Arc 1 - Chapter 2
Wrote by Mark K.
Edited by Kunal S. and Death
"Kobayashi-san! Are you alright?"
When I heard my name and opened my eyes, I saw a man in white clothes, who I guess, was a doctor. Indeed, when I looked around I discovered I was in a hospital room. I tried to stand up but I could only barely move my legs.
"Don't try too hard, Kobayashi-san! You were in shock. It's only natural to feel weaker right after waking up."
"I... I was in shock?"
"You haven't regained your memories yet?"
"Why am I here?"
"We found you, unconscious in a construction zone."
"In a... construction zone?" and that moment, every memory came back from the accident. I saw Hana falling to the ground and Shiro's body pierced through with the rod. I saw all of it once again, like it happened right before my eyes. There was nothing I could do. It was only my imagination, the past, that I can't change.
"H... Hana. And Shiro. What about...?"
From that question, the whole room went into silence. The doctor closed his eyes and took a deep breath. The more he remained speechless, the more I knew the answer, that I didn't want to accept.
"I'm sorry, Kobayashi-san." the doctor finally broke the dark and sharp quietness.
"No... no, no, no! There has to be..."
"I'm sorry. Shiro Satou have already passed away when we got there. Hana Suzuki was transported to the hospital but after several surgeries, she lost her life too."
"But... maybe if you could..."
"This happened two days ago. I'm terribly sorry, but there was nothing we could do. Please stay in bed. In your state, any sudden movement can be harmful."
Since that Friday, the world became a lot slower for me. The doctors let me out after a few days, because I didn't have any serious injuries. Only a few scars from collapsing onto the ground, but they knew the biggest harm was not physical. When I was out on Tuesday, my family welcomed me with tearful faces. They knew I've been through a lot, and seeing me, alive, was a relief, even though that didn't make the tragedy any better. Next week I tried to visit school again, but it didn't work out. Going in, there was no one who I could talk to, I didn't say a single word that day. The classes were like silent movies. There wasn't a single student who was willing to break the dark atmosphere. Two desks were empty and this year, nobody will be there anymore. I couldn't get off my eyes from the places, once Hana and Shiro were. When school ended, I felt like more weeks have passed, so it was unnecessary to force myself anymore.
Even my house was darker and slower than ever before. The building that once meant relief from school, was nothing special anymore.
"Hayato..." Mom welcomed me, but seeing my face, she stayed quiet. Without words, she knew I don't want to go back to school for a while. "You can stay home as long as you want. Please, relax a little bit..."
There are no good words in situations like these, and everybody in the house understood it. I couldn't form any sounds with my lips, so I ran upstairs, right into my room.
Should I cry? Or be angry at myself? This is not a nightmare, this is the reality, that I've been trapped forever. Thinking about the past is stupid, but we do it all the time. Was it my fault? The only survivor's fault, that he couldn't save his friends? Why do people only realize their mistakes after it's already too late?
"Kobayashi-san, I'm happy you decided to ask me for help."
After a few days of struggling alone, for my family's recommendation I went to a psychologist.
"I know, right now you feel as if the world has stopped and every minute happens ten times slower, but your decision to visit me shows, that you are already moving forward. I guess you are familiar with the so called 5 steps, right?"
"Bargaining, depression and acceptance, exactly. Right now you are experiencing the first stage. Denying the world, because you feel there's nothing left in it. If you don't mind the question, have you cried since then?"
"I... I don't think so..."
"Don't worry. It's okay to be shocked for even weeks. This is a normal response to a very abnormal experience. Do you go to school?"
"No. I tried once, few days after the tragedy, but looking at their empty desks..."
"We have time, no need to rush anything."
"How long will it take to get over the shock?"
"It's impossible to tell. Maybe some days. And I just hope, not months. But I warn you in advance, that don't be mad at yourself. It's not your fault at all. It was only a terrible accident, that could have happened to anybody. By the way, Kobayashi-san, do you feel like you have to avoid even the district, in which the accident happened?"
"I haven't thought about it yet... but I don't want to see the area as of now."
"I really don't want to be indiscreet, but a week had passed since the incident. You can refuse to answer, but if you don't mind, do you have other friends? Have you talked about it with somebody other than your close family?"
"Yeah, Ichika Arai. She's one of my classmates. We've been in the same class for two years, and during breaks I usually talked with her. I think she was the first one who wrote me after... But we only talked through messages. When I was in school for one day, I wasn't even able to greet her."
It's hard to believe that Ichika Arai is about to graduate from high school. She looks much younger, but actually is a few days older than me. Her body suggests that she's 14 years old at most. She has a flat chest and cute brown hair with ribbons in it. We talked a lot last year, so it was expected to get a message after I've been missing from school for several days.
"To be honest," I continued speaking after a brief pause "even though I know it isn't true, I have a feeling that getting any closer to her now, would be equal to a betrayal towards Hana and Shiro. This is stupid, but I can't get over this feeling."
"After a loss, it's always hard to continue with everyday activities, talking casually and such. Do you have any hobbies that could possibly distract you a little bit? Like writing, or some sport you like to do?"
"Not really, no. I've spent most of my free time with them. We had these traditions, but..." we had been talking for about an hour, but didn't have the courage to tell him the fact, that our tradition was nothing else, than sneaking in restricted areas. Maybe because it's illegal and the last thing I wanted was another finger pointing at me for my mistakes. Maybe because I still wasn't ready to talk about it openly. I didn't even know if my psychologist got every detail of what happened. I haven't even read or watched news so I had no idea what the world knows about the accident.
That discovery was probably the most impactful for me in my first session with Doctor Kinjo. So far, I denied the fact that my friends died that day. But it can't be like that forever, I have to look back at my actions and get through somehow.
And the first step is, as absurd as it sounds, to go back to the place that changed my life forever.
site: mark k.story: mark k. and kunal s.