Do you know?
The speed at which cherry blossoms fall...
5 Centimetres Per Second.
At what speed must I live...
To be able to see you again?
To what lengths must I go...
To be able to hear from you once more?
After years of searching...
Will I be able to find your shadow?
Perhaps the speed at which I have lived...
has created a gap between us far too large.
But will that keep me from searching?
Not at all, not at all.
Maybe one day we will see the cherry blossoms,
Just like when we were younger.
To run and play in the unchanging gardens,
Like when we were younger...
But on the day we meet once more...
Would you have moved on?
But perhaps it could never happen again.
We were never meant to meet once more.
No matter what speed I live,
I cannot catch a glimpse your shadow.
No matter what lengths I go to,
I am unable to hear your voice.
Even after years of searching,
I have never been able to find you again.
Regardless of what happens,
or what may not happen,
the cherry blossoms will keep falling.
Falling at 5 Centimetres Per Second.
"Akari." Takaki's voice was drowned amidst the hustle of the city. There was no way she could hear him, the road only lengthened as he ran into many others, reaching for her. "Akari!" Her footsteps quickened drastically in pace as they drifted apart. He always lost her there and then, and was lost himself, in the crowds. "Akari...Just how fast must I live in order to see you again?", Takaki woke up to his own statement, his arm outstretched to the bleached ceiling. It hurt to live this hollow life he had. Looking out of the balcony...at the train track which stood under the shadow of everything else...it was awfully cold and lonely. How many times more would he traverse the crossroads she had past? His cell phone beeped in a distance.
As he walked away from the morning sun and back into the gloomy apartment, he stared emptily at the cell phone display which had shown itself so many times over. 'Delete unsent messages?' To make space for them, he had deleted anything and everything else. He held on. Too much. Too long. Turning back to the brilliant sun beyond the tainted glass doors, he pressed softly on the keypad. Tossing it to the rest of his relics of the past...he smiled once more towards the rising sun. How long has it been since he stood in its brilliance?
He left his job then, searching once more for the self he had lost so long ago. That which, despite him holding on so much, had lost. The doorbell rang softly, followed by a couple of knocks on the door. Lightly stepping towards the door, Takaki looked out of the peephole of the door. A woman in a formal attire stood outside, holding a stack of documents in her arms. 'Them again.' Ignoring the woman, he quietly stepped back and walked away from the door.
Many people heard about his resignation. Job offers flew in and rumours went rampant in this mad city that shared everything but never allow anything out. But now, they couldn't hold him back anymore. Rather, nothing held him back anymore. It was like his eyes were open once more...In these many years he had blindly climbed the social ladder, he hadn't come to appreciate those little things that truly made him happy. Happy, yes. The sun, the rain, the snow and its sleet. The seasons that changed but also repeated. Walking back to the balcony, he watched as the city's light faded bit by bit. As the sun's rays shone over the city, slowly reaching his face, all he could do was bask in it.
It has been months since he had gone into freelance photography and he found his interest in capturing the precious moments of his life mounting at each shot he took. With the albums filling his apartment, he had to clear up the mess he made when he was aimlessly wasting away himself. Surely, he was still looking back at the railroads...but at least, he was moving forward now. His new-found profession had led him to many places. Some places he would like to visit again, others, filled with the memories he would never forget.
Looking at the picture of the sakura bloom he took last summer, he let nostalgia wash over him... It was the petal that never fell; it danced in the winds and swirled about him. Then, opening his palms, it had landed on his hand... Slowly closing his hand around it, he had tried to hold on to it. But it had belonged with the winds. The winds each and every one of them danced in.
The phrase he kept to his mind all this time resounded deeply in his mind.
'5 Centimetres Per Second.'
Scribbling a note onto the picture, he noticed the staggering amount of scribbles and post-its on each page. He sighed at himself. Placing the picture back into the album, he skimmed through the rest of the photos. Satisfied, he finally closed the thick album and returned it to its place. With the sunlight now steadily streaming into his room, lighting up the plain room, Takaki figured he daydreamed enough.
The doorbell rang once more, and a couple of knocks sounded from the door. 'They don't give up easily, do they?' There was no way he could complete anything with these interruptions. The doorbell rang several more times, with the knocks only persistently increasing in frequency as well. Takaki had half a mind to shout at the rude person who was driving him mad with the ringing doorbells and knocks on the door.
"Yo, Tōno-kun." A petite girl greeted Takaki and ran into the apartment as he opened the door. "M-Maya?" The girl gave no concern to Takaki as she ran around, freely pulling out albums from his painstakingly arranged shelves, like she owned this place. Well, technically, her divorced parents did and her mother rented it out to him. He never did figure why she constantly dropped to tormented him since they began to know each other. "Ne, what were you doing?"
'I was about to start working till you decided to drop by uninvited.'
Takaki wished he had said what came on his mind.
"I knew it. You were slacking off again."
