NARRATOR: "Even though I'm feeling more energetic, I'm still hesitant about going over there to talk to Rin. It's not until two days later, on Friday, that I finally gather enough courage to enter the girls' dorm. I ask the first person I meet inside for directions to Rin's room. I knock on Rin's unmarked door and wait. After a few seconds of silence I hear something rustling inside the room. I start wondering if maybe I should've brought something for her, like a can of warm coffee or some oranges. I could have peeled them for her. Well, too late now. The door opens soundlessly - it was already unlocked - and I find myself staring at Rin, who stares back at me. She looks like she just got out of bed, with her hair all messed up. ...and barely any clothes on. ..."
NARRATOR: "There is a strange, stupid-looking smile on Rin's face. I'm not exactly sure why. Rin smiles so rarely that it seems to be out of place every time. Especially so now, given her partially undressed state. Said state makes me feel extremely conflicted about whether or not this was a good idea. Her cheeks are flushed rose-red, contrasting with the milky-pale complexion of a person who doesn't get enough sunlight. Her forehead looks sweaty, as though she might have a fever."
HISAO: "Um, hi."
NARRATOR: "Now what? I didn't plan anything further than this, and Rin is staring at me with those expectant eyes of hers again. Something about this situation gives me very strange vibes. Her eyes are even more vacant than usual and she seems to have a hard time focusing them on anything. The lack of clothing is disturbing, but since she herself doesn't seem to be bothered, why should I be? I keep telling myself that."
HISAO: "Err, I thought I'd pay you a visit since you haven't been at the art club... and I wanted to talk with you and wish you well."
NARRATOR: "Rin doesn't show any sign of recognizing what I just said, making me wonder if she actually understood my words, or if she even heard them. Maybe it's the fever making her groggy; she might've actually been asleep before I came over."
NARRATOR: "She turns on her heel and withdraws from the door, walking back inside the small room. From the doorway I can see her walk to her bed and half fall down, half sit down on the messy pile of bedsheets. The open doorway seems to be more of an obstacle in my mind than the closed door was, but since Rin doesn't say anything else, I step through it, and into her room. Rin is on her bed leaning against the wall, leaving the only chair in the room for me. She keeps quiet even after I sit down, so maybe she meant to invite me in but just forgot to say so aloud? An implied invitation, as it were."
RIN: "Very exciting. Nobody has visited me before."
NARRATOR: "The breaking of the silence draws my attention from the room to its inhabitant, who currently seems to be in the middle of a very profound thought process."
RIN: "Actually that was not true. About visiting. But Emi doesn't count even if she visits. She always pampers me too much. I think she's having too much fun. I think I've forgot how to put a bra on by myself."
NARRATOR: "She looks groggily down at her chest."
RIN: "Which is probably why I don't have one on, now that I think about it."
NARRATOR: "I haven't failed to notice that Rin doesn't have her shirt buttoned up either, but I try to keep my eyes strictly locked on hers. It's rather evident that she's not a very body-conscious person. My own body, however, is quite conscious of hers right now."
RIN: "She came to wake me up at half past seven today! Can you imagine that?"
NARRATOR: "She pauses for a while and glances up at my dumbfounded face."
RIN: "On second thought, you probably can. It's not like that reverse rainbow fish I tried to imagine earlier. That was hard."
HISAO: "Well yes, that seems like a pretty normal time to wake up if you want to go to class in the morning."
NARRATOR: "I'm trying to sound as reasonable as possible to counteract Rin's unreasonable annoyance."
RIN: "Told her to sod off. She gave me these meds and told me to take them."
NARRATOR: "I follow her eyes to the night table and then to the pill bottle sitting on top of it. I pick it up and turn it around to look at the label so I can see what kind of medication Emi brought. Active ingredient... codeine?"
HISAO: "You took all of these?"
RIN: "No. Yes. I've been eating some since there's so many of them. Seem to make this thing not so bad. Actually... I think I'm feeling just fine."
