“If they surrender, then we can go home,” Ryou parroted Maria.
“Stop it already. Hey, ref!” Satoru shouted exasperatedly at Shun. Shun stood apart from us at the top of the hill gazing at the scenery. His bulldog Subaru sat quietly next to him.
“What?” he replied after a beat.
“Don’t ‘what’ me. Tell them it’s a tie.”
“Yeah, it’s a draw,” Shun said, turning back to the view.
“We’re going home then,” Reiko said and a group of them headed down the hill together because they shared boats to get to their respective villages.
“Wait, we’re not done yet.”
“I’m going, or else the copycats will get us.”
Maria and them looked unsatisfied, but the game had gradually ended.
“Saki, we should go back too,” Satoru said as I walked toward Shun.
“Aren’t you leaving?”
“Yeah,” Shun didn’t look away from the mesmerizing scenery.
“Hey, let’s go already,” Satoru said impatiently.
Shun pointed silently.
“Over there, you see it?”
He was pointing in the direction of Gold, near the border between the paddy fields and the forest.
“There, a minoshiro.”
Ever since we were young, we were taught that our eyes were more important than anything else, so we were all blessed with good vision. This time too, from hundreds of meters away, on a footpath between the fields where twilight and shadows crossed, I could discern the white shape of something moving slowly along.
“What about it? It’s not like they’re rare or anything.” Satoru’s usually calm voice was tinged with displeasure for some reason.
But I didn’t move. Didn’t want to move.
The minoshiro moved at a snail’s pace across the footpath, through the meadow and disappeared into the forest. As I traced its path, my attention turned to Shun.
I didn’t know yet the name of the emotion I felt. As I stood next to him looking at the village dyed in the light of the setting sun, my chest was filled with a sweet yet painful feeling.
Maybe this too was a fabricated scene. A dramatization made with a mix of similar episodes, sprinkled with a spice we call sentiment…
Be that as it may, these scenes still hold a special meaning for me to this day. The final memory of a life in a flawless world. A time when everything was in its place and there were no doubts about the future.
Even now, when I think of my first love, it still gives off a warm glow, like the setting sun. Even though that, and everything else would soon be swallowed by a bottomless void of sadness and emptiness.