Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Chapter one (segment five), 2016, August, Ryu

The first mail arrived a bit after lunch. The twentieth less than ten minutes later. When he checked his on-line waterholes they had exploded with the news.

At three in the afternoon he grabbed a bit to eat in what was supposed to be a trendy place in Sapporo. Around him young people talked about what had happened in Tokyo earlier that day.

Feels strange, he thought as he gobbled down his sandwich in silence. Where I come from people talk about me, and Kuri. Here I'm a nobody. He rose and went for another round at the soft-drink bar. On the way he flashed a grin at the girls filling up their glasses and was rewarded with long, admiring stares. OK not a nobody if I make an effort.

When he sat down again he noted, not without some satisfaction, that at least one table ran two topics while they stole glances at him. But Kuri didn't even need to be here to take centre stage.

Ryu fought a childish urge to stand up and do some advanced name-dropping. They might even believe me, but that's not the point. The point is that I feel doubly lonely up here when she's down there and at the same time the main menu on everyone's lips.

For the first time he felt locked away. He had looked forward to the trip north even knowing he wouldn't see her for some time, but he hadn't expected to hear about her wherever he went.

Or watch. Pictures and videos spread like wildfire, and the net was ablaze with her images. Images of an almost otherworldly beauty planting her banner in central Shibuya and claiming it for her own.

By nightfall she made it to the major media. It wasn't big news by any means, but late in a TV-newsreel Ryu saw her face flash past again in a short story about noteworthy commotions in Tokyo.

In the middle of the news-downpour he almost missed the really big news. Noriko called him after he failed to respond to her mails. Kyoko and Yukio had finally removed their blindfolds and become a pair.

He mused on that piece of news after they hung up. Lucky bastards! Twice lucky. After Kuri's public stunt you'll be left alone. It suited them better, he guessed. He would have flaunted his girlfriend to the world, but those two were more grounded. More solid. They made perfect wingmen and were both loyal to a fault. Yukio even dared facing off against Ryu when he suspected an intrusion on Urufu's turf. Ryu respected that and he felt genuinely happy for both Yukio and Kyoko.

Does that leave us as the comedy duo, Noriko? Never happened before. But strangely enough he only felt lonely. There was no jealousy when he thought of Kuri and Urufu. Ryu might be in love with her, but they were two of his closest friends. We are the same sis. I see you laughing as well when you pull your pranks on them Noriko. It doesn't hurt as much any more, does it?

The Wakayama twins. The bond they shared stretched thin but not broken by the distance between Tokyo and Sapporo. Obon, and after that I'm back home again.

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