An improbable meeting
First published in French on September 29th 2011
First published in English on December 7th 2012
If the imagination of men is limitless also as Gaea was created by their dreams, so, in this world, nothing is impossible …
"The red is beautiful, but .... no! To be honest, I have to be realistic, the red is really too flashy ...
Um, I think I'll have to resign myself to choose a pastel version ... Maybe this one, the green with the embroidery of pink and purple flowers, would be a good solution, because the white is out of the question!
Isn't it, Hitomi?"
The young woman with red hair got angry in front of mirrors.
Still no answer …
This timen she turned around and hit the garment on her sleepy friend's lap.
"Hitomi, wake up!"
A jump, Hitomi suddenly came out of her lethargy. She was sitting on a chair surrounded by a field kimonos thrown to the ground.
In front of her, her friend Yukari, hands on her hips, looking upset.
"Well, it's useful to bring a friend with I to choose your wedding outfit ... How long have you been sleeping?"
"Um … I don't know…"
"Yeah ... Well, now that you're awake, tell me what you think!"
Ceasing to grumble, Yukari donned the famous green kimono and pretended to close it with a nice pale yellow obi before admiring herself in a mirror screen.
And it had been three hours since the show had begun. After all this time to hear her best friend comment and re-comment one by one the kimonos of the shop, it was difficult to stay awake ...
That's why Hitomi, despite herself, had fallen asleep, the comfort of her armchair helping.
"Huh, what, that one, the green? Yes, it's not bad ... She nodded, still drowsy."
"Not bad or nice?"
"Frankly, he's handsome! And since you don't want white, it should be okay ... A good compromise …"
Apparently satisfied with the answer, Yukari dropped the kimono carelessly on a seat, while the saleswomen picked up the mess left by the endless fitting.
Then she slumped on an armchair and sighed, looking at the ceiling. In this shop dedicated to traditional ceremonial dresses, one of the most posh of Tokyo, she felt very uncomfortable.
It must be said that her flamboyant hair, tied in a ruffled bun and brimming with whimsical pikes, contrasted with the sober and chic atmosphere of the establishment.
Regarding her attitude ... The least we can say is that it was the opposite of calm and posed employees.
"You know whatHitomi? I'm fed up ! Yukari muttered by wallowing even more, arms dangling on the sides."
"Oh? Her friend wondered, turning her head.
"Yes, all that, it exasperates me. Susumu's father demanded that he finish his studies of management and international trade before we can get married.
I've loved it for ten years and I've been waiting all this time ... But now that the long-awaited deadline has come, and ..."
"I don't know, I'm not totally certain. Warning, it's not that I don't love Susumu anymore, but ..."
"But?" Hitomi asked by straightening up.
Yukari sighed. And, leaning on her arms, she sits down properly. For a few moments, she raised her head before starting to stare at the floor with a sad look.
"I think what's waiting for me doesn't really suit me. The Amano family is very traditional. Although they have traveled a great deal, they are not very open-minded Japanese. Susumu's grandmother is English, but when I see her, only her not slanting eyes betray her origins."
"And of course, you feel different, right?"
"Oh that! Yukari said with a voice more fun. Do you remember when I told you about the first meeting with the family?"
"Yes, they all stared at your flamboyant hair."
"ndeed, there are some who naturally have brown hair because of the grandmother, my color has traumatized them all!"
"At the same time, Yukari, red, is not natural as a hair color!" Hitomi replied with a laugh.
"Certainly, but from there to believe seeing a dragon land at home! Anyway, you already said when my hair was brown with pink highlights ... While you, you are ash blonde, very Japanese too ..."
"I remind you that for me, it's natural! It comes from my mother's great-grandmother ..."
"Who was Russian ... And who knew the great-grandfather when he went to Sakhalin for fish for his restaurant because this branch of the family is from Hokkaido ..."
"My word ! You know my own family better than me!" Hitomi quipped between two yawns.
"But enough joking, I think that green kimono will suit! Come on, let's go, I really need to stretch my legs!"
Whereupon, Yukari finally got up and picked up her things before talking to one of the saleswomen, still traumatized by the afternoon they had lived.
