NARRATOR: "Our footsteps go “splish splash” in the shallow puddles forming on the streets as we walk through the rainfall. Rin, now walking beside me in her unhurried and relaxed manner, doesn't seem to be even a bit bothered by the fact that she is getting wet even though she needn't to. She is partially out of the protective shelter of my umbrella, despite it being more than big enough for the two of us. It's as if she doesn't even notice the rain drenching her shirt."
NARRATOR: "Rin's demeanor always evokes mental images of meditative calm, even when she might be in inner turmoil. But I don't think that is meditation. That is just getting soaked in rain. I wish I could be more calm too. I've become too involved with Rin to retain my usual aloofness. It feels like I have become one of those people who fool themselves into thinking they are objective, only to find out they are the worst kind of liars. Illusions to fool ourselves, what better way to make one feel like a good person? It might be better to lose that illusion."
HISAO: "I'll be going back home for some time so I thought I'd come to see you before that."
NARRATOR: "I could have thought of a better conversation opener, but Rin actively refusing to talk makes it hard."
RIN: "That's good. I might have thought that you'd have been kidnapped otherwise."
HISAO: "You can't keep running away from everything. Not even from me trying to talk seriously."
RIN: "I'm always serious. Also I seem to be running very slowly right now. Maybe I should take lessons from Emi."
NARRATOR: "It's futile. Like talking to a brick wall that randomly spouts sarcastic nonsense back at you."
HISAO: "Think of your exhibition opening. What if you had ran away?"
NARRATOR: "Rin doesn't answer to that, she just keeps walking. Or running slowly, escaping from me into her silence. She has a knack for being alone in company, I've noticed. We head down the street, then turn left, then three times right, then left again. It's like that night from some time ago, we keep choosing directions randomly because it doesn't matter where we are going. All that matters is walking and the sound of raindrops drumming against the umbrella. Water flows down from the roofs of the buildings and into the storm drains in wide rivers. Even though I try to step over them, my feet are getting wet through my shoes. We keep walking in silence that just begs to be broken again. I'm sure I am the only one feeling like this, though."
HISAO: "Why did you have the exhibition?"
NARRATOR: "Rin just shrugs sullenly and looks in the other direction. I give up at this point. It's pointless. What did she want to accomplish? What she said at the night of the opening made me feel that there was something... something special she wanted. It felt to me that Rin hoped for something unattainable. She set the bar high and inside her own head she failed, no matter how much people liked her works. It's understandable to lack realism; most people do, even if not quite on the extreme level Rin takes it to. But it's not a reason to live in your private world that accepts no visitors. You can't bend the world to fit your twisted, megalomaniac cosmology where everything works just like you want. That's what frustrates me the most in Rin. She wants the world to live by her rules, disregarding everything that conflicts with those as irrelevant or unnecessary. I can't believe how anyone in Yamaku could not have the bare minimum perception to understand that the world can sometimes be very unfair. I'm sure she's not the only one who wishes some things were different, but we can at least grasp the facts as they are."
NARRATOR: "I take a sideways glance at Rin, who is looking up at our dome-shaped cover. It is a poor replacement for a real sky in its monochrome bleakness. The rain just keeps falling. Just like the clouds today, Rin doesn't really give the feeling of wanting to be watched. She sulks, in unison with the sky that she loves so. I shouldn't have come. Her presence only reminds me of how angry I got because of these exact same reasons, and how those reasons probably can't ever change. Even though I want to say I'm sorry, even though I don't want us to break apart, I can't bring myself to say either of these things. We keep measuring the rain-drenched streets one step at a time. Often, when you walk with someone else, your steps become synchronized as if through some weird subconscious pact. I noticed that ours never do."
NARRATOR: "Time passes, and the strikes against the drumskin of my umbrella fade as the clouds above slowly disperse to reveal a cerulean blue. Eventually the rain yields enough for me to close the umbrella, shaking the excess water off before I do. While I wrestle with the mechanism, Rin stops so abruptly that I take five steps before realizing that she's not with me any more. Stupid umbrella seems to be jammed."
NARRATOR: "When I turn around, I find her staring at me with an impassive face."
RIN: "I wanted someone to say “I understand how you feel.” Wouldn't that be great?"
NARRATOR: "Is that an answer to the question from before? I'm not sure."
HISAO: "Yeah... but why is it so important?"
RIN: "Because otherwise... I don't know if I can bear this."
NARRATOR: "I was still in the middle of folding my umbrella so I just answered something to get the conversation going, but what she says now freezes my blood."
