Protected: Understanding You, my Brethren

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(Adaptation) She

((Original) She by Rocky Blue Wednesdays.)

We’re in a subway train.

She’s located one-third the way from the left of my vision, and one-third the way from the top of my vision. I’m applying the rule of thirdsーit makes her stand out more. Nah, I’m just lying to myself. I haven’t got the courage to look at her directly.

With my head in situ, I glance at her face. She’s looking straight at me. Her eyes meet mine. I guess she knows that I’m looking at her- no, it’s obvious that I’m looking at her, and she and I know it. Anyone who says otherwise is indubitably blind.

In defeat I turn my head quickly, but naturally (or at least I hope it is), to face her. Her expressionless face stares back. I greet her with a mild smile (or at least I think I did). It is a quick reflex that is not the most noticeable but neither all that regrettable.

I realize that I’ve been looking, no, staring at her for some time. I try to brush off the social awkwardness but I can’t; her brilliant blue gems have ensorcelled me. They remind me of the resplendent summer ocean and the dazzling summer sky, luring me towards her irresistibly. My mouth opens slightly in an attempt to resuscitate whatever residual consciousness I have. I didn’t want to look away.

Had she noticed the gesture? Would she return it? Was she the type who would talk to strangers? I wanted to know. Maybe she’d laugh. That wouldn’t be too bad.

She smiles.

My heart inflates into a bright little red balloon, floating insouciantly to the air with blithe ignorance to the world.

I begin to wonder if we should start a conversation, or if we would ever meet again somewhere.

Maybe I should go forward and ask her where her stop’s at and if she takes the train often. Maybe she’d reply in a mellifluous timbre that would take me to the cloud nine, and maybe up there, I’d invite her to join me. Maybe we would board the train up in the air and cruise high above the busy and boring city replete with dull melancholy, and feel free and alive and bursting with vivid ecstasy.

Maybe we’d even fall in love.

After meandering through the twists and turns of the clouds the train would slow and stop outside her place. The doors would open. Without looking back, she would alight the train, open her home’s gate and stroll up the porch where someone would be waiting. The door would close. I would stand behind the doors and watch her leaving, and when she would get smaller and smaller farther into the distance and ultimately vanishes before my eyes, whisper a goodbye through the frosty glass windows.

She tilts her head and stares out of the window.

We’d probably never meet again.

(Adaptation) Searching in the Fall

((Original) Searching in the Fall by Rocky Blue Wednesdays.)

I’m falling.

But then I land softly into the arms of consciousness, and feel immense solace upon realisation; it’s one of those dreams again.

It’s the kind of dream, where one’s eyes jolt wide open to a heightened sense of fight-or-flight, where one awakes with one’s chest rising and falling unusually rapidly and rather irregularly, where one finds one’s clothes and body drenched in perspiration even though it’s the dry winter, where one unconsciously gulps deep breaths through one’s already parched mouthーall would coalesce harmonically to coerce the mind into fear, all would eventually and gradually wane and allay the mind back to calm, to allow a silent morning to greet one.

But the dream was notably very much indistinguishable from reality, such that one is only certain that one has roused when one sees the familiar colours of the walls and ceiling, when one hears the quotidian rumblings and beepings of busy cars outside, when one smells one’s own scent that has attached itself onto the bed, and when one feels the coziness of being wrapped and hugged by one’s own blanket. When all senses make sense, one then knows that one is at home, a refuge from the malice that was in one’s nightmare.

I know that I am safe, that it was all just a dream, but I don’t want to get out of my bed and blanket, which is an extra alleged almighty superfluous bastion that safeguards me from my fears. I convince myself that nothing good (nor bad) will come from just lying in my bed. So I get out of bed.

Or so I would, but I cannot move. The moment I tried to move, I suddenly felt exhaustion, physical and mental, paralyzing my body. My legs have become leaden, as though they were protesting against the running of endless miles into the abysses of the night in my mind, as though I’ve been running and running and running in search of someone.

