|Torn Picture 3|
|Found in||Kurato Hotel|
|Related memory items||Torn Picture 1|
Torn Picture 3Edit
I was hit with the fever the night that Mao and I had our fight. I remember bits and pieces of the dream that flooded my mind, but in the corner of every dream was the same image. It was the drawing that I had ripped to shreds. My legs in the drawing were cut off right at the ankle. In a sense, I was dancing legless.
Soon, the dream became reality. Though the fever subsided, my legs remained paralyzed. I couldn’t walk, let alone dance, ever again. I spent weeks mourning in my room. Mao came again and again to check on me, but I refused to see him. Eventually, he stopped coming at all.
After a short time, I went back to school, bound to a wheelchair. My line of sight was so low to the ground, it felt like I’d reverted back to a little kid. Everything I saw looked different from before. The school buildings were like gray giants that threatened to crush me. My friends were kind to me, but it felt like they were all looking down on me and sneering. I rarely lifted my head anymore. Even when I ran into Mao at school, I didn’t make eye contact with him.
My sickness robbed me of everything. My dream of becoming a ballerina. My smile that people used to say brightened the room. Even Mao.
Even though I was stuck in that wheelchair, I attended school like everyone else. With my unyielding nature, I strived hard in my studies, ate my meals with gusto, and led in my student council duties. Finally, my old smile returned, and I found a new dream. I decided I’d aim to be a world-class sports photographer. Figuring that my wheelchair couldn’t stop me from taking photos, my father had bought me a camera.
Of all the things I lost with my sickness, there was only one thing I couldn’t get back. After that day, Mao and I remained strangers. The anger and hurt I felt from him were long gone, and yet there was less and less chance for conversation like before. I would often watch Mao tending to the flowers in the school garden from my perch at the window. After all this time, it was only now that I truly understood him. It’s odd how rather than when we were close, it was by watching him from afar like this, that I came to know him better.
Plants are far more delicate than I used to think. If you’re the least bit irresponsible and neglect their care even a little, they take a quick turn for the worse. And because they can’t speak for themselves, you have to sit for hours to watch and read what they need. Do they have enough water? Good fertilizer? Any signs of sickness? Are they thriving?
Mao was ever-patient as he looked after his plants. If there was a sickly-looking sprout, he’d change its soil, set a splint for it, and even stay late into the night to watch over it. He’d crouch in front of the flowers that had been trampled on by thoughtless students and mull over them for hours. While the other students were laughing it up and having a good time, only Mao would have his ear tilted to the silent voices of the flowers that nobody cared to listen to.