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Soro Nawatobi

by Kai Rae 4 months ago in Short Story

Translation from Japanese: Solo Jump Rope

Music has always been apart of my life. It gave me everything. My choice of instrument was always the violin, but today I wanted to tread into unknown territory. I wanted to do it for him. I take a deep breath and try to calm my nerves, but my hands still are shake as I place them in their respective places on the ivory and ebony keys that lay before me. I stared at the piano in silence, several people walked past, but none payed attention to me. Just a boy, sitting at the piano. Would’ve been different if I had been in the old abandon classroom that the two of us used to let our sweet melodies play.

I knew that he’d been ill even from when we were young, he just was very good at hiding how bad it actually was. He wanted us to be happy together, grow old and teach our children to love the music that had brought us together. I wanted the same things, I wanted us to continue playing our small symphony for the world to hear.

I close my eyes and take a breath. I had to trust him. I had to play for him. It wasn’t hard to learn the notes, since I’d watched, my love, play for years and I’d learned by ear rather than sheet music, for the piano at least. It was still odd to me that I was sitting here and not him. I test out the deep waters of the unknown, before I take the dive and play the song I had written. My fingers dance across the keys. The odd feeling, slips away and is replaced with a warmth I recognize as him.

My Tokio.

I can see him smiling, begging me to come and play with him. He’s smiling, it’s contagious. He’s slightly fidgety until he starts to play and then a calm washing over everyone or anything around him. It blurs into a memory, the two of us maybe 9 or 10 years of age. It’s the night I had to move away to America, because of my father getting a new job. Toki is beside me in the old wooden treehouse I had in my backyard. We were playing our favorite game, Truth or Dare. He always would choose dare and I truth. I had run out of ideas and on a split second decision I decided to look straight into his perfect blue eyes and dared him to kiss me. I never actually thought he would. It was like a moment of truth, where I finally admitted to myself that even if this boy and I were separated I would find him again. And I did years later.

The memory fades to several others, the most prominent ones, are either of us playing in competitions, blowing the judges and the audience away with our melodies of love and companionship. Though we’d never win any medals or high rankings we did it for fun. Our favorite times with music were just when we’d sit in the old abandon classroom with the grand piano and just play to our hearts content. Him on the piano and me, the violin.

But the Hospital visits eventually got in the way of us playing our songs. Tokio was always sick when we were little, that or it was the injuries that his god awful parents gave him, for dressing like a girl. The nights at the hospital were where we’d made promises to each other. We shared the small bed, a comfort to both of us. It was there that we promised to get married, a pinky promise, never to be broken. We planned out our future together on that small white bed, in that sickly white room, surrounded by the monitors and machines that he was plugged into that were some of the only things keeping him with me at that moment. Was it all worth it? Making up futures that now seem too far from reach…then again, everything that we had done, meant something to me. It was our little world and no one could take it away.

“Kaito, I love you.” Tokio says.

Tears begin to fall down my cheeks, but I keep playing.

He was scheduled to go into surgery today. This day would be the deciding factor if he lived or ….

He was going to survive, I had seen him just before he went in, we promised...

He had to make it. We still had one more song to play together.

As I play, I can feel his presence, his arms wrap around my shoulders.

“It’s beautiful. “He says.

“I wrote it for us.” I open my eyes and look at him. He’s looking at me too, his ever-present smile on his face. He kisses my nose.

At that moment, my insides twist, something’s wrong.

“Arigatou.” (Thank you) He smiles at me. His finger wipes away my tears.

I want to take his hand, but something is telling me that this isn’t real, that if I stop playing, he’ll be gone. So I don’t stop playing. I ask him. “For what?”

“For being, my Kaito.” He says simply.

I glance at him. “I’ll always be your Kaito and you’ll always be my Tokio.”

“Yes.” He closes his eyes. Going back to listening to the music, that’s made its way to round two of being played. Only to me it seemed to be more of a broken record rather than a chorus.

“Kaito-kun?” He asked, using his nickname for me.

“hmm?” I respond.

“Do you think that people can still live on ….in the hearts of the people who loved them?”