"I think I will opt for the pastel green one with the yellow obi. I'll come back and try it again anyway, okay?
I still have some time before the wedding and the dresser is already booked!"
"Well, Miss!" The lady replied politely, her voice edgy, visibly terrified at the sight of the tornado coming back to ravage her store.
Taking advantage of mirror, the young woman adjusted the chopsticks adorning her red hair, did the same for the wide petticoat of her multicolored dress and headed toward the exit to put on her ballerinas, as colorful as the rest of her outfit.
Hitomi, meanwhile, got up and picked up her bag, that she overthrowed awkwardly, dropping some books.
She hastened to pick them up while her friend quietly laughed at her clumsiness.
The saleswomen saluted them, opened the door to them, and watched them go away, visibly relieved. Now it remained for them to tidy up the mess!
As the two friends walked in the streets of Tokyo, the traditional district gave way to the glass buildings of Shibuya, the trendy place of the Japanese capital.
Yukari felt instantly released. she was walking lightly in the crowd, almost skipping.
Amused, Hitomi followed her but more calmly. Her hair, still ashy blonde, now touched her shoulders. They were quite stiff and floated freely with the wind.
Dressed in a simple blue dress, discreet little matching shoes, only her tote bag full of books betrayed that she thought of her studies first and foremost.
After several minutes to stop in front of the windows and to observe the new gadgets, followed by a salute to the statue of the dog Hachiko, Yukari continued her way more calmly and took a more serious look.
"It seems that in Europe, it doesn(t rain in summer, but more in autumn. No luck for me, we should leave in September for London!" She grumbled trampling on.
"Yes, exams on July 23, results on the 30th, summer party on the 31th and we take care of the preparations for the wedding, which will take place on August 15th. After the family leaves us a week of respite and we're going to pack for Europe. I think that, this time, Susumu just has a training. We should come back to Japan by the end of October. But the next trip may be longer ..."
"You should not complain, you're going to travel!" Hitomi noticed, surprised by the melancholy of her friend.
"Yes, that's not wrong. But, Susumu warned me: to be Madame Amano will consist mainly in waiting for him because he will work enormously ... So, I would be alone most of the time ... I will miss you very much. You know, I'd like to take you with me ..." Yukari answered with a sad little smile as she turned to her best friend.
Imagining herself to play gooseberry between his two comrades and be lugged in front of all the monuments of Europe by a Yukari overflowing with energy, which would also make a shopping trip, Hitomi burst out laughing.
"Obviously it amuses you … My my my … But seriously, Hitomi, will you doing on your side?"
The question touched the person in the heart. This time, the young woman no longer smiled and began to flee the gaze of her accomplice.
"Si je réussis mon année, je crois qu’il ne me restera plus qu’à commencer mon internat. My father assured me that he would get me a good place in a quiet service. He told me about research labs. He is so happy that I chose to study medicine to follow in his footsteps … At first, he placed great hope in my brother, but …"
"Well, you know, Mamoru, studies, he never liked that … From primary school, he did not work much. His only talent was to imitate your father's signature on his notebooks full of bad grades, however every time …"
"He was caught … Dad finally resigned himself to the fact that his son never study on the long term. So, now everything depends just on me, while Mamoru wallows in front of the console since his return from high school, he has no problem, as long as his notes are average and he does not receive any words from the teachers ..."
"You should be happy, your father believes in you. No one encourages his daughter in a long and difficult university curriculum and then tells him to get married and stay home wisely!
Me, before I met Susumu, my parents wanted me to do something simple, like a saleswoman, then once married, hop, at home!"
"They have underestimated you!" Hitomi remarked. "I still think that you well studied in medicine …"
"Yes, but I chose this channel only to be with you, because, since I only study while waiting for this wedding, I had to do something and, good thing, it was with my best friend! And then, you exaggerate, last semester, I was still a client for remedial teaching, and I succeeded by a miracle …"
"You know Yukari, it's not because my father is a cardiologist that I want to become a doctor ..."
"Yes, a long time ago, I met a person who didn't need to work at all. She had chosen to become a doctor by conviction ... I would like to make it happen to realize her dream because she couldn't carry it out ..."