NARRATOR: "Her head lolls round and round, making it look like she is either trying to stretch her neck muscles or possibly pass out. She took several of these pills? Can that be safe? At least it's bound to have some side effects... which I'm afraid I am witnessing right now."
RIN: "I am feeling just fine... I am fine... just someone take this buzzing away from my head. I can't think straight."
NARRATOR: "The annoyed expression returns to Rin's face."
RIN: "It's like many of those insect things... or one really big insect thing. With lots of wings. Very much color and everything. What's the word for those? Oh, never mind. I remembered. It's butterflies."
NARRATOR: "She smiles slightly at her last observation. The small pause in her monologue is not long enough for me to dare saying something that could potentially, but not likely, salvage this discussion."
RIN: "I love butterflies. They are the best animal. Did you see any on your way here? Hisao."
NARRATOR: "She utters my name as an afterthought, possibly to make clear that she is now addressing me instead of just speaking her mind to whoever might be listening. This odd situation has left me speechless more or less since the moment Rin first opened her mouth. Now that she herself doesn't seem to have anything else to add, silence fills the small room. It makes me glance around again in an attempt to find something to talk about."
NARRATOR: "Rin's room is about as small as mine. The big window, which takes up most of the wall furthest from the door, opens to the east just like mine. It looks very normal, which strikes me as strange. I expected something more... different. About a dozen paintings - most of them in Rin's signature abstract style - and a few art posters are taking up almost all of the available wall space, but that's about the only real difference between her room and mine. The room is not exactly ascetic, but it doesn't look like what I'd expected from a girl's room, either. A faint smell of art... of paint and paper is floating in the air. It's the same smell the art room has. Rin isn't too concerned about being tidy, it seems; everything she owns seems to be arranged in various piles around her room."
HISAO: "Your room looks nice."
NARRATOR: "It's an empty sentence one uses to fill empty spaces in conversations, but my wits are failing me pretty hard right now."
RIN: "Yeah. Would you like me to show you the places?"
NARRATOR: "She looks down at her half-open shirt quizzically, making me inadvertently follow her gaze to her chest."
RIN: "Oh... I guess I already did."
NARRATOR: "I can't deny that, no matter how hard I tried to act properly."
RIN: "It is very nice that you came to see me. It makes me feel very... what's that word... you know, the one about things and stuff. Anyway, you came."
NARRATOR: "Rin's rambling makes me remember that I actually came here for a reason."
HISAO: "Hey, about what we talked on Monday. On the rooftop, remember?"
NARRATOR: "Rin doesn't seem to be exactly attentive right now, not that she ever is. I plow ahead and get it off my chest anyway."
HISAO: "I just wanted to tell you that I'm going to be better from now on, I guess. I hate being pathetic, so I decided that I'm not going to be, any more. I guess... that's all."
RIN: "Okay. Isn't that good?"
NARRATOR: "The blurry words flow out of her lips slowly and uncontrollably."
RIN: "I'm happy for you I think. That's what I think. You shouldn't look so sad all the time. I mean, looking sad is fine if you are not sad, but you look sad like you actually sad. That's no good. Are you going on some training camp where they make men out of boys? Or mountaintop meditation?"
HISAO: "No, I don't think so."
RIN: "Oh. I guess that's fine too."
NARRATOR: "The sentences come out of her mouth, and probably her brain, one at a time with a small pause between each, making her gibberish hard to understand."
RIN: "I just think it seemed like a good idea. Maybe it's not."
NARRATOR: "Rin finishes with one more line, getting to say the last word over herself, an impressive display of what I can only describe as mental shadowboxing."
HISAO: "While I'm embarrassing myself, might as well tell you that I'm sorry that I said some stupid things to you last week. It's your own business to decide what you're going to do."
NARRATOR: "She seems to not register my words first, but then understanding lights in her eyes and she waves her head around in a way that could be interpreted as anything."
