Soon enough, we arrived. We saw that there were already people waiting. Some were eating their packed lunches and some were walking back and forth. Others were walking and talking the afternoon sun. Everyone was having a great day.
Shouta offered to buy our lunch and he even asked me to pick a spot where we could sit and watch the dolphins as soon as the show would start. When we sat down, I was looking at how the set-up of the show was: With a long, orange ball-rope that extended round the perimeter. On the left, there was the stage, presumably where the hosts will talk and have their show before the main spectacle. There was a backdrop of cartoon dolphins with the title "Amazing Dolphin Dance Show". Music was playing, the speakers were great to listen as the bass of each beat boomed and left some, or most people dancing.
"Let's eat!" someone beckoned from behind. It was Shouta and he had our lunch in his hands and arms. I thought it was too sweet of him to buy these. He even bought fried chicken dumplings with egg and rice. It was one of my favourite meals. And he even let someone bring in our drinks: Strawberry Jelly juice and a Blueberry Jelly juice. Shouta-kun was, indeed adorable.
"Thank you, Shouta-kun." I said. And he smiled.
Unfortunately I felt I had to go to the bathroom and so I had to ask if I could leave him for a few minutes. He didn't hesitate to say he was okay. He said he would wait for me so we could eat together.
I walked and arrived at the nearest portable toilet. There were two girls in front of me so I had to wait. The other lane was for the men.
A voice called out. It was distinctively familiar. And it wasn't Shouta nor any of my classmates in the university. I wasn't so sure, so I looked around for that person who called out my name.
He called out again. He wasn't in the line nor in the crowd. Then, I saw him, he was sitting in the sand, fixing what seemed to be his aqua shoes.
I couldn't believe it.
With light silvery hair and a bit tanned skin and a toned body. He was wearing navy blue top and bit high-knee swim wear.
Saeki Teru. One of the most popular students during middle school in Hanegasaki High. He also was a dedicated and cool waiter in their café called Sangosho, which was near the lighthouse. I used to go there often because I loved their coffee and cake and Saeki and I would have occasional talks when he wasn't busy taking orders.
Although during our last year, he wasn't in the final students' ball and didn't see him either during graduation. Because before graduation, I got a note in my table saying that he wouldn't be able to come. Later on did I find out from friends that he went overseas where his parents were. They said he was sad to leave but that he had to. As if he was sad about something, or someone… Someone who may have broken his heart.
But now it seemed he was in Japan staying for a couple of days? Weeks? I wonder if he was staying here: womdering whether he was on a vacation or he decided to stay for good.
Also, he has changed a bit: his body a bit lean, and his hair a bit longer than before. Truly he has grown and changed.
"Good thing you remember me. I thought you forgot about me," he said as he was wearing his aqua shoes to his left foot. He then stood up and bowed to greet me. I bowed, too.
"Of course I remember you! How have you been?" I had to ask how he was after years of not seeing each other.
He told me he had gone to his parents in the Hawaii and there he worked in the Amusement park as caretaker of the Aquatics section. Soon enough, friends found out he was a good swimmer and surfer so he transferred jobs to surf instructor. Saeki had friends including some of the crew in the Dolphin Dance Show. He was, then, asked if he could come help with the event and supervision. All expenses were paid to him and to the crew for their expertise and dedication.
"I was so thrilled to come back here since it has been a while… Three years…" Saeki said fixing his hair. Long in length but it was still in its silvery elegance.
"Yes! Back in middle school, we never knew why you suddenly left. We knew it was an emergency or something. That you had to go with your parents," I said.
"Yeah, well honestly I also had my reasons back then," said Saeki. He looked down and grinned like he remembered his last few weeks in Hanegasaki, remembering something. "Days and years in Hanegasaki High… Would never trade it for anything…"
"I agree," I said. I also noticed that I was keeping too long and Shouta-kun must be waiting for me. "Oh, listen, I have to go. Shouta-kun is waiting for me. I hope we can get to talk soon just to update on how we have been after these long years," I said.
"Oh…" he paused for a few seconds but then cheerfully said, "Alright, that sounds really great!". He asked me if I still had my number and I said no because I changed it. I just told him I had the same email so he could contact me from there.
We bid farewell and I literally had to run back to Shouta, hoping that he wasn't waiting too long.
"Ah, senpai. The dolphins just came out. It's about to start!" said Amachi Shouta-kun as soon as he saw me coming, and then pointing happily at the cute dolphins. I was relieved to know the dolphins and the environment kept him company while I was away talking to an old friend.
"Oh, really? Alright then let's start eating our lunch so we can watch the show!"
"Haaaaaiii!" said Shouta so cheerful. "I'm glad I am watching the dolphins with you, Hitomi."
I looked at him and smiled.
"Oh, by the way, guess who I saw while I was waiting for my turn in the portable toilet."
"Who?" asked Shouta
"Saeki Teru. He's here in Japan and you know I think we will be watching him with the dolphins!"
"No way! Saeki-senpai! Where is he?" asked Shouta looking around back and forth, left, right.
"Oh he might be in the sea. But if you want we can go to him later and greet him!" I said
Shouta nodded with joy. Suddenly someone from the speakers spoke, signalling that the show was about to start. The crowd went for an applause and made noises as they cheered for the dolphins.
While I was watching the exhibition and how great the dolphins were, there I saw Saeki at times surfing with them, helping the mammals swim in a certain direction.
It made me remember about the times I was in the coffee shop just relaxing and he would always be there to ask how I was and we would always talk about random things.