My Reason

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The warm summer air blew thin strands of midnight waves along to dance among the cotton clouds, tangling the locks around themselves with a grace unexpected. With each gust of wind forming tears dried away, softly departing from almond eyes. A trail of their remnants stained flushed cheeks, the pink standing out like a red balloon among a sea of white on lightly tinted skin.

This was the moment Ayumi Tomori had been waiting for. For the cafe’s rooftop to finally be free of others, no interruptions, no one to see her fall from the railing on which she sat now with Lake Suwa before her, glittering like a diamond in the sky. This is the last thing she wanted to see before she would see no more. A countdown in her mind, each number another chance for the world to stop her in the moment.


“Three.” Her knuckles turned a snowy white around the railing.


“Two.” The red bow laced at the base of her neck ruffled slowly with a deep intake of air.

 

“One-”


A creak from the door behind Ayumi stopped her train of thought abruptly, causing her head to whirl around with a force so strong a faint pop could be heard. Similar almond shaped eyes met in a moment, long and unspoken before the strangers gaze shifted to the ground below Ayumi. She too dropped her gaze, watery eyes landing on glossy black outdoor shoes, a powder pink envelope caught where lace-trimmed socks once walked the world.


“My name is H?tar? Tachibana… I don’t know what you’re going through, nor do I know how I can help, but allow me to do my best.” The sudden depth of the boy's voice cause Ayumi to look his way once more, his figure growing blurry amongst internal rivers.


His words alone sparked a wave of emotion to crash through her like a tsunami along the Indian Coast. Shoulders slouching over, her chest heaved with blubbering gasps, grape sized tears cascading down her rosy cheeks. There was nothing Ayumi wanted more in her impending life than to return to the previous week where maybe this moment could have happened sooner.


* * *


Thin strands of midnight locks danced among cotton clouds, the wind twirling loose strands around their neighboring twin, their dance forming the smallest of knotts. The sunset’s glowing light glittered along the ripples of Lake Suwa, distracting her just for a moment from the creak of the double doors closing softly. Ayumi took two short steps along the grayscale roof, her almond eyes sweeping across the small space for a moment before her figure stopped dead in her tracks.


There, just beyond the hidden corner of the roof, just behind a tall vent, stood a dark haired girl around Ayumi’s own height. The poor girl stood facing the farthest edge of Lake Suwa, her braided locks only rippling in the warm summers air. It was clear just what her intentions were as her glossy black shoes rest just beside her braided figure. From tradition alone, Ayumi knew the shoes resting on the solid side of the railing meant the girl with the braid was going to jump. Right here, right now, just before Ayumi.


“Hey! Don’t do it, please!”


The girl with braided hair turned to look at Ayumi, her eyes wide in shock at the figure of another coming to stop her in her tracks, “What?”

 

Ayumi’s eyes locked on the girl for a moment before she tore it away to look around the deserted rooftop. With no one else in sight, she realized the one who had spoken was herself. Internally she cursed, confused just as to why she had made such a big deal about this girl jumping. It wasn’t her business what the braided girl did with her life, nor when she chose it was time to go. Somewhere inside, Ayumi was frustrated. This was her moment, her time alone where she could slip her shoes off, and yet her mouth decided to go against her and stop some stranger from going, “What are you doing?”

 

“Well… There was this boy I fell in love with, we’d been friends for a long time, and a friend convinced me to confess to him.” The girl with the braided hair let out a sigh, unable to stop the sigh that followed her words, “Turns out things weren’t nearly what we thought they were.”

“Are you-” Ayumi cut her own sentence short, an almost hysteric laugh bubbling out a moment later, “Are you kidding me? I can’t believe you got here before me. Are you actually upset over some boy rejecting you. You’re lucky you’ve never gotten robbed of anyone so important to you!”

Silence entailed moments after Ayumi finished her last sentence. Anger resonated off the almond eyed girl, her tinted hands shaking with a rage she couldn’t quite explain. Only a minute later, the girl with the braided hair offered a small smile, “I’m feeling better, thank you for listening.”

