On the night of the day I played with Towa-kun at the pool, Towa-kun was sleeping in my bed, perhaps a little tired. Since the start of the summer vacation, I have often stayed at Towa-kun’s house, but today, Towa-kun decided to stay here.
“…… fufu, To~wa-kun♪”
It is natural that Towa-kun does not wake up even when I call out to him. It seems that he is in a deeper sleep than I thought. Perhaps it is due to the fact that we both got out of control at the pool, but it seems that not only Towa-kun but also I will fall asleep as soon as I lie down.
I headed for the living room to quench my thirst a little, and found that my mother was still there. It was certainly a little early for bed, so it was not surprising that she was still there.
“Oh, what’s the matter?”
“I see. How is Towa?”
“Fufu, he seemed a little tired when we were having dinner.
It’s true that rather than eating ……, Towa was trying his best to stay awake until he was ready to go.
“Do you have school again tomorrow?”
“Yes, we’re in the final stages of painting, and the rest is choreographing the cheerleading song and stuff.”
“After the sports festival, there’s the school festival, that’s a lot of work.”
That is right,……, after the sports festival, there will naturally be the school festival. I’m depressed about having to decide on class presentations and such again. Well, it’s not like everyone in the class is uncooperative, so I guess I don’t have to feel that anxious.
“Mom, please try not to drink too much, okay?”
“I’ll be fine. I won’t end up like Akemi.”
“That’s fine then.”
That’s right, ever since then, it seems that my mother and Akemi-san have been going out to eat together and their relationship has deepened considerably. They have become close enough to address each other informally. It’s a little complex for me to think about the past events, but if there are smiles between them, I have nothing to say. Rather… I’ve always longed for such a scene somewhere in my heart, that much is certain.
“Phew, I’ll be going then. Good night.”
After saying goodnight to my mother, I returned to my room. As usual, Towa-kun was sound asleep with no signs of waking up, and I could understand that he must be extremely tired, even with the noise I was making.
“…A dream, huh.”
Lately, there have been moments when Towa-kun’s behavior has been a little strange. The underlying cause is probably related to the dream I had recently experienced as well.
In a different world from this one, a world where I, who couldn’t be saved, walked the path of revenge. I forcefully created reasons for the sake of Towa-kun, causing harm to others and being overwhelmed by the weight of it all… That was the nature of that dream.
“Perhaps I would have become just like the me in that world.”
It’s possible… no, I can assert that it has become a certainty. Because I had been on the path to realizing it. However, I say it again and again, Towa-kun’s presence changed me and saved me. That’s why I have no intention of seeking revenge, and I can confidently say that what I had tried to do in the first place was wrong.
“…What do you want to do?”
Even if I ask this question in an empty space, there won’t be an answer, of course. Right now, there are only Towa-kun and me in this room, and concerning Towa-kun, he exists only in the dream… But still, I find myself contemplating the possibility of something that shouldn’t even exist.
“The only difference between you and ‘me’ is whether we were saved or not. Although I said ‘only,’ I believe this difference is far too significant. The current me completely denies the way you existed in the dream.”
I close my eyes and once again recall the scenes from the dream.
Honjo-senpai, Mari-chan, Kotone-chan, and Hatsune-san being led astray by a man’s hands. And then, as the finishing blow to a worn-out Shu-kun, showing him that Towa-kun and I were truly in love… It’s almost like a well-crafted story, I can’t help but smile wryly. But in that world, I made it happen… I made it happen.
“I only witnessed it, but I could feel what you were thinking when you made that happen.”
The me in that world didn’t act without any thoughts; there were feelings of guilt and occasional moments of regret. However, only at that moment, faced with efficiency and results, did I discard my own heart and the dignity of others—without hesitation.
“I understand those feelings, but I can’t comprehend the pain and sadness because I am not the same as her who lives in that world.”
Yes, in the end, no matter how much I talk about it, I am a different existence from the version of myself in that world. Even if we have the same appearance, the same name, and the same past, I am me, and you are you… That is one thing that will never change; I cannot alter it.
“Both you and I love the same person… Well, maybe it’s a little different. The Towa-kun in this world, whom I have come to love, is cooler, kinder, and the best boyfriend ♪”
I felt a slight tremor in the air, but I didn’t pay much attention to it.
I tensed my legs, stood up, and carefully stepped onto the balcony so as not to wake Towa-kun. The night breeze was slightly chilly, but it wasn’t unbearable.
“I have someone I can rely on… of course, it’s Towa-kun. But it’s the same for you, right? There must be someone by your side who undoubtedly loves you.”
If I exist in this world and that world, then naturally Towa-kun is the same. He is also present in that world. He is right here by my side, showing me affection and love, and nothing changes.
“Not the me in this world. The person who fell in love with you in your world.”
I don’t possess the power to traverse worlds, and my reach is limited. Speaking these soliloquies without anyone to hear, I might be considered abnormal, but I just wanted to put it into words.
“Stay strong, Ayana Otonashi. If the person you love is by your side, ‘you’ will be stronger than anyone else, right?”
As I voiced these words and looked up at the sky, it was filled with countless stars. When I was younger, perhaps, but as a high school student, it was rare to gaze up at the starry sky. That’s why it felt like I hadn’t seen such a beautiful starry sky in a long time.
…Is it irresponsible to express it with just these words? However, honestly, there is nothing we can do, Towa-kun and I. Ultimately, it is up to the person who lives in that world to decide whether they can accept everything and move forward.
“You are never alone. Please don’t forget that.”
As I was about to put these words into words and return to my room, I heard the voice of the person I love.
“Yeah, I guess the ‘me’ over there is probably curious and can’t help but wonder”
Touwa-kun’s voice made me startle……. Apparently I was so preoccupied that I didn’t even notice that the balcony door had opened.
The cold night wind is so warm that it doesn’t bother me. …… When I bury my face in Towa-kun’s chest, my favorite warmth and smell surround me.
I let out a small voice. I was caught up in the moment and looked where Towa-kun was looking, and there was a girl who looked infinitely like me. Her face, with the hood removed from her head, was tear-stained, but her mouth was a little loose, as if she were a little happy.
Whether it was an auditory hallucination or if I truly heard it, I didn’t know. But as soon as I thought I heard that voice, it vanished as if dissolving into the wind.
“…Did our voices reach?”
“I don’t know. But I think everything will be okay now.”
I believe we both acknowledge that something incredibly unimaginable is happening. However, we couldn’t simply dismiss it as something impossible. What was that just now? Why did we pose such questions…? The doubts were endless, but for now, we embraced each other as if confirming each other’s existence.