102. Let’s end with “see you around”.

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 Violette was relieved that the ending of her first love would end much quietly than she expected. She thought it was painful, heavier and almost impossible to let go. The memories of her first love wasn’t beautiful, and she was sure they would forever be etched into her mind for the rest of her life.

 She thought the end of her dream would be bloody and scarred.

“I am sorry for all the trouble I have caused you.”

 Claudia looked at the girl in front of him, bowing apologetically and apologising profusely. He couldn’t help but think, when was it that he began to think that the way she looked straight at him was beautiful? Everytime he walked through the hallways, his eyes would unconsciously follow her figure. And when they finally stopped at her, the urge of talking with her would grow stronger.

 It was not that he was always like this. It wasn’t a feeling that haunted him so much that he couldn’t get it out of his head. He thought he had forgotten everything and it wouldn’t be a problem for him if Violette bothered him or not. And yet, it turned out to be much more troublesome than before.

“I can’t ask you to forgive me for what I did. There is no way I can say that. I just …… promise you that I will never bother you again, Claudia-sama.”

 Every word seeped into the back of his head. There were times when he longed to hear this words from her but now, he didn’t want to hear. Warning bells were ringing inside his head, telling him not to think much of it. But when he looked into her eyes, he couldn’t stop the feeling from growing. He could feel the back of his heart shrinking painfully, as if someone was squeezing it. A sweet and bitter sensation consumed his whole being.

“I know my words are not trustworthy. I don’t want you to believe me, I just want you to …… know.”

Claudia could remember the day he first invited Violette to this place, a very ordinary day that he was supposed to forgot, and a secret known only to the two of them. She was right in front of him that day as well, but many things seemed to have changed. He should have felt Violette’s obssession towards him much strongly, but for some reason, he rather felt a distance between them.

 What he gained wasn’t peace of mind when he no longer felt her feelings for him. He liked Violette as a brilliant and talented woman and also learned that her smiling face could be pretty.

 He didn’t want to know, he didn’t want to think, but he knew. The path that he took was littered with many triggers. If he had not noticed, it would have been easier. If he had realized it earlier, this day would never have come.

 But surely, if Violette had remained in love with Claudia, nothing would have ever begun.

“I believe in …….”

 Claudia wanted a reason. He wanted an excuse. He was not blamed by anyone, but if he had to say so, he wasn’t without any fault either. The tiny pride he had made him reluctant to admit that the person he was so annoyed and even disgusted by was beautiful in his eyes now. He wanted more reasons, more eyes, ears, and feet, more legitimate reasons to let Violette go.

 Like the way she stood tall. Or the way her eyes flashed lowered when she laughed. Or the way she ate her meals with good manners. The way her face scrunched up when she was actually thinking. The way she called out the name of only one person she loved, with a voice that sounded so relieved.

Claudia had been given so many reasons, but each one of them reminded him of the worthlessness of his thoughts. It wasn’t enough for him to realize that his vision and thinking were narrow.

 Should he have accepted her? Would it have made a difference if he had abandoned his pride, his fences, his reputation, and simply acted on his feelings alone? If he had done so, would he not have ended up not even being able to lose her?

 There was no way he could have done that. If he did that, it would no longer be Claudia. It was the privilege and duty of those born in this position to be proud, to listen to the outside world, and to create fences.

“I believe you and I know you are trustworthy. I already know …… that you no longer like me.”

 Yes, so this must be the right thing to do. The curtain of their first love should quietly close without anyone or anything breaking. Maybe it was the unfulfilled desire to watch through the gap for as long as possible, to give up. It wasn’t the time to think ‘why me, why her, why’. Beautiful people remained beautiful forever amidst the clamoring noise.

“Oh …… thank you, thank you.”

 Her smiling face felt as if his heart was breaking into pieces. One by one, they were piling up. No matter how much he accumulate them in the future, these feelings would never have any value, but he still wrapped each one with care and cherish it. What a funny and pitiful ending. It was the end of a man who was unaware of anything until everything that should have been in his palm slipped away. If it were a story, it would be branded as a story with a tragic ending.

(But still…)

 The buds that have sprouted, the flowers that have not yet withered, the beauty that he have come to know. None of it seemed worthless. He knew that rememberring them was important, even though it was something that was worthless to him in the past. It was hard and sad, but he couldn’t just swallow it all and laugh at how wonderful it was.

 There were no sorry, no thank you, but a little different than how other relationship ended. The most appropriate greeting for the end of two people, the end that only two people know.

“I’m glad it was you, …….”

 I’m glad it was you who I fell in love with for the first time.

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