43 – 43. Destiny (4)
Lately, I’ve been feeling more and more indifferent because of that woman.
But I don’t know if I should be grateful for that or not, really.
When I dozed off that day, it seems that woman, in her own way, opened the “half-closed door” and came into my house, tidied up a bit, and left the food quietly.
Since that day, she has been leaving food in front of my house. With letters.
…After doing the dishes, I repeatedly expressed my intention to reject it because there is someone in my heart, but she just said she was worried about the neighbor’s health and continued to prepare food.
Even though she doesn’t have to do it anymore.
…Today, I completed her painting, and I felt anger, despair, disgust, and disappointment. I wanted to tear the painting apart, as it was not the face of the person I remember. I must have felt that when the woman with the black hair appeared in front of me again.
My painting became a mess, entangled with my memories and her face. No, it became a painting that resembled her far more. I don’t know how it ended up like this.
The person I remembered, the person I loved, was in front of me, but it was someone completely opposite, giving me a faint smile. It was disgusting.
Even to my own surprise, I hated her.
I should have been grateful. Because “she” is fake. Because she doesn’t exist in this world.
She was the one who wandered in my dream, teaching me about love and life.
But in the misconception that I was the one who gave her the world, I held onto a disgusting sense of superiority.
She caressed me, embraced me, cherished me, and loved me.
I realized it too late.
Even though her love was burdensome, I tried to reject the reasons why she gave it to me.
Only after losing it did I realize how precious it was.
Perhaps from the beginning, this game wasn’t about conquering her.
It might have been a story where she conquered me.
The result could be considered a splendid victory for her.
Now, I am crying in front of this eerie painting that I can’t even recognize if it’s her.
I broke the pencil, bit it, screamed and cried like a madman.
The fact that my painting was ruined genuinely saddened me.
No, it must be my memories that have been ruined.
I have lost the most precious thing.
And after losing it, I realized.
I wonder if, instead of a natural death, if I had chosen suicide in that final moment, could I have met her again?
Oh, please, how nice it would have been if it had been like that.
Paul flew in.
…Flapping his wings wildly.
“…Can you read my thoughts too?”
Seemingly very surprised, he remained covered in dirt, staining the floor near me a dark color… Sigh.
Well, at least he’s perceptive. I can tell by how he freezes in place and hurriedly checks his own body.
“…Should I clean you up?”
Ah, this time he doesn’t flap around wildly.
Quietly, cautiously, he nestles in my arms and continues to stare at my face intently.
He must be concerned in his own way.
Ah… Sigh… Yes. At least I have someone to take care of.
Or maybe he keeps coming back because I’m the annoying one.
Perhaps it would be better to let him roam freely.
The constant dirt covering him, the fact that he’s covered in so much soil, it’s all because he misses the outside and my colleagues –
“…Krrroaahh. Tsk, tsk, tsk.”
He nibbled on the tip of my finger with his beak.
“Why are you suddenly acting like this?”
Damn it, why do you keep bothering me like this? Why do you keep digging into my embrace with that buried sword and causing a fuss? Seriously, this damn –
“Oh, no… This isn’t it… Just a moment, sorry. Sorry, Paul, it wasn’t sincere. I’m sorry…”
Surprised, I released the guy with inflated feathers.
What was I thinking?
Was I such a terrible person?
Just because I’m sensitive, I caused such a terrible mess for the people around me, I…
Was I even worthy of loving her in the first place?
Maybe I was actually nothing.
It would be better to release the guy and quietly die, wouldn’t it?
Maybe that would be better now.
After all, dying is just a momentary thing.
If I get a little cold and find stillness, wouldn’t that be the end of it?
No, no, this isn’t it, what are you saying?
That face is mine. In the first place, my face is almost the same as it was then, and I meticulously prepared it so that you could overlap with it.
Are you still longing for that place? Is this place no longer comfortable for you?
I firmly believed that you wanted this place, but not long after losing me, you’ve become so broken like this?
How should I have treated you? Me, no, don’t think that. Don’t think like that. I’m hurting too, terribly.
The redness in my eyes still won’t fade. Why?
Please, I never knew asking you for a little more time would result in such a terrible outcome.
No, this is reality. There’s no second chance. How do you not know that life is precious?
No, stop. Please.
I rushed out of the brightly lit room where the monitor’s light illuminated, slamming the door without even bothering to put on my shoes, and hurriedly entered his room, typing in the password and swinging the door wide open.
In the midst of despair, pain, guilt, and confusion, I threw myself at him, silently screaming.
I held onto his trembling body without rest.
Please, I hoped that he would believe I exist.
I hoped that he would finally look at me.
I destroyed him. Just because of my greed,
Because I doubted his love.
Wasn’t I more of a demon than a woman, reveling in his longing for me and shedding tears?
He was writhing in pain, and I hesitated to approach him just because the outer shell wasn’t prepared.
Even though he was longing for me so much that he couldn’t think about himself.
The trembling of his body ceased around the time the bright outside had completely turned dark.
Trembling, he slowly raised his head and finally buried it in my chest.
Tears were endlessly flowing.
“…I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know you would be in so much pain.”
He was sobbing. Holding onto my back tightly, he let out a loud cry.
With a broken voice, he buried his head deeper into my shoulder and clung onto me.
Seeing him like that, feeling my heart plummet to the depths of endless sadness, I could only gently stroke his head. He managed to speak, barely.
“I wanted to test you. To see if you truly loved me, if you missed me.”
Looking back now, it was a truly terrible thought. Promising myself that I wouldn’t hurt him again, that I wouldn’t abandon him a second time, I broke those rules.
“…Are you the person I thought you were?”
“More pitiful, more pathetic than the person you wanted.”
I had promised to be with him forever, but because of my pathetic excuses, I couldn’t approach his side and only received his contempt.
“Why, how, no…ah…”
His warm breath seeped through the gaps in our intertwined clothes.
His vitality permeated my chilled skin.
It was his sigh of relief.
And yet, I couldn’t forgive myself.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I was too late. Until you were broken, I couldn’t do anything…”
What good did I do to shed tears? What right did I have to ask for forgiveness?
He lifted his head slightly and looked at my distorted face.
Then, he burst into a loud laughter, and immediately leaned his body against mine.
“Just because of a single eye, huh?”
From Noble mtl dot com
“…How did you figure it out?”
“It’s only now, only now that your eyes are shining. Am I just pathetic?”
…If that’s the case, then so be it.
But eyes are no longer important.
Why did I even have such thoughts with just a shell?
“How could you have noticed me? I should have come to you…”
“I spent more than half of my life with you, and I’m sorry I didn’t notice. You were the only one who took care of me like that.”
Even in the realm of impossibility, please don’t think of me.
Your kindness only makes me more miserable.
But… maybe that’s why it’s you.
“If I had approached you from the beginning, calling you by your name, would you have noticed?”
“…Maybe, I wouldn’t have believed it. But how, how did you figure me out? I…”
Can I finally answer that question?
Surely, it’s the moment we have to face each other… right?
“…I knew that you were trapped inside that insignificant shell, struggling endlessly…”
“I have so many questions I want to ask.”
Before I could continue speaking, he brought his trembling finger to my lips and collapsed onto my body.
“But before that, please hold me a little tighter. This is… my request. Will you do that for me?”
I silently embraced him.
…Finally, I could feel a slight warmth.