I've lost them both
I've lost them both.
Like we hadn't lost enough already. Like leaving the digital world didn't already strip us of those we were closest with, those we shared our very selves with. Like it wasn't hard enough to deal with our parents afterwards, who didn't seem to know how to treat us after seeing us, their little babies, saving the world.
We'd gotten through. We're tough. Like Matt said, they don't call us the digidestined for nothing. We might have outlived that destiny but we gotta keep on living. Maybe our other halves were lost to us but we still had each other, and the others all understood.
At least, I thought they did.
I never had to draw on my courage as much as after I went back to being a normal kid and lost that crest. Whenever I woke up expecting to see Agumon sleeping beside me, snoring that ridiculous little lizardy snore he had... or whenever I saw a monster on TV and instinctively looked down to where my digivice should have been reacting... I called the friends I did have.
You know, they came through for me. Friendship and love, that's what kept me going. Matt and Sora. We sat through a dozen movies, went ice skating, went swimming and playing sports and just sitting around talking.
Sometimes they called me too. Sora once said I made her feel the same way Biyomon made her feel. I didn't see how but I was happy to do it. And Matt said being around me stopped him taking things too seriously. (I *think* that was a compliment?) I used to think they needed me too. Maybe they did but they outgrew it. I don't know.
I had the other digidestined and they were great but I hadn't fought with them and trusted them, respected them as completely as I had with Matt. I hadn't grown up with them, had waterfights and thrown dirt at them, hadn't practised soccer for hours with them and saved seats for them like I had with Sora.
And now, now that I finally got over being a digidestined and got used to having the total friendship of those two, it's suddenly gone. Don't take anything for granted... every time you do that, it gets taken away from you. Dragged away, and you can't even complain because it would be selfish.
It happened last weekend... I'd been home doing nothing for the last coupla weekends so I thought it'd be good to get out the house for once. I rang up Matt to see if he was doing anything.
"Nah, got nothing interesting planned," he said, "but my old man says I gotta start studying harder if I expect to get into a good high school. So my Saturday's kinda busy, sorry man."
"No problem," I said, "see you Monday!"
I hung up and automatically dialed Sora's number.
"Hi, Tai!" she said, and I grinned. She'd taken to saying that in a bit of a sing-song voice, ever since Kari heard her say it and said "Sora's a poet and she didn't know it!".
"You doing anything tomorrow?"
"Well, I was going to Matt's place to help him study," said Sora, "we'd have asked you to come except you're not in our maths class."
"Oh, no problem!" I said, "have fun with the maths!"
"Have YOU been doing any study lately?" teased Sora.
"Oh sure, been working 24/7, I'm the next Kido!" I said. It was another ongoing joke between us.
"I'm sorry Tai, I can't really chat for very long, my mom was nagging me about picking up some seeds for her."
"No problem, I won't keep you! See you Monday, Sora!"
So, no problem. I didn't care or anything. I knew my friends weren't snubbing me off or anything. They weren't like that.
Maybe it was a dumb thing to do but the next day I went jogging and I happened to go by the apartment block Matt lives in. Actually, that wasn't as contrived as it sounds - I mean, I have the worst sense of direction in the world, ending up at his place was a total accident.
So I thought, well, I won't bother them but as long as I'm here I might as well drop in and say hi. I'd gotten used to just wandering into Matt or Sora's apartments whenever I felt like it, with no fanfare, just like they'd wander into mine if they happened to be in the area or bored or wanting to talk. So, I didn't bother knocking.
I guess most people could have guessed what happened next but it really never occurred to me.
They weren't doing maths homework. There were a couple of textbooks open on a desk nearby but they weren't reading them. Instead, they were on the couch together, just sitting there. Sora had one arm slung around Matt's shoulders. Both of them looked pretty relaxed, and they were feeding each other, putting pieces of popcorn into each others' mouths.
Nothing in that was too unusual or alarming, but the way they were LOOKING at each other was what got me. Neither of them noticed me, they seemed so fascinated with looking at each other. As I watched, Matt murmured something and Sora laughed, a weird laugh, kind of muted and dazed and un-Sora-like. And they kept looking at each other.
They never looked at ME that way. Not saying I want them to or anything... I mean, that would be... weird. But this was weird too. Imagine two people you thought of as brother and sister, who you always assumed thought of each other the same way they thought of you, and that you thought of them. Imagine your surrogate brother and sister KISSING. That's... it doesn't... seem right.
Not that I saw them kiss, at least not that day. I've seen it once or twice since. But you know, even I could tell they were into each other.
