The deadline to submit to this contest has been extended to June 30, 2018. We want at least 10 submissions to give voters a variety of stories to choose from.
This is a contest where the community selects the next book to publish. Authors can submit a book by June 30, 2018, then users will have the opportunity to choose one.
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Where Do I find the Answers?
Tsyuko was a young man being raised by his dad in Japan. Like most boys in his situation he wanted to have a whole family again, Tsyuko was able to have a new one with a loving father that remarried and even got a little sister in Chelsea with his new mom. They spent many days learning about each other, loving and understanding each other to become a family. Two years have passed since Tsyuko's family got a reboot and now he got into the high school he wanted to get in and become a musician. His family in celebration of this and his graduation of middle school spend a whole day out around town, going out to eat, going to laser tag, and going to the movies. It was a late movie and after such a fun day, everyone is noticeably tired and they decide to head home.
Maria asks him on the way home in a quiet cheerful tone "Did you enjoy yourself today?"
Tsyuko responds with a tired smile in the backseat with his head in his hand looking out of the window "Today was the best day ever, thanks mom and dad, for everything" as he finishes his sentence a big truck comes speeding by but something is wrong.
The truck is swerving, Tsyuko father looks over to see the truck "What are they doing"
He honks his horn at the truck as it continues to swerve. When the truck gets near the car it swerves near them.
Maria quickly says, "Hold on kids"
They are on a road of by a mountain and swerve to dodge the truck but they didn't slow down the car enough too safely stop, as they go over the cliff, in this brief moment Chelsea is asleep in the car, Tsyuko sees the situation unfolding before himself, as if time slowed down. He looks over towards Chelsea seeing how vulnerable she is and how hurt she could be if he doesn’t do something. He quickly throws himself over her to protect her from as much damage of the fall as he can. Then a quick jerk and crashing noise.
Tsyuko wakes up to find his head is bleeding and his sister crying while holding her shoulder.
Tsyuko: (While holding his head where blood is coming from) Chelsea, are you hurt or bleeding?
Chelsea responds while fighting through tears "My shoulder hurts really bad and I can’t move my arm"
Tsyuko: (While patting her on the head) tells her "Just breathe through the pain, I need to look at it. This is gonna hurt a little but I need to do this to help."
Chelsea sobbing simply nods yes and allows Tsyuko to look at her shoulder, as he looks at her shoulder as best as he can, he sees that the impact has caused the seat belt to dislocate her arm from her shoulder.
Tsyuko is trying to think things through as carefully as possible to help out, but realizes that he cant do anything for her by his self.
Tsyuko: "I’m going to see what mom and dad think we should do now, mom may be able to do something. (Thinking to himself; Mom was in the military she may know what to best do for her)”
Tsyuko looks to his parents to ask what to do, too his quick horrific realization, he see's tree branches in front of the car have pierced through and around them. The car is caught in a tree near the cliff. Tsyuko in a panic begins to take off his seat belt as quickly as possible while in noticeable pain yelling for his parents
Tsyuko:" Mom, dad are you okay answer me, did the branches hit you, do you need help?"
As he frees himself from his seatbelt he makes his way to the front of the car. That’s when a horrific noise is heard, the sound of branches creaking and cracking, the fall isn’t over.
Tsyuko's parents respond weakly but encouragingly
Maria " We're okay, hows Chelsea?"
Tsyuko " she is hurt, she says that she can’t move her arm that she's holding."
Tsyuko’s father Jin " It probably broken or dislocated, don’t worry sweetie we are going to get you to a doctor as soon as we are out of here. Tsyuko, a branch did hit me but its okay, we need to get out of the car though, do you see any openings back there?"
Tsyuko is still worried about his parents, he begins to thing about everything going on, realizing they could die here, this could be the end because of celebrating his graduation. Flashes of his mother’s funeral begin to pop into his mind as he begins to breathe fast, turning into hyper ventaltion, panic, and then as if reading his mind, his father tells him.
Jin "Everything will be okay but I need you to calm down son, I know this is a lot to take in but I need you to be calm and look around for any openings. Okay son."
Tsyuko hears his father’s words, they calm him down a bit, enough to regain his composure to do what his father asked him to do. He nods his head and begins to look around the car for any openings too finds the back window broken and exclaims.
Tsyuko " Yes the back window is broken"
Jin quickly responds with " Okay grab Chelsea as gently as you can. Leave out to the back of the car, then find a branch that you can move too and sit on, you've climbed trees before remember."
Maria " Chelsea, Tsyuko has to lift you up to take you out of the car. I know your hurting but I need you to endure it, can you do that for mom'."
Chelsea through tears and sobbing "Yes".
