What does it mean to feel?
Rin Tezuka asks herself this every day. Lately she's felt like she has nothing, nothing. No emotions, no company, no thoughts; nothing but her art. She is almost mindless as she paints nowadays. She does not need to think.
She should not think, really. If she thinks, she might remember the unpleasant. Thought equals bad memories equals a desire to end it all.
She isn't sure what's suffering, her art or her self-esteem. Both, Rin figures, but it almost seems like Sae doesn't care because her precious Armless Wonder is more popular than ever.
That is not to say that Sae does not care for Rin at all; on the contrary, she's quite fond of the girl. She checks up on Rin if she hasn't left the atelier in a few days, making sure she's got plenty of food and water and rest. Rin typically lies a little, a bored expression on her face as she says yes, I've been sleeping in a tired monotone. She takes a bit better care of herself than she did while working for the first exhibition.
But her desire for self-destruction is obvious. Painfully so.
He was a jackass.
Rin does not usually go for the straightforward insults, but it's the best she can think of without much thought. Hisao Nakai was a jackass. Nomiya was a jackass.
Hisao loved her, though. Maybe. Does it make a difference? Rin ponders, chewing the end of her paintbrush. What is love?
She's heard there's multiple kinds of love. What did his feelings fall under? What did her feelings fall under?
What do her feelings fall under, actually, because her hearbeat is quickening and color is blossoming in her cheecks and what is this? This is awful. Rin begins to shake, almost imperceptibly. She barely notices until she looks at the canvas and watches her shaking foot.
All this thought, of love and Hisao, it hurts her heart.
Rin sets down her paintbrush, walks to her shoddy futon, and slowly lowers herself onto it. She lays down and curls up. Curling into herself, almost.
The clock beside her flashes one in the morning. Maybe Rin can try to sleep for once.
Rin opens her eyes and sees nothing. Not "nothing" in the same sense as Lilly sees nothing, but "nothing" as in meaningless.
None of these things mean anything to her anymore.
"This is bad," Rin mutters, pushing herself up. "This is awful." She stands and begins pacing, her brow creased worriedly. "Terrible. Worst thing."
She stops suddenly in front of a half-painted canvas. A few tears slip from her eyes as she glares at the monstrosity. What is this? What was she thinking? She kicks it aside without a second thought,
Nothing. This means nothing. Rin sets up a new canvas, sits in front of it, and begins painting furiously. Maybe this will be something. Her next great thing, perhaps.
Unless she's finally, truly lost it.
Rin hates this, she hates this, she hates herself. She wants to rip her hair out in frustration. She's finished painting but the painting's not done. Something is wrong. Unfinished. Missing.
She stares and stares and stares. It's a painting of Rin herself, falling apart. It's not enough.
Nothing. This means nothing.
So why can't she stop the tears rolling down her face anymore?