Spring was finally beginning to arrive. The weather was getting warmer. The trees slowly began to show their leaves again. Cool breezes brushed against my face. We walked together, to see if any of the cherry trees had begun to blossom. As we made our way through town, we heard the shouts of children trying to get their last few bits of fun before the new school year.
Right. The new school year. The break winding down meant that Yuna, about to start college, wouldn't be here so much any more. With her gone, I wouldn't hear her voice, feel her embrace, or eat her delicious beef stews. For the first time in our lives, we'll be too far away to see each other every day. I wanted to relax today, to take in the lovely scenery and weather, but I couldn't, not with these troubles weighing so heavily on my mind.
“Yuna-nee?” I asked.
“Hm, Hina? What is it?”
I looked up to her, to meet her gaze. “Yuna, do you think we'll be together forever?” My voice broke as I asked the question.
Her eyes went wide, and she turned her face away from me. “Hina? Wh-what do you mean?”
Oh no. I must have upset her. As I spoke, I felt my voice crack. “Like, like Sachi and Megumi. They loved each other so much they were together even after they died. D-do you think we could be that close too?”
Yuna covered her face as her head turned away. “Hina! I...I just, I don't, I...”
Her reaction was just what I was dreading. I was sure she couldn't look at me because she knew we couldn't be together any more. I'd taken too long to confess my feelings for her, and she took so long to respond. All this time we were only just close friends, with a relationship that would never be able to bridge the distance about to come between us. Dreading what she was about to say next, I struggled to hold back tears.
Yuna took a deep breath. “This is because I'm about to move out to college, isn't it?” I nodded. Even though I don't talk much, since we started dating, Yuna always seemed to know what I'm feeling, sometimes even before I would myself. Without her, I'd be lost, like if gone a mile off course from a cross-country track in the woods.
I mustered up my strength to make sure she understood. “I'm worried. I don't want us to break up. I don't know what to do without you.”
“Oh, Hina!” she exclaimed. As our eyes met, I realized she had been blushing. “I didn't think you'd...well, you're the star of the track team. Everyone looks up to you. I didn't want to say, because I wanted to let you bask in your glory, but...I'd been a little worried and jealous too. With all the girls in the school to choose from, how could I ever measure up if I'm not there? I was worried you were going to break up with me!”
Yuna had the same worries? I felt silly, because I would never have thought she'd think that. Even when we started going out people had been competing for my attention, but I only ever wanted to be with her. I couldn't process her leaving me on my own.
“Yuna-nee, you know I chose you, every time. It's just...sometimes when I talk with Seina-chan, she's not so cheerful. She said it was because she was away from Miki-san for so long, and feeling lonely. I'm worried that will happen to us too.”
Yuna grabbed my hand and held tight to it. “Hina...I know Maki gets lonely a lot without Miki-san. You know, I've been talking to Miki-san, since she's helping me with the move in at the college, and I know she wishes they could spend more time together. But she couldn't imagine breaking up, because they still love each other too much. I think she said she's making some plans to do something really special, just the two of them, like a big trip or something.
“I'll be lonely without you too, Hina, but I know that the time we'll be able to have together will be all the more precious for it, and there's still lots of that time to share together. I'm only a train ride away from home, and of course I promised to be there to cook for the summer camp again. I'll always find a way to be there for my precious love.”
I felt the tears I tried to hold back fall down my cheek as Yuna said her words of comfort. She grinned a little and continued, “Plus, I have to be there to see you win the championship meet, don't I? So you'd better make sure to qualify. But knowing you, I don't think you'll have any trouble. I can't wait to cheer my sweetheart on one more time.”
She let go of my hand to wrap her arms around my waist, and placed a kiss on my cheek. As her warmth spread throughout my body, all my tense muscles relaxed, and I let out a sigh.
“Yuna-nee, don't let go.”
“I wouldn't. I couldn't. Just keep going on, knowing I'm always rooting for you.”
While spring was bringing many changes to our town, I knew it would bring changes to our relationship. Maybe, like the cherry trees we saw beginning to blossom, they'll be beautiful and magical.
I know we can't have this moment last forever, but it won't stop me believing it will.