Moments of the Life We Shared
Tears welled in her eyes as he pushed her into the dirt, kicking more of the brown dust on her legs and the hem of her pure white eyelet dress. Her bottom lip quivered as he stood over her laughing and pointing, a bony finger mocking her. She dropped her head, forcing her long hair to cover her face. He couldn't see her puffy eyes or her dejected and saddened pout.
"Why would I kiss you?" he spat with an intense glare that no six-year-old should be able to use. "Do you think I want to die? Girls have cooties!" He threw his hands in the air in outrage. "And you like pink. That's just gross!" He stood over her, arms crossed and practically a snarl on his lips. "Man, you're so stupid! And so is your name, Mimi!"
"Taichi!" His name was called by a group of boys waiting beside the swings in the large playground. He turned, the harsh expression immediately changing to one of pure happiness as he sprinted toward his friends.
The little girl stood up and wiped away her tears with the back of her hand. "Why are you so mean?"
Her fists clenched as he stomped on her glasses and her spine went rigid because she refused to show him anymore tears. He was a bully and as much as she wanted to hit him in the face, it was unladylike and her mother would be very upset.
"Yamato," Taichi called to the boy that was standing some feet away, "it didn't fix the problem. Mimi's still ugly."
"She was born that way, Taichi. Let's go play on the monkey bars. Sora's over there!"
Taichi nodded his head before he smashed Mimi's broken glasses harder into the sand. He ran off, the blond trailing behind them as they ran toward their mutual favorite person.
Mimi shakily picked up her pink-rimmed glasses, a lonely tear rolling down her puffy cheek as she tried to mend them. But the tiny diamonds refused to set in the mangled frame and the vein-like cracks of the glasses shattered before trickling to the floor in a shower of glitter.
"I hate you, Taichi!" Mimi whispered to herself.
When he heard she was leaving, a part of him felt really weird. So much so that he couldn't quite explain nor understand it but his eight-year-old mind just figured he'd be one toy short. And that kind of sucked for him. He'd need to find another kid to torment. He didn't like seeing her cry but she was insane because she tried to attack him with her lips the very first time he met her.
He'd learned all about the scary things that came from girls' lips. They had the worst kind of germs possible and Taichi wasn't stupid. He really didn't want to die. There were still Lego cities to build, ninja armies to conquer, and, of course, ramen to be eaten. He had too much to live for. The idea of being that close to a girl scared him. Except Sora, but she was pretty much a boy who had long hair and lacked the thing he and Yamato had between their legs.
And yet, Mimi, as much as she annoyed him with her pink purses, hair clips, funny hat, and high-pitched voice, it would be weird without her there. He figured that as Hikari got older she might be like Mimi but he hoped and prayed with every fiber of his young being that Hikari turned out like Sora.
"Taichi! It's time to go."
Taichi didn't want to go because there was supposed to be a wrestling match on in five minutes and he was adamant about seeing it. He'd bet Yamato three yen that Shimamoto "Hurricane" Kazu was going to win. He was about to be three yen richer in a matter of twenty minutes, it was going to be his! As was the five flavored instant noodle bowl he'd seen for the same amount at the market. Still, his father dragged him out the door and to the car. They drove to the airport and he watched from afar as his parents greeted and said their final goodbyes to Mimi's family. She looked at him once and only once, a small smile gracing her lips and gave a tiny wave.
He rolled his eyes but didn't miss the sad expression that had fallen over her face. She walked through the gate with her parents, clutching her mother's hand tightly. The plane was moving down the tarmac and something inside Taichi compelled him to run with all the strength his little legs had to the large glass windows. He plastered his face against them and frowned.
Though he would never tell anyone this out loud, he'd miss her.
The first day of his second year in high school was a little boring for Taichi's liking. There was the formality of the upcoming soccer tryouts but that left nothing to anticipate considering his spot on the team was assured, he was their star player. He slugged through his first few classes, never really listening to his new teachers lecture on the importance of student fundamental learning and rules and regulations for each class. Lunch was the only thing on his mind.
