After Shihoko has left I sit for a bit. Then I get up and climb onto the roof of the school. Normally the entrance to the roof would be locked at this hour, but I know a secret way in. Who knew janitorial training could be so useful?
The night has only just begun. The sky is clear. I walk to the railing and look out at the city enveloping this little rooftop. The city lights twinkle like a field of fireflies, mirroring the sea of stars above. They shine endlessly, as if the night will never end. I can hear the JR train, an occasional advertisement jingle, and some drunken salary-man singing off-key somewhere. And beneath it all, that ever-present silent roar of any city that never sleeps.
The night air is sweet. I take a deep breath of it and recollect everything that happened this month.
The saying goes that if you’ve never owned a car before, and one day you buy one, then you will see them everywhere. Of course, they’ve always been there. It’s just the mind ignores them because they aren’t important.
Have I been so caught up in chasing Shihoko that I missed things that may be important? Was I so focused on my destination that I missed the scenery along the way? Do I know what I really want?
Is it Shihoko? Her perfect beauty still stops my heart. Makes my face flush red. Makes me short of breath. The definite proof of flawless beauty. That is still a law of the universe. Do I love her? It confuses me, this adrenaline that accompanies the viewing of divinity. A breathtaking moment of fight or flight. Is this love?
Or is love like the connection between Keika and her boyfriend? Keika: princess, friend, and scatterbrained idiot. Well, not a total idiot. I smile thinking about the outfits she picked out for me. Like royalty, they outrank anything else in my wardrobe. What if she picked clothes for me all the time? But no. That is something she should do for someone else. Somehow I don’t want to think about this anymore. These silly thoughts of her. I need to shut the door on them and throw away the key. And think of happier things.
Love should be true. Of course, it should not be like the acted love that night with Junko. I wonder if Junko ever figured out that her grandma out-acted both of us. I chuckle out loud. I see Junko’s face again, her eyes reflecting the moonlight. Her silvery laugh. Her fire. Yes, that girl’s got fire. A vivacity and independence that promises no boring moments. The thought of her refuses to leave my mind. Funny. When did she become so important? But this can’t be love. It can’t be this simple.
Then what is love? Do I even know? Can I really say with all my heart the words ‘I love you.’ to any girl?
No, I don’t think I can. Not now. Not yet.
Yet I feel if I forge ahead I will find an answer. Thirty-one days gone and still no inkling of a girlfriend, but who cares? This month felt like it lasted a long, long time. I don’t think Miki knew what she had started. I should thank her later.
I look up at the night sky, a stretch of endless black and blue, a portrait of endless possibilities. A long car horn blares in the distance, as if signaling a start.
A start? I suppose it is. Hey, I’ve still got seventy more days. Who knows what will happen?