No. Not ‘as though’. I have been searching for someone.

This someone knows no fear. This someone is hardly a reflection of myself. This someone is difficult to find. But I found them.

Just yesterday, I suffered torment from my archenemy. I had heard his wrath coming, yet I was utterly powerless in it’s face, unable to prepare and brace myself.

From the comfort of the soft cushioned seat where I was reclining, my ears picked up the muted patter of pelting raindrops. I tried to find a pattern in the euphony; it was the perfect tune to slumber to. It would have been the perfect tune to slumber to, if it didn’t start to contort and embiggen into a rancorous beating on the fuselage.

I remember the events that happened next clearly, but why do I remember them so clearly, that is a fuzzy enigma. I guess my spirit knew what was coming, and by instinct it detached itself from my body. My spirit probably hovered above me and observed everything in objectivity. The plane shivered in the blistering cold. There was a fleeting but sharp tremor that vibrated through the small oval windows. The stewardesses vanished from the isles with deft footsteps. There were little choppy waves forming and breaking and forming in the transparent glass of water in front of me. The glass of water sat in a holster attached to the back of a seat in front of me. There was a child crying in the seat in front of me. The man beside me was reading his newspaper. I couldn’t see anyone else because the newspaper blocked my line of sight, but surely, everyone aboard the plane, except me, was minding their own business unperturbed and unfazed.

And then my anathema came without warning. It assaulted my hypnopompic body, severing my astral projection, causing my spirit to snap back into my body. I was fully aware now, fully feeling the quaking of the airplane. But it is ruthless. It went on to haul my heart down towards my stomach and send it into a pounding frenzy. It pushed my vision off a cliff, and I could see naught but black. It was like the moment a loose picture frame slips and slides down a wall; everything moved, and for a split second came a thought that the descent would never end. But it ended.

Thank goodness and bless the pilots.

You may shrug ‘the fall’ off as ‘mere flight turbulence’, but to me, ‘the fall’ is an unrivaled nemesis.

However, ‘the fall’ was probably an insignificant existence to someone within that fall. Someone who was a silent, brave child, and who was immune to it.

There was a child who was young and free, and loved adventure whenever and wherever. Adventure camp had high ropes, and the high ropes they would conquer. When they were reaching the end, they knew they would make it. No breeze wasn’t going to push them off their feet. Their hands held firm. The next rope was in just right in front of them. But as they lifted one foot from one plank to the next, the other slipped and off the high ropes course they went, downwards through the air, simply falling. Their life was only in the hands of a safety harness which they didn’t seem to care about, yet the child just swayed and gazed apathetically towards the brilliant sun, which was half eclipsed by the oscillating plank they had lost their footing on, and beamed.

This someone knows no fear. This someone is hardly a reflection of myself. This someone is difficult to find. But I found them.

Maybe I’ll be them one day.

Anxious Happiness 不安なる幸せ

My mind is fuzzy; my parched mouth refuses to close; my leaden chest moves in and out rapidly, unusually so; my perspiry fingers clenches the sleek rectangle with much difficulty; my legs tremble slightly, only slightly, such that no unwanted noise is made, not that there’s anyone to hear it.

What must I do? What should I do? What can I do? What will I do?

I sit on the edge of the bed. The mattress is soft… no, hard? I hastily tap my smartphone’s screen, without which I would be tapping in stygian umbra.

‘smzowru’.
“There are no search results.”

No good. Let me try again.

‘qmcieyi’.
“There are no search results.”

Damn it… Come on…

‘amziery’.
“There are no search results. Did you mean ‘anxiety’?”

There…!

I tap the blue underlined text with felicitous accuracy.

“Anxiety is an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behavior, such as pacing back and forth, somatic complaints and rumination…”

I don’t need this… I don’t need to read this to know… Who cares what ‘somatic’ means anyway…

I drag my finger across the screen from down to up rather erratically.