He arrived late only to find a very long line. His eyes scanned the cue, finding two familiar heads: one blond, the other red. Taichi sprinted toward them and threw his arms around his best friends' shoulders. "Hey."
"Cutter," Sora hissed. "Go to the end of the line."
"C'mon, Sora! I'm starving here!" Taichi lamented. "Just this once."
"You said that last time too, Tai," Yamato smirked. "Get in line. We're next."
Taichi piled his plastic tray with food and turned away only to trip on his untied shoe laces. His face collided with the tiled floor and he groaned as the fall smashed his manhood into his body.
"Aw, let me help you with that."
Taichi looked up slowly, eyes trailing up a pair of long soft legs. Needless to his, his teenage mind was enjoying the situation more than he should, but he blamed that on his hormones that were on the fritz. He was so engrossed in the length of the girl's skirt that he neglected to realize that her foot was drawn back then kicked forward into the white and pink carton that was surprisingly still sitting neatly on his messy tray.
The milk splashed against Taichi's face and he spluttered helplessly. From behind him, he heard Sora's gasp and Yamato's laughter. Soon the laughing became contagious because everyone in the cafeteria was guffawing at his misfortune.
The girl knelt down to Taichi's level and stuck a napkin to his cheek. "There you go." She winked at him before walking away, leaving him seething and oddly happy…
She was back.
His sight immediately settled on the girl in the red and white pleated skirt, the one holding the silver and red pom-poms in her hands, the one who was smiling from ear to ear at him. She winked and tilted her head to the side ever so slightly, mouthing, "Way to go, Super Star."
He flashed her a winning grin before he was swept up by the rest of the team. They carried him on their shoulders moving him farther away from his planned destination. He caught the sight of her waving him on, the look in her eyes demanding he enjoy this moment in the spotlight because it was his. After four years of upsets, his team had finally won the championship and it was he who'd made the winning goal.
After the frenzy had died down and the announcement of a celebratory after party was made, Taichi was finally let down by his overexcited teammates. He changed quickly, clapping hands with guys as they left the locker room until he was the last one there. As he sat on the narrow wooden bench between two sets of lockers, he let it all sink it.
"You know," a voice called from behind him, "if you start crying, I'm telling everyone."
Taichi turned to smile at Mimi as she took a seat beside him, cheerleading uniform traded for jeans and a sweater. "I don't thing girls are allowed in here."
Mimi pouted, "But I seen Sora come in here a couple of times."
"That's because Sora's a guy with girl parts. It's confusing really."
"Shut up, dork!" Mimi playfully smacked Taichi's arm before leaning in and resting her head on his shoulder. "Congratulations. You did it."
"Thanks. But I don't think I could have done it without you there."
"Wow, that was corny," Mimi mocked. "Explain."
"Well, you were my favorite cheerleader."
He took her hand and led to his car where they drove to the party and sat around a table with their friends laughing about everything and anything.
"Must you sound so shocked?"
"Well… yes, actually. I've never seen you so much as read a food label, let alone a novel."
"I'm in college, Mimi. How do you think I got here?"
"That's easy, cheating off Koushiro."
Taichi shook his head and sighed, she really didn't think him as brilliant as he was. He ignored her as he continued studying, glancing at the clock every ten minutes or so, he really didn't want to get locked it the library, he'd heard the rumors. The place was haunted and Taichi was no ghost chaser.
"Do you have a date or something?" Mimi asked tartly.
They were currently off, not exactly together but not exactly separated either. They were just giving each other a little personal space, something they lacked for two years. But for some damn reason, they still found themselves in this situation, sitting on either side of the long oak table. Her heated gaze joggled his memory, reminding him of a husband and wife who were staring each other down while settling the terms of their hectic divorce.
"Would it matter if I do?"
It wasn't his proudest moment, because the look of shear heartbreak in her eyes had him regretting the words. He had not meant her to take them literally. It was a joke.
"I'm gonna get going."
"I'm obviously in the way of something important. There's no point in me staying here." She gathered her things and walked toward the stairwell. She almost made it there when Taichi caught her elbow and spun her around.
