NARRATOR: "I climb upstairs and enter carefully. The room is dark because of the quickly falling night, but I can see Rin, or rather her silhouette, sitting on the floor. So she's got her inspiration back like Sae said, and moved from easel to painting on the floor. Before I manage five steps I stop, frozen in my tracks. The ironic realization that human cognitive ability is commendable echoes through my mind. From a mere movement of her shadow it took me a fraction of a second to realize something is awry, process what I'm seeing, formulate the answer and blush all the way up to the tips of my ears."
NARRATOR: "Rin is sitting on the floor with her legs under her. She moves in rhythmical motions back and forth, slowly grinding herself against herself. Her breathing is so heavy it's almost visible in the dim light. It's the heavy panting of one who doesn't have the option of breathing gracefully. Her hips, mere shadows against the dim light shining on her from above, are swinging circularly over and over again. She hasn't noticed me, so engrossed she is in her... activity."
NARRATOR: "The deadlock solves itself before I get a chance to think what to do next. Something in the atmosphere of the room changes, a little thing, not consciously noticeable, but it changes. Perhaps a timid current from the opened door, or a minute change in air pressure, the sound of my breathing (even though I notice I haven't taken a breath for many many seconds), the aura of my presence. That something catches Rin's senses."
NARRATOR: "She stops moving, freezes and slowly turns to the door. I imagine, not see, the horror on her face, like a fawn's eyes staring at a hunter. I wonder if Rin can see my expression but at least she doesn't have the strength or the spirit to look straight in my eyes. So, she droops her chin against her chest, letting her mess of a hair hide her face from me even further. I feel like I should either walk out or walk to her, but I can't do either."
RIN: "I told you to stay away."
NARRATOR: "Her words are... defeated, painful as if she was suffering. Rin doesn't have anything else than her shirt on. I can see the last wisps of the twilight against the pale skin of her thighs and bottom. There is no way I can back off any more, I lost that chance, so I do the next best thing. I quickly avert my gaze even though Rin doesn't see what I'm looking at."
HISAO: "I'm sorry. I didn't think..."
RIN: "It's not like that..."
NARRATOR: "Her voice is raspy, shivering from held back tears or something else. She is shaking, looking like she is physically in pain."
RIN: "It's not like that. I..."
RIN: (babbling) "I had no idea what it really means to change but I know now you have no idea what I've had to do and all the things that pass through and I think I forget I really don't they just build up inside and grow and grow and grow until they flow out like a flow of everything that has ever been wrong I can't take it I can't think of the things I want because there's only so many things that I can think four six seven doesn't matter it's never enough I have to let this out I have to destroy forget it and nothing else—"
NARRATOR: "Rin is mumbling her words into the air more than talking to me. It is the rambling, ranting, raving speech of a lunatic, even and steady in tone, but taking the form of a never-ending stream of words almost simultaneously spawning from between her lips. It feels like she forgot it is me who is present, or that someone actually is present. Maybe she vaguely recognizes what is real and what is not. Maybe in her mind I am a voice inside her head. I look down at Rin's sorry figure, cowering on the floor with only the white shirt of her usual attire on. It neither preserves her modesty that is gone nor her body warmth that she doesn't seem to care about. She looks more broken than I imagined a human person being capable of, and the hospital and school have given me some real perspective on that."
NARRATOR: "I remember the hazy blue smoke, and myself wondering what Rin would do for the sake of art. The realization that Rin really is always serious hits me with its entire weight." She really and truly would destroy herself if her art required it. I thought she was so silly with her strange ways, talking about personal change as if it was something sudden and concrete, like waking up. I had no idea."
NARRATOR: "This is her, laid bare in front of my eyes in all possible meanings of the word. Complete isolation here in the top floor of this building, in this room, in her mind. Day after day, working on her paintings with no heed paid to anything else. Breaking herself to reach that which she wishes to reach. This... obscene act that she does for reasons I'm not sure she herself understands. Why does she have to do this? I'm trying to connect the pieces but I don't understand. I feel sad, scared, excited, disgusted, worried and a number of emotions I can't remember the name of now. I feel conflicted."
HISAO: "I should go. I'm really sorry."
RIN: "It doesn't matter."