“How to manage anxiety: Steps to calm yourself down”

Yes… Yes… this is what I need…

“Name 5 things you can see.”

Things I can see…

A man?
A woman?
My blank paper. I know it’s mine because… Well, it’s mine.
A glint.
Red. Or crimson. What’s the difference? They’re both essentially black.

What next…?

“Breathe.”

I breathe a shallow breath. I feel the frigid wind cut my throat.
It hurts.
But it doesn’t bother me.
I’ve felt greater pain. No. Torment.

Anyway, I think I’m getting somewhere. I already feel calmer. I don’t feel my legs fidgeting anymore. Though, maybe that’s because my legs are exhausted from dancing and have become numb.

Next…

What must I do? What should I do? What can I do? What will I do?

I must score well, so that I can enrol at a good university, and land a good job.

‘Good, at least you know that it’s for your own sake.’

I drag my finger across the screen from down to up rather erratically.

“Name 4 things you can feel.”

Feel…

My smartphone.
Something viscous. It doesn’t say I need to identify it.
Dryness.
Coldness…? Is that something one can feel? Technically, I’m simply not feeling much warmth, so I guess this doesn’t… ah, whatever.

I’m surprised my numb limbs can still feel.

“Breathe.”

I breathe a shallow breath. I feel the frigid wind cut my throat.
It hurts.
But it doesn’t bother me.
Then again, just because it doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t mean I should let it be. I’ll try the nose the next time.

What should I do? What can I do? What will I do?

I should understand the world, its rules and its laws.

‘Wrong answer.’

Sorry.

I should understand the worlds, their rules and their laws.

‘Correct, but you jolly well not make the same stupid mistake.’

I drag my finger across the screen from down to up.

“Name 3 things you can hear.”

Silence.

I guess that counts as one. Two more.

Nothing else.

No.

I hear…

Shouting.
Screaming.

Do those count as two? But they’re coming from different people. So I think they’re different. Oh, I also hear my breathing and my heartbeats, though they asked for only three things. Do I get bonus marks?

“Breathe.”

I breathe a deep breath. I feel the frigid wind cut my throat.
It hurts.
I forgot to try the nose. It’s okay, right? We all make mistakes. I won’t forget it the next time.

What can I do? What will I do?

I can play a lovely tune, paint a pretty picture, or write a meaningful story.

‘There is no meaning. What must you do? What should you do?’

I understand.

I drag my finger across the screen from down to up.

“Name 2 things you can smell.”

Iron.
Decay.

I’m sure there are other smells, but these two smelled nice together. A nice, redolent blend.

“Breathe.”

I breathe a deep breathe through my nose. I feel the chilly wind cut my throat.
It hurts.
But it’s not that bad. I think I’ve mostly calmed down. Now, the last step.

What will I do?

I WILL REJECT ALL, AND DO WHAT I WANT.

I drag my finger across the screen from down to up.

“Name 1 thing that makes you happy.”

That is…
…easy.

*******.

I smile at the thought.

Yes, I’ve calmed down.

Now, everything is fine.
Now, everything is good.
Now, everything is happy.

Now.

Now, I am happy.

“Breathe.”

Do I need to? I’m okay with the way everything is now.

Now is fine.
Now is good.
Now is happy.

I press my smartphone’s power button once.

I see nothing.
I feel none and all.
I hear everything.
I breathe a deep breathe through my nose. I feel the pleasant wind becoming one with me.

And the wind brings with it the smell of happiness.

—–

頭がもやもやしている。からからと渇いた唇を閉じさせない。重苦しい胸が速やかに拡大したり縮小したりするように動く、異常なほどまでに。汗ばんだ指が滑らかな長方形を握るのに苦労する。脚が少し震える、少しだけ、望まない雑音を立てないように。聴く人がいないけれど。

しなければならないことは?するべきことは?できることは?することは?