"How am I supposed to have a date if the only girl I want to go out with keeps walking away from me?"
"You never cease to amaze me with these cheesy lines," Mimi laughed with a playful shake of the head.
"Oh shut up, you know that's what makes you love me all the more."
"Did you just tell me to shut u– "
Taichi silenced Mimi's offended tone with his lips. That night he learned that between the seemingly endless rows of books, things other than textual education could be taught.
"You're so stupid!" Mimi seethed as she stomped down the snow covered parking lot. She pulled her coat tighter around her body though the amount of heat that was radiated off her was enough to keep at least twenty people warm.
"I can't believe you, woman! You're pissed off because I'm proposing?! I'm asking you to marry me and you're mad!" Taichi screeched as he followed her through the flurry of snow. "Mimi, it's freezing out here! Get back in the car!"
"Or what?" she challenged, whirling around to face him.
"Or you'll freeze to death! Argh!" Taichi yelled, pulling at his wild hair from the roots. "I don't understand you. We love each other, so what's so wrong about marrying me? Am I not good enough for the famous Tachikawa Mimi? Did I wear the wrong shirt? Is the ring too small? What?!"
"This isn't about any of that!" Mimi persisted. "And this isn't a joke, Taichi! You don't just ask something like that. This is our lives were talking about."
"Don't you think I know that?"
"No, I really don't! Being married isn't easy, it takes a lot work. But you… you can't even remember to call me back after you're finished playing video games. Video games, Taichi! You're too immature for something this important." Mimi covered her face with her hands as she felt icy tears roll down her cheeks. "We can't do this."
Taichi fell silent as he pulled her toward him, ignoring her protests. "When you were seven you left me, do you remember that?"
"Of course," she whispered in response.
"Well I'll tell you something that I vowed I'd never tell anyone. It hurt! You weren't there to torment, to talk to, to steal toys from –"
"Is this supposed to be helping your cause?" Mimi interjected.
"The point is, you were gone and I missed you! And then you came back and humiliated me in front of the entire school but I didn't care. You were back, it was like a piece of me came to life when I seen your face. Damn it, there's not a day that goes by that I don't know how dumb I am for being the way I am. I know that you can probably find someone else but you've stayed by my side through everything. And God, there isn't a soul on this Earth that fits so perfectly with mine. Every time I consider my future, the only constant it you, Mimi! It's you!"
"You do realize that I just told you that my parents are breaking up, correct?" Mimi asked, her icy demeanor slowly melting. "Gah, Taichi!" She launched herself at him, kissing his lips fiercely.
"Um, I'm a little confused," Taichi admitted sometime later as they stood in before her open front door.
"So are we engaged?"
Mimi rolled her eyes and walked inside, throwing, "I'm wearing the ring, aren't I?" over her shoulder.
He didn't like this room, it was too clean; from the perfectly laid out décor to the smell. It was nauseating. This room didn't seem like a place of happiness, as its purpose was said to bring in. It made him uncomfortable, like if he took one wrong step he'd ruin everything.
Taichi heard the cry before he even laid eyes on the creature that emitted the sound. It was loud and frantic and suddenly it was gone. The only thing he heard was Mimi's muffled voice and soft whimpering. He stared up at the ceiling feeling foolish for having fainted. But he did and as he gazed at the white tiles, his thoughts were on nothing but the cooing child in his young wife's arms. He stood up shakily, thanking the nurse who was kind enough to lend him a hand. He stared down at them: Mimi, whose impeccable beauty seemed to shine even more, and the soft brown eyes that gazed up at him from beneath the folds of a blue receiving blanket.
In Mimi's embrace lay the single greatest thing Taichi had ever done. From the top of his brunette head, to the bottom of his pale toes, the little boy was Taichi's pride and joy. His heart skipped a beat as he thought of how life would change. He was a father now, responsible for yet another life and that scared him. Taichi worried that he wouldn't be able to be a good father, that he wouldn't be able to guide his son as his father had done him, and most of all, he worried that he'd fail before the people that meant the most to him, the two that sat in the hospital bed.