Tsyuko " What about you guys?"
Jin " We will be right behind you as soon as I get this branch off me."
Tsyuko doesn't know but one of the branches has pierced his father through his right shoulder and pinned him to his seat. While his mother is noticeable hurt as well, she has a branch just near her shoulder and one near her right side of her ribs. Neither branch isn't close enough to stop her from helping her husband but could have been worse off if it was just a little closer. She takes in a deep breath too calm herself down from the great pain she is experiencing to continue helping her husband.
Maria " I am going to help your father get this branch off, your father is right we will be right behind you. We promise." as she finishes the cracking sound grows
Tsyuko grabs Chelsea as easy as he can, taking the seatbelt off slowly, gently sliding it away from her dislocated arm. With the seatbelt off he lifts her gently to begin making their way towards the back window. As they make their way to the back of the car while, they hear creaking noises. They move as slow as possible as to not cause the branches to break any faster. They make their way out of the car through broken glass and sharp corners where the back window use to be. Once on the back of the car, Tsyuko places Chelsea on the back as well helping her get across to the next closest branch with her one good arm. Tsyuko climbs up next to her, they look at the tree in the moon light, they see a sturdy sizeable branch on the opposite side of the tree. They begin making their way to the opposite side of the tree where a big branch is. Tsyuko asks his sister to hold onto him as tight as possible, as they move. While moving Tsyuko is beginning to feel light headed as time goes on, he has lost some blood and the head injury is beginning to affect him. Once they reach the big branch, Tsyuko places Chelsea on the branch, he then takes his own sit near the intersection of the branch and trunk of the tree due to his sick feeling.
Tsyuko then calls out that they have made it onto a branch and asks, " Are you guys okay, are you coming out now"
Maria is trying to break the branch that is in his father’s shoulder so that they can get out.
She responds by saying "We are fine this tree is just stuck on the door making it hard for us to get out".
As she continuously is flinching from the pain of her own injuries, while trying to help her husband get out. Maria then begins to cough, she feels a very wet and warm sensation on her hand that causes her to look at her hand. She notices that it is blood, one of her broken ribs must have caused some internal bleeding with all the moving and helping. Tsyuko's mother thinks to herself about how to best go about this to get them both out or should she start preparing for the worse. Just then some hope is restored, as a flash of light is seen through the windows, its at this moment Tsyuko's mother immediately cries out to Tsyuko.
Maria: "can you see the person with the flash light".
Tsyuko begins to look up toward the cliff edge where the car fell from. His “sick feeling” is still bothering him, in addition to a headache that is now causing his head to pound but he pushes through it to look and finally sees it. With a tearful smile, he exclaims
Tsyuko "Yes, I see them. (towards the person above them) Hey, we are down here".
A passerby saw the swerving Truck stopped a while back but luckily continued up to the broken rail guard. The passerby immediately stops the car with his girlfriend now awake due to the sudden stop.
Passerby Girlfriend "Is everything okay hun?"
Passerby "I think someone might need some help, the guard rail is badly broken. Call 911 while I look to see what happened and if we can help."
Passerby Girlfriend "Be Careful, the ledge seems slick you may slip."
Taking his girlfriend’s advice into consideration he takes a small flash light that was in his glove compartment. He walks over to the right side of the broken guard rail to be extra careful. He then turns on his light to have decent lighting to look. While looking he hears someone shouting up at him, he quickly tries to find the source of the yelling to find Tsyuko and Chelsea on the branch clearly hurt.
He yells down " Hey kids, how is everyone? The police and a ambulance should be here any minute."
Maria tries to yell back but is in too much pain to respond herself. Tsyuko's father responds mustering up what little strength he has left due to blood loss
Jin: "Thank you we are all hurt. Our kids made it out onto a sturdy branch, can you see them?"
The passerby now looks for the where the new voice is coming from, to see that the car is caught in the tree, seeing Maria trying to free Jin from a branch. Not wanting the kids to panic, nor himself, he decides to respond before taking any other action.
Passerby "Yes I do, but I can’t reach them from here. (trying to think quickly, he remembers the rope that they have from their camping trip they are returning from.) I have some rope in my car, I’m going to grab it then come back for the kids."
Maria (straining herself) “Thank you so much.”
The passerby then turns to his car and calls out to his girlfriend
Passerby "Honey bring me the rope quick there are kids down there!"
Passerby Girlfriend “I’m coming honey.”
Just as suddenly as the passerby left to get the rope, the worse happens, two of the branches holding up the car begin to break. Hearing this Tsyuko immediately looks towards the car to see it moving downward and begins to panic again while calling out to his parents.
Tsyuko "Mom, dad, do you need help getting out of the car?! I can come help you! I’m coming to help you now."
