On the night I met Suzushima Atsushi, it was raining. The droplets came down in wet masses, somehow managing to dodge my umbrella and get into my hair. I was wetter than I even thought possible as I moved down that desolate Tokyo sidewalk. This week had been complete and utter hell, and today was no exception. The rain, the wretchedness of this sleazy city, and the complete hopelessness of the very air was enough to make me wish I had never been born. It sounds pathetic, but I was desperate. I was drowning in the very essence of human despair, unable to see outside of my own selfish box. Not afraid of hurting anyone else; all I could think of was stopping the hurt I felt myself.
The only comfort came from the fact that I knew it would all be over soon. As soon as I reached my small, crappy apartment I knew that the sweet solace of those wonderful pills waited for me, an entire bottle just for me. The thought of death made me shiver even more, but it was a warm barrier against the rain. That one, final April 11th walk was hell for me, but knowing that I would never pass these dismal gray buildings again was some kind of a comfort, and I carried it against my chest like an infant I cherished deeply.
The only stop in my rampage of depression came at a uniform apartment building, gray and peeling with weak light in its windows. Outside, there was a gathering of emergency vehicles, the bright rainbow of their lights cutting out into the darkening gray world of the rainy springtime Tokyo. People crowded around, hushed whispers mingling with the crackling of police radios. I felt compelled to stop, moving to the very back of the crowd, more thinly populated. The presence of people close to me made me feel vaguely ill. I squinted through the rainy haze toward the front of the tightly knit circle of spectators.
"What's going on?" I asked offhandedly, flicking my eyes toward the only other person who stood this far back, avoiding the crowds. The tall blonde lowered his eyes down toward me, his face grim.
"Someone passed away in this building," he informed me, nodding gravely and then slowly turning his tequila-colored eyes back to the building, though he watched me out of the corner of his eye as though he expected me to speak.
"That's terrible," I figured I might as well humor him. I was still capable of feeling sadness at the death of another, though I would be willingly walking into the arms of death not an hour's time from now. I turned my eyes back to the scene, though I watched him out of the corner of my eye as he watched me. There was no way I was going to let him see me when I couldn't see him. He noticed, and gave a tiny, bizarre laugh. I was about to call him on it when the cause of all the commotion was carried out of the building on a stretcher, covered with a white sheet. I was relieved not to see blood soaking through. Blood made me feel faint, and this was not something I needed at the moment.
"They said it was a peaceful death," he reassured me, turning his tequila-colored eyes on me once more, "The young man died in the arms of one of the medics," I felt helpless under that stare, and I squirmed a bit, much to my own dismay. "Do you live around here-" he gave me a look indicating that he wanted to know my name, and I sighed. This conversation was becoming a bit too friendly for my taste. But yet again, I found myself humoring him.
"Takizawa Yuki," my name slipped unbidden from my mouth, and I was furious with myself for some reason. You shouldn't become friendly with people when you're planning suicide! the voice in my head reminded me, and I shook it away, irritated. I watched him process my very non-gender-descript name (which, coupled with my androgynous face, always made for interesting reactions from those trying to guess my gender). But he didn't seem to be falling into my trap, and I sighed. I gave him a rudely expectant look, and he interpreted it correctly.
"It's nice to meet you, Yuki-san. I'm Suzushima Atsushi," the stunning man brushed a strand of hair from his face. It was dry, and I was a bit jealous at the fact that his umbrella seemed to be working. There wasn't a drop of water on him anywhere. "And you never answered me as to whether you live around here."
"Unless you plan on stalking me, it doesn't really matter," I didn't mean to sound as rude as I did. I was just tired of him and his oddness. He was calling me by my first name only five minutes or so after we'd met. Plus, his light features made him look foreign, but he had the distinct speech pattern and roll to his voice of those I knew who had lived in Tokyo all their lives, myself included. "Do you live around here then?"
"I do. I live in this building, actually," he gestured up to the scene to the death before us. "But everyone was evacuated so they wouldn't get into the hallways and cause trouble for the medics. People in this building can be a bit troublesome," he smiled.
Like you, you mean. I sighed, watching the ambulance as it moved away from the scene and the chatter around us grew louder when freed from the pressure of the death. The crowd began to thin, and various tenants were filing back into the building. Relief rushed over me as I turned to leave. "I guess I'd better get going now," I told him, not apologetically. As I moved away, I felt his hand latch onto my arm, holding me firmly in place. My eyes slowly trailed up to his face, incredulous. "Can I help you?"
"Wait, Yuki-san…" he paused, and I gave him a look. "I don't… want to go back into the building just yet. I was wondering if you would like to have tea with me? Or coffee? Or both?" he was just hopeless. The thing was, he didn't sound desperate, either, or pathetic. He sounded like he genuinely wanted to have a drink with me.
"I like coffee," I told him, but it wasn't a yes, "Are you asking me on a date?"
He smiled, unflappable. "No, I'm asking you to have a cup of coffee with me. Do there really have to be connotations of romance behind everything, Yuki-san?"
I was more than a bit amused by this, and I almost laughed at him. "Of course there has to be… people are desperate these days. But yes, I'll have coffee with you," and it was about that moment when I wondered what in the world I was getting myself into. I had suddenly agreed to have a drink with some stranger (some bizarre stranger) who I had only just met, when I had plans to off myself tonight. It was not a good situation.
"Wonderful," he beamed, "Though I hope you don't see any romantic connotations behind my saying so," his liquid amber eyes were glittering with amusement, and I knew he was making a spectacle of me. I sighed and turned my chocolate eyes away from him.
"If we're going to have coffee, let's have coffee," I demanded, and Suzushima actually laughed. In the darkness, he did not look nearly as foreboding as any other would with long shadows cast across his face by the glaring street lamps overhead. I found myself trusting him despite everything.
To be updated soon…. 8D