"Taichi," Mimi called. "Do you want to hold him?"
"Hold him?" Taichi questioned, voice cracking with nerves. "Maybe I shouldn't. It doesn't seem safe."
"You'll do fine," Mimi encouraged, sitting up to hand her son off to his father. "Here."
Taichi reached out and cradled the baby awkwardly before Mimi adjusted his arms. The little boy was beautiful, a simple perfection. His son yawned and Taichi resisted the urge to gush over him, he was after all the parent who was supposed to instill manly values into the child. But he was too adorable.
"What should we name him?" Mimi inquired. "Any ideas?"
"Are you serious?" Mimi snorted. "How about, no?"
Taichi shook his head and laughed. "Okay…" He stared down at the little boy, marveling at how small he was and how ideal he seemed. "Kazuki," the young father decided. He looked up at Mimi and she smiled.
"Kazuki it is," Mimi agreed. "And Taichi?"
"Don't worry anymore. We'll be alright."
Their teenage children were sitting under the trees with others their age watching with amused grins as their little cousins and close friends ran around in the open field. Taichi looked on from his position in a fluffy lounge chair beside his best friend.
"How've you been lately? Space treating you good?"
"I can't complain," Yamato commented. "I think the next one will be my last mission. Then I'm retiring."
Taichi winced, "Don't say it like that. Retiring means you're too old to do your job."
"I'm getting there. I'm almost in my fifties."
"Stop," Taichi demanded, "if you're old, than that means so am I."
"Aw, but my friend, we are old. Our kids are almost adults. Our bones ache. Our wives are going through menopause and let me tell you, it's doing nothing for my sex-"
"Do me a favor and don't finish that sentence."
They both laughed and fell into a relaxing silence. That is until someone broke it.
"Walk to go for a walk?"
"Do I have a choice?"
"Well then, my beautiful wife, Mimi, let's go for a walk."
Taichi hauled his body up, scowling because Yamato was right. His body did ache. Yamato laughed before scooting over to make room for his wife to sit beside him. "Taichi's falling apart on us."
"Don't listen to him," Mimi advised. "Yamato is just bitter because he went over the hill before all of us."
She looped her arm with Taichi's and they walked off down a beaten pathway. It was a comfortable silence that they strolled lazily, soaking in the warm autumn sunshine. It felt nice to just be together, without a care in the world. There were no kids around to complain that they needed to new clothes, asking to borrow the car, fighting over who used all the hot water.
It was just the two of them. Not to get them wrong, Taichi and Mimi adored their children but there were days when they wanted to strangle them.
They stopped at a little creak and Mimi knelt down to run her fingers in the cool water. "Do you ever wonder what life would be like if we weren't together?" Mimi asked, settling down on a smooth rock and taking off her shoes. She slipped her feet into the water and relaxed on her hands. "Like, if I had never came back to Japan, or we never went out in high school, or got married?"
"No," Taichi answered simply.
"I've told you once before, and I'll say it again. You've been my future for a very long time. I don't think about you not being in my life because it's never going to happen. It'll always be like this. Taichi and Mimi. Don't the kids do that these days? Combine their names to make a 'couple name.' We're TaiMi," Taichi laughed at his own corniness. His daughters were really having a negative effect on him.
"Taichi, keep in mind that you're forty-seven," Mimi chided. She stood up from the water, kicking droplets at him, "And for the record, MiChi sounds better."
He was an adult, damn it! He raised the four of them! It was infuriating that his three daughters acted as if he was one of their children and that his son treated him as if her were handicapped. This was because life wasn't right anymore; the world had been thrown out of its rotation. Taichi's existence had seemed come to a complete stop because in the times after she was no longer there his children called constantly to make sure he was okay.
She left before he did. But that wasn't the way it should have happened. Mimi had still been as youthful as the day he met her, still trying to kiss the daylights out of him, even in their old age. And yet, his angel had gone to heaven ahead of him; 'to prepare for your arrival,' she'd joked lovingly the day before she passed.
