The scattered manuscript pages had an almost romantic touch to them. From the top of the bridge, they resembled sakura petals whirled up by a gust of wind.
Minakami couldn’t enjoy the sight. Intoxicated with anticipation, his senses were veiled.
The rope in his hands was thinly woven, yet sturdy; he’d made sure to pick one which would transfer the momentum of his fall neatly, applying pressure to his neck with pinpoint accuracy, and snap it in the blink of an eye. Upon looking at the rope, he felt nothing. Usually, whatever he’d been doing, even if it was as simple as going for a walk or riding the streetcar, he’d felt something, be it the mere hint of sentiment. Right now, however, he was devoid of any emotion.
He had reflected on his life earlier and decided that he didn’t have any regrets. He hadn’t confessed to Tamamori and considered it was better this way. No matter Tamamori’s response, this way he wouldn’t waste so many thoughts on what-ifs, or, in the worst case, feel responsible for Minakami's decision of ending his life.
He also had forgiven himself for leaving the words, which were lingering over his heart, left unspoken. He’d open up to Tamamori about the nature of his feelings one day when the rain has stopped. As this thought grazed his mind, his lips played a faint smile. Maybe his karma would be good enough to grant him a reincarnation where Tamamori would return these words, and mean them. This seedling of a mild hope alone strengthened his resolve.
His hands were working on tying the rope in a mechanical manner as if they belonged to somebody else.
The idea of being a teru teru bouzu, working to dispel the sinister, grey clouds overcasting the future, brought Minakami comfort, and as absurd as this mental image was, his intentions were all the more genuine. Instead of idly watching as a bystander how his loved one's life would unfold, he’d at least be able to make a difference. He didn’t mind dying. He saw it as it was: a journey where he went where he came from, delving into the yawning void cradling one between reincarnations. Only its loneliness as one waited to be reborn left a vaguely bitter taste. With his untimely demise, Minakami wondered how long it would take until he’d be able to go searching for Tamamori again.
Despite his supposed peace of mind, deep inside, he longed to hold Tamamori at least one time.
Despite persuading himself of his equanimity, he wished Tamamori would show up and stir him from his resolve.
His unyielding determination couldn’t protect Minakami from the shadow of desperation creeping up on him. It clawed at his heart with its growing desire to satisfy his unfulfilled feelings, and give their unbodied shade a form.
By all means, Tamamori wasn’t supposed to know and couldn’t possibly know. Even if Tamamori did show up, Minakami would bolt. He had thought it over multiple times, considered every possible scenario. The less opportunity of second-guessing everything he was given, the quicker it was over, the better. As messy as it had to be in the end.
Minakami closed his umbrella, placed it on the railing, and looked up the sky. For this time of the year, the rain was surprisingly chilly. It left the sensation of needles pricking his face. It didn’t particularly hurt and felt neither bad nor good, it was… just there. It was carrying the same coldness as the rain back that day when he'd gone back in time to save Tamamori's life. Born from that memory, a tiny glimmer of inquisitiveness started spreading from the depths of his conscience, making him wonder how his life would turn out if he decided to change his mind, followed by a twinge in his heart.
On a whim, he turned around and let his gaze wander after the crowd of people passing by, each and every one oblivious of his intentions.
Looks like in the face of death, naïveté got the better of him. He let out a quiet laugh.
Of course not.
Well, it was useless to fantasize. At this point, all he was left with were pipe dreams. Taking a deep breath, he noticed a slight tremor in his chest. He must've had not paid attention to the rain drenching his clothes.
He’d been standing here long enough.
There was only one thing left to do for him now.
He whispered to himself with a forlorn smile, his words drowned out by the pitter-patter of the rain.
Then, for a split second, his body became light; a bead of morning dew dripping from a leaf.
He hoped that on days like this one, Tamamori would think of him sometimes.
The rain’s murmurs lapsed into silence.
“Until next time.”