One Page Stories Chapter 712
A Single Intersection
I saw her for the first time on a train next to mine that was moving in the same direction. The two trains were very close to each other and moving at a nearly identical speed. No matter how much I tried to keep my eyes away from her, I couldn’t help but glance sideways every once in awhile. It was a little awkward at first, but after talking with her and getting to know her, we managed to get close. We moved like this together for a very long time.
But today, I managed to notice something rather peculiar. The distance between us had widened to the point where I was just barely able to make out her expression. When I thought about it, it almost felt like that was the case yesterday as well. And the past week, and the week before that too. Were we a little closer together a month ago? I asked her a question as I considered it.
“Hey, don’t you think we’ve gotten pretty far from each other?”
She responded to me calmly from the opposite side.
“Yeah. I think we’re about ten meters apart by now.”
“How did this happen all of the sudden?”
She turned to look at me, her cold eyes and her unmoving lips almost made her seem like someone else.
“It didn’t happen ‘all of the sudden’. We’ve been getting farther apart for quite some time now.”
“What? Since when?
“Who knows. Maybe from the start?”
“I don’t think you knew, but I was originally on the left side of you; now, I’m on your right.”
I didn’t understand what she was saying. She observed my expression for a brief moment before tiredly opening her mouth again.
“We were asymmetrical from the start. At a very tiny angle. We were getting further away from each other since the beginning, but you just didn’t notice it.”
“Then we’d continue to…”
“Right. We’d continue to move further away from each other.”
I rested my forehead against the window, the cold from the window managed to make its way all the way from my head to my heart. It almost felt like my heart was being cut by a knife. I looked back at her. We seemed to have moved away from each other more noticeably than before.
“I thought we…”
Right then, with a great blaring honk, the outside view became enshrouded in darkness. The train had entered a tunnel. I didn’t know if the train was going through a mountain or was traveling underground, but looking out into the darkness allowed the feeling of fear to slowly creep into my heart. Such was the feeling of realizing that I would never be able to see her again.
I shouted into the darkness.
“I always thought we were parallel to each other! I always thought we’d be able to travel to the end of the world together!”
But the only response I got back was the low rumble of the train wheels in the tunnel. Was she unable to hear me? Could it be that she had disappeared just like that? My fears grew within me with each and every shake of the train, and after what seemed like an eternity, I was able to hear her voice again. Her voice had become far softer than the first time we had spoken with each other. No, perhaps she had just strayed further away.
“If that was the case… If only that was the case… We would have gone on this path together without even knowing of each other’s existence. I’d have looked out the left side of my window, and you’d have looked out the right side of yours.”
Her voice became softer than a whisper, and I pressed my ears against the cold glass. I could barely hear her continue.
“Wouldn’t that have been… Much sadder?”
Would it have? I didn’t know. How much more did we separate? I didn’t know that either. Why was she moving away from me? I didn’t know anything.
“In reality… We were just on different paths. There was a single intersection, but after that point, we just got further and further away from each other. It’s regrettable, but…”
I couldn’t hear anything after that other than the sound of the train wheels screeching against the railroad tracks. Would I never see her again, just like that? Tears welled up in my eyes with no warning. The word ‘regret’ had never sounded stronger to me in my entire life.
Why was she on that train? Couldn’t she have moved to the seat next to mine from the start? Why did we have to meet like this?
The train swiftly exit the long tunnel at long last. In the glaringly bright landscape laid out before me, I was unable to spot her and her train. The railroad that, at first, seemed to stretch out next to mine to the end of the world had disappeared without a trace as well. Like this, as I heard the train clacking under me, I moved further and further away from her.