A year has passed since that time in Hokkaido. I left behind so much there. I left my friends, people who had come to mean so much to me even though we were only together for a little while. I left my home, that little house by the farm where so many fun things happened. I left the wonderful forest we lived in, and all the sights and sounds of being with nature. My first crush, who never let us feel sorry for him even though his illness finally took him from us. Even the ranch dog, who always loved to play with me.
But I can go back and see most of them any time. Even the crush I cared for at least has a grave to visit. But I left something even more precious behind. Only two others even remember, and they've gone far, far away. I won't see them again either, and I'll always miss them, but they left me the most important thing of all. They could have taken it from me, but at least I'll always remember that even though they shouldn't have, they gave me the choice. They let me keep my most precious thing.
No one else can remember. Even my father has forgotten, thanks to those two. I'm glad, in a way, because that means that Otousan can be happy, instead of sad like me. There's no pictures, no papers, no real proof that it ever happened. Nothing but my memories of my other half.
I can look in the mirror and try to smile, to see her again, but my smile is so fake, so unlike hers. She was my everything, and I was hers, but now she's gone. When we were together, we could do anything. We could fight any battle, stop any foe, and we often did. If there were anyone left to remember that day, we would have been heroes.
She was my shining light, and I was her soaring wings. My beloved is gone as though she never was. I cannot even build a marker for her, because no one else would understand. To them, she is a figment of my imagination. And so I press on, doing my best to be happy, because she would have wanted it for me. The worst pain she ever felt, she once said, was when I was sad.
I have just one thing to remember her. It's nothing special to anyone else, just a pair of mismatched mittens. I left one of hers and one of mine back at our favorite tree the day I left, so that a part of each of us would always be there. The others I keep with me, so I can have a bit of her too.
I look out from our apartment in Tokyo. Otousan moved to Hokkaido so he could learn to be a baker from a friend we met while on vacation there. At first, I was sad to leave my friends, and frightened at all the new things, but now I'm glad we went there. When we came back to Tokyo, Otousan started his own shop, just like the one he worked at back there. But she was already gone by then, and Otousan couldn't remember her anymore, so at least he was happy.
I miss her so much, the other half of my soul. Never to be mourned, never to be remembered, not by anyone at all.
Except, she might not be gone forever...
Those far-off travelers always said she was special, unlike anything they'd ever seen before. So maybe, just maybe, she'll come back to me someday.
So once again, I settle into my bed, close my eyes, and dream of what could be.
I felt the ending of the series, though excellently written and very moving, was not really the sort of happy ending I like to see in my anime. I jotted down most of this first part immediately after watching, almost as a stream-of-consciousness, and two days later--after thinking about what I wanted to do with it, and the best way to manage it within the confines of the series and Japanese culture--I polished up a few lines and prepared to write the rest. I'll have to ask my reader base to forgive me for the upcoming part 2, as I am going to start typing it out as soon as this bit gets posted (I felt this was a good place to end off a prologue just in case I never get the next part the way I want). It's currently 8:40am on a Monday, and I got up a 6:10am to come in to work to finish up a software release before the rest of the office gets here. So assuming part 2 gets finished today, it might be rather raw. My usual beta has yet to watch this series, so in the interest of getting this posted, it will not be beta'd except by spell-check. I like to think I learned enough about writing from my most excellent teachers that I don't make the common mistakes anymore, and anything I do screw up is usually something only an English major will catch.