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Romance Drama

Huff… huff… huff…


I cannot lose her now. I won’t stop. I cannot stop. I cannot get tired now of all times. I saw her after 10 years since middle school. I have so many questions for her. But she looked different from how I remember her. Even if it turns out to be someone else I won’t stop before I know it for sure.


A young man is running in a neighbourhood chasing after the glimpse of a girl. She seemed to look like the girl whom he had proposed to in the first year of middle school. They were good friends at that time. He asked her to reply when the cherry tree in their school blossoms. But unfortunately, due to weak health he had to be hospitalized for a month and when he returned things weren’t as he had thought them to be. The girl had transferred schools. She didn’t only leave the school but the city as well. He wasn’t able to get in contact with her ever since then.


After catching a glimpse of her in the crowd of Christmas celebration he didn't think twice before chasing her. When he finally found her in a park, which he didn't even know existed before, she stood there. She had a faint smile on her face. She still looked pretty in his eyes though it was night time and there wasn't much light to make out the details of her appearance. She was wearing a traditional kimono, which was sort of unexpected. Her hair were long but appeared unkempt. Her eyes weren’t shining as he remembered as well. They appeared to be quite distressed. After catching up with her, both of them stood there staring at each other for quite some time.


She was never the type of person to chatter nonstop and neither was he. Some time passed and she finally started to leave the park and went towards the street. He kept following her and before he knew it, they had reached his apartment building. Both entered the building and he asked if she had shifted into the recently occupied apartment and she ran away ahead of him into the building. He was so happy to see after such a long time. when he returned to his apartment he first went to the balcony and as he had expected she was also in hers looking towards him. They both kept meeting for a few days but it was always him who did the talking. Maybe something happened to her due to which she isn't able to speak, an accident or some kind of trauma. He didn't ask and chose to wait for her to open up.


One day his colleagues came to him and asked why he hasn't been going out for a drink after work with them recently and he told them that he has to meet someone whom he came across not too long ago and that she's always waiting for him outside the office. But they told him that they never saw anyone with him because one day they looked down from the office window to see if he had finally found the girl of his life. But they didn’t see anyone, he was alone. He was surprised to know this and when it was time for him to finish he looked down from the office window, and there she was, standing and waiting for him but when he asked his colleagues to look again, they said they don't see anything. In order to not raise any suspicion in their minds about himself that how he has always been overly sensitive to the so-called paranormal beings, he said that he was joking with them and ended the topic with a laugh. Though it didn’t end but start in his mind from this point onwards.


When he came down he had a serious look on his face and couldn't keep it in anymore. He asked her who she is? Is she really the girl he thought she was? The faint smile from her face disappeared. She didn't say a word. He was getting more and more annoyed and irritated. He left her behind and went straight to his home. After reaching his home the first thing he did was to draw the curtains. He went to bed and after turning and tossing in his bed a million times he was finally able to sleep. Though he didn't get much sleep last night it was no excuse to miss work. He left his bed and got ready to leave for work. When he came down to the street he saw her standing before him and looking towards him with hopeful eyes.


A night’s sleep had helped him to clear his mind and made him able to look at things from a different perspective. He shook his head trying to get his thoughts in order and the first thing he asked her was if she was still alive and thankfully she nodded. He was really relieved to know this but she still looked distressed, so he again asked about her purpose for coming to him. But she didn't say anything, as he had expected. He asked if she can't speak then can she write instead but she shook her head in negative response. He said then if he asks a question can she reply by either nodding in affirmation and shaking in negation, and she agreed to it. 


After thinking a lot, he asked very selected questions to help him figure out the situation. Lastly, he asked if she wanted to take him to some place and the reply was affirmative. He couldn't ask her where it was since she can't speak but at least he might get to meet the actual person he has been longing to meet all these years. He asked her if she will show him the way where she wanted him to go and she gave a faint smile in affirmation. He went to the office to ask for a week long leave since he didn't know how much long it will take for him to go and come back.


Next day, they started on their journey to an unknown destination. They changed a number of trains and buses. Where they reached was a valley he had never been to before. It was a very remote area. There weren't many people around and not many modern equipments were at disposal. When he turned his head towards her to ask about which direction to go from hereon, she was nowhere to be seen. He was suddenly overwhelmed with many different emotions but had to keep all his confusion to himself. He asked around using her surname, which was from her maternal side but no one knew about any family with such name. While he was asking around if anyone else knew something, then he heard people talking about the misfortune of a priest’s family and a shrine maiden who was hospitalized and had no family member left to care for her. When the priest's name came in the conversation he realized that it was her father's name and came to know that she belonged to a priest family. He never knew about what type of family she came from and assumed that her family was just like his. 