RIN: "It's OK. I probably said stupid things too. It's just sometimes a bit hard to keep my thoughts the way I like them. They are not very straight, at least most of the time. Not that I want to have them straight... I just wish they were at least in some shape. Round is fine too. But I need more definition. My thoughts are very messy. Messy."
NARRATOR: "She repeats the word melancholically, then flops lying down on her bed and nuzzles her head against her pillow, shutting her eyes."
RIN: "Enough. Tired. You should go. I'm going to sleep again."
NARRATOR: "She opens one of her eyes to look at me."
RIN: "Was it you who likes to look at sleeping girls? Or someone else? Maybe there were many of those. I can't remember. You can stay if you want."
HISAO: "No no, I'll leave. I have to... do homework anyway."
NARRATOR: "I stand up from the chair and take a step towards the door."
NARRATOR: "Her request stops me in my tracks, not that I intended to scoot off right away."
NARRATOR: "I look over my shoulder at the girl lying on her bed, again with the strangest kind of smile on her features. She should smile more often."
RIN: "I can walk you to the door."
RIN: "It's the least a gentleman can do."
NARRATOR: "Rin giggles like a little kid, making me beyond absolutely certain that she took far too much of her cold medication today."
RIN: "I have always wanted to say that."
NARRATOR: "Slowly and with difficulty, Rin first rises to a sitting position again, then she stands up with even more difficulty and more slowly still. As if guided by some masculine automation, my eyes instantly lower to the curve of her thighs and the striped panties, at which point my manners force me to lift my gaze back to Rin's eye level. It's getting almost too hard to do that. Rin is standing, although barely. It looks like she has trouble keeping her usually decent balance; again, probably a side effect of the medicine. She takes an unsteady step towards me, then another smaller one as she notices that it's not a good idea to try to take big steps. I feel my muscles tense as I prepare to catch Rin if she falls down."
NARRATOR: "She manages to take two more steps before she falls against me. To my surprise, neither her downwards momentum nor our slight height difference are able to stop Rin from pressing her heart-shaped lips squarely against mine. As our lips part after a confusing moment of nothing but the taste of... Rin, I look down at her, trying to find some explanation for this bewildering event. The euphoric smile of a madman broadens on Rin's lips again and—"
RIN: "I wonder if I will remember this tomorrow."
NARRATOR: "I am absolutely stumped on how to respond."
NARRATOR: "Rin takes a step backwards, separating her body from mine, and making me only now realize that they were even connected in the first place. The second step is actually a fall backwards, luckily straight onto her bed. The soft thud Rin's thin body makes against the mattress breaks the silence."
NARRATOR: "I move quickly over to her to see if she hurt herself, only to be met with the peaceful face of dreaming. Rin sleeps. She is lying diagonally across the bed, somehow managing to have simultaneously fallen asleep while standing up, and fallen down in a way that she didn't injure herself. Fool's luck."
NARRATOR: "I tuck Rin in, covering her with the sheets as well as I can. She feels very light, even though I am not that strong. I stand up to look at her, the oval-shaped face, the dark eyelashes shut against the feverish cheeks, the slender body covered with the pale sheets."
NARRATOR: "Rin sleeps. A conflict - no. Conflicts, plural, churn inside of me. I think about calling a nurse to keep an eye on her, but decide against it. After taking one more glance at her peaceful face, I decide that she'll be fine. I do pocket the remaining pills, though. I exit the room, and close the door soundlessly behind me. I exhale deeply, only now realizing I had held my breath for the better part of a minute. Taking a moment to relax, I try to calm down my heart, racing like a jackrabbit."
- The failed picnic (Umbrella Cake Logic) takes place on Sunday. On Monday, Hisao gets his checkup (Six Meters Closer to Heaven. On Wednesday, he finds out that Rin is sick (Indecision). This scene takes place on Friday. This means Rin has been sick for more than two days. More than three if it started on Tuesday, but the dialogue does not confirm this.
Next Scene: Dandelions