By Ruby Fire


Mamimi, you're better than this.

At least, that's what some part of me whispers in my mind.

Mamimi, fly away and find someplace you want to be other than this backwater town full of people that look down on a high school drop-out, you delinquent.

I didn't say that to you but somehow you heard me. Probably not. I mean, that's just stupid and silly to think you could hear my thoughts. You took off on your own and disappeared in the bright white flash of a disposable camera.

Mamimi, why did you bother to stay around for so long? Was I the chain that kept you here or was it the memory of my oh-so-wonderful brother?

I stare at the springs of the bed above mine, contemplating you, Mamimi. I wish that you had stayed behind after all the excitement but that'd be cruel to you. It's not like I need you here but I wish I had someone to keep me company.

I sit up and slide my feet onto the floor. I look around the room which suddenly seems sterile and too empty. It's not the first time I think that. Just about the hundredth, or maybe thousandth time.

At first, I really missed my brother being gone. The room had seemed too big with him gone. I missed seeing the curve in the mattress above mine and hearing the squeak of him rolling over and snoring in his sleep.

You'd blush Mamimi if you knew that I knew you were up there some nights. Maybe I was a bit too young to understand right away but it never bothered me. Not much anyway.

No, you wouldn't blush. Not your style.

I stand up and pull the blanket off the bed too keep me warm. Why is it, no matte the season, it's always freezing when you get out of bed?

I got used to having a room to myself but kept it just the same. I used my half of the room and didn't touch his.

That's probably what got me pissed off at Haroku when she first moved in. She made every room feel too small. She filled up everything and pushed everyone out of the way. It made me feel a bit claustrophobic.

You know, without you, I'd never have met Haruko. If you hadn't dragged me around, maybe I wouldn't have been on that bridge and I'd be bored still. I mean, I'm bored now but I've got memories to entertain me.

Now everything seems empty again. The room's too big without Haruko. Without anyone.

Yeah, maybe I'm whining about being alone. I don't' really need anyone but it gets, you know, lonely sometimes.

Mamimi, if I hadn't been the one to trash the town and stir things up, would you stay here? If it hadn't been for Haruko, would you still be around? If my brother hadn't left, would you have stayed? If I hadn't fallen in love with Haruko, if you hadn't realized it . ..

I suddenly laugh at myself in the dark. I'm not this introspective. I don't go "what if . . .?" in the night.

I cross the room and stare at the things that remind me of you - the pictures you took and the magazine with your photograph. It reads about how you won some money.

I'm glad you went away but I never wanted you to disappear. Now, without Haruko, everything's worse than before. Now I really will rot and die slowly in this town while I wait for each day to pass.

Mamimi, I'm not sorry I'm not my brother. I'm not sorry I fell in love.

I reach out and touch the one thing that reminds me of her: that beautiful bass. The strings are so well tuned that they hum by themselves at the certain pitch of different sounds, like a train whistle or something.

It's pathetic. All I have left are memories. Sometimes they're real like when I walk past the pub and I smell that certain brand of cigarettes or I see a flash of soft pink out of the corner of my eye. Sometimes I feel a bit high when I hear someone's bass playing or the shuttering clack of a camera's lens closing. Yeah, sometimes I wake up from a dream and feel something warm next to be and I grunt at you to go home or for Haruko to go back to her own bed. But then I wake up and it's just a warm pillow that I'd been clutching on.

Yeah, how embarrassing.

It's not like I'm the moping type. Yeah, I'm the tough and silent kid. I don't' cry. At least I'm sure you never saw me crying in Haruko's arms.

Were you mad with jealousy or were you really as accepting as you appeared to be? Did you replace me with that piece of metal that was the missing component or were you just curious about your new cute little pet?

Maybe I loved you. I loved Haruko because she shook the world up, literally. You did that for me but maybe I resented it, especially when the other kids screamed, 'Child molester!' or told me to run off to my wife. That wasn't really your fault but I treated you as if it was.

It's kinda funny now as I think about it. You and Haruko were completely different people. You were quiet and day-dreaming and she was loud and obnoxious and oppressive and irritating as hell.

I pick up the bass and look at your pictures in the moonlight. I just lightly brush my finger tips along the wires. They whisper notes that only I can hear.

Maybe you'll come back, Mamimi. Knowing my luck, you'll step off the bus the moment Haruko's bike crashes through the roof of my house to announce her arrival.

You did have some things in common with her. You were both frustrating. You both did what you wanted when you wanted. Both of you didn't care about what anyone else thought but just let yourselves lose. Both loved other guys. Both wanted me for your own reasons, sometimes selfish.

The blanket falls off my shoulders and onto the floor but I'm not so cold anymore.

I pluck the strings a little bit more loudly while I look at those oddly beautiful pictures. I'm reading your pictures like the score of the random series of notes I play. I see a beat in those photographs and the bass is photographing what I'm thinking in sound. How poetic of me. But I'm lost in my little world right now of those women.

You had two more things in common: perfection and pink hair.

When I finish my song, I look out the window at the sky. The moon's ducked behind a cloud so it no longer outshines the stars.

Strangely, I see a bright flash of light quickly moving across the sky. A shooting star. A meteor. Maybe a plane that's flying low. I can't tell but I hope it's what I think it is.

Maybe this star won't crash into my house but tomorrow, I'll see if your at the bus stop and Haruko will give us a ride of her scooter. I'll make out with you under the bridge and I'll sneak kisses with Haruko and maybe I'll be better to you than I was before.

I doubt it but it's nice to dream.

Yeah, maybe I just have a thing for girls in pink.

The End