Taichi's bones cracked and he cursed his soccer days, they no doubt attributed to his current osteoarthritis. The pain was horrible sometimes. He left his bedroom, making sure to turn down the thermostat – out of habit because Mimi was always boiling hot, no matter the season. And even if she wasn't here, he liked to pretend she was. No, he wasn't going crazy, Taichi had accepted that Mimi had gone but he still liked to act like she had simply taken a very long vacation. It had been three years already…
Chopping up his strength, Taichi shuffled from his bedroom door to the top of the staircase. He glared at the wooden banister before smiling fondly at the memory of he and Mimi sliding down the rail just after Kazuki was born. The house was too lonely. There was no laughter or off beat singing, no scent of coffee and soup wafting up the stairs in the morning.
He took one shaky step forward, fumbling awkwardly when a pain shot through his arm. He lost his balance and tumbled down the staircase, falling in a heap at the base of the staircase. His hip flared with pain and his heart clenched repeatedly. The constricting feeling was too much. Taichi yelled in agony, garbling incoherent curses as he clutched his chest. The tightness wouldn't go away and he was steadily losing feeling of his body. After ten minutes, his limbs refused to move.
"Kazuki! Amaya! Hisa! Yuri!" Taichi whimpered as he looked toward the phone that sat atop a wooden table just feet from his injured body. He glared at it, willing the damn thing to ring as it did every hour.
His mind was still reeling from the pain but he recognized the voice, there was no way he couldn't have.
His sight danced about the room before he saw a faint glow coming from the top of the stairs.
"What are you doing down there, silly?"
"Mimi," Taichi gasped. She stood tall in a white flowing gown, her hair curled around her shoulders, fluttering in a breeze that wasn't really there. Small white flowers had been woven into her locks… she looked the way she did the day he married her. "Mimi?"
"That's right, Love. Are you ready?"
Taichi stared at her. It took him a few minutes to realize that he was hallucinating. He couldn't believe this. He was dying, there was no doubt about that, he'd already began to feel the beat of his strained heart slow, but he hated his mind for creating this image. It was sick, his own body had betrayed him and now his conscience had as well.
"Go away," Taichi groaned, shutting his eyes to make the image of his wife disappear. He tensed when he heard light footsteps tread against the wooden planks. He cracked an eye open slowly only to see her still there, coming toward him.
"I'm not going anywhere, not without you. I can't go alone this time," she responded, tears glazing her eyes.
That's when it dawned on him. She was really there – for a reason. For him. "Will it hurt?"
The twenty-one-year-old verision of Mimi smiled through her glassy stare. "No. I promise." She held out a hand and somewhere, something inside of him snapped. He reached out for her, with strength he was sure he didn't even possess anymore. There was a slight cold before the world became brilliantly warm and cozy. The colors of everything he seen became brighter and Mimi became realer than ever. He hugged her, pulling her body tightly against his.
"I missed you," she whispered into his chest. He kissed her hair, breathing in the scent he longed for more than anything.
The phone rang behind them, and Taichi stared at it angrily. The answering machine picked up and the frantic voice of his youngest daughter flooded the room.
"Daddy! It's Yuri! Why aren't you answering the phone? Daddy! If you don't answer this phone right now, I'm coming over! I'll be there in five minutes!"
"Her timing is impeccable," Taichi sighed.
Mimi laughed. "She gets that from you."
"Yeah – wait! What is that supposed to mean?"
"Oh, don't you dare play innocent with me, do you even remember your proposal!?" Her snarl was accompanied by a sharp jab to the chest.
"I just had a heart attack! Take it easy."
"Ugh, let's go!" She walked up the stairs dragging him along behind her, like she had done most of their lives. God, he missed her.
November 4, 2009:
Happy Belated Birthday, Clara. I hope you liked it. No, I don't own Digimon.
Sorry for the typos. Please review. Thanks for reading. And I take sole responsibility for any of the corniness. I tried to lighten up, apparently some people think I'm too angsty! :D
Love you all,
This story hates me, for the record. I had to post it twice, considered the third time because of the title typo but I give up. It's almost two in the morning and I'm exhausted! Sorry about the inbox chaos!