NARRATOR: "My voice is dry and quiet, like sandpaper coming out of my throat. I really am sorry, sorry for seeing this. I don't want to see Rin like this. All I can see is her sadness. Her stress and despair. Is this what a “limit” means? Why would - how could Sae and Nomiya let Rin go this far? Or is it me who is to blame?"
NARRATOR: "I almost walk out, right there, but at the last moment I turn around, steel myself and walk to Rin to crouch down behind her and lightly touch her forehead. She doesn't resist or react. I can't leave her like this. She's not well. She feels like she has a fever, freezing cold and burning hot at the same time. I wonder if she got sick from staying out all night with me back then. It seems she's prone to getting ill. There is a blanket on the couch, but I wrap my arms around Rin instead of fetching it. She does not resist my clumsy hug, only slumps her head lower, deepening the shadows hiding her face from me."
RIN: "What are you doing?"
NARRATOR: "I am not embracing her out of love, nor out of forgiveness; for am I in love, or is she sorry? I just want to hug her. For a moment, the only sound in the room is her heavy breathing. My body warmth, shared between two people, is barely enough but slowly, painfully slowly it spreads from me to her. The small warmth returning to Rin makes me more conscious of her body against mine. Even in the darkness, I can feel the fleeting scent of Rin's hair, the sweat on her skin, the dried paint stuck in her shirt. I feel the hardness of her bones and the softness of her flesh. Her heartbeats echoing mine, out of rhythm just like always. The hot blood rushing inside me reminds me why I said what I said back then, why I came here even after that, why I am here tonight again. Why I am hugging her now to keep her safe against the cold and the sadness. Rin has really grown on me inside my heart, claiming a small part of it as her own without even particularly trying. Even if she wanted to push me away, I can't help this feeling."
HISAO: "Are you all right, Rin?"
RIN: "I'm not. I... think I broke. I painted. I painted some really good things. Incredible. But it hurt me. I can't handle this."
NARRATOR: "Her voice cuts out, as there are no more words for her to say. It's not an angry voice nor a sad voice. It is a lifeless voice. I pet her head and shoulders, the physical equivalent of saying “there, there.” It's not like I could reassure her with the sweet nothings that people are supposed to say in this kind of situation. I'm not sure if she would even listen, or be reassured. She didn't react much to my embrace either, as if she didn't care. Maybe she doesn't. At least she doesn't care if she looks sad or not, there are no facades, no attempts to explain herself, no faux happiness. Rin is honest."
HISAO: "What is it?"
RIN: "You're my friend, right?"
RIN: "Will you do me a favor? I can't fix this. But I'm not finished yet."
NARRATOR: "Her dry voice is a mere whisper but the strength, her last, is in it, delivering her meaning much more clearly than her words. I can feel Rin's heart beating against my chest like a scared little bird. Her entire body is shivering from her fever, from her fear, from her despair. My brain is fast becoming overloaded with the myriad of thoughts this encounter spawned, but I have to push them all aside. I snuggle my nose against her earlobe which is soft and cold and her hair which smells good and tickles me."
HISAO: "All right. I'll do it."
NARRATOR: "I whisper in her ear reassuringly, trying to make her calm down. It works at least halfway, as Rin closes her eyes and leans against me as if searching comfort from my warmth."
HISAO: "But this is not something that friends should do."
RIN: "We can't be friends any more?"
HISAO: "It's fine. Don't worry about it. Just relax."
NARRATOR: "Even though I said that, I'm on the verge of breaking myself. If I wasn't so nervous, I would laugh at my own nervousness. She wants to be comforted, and I want to comfort her. But in this way... I move my hand lower, touching the naked skin of her stomach, caressing Rin with my hand. Her muscles contract timidly, evading my touch, but soon they find their trust in me and relax."
|NARRATOR: "There was one warm place left in her after all, emitting heat that gets even warmer as I move my hand lower. I touch her carefully from down there, feeling the place where the lines of her thighs converge. It feels burning and swollen, soft and smooth. She opens under my touch, inviting my fingers to touch her more. Rin gasps at the contact of my hand and her voice is not of pain nor of surprise. I realize I've been holding my own breath, and let it go in a long stream of air out of my nostrils and into her hair."
RIN: "Don't tickle me."
RIN: "Don't stop either."
HISAO: "Sorry. I don't really know what I'm doing. I'm just faking it."
RIN: "It's okay. I don't know what I'm doing either."
