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NARRATOR: "The day after that, all the missed opportunities and things I should have said come crashing down on me. There's nothing left to do afterwards but brood. Second day. I begin to feel anxious. I start doubting my doubt and it feels stupid, especially since I still can't think about anything else than Rin. Third day. Japanese exam, and world history exam. Great. The thing I hate most about her is that she can make me feel this awful even though I should be focusing on entirely different stuff right now. Fourth day. Math exam. We have a math exam. It goes how it goes. I don't care. Fifth day. Nomiya asks me again if I will attend the exhibition opening. I can't say no to him even though I seriously want to. I just don't want to discuss with him anything Rin-related so it's just better to take the path of least resistance. On the sixth day, the day before the exhibition opening, I find Rin standing in the hallway in front of my room when I return to the dorms after dinner."

HISAO: "What are you doing here?"

NARRATOR: "My tone is angrier than I intended. I'm a little disappointed that I was unable to restrain myself, but it can't be helped. Rin just stands there, like she just happened to coincidentally be standing around here where she has no business being. The way she reacts so coolly to everything annoys me now. This is not good. It's been six days, and the sight of her has me boiling. She hasn't even opened her mouth yet."

RIN: "Finished painting."

HISAO: "Shouldn't you be at the gallery? Preparing?"

RIN: "They said no."

NARRATOR: "I guess the gallery owner does that part then, getting the paintings framed, hung on the walls and whatnot."

HISAO: "So, why are you here?"

RIN: "Felt like it."

NARRATOR: "This same old stupid pattern emerges again; me asking her questions to which she replies with answers that don't answer anything, because it's the only other way we can converse. Apart from me listening to her blabbering about whatever, which isn't really a conversation. Is this a play? Are there some unseen roles that we have unknowingly set ourselves into, dictating the rules of engagement whenever we see each other, inevitably leading to us hurting each other? Her nonchalant answers accompanied by even more nonchalant shrugs leave me none the wiser. I guess I should be happy that the exhibition preparations are complete. When I walk into my room, I hear her footsteps following me in. I didn't invite her in. I won't ask her to leave."

NARRATOR: "She claims my bed without asking permission, making me wish that I had taken the time to make it before I left in the morning, then stands up again as though she sat on hot coals. I half-lean against the single corner of my desktop that isn't cluttered with stuff, to rest my legs at least a little bit. Rin spends a few moments glancing curiously around my room. It makes me realize that she's never seen it before. For a moment, she actually looks like she's concentrating. Trying to get everything. This must be the eye for detail that makes her an artist. Since the room is small, she quickly runs out of things to look at, but nothing else transpires, allowing the uncomfortable silence to take over the atmosphere. The mood is chilly to say the least, and both of us are on guard, waiting for the other to make the first move. Of course, Rin could play this game forever. So it has to be me."

HISAO: "So..."

NARRATOR: "I give up because she'd never try to open conversation, and because it seems that she wants to say something, and I want to get it over with. Why else would she be here if she didn't want to talk? I don't know what to say myself. I want to be angry, but I can't bring myself to yell at her or anything. My voice catches her attention, and she tries to search for words as well, but it seems that she is not entirely certain as to why she's here either. And so, Rin simply takes a few steps to close the distance between us and rises on the tips of her toes to even out the height difference..."

"“It was a bad idea.”"

"“Maybe you should forget about it, and I will too.”"

NARRATOR: "It's a reflex, and almost as an afterthought, the words “no,” “yes” and “maybe” simultaneously surface inside my mind. My hand is between her lips and mine, a wall that I raised to guard against... something. Her breath feels warm against my fingers. The scent of her skin lingers about, the mysterious indescribable sensation that captures me and draws my eyes deep into hers. The look in her eyes is surprised, quizzical as to why the impertinent hand prevented her advances. Her eyes are really big and glistening with moisture, and staring right into my own with a soft gaze that I'm having a hard time to match. Rin's half-open mouth makes her look even more confused, although the sensual way her lips are arching is signaling something completely different."

RIN: "Please. I need you."

NARRATOR: "The words come from her throat as a coarse whisper meant only for me, bypassing her tongue and teeth without giving them any chance to interrupt. They sober me in an instant, and I clumsily flinch back to get a little bit of distance between us, painfully scraping against my desk in the process. Maybe it's her choice of words, maybe the way she says it, but something in it puts me off. Something is wrong, something is terribly wrong again."

HISAO: "Need me for what?"

NARRATOR: "All the unpleasant feelings emerge again, and I feel my heartbeat suddenly increasing at least tenfold. Rin's eyes go out of focus and back again as her body relaxes from its tensed state, and she stands upright again."

RIN: "I don't think I was thinking about anything. Why do you draw patterns in that dust on your night table? There is a word for that kind of thing but I can't remember..."

