Till then... (Prologue)

They strolled on the path built alongside the canal surrounding Tokyo TV station, pausing occasionally to enjoy the cooling evening breeze. They were chatting, happily at first, sharing jokes when their conversation segued to something else; the sole purpose of the person who had initiated the walk. And no one had talked since then. For five long minutes, they stood facing away from each other, their bodies leaned, their elbows resting on the rails guarding the deep and wide canal beneath, their eyes straight, staring into space, when one of them cleared her throat.

“You have decided?”
“And you want it this way?”
“Why? Aren’t you the least happy for me?”
“I am, but…” Her eyes looked down, yet watching the rapid waters gushing through the canal beneath did nothing to calm her emotions.
“It has always been my dream. You know about it.”
“I know, but what if I want you to stay?”
“Why? Are you against it? You know it is my dream since the day I joined…”

The pause was not deliberate. “But then we will be seeing less of each other…”

A laugh. “Oh come on, I’m still in haroporo.”

mou… mou ii yo.



akai nikkichou: 28th March 2008

We flipped through some of her photobooks today—just because we had a lot of time to kill—and I was reminded, once again, how beautiful she actually is. Anyway, I told her I like the photos, especially those from her first photobook and she gave me a weird look. A look that told me she’s happy to hear it. But I wasn’t lying to make her happy, I mean it, I really do: she’s beautiful. I like her straight black hair, with her fringe swept to one side, and her delicately trimmed eyebrows, drawn into this really beautiful arch which accentuates her eyes, and her sharp nose, and her sexy mouth. But of course, I did not tell her how I felt about her. I kept my eyes focused on her face in those books and gave basic compliments based on her looks alone and purposely left out any comments regarding her sexy poses, because, the truth was, I did not dare look at her body. You see, not when she’s seated just beside me; I couldn’t let her see me drooling at her body. That would be inappropriate—definitely not something a girl would do when shown photos of other girls in scanty swimming suits.

And then she asked me a question. She asked why I never had a Bikini photo book? It was a funny question. Funny because I realized she had never asked me this before even though we have known each other for seven years now. She never asked me how I managed to own two photo books in my name and yet none of it had me in a swimsuit, while all my colleagues, who had photo books, had. Why am I the exception? I guess her question caught me off-guard because I was stumped for quite sometime, and then she laughed and I followed and that question quickly became buried among all other stuffs.

But deep inside me, I am sure she knew why. I stopped wearing bikini when I became uncomfortable in it, which was back in year 2002 when my weight had suddenly gone bonkers. That really was a dark period of my life and I had since forgotten many things that had happened back then. I didn’t want to remember them. Luckily, for me, I did not take many pictures back then to have them remind me again of those days, and although I am in my best shape now, the discomfort and dread had decided to stay. And for five years, I never wore a bikini again… except for one really special case last year.

Maybe she had seen those official pictures and that’s why she asked, right? Well, maybe she hadn’t or she wouldn’t have asked. Am I confusing? But does it matter? No, it didn’t. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t seen me baring skin. We were often down to our undergarments during backstage and in futsal changing room. She had seen me partially nude as many times as I’ve seen her. But I have never seen her naked. Hey, what am I thinking? It’s a pity. I might have if I had followed them to the onsen tour three years ago. Yaguchan, Kemeko and her. I did not go because I wasn’t really close to them. Ironic, isn’t it? Who would have guessed we would be so close now? Now, if someone would to propose another onsen trip, I’ll be all ready. Wait a minute, maybe I should…

Nah, on second thoughts, that can’t be done. I don’t think we could squeeze that into our schedules. I’m really regretting now that I hadn’t gone with them. It would be so fun and who knows, we would have gotten closer even back then, instead of now… so it's very funny. Anyway, it’s all fated, because we were supposed to be close back then; in fact very very close. Then we started to drift apart and became alien. I guess that transition period when we were actually not talking anymore was important. Two very important years - it let things cool down and made me forget. I bet it did the same for her. Now I could see that she has really forgotten, too. I could sense it and my gut feeling tells me so. These things can’t be lied. Nobody could be this good in hiding her feelings unless she really had forgotten. Like her, I had forgotten about them, too. I’m not lying. Now, I only remembered something had happened back then, something big and regretful but I couldn’t recall clearly the details. The memories had all turned vague and the more I tried to recall, the more they just eluded me. The only thing I knew, those were some really unhappy stuffs. And yeah, how I’m glad we’ve both forgotten about it. Hey… why am I bringing this up again?