The rustling that came as she spun about caught his attention. He hadn't noticed the large plastic bag she was holding till now. "Hey, what's that for?" Maya held the plastic bag up with a curious face at first, then grinned belligerently as she stalked towards Takaki. "BANZAI!" Drawing a handful of balloons which quivered so as in her hands, she bombarded Takaki with the balloons filled with water. 'Well, at least my shower being is taken care of now.'
Wiping his hair dry, Takaki kept a healthy distance from the hyperactive teenager. "So what have you been doing?" Maya asked as she continued to mess up his apartment. "Well, I've got a contract with 'JSports'...I'll be going overseas." Her eyes glinted at the name. "JSports, as in THE JSports?" Takaki nodded...but he couldn't shake off the feeling that he shouldn't have told her. He definitely shouldn't have.
"Well, I'll miss you." Takaki turned and looked at Maya. She was Maya, right? "That's one person less for me to prank on." A smile tugged at his cheeks. Now that sounded more like her. "How long?" Maya had closed the albums she usually preoccupied herself with when she was around. That's rare. "About a month or two. Something about a surfing competition near Tanegashima." The image of the space shuttle launching flicked past his mind.
'5 Kilometres Per Hour.'
"Tōno-kun..." There was a strange look on her face. He was never good at guessing people's feelings, especially a woman's. Maya shook her head and smiled at him. "When will you be leaving then?" She sure was asking a lot. "Next week." Takaki didn't understand why she seemed so down, despite her cheerful demeanour. "I'll be back sooner than you know it." Walking by her, Takaki's hand rubbed over her head as he tried to lift her spirits. "Hey! Cut that out." She was blushing so heavily, she looked like a cooked lobster. Guess she's really conscious about her height.
The doorbell rang once more. Takaki contemplated on leaving the door open for today. A mature-looking man stood outside, tapping his feet against the floor. "What...It's Kousuke-san." Maya leapt up and ran to slam the door close as soon as Takaki opened it. "Maya! I know you are in there!" Takaki looked at his fingers that almost got severed. That was a close one. "Over there?!" It wasn't the first time she asked him to do something like that. "You know I'm just going to tell him where you are, right?" Still, he pointed her to the storeroom. The girl stuck her tongue out at Takaki, and ran off.
"Sorry Kousuke-san, looks like she isn't here anymore." Kousuke laughed at his statement. Takaki always said that when she was hiding in the storeroom. "Okay, I get what you mean." Pacing back and forth the storeroom, he wondered aloud. "Where has that idiot hid herself this time round? Surely not in the storeroom like she always does?" An angry growl came from the storeroom, and Maya burst out of the storeroom. "Takaki! You traitor!!" Takaki shrugged his shoulder. She was looking a lot more spirited.
"Well, see you, Takaki." She waved her goodbyes as she ran to her brother who was a fair distance away. Takaki took a snapshot at her and waved goodbye as well, with her confused as to why he did that. Kousuke probably wasn't going to let her know till he left, too. Placing the photos into an envelope which he placed onto the table with a letter beside it, he couldn't help feel sorry for lying to Maya. The assignment came at a good time. Her mother was selling this apartment...he knew it wouldn't be long till she had to move as well. And he was never good at making clean breaks with people.
Staring at the letter in his hands, a part of him wondered if he had not lost that letter, would all this change? That was the past, it cannot be changed. Despite that, he could not help but dream of another world, where thing didn't change. Where he would be in the unchanging gardens, by her side, again.
At the peak hours, the entire area crowded with streams of people moving as a whole, hurrying. To wherever place they were to be at. Where they ought to be, he had no idea. Where he ought to be...He had absolutely no idea. The sound of the airplane flying directly over him deafened him. "Mama, where are the cherry blossoms?" Faded, but still there...these were the final moments of the sakura's dance. Winter would come, and the white blossoms would bloom as they did before. Smothering the passionate colours of autumn.
Takaki coughed lightly as he entered. The airport's clean air was foreign to him no matter how many times he's been there. It had a smell that was uninviting at best and uncomfortably overcleanly at worse. Yet, he was so conscious of it, some things that cannot be washed away by even by the tide of time. The tinge of tears of separation in the air, the unheard calls in each as they bid goodbye. There were so many of them, too. How was those he played a part in of any significance? The lady at the desk called out towards him. He must have drifted off again.
"Reason of travel?" Takaki had enough of the same answer over and over. "Leisure." Ah, how original. With a series of chops and stamps, he was on his way to the airplane. Through the path which borders were outlined for him, Takaki walked the meandering path, boarding the plane. He never did understand the need for the dim lights and the turns that led him nowhere. Settling into his seat, he looked at the cloudy morning skies beyond the narrow window. Would the skies look the same in a different place? Takaki struggled to hold his own against his fears over change. People change. People disappear. They never die as who they were, living only brief periods as who they are. He didn't like that at all.
The plane trembled slightly as it struggled against the pull of gravity, trying to reach the skies. Somehow…it was still that same sky he and everyone else lived under. Takaki's thoughts drifted along with the clouds that met him as he continued to gaze at the skies which eventually went empty.