When he asked the people for more information, they first hesitated to disclose information about anyone’s family to a complete stranger but when he assured them that he meant no harm and was looking for a friend, they agreed to tell him about the family. They told him that the priest’s wife left him not long after their marriage for unknown reasons but he never divorced her. At that time they had no child. But he never married again and continued his duties at the shrine. Many years passed and one day, he brought home a teenage girl with him introducing her as his daughter and told everyone that his wife had passed away so his daughter will now live with him in the shrine. Then he began to train his daughter the duties of a shrine maiden and she took up several duties at the shrine including assistance of shrine functions such as the sale of sacred goods (including amulets known as omamori, paper talisman known as ofuda, wood tablets known as ema and among other items), daily tidying of the premises, and performing the sacred kagura dances on certain occasions. She continued her education in a local school and stopped after graduating from high school. But two years ago the priest passed away as well leaving her alone in the big shrine with all its responsibilities. Then few days ago while performing a ritual suddenly an earthquake came and the shrine being very old couldn't survive the disaster and collapsed like many other buildings in the village. A lot of people died and many got severely injured in that disaster. Though they were able to find most of the people but some were still missing. He then remembered watching the news about it. He asked about the hospital in which she was hospitalized and went there as fast as his feet could take him there.


He asked about her room number at the hospital’s reception desk but he wasn't given any details since he wasn't a family member and his appearance also made it obvious that he wasn't from this village. But then an elderly person asked to tell him since everyone was looking for their loved ones during such tough time. He thanked that person with a deep bow and went towards the room. When he reached at the door he was reluctant for a minute trying to mentally prepare himself before entering. She was lying on the bed and was connected to ventilator. It was really her. He held her hand which was cold compared to his and before he knew it tears were flowing down his cheeks. But why did they have to meet like this. 


A nurse came in to check upon her and when he asked her about the chances of her survival she told to be prepared for the worst. As she was about to leave the room she heard some mumbling sounds coming from the patient and at once went to call for the doctor. He was relieved that she had opened her eyes which was supposedly a good sign. She was trying to say something but he couldn't hear properly so he brought his ear near her. She gathered all her strength and said "Thank you". As soon as she uttered those two words all her strength left her body, her eyes were shut and only a faint smile was left on her face as if she was satisfied to finally have him with her in the final moments of her life. It appeared like she didn't want to leave before seeing him and was asking God to fulfil her last wish. He fell on the floor as if all his strength had been drained from his body and couldn’t stop himself from crying because she had gone silent again and wouldn’t even show any movement.


The doctors came and checked her vitals. They looked at all her latest reports and gave the good news that she was now out of danger. There was no need to be anxious anymore. She would regain her consciousness soon and would be healthy again. Everyone in the room was relieved on hearing this miraculous news. But she still had to stay in the hospital for two weeks at least to make a full recovery and get discharged. He called his office immediately and asked for leave extension which he got but with a cut in his salary. But that was a trivial thing to worry about right now. He stayed with her and looked after her. They reminisced about their past, about their plans for the future and he proposed to her that they should get married and live together in the city after being discharged. Since the shrine was completely destroyed by the earthquake and she didn't know what to do next in life she agreed to back in a relationship with him. He asked the doctor if she can travel to city after discharge and he gave permission along with a long list of precautions to be taken while travelling.


When he returned to his workplace with a different aura around him his colleagues couldn’t contain their curiosity anymore and when they asked him for the reason he replied while grinning from ear to ear that …. .


August 13, 2020 18:43

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53 comments

Shane Maning
21:40 Dec 09, 2020

it made me cried a little bit

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Keerththan 😀
09:34 Aug 22, 2020

The ending was great. It was also fast paced. Loved it. Welcome to Reedsy. Amazing first story. Keep writing. Would you mind reading my new story "Secrets don't remain buried?"

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Akane Tsunemori
18:11 Aug 22, 2020

Thank you Keerthan and sure I will read your story.

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Prachi Pati
11:23 Aug 20, 2020

I was so scared that the ending would be a sad one and I'm glad it wasn't. I really enjoyed the story and the local elements of Japanese culture and the references. Great work, keep writing!

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Akane Tsunemori
10:19 Aug 21, 2020

Thank you Prachi!!!

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Yoomi Ari
21:49 Aug 19, 2020

A well planned out, fast paced story! I could imagine myself being an observer in the story, especially when the young man was running after the faintly-familiar lady. Great job because it takes a superb writer to have that effect on the reader:) I’d definitely read a part two😊

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Akane Tsunemori
10:18 Aug 21, 2020

Thank you Twilight!!!