ベッドの端に座る。マットレスは柔らかい…いや、硬い?スマホの画面を急いで軽く叩く。スマホがなければ、真っ暗な闇で軽く叩くんだ。

『ぢえんあいうへお』
「『ぢえんあいうへお』に一致する情報は見つかりませんでした。」

ダメだ。もう一回やろう。

『ぐあんどうばい』
「『ぐあんどうばい』に一致する情報は見つかりませんでした。」

クッソ…もう…

『ふあんそうがい』
「次の検索結果を表示しています:不安障害」

これだ…!

下線を施した青いテキストを折り良い的確さで軽く叩く。

「不安障害(ふあんしょうがい)とは、過剰な反すうや心配、恐怖の特徴を有するいくつかの異なる種類の一般的な精神障害を含んだ総称である…」

これ要らないよ…これを読まなくてもわかるよ…しかも『反すう』ってどういう意味なのかはどうでもいいだろう…

指を画面の下から上へやや不規則にスコールする。

「不安障害を克服する方法:自分を落ち着かせるステップ」

そう…そう…これが私に必要なんだ…

「見えるものを5つ挙げてください。」

見えるもの…

男の人?
女の人?
私の白紙。私のものだとわかる理由は…まあ、私のものだ。
ひとつの煌き。
赤。それとも紅(くれない)。違いはあるか?本質的にどちらも黒だし。

次は…?

「呼吸をしてください。」

浅い呼吸をする。凍った風が喉を切るのを感じる。
痛い。
でも気にしない。
これより大きな苦痛を感じたことある。いや、激痛だ。

とにかく、うまくいくと思う。もう少し落ち着いた気がする。脚がもうせかせかしていない。脚が踊りすぎて疲れて麻痺したからかもしれないけれど。

次は…

しなければならないことは?するべきことは?できることは?することは?

良い大学に入学することができるために、良い仕事に就くために、良い点数を取らなければならない。

『良い。少なくとも自分のためだと知っている。』

指を画面の下から上へやや不規則にスコールする。

「感じられるものを4つ挙げてください。」

感じる…

私のスマホ。
粘ったもの。何ものだと鑑定しなければならないと書かれてない。
乾燥。
寒気…?これって感じられるものなのか?厳密的に言えば、私はただ暖気をあまり感じてないので、寒気ってダメなわけか…まあいいや。

麻痺した肢(し)がまだ感じることができることにビックリだよ。

「呼吸をしてください。」

浅い呼吸をする。凍った風が喉を切るのを感じる。
痛い。
でも気にしない。
とはいえ、気にしないからと言ってもこのまま放っておくべきじゃない。今度は鼻で呼吸する。

するべきことは?できることは?することは?

私は世界を、世界の規則を、世界の法規を理解すべきだ。

『違う。』

ごめんなさい。

私は世界とセカイを、世界とセカイの規則を、世界とセカイの法規を理解すべきだ。

『良い。だが同じ愚かなる過ちを犯すものでない。』

指を画面の下から上へスコールする。

「聞こえるものを3つ挙げてください。」

静寂(せいじゃく)。

あれってひとつだな。後2つ。

他には何もないよ。

いや。

聞こえるよ…

叫び。
喚き。

あれって2つだよな?違う人からだから、違うと思う。あ、自分の呼吸と鼓動も聞こえる、3つだけのことを言っていたんだけれど。ボーナススコアが貰えるかな?

「呼吸をしてください。」

深い呼吸をする。凍った風が喉を切るのを感じる。
痛い。
鼻で呼吸するのを忘れてしまった。でもいいだろう。誰もが過ちを犯すんだし。今度はきっと忘れない。

できることは?することは?

