HISAO: "Fine. Then explain to me."
RIN: "I can't."
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 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 hate it."
NARRATOR: "I don't know what to say myself. I want to be angry, I am angry, but I also feel so powerless. Would anything I say matter at all?"
HISAO: "It's fine if you want to turn me down, but at least do it properly. And if you do, then last night was definitely a mistake. In fact, this whole thing might've been a mistake."
RIN: "I don't want to turn you down."
HISAO: "So you can't decide? But why are you playing with me like this then? Hug, then ignore me; kiss, then ignore me; play me like a fiddle, is that it? Kiss me, then forget again."
NARRATOR: "My voice is sounding very angry again, even to myself. Rin too finally catches the mood and her curious expression changes instantly to something more uncharacteristic."
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 paintings she herself has wrought."
HISAO: "Then what?"
RIN: "I needed to paint so—"
NARRATOR: "Paint. My vision is filtering through the blood-red lens of unbridled anger."
HISAO: "Don't give me that, Rin! I am not some damn muse of yours, free to be abused for the sake of painting! I am not some medium for whatever you aspire to, I am me! There is a limit to selfishness!"
NARRATOR: "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."
HISAO: "Yeah, that much I've figured out by myself, thanks. Art first, everything else second, or thousandth. Ever paused to consider things from a perspective other than yours?"
NARRATOR: "I snarl the words from between my teeth, they taste like poison anyway. Rin is positively alarmed by now. So at least she's not completely dense, but it seems that she just doesn't understand what I'm angry about. I can't believe even 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?"
NARRATOR: "She doesn't get a word out of her mouth."
HISAO: "You never explain yourself! 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 and being satisfied about it feels terrible, but I can't stop myself. 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."
RIN: "Go away. Go away, Hisao. I'm sorry. I can't deal with this."
NARRATOR: "Her voice is tiny and tired as she says this, but I hear the words clear as day. The blunt, hollow remark is a fitting conclusion to this unpleasant discussion that became an even more unpleasant and very one-sided yelling match. I leave the atelier, feeling angry and guilty. I never believed we would end up like this. I'm not like this. Rin is not like this. No matter how infuriating, unbearable and outrageous Rin is, this is not like her. She really did change. Or was it me who changed? Maybe I only thought I knew her, or maybe I knew the Rin that she isn't, or 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 few weeks? I can't think of any explanation for her weird behavior, other 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: "Darkness covers the gardens of Yamaku High School, enveloping the small dormitory rooms in the blanket of the night. In one of those rooms I lie on my bed, tired. So very tired. I gave up. I can't lie to myself that everything is all right, that everything will work out. That's not how things go. Glancing at my watch I see it's 3:30 at night. I slide my finger over the glass surface of the watch's face. It's been pretty dependable, ever since I decided to start wearing it. Always knowing what's going on even when I didn't."
NARRATOR: "I turn my head and see the neatly arranged assortment of medicine on my night table. They are dependable too, things I am going to depend on for the rest of my life. I think of the limited days ahead of me, the infinite vastness of time that opens up in front of others. The time I wasted chasing things out of my reach, time I will never get back. I take off my watch and lay it down on the table."