It was only a quick change from the view of the girl with the braided hair, to black and back for her to disappear. Ayumi looked around with widened eyes, looking for the poor girls midnight braids, for even her glossy black outdoor shoes. Not a trace could be found of the girl with the braided hair. With that, Ayumi backed slowly away from the large vent, and to the double doors, their soft creak echoing in the emptiness of the sunset.

* * *

Thin strands of midnight locks danced among cotton clouds, the wind twirling loose strands around their neighboring twin, their dance forming the smallest of knots. The sunset’s glowing light glittered along the ripples of Lake Suwa, distracting Ayumi just for a moment from the creak of the double doors closing softly. A faint feeling of déjà vu rushed over the almond eyed girl as she walked slowly towards the alcove hidden behind the large vent. In a moment she rushed to the railing, slipping her outdoor shoes off of her feet. A sniffle paused her actions however, her left hand holding her right shoe.

 

A curse threatened to cross Ayumi’s pale lips at the sight of another girl standing just a foot away from the railing. Rather than it be a girl with braided hair, as she now remembered from before, there stood a girl shorter than most others. The girl’s shoes rest on the ground beside her, her right leg laced onto the railing midway through heaving herself up the metal workings.

“Hey! Don’t do it, please!”

The short girl nearly stumbled backwards at the shock of another human’s voice, her dark hair whirling from her back onto her shoulder, nearly paralleling her frozen leg. The two locked eyes for a long moment before the short girl slowly lowered herself from the railing to the hard concrete, “What?”

Ayumi physically cursed this time, bringing her hand up to run through the short locks of midnight framing her olive tinted face. A thousand words ran through her mind in a matter of moments before finally she let out a defeated sigh, “What are you doing?”

“I don’t fit in at school. Everyone ignores me, everyone steals from me…” The short girl looked away from Ayumi, her gaze moving to the ripples of Luka Suwa in the distance.

“Are you-” Ayumi cut her own sentence short, an almost hysteric laugh bubbling out a moment later, her déjà vu coming back in the moment, “Are you kidding me? I can’t believe you got here before me. Are you actually upset over some classmates being unfriendly? I mean come on, you’re still loved by everyone at home, right? I bet there’s always dinner waiting on the table when you get home!”

The short girl stared at Ayumi for a long time, unmoving. There was no confirmation or denial of Ayumi’s assumptions, just a cold silence settling between them. “I’m hungry,” said the short girl, her voice faint and soft in the whispers of the summer’s wind.

It was only a quick change from the view of the short girl, to black and back for her to disappear. Ayumi looked around with widened eyes, looking for the poor girl who found no place to fit, for even her shoes on the hard side of the concrete. Not a trace could be found of the short, lonely girl. With that, Ayumi found herself slipping her own shoes back on, disappearing from the sun’s view with a creak of the double doors.

* * *

Lake Suwa glowed bright like the sun one warm summer’s day, each faint ripple reflecting off like search spotlights in the sky. This cloudless day brought new hope into Ayumi’s lowered confidence. Today, in her mind, was too nice of a day for some other random girl to decide it was her turn to leap from the edge of the cafe’s rooftop. With soft, short pads across the concrete, Ayumi turned the short corner, fingers burning as they touched down on the air vent covering the rest of the roof.

Yet there sat a girl in a navy cardigan, her shoes laid neatly beside her figure, a powder pink envelope sticking out where her feet should have been.  The girls knuckles were a snowy white color around the shiny silver metal, the lack of circulation evident more in this moment than ever. In a moment, one hand loosened with a burst of red onto the yellow-tan complexion her hands once held, and the same words she’d spoken so often now spilled past Ayumi’s lips.

“Hey! Don’t do it, please!”

The girl in the cardigan’s loosened hand gripped tight to the railing as she turned her head to face Ayumi, her narrowed eyes swelled with thick tears, “I just want to stop the scars that form each time I go home… That’s why I came up here instead. I want out of their pain.” The girl slowly turned to face the breathtaking view of Lake Suwa, as though she didn’t want Ayumi to be the last thing she saw before her shaking hands dropped from the railing.

