-Chapter V


Chronological Record - 3 - Auralum

Effective Bio-Age, 17Y

Cumulative Bio-Age, 19Y

The lights in the park turn on specifically for my sake. Few people visit the park at night; Then again, few people visit the park during the day as well. It's just a recreational area, and, most of the time, the only people one is bound to see at the park at any time are children. Even then, this isn't necessarily true, considering the appeal of electronic entertainment. No matter the case, at the very least, most wouldn't be expected to be at a park during the nighttime hours, and I am no exception. Or, at least, should be.

The first time I visited this park, I had just been released from the hospital. Even though the operation had involved a Neurological Rollback, the effects hadn't been serious enough as to necessitate rehabilitation of any sort. Summarily, I was free to return home and return to society as if nothing had happened. In a sense, that is: Because the Rollback had been assessed to span two years, at the very least, I was to retake my last two years of middle school. Seventh grade and eighth grade; I completed them both within a single year. But I digress.

At the time, I still used my Visual; I preferred having it set to Auralum, where everything seemed to be fully bathed in a picture-esque golden glow, and most things seemed to be constructed of a fantastic, aged, golden oak. It was one of the most recently developed settings, already quickly gaining popularity, and, to me at the time, it clothed the world in a romantic aura. And in the park, with the leaves constantly drifting from the overhanging arms of their trees, as I sat at the smooth, golden oak tables, I wondered what they all truly looked like. And so I decided to turn off my Visual.

And it was almost blinding. An absolute white blanketed all that was before me. All excepting the park, the sky, and the sun. But it wasn't the same bewildering, absolute white as a freshly fallen field of snow: It was more so as if everything had been another color, and had instead been bleached into that white. Everything except the park, the sky, and the sun. And, in comparison with the white-washed skyscrapers encompassing the area, the color of the greenery had come across as stunningly vivid, the sky an unfathomable blue, and the sun with an empyrean glow; without a doubt, absolutely spellbinding. And as fantastical as a Visual could be, I decided that nothing was as enrapturing as that which stood before me.

Eventually, I began to frequent the park as a place to write stories, and every time after that first time, I had a binder and pencils with me. The binder and pencils were necessary tools, mainly because the park didn't have a system to generate Screens. As I continued to use them, however, I became closely attached to them; In the same way, I became attached to the park. It eventually came to a point where going to the park to write was a relaxing activity to me.

In fact, the same day I met Eidel for the first time was the day after my father had once again departed upon his Pioneering. He had said that it was going to be his last Pioneering, because he had already participated in three previous ones. While a relief, it wasn't so much a comfort, however: Even though he was a veteran Pioneer and highly skilled at this point, I was still worried for him. And, as a result, I visited the Lysithea Park the following day, and so there I met Eidel. And, for the same reason of calming my nerves, I have once more come to the park to write.

And in the corner, she sits in the same seat that she had always sat in. As if the years that have passed us by had never been in the first place. The edges of the bottom of her dress, fluttering in the gentle breeze that almost isn't there; The setting sunlight reflecting, softly, brightly off the billowing cloth. A reflection akin to that of the moon's glow as opposed to the shine of paint. Her pencil rests in her hand, idle, as she leans her head on her hand, searching for something outside of the open window. A something that she doesn't know if she'll find. But she searches anyway.

The story that comes to mind reminds something I wrote several years ago; one of the first stories I wrote at this same very park. In that other story, the girl was on a vessel, traveling to some far away planet in our galaxy. She had woken up from cryonic sleep in order to search for a "small, pale blue dot, suspended on a sunbeam". However, when she looked out the window, she couldn't see it, and went back to sleep. But I digress. I want to write. I have to write. I need to write...

It's the same kind of searching that I was doing when I stepped back into this old school of ours. A search that leads you to walk in, hurting inside, hoping that something would be here, but not expecting anything other than the setting summer sun. The kind of searching that someone does when she or he had been disappointed by the world once again, and was just a little too tired to continue at the moment, and wanted to go back to a place where they knew that, even if it wasn't the best at the time, it was better than the days he or she had now. The lost kind of searching.

"You." Regretfully, the word that exits my mouth comes across as accusative. But maybe that slip can be overlooked. She straightens her posture, sitting up, turning her head towards me instinctively, and I see the tears that I expected to glisten on her cheeks. The ones that she wipes away the moment she realizes who stands in front of her. She opens her mouth to call my name, but her voice catches in her throat. And so I storm towards her. And impulsively, she tries to stand, to get to her feet, trying to explain away her presence here, but stumbling over her words in her efforts, stumbling over her own two feet, and falling forwards.

And I catch her in my arms and squeeze her tight. The same tears that I knew slipped onto my face as I came to this same school so many times before, searching but never finding, hoping but never achieving. Those that come when you want to be found, but you know that you won't because there's no one who would search for you. The ones that hurt so much. "It's okay. You're not alone."

His words slip into my writing as my eyes burn heavy, as my pencil presses hard into the paper. But not hard enough to break the tip, as my arm finally loses energy and slips across the page, a dark line left in its wake. I slip out my eraser and remove the pathetic line as my tears start to blot onto the page. And as his arms wrap around my shoulders, the tension dies away, and my vision once more descends into a blur. But I can still see the page. I can still write. And so I press my pencil once more to the page, but gently this time. After all, I'm not carving: I'm writing.

Those tears that hurt so much, the ones that come when the world clearly isn't being fair. But you know it won't let up, that'll it keep up its merciless pace, and that you still have to try and keep up.

However, the tears that come when you're finally found, those are the ones that hurt most of all. They're the ones that come, only when finally let yourself hurt as much as you want. The ones that only come when there's someone who'll keep you safe in the meantime. Those are the ones that hurt most of all. All the same, those are the ones that save us.

A girl, grieving the loss of her father, being held close by a friend.