Part 107: Coco's Route - True End - Part 12
TrackTraum In Der Dunkelheit
You grabbed my shoulders and shook me.
"What's the matter with you? Kid? You can't possibly have forgotten what year it is?"
Her words made no impression on me.
(What on earth....)
My mouth was dry, and the palm of my clenched fist was drenched with sweat.
(First of all....)
I began to think things through. The You that I knew...the You standing in front of me, Yubisei'aki'kana, was born on 22nd of September, 2015. Her mother was Yubisei'haru'kana.
That meant....This was now 2034, 17 years after Yubiseiharukana's time in 2017....No, but wait....What about the date on that mail? It had been received on 02/07/19. My voice came out strangled.
"It's 2034 now....Yukie died 15 years ago....Which would have been in 2019....But the date on that says on...'02/07/19'...."
"Oh, that? You were worried about that?"
"Well, I can understand why you might make that mistake....Do you see? The date on that mail was written in the German style. Not the Japanese order of year/month/day, but month/day/year."
"So are you telling me that....That wasn't the July 19, 2002....It was February, 7 2019...?"
"Any other questions?"
I shook my head weakly, and trudged out of the Security Office.
(No, it's probably better that I don't. That's better for You in the long run.)
But first, I had to take care of my own problems. There was somewhere I had to go.
Video: Coco Power to Dissolve
"What did you bring me here for?"
"I wanted to...talk to you guys alone...."
Tsugumi was silent. She seemed to be afraid of something. Tsugumi perhaps already sensed what I was going to say. Her eyes gazed around, wildly.
"Is it important?"
"Yes, very. It's something I don't want the others to hear....Wait, I don't mind if they hear it, but I wanted you and Tsugumi to know first. So that's why I asked you to come over here."
"Hmmmm.. So, what's so important?"
Hadn't Sara noticed anything? Her blank, unguarded expression....She had to have noticed something. The May 1st, after Sara met Tsugumi for the first time, she had looked totally dazed.
Surely, Sara had sensed something. To be standing there calmly, she had to be in denial. Reason was telling her that what she suspected couldn't be true. The coincidence of meeting her mother again was probably too much for Sara to believe.
"Well, are you going to say anything? Could you hurry up...?"
Sara urged me to get to the point. Tsugumi said nothing, but her breathing seemed a little rough.
"Sara? Could you lend me your pendant and lighter for a moment?"
She took them out of her pocket and gave them to me.
I struck a flame, illuminating the pendant.
This was...the real Takeshi Kuranari....
Tsugumi kept her head down, refusing to look up at the pendant. Her brow was furrowed, and she was biting her lip. Her arms pressed tightly to her sides....Her clenched fists were shaking.
I whispered to her.
"You've seen this pendant before...haven't you?"
"It's Takeshi. The real Takeshi Kuranari is right here!"
The moment I said these words, Tsugumi's eyes flew open. Stripped of expression, she wore a face like a mask...only her eyes burned with a fierce light.
"W-wait just a minute! What are you talking about? Takeshi...you mean Takeshi!? Takeshi's...the one in this pendant!?"
"Umm, no...The Takeshi we know isn't really 'Takeshi.' I think he's lying to us."
"The real Takeshi....The real Takeshi Kuranari....Is your and my....Father...."
Tsugumi closed her eyes. She breathed out a long sigh. I could see the tension leave Tsugumi's body.
"Hey, what's this all about? Explain what's happening...."
"All right. But before I do, I want to check something...."
I looked above my head. The sky was full of stars. The single whale twisted and floated through space.
(Whale, where do you go all by yourself? Will you meet someone special one day?)
I extinguished the lighter. I gripped the pendant and the lighter in my hand. Tsugumi's outline was hazy in the dark....
She was....our....long sought-after....
When I called out to her, warm tears ran down my cheeks.
"You are our mother...aren't you? Sara's and my mother....Mother....You are, aren't you...?"
Tsugumi slowly opened her eyes. She looked at Sara and me. I could see the tears in her eyes.
"Mother, please say something....I don't blame you...for anything....I've waited for you...for so long....I've been waiting for you...."
I screamed at her. Sara clung to my arm. Shaking her head, she buried her face in my chest. Her thin body was shaking.
"Don't just stand there, say something!"
Holding Sara tightly, I stepped forward.
"No....I'm not...your mother...."
"Don't you lie to me! I know everything! Seventeen years ago, there was another accident just like this one, here at LeMU. You and Takeshi became a couple...."
Tsugumi was crying huge tears. Tsugumi tried to stop them. Her breath was ragged, and came out in hiccups. Her face twisted as she struggled to keep control of her emotions. Tears welled in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks.
"Yes...that's right....You're right....I gave birth to you....But...I have no right...to be called 'Mother'....You have...a real mother...don't you? Someone who took care of you...? I...I...wasn't able to protect you both....I couldn't take care of you....I pretty much abandoned you....I left you...and walked away. I'm terrible...And I don't expect you to be able to forgive me....That's why I...I'm not your mother....Please...don't call me 'mother'. Please don't...."
Tsugumi put her head in her hands, and sobbed.
At that moment...
Following her lead, I clung to Tsugumi and cried as well. The first thing I noticed was her familiar smell. I breathed in her scent deeply.
Covered in tears, wallowing in the warmth, I felt as if I had regained everything I had ever lost. The three of us held each other tightly, relishing the touch of one another, entwined our hearts became one. We were no longer our individual selves, but one collective identity. There were no boundaries between us. My whole being was filled with warmth...Beside me, Sara's cheeks were wet with tears. Tsugumi was soft, and her skin was sweet and sticky...
I recalled the long-forgotten memories of my mother's smell. It wasn't exactly the same feeling as nostalgia. It was primitive, something instinctive...a sweetness that had been wired directly into my brain.
As if in response, Tsugumi pulled us closer, gripping us with a fierce determination. She buried her face in Sara's and my hair, drew us close, and stroked the back of our heads.
"I'm sorry....I'm so, so sorry...."
Tsugumi's voice was choked up.
"I can't ask you...to forgive me....I...I....I never...once forgot about you....All...this...time....I have wanted to see you....Find you...and apologize...."
"It's alright....Mama....You don't need to apologize....I...it's enough just to...be with you..."
As we held onto each other, we understood everything. Sara and I accepted everything, understood and forgave. Reasons weren't important.
At that moment, a quiet peace filled us...It was enough. We didn't require anything else. I relaxed, and leaned against my mother. She was warm. I closed my eyes, and was intoxicated by her warmth.
A soft breeze under the May sunshine....Peace....It was like floating on the calm ocean....Swaying comfortably....Cuddled up together....before I knew it I had stopped crying...All I could hear was...just our calm breathing and...My mother's heartbeat....
Thump, thump...Thump, thump...Thump, thump.
I was alive. Or maybe I had just been born.
Thump, thump...Thump, thump...Thump, thump.
Everything was affirmed and accepted and forgiven. There was no me, nor Sara, nor Tsugumi....There was only one life connected together....
Just one single soul.