They told me next Monday at school. Said they were furthering their relationship, and it didn't diminish their friendship with me or anything, things wouldn't change, etc etc. That wasn't really true.
They were kinda nervous about telling me. I wonder if I could have made them change my minds, if I'd decided to be selfish. I dunno. They did look pretty set on each other. I still find it weird.
But they did say they'd only just started going out.
It was a relief to hear that... at least I hadn't been completely missing something. But after that they didn't bother hiding anything.
In our French class Sora kept scribbling words like 'aimer', 'adorer' and 'cherie', as well as some I didn't know (I'm not as good at French as she is) and later when I asked to borrow some paper, I saw that one of her pages was full of her practised signatures, "Sora Ishida". The Sora I knew wasn't that emotional or stupid. Maybe love messes up people's minds.
And Matt, who usually shows as much emotion in public as a rock, took to waiting by Sora's locker, and staring after her with this kind of half-witted look on his face. Okay so him looking half-witted isn't so unusual, hahah! But still... I don't get why they change just 'cos they're supposed to be going out.
News spreads kind of fast among the digidestined. The others probably noticed that I was a bit shocked or annoyed or depressed or something. In other words, not laughing my head off, cracking jokes and saying stupid things. I dunno if they discussed it or something but I do know they all tried to cheer me up in their own way.
Joe invited me over to help me study. Actually, most of us go to him if we have homework problems, except Izzy who never has any. Izzy might be smarter but that doesn't help if you can't understand what he's talking about... anyway, Joe's good at explaining things, but right in the middle of explaining why gravity didn't work the other way if you stood on your head, he suddenly went off on a tangent.
"In fact, the actual nature of gravity is such that... well, you know, the real gravity of the situation won't amount to much I'll bet. You guys are still young..."
"Joe, what are you talking about?!"
"Well, you and Sora have been friends for a really long time. Sometimes it's hard to start up something more with someone you've been friends with since you were little. But romances don't usually last too long at your age, so you really shouldn't feel too threatened by Matt."
"Threatened by Matt? Start up something more with Sora? What on earth are you talking about?! What do Sora and Matt have to do with physics?"
"I don't know... I was just thinking..."
"Well, you're thinking way wrong, Joe. I'm perfectly happy for Sora and Matt!"
Well, we both knew THAT was a lie. Joe just shrugged.
"Well, have it your way. But you know, whenever I've got something really lying on my chest sometimes it helps to study hard."
"Me, study hard? Hey Joe, never picked you for a comedian!"
"Yeah, laugh, but you know what I mean. You might find doing things helps."
Then he went back to the homework. When I got home later, with a minimal amount of new physics knowledge in my head, Mom said that Izzy had rang. I rang him back and he said that we should play soccer. Joe had been weird before and now I was definitely suspicious because Izzy had given up soccer a while ago, and certainly hadn't played with *me* in at least a year.
But I thought of what Joe said so I went. And it was good to know I still had my other friends, and they hadn't changed so much really. Weird to see Izzy playing sport instead of doing something intellectual or something. But overall, maybe it wasn't a great idea 'cos he was out of practise and I kept comparing his playing to Sora's, who'd always been the one I played soccer with.
Mimi was the next to target me, offering to let me carry her books for her. After all this time I still don't understand her. I think she thought she was doing me a favour. But then, you know, I guess we haven't really hung out much at school. Maybe she's embarassed to be seen with me.
Actually, now that I think about it that's probably exactly it. She thought she was doing me a favour by letting me be seen with her. Joe told me later that some guys queue up to let Mimi carry her books for them. (Some guys are weird...)
So I guess her heart was in the right place although I, just as kindly as the offer had been made, told her not to be lazy and to carry her own books. She threw one of them at me. I caught it and threw it back. It hit her in the face and then she threw all the rest of her books at me. I ended up carrying them as an apology!
I don't know about TK, I think he missed the whole thing. I don't think I've even seen him all week, in fact.
Kari, she's a cute kid. She kept giving me things to try to make me feel better. It was like, every time I went in my room there was something else on my bed. A piece of chocolate, a tulip she'd picked, a drawing of Agumon. She even tried to give me her favourite stuffed toy, the white cat that kinda looks like Gatomon, but I wouldn't take it of course.
But the two people who I wanted to cheer me up, I think they didn't even notice. That stinks. It makes me mad. They were once Friendship and Love, and is that reserved only for each other suddenly?! I bet their crests wouldn't react any more.