RIN: "If someone says a joke and laughs, you laugh with them, right? Because a joy doubled is a joy tripled, right? If someone is hurt and sad, you comfort and hug them, right? Because that way— ..."
NARRATOR: "She pauses, her mouth still halfway open, then remembers to close it. A gloom sets on her face and simultaneously on my heart."
RIN: "I don't know why the right words never come out. I don't know why I can laugh only when I make myself. I don't know why everything stays only inside me, even when it feels like I'm going to burst."
NARRATOR: "Her flat, expressionless face does not waver even when she says that. Her usual steady voice becomes only slightly quieter than normal."
RIN: "But who... who would ever want to feel like that?"
NARRATOR: "Rin looks at me and I imagine the sadness reflecting from her eyes, whether it really is there or not."
RIN: "I don't. I don't want to feel like that."
NARRATOR: "We stay silent for a little while after that. Rin because she said all she has to say at once, I because I have no clue how to process what she just said. I don't understand what Rin is saying. Or I do, but I don't want to. For the first time both of these things happen, and it has to be simultaneously. The irony is not lost on me."
HISAO: "I... think everyone wants to be understood. That's universal. But... that is impossible. Not only for me, but for anyone. Sae said so too. You affect other people and are affected by them, but in the end, you see everything the way only you do. All people... are alone. We just use each other to alleviate that loneliness."
NARRATOR: "I wonder why I put it like that. It just felt that what Sae told me rang true, as if I had always thought like that without knowing it. It feels like she articulated my thoughts in clear, simple words and that stupid story about Picasso. Rin droops her head like a withering flower, letting her bangs fall in front of her eyes so that I can't see them."
RIN: "Why do you say that when you made me feel otherwise? It's unfair."
NARRATOR: "The shaky voice that says those words does not belong to Rin."
RIN: "I really thought you could be different. That I wouldn't have to be alone."
NARRATOR: "It's a bitter voice of disappointment, spoken through clenched teeth and a quivering chest."
HISAO: "I'm sorry..."
RIN: "If you are, why do you say something unfair like that?"
NARRATOR: "Her demanding tone invokes no particular feeling in me, apart from sadness that has been there since yesterday evening. She doesn't intimidate me at all. Not any more. Rin is not a prodigal art genius, nor an unpredictable idiot savant who could tear the logic lobe of my brain into shreds whenever she opened her mouth. She is just a girl that I thought I loved, a loved one who wanted to be my friend, a friend whom I let down."
HISAO: "I say that, because saying otherwise would feel like lying."
NARRATOR: "Simple questions are the hardest ones. I have to close my eyes so I can focus my thoughts enough to answer her."
HISAO: "I'm no artist. I can never be on the same level with you. There is a world only you can see, and to be part of it I would have to become you. That's something I can't do, no matter how much you wish me to."
NARRATOR: "Rin takes in my explanation without batting an eyelash."
RIN: "I'm not a real artist either. I just paint because it makes me feel like I can really feel something."
NARRATOR: "She holds her breath for a while before releasing it in a long, sigh-like flow."
RIN: "That's why I'll do it. I have decided. I'll do it. If even Hisao says that, then that's what I will do."
HISAO: "Do what?"
NARRATOR: "Rin starting a little shows that she had regressed into talking to herself again, but I'm glad I can snap her back even now."
RIN: "Teacher and Sae have talked with someone who is a very important person. I got a scholarship for a big art school in Tokyo. He said I could transfer there and start after the summer is over, if I wanted to. I don't really get why—"
HISAO: "Hold on, what? Why didn't you tell?"
RIN: "I just did. You are the first one I told because I decided it just now."
NARRATOR: "She keeps her cool, looking only mildly surprised at my shocked interjection. It's ridiculous how easily she can say something so life-changing. I can't believe it. After what happened in February, I have had enough change for this year. Even if things are going badly right now, I don't want everything to change."
HISAO: "But what about Yamaku? Don't you want to graduate with everyone?"
NARRATOR: "My plea evokes no emotion."
RIN: "Everyone who?"
HISAO: "Emi, me, everyone!"
NARRATOR: "I feel my pulse rising unnervingly, and my breathing becomes fast and shallow. I don't want this to happen."
RIN: "Their life is not mine. You just said that everyone is alone."
HISAO: "I didn't mean it like that—"
RIN: "You always said that you'd have to seize the day and start living your life. I have to live my life too."
NARRATOR: "Rin is twisting my words to justify running away again. It makes me angry. Her ease, finality and seriousness in announcing this is unacceptable. As if changing your life is something you can do on a moment's whim! No!"
HISAO: "How can you say that? Why don't you even try to belong?"
