Author note: The majority of this chapter is a sort of 'prologue', re-living the end of the movie.
CHAPTER 1: Taki
I was jerked out of my daily morning commuting stupor as I felt my heart strings being tugged violently. Tugged by a subway carriage travelling the opposite direction from me. Pulling against my body with a combined speed differential of 90 kilometres per hours. Tugging me to what I had been searching for. The person I was searching for.
Get off at the next stop.
I don't know why, maybe it was the look in the girl's eyes, or the sudden turbulence in my heart, but I had to get off at the next stop. I had to find that person. I had just passed the San-Chome stop for Yotsuya and was soon approaching the main Yotsuya station. I calculated that the stations were about one kilometre apart or roughly eight minutes if I moved quickly.
Out the doors, through the gates, into the open and now sunny day. As if moving only on instinct, I raced to the left. Get to san-chome I told myself. As I sprinted over the overpass, I thought to myself that I really should have turned right instead turning left, and taken Shinjuku road as it would have been faster.
I kept going though, deciding to take the Suga Shrine route. That would be the fastest way now. My heart beating, my lungs burning, I kept running till I reached the base of the shrine steps. And then stopped.
I looked up and saw her. She looked back at me.
I somehow felt a lack of surprise at seeing her. As if I knew she was going to be here. She was beautiful. I was mesmerised.
After what felt like ages, I managed to turn my eyes away from her, averting myself from staring creepily at her. I don't want to seem weird, I told myself. Especially to a sempai I had never met before. I slowly moved up the stairs. Focusing on calming my breathing, trying to slow my heart.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
It wouldn't slow. As I took each step, one by one, trying to walk as naturally as possible.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
I couldn't hear the sound of my footsteps through the beating of my heartbeat. It seemed that she was moving the same way as me; slowly walking down the stairs, trying to look natural, interested in the other person, but afraid of coming across as awkward... We both continued along our deafeningly silent journey along the stairs until I reached the end of the staircase. I stopped, turned around, and looked back at her.
"Ummm…" I stammer out. I have to find out.
"I… uhh…have I... have we...somewhere...met before?" I blurt out, jumbling my words all together.
She stopped and looked back at me, slowly comprehending my words. I slowly see tears welling in her eyes.
"I thought so too," she finally says.
We look at each other for what seems like an eternity.
"What is your name?" we both blurt out at the same time. We stop for a moment then both let out a small laugh, grateful that the awkward silence that had been permeating for a while now had been broken.
"I'm sorry," I say, remembering my manners, "this may sound really strange, but I feel like we have met somewhere before. Could you please tell me your name?"
"Mitsuha," she replied, "uh...Miyamizu, Mitsuha," she says again as she remembers to use her family name.
"I feel like I know you too. Would it be alright if you told me your name?"
"Tachinabana Taki," I manage to voice out, saying my name.
Mitsuha, I mouth to myself. When I look at her, it seems so natural that that's what her name would be; 'of course' she's Mitsuha, what else would she be called?
"I don't know why I came here", I hear her voice pipes up, "I was meant to be meeting my friends but I…" her voice drifted off.
"I felt the same," I reply, "I just had to come here too… It's nice to meet you."
Mitsuha laughs again. Her laugh is cute. "Nice to meet you too, "she replies.
It feels so surreal. I am speechless, what do I say?
"This may sound strange," Mitsuha ventures, "but if it is alright with you…do you want to grab a coffee?" she invites me.
I look back at her as I feel my heart leap for joy. I want to scream out 'definitely', but I pause and consult my inner self; what's the right way to respond here? Aside from Okudera-sempai, I have always been terrible talking to girls. And even then, it took me a long time since I could speak with Okudera-sempai normally. I don't want to sound too eager, but not uninterested…
Mitsuha fiddles with her mobile phone that has somehow crept up to her hand. I realise that I have been leaving her hanging, waiting for a response. I feel my face become warm in nervousness.
As I find my voice, I hear her say,"uhh…. my boyfriend will meet us...me…later too."
I feel my heart pause, boyfriend?
"So you don't have to worry about misunderstanding or anything ummm…"
As I hear those words, I feel as if everything around me is distorted and warping.
"I just thought that since we've both missed our trains now… we could at least have a coffee…" Mitsuha finishes speaking, "or maybe try to work out why we both got off the train…."
I swallow, "ok… sounds good," I manage to say, " lets do that…."
Inside my head however, was my head irrationally yelling out in disappointment that SHE HAS A BOYFRIEND!