The first long trip you took away from home was scary and exciting. You sat in the train, next to the window, and watched wide-eyed as the world rolled by - first the city as the train pulled out of the station, then the suburbs and small villages, and then a vast expanse of gently sloping hills and rice fields.
There was an awful feeling in your chest, and you wished you hadn't listened to your Kaasan and ate an entire bowl of rice for breakfast, because it felt as if apprehension was going to press on your stomach and push it all up again. You sat very still, with your back straight like your Otousan taught you, so that your heart and your stomach and your kidneys and your other things wouldn't squash each other.
At least you're on a train, and not a bus or an airplane. It's much more difficult to get lost when you're on a train, because all it has to do is follow the tracks, not like a bus which could take you anywhere.
"Ken-chan, are you all right? You look pale," Oniisan said, looking away from his book.
You nodded, not wanting to trouble Oniisan, but Oniisan put down his book, stood up, and reached for one of the bags that were stowed in the overhead compartment. He took out a small bag and a packet of juice, sitting down again. He removed the straw and stuck it into the packet, and handed it to you. "Drink some. It'll make you feel better." And he gave you a piece of preserved lime from the small bag. He watched you gravely for a moment, then said, "Don't drink too quickly."
After you've finished about half the packet of juice, you gave it back to Oniisan who finished it for you. You put your hand in his and he had to turn the pages of his book one-handed. The rice fields were very green in the golden sun. You fell asleep with your head against Oniisan's shoulder, and let the train carry both of you away from Tamachi.
"Nakajima-sensei said that you're too quiet in class. He said you never spoke up, never volunteered any answers." Otousan frowned down at the report card he held in his hands. You stood in front of Otousan, and your heart was thudding so loudly in the silence that you were afraid Otousan would hear it and get angrier. Be quiet, you told your heart. "Why can't you do better, Ken? Why can't you be more like - " Otousan broke off, and said something under his breath. He placed the report card on the low table and turned away, dismissively.
You stood where you were, wondering if you had permission to go to your room. Very quickly, so that Otousan wouldn't see, you swiped your hand over your eyes. Even after Otousan had left the room, you were still standing where he left you.
You're happy, you think, when you're in the control room. By that time, you've learned words like Consequence, and Desire, and Guilt. You're starting to learn new ones, like Power, and Forgetfulness. You've named it the control room for a reason.
If you tried hard enough, you could forget Grief.
When you see the Digimon cowering from you, there's a strange satisfaction in your heart. You feel like you've returned to the beginning, only now you're the one in control. And you clutch that feeling close, because you know, if only vaguely, that it's one of very few emotions you can feel anymore.
You feel anger too, an itchy sensation just under your skin, a slow burning rage that's alien and freeing. So you scream and rant and laugh until tears come to your eyes, because, after all, what you do don't matter here. In this paperthin world there is no Consequence, and you can Desire anything you want.
After all, if you made a mistake
- if you said something you didn't mean, it just came out and you didn't mean it at all, you didn't mean it at all -
you can always go back to the beginning and start again.
When Wormmon dies in your arms, you feel as if the only being who has ever loved you unconditionally has gone away, and it's your fault this time too.
By the time you make it back to your parents' house in Tamachi, you're exhausted beyond belief. You stand in front of the familiar door, and you can remember nothing of how you got there. You're a bit amazed that you made it. It has been a much longer trip this time, after all.
As you lay on the bed in the darkness of your room, you feel a familiar weight pressing down on your chest, and you think that this is similar to how you felt when Oniisan died. Only now there is no make-believe world for you to run to. Everywhere you turn you can only see reality.
You're the only one who doesn't seem real, you think.
When Daisuke gently kisses the inside of your wrist, you wish that you could fall apart and let his hands reshape you like a pliable lump of clay. Don't forget to give me a heart, you want to remind him. A heart is very important. Without a heart, even the other things inside you will seem to be out of place, and you won't be able to feel anything even when the boy who loves you is kissing you with a strange tenderness and holding you as if you might break to pieces.
You don't have to be so careful, you try to tell him, but Regret swallows your words. What you're holding is already broken.
You wish that this were a make-believe world, because then you could go back to the beginning and start all over again.