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Yoomi Ari
15:15 Aug 23, 2020

:D

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Tariq Saeed
14:19 Aug 19, 2020

Akane,you have my style of starting a story.

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Akane Tsunemori
18:13 Aug 19, 2020

Really!!? Then I'll need to read yours to find out if that's true but thanks for reading mine.

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12:22 Aug 17, 2020

Oohh the twistttt..!! 🙊🙀

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Akane Tsunemori
12:42 Aug 17, 2020

Thanks Vijayashree!!!

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Deborah Angevin
12:02 Aug 17, 2020

Here as requested! I enjoyed the story; the concept is interesting. Keep on writing, Akane!

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Akane Tsunemori
12:43 Aug 17, 2020

Thanks Deborah!!!

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Taniya Verma
08:17 Aug 17, 2020

its a nice sweet love story which brings smile at the end and not tears.

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Akane Tsunemori
12:43 Aug 17, 2020

Thanks Taniya!!!

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Madiha Fatima
09:49 Aug 16, 2020

Great!! I was longing to read a romantic story since a while and yours fulfilled my search. Very nice plot. I love happy endings :)

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Akane Tsunemori
11:44 Aug 16, 2020

Thank you Madiha!!!

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Pragya Mishra
06:59 Aug 16, 2020

Bravo! The story revolves around to pure hearts <3 I liked it very much ... after reading half of the story I got tears in my eyes but slowly and gradual u picked up your story with happy ending I really loved the concept of fresh Love story 😍

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Akane Tsunemori
07:05 Aug 16, 2020

Thanks you Pragya!!!

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Ali Rizvi
06:33 Aug 16, 2020

Aaan! what to say! its good but it could be better, lack of pace in story building characterisation is missing Name of the Characters are missing , but the idea and the concept is very fresh ..keep writing Clap Clap Clap .

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Akane Tsunemori
07:07 Aug 16, 2020

Thank you Ali for reading my story. This is my first short story so with constructive feedback like yours I'll try to improve myself more in the future. And not giving names was intentional, was it odd while reading?

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Aisha Haleem
05:51 Aug 16, 2020

Fascinating 👏👏

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Akane Tsunemori
07:08 Aug 16, 2020

Thank you Aisha!!!

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Ratika V
05:44 Aug 16, 2020

Keep writing.. very entertaining read :-)

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Akane Tsunemori
07:08 Aug 16, 2020

Thank you Ratika!!!

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Nadia Saifuddin
04:59 Aug 16, 2020

Its a great piece of art ! Enjoyed reading it !!!

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Akane Tsunemori
07:08 Aug 16, 2020

Thank you Nadia!!!

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Aakanksha Verma
02:29 Aug 16, 2020

An amazing story. Very well written. Loved the twist. 👍

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Akane Tsunemori
03:20 Aug 16, 2020

Thanks Aakansha.

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Sav G
22:37 Aug 15, 2020

Here as requested! I also agree with Deidra, there are a few grammatical errors like those that she pointed out through the story. Excluding these few edits though, I really liked the story!

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Akane Tsunemori
03:22 Aug 16, 2020

Thanks for coming and reading it, Sav G!!!

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Deidra Lovegren
19:01 Aug 15, 2020

Clever! Only comment is to watch your verb tenses. Pick present or past tense, but be consistent throughout. For example: The doctors came and checked her vitals. They looked at all her latest reports and gave the good news that she was now out of danger. There was no need to be anxious anymore. She will [would] regain her consciousness soon and will [would] be healthy again.

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Akane Tsunemori
19:30 Aug 15, 2020

I really appreciate it that you read it. Thanks for pointing it out. I will correct it now.

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Deidra Lovegren
19:57 Aug 15, 2020

Very good description :)

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Akane Tsunemori
03:21 Aug 16, 2020

Thanks Deidra!!!

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17:34 Aug 15, 2020

Overall an amusing story.. enjoyed the dramatic twist

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Akane Tsunemori
19:32 Aug 15, 2020

Thank you Vaishnavi!!!

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Indushree Shukla
03:32 Aug 15, 2020

Different story and twist is awesome

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Akane Tsunemori
19:33 Aug 15, 2020

Thank you Indu!!!

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Jyoti Shukla
02:48 Aug 15, 2020

Wonderful story and loved the twist

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Akane Tsunemori
19:34 Aug 15, 2020

Thank you Jyoti!!!

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