NARRATOR: "The desperate accusation has no effect. It feels like I am once again out of weapons, that I can't reach through to her no matter what I try. Rin is so frustratingly absolute in her own judgment that it might make me hate her if I didn't love her, even though I don't know which way I am feeling any more."
RIN: "Maybe I am that kind of a person. The kind that belongs only to herself."
HISAO: "I won't accept that."
NARRATOR: "Her nonchalant eyes do not seem to care whether I accept her decision or not. ... The pause lets me cool down, to find my sensibilities. While I do, the parting rainclouds reveal a setting sun that still has time to shine its last few warming rays before calling it a day. A mosaic of light and shadow spreads on the walls of the buildings, on the street and the fence circling a park on the other side of the street. Rin's shadow is long enough to reach my feet. It's like one of those western movies, with two cowboys staring each other down, ready to sling their guns at each other. The one who loses his nerve will eat lead. I realize I would have the disadvantage because the sun is behind Rin, stinging my eyes."
RIN: "Do you hate me?"
NARRATOR: "She draws first and I have no counter."
HISAO: "I don't know."
NARRATOR: "Did I lose?"
HISAO: "Even if I did, what would it matter?"
NARRATOR: "I scramble for words, words that could salvage this. I find none."
HISAO: "You are my friend, I promised you that. I am not the kind of guy who forgets about promises. I think that is the most important thing. We could try to—"
RIN: "Don't say it."
NARRATOR: "Predicting what I was going to say, Rin throws herself into my arms, pressing her body against mine. I feel her rising to her tiptoes to match my height and snuggle closer. The scent of her hair is that of rain and paint thinner. Her body feels as cold as always. Her breathing against my neck is as hot as always. It's funny how all of those feel so familiar even though Rin, as a whole, does not."
RIN: "Are you sure you can't hate me?"
NARRATOR: "Rin whispers into my ear so close I can feel the movements of her lips against my earlobe. It's teasing, taunting. If this was some other kind of situation I'm sure it would tickle tantalizingly and I would giggle even though I'm a guy."
RIN: "It would be easier if you did."
HISAO: "Dunno. It's pretty hard when you are hugging me like that."
NARRATOR: "I wonder if it's because of my sullen voice, but she takes a step back, looking wistfully at her short arms. I wish she hadn't done that."
RIN: "I can't hug anyone, Hisao. I'm a bad person like that. That's why I have to go."
NARRATOR: "She disarms me completely with three simple sentences, rendering me unable to argue any more. And since I can't, Rin is free to continue as she wills, shifting her weight from one foot to the other before she does."
RIN: "I will learn to hug people in my own way. I'm sure I can become a real artist. But if I do... I might not be able to be me any more."
NARRATOR: "The hint of a smile on her lips is a betrayal, a false sign of self-confidence in a future that even Rin can't foresee. I'd want to interpret it as a sign of hope, but I know better. Rin just keeps smiling that awkward, forced smile of hers."
RIN: "That's why... please forget about me, and I will forget about you too. I'm sure that—"
NARRATOR: "She chokes in the middle of saying something I would never come to hear. I don't think I'd wanted to hear it anyway. This is not fair. Rin is not joking. Rin is always serious. But I can't accept it, I can't. Forget about you? How could I ever...? That's what I'd like to say. But I don't know how I would continue. I can't come up with anything good to say, so I have to challenge her."
HISAO: "How can you say such a thing?"
NARRATOR: "Rin raises her eyes to meet mine, they are serious and deep, a perfect image of the uncharted territory I always thought they were. Even now, I can't read her emotions from those unblinking, jade irises that never could reflect what they saw."
RIN: "It's easy. After all, I am good at forgetting things."
NARRATOR: "... Her unfairness is choking my throat, but I manage to utter the question burning my mind."
HISAO: "So, is this it? Is this goodbye?"
NARRATOR: "... Rin kept looking at me gently, without answering my question. From her eyes I could see that she didn't even need to say anything. There were no more words for us."
NARRATOR: "She turned around and walked off without looking back. All around me, the world kept changing, little by little, but I was left standing there. The sun dropped below the horizon, casting long and thin shadows across the street. In the waning light, Rin's distancing back seemed to be like from a faraway dream. The gap between us grew slowly. The ripples on the puddles she stepped on expanded until they met the limits of their tiny existence and disappeared without a trace. Her words stayed frozen deep inside my heart."
- ↑ Reverse Escapsim
- ↑ The correct idiom is "a joy shared is a joy doubled, but this juxtaposition is in-character for Rin
- The file names in the source code designate this as Rin's "true end".