“Yes. You’ll always be in mine.”

There was a minute of silent as we both just listened to the music.

“You sound like you are saying good bye.” I tried to keep my voice steady.

“Goodbye isn’t forever, Kaito-kun.” He moves his hand over my heart. “I’ll be right here.”

“I know.” I can’t help but let the tears fall. I won’t see him again, I can feel it in my heart. He…. didn’t make it and now his souls saying goodbye to the one person that was always there for him, even through the troubled time. The boy, who he’d promised his life to.

A unfamiliar note slips into the song. I can't... I stand up and gather up my things. No one needs to tell me that he's gone. My childhood friend, who'd become my partner. I fight the urge to just curl up and cry, I make my way to one of the bathrooms and lock myself in a stall. I try to calm myself, but I end up sliding to the floor and curling into a ball. I’m numb. I try to gather myself, but I just burst into tears and sob. He’s gone.

I should've never let him go. I uncurl myself and take off my glasses to clean them, it calms me a little. My hand rests on the case of my violin. It too has lost it's harmonious melody. It had become a Soloist.

I get up, gather my things again and open the stall. I’m faced with a mirror my reflection stares back at me.

I’ve become a soloist.

My other half no longer with me, but people say the show must go on.

…………

It's been a few months since he left this world. I finally started to go through the things he left at the apartment. They are left as reminders of our time together and it hurts to go though them. I have lived here alone except for my cat, Haruka, that was until Toki-chan came to live with us. The three of us were like a family.

Haruka sits with me, as I go through the stuff that Tokio left so that I can put it away. The cat meows sadly, coming over to me for pats which she doesn’t receive.

“I miss him too, Haru.” I reply, staring at Toki-chan’s backpack. His school notes and supplies still in there. I look through then and see a bunch of tiny doodled hearts along the sides of the pages, and a few hearts with our initials in them. In one of the side pockets I find a CD case. I turn it over to find the CD in it with messy writing that obviously belonged to Toki.

‘Nawatobi’ it reads. Something tells me that I need to listen to it, so I put everything else down, pick Haru up and go to the living room which has the old CD player that Tokio brought from our old Tree house. I put the CD in the player and press play.

As the song begins to play, I immediately am struck speechless. It was the piece I’d been learning to play the one that I had written for us. Then I hear his voice.

“Toki” I almost begin to cry.

He’d finished the song I had written for us. I collapse to my knees, my legs no longer being able to hold me up. I hadn't even realised that I was still standing, or that Haruka was still in my arms. I hug Haru and listen to Tokio's sweet voice play through the speakers.

“Kaito, come join me.” He’s grinning seated at the grand piano in that old classroom. He grins at me. “Come join me.”

The words that he is singing, they are about us. They are about our love for one another . He sings about us, his gratitude and thankfulness to me, his happiness in being able to be with me and his love for me.

“I miss you so much” I choke on my words.

His voice becomes sad, ‘I’m sorry’ he says.

I let myself cry. “I am too.”

“Arigatou, Kaito.” Those words.

Those two simple words were all I seemed to need to hear. It was like he knew that I was beating myself up about what happened, that I couldn't be his hero for that one day but he was still eternally grateful for the life he had been given while he still had the chance to breath the same air as me. It was a good bye, like he knew he wouldn’t make it out of that surgery, but he took the risk anyways. He took it because there might still be a chance for him to be with me and the life we had always planned.

I held my pinkie finger out to the CD player. "Forever and always."

Regardless if Tokio was no longer in this plane of existence, I would live for both of us because I know that's what he would want. I was left alone but it didn't matter. I would find a reason to keep going, even if it was just to one day be able to see him again and tell him of all the amazing adventures I had.

I barely noticed when the song ended.

"Hey Haru, you want to hear it again?" I stood and restarted the song. I closed my eyes and imagined him singing them.

“Arigatou, Kaito.” He eventually said.

“Arigatou, Tokio." I smiled.

Short Story

Kai Rae

Hi! My name is Kai. They/Them pronouns. I am a university student that loves creating works of fiction that I hope one day I will be able to share with all kinds of people.

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