“The moon looks beautiful tonight.”
His words made me turn towards the lapis lazuli-coloured sky which was partly obscured by the tall buildings of the city. Through the windshield I could see the brilliant glow of the white moon; it was a sixteen day old moon.
“It really is beautiful,” I agreed. “The last time we went to Yokohama, it was raining so I’m surprised it’s so clear today.”
He nodded, and gave a brief glance my way.
“What is it?”
“Nothing. I was just thinking how beautiful you are.”
“Well, aren’t you the smooth-talker.”
I couldn’t think of what else to say. I wanted to make a light-hearted joke, but nothing came to mind.
Instead, I closed my eyes, inhaled and glanced once again his way. He was gripping the handle, and his side profile looked slightly cool to the touch.
He had invited me to go to Yokohama with him once more, and I had given a passing comment that I wanted to take a ride in the Jaguar again, and my wish had been granted. That was all it was, and yet I couldn’t help but feel a distance between us today.
It may just be because he was wearing a suit that day. Perhaps he wanted to put on an air of sophisticated composure today because he was wearing such formal wear so unlike what he usually wore. That must be it, I convinced myself.
The car switched to express highway Wangan line, and headed in the direction of the Rainbow Bridge. On the left hand side, I could see the Tokyo Tower and moon. To the right of the tower, the moon hung in the sky as if it was trying to escape the sharp, knife-like edge of the tip of the tower.
I could see the massive Ferris wheel in Odaiba. The deep blue neon lights drew numerous lines as if drawn from a ruler which flashed in the night sky. The mesmerizing pattern that floated in the darkness gave off the impression of huge snow crystals.
We crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Everywhere I looked, there was light. The buildings were swallowed up by darkness, and replaced by light in its wake; it was as if we had wandered into a different dimension.
The city is beautiful, I thought. It was the gathering place for all that was artificial. They were brought together, and enveloped the world in a gentle light. But when it came down to it, it was a harsh beauty. And although it didn’t go hand-in-hand with a life that didn’t meet its perfect standards, it was undeniable in its beauty.
Shougo continued to drive in silence. The silence made it feel all the more as if our feelings were being deeply drawn together. So much so that it was almost suffocating.
The road was empty. The flash of the red tail lamp of the car driving in front filled my field of vision, and as it sped ahead, it left the traces of a distorted long red line.
In the distance, I saw the Tsurumi Tsubasa Bridge. As the name would suggest, The bridge was skilfully shaped to resemble wings. On the left side was the ocean. There were numerous lights from the containers that were piled up high at the wharf. They were the lights from the crane trucks… It didn’t feel lonely, but at the same time, there wasn’t a feeling of liveliness. It was just a silent crowd of light in the middle of a big city.
“You’re awfully quiet today,” I said. “It’s as if I’m going out for a drive for the first time with someone I just met.”
“Yes, you are. Is something wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong. I’m just savouring this moment with you. Is there something wrong with that?”
“No, there’s nothing wrong with that… it’s just… you’re not like you’re usual self, that’s all.”
He didn’t reply. After a brief silence, he asked: “Do you remember the first time we went to Yokohama in this car?”
“Of course. It was on a rainy day in December.”
“That time, I talked about the bodies of those who had drowned.”
“Bodies of those who had drowned?”
“Yeah. The story of how my friend who was a scuba diver spotted a man and woman at the bottom of the sea side-by-side, swaying in the waters.”
“Oh,” I said. “I remember that. We said something about how that would be kind of nice, right?”
“I was just wondering if we would be like that if we sank to the bottom of the sea.”
“Well when that happens, let’s hold hands so we won’t be separated.”
The Bay Bridge came immediately after this bridge. The view of the sea could be seen in flashes. It was a quiet, dark sea coloured by the lights of the city.
I glanced at Shougo, who held the steering wheel in a tight grip. The clean-cut features of his side profile which so resembled her father sent a warm rush through my heart.
I reached over to gently place a hand over the hand that held the steering wheel; his hand felt cold.
“The next time we see a view of the sea, I might just turn the steering wheel with all my might,” I joked. “If you let your guard down, the handle might turn to the left and the car will flip and plunge into the ocean. What would you do if that happened?”
“I wish you’d do that.”
His voice was so low that I almost didn’t hear him.
“Are you serious?”
“Yes. There would be nothing happier for me than to die with you.”
There was something welling to the surface. It was a feeling that burned as it came to surface that made me no longer me but was trying to change me into someone different.
But I replied to his comment in a teasing manner, “Why thank you. I wouldn’t be wholly averse to it seeing as how it’s coming from my favourite brother in the whole wide world.”
The car was speeding across the bridge at one hundred and thirty kilometres an hour. I still had a smile on my face as I let go of his hand, turned my body to face him, and tried to get closer to him.
The thought of wanting to kiss him crossed my mind, but that would have been nothing more than an aimless action on my part; I felt a feeling akin to happiness that made my heart dance from his words.
I tried to tell him about what I was going to do from now on, about us, about how I might be working at Misao’s law office, about how I was going to live an honest life working and saving money, about how I was going to take after Misao and try to cook meals for myself, about how I was going to cut back on taking Halcion and drinking too much, about how I was going to put more effort into interacting with as many people as possible, and about how I wanted to continue to be as close to him as we were now, going to movies together, going to vacation with him and friends, introducing each other to the other’s friends.
I also wanted to tell him about how I wanted to go visit our parents’ graves together, and about how even if he settled down and found a full time job after graduation, I wanted for us to work out a way for us to still meet on a regular basis.
Not only that, but I wanted to tell him about how I wanted to read books, about how I wanted to live a normal life, about how I might just save every penny to buy myself a car, and about how he would be the first one I’d invite out for a drive when that happened…
But everything ended before I could tell him any of this.
The steering wheel of the Jaguar that was speeding down Bay Bridge was suddenly cut to the left.
I didn’t scream. There was no fear, and I didn’t feel the force of the crash that I must have felt. I didn’t even fully register what was happening.
The last thing I saw were the countless shards of glass from the windshield as it flew in the sky, and the quiet, black waters that rushed towards me at frightening speed.
The vast number of artificial lights sparkled and created whirls on the surface. The entire universe was before me.
The beautiful car that held Shougo and I crashed into the side rail with full force, and with that, it plunged into the depths of the dark, dark water.
[ THE END ]