"When I go musing all alone
Thinking of diverse things fore-known.
When I build castles in the air,
Void of sorrow and void of fear,
Pleasing myself with phantasms sweet,
Methinks the time runs very fleet.
All my joys to this are folly,
Naught so sweet as melancholy.
. . .
'Tis my sole plague to be alone,
I am a beast, a monster grown,
I will no light nor company,
I find it now my misery.
The scene is turn'd, my joys are gone,
Fear, discontent, and sorrows come.
All my griefs to this are jolly,
Naught so fierce as melancholy."
~ from The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton
I keep the newspaper clippings tucked away in a copy of an old manga under my bed. I have to, or my parents will make me throw them away. "Move on, Haruhi. This isn't healthy."
I've heard them say it a thousand times.
Haruhi lies on the bed in her room, staring up at the ceiling. The house is completely silent, and the only sound is the various street rabble coming in through the open window. She is home alone.
She gets up, reaches an arm deep under her bed, and pulls out a book. She read it and tossed it aside years ago, but now it plays a different, perhaps more important role. She opens it, and a collection of black and white newspaper squares glide out onto her bedspread.
She picks up the one on top, the most important one, and stares at the picture there. It's the picture of a young brown-haired boy with a goofy smile on his face as he shovels through a pile of sand at the playground. Below the picture where the name would have been are a bunch of scribbles from a black marker. Written over the printed name is a single word, in the scrawl of an adolescent girl. It says, "Kyon."
The page is an obituary.
My parents think I should move on. "You only knew him for a month. You were just kids, and it happened three years ago."
They're right on all three accounts. I met him at the park when I was just twelve, and for a month we played together there. Then the accident happened, and he never showed up again.
He was such a dork, though that might be why we had so much fun. He always had some kind of weird response to anything I said. He never got boring.
One time I told him I hoped Santa would bring me a bicycle this year for Christmas, and he replied that he didn't believe in Santa. He said something about the idea of a man who only works one day a year being dumb.
"But I've always believed in things like aliens, time-travelers, and espers!" he said.
It was a childish idea, but I don't mind now as much as I did back then.
"Why would you want to believe in things like that but not Santa?" I asked him.
"Because I want to find some and have fun with them."
And I suppose that's what I was trying to do for him when I wrote it.
She looks away from the clipping and glances at the yellow wire-bound notebook on her bed. "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" is scribbled on the cover in the same adolescent scrawl.
She looks back to the picture and the name she's written just below it.
Kyon. I know it's a nickname for a kid, but I've never had the heart to call him anything else. He told me his name was Kyon when I first met him, and being a kid, he never bothered to mention his real name. It wasn't really that important. You don't need to know someone's real name to play games with them.
I didn't find out his real name until after he was dead. So I marked it out and wrote Kyon over it. It was good enough for our games, and it's good enough now.
She puts the picture of the young boy back into the book. The next clipping is of a young girl with short hair and black-framed glasses. The girl's not smiling, even though it's obvious the picture was taken in a studio.
Below the picture is the name Yuki Nagato.
I bet she was a quiet girl, or at least that's how I imagine her. Her obituary says she was the same age as Kyon when they died. It also says she liked reading books, which is believable. Those glasses just scream bookworm.
For a moment Haruhi remembers the other clipping (one she didn't keep) that came out the day after the bus crash happened. There was a picture of the accident included with the article. The majority of the photo was a black and white rendering of shattered glass and twisted metal, with the image of an overturned bus in the background.
But in the corner of the photo, next to the edge of the sidewalk, was a pair of smashed black-framed glasses.
She puts the photo of Yuki Nagato away as well. The next clipping is of another girl, this one smiling, wearing a dress and summer hat.
Her name is Mikuru Asahina.
She was older than Kyon, but that's okay, just a year. I wish the newspaper had printed her photo in color. Black and white really doesn't suit her. I'm sure the original photo was bursting with color. I bet even at her age she had a ton of pretty dresses in all different styles.
And you can just tell she would have grown up to be a moe moe.
After putting away the photo of Mikuru, she holds up the final clipping. Above the name Itsuki Koizumi is a picture of a smiling boy with longer brown hair.
He's a little mysterious. That ear-to-ear grin on his face, I bet he was a devious child. Still though, he probably would have been handsome, a pretty-boy of sorts.
She puts the photos away and lays the manga on the desk beside her bed.
I'm not sure why I kept the pictures of those three. I don't know if I believe in the afterlife, but if it exists, I'd like to think he has some kids there his own age, some friends on that bus when it happened.
And I guess that's why they're still with him.
She picks up the yellow notebook but doesn't open it. Instead she stares at the title and laughs a little to herself.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya . . .
