「Hey, what about heaven…」
Standing in front of the mirror, I looked at myself.
《I think it’s nice》
Heaven says so, but I don’t have blonde hair or big sparkling eyes. I don’t even own a blue jacket. There’s just me, black hair, ugly, skinny, and miserable in cheap pants and shirts. A sigh that spills over and over from the morning. I know him well. Even if it’s only been a few months, I know how kind he is. The fact that he’s not the kind of person who laughs at me, and the fact that he will surely accept me and treat me as a friend.
And yet – somewhere there is myself who cannot believe everything. I’m getting really sick of myself, but even so, I don’t think I can change this me.
The time is 19:30, in front of Hachiko. Thinking that it is too early, I look for him in a white cutter shirt and white pants. The place is full of people waiting to meet someone, all with sparkling eyes. Everyone is dressed neatly, with their hair pulled back in a tight bun. I was waiting for him, standing alone and small among them. The thought that repeatedly crossed my mind was that I should just go home. No matter how many times I reminded myself that it would cause him trouble, the thought kept coming back to haunt me like mud. I felt like I could do anything if I could escape from this place as quickly as possible.
「Whew… it’s hot.」
While wiping away his sweat, a man with a ringing voice beside him leaned against Hachiko. Ah, it’s him. Yes, it’s him. I recognized him at once by his voice. I slowly turn my gaze toward him, keeping my head down. A man in white pants, slender legs, and stylish and expensive shoes that match just like in the virtual world. He is also tall. Glancing at him sideways, I see his well-defined face with permed blond hair. He had big eyes and a confident expression that made him look like a young man. He is dazzling, like the sun…I feel like crying. Why am I here? I took a deep breath, trying desperately to hold back the tears that were gradually welling up. I had to speak to him. What should I say to him to make him happy? He will laugh if it is funny. The words are spinning around in my head. But the words are stuck in the back of my throat and won’t come out. Instead, tears start to well up in my eyes. Oh, God, why am I so miserable and pathetic?
I don’t remember much from there. I ended up running away without even being able to talk to him. I wonder how long he’s been waiting for me and has he come looking for me in virtual space? What an embarrassment! At the worst, I felt nauseous at myself, who was helpless. The one friend I would never see again. The only person I could trust. But I betrayed myself to it. It sucks. I began to avoid contact with him and act in virtual space. I never intended to see him again, but I left him a message of apology in virtual space just once. I didn’t want him to forgive me; I knew it was just for my own self-satisfaction.
Since then——Several months have passed since I betrayed him. Of course, the virtual space was comfortable, and when I was tired of living in the real world, I would come over and watch the fireworks by myself. At that time, I was watching it with a friend, but now I am alone. I don’t think it’s bad either. In the game he taught me, I was able to earn a little bit of virtual currency.
「Hey hey, let’s go play in the pool.」
「Yeah, nice, let’s go.」
The girl who called out to me was the girl he had been with before. Because of that opportunity, I still play with her from time to time like this. Of course, I have more opportunities to hang out with people in this world other than her. In this way, when I actually played it, I thought that I didn’t have enough experience to get involved with someone like this. When I actually play with her in this way, I realize that I have not had enough experience being involved with someone like this. Of course, if I saw myself in the real world, I would probably be disillusioned, but I am not in the real world now, so I can hold her hand. It may be that I have come to be able to think about what makes the other person happy. When I held her hand, she smiled happily.
Suddenly I heard a voice. The voice grabbed my arm forcefully. I knew who it was without looking at his face. I didn’t need to see the face, because it was a gentle voice that sounded like a ringing bell.
I didn’t turn around. I didn’t look at him. I shook off both arms and ran away. I never thought that I could run so fast, but no, no, this is an avatar, so I thought it was natural. I’m really stupid, always, always running away. I’m an idiot.
「You…! Hey, you! I have something I want to talk to you about!」
He was saying that behind my back. The voice of my dear friend almost made me cry, and I almost turned around. But I couldn’t turn around. I could not see his face.