At these words succeeded a silence. Yukari instantly realized that her friend was referring to her disappearance ten years ago.
Immersed in her thoughts, Hitomi saw Millerna again. His mimicry and eccentricity reminded her of Yukari's.
Like her, her friend would also have to assume a marriage that would take away a lot of her freedom.
Hitomi realized that it had been years since she had thought about her trip to Gaea, but it was clear that it was well hidden in his memory.
After, briefly, Van's face appeared to her. Carrying her hand to her neck, she tried to tighten her pendant, but her fingers closed on themselves, reminding her that she hadn't had it for a long time.
In order to chase away all her memories of Gaea from her mind, the young woman shook her head brightly, under the astonished and worried look of Yukari.
"Hey Hitomi, do you feel good ?"
"Yes, yes !" The latter replied with a wide and forced smile.
Yukari was not stupid, she felt that her friend had suddenly changed her attitude.
Since this mysterious year she had disappeared and which she claimed not to remember, Hitomi sometimes had such moments of absence.
Indeed, despite suggestions for the kindly listening of her mother and best friend, Hitomi was convinced that oblivion seemed the best way to move forward.
"We will go home!" The young blonde woman said, deliberately changing the subject. "Didn't you tell me you had a dinner with the Amano family tonight?
Remember that you mustn't be late if you do not want the grandmother's famous look!"
What her friend has just said suddenly made Yukari completely livid.
"What time is it?"
"4:30 pm, why?"
"Because the family has also planned a kind of "tea-time", another idea of the English grandmother! My God, I just remember now that these damn British drink their tea at 5 pm!" Yukari yelled, holding her head in her hands.
As fast as possible, on the edge of panic, she grabs the hand of her friend, and ran to the nearest metro station, hustling many passersby.
With difficulty retaining his book bag to prevent him from falling back into the street, Hitomi was having trouble following the pace of walking.
Suddenly, Yukari stopped as fast as she started.
"Hitomi, I have a problem ! At last, another!"
"I borrowed books from the university library, the deadline expires tonight! And as I have accumulated the delays, I think I will have a word in my file! A few days before exams, it's very bad! Already, that I'm not very talented ... I don't need this diploma, but if I fail at this session, the in-laws will not be happy!"
"So, I have to go return them for you, right?" Hitomi concluded, amused.
"Yes, s’il te please!" Yukari begged with big watery eyes. "Save me!"
"Okay…" The blonde young woman sighed smiling. "Give them to me, as if I didn't have enough in my bag!"
"Thanks, you're a love !" Her friend said kissing her on the cheek.
Hurry, Yukari pulled out two torn books from her bag, dropped them on her friend's outstretched arms, kissed her again, and fled at great speed.
"You surprise me there ..." Hitomi said to herself, puzzled. "You, who was the Queen of logistics, my "manager", as you said when I run, you really have the head elsewhere with this marriage ... My poor Yukari, this careless attitude doesn't look like you ... So ..."
Then, sighing ironic, the young woman went to the faculty, overhasty because the doors were closed at 17 pm on Friday nights ...
"17 h 15 ! Damn! Hitomi mumbled, looking at the clock which dominated the university library. Failed! Definitely, it's really a bad day! I couldn't revise because of fittings and, now, I'm coming too late ..."
Upset, she was ready to leave but mais a sudden breeze stopped her steps. So she turned back to the establishment.
The wind was rising and, come from nowhere, clouds began to darken the spring sky, until then clear blue.
However, Hitomi didn't really pay attention to this sudden change of weather, she felt attracted to the whisper of the wind, as if it asked her to enter the library.
The attraction was too strong, Hitomi stepped forward almost in spite of herself. Essayez avec cette orthographe : Gravissant les marches, elle s'aperçut que la porte était encore ouverte
Climbing the stairs, she realized that the door was still open and, passing the threshold, immediately got a grip on herself.
"Oh, a miracle! I may be able to give back these books eventually!" She noticed, relieved.
Once in the hall, she went to the only place still enlightened: the counter. The old guard was still struggling with his computer.
He was smoothing his mustache trying to solve an umpteenth bug of this system that he did'ot understand, but which he had to accommodate at the end of his career.
