Nakatomi

A short reflection about Nanaka.

It is five p.m. in Tokyo when a large - almost gong-like - bell rings. It's nothing like those token red bells posted all over school walls; their overly obnoxious yet just as ephemeral buzz commands no respect and, indeed, promises nothing. This bell is different. There's only one of them in the entire school. Its true meaning is yet a mystery, but it's neither important nor interesting. To analyze a bell and attempt to discover just what its purpose is, to try to understand exactly what composes this bronze confection, is incredibly pointless.

If for some reason one were to actually wonder, search for the answer as to why the bell rings, one would end up in a state of frustration, and nowhere. It is certainly clear that no human can really sympathize with a bell, even if their deepest desire is to know what makes that bell tick - ring, rather. But isn't it better never to know exactly what this presence will bring, than to be certain it is meaningless? That it will bring nothing more than benign service?

In response to the insistent ringing of our symbolic bell, a flood of students rushes out of the immaculate white doors of Kitanohashi High School. Among this loud mess is one Nanaka Nakatomi. She's not really remarkable; in fact it's quite the opposite. Her face is pretty but not really beautiful. She's fairly good at school, even if she doesn't always make those lists of top scores. So why even bother to notice her?

Well, if you ask Nanaka, I'm sure she'll tell you, quite tersely, that you shouldn't. And that's the flat-out truth.

What could possibly be less satisfying to experience - sympathize with - than love unrequited? Nanaka knows this feeling quite well, but it's not a story to her, and unfortunately she can't avoid experiencing it. She's not smitten, head-over-heels in love with anyone. Her feelings run deeper than most teenage affections, which is why they surface only occasionally as an unplanned color in her cheeks, a sudden interest in staring at her feet.

And Nanaka feels so powerless.

Because it doesn't matter what she does or doesn't do. She will never be enough for Aburatsubo. She knows that she is inherently a bad match for him, if only because of the plaid skirt she wears, or the swell of her chest. Perhaps this is why she decides to keep her hair short.

Nanaka has always leaned toward the practical. Frivolous actions and melodramatic reflections do not sit well with her. And so certainly it would make sense that Nakatomi Nanaka would not have long, intricately styled hair. But even if she doesn't know it, if only in her sleep she would acknowledge it, she would do... not anything. Just something. Something, she would do something otherwise pointless to entertain the thought that maybe for once she would seem to be what Aburatsubo Ayanojou was looking for.

Of course in conscious thought that idea is squashed and maimed, because Nanaka does not wear large glasses or a spiky brown ponytail. Her voice is much too shrill, and her features too delicate. And she does not have a problem with fantasies, because she would like to think she does not allow herself to fantasize about what could be. What "could" be is almost never what "is".

So Nanaka doesn't usually discuss her feelings, and we cannot blame her for this, because who would listen? It is such a hopeless situation that she sees no good in trying to explain it - in trying to document, verbalize, and rationalize it. She's good at rationalizing, but there's no point to rationalizing love. It's an equation without solution. And maybe, secretly, she's afraid she'll lose this feeling. Because even though she is so certain that it will never be reciprocated, if she takes the mystery, that mystical, elusive part of the one-sided relationship - if she takes the mystery, the tiny shred of hope and solves it and fixes it, it may become just a number and a reason.

Numbers and reasons offer no hope to Nanaka. So maybe that little irrational part of her, the part that puts beauty and truth between the square root of two pi and infinity, will not nurture the hope, but simply keep it alive, until one day it flickers and dies. It will not be resuscitated or maintained on a ventilator, because hope deserves more dignity than that. It will be buried proudly, and Nanaka will finally acknowledge that once, in her youth, she wanted something she couldn't have. She will insist that she knew it with all of her heart, and that will be just slightly wrong.

Written in one sitting, sorry if it's nonsensical. Little bit of proofing, other than that not really edited either.

By the way I used to be "Elanor Whiteriver" and the email address it was registered to got deleted (the server shut down gddammit) so unless I can get that straightened out... I'm stuck here.