holding it.
Both Orpheus and Izanagi who lost their wife, visited the land of the dead in order to bring back their loved ones, ended up losing their loved ones again because they turned around.
That is not to say so, but he wasn’t able to see Shizuka’s face until he reach Utaha’s place. The cold sensation coming from his sweaty hands conveyed her existence.
Standing in front of the building, he put his hands on the doorknob.
She was sitting on the same place as when he visited earlier. It seemed that she waiting there as it is.
“You don’t have to raise your voice, I can hear you.”
“Utaha-san……I found Shizuka, Shi-chan…….”
“Is that so?”
Utaha turned towards to look at Shizuka who is standing behind Keito.
“Welcome, Takamori Shizuka. I have been waiting for you.”
Then, to everyone who came to the store, she present Shizuka with the same welcoming words for making this far.
Such an exchange is also irritating.
“How can I save Shi-chan?”
He suddenly felt suspicious about himself for using those words naturally.
Does this mean that Shizuka is in trouble now?
Finally coming here, Keito immediately faced Shizuka who is supposed to be behind him again.
He faced that nostalgic face under the artificial light. She looks the same as two years ago but somewhat like an empty shell, however it’s interior was supposed to harbor Shizuka’s parting words in a form of a human, in other words Shizuka’s lost words.
Keito opened her palms which stiffen the stronger his grip is by unravelling her fingers one by one.
He had always wanted to hold on her hand.
However, they were separated.
Wanted help was he himself.
Wanted to be saved was he himself.
Wanting to be free from that day’s binding spell was none other than himself.
“Please help me……Utaha-san…….”
A moan-like voice came out.
“I can’t do that.”
However, Utaha refused his pled.
“Only you can help yourself, Aikawa-san. And the one who is able to draw out Shizuka-san’s words is also you.”
Why? Even though up till now, she had help him with Chikako, Misora and the young boy’s parents.
“I………..am the one who let go of her hand. Can I really help a person like me? Do I have the right to listen what Shi-chan have to say again? Can I accept whatever words she is trying to convey?”
Thus, Keito begin to talk about what happened that day to Utaha.