Having several times solved his computer problems, Hitomi knew him well, she went to her office without fear of being reprimanded.
"Hey young girl, you know it's closed at this time!" The old man remarked without stopping look at his screen.
"I know Mister Tanaka, but my friend forgot to return her books."
"Your friend, Miss Uchida with red hair, right? She lost her mind? Lately, she's still out of time to bring back her borrowings."
"Yes, but she is getting married very soon!" Hitomi answered, with a smile. "And the date approaches, the more she becomes distracted!"
The old man raised his head and shook it, looking jaded.
"Ah these girls, a party withbeautiful dresses, and they forget everything else ... Finally, it's good, I note that she respected the date. By cons, I'm too late and I don't want to wait for my train too long because my wife isn't patient, would you help me?"
"Yes Sir, if I can!"
"I don't have time to tidy the books and if the chief librarian sees them here, he will suspect that they were brought back after the deadline. So, you'd have to go upstairs, there's a trainee, a tall, pale guy, a Russian, I think. His name is Alexander, with an unpronounceable family name. Go see him and give him your friend's books. He will rank them neither seen nor known. It's a nice guy, although at first, his allure scary me as that of the flamboyant MissUchida!"
"Really?" Hitomi asked, looking interested. "Why he's so special?"
"Well, it's white like snow and tall like a tree. And to add a little more originality, he has pierced ears, gray hair and clothes … unusual … Finally, as the chief found him very erudite and that he was anyway too big for our uniforms, he doesn't say anything … Especially with his height, he quickly puts books because he doesn't need ladder. Also, he doesn't work in front of the public, so the appearance … So, having said this, the guard said, finally turning off his computer, I go! See you next time, Miss Kanzaki!"
"Thanks again!" The young woman answered, bowing.
"It's okay, after all the breakdowns you repaired, I owed you that! Goodbye, and say hello to Miss Uchida reminding her to think of keeping her head fixed on her shoulders instead of daydreaming at her D-day!"
After these words, the old man left the place, Hitomi watched him go away. When he disappeared from her sight, the wind was heard again and the atmosphere became oppressive.
This time, the murmur seemed to come from the floor. Feeling again like caught up, Hitomi started to climb the stairs.
At the upper level, a single lit lamp betrayed a presence. There were also some noises of books knocking on the shelves or falling on the floor as well as some incomprehensible swear words, probably in Russian.
Hitomi was intrigued by this voice. However, she was unable to know why. She had already heard strangers talking, so she shouldn't have been overly surprised, but there was something more subtle.
At the turn of an alley, she found the one she was looking for. Perched on a chair to reach the last shelf to put a book despite his size, he was an immense man.
Turning his back, he seemed visibly busy with his work.
His look caught the eye of Hitomi: faded jean, psychedelic tank top ... To this was added an eccentric hairstyle: gray hair with anarchic cut.
This simple observation made an obvious observation: he didn't have anything of the traditional librarian.
When she saw that he had finished putting away his last book, the young woman allowed herself to interrupt him
"Excuse me, Mister Tanaka allowed me to bring back books for a friend after closing. He told me that you could take care of them. It doesn't bother you?"
"Absolutely not! Please wait, I'm going down and we're looking for that."
He had spoken in an awkward Japanese, but perfectly understandable. Her intonation was strangely calm, which troubled the young woman.
This time it was sure and certain, that voice she knew it.
But from where?
She didn't have time to think that the young man turned around. Seeing him, Hitomi froze, dropping the books on the ground.
"No, it's not possible, it cannot be ..." She stammered.
Terrorized, the young woman stared at the man with fine features and lying. His hair was gray, with no green shade, his blue eyes, partly hidden by rectangular glasses with fine legs of glasses and, above all, his right arm of flesh and blood.
Apart from of these differences, Hitomi thought she saw Folken.
Then, all kinds of images flashed through her head: the first time she had seen him giving back his sword to Van in the floating fortress of Vione, their conversation in the ruins of Fanelia ... And then his death ...
She even saw his grave again.
In front of this unrealistic vision of a death that smiled on her, Hitomi lost consciousness.