Infinity Squared

The sky didn't look that bad like Chiaki claimed.

The clouds were just gray and they were too busy clumping together to let in any blue or even sun. But the school day was over, it was warm out, and Makoto's counselor, who also happened to be her math teacher, wouldn't leave her alone about the future and where'd she'd stand in it. After her classes were over, meeting up at the Aomori field in the back of the school building was a time Makoto looked forward to. Rain or shine, practicing her pitches and throws with Chiaki and Kosuke was something Makoto couldn't give up, especially when it served as an effective stress reliever.

"It's gonna rain . . ." Chiaki sighed and lightly beat his bat into the sand. Small particles swirled up toward him. "I knew it."

"How do you know?" Makoto challenged. She stole a second glance toward the sky, saw the storm clouds approaching behind Kosuke.

"Time will tell, right?" Chiaki answered.

Kosuke squeezed the old leather glove encasing his left hand. His father's glove. "Says who," he asked. "And throw the ball, Makoto!"

She steadied herself, straightening her own oversized glove she'd swiped from the coach's office. Makoto threw back her hand, just as her black right loafer lifted from the ground. As she propelled the ball forward, she imagined smacking her counselor somewhere back into his past, back to a time when he was less of an asshole, before his first love crushed his soul. Somewhere in between, maybe.

The ball came bounding toward Chiaki, and he readied himself, his white sneakers kneading the ground in anticipation. With one perfect swing, the ball cracked against his bat and dashed across the field to Kosuke's waiting hand.

The sky growled.

"It's gonna rain now," Chiaki repeated. "Makoto's gotten better!"

"Shut up, Chiaki!" Makoto screamed.

Time was still. Scientists said it was constant, said time didn't move. There was no past, present, nor future. Those were just ideals. It was all the same, but everyone perceived the passing of time with clocks and calendars and events because time could be better understood that way. Time could be badly understood because no one believed that what one did yesterday, actually happened at the same time in the future.

Makoto thought time was something like an element. There was water, fire, wind, and earth. No one really knew how either came to be, those elements were just there. Just like time. Where had the first droplet of water fallen, or where was the first spark seen? You couldn't see wind, but you could feel it. Just like you couldn't see time, but over the years, you start to feel it in your body, in the wrinkles on your face.

"Stop spacing out, Makoto. The pudding's gone!" Kosuke taunted. He threw the ball Makoto's way and she passed it along, back to Chiaki.

The wind began to pick up, sweeping Makoto's unkempt, short bangs. She held the hem of her school uniform. Then, the sky sprayed them with heavy, fat drops of water, as if celebrating the end of another day. The trio of baseball practitioners rushed to get to their bikes, their white blouses sticking to skin, and their breath escaping their lips in stifled, frequent gasps. The rain was always so cold to them.

Distant girly screeches traveled over to the walkway where the bike docks lay. Chiaki climbed over his as did Makoto. As usual, Kosuke preferred walking home.

Finally, when they were up the hill and down to the cross section where they'd split paths, the rain let up.

"Why don't you just give it go with her?" Chiaki suggested. He nodded toward Kosuke who was backing away toward his side of town.

"I've already made my decision, can we just drop it now?" he responded.

"Chill out, bro," Chiaki said.

The moment was awkward. Makoto didn't like awkward.

Time allowed for situations like this to occur. And stations like this were complicated. But when Makoto had the ability to alter time, to pass through it like water, she didn't mind utilizing such a tool. Even for trivial matters like this; Kosuke always needed time when it came to girls.

So, she retried it, experimented with it.

Like a dream, they were back in the field again playing baseball.

Again, the sky wasn't that bad like Chiaki claimed.

Even when it would rain, and they'd eventually get chased off the field, running through shards of water was always fun.

"It's gonna rain. . . ." Chiaki sighed.

Before Kosuke could complain, Makoto threw the ball. She smiled because baseball was her favorite pass time. Because she moved through time, simply because she wanted.

Maybe time wasn't still, or an element.

Maybe time was simply energy. Either way, she'd find the answer, maybe she'd find it when she used her ability to relive yesterday's karaoke session again.