Disclaimer: Beautiful movie. I definitely don't own this. It rightfully belongs to its genius creator. Hats off to the animation staff who made such a touching film.

Any reviews, comments, criticisms, etc. are greatly appreciated. I tried to follow the spirit of the film as best I could, and keep it accurate, but there was a tad bit of speculation of what went on on my part.

Sincerely,

By: Saffire Persian

Akari,

Do you remember how you told me back in grade school that sakura petals fall at five centimeters per second?

Akari,

The sakura trees are in bloom here in Taganegashima. They're not as beautiful as the ones we always saw in Tokyo, but I still wish you were here to see them. Are they blooming where you are? I'd like to think that maybe... Never mind, it's not important. How are you?

Akari,

I've been having that dream again—the one where we watch as a space shuttle jets into the sky, to journey to that otherworld and never come back. I often think about what it would be like to go up into space (do you?) and how empty it would be to exist in a place so vast yet so devoid of life. There would be so many secrets and mysteries to discover there in that wide, limitless place, but no one to share it with. No one. It would be just you—you and the rest of the universe.

Akari,

Spring is about to end soon. The petals are falling. It seems like not so long ago they were in full bloom. Everyone here in Tanegeshima is always unhappy to watch the sakura petals drop from the branches at first, but soon they will forget that sadness; they will become used to seeing the sakura trees lifeless and bare and move on with life, but I won't. I won't forget them.

Akari,

If the sakura fall at five centimeters per second, how fast do you think our own lives pass us by?

Akari,

Everyone is talking about what they want to do with their future now. Doctor, artist, actor, but I don't see myself anywhere, doing much of anything. All I see now are memories from a time that I can't go back to, a book that's already ended, and no matter how many times I go back and read its pages, the ending is still the same, and I wonder time and time again why.

Akari,

I still remember that night at the train station when we saw each other for the last time. I can still feel the deep chill piercing through my coat as we walked through the white that covered the ground and talked in that shed until the sun rose about everything we weren't supposed to say and nothing about what needed to be said. You told me you wished it were spring again, and that it was pink petals instead of snowflakes that were falling, grass instead of thick snow that came up to our ankles, birdsong instead of silence. I never told you, but so did I.

Akari,

How fast must I live in order to see you again?

Akari,

I knew what she was going to say. She asked me what I wanted to do with my life, and when I told her I didn't know, she told me she was the same. She said we had a lot in common, and that she had admired me ever since I moved here and thought I was a good person. I knew what she was going to say then, but she stopped, and I guess thought better of it. I'm relieved, because my answer would have only hurt her. It's better this way.

Akari,

I've been accepted to Tokyo University's technology program. For the first time in three years I'll be able to return home. Where are you now? Still in Tochigi? Or have you gone further away? I can hear my parents celebrating my acceptance downstairs, but I can't bring myself to join them. I know I should be smiling and laughing with them, just like I should be out living the last days of summer with my classmates, but I can't. What do you think of me now? Do you even wonder what I'm doing? Do you still care?

Akari,

That morning—after that snowy night outside the station—do you remember what you said to me? You said, "You'll be all right, Takaki-kun, I know you will." Did you really mean that? Or was it something you felt had to be said? I don't really know anymore, just like I don't know why I'm still writing you these letters you'll never receive, or why I still foolishly believe I'll someday get an answer.

Akari,

It's winter again. Tokyo is just like it was when we both lived here: busy, trains screeching across the tracks, men in suits with briefcases in hand, buildings that reach the sky, flashing lights at the crosswalks as thousands of people walk across the street… It's strange to think that Tokyo has always been this crowded, and that so many different people can exist in such small of a space. But no matter how close these people are, they still seem thousand of miles away. They're just faces, nothing more.

Akari,

Which one of us stopped writing first?

Akari,

I've been dreaming again. It's not the one with the space shuttle, but you're still there, in the dream. I see you smiling, and seeing you smile makes me happy, until I realize that I'm not the one that's there beside you. I see a ring on your finger and a man that's not me... and yet...and yet you're happy. Is it selfish of me to wish we could've remained young forever? Is it selfish to wish you a different kind of happiness? All I wanted…

Akari,

Even she couldn't get Tokyo to feel like how it used to be back then.

Akari,

I quit my job. It was too much for me. He wouldn't let me handle the things the way I wanted to, wouldn't let me decide how things were supposed to go, so I quit. I'm foolish, aren't I? Stupid. A man with no future who wastes his nights away in bars and spends his days in front of a computer screen. Life was supposed to be so much more than this…

Akari,

It's been nine years.

Akari,

I've been visiting the prefecture where we spent our childhood together. I avoided it when I first came to Tokyo six years ago because I didn't want to see how everything had changed, though I knew that one day my feet would eventually lead me back here. That sidewalk, the library, the restaurant, that old sakura tree in the park? They're all still there, but different. Changed. I guess, no matter how hard you try, you can't stop the places you cherish from changing, just like you can't stop people you love from changing, just like you can't stop time.

Akari,

A text message. From her:

Tohno-kun,

I know none of them said anything about you quitting, but everyone at your old company is all very sorry that you left. They wanted me to tell you that things just aren't the same at the company without you here. I feel the same way. A friend of mine tells me that things are going well for you at your new free-lance job and that you seem to be doing better than you were when you left the company. More free. I'm glad. I know the relationship we had together is over, but I still like you, even now. If you feel up to trying again—that is, if you ever need someone, I'm still here.

-Mizuno Risa

I don't know how I should feel. Akari, how... what should I be feeling? It's been so long since anyone…

Akari,

Memories are all well and good, but that's all they are, aren't they? Memories.

Akari,

I saw you.

I didn't realize it was you at first, but as we passed each other as we walked across the railroad crossing, I felt something. A spark. I sensed that I knew you somehow, from somewhere, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Where? Where had I? Why did you feel so familiar? Why did it seem...

Then, as I reached the end of the railroad crossing seconds later, I knew.

I stopped then, spinning about on my heels, searching for you. Our eyes met. I was about to call your name, but a train flashed across the tracks, cutting off my own voice with its own. I didn't move, watching the train flicker by. Did you see me? Really see me? Not as another nameless face in the crowd, but as the boy you had shared your childhood years together with? Did you remember?

Another train surged past.

My mind swam.

Were you still there?

Would you be waiting on the other side, like I was?

But then I realized that it didn't matter. It would have been a miracle enough if it had really been you that I had seen.

I waited.

The train flew.

But still, I hoped you'd be there, looking for me, just like I was.

You weren't.

But for the first time, that was all right. For the first time, everything was okay.

You hadn't waited for me, but that was fine. I shouldn't have ever expected you to wait for me, nor you me, not in this world. That world belongs in fairy tales, the world of happily-ever-afters. Time waits for no one, not even childhood friends. We can't spend our time continually looking behind our shoulder for someone who won't always be there. Our lives had the fortune of crossing one another's once, a long time ago, and now, for a moment more. If our destinies somehow allow us to meet again, even just for another few seconds in time, I'll be eternally grateful.

But for now, seeing you—even it wasn't you—is enough.

Sincerely,