We always watched the stars at night. Wherever we were, however hard the day had been, we would watch the stars.
It began the day I found you, burning with fever. You were delirious. You said you wanted to see the stars, so I took you outside and laid you down. Then I joined you on the ground.
And even after you became better, we would watch the stars.
We would find somewhere grassy and lie down. The grass was necessary, even if it meant that we had to teleport ourselves to find it. It was part of the ritual.
We would watch the stars and think.
We didn’t speak. For a blessed fifteen minutes, I would have you to myself. I reveled in your presence.
You knew that, didn’t you, Yuka? You knew that I loved the fact that we were together, alone. Sometimes, I thought that we did this because you knew that I craved your presence.
But that wasn’t the truth of it.
I know, because you told me.
You told me that Yukihira-sensei loved the stars. You told me the stories Yukihira-sensei told you, about the boy Rei and his love for stars. You told about the times you and Yukihira-sensei went star-gazing.
Although you never said that it was because of those things that you watched the stars with me, I knew. I knew you enough to know that you were telling me that we, you and me, couldn’t be, that our ritual was just that—a ritual.
But I still loved it. I still loved you.
Watching the stars felt wonderful, and not just because of you. Oh, you were the main reason I watched the stars. I admit it. But there were other reasons. Because watching the stars was an escape.
It felt like we could fly, Yuka, fly into the sky and let go off our problems. It felt like we could be free.
I forgot about everything at night, with those tiny shapes sparkling above me. I forgot that we were on the run from half the country, that our enemy was the most powerful person in Japan, that almost everyone we knew and cared about was dead, in danger, or corrupted. I even forgot that you didn’t love me.
All that mattered was that we were together, and watching the stars.
You loved it too.
I could tell, because your body would relax and you would be smiling. I hardly ever saw your smile after Yukihira-sensei’s death, but, for these fifteen minutes, it would be fixed onto your face.
And afterwards, you would be glowing with happiness. I like to think that it was me who made you happy, but it was the memories of a time when Yukihira-sensei was alive, wasn’t it, Yuka?
I was glad, glad that you could still smile, albeit rarely, though you almost never laughed. But it was the stars which made you smile, not me. I know that.
But I can’t help wishing I did, because you left me. You left me, Yuka, and I’m so lonely.
I know I sound like a five-year-old, but I can’t help it.
Because you were my light.
In the darkness of my life, you were like the stars that shine up above. You were my light.
And now you’ve left me all alone. I can see the moon, but there’s no light in my life. Even your little daughter isn’t anything like you.
I wish I had a Fire Alice, like your best friend’s son does. I could light a fire with the love you left behind, the hole in my heart, all the emotions that you never took from me and are still there. It would burn wild, and creep even onto the mountainside. It would burn your body, and the ashes would be taken by the wind into outer space, and I’d follow you. I’d follow you and stay with you until the end.
But I don’t. I don’t have that Alice, and all I can do is hope that the wound in my heart will heal.
I can’t even look at the stars. Any other time, they’d comfort me, but right now, all they do is make the wound worse.
I can’t look at them, because they remind me of you. They make me wonder where you are, and what you’re doing right now. And that’s the last thing I need right now.
Are you in heaven, Yuka?
You deserve to be. You were one of the best people I knew, and you deserve it. You deserve to be with the man you love, and be happy.
But—and I know this is selfish—I can’t help wishing that you were still alive. I want to hold onto you and never let you go, because right now I’m lost.
I’m lost. I don’t know where to go and whom to turn to, Yuka. You were the only one I trusted, and now that you’ve gone, I don’t know what to do. I’m too dependent on you, but maybe that’s because you’re the only person I’ve met who comforted me.
You were the one I fell in love with.
You were the one who smiled at me.
You were the one who believed in me.
You were the one who caught me when I fell.
You were the one who lifted me out of the darkness.
You were the one who laughed at me and teased me.
You were the one who lit up my miserable existence.
You were the one who taught me to hope.
You were the one who cheered me up.
You were the one who let me in, even though I wasn’t the person you needed.
You were the one who knew me the best.
And, most importantly, you were the one who showed me the stars.
Did you know that before I watched the stars with you, I didn’t know how beautiful they were? I was trapped in the darkness of my existence and I couldn’t see the light. But you brought me to life.
And when I thought that you could do no more for me, you showed me the stars.
I’ll remember the times we watched the stars. They’ll always be in my heart.
I can’t look at the stars.