Admittedly, I was a little devastated after it happened. He was the first person in my life to die, and I really wasn't ready for it. I moped around the house for days, crying, worrying my parents. They tried taking me to a baseball game a few weeks later, hoping it might cheer me up, but it had the opposite effect.
As I looked around the huge crowd, I kept picturing him somewhere in the midst of it all. And I realized that all these people would go about their lives, never knowing him, never caring, never acknowledging his existence in anyway. So what about me? Would I be the same way some day?
I was crying long before the game ended. I pulled the little baseball cap my parents had bought me down over my face so they couldn't see. They thought I was sleeping.
She opens the notebook and starts flipping through the pages. It's all handwritten, and the pages are full of adventures, adventures that involve aliens, time-travelers, espers, and a normal brown-haired teenager named Kyon.
The baseball game didn't work. Nothing worked. I guess my parents thought I would grow out of it, so when I didn't, when years passed and I still walked around with the same weight resting on my soul, they decided to do something about it.
So they took me to a psychiatrist.
I hate Dr. Onakawa. I hate Dr. Onakawa because he tries to figure me out, and then when he's wrong, wrong about why I did something or why I'm acting the way I am, he tries to tell me it's subconscious.
I know what's wrong. It's stupid to tell me I don't.
My parents made a big deal about the whole thing. I remember sitting in the office as they talked about me. I was already fifteen at the time, but they treated me like I wasn't even there.
"We just don't know what to do doctor. She has joined and dropped out of every club in the school. She says they're all boring."
Why would I waste my time in those clubs? There are other things, better things, for me to spend my time on.
"She went through a period where her appearance was changing day to day."
My mom was exaggerating. It wasn't my "appearance," just my hair, and that's not anything to get all worked up about. And I'll even admit that I was doing it because of Kyon. I remember him saying one day in the park that he liked my ponytail, so I started wearing it in different ways, wondering which one he would have liked best. I didn't see any harm in it, and it gave me something to think about.
But my parents didn't agree, and they made me cut it short.
"She doesn't show any interest in boys her own age."
I don't know why that one's even a problem. I'm not going to date someone who doesn't interest me.
"And she's just not motivated to do anything. It's like she has no energy."
Oh, I have both energy and motivation. I have plenty of it, just not here in this place, this . . . world.
My mother finished her plea to Dr. Onakawa by saying, "Please doctor, won't you help cure our daughter's . . . our daughter's . . . melancholy."
Melancholy? Ha! Of course my mom would use a word like that instead of just coming right out and saying "depression."
And that's why I wrote it on the cover of the notebook. It's a joke, a way to mock my parents for the way they act about me: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The notebook is my story. It's the story of my melancholy.
I spent the entire first session with Dr. Onakawa coming up with other phrases my mom could use to explain me to her friends and family.
The Disproportionate Sorrow of Haruhi Suzumiya . . .
The Unequivocal Sadness of Haruhi Suzumiya . . .
I mock Dr. Onakawa a lot, not out loud, but in my head. I've thought about adding him to "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya," but I haven't come up with a good role for him yet. I would make him a bad guy, but he's not sinister enough. I don't think Kyon would take him seriously.
He asks me questions during our sessions. I usually don't answer, and when I do, it's usually a lie. Needless to say, we're not making much "progress" in curing my melancholy. He doesn't have much to go on, yet he still thinks he understands.
One good thing did come out of our sessions. He gave me the yellow notebook and told me to write in it, but his idea was ridiculous. "Just get up every morning and write down how you feel. You can purge yourself. It'll be cathartic."
The Catharsis of Haruhi Suzumiya . . .
I was going to do what Dr. Onakawa told me in the beginning, only because I thought it would help me get away from him if I seemed to try. So the morning after he gave me the notebook, I got up and prepared to write, but staring at the paper, I had no idea what to do. I wasn't going to write down something stupid like, "I feel very melancholic today. It's probably because my friend died years ago."
Instead, I decided to write down some fond memories. He said it should be a purging, so I thought I would try that. I started with the story Kyon told me about not believing in Santa.
But I couldn't face the idea that these were the words of a dead 12 year-old, so I wrote them as if he were still alive, and the story took off from there, although I had to change some details along the way to make it work.
I know it's not healthy, and both my parents and Dr. Onakawa would (and do) have some harsh things to say about it. But like I said, I've heard it a thousand times.
The Perpetual Repetition of Haruhi Suzumiya . . .
And honestly, I think the stories were working. I felt better after writing them. I enjoyed seeing Kyon, an older Kyon, with the supernatural beings he wanted to have fun with. And I was there, watching over it all, both literally and figuratively.
Then my parents found the notebook, and after seeing what I was using it for, they gave it to Dr. Onakawa, likely as proof of my madness.