快(こころよ)い調べを奏でられる、麗(うるわ)しい絵画を描(えが)ける、意味がある物語を書ける。

『意味などはない。しなければならないことは?するべきことは?』

わかりました。

指を画面の下から上へスコールする。

「匂いがするものを2つ挙げてください。」

鉄。
腐敗。

他のニオイがきっとあると思うが、この2つの匂いは一緒で良い匂いがしたんだ。良い、芳香のある混ざりだ。

「呼吸をしてください。」

深い呼吸を鼻でする。冷たい風が喉を切るのを感じる。
痛い。
でもあんなに酷くなかった。だいぶ落ち着いたと思う。さあ、最後のステップだ。

することは?

ワタシハスベテヲヒテイシ、シタイコトヲスル。

指を画面の下から上へスコールする。

「嬉しく感じさせるものを1つ挙げてください。」

これは…
…簡単だ。

***

この思いで微笑みを浮かべる。

そう、落ち着いたよ。

今はすべてが良い。
今はすべてが嬉しい。
今はすべてが楽しい。

今。

今は幸せだ。

「呼吸をしてください。」

する必要はあるか?このままで今のすべてがいいんだ。

今が良い。
今が嬉しい。
今が楽しい。

スマホの電源ボタンを一回押す。

何も見えない。
何も感じられなくて全てが感じられる。
全てが聞こえる。
深い呼吸を鼻でする。心地良い風が私と一つになることを感じる。

そして、風は幸せのニオイがする。

I think I wrote this on Valentine’s Day

I hold the gift behind my back.
Standing in front of your classroom.
The empty classroom.
Except for the you waiting inside.

Slowly.
I slide the door open.
You perk up at the sound of the door.
And flash that mesmerizing smile at me.

“What’s the deal? Making people stay back after school…”
You fold your arms while look at me with squinted eyes.
You act like you don’t know.
But surely you already know.

“You know what day it is today, right…?”
“Do you think I’m an idiot?”
“That’s not what I meant…!”
But you chuckle.

I avert my gaze from yours.
It lands onto your table.
Piled with chocolates.
Competition is tough.

I fumble with the gift behind my back.
You’re so far away.
Can I reach you?
I won’t know until I try…

“This…”
“This is for you…”
I hold out the gift towards you.
You smirk.

You aren’t shocked.
You were expecting it.
“You think you can buy me with just that?”
Your sadistic words pierce me.

“I don’t want cheap chocolates.”
You scoff.
You grab my gift and throw it aside.
You never looked at it.

“I’m disappointed in you.
You know me, don’t you?
You should know me.
You should know that I want much more.”

“You should know that I want only you.”

—–

(バレンタインデーにこれを書いたと思う。)

プレゼントを背後に隠して持っている。
あなたの教室の前で立っている。
誰もいない教室。
中で待っているあなたしか。

ゆっくりと。
ドアを開ける。
あなたが開く音に気づく。
そしてその魅力的な笑顔を見せる。

「なんだよ、放課後なのに人を待たせやがって…」
あなたは腕を組みながら睨んでくる。
何も知らないフリをする。
でもきっともう知っているでしょう。

『今日は何の日か、知ってるんですよね…?』
「俺がバカだと思ってんの?」
『いえ、そういう意味じゃなくて…!」
でもあなたが笑う。

あなたの視線から目を逸らす。
あなたの机に留まる。
山積みになったチョコレート。
厳しい戦いです。

プレゼントを背後で弄り回す。
あなたは遠いよ。
届くかな?
やってみないとわからないね…

『これ…』
『プレゼントです…』
腕を伸ばしてプレゼントをあなたに渡そうとしている。
あなたは嗤う。

驚いていない。
予想していた。
「それだけで俺が喜ぶと思った?」
嗜虐的な言葉はわたしを貫く。

「チープなチョコレート要らねえ」
あなたが嘲笑う。
プレゼントを手に取って横に投げ捨てる。
一瞥もしなかった。

「がっかりなんだよ、お前に。
俺を知ってるんだろう?
俺を知ってるに決まってるんだろう。
俺はあれよりもっと大きなものが欲しいことを。」

「お前だけが欲しいことを…」