The real joke is that everyone thinks I'm jealous of Matt, like, that I wanted to ask Sora out myself. Even my parents think that.
Guess nobody knows me as well as they thought they did. The closest anyone came to understanding was when Kari said that she'd always be my sister even if Sora was having a vacation from the position.
I mean, Sora's always been... Sora.
She was my sister for so many years. I waited with her, two impatient toddlers, when Kari was being born, and Sora said she'd always wanted a little sister and now she had one. We shared a lot, like real siblings, so we couldn't see why Kari wasn't the sister of both of us.
I remember when I was kinda nervous about soccer tryouts and Sora was there, totally calm as usual, and I started babbling what-if-I'm-not-good-enough and what-if-I-mess-up and she was trying to talk reasonably but finally I ended up making both of us totally panicked.
I remember when we got to grade 2 and we got put in different classes and Sora said she was going to boycott (well, she called it a 'girlcott' but hey, she was only 8...) and I threw my pencil tin at the teacher and said it wasn't fair and we got into a heap of trouble because Sora went and hid in a cupboard for about four hours and I was really playing up until my teacher was glad to get rid of me. We ended up getting ourselves switched and then we sat next to each other all year.
I remember Sora teaching me how to make fox-tails out of tennis balls and plastic bags. We made so many because we kept aiming them badly and they ended up over a fence or in the lake, or one time, on someone's head. We kind of stopped after that.
I remember when the teacher took Sora's lunch away because she'd been throwing chicken pieces at a boy in our class that neither of us liked. Sora hated eating chicken, she said it felt weird for some reason to be eating birds. I got all mad and said that if she was going to take Sora's lunch she should take mine too 'cos I wasn't going to eat if she couldn't. So the teacher did... then I realised I could have shared my lunch with both of us and the boy Sora had been throwing her food at tipped half a chocolate milkshake over my head. Things got kind of messy after that...
I remember that I was so glad to have her in the digital world with me. I felt like I had to impress everyone else - and I don't think I did a good job at first - but she knew what I was really like. It seemed appropriate that we should both be taken to digiworld together. She was never bothered about getting angry about me, and she kept travelling with me all the time.
I remember how helpless I felt whenever she cried. Sora was always so calm, so strong, and even when she was mad at her mother or upset with a classmate or feeling frustrated, she didn't cry like so many girls did, she just got mad or plotted revenge with me or ignored it or something. She told me once that she didn't want to cry and be weak like normal girls. I never thought of Sora as being a 'not normal' girl. She was my friend.
I haven't known Matt nearly as long; I didn't grow up with him like I did with Sora but my mom said the three of us used to play together a few years ago, like when Matt lived in Highton View Terrace with the rest of us. When I got to know of him a bit better, at school, I didn't like him much. He was one of those aloof guys who tried to keep a cool image and looked at people like me - "generous with emotion" Izzy once described me as - as kind of weird, or wild, or, I dunno.
Digiworld changed that, of course. All those conflicts, secretly trying to impress each other, because both of us, despite our differences, felt that respect had to be earned - we don't respect easily, we gotta be impressed. In the end though, we were as strong as each other, total equals. After we became retired digidestined, we naturally kept each other's company a lot more although I'm so different from Gabumon and he's so different from Agumon. We're not substitutes for our best, best friends but you know, you can hide a lost love with a living one, at least for a while.
Well, I dunno... he showed he was a pretty good friend though. It feels like he just threw that away to stare at Sora... even if it's just for a week, feels like they forgot me.
That's the reason I hate it how they're sneaking off to be together, saying "Tai, could you leave us alone for a coupla minutes?" or ignoring me to go off on their own. I know it's not 'cos they're trying to be mean or something. I think everyone acts like they do when they're going out - focused on each other, forgetting everyone else.
Anyway, it's easier to let people think that I have a crush on her... nobody would believe me if I said otherwise, and anyway... I don't wanna seem selfish. I don't want to share my two best friends with anyone, even each other. Maybe especially with each other.
I still believe in my friends. Even if it does last longer than Joe thinks, and it could very well... even I, not a romantic bone in my body, knows that love is best founded on friendship, and maybe that's why those two with their main attributes, fit together.
I'll wait and see. Maybe some day I'll be happy for them. Maybe, if I have to, I could even find friends to help cover that friendship I feel like I've lost, just like their friendship helped me get over Agumon. But still, if I can't trust them, I can't trust anyone.
I know I'm overreacting. Taking a small thing too much to heart, but...
It still feels like I've lost them both.