It was in this moment that Ayumi began to panic, her heartbeat increasing more and more as time went on. How could she stop someone from jumping when she was so close to it already? The girl with the braided hair listened, but she only had her shoes off. The short girl listened. And yet she’d only been going to climb the railing. But the girl in the cardigan was already on top of the railing, her hands ready to let go of the only thing keeping her on the roof at any moment. She knew if she spoke to the girl the same way that she had the others, she might actually jump and not listen to whatever Ayumi would say.

“You don’t have to…” Ayumi trailed off as she locked eyes with the girl in the cardigan, forgetting what she was going to say at the sight of the girls pitiful look, “Just… Just go away so I can’t see. Your pitiful expression is too much for me… I’m sorry.”

The girl in the cardigan watched as Ayumi whirled around on the spot to face the opposite direction, before slowly turning back to her view of the Lake, “I guess today just isn’t my day.”

Scared that her words had caused the girl in the cardigan to fall from the railing, Ayumi turned back to the railing, her mouth open in the hope she could say something else to stop her. But the girl was gone, no trace of her shoes or the powder pink envelope they held. Ayumi let her head fall towards the floor, a trace of guilt threatening to bring her to tears, yet she found none could come. Instead, she held her head a bit higher, walking just outside of those creaking double doors, leaving Lake Suwa in her wake.

* * *

Fingers untangled each strand of midnight silk with perfect timing, uncurling each section from its braided captor oh so gently, despite the severity of the shaking in each motion. Lengthy strands of dark hair fell against the back of her navy knit cardigan in an almost pin straight fashion. So soon did the cardigan come apart from the thick hair, only to rest upon a nearby shiny, silver railing. Only moments later would short little legs lift from hard concrete to sit just beside the billowing cardigan.

The warm summer air blew those thin strands of midnight waves along to dance among the cotton clouds, tangling the locks around themselves with a grace unexpected. With each gust of wind, forming tears dried away, softly departing from almond eyes. A trail of their remnants stained flushed cheeks, the pink standing out like a red balloon among a sea of white on lightly tinted skin.

This was the moment Ayumi Tomori had been waiting for. For the cafe’s rooftop to finally be free of others, no interruptions, no one to see her fall from the railing on which she sat now, with Lake Suwa before her, glittering like a diamond in the sky. This is the last thing she wanted to see before she would see no more. A countdown in her mind, each number that final chance for the world to tell her she shouldn’t jump.

“Three.” Her knuckles turned a snowy white around the railing.

“Two.” The red bow laced at the base of her neck ruffled slowly with a deep intake of air.

“One-”

A creak from the door behind Ayumi stopped her train of thought abruptly, causing her head to whirl around with a force so strong a faint pop could be heard. Similar almond shaped eyes met in a moment, long and unspoken before the strangers gaze shifted to the ground below Ayumi. She too dropped her gaze, watery eyes landing on glossy black outdoor shoes, a powder pink envelope caught where lace-trimmed socks once walked the world.

“My name is H?tar? Tachibana… I don’t know what you’re going through, nor do I know how I can help, but allow me to do my best,” The sudden depth of the boy's voice cause Ayumi to look his way once more, his figure growing blurry amongst internal rivers.

His words alone sparked a wave of emotion to crash through her like a tsunami along the Indian Coast. Shoulders slouching over, her chest heaved with blubbering gasps, grape sized tears cascading down her rosy cheeks.

“I’d been up to this rooftop three times this week,” Ayumi managed to say through her thick tears, her chest heaving with coming sobs, “I’d been able to give myself a good reason not to jump, and yet here I am. Unable to stop the pain that grows in my heart.” In a matter of moments, her words shifted, venom behind each one. “ Do you know what it’s like to be an outcast in your school? To be cast aside by the one person who you thought cared, for another? To fear your own parents might very well end your life?”

“You don’t have to jump, Miss.” H?tar? paused before taking slow steps towards the shaking girl, “You can step down now and let me help you through this pain.”

 

Ayumi stared at H?tar? for a long time, her mind racing with all sorts of endings to her own tale. She knew if she jumped now, the pain would be gone from her mind, but this poor boy could be tormented with the idea that he couldn’t stop her. But if she climbed down, who knew if things could get better like he promised. In that moment she made up her mind, closing her eyes and allowing herself to find a way away from her pain regardless of what would follow in response to her decision.






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