NARRATOR: "I enter her, moving my fingers up and down, in and out, touching her from everywhere, first slowly, then faster. I listen to the subtle signs Rin's body gives, hoping that she can guide me as I can't see what I am doing. Her breathing gets heavier by the moment, spurred on by my exploring fingers. Rin's hips start moving in the same rhythm as me, guiding me deeper."
NARRATOR: "She turns her head, looking at me from the corner of her eye. I wonder what she sees, but what I see in her almost scares me. The passion in her eyes is like nothing I have ever seen, her dark eyes like two black stones against the moonlit skin of her cheek. I kiss her gently on the cheek, right above the bone. My lips are coarse and dry."
NARRATOR: "My right hand moves upwards of its own accord, under the white cotton of her shirt, to caress the underside of her soft breast. Sweat gleams on her skin, making it slippery under my hands. She breathes in sharp, quick intakes in unison with the pulses of her insides against my fingers."
NARRATOR: "I can feel her heat, burning through her shirt against my chest. I move faster and she moves faster, our primitive instincts blinding all reason as her fever becomes sweat drenching her shirt and her skin, her passion becomes my own, growing inside of me. All these feelings unravel into their basic components, her softness, her wetness, her hotness, her sadness are the only things that I think, the only things I can think."
NARRATOR: "I push Rin over the edge. Her entire body contracts around my fingers in a blinding, deafening, paralyzing spasm. Her voice is incredible. I never thought it could be so violent, so absolute, for a girl. Later I would come to think that this finally was the moment when Rin fully let herself go, and in one single instant destroyed and rebuilt herself, just like she had wanted. Whether it's the truth or not, I couldn't say. But that's how I felt."
NARRATOR: "Rin gasps for breath like she's drowning, returning to reality because she has no other choice. Her entire body is still in the throes of the slowly dying moment. Pearls of sweat are glistening on her forehead. I am feeling my own heat inside of me, but now the spur of the moment is gone and I don't know what to say to Rin who is panting, hot and ecstatic in my arms. Her shirt, wet with sweat, is glued to her back, revealing hints of her shoulderblades and waistline. She feels limp, weak, exhausted. I reach out for the blanket and wrap it around her and me. Rin doesn't resist me, she is drained of all strength."
RIN: "What will happen now?"
HISAO: "I don't know. Nothing, I suppose. You look tired."
RIN: "I am tired. It feels strange. Like I lost something. I mean something else than my marital purity."
HISAO: "Don't say something like that. Neither of those things. I don't want to lose you."
RIN: "What does that mean? I'm not going anywhere."
HISAO: "I'm afraid that you are. All the time."
NARRATOR: "In that moment, I felt that it was not only Rin who lost something of hers. I felt like I was losing a part of myself, or maybe all of me. But if you were to ask what was it that I lost, I couldn't say, because I had already forgotten it. I broke another promise by coming out with my honest feelings to Rin. That's two in one day."
HISAO: "I just - I hate the distance between you and me, so every time it gets a little bit closer I become afraid of losing it."
RIN: "That's weird."
HISAO: "I guess so."
RIN: "Do you mind if I sleep a little - no, I guess you don't. You like watching, don't you?"
NARRATOR: "She closes her eyes and swallows with a loud gulp, trying to relax herself, fighting against the urge to paint."
HISAO: "Yes. Yes I do."
NARRATOR: "Rin moves her body in my arms, searching for a comfortable position in our very uncomfortable position. She leans against me, closing her eyes, and lets one last long breath out before settling into the steady rhythm of sleep. With her last moment of awareness she whispers something to me but I can't hear it. Rin drifts deeper into sleep with a deep sigh that releases all remaining tension from her muscles. I try to shift around to place both of us more comfortably. It takes a while because I don't want to wake up Rin even though she probably wouldn't, but eventually I find a position I am somewhat comfortable with."
NARRATOR: "I lean against the soft cushions of the couch and breathe in the cool air of the atelier. Rin's head rests against my chest, as if she was listening to my heartbeats. Echoes of her dream ripple as small twitches on her face, like a cat sleeping the mouse-hunter's dream. The full moon, shining her pale light upon us from beyond the skylight, reflects from a blank canvas standing forgotten on the easel. Its whiteness is glowing against the dark night of the atelier."
Next Scene: Things You Hate