The Unwavering Madness of Haruhi Suzumiya . . .
Today I spent our session listening as Dr. Onakawa combed through every page of Kyon's adventures, explaining them all, analyzing them all, ruining them all with an interpretation that they didn't warrant or need.
"I'm told by your parents that these other characters, these super-powered kids, are all children that died on the bus with your friend."
Super-powered kids? This isn't a manga.
"Do you realize that by placing yourself among the dead, among this SOS league, you're revealing your inability to let them go?"
The Eternal Stubbornness of Haruhi Suzumiya . . .
I ignored the fact that he called it a league instead of a brigade.
"No, doctor, that never occurred to me."
He didn't like my comment, and he scribbled something down real quick. I glanced at his pad when he put it on the table later; he had written, "Possibly suicidal."
The Suicidal Tendencies of Haruhi Suzumiya . . .
I'm not suicidal. It would be stupid to throw my life away for someone who lost theirs.
"I notice that in your story you and your friend have an implied relationship, one in which you're both reluctant to get too close to each other. Is this why you're unwilling to date boys at your school? Do you feel like you would be betraying him by doing so?"
The Posthumous Harlotry of Haruhi Suzumiya . . .
It was a stupid question. It's not like I loved Kyon. I mean, we were just kids.
I've noticed that he never uses Kyon's name. He always says, "Your friend." He probably thinks that will help me get over it faster, but it really just annoys me. You don't have to know someone's name to mourn them.
"There is also a theme running through here, the whole 'three years ago' event that you have yet to reveal to your friend. Of course the event that happened three years ago here in the real world was your friend's death, so your decision to keep it a secret means you still haven't accepted his death, not truly."
I didn't have anything to say to that.
I've often considered telling Kyon about his death in the story, just writing down, "And then Haruhi turned to me and said, 'Kyon, you're dead. You died in the real world three years ago and this is all a fictional world created by me to keep you alive in some sense.'" But I never do.
Yuki, Mikuru, and Koizumi always reference the event three years ago, the day I "remade" the world, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to actually tell him.
The Divine Cowardice of Haruhi Suzumiya . . .
"I also notice that you've made yourself the God of this fictional world. This speaks both to a helpless you're likely feeling and a desire to control the uncontrollable, to make sure something like your friend's death never occurs again."
Like almost everything Dr. Onakawa misinterprets, the God thing started out as a joke. I wrote it into the story because, in a way, I am a God in that world. Considering the fact that I'm writing it, I create everything in that fictional world. It moves according to my whim. Any change is within my power.
But the idea worked. It was fun, became part of the plot, and explained why a normal high school kid could end up in all these adventures. And by making myself unaware of it, I could ensure that Kyon was the one having the adventures, the one the story was really about, not me.
The Fictional Altruism of Haruhi Suzumiya . . .
Haruhi sits on her bed reading through the yellow notebook. She reads the stories that were supposed to make her feel better, make her happy, but she feels the same as she did three years ago.
She's crying, not heavy sobs, only thin tears that streak down her face with no acknowledgement from her.
"Finally, I'd like to discuss a particular scene that stood out to me. At one point, you and your friend are isolated from the rest of the world, and it is revealed that you plan to create a new world and take him with you. And yet, even in your fiction, he turns you down. The idea that he wouldn't want to be with you even in your own narrative suggests that you are subconsciously blaming yourself for his death. It wasn't your fault. I want you to understand that. Say it with me . . ."
He's such a damn moron.
Of course Kyon turned me down! Of course he didn't let me create a new world just for the two of us! And it's not because I'm blaming myself!
In a fit of anger, Haruhi tosses the notebook across the room. It slaps against the wall, folding open as all the pages flutter to the ground. She still refrains from sobbing, but the streaks running down her face are falling faster than ever. She squeezes her bedpost.
She doesn't know what else to do.
He turned me down because he had too. He turned me down because I can't make a new world for the two of us. I'm not really God. I'm just a high school girl writing down stories about a guy who died three years ago. He doesn't exist anymore. He's just pencil marks on paper. He's nothing.
He turned me down because he had to . . .
She finally gives up and lies back down on the bed. The house is still empty. The sound still pours in from the street. The notebook still lies on the floor by the door.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya . . .
I'm not really God.
A/N: That's it. It's different than the other stories I've written on here, but when it came to me, I decided to go ahead and put it down. It was an experiment, so feel free to voice your opinion if you didn't like it.
The poem at the top is from a book written in the 1600s. It's much longer, but I thought those two stanzas were particularly appropriate for the story.
It will probably be a while before I post anything else. I've got another Haruhi story I'm considering doing, one like my other three stories, but I have other writing to take care of first.