NARRATOR: "Her remark almost throws me off track and I glance over her shoulder at the small table next to my bed, but I can't see anything from this distance. So she needs me for nothing specific? Just happened to come by because she thought I'd be glad to see her after she shut me out, no complaints accepted, for a week. Completely altruistic motives? Felt like it?"

HISAO: "Bullshit. I can answer myself. To play mind games with whenever you want, to kiss whenever you want, to ignore whenever you want, to fulfill your whims whenever you want? Is that it? What you need me for?"

NARRATOR: "My voice is sounding very angry again, even to myself. Good. Rin too finally catches the mood and her curious expression changes instantly to something more uncharacteristic."

RIN: "No—"

NARRATOR: "She leaves it at that, her eyes restlessly wandering around, searching the room as if the words she tries to find were written in the tapestries of my walls."

HISAO: "Then what?"

RIN: "I needed to paint."

NARRATOR: "Paint. Of course. That's what artists do. The words reverberate through my being, beating in my blood over the piercing whistle of my anger."

HISAO: "Don't give me that, Rin! I'm not some damn muse of yours, free to play with for the sake of painting! I am not some medium for whatever you aspire to, I am me! So what if I don't know anything about my future? There's things I want, and things I care about! Even I can dream of things other than nightmares!"

NARRATOR: "I'm yelling, but I'm way past the point of caring about things like that. Rin looks down at her toes and wiggles them a little melancholically while she takes in my outburst without saying anything to defend herself. Only after I have finished does she try to respond somehow."

RIN: "I can't do anything else. Or I can do all sorts of things, but I... can't... do. It's the only thing I sort of do properly. Most of the time."

NARRATOR: "I understand completely. Art first, everything else second, or thousandth."

HISAO: "What about me? Am I nothing? When I was interested in art, did that make you feel like I was a little interesting, for a little while? Tell me. I really want to know. Did you ever think about my perspective, or is it just all you?"

NARRATOR: "The words rise like bile in my throat. She looks alarmed. And also completely uncomprehending, as if she just doesn't understand what I'm angry about. I can't believe she could be so stupid."

RIN: "I didn't want to—?"

NARRATOR: "This time it's Rin who interrupts herself in midsentence."

RIN: "Don't you understand? I can't."

HISAO: "Can't what? You never explain! How am I supposed to understand anything if you never say anything? Why don't you ever talk? Say something!"

NARRATOR: "But she doesn't. Venting my anger at her feels satisfying. It feels wrong to take so much satisfaction in it, but I can't stop. Not wanting to face my anger head-on, Rin turns around to steadfastly look out of my window even though there is nothing to look at. The worst of my ire gone, I shut up as I can't be bothered to keep on yelling at the back of her head, so silence finally returns. I try to discern some hints of her reaction through my adrenaline-distorted vision. My feedback was not the best kind, but I hope Rin got the clue that she just can't ignore everything else whenever she feels like it. I'd hate it if she didn't. She never ever listens to anything, she's so unaffected by the world around her. Not this time, it seems. Her body is shaking like from holding back tears, but I already know that Rin is not crying. Her indifference made me so furious. Now that it's gone, I'm at a loss. I wonder... Did I go too far?"

HISAO: "Look, I—"

RIN: "Go away. Go away, Hisao."

NARRATOR: "Her voice is tiny and tired as she says this, but I hear the words clear as day. ... What is there to say any more?"

HISAO: "This is my room."

NARRATOR: "The blunt, hollow remark is a fitting conclusion for this unpleasant discussion that became an even more unpleasant and very one-sided yelling match. After a moment of collecting herself Rin just gives up, I can see it from the way she slumps her shoulders, and walks out. Even though she deliberately looks to the other direction, I can see how she's biting the corner of her lip so hard it might start bleeding if she won't stop. As she makes her exit, I realize that she left the door open when she came in and my yelling must've echoed around the dorm hallways."

NARRATOR: "I sigh. Now that she's gone, I am left alone with my guilt. As the thumping in my chest slowly subdues, anxiety replaces it. Somehow, I feel that none of this would've ever happened if not for me. No matter how infuriating, unbearable and outrageous Rin is, she is not the Rin I thought I knew. The Rin that I expected Rin to be. ... Was it me who caused all this by talking Rin into taking her chances with the exhibition? Am I directly responsible for Rin becoming like she has been for the past weeks? I can't think of any other explanation for her weird behavior than the exhibition and all the things that came along with it. Maybe it was the only way that could have brought us closer, but all it did was separate us further away from each other, and now beyond the reach of either of us."

NARRATOR: "I bang my head hard against the wall. Twice, to make sure it hurts."

Next Scene: The Scene

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