「Sorry, sorry…! I’m sorry! I’m not qualified to talk to you anymore…」
Before I knew it, I had removed the glass while crying. A narrow one-room apartment spreads out in front of me. The room is a little more tidy than it was that day. His voice calling me is stuck in my ears. No matter how many times I wiped it that overflowed from my eyes, it just spilled out afterward.
「Are you stupid ……, I …… did the worst thing I …… could do, Haven …….」
「It’s not okay, I’m the worst」
Running away from him again, who wanted to talk to me again. Running away, running away, what will he run away to next? I’m sure I’ll keep running away for the rest of my life, this is already like fate. It sucks. I will never change, whether in virtual reality or in the real world, I will continue to run away in the same way. What a lousy person I am.
Looking at my miserable self in the mirror, I put down the glass and left the house. I wasn’t going anywhere, but I couldn’t sit still. I was so miserable that I couldn’t stare at my wretched self any longer. I continued walking aimlessly, kicking stones underfoot with my tattered sandals. The sky is gray and it looks like it’s about to rain. I haven’t been able to see the beautiful sunset and night sky that I saw in the virtual space in the real world.
Come to think of it, I think it may have been after I entered the virtual world that I began to pay attention to the sky. Before that, I didn’t even have time to look up at the sky. I didn’t have that kind of time. I was walking around looking at the ground all the time. I stopped and looked up at the sky again. Beyond the gray, there was a faint hint of blue sky. I hope it doesn’t rain.
I felt a strong grip on my arm, and I couldn’t move. Why is my heart beating so loudly? Why is the skin all over my body trembling? i know the answer. It’s because he is there, holding my arm – but it’s not right. He doesn’t know my face. I just know him by face. He is gasping for air, but still he doesn’t let go of my arm.
「Hey, honey, I’m not mad at you; that’s all I wanted to say. ……」
「Um… I’m sorry…」
「I don’t want you to apologize, and I just want to be friends with you. ……I’m sorry. I know it was sudden, and I know it’s scary when someone asks to see you, But I feel like I could be friends with you. That’s right.」
I turned around and took a good look at his face. It was a beautiful, well-formed face. The gray sky was reflected in his eyes, but they were a fiery color like that sunset. It was a nice color, I thought. I didn’t even think of running away anymore, because he knew my face. I know I’m no good, but he still wanted to be my friend. Beyond that, what more could I ask for?
— No, it’s more than that. What concerns me is that he seems to know my face from earlier.
「How do you know me?」
「My face, I thought you didn’t know me, so I …… so …… that.」
「Fufu, I told you I met you in real life.」
He laughed amusingly. I try to remember his face, but the only thing that keeps spinning in my head is that there was no one like him in my life.
「I do the inventory at the convenience store at night. I’ve been watching you all night with a gloomy face.」
「You know that keychain on your bag? You have an old bear character in your bag. I know it’s a bit of a maniac, but I like that character, and every time I saw him at the convenience store, I wondered if I would ask to meet him」
He said that with a giggle. As I stared at him like that, I began to go crazy and couldn’t help myself laughing.
「Ah, that’s funny…」
「Isn’t it…? You’re overthinking things.」
「Yeah, that’s right, sorry」
「Hey sorry no」
「I’m sorry… Ah…」
「Fufu, you know… I wish I could.」
I start talking vaguely. I won’t run away anymore, no, I might run away for just a little while. But I think I’ll probably remember what this friend gave me from time to time. I think I’ll remember the friend I was given in this virtual world, even if the day comes when I won’t be able to see him again. But for now.
「If you don’t mind, would you like to go out for a drink?」
「Yeah, of course. I also have a lot of things I want to talk about.」
Yes, we have a lot to talk about. A mountain of topics have piled up over the past few months, and I think it will take a long time to digest them. stare at his face, and he smiles at me with a toothy grin. His bag is lined with keychains of bear characters. Compared to the one on my backpack, it seems like it’s been cherished a lot. I don’t know much about this bear, I just got it when I was little. I hope to tell you about it in the future.
With these thoughts in mind, we began to walk slowly.