永次君へ (To Eiji)、
ごめね。。。君に覚えていたいです。有難うございます。(I’m sorry…I want to remember for you. Thank you.)
Eiji must have read that note a million times before letting it fall onto the floor and realized that his biggest fear has finally caught up with him. Feeling completely drained mentally and physically, he poured himself a glass of whisky and drank himself to sleep…
…Six years later.
“I can’t believe you’re finally proposing to Aiko.”
Eiji took two glasses and a bottle of whisky from his kitchen cabinet before joining his best friend Seta in the living room.
“I can’t believe it myself.” Seta smiled as he placed an old record into Eiji’s record player. “I almost forgot…a letter came in today for you.” Seta reached into his jacket pocket and took out a pink envelope.
Eiji studied the pink envelope for some minutes before opening it. The pink envelope has a slight scent of something familiar but he can’t quit remember what.
永次君へ (To Eiji)、
それが長い時間。。。お元気ですか? 君は私に覚えていですか? 私は元気です。。。君がいなくて寂しいです。(It’s been a long time…how are you? Do you remember me? I’m doing fine... I miss you.)
Eiji grabbed the envelope from the table but there was no return address anywhere.
“What’s wrong?” Seta asked.
“I have to go to the post office now!” Eiji said. Before Seta could stop him, Eiji was out of their apartment and into the cold and busy streets.
“Could you trace or tell me where this letter came from?” Eiji wasted no time at the information desk of the post office.
“I’m sorry I can’t do that.” The information lady answered politely. “It’s against the law for us to be giving out private information of another sender to you.”
“But-“ Eiji protested
“I’m sorry! I can’t help you!” She looked at him straight in the eyes before calling “Next!”
What a bitch! Eiji thought to himself as he walked out of the post office. He zipped up his jacket and made his way into a ramen shop a few blocks away. The ramen shop was small, dark and dusty. There was only three customers there not including himself. They were all too busy wolfing down their food to notice him. Eiji took a seat in a corner by a small window. He ordered some sake and dumplings before rereading Emi’s letter.
It was the summer of 2000 and Eiji was excited to be starting college in the fall. At that time, Eiji was living at home with his retired architect father. They didn’t get along and often fought over small things. Eiji’s mother passed away shortly after giving birth to him. His father never came forward to tell Eiji that he was the reason for the lost of his wife but he does show it through his actions as a father. Eiji learned to fend for himself at a very young age because he had no one to depend on. But in the process, he tucked his childhood memories away so they can be forgotten.
He met Emi shortly after his freshmen year of college on a coffee line. She was reading Dante’s Inferno while waiting for her green tea chai latte. Eiji was next to order and he ordered a large red eye.
“That’s a good book.” Eiji said out loud without thinking.
Emi looked up and nodded her head.
“I’m Eiji Aki.” Eiji quickly introduced himself. “I’m majoring in civil engineering.”
Emi barely looked up and said, “It’s nice to meet you, Eiji kun. I’m Emi Ito and I don’t have a major yet…in fact I don’t know what I want to do.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Eiji reassured her. “You will know when the time is right.”
“Green tea chai latter?” the café person called out from behind the counter.
“That’s me.” Emi said and quickly made her way to her order. “Take care Eiji kun.”
“Yeah, you too.” Eiji waved as she disappeared into the crowd of students.
After only meeting her for a short amount of time, Eiji found himself missing her. It wasn’t like he’s in love with her or something but more of an infatuation. He made it his mission to find Emi.
Emi live by herself in a small apartment a block from school. She goes to school during the day and works at night to pay for everything. Emi lost both of her parents when she was only eight. Her aunt took her in because she couldn’t have a child of her own.
Through asking other students and gathering information, he was able to get her phone number, address and the bakery where she works at. Eiji surprised her one day at work and stayed with her until she got off work to walk her home. He kept her company and protected her.
From that day on, Eiji waited for her after work every day to walk her home and soon their friendship evolved into a love relationship. Their sex life was amazing and even till this day; Eiji would find himself reflecting back on those memories they shared.
By Emi’s second year, she decided on photography and writing as her majors. They shared everything together from their pasts to their futures and dreams. But there was one thing Eiji could never share with Emi and that was his childhood memories. It’s not like he doesn’t want to but more like he doesn’t remember them.
“You don’t remember anything from your childhood?” Emi asked one day after they made love. She rested her head on his bare chest. He gently leaned over and kissed her.
“I guess along the way of growing up they were forgotten.” Eiji said with a slight hint of sadness in his voice.
“It’s okay.” Emi smiled “I will help you get them back and I will remember them for you so you don’t have to.”
“Silly girl.” Eiji smiled. “You’re not making any sense.”
“I am. You’ll see.”
Fall of senior year of college was the time Emi left me that good bye note. It torn me up and I have so many unanswered questions waiting for her to answer. Six years later I received another one from her. What does all this mean?
“Sir, we’re closing soon.” The cashier called to me from behind the counter.
“Yeah, yeah I’m leaving.”
By the time I got home, Seta was gone.
A few days later, I attended his wedding and came up with an excuse for walking out on him. And shortly after, I started to receive a letter from Emi every week. By reading her letters, it clams me down in a way words can’t explain. Her letters were filled with expression of love for me and at that moment I realized what she meant when she said, “I’ll remember them for you.” It was a form of love…