As he is saying this Tsyuko is making his way back carefully and slowly towards the car. His injuries are starting to worsen. Tsyuko's parents see him heading towards the car in the cracked rear-view mirror. They both tell Tsyuko.
Maria and Jin: "Stay away son."
Maria: "We are almost done, I promise.".
As his mother continues to try and break the branch that has impaled Jin. That branch has now sunk deeper into his shoulder due to the other branches breaking and the car moving closer towards the ground. However, thanks to this course of events as well as the angle of the car, the branch she is finally able to break the branch and remove the other half from her husband. Tsyuko's father yells out while hiding his pain as best as he can. Tsyko's mother tries to calm the situation before it can start due to the yell and simply says.
Maria: " I got your father out now, we are headed up".
Tsyuko's mother takes the shirt that Tsyuko wore for graduation that stayed in the car when he took it off to be in more comfortable cloths after graduation to celebrate with everyone faster rather than go back home to go back out. She ties the shirt around his shoulder to stop the bleeding. Seeing that it isn't going to properly stay in place, she then unties her husband’s tie and ties it around the shirt giving better pressure and keeping the shirt in place. Tsyuko slows down at the third branch away from the car, he slows down due to a dizzy sensation from his head injury that almost causes him to slip and fall so he decides to sit down and call out to his parent again.
Tsyuko "Mom are you guys almost out?"
Tsyuko looks up to see what the passerby is up to, to find that he is setting up a rope to climb down. Tsyuko, happy at this sight, turns to his parents.
Tsyuko "Mom, they guy has a rope and is climbing down to help us"
Suddenly three more branches snap as his parents just reached the back seat to fall back onto the driver and passenger chair. Jin is now doing his best to move and help them up the car using his adrenaline that has kicked in. He has Maria’s arm around his good shoulder to use all the strength that he must get them out as fast as he can. While Maria is helping by using her remaining strength through her legs to help maintain balance and support for her husband doing the pulling and climbing.
After some struggling they make it to the back window with a branch off to the side they can reach for to help them out of the car. Just as they are reaching for the branch the last branch holding the car up begins to break. In a freeze frame like moment Tsyuko looks down to see the car falling with his parents. In horror and panic, Tsyuko reaches out for his parents, while his parents reach out for the branch close to them only to find they aren't close enough to reach it. Holding their arms up they look up at Tsyuko and say.
Maria and Jin: "We love you both so much."
The last branch fully breaks as the car falls to the earth, as Tsyuko watches his parents fall with the car. The passerby is about to climb down when he sees the car plummet to the ground below, in shock is now at a standstill on the side of the cliff.
Chelsea screams "MOTHER!!!!!" as she hears the crashing of the car "Papa..." beginning to sob now.
The passerby looks on in horror as the car crashes down to the ground but snaps back to reality to descend towards Chelsea and Tsyuko to bring them up to the road.
Chelsea "What about my mom go down for her, please, she may need more help than us we're okay, go help my mom and dad. Please…please, please!"
The man just clinches his teeth knowing that they couldn't have survived, once he brings Chelsea to the street he passes her to his girlfriend to go back for Tsyuko, when he reaches Tsyuko, he can tell he’s not okay at all. Tsyuko, who looks as if he is frozen in place, expressionless, motionless, can only reach out to the passerby to be helped up to the road as he begins to hear sirens above. The passerby tries to think of something to say to him on the way up but can’t find any words that could possibly help, then decides to put all of his thoughts and power into getting Tsyuko up to the ambulance, noticing he still has some bleeding happening on his head as his face is partially covered in blood. When the ambulance and police arrive Tsyuko and Chelsea are looked at by paramedics.
The passerby is being question by the cops as Tsyuko and Chelsea are being cared for by the paramedics.
Officer Naruyuki: "What made you guys stop to help these people?"
Passerby: "We saw the damage here on the guard rails and went to see if we could help immediately or if we were too late. I guess we were both today.
Officer Naruyuki: "We don't know that yet, we have a team headed down to the car now to see if the driver and passenger are okay."
Officer Naruyuki notices that the passerby is frustrated by his comment. Knowing well that it would be a miracle if they survived the drop. Needing to keep the passerby comfortable and able to answer more questions, he switches gears and applauds the passerby's efforts.
Officer Naruyuki: "I gotta say, it’s a good thing you two had that rope to reach the kids. It would have taken us longer to reach those kids if wasn't for you and we could be looking at a worse situation. With the shape of those kids, I'm surprised that they made it out of the car."
Passerby:" We were finishing with some camping that we like to do around this time of year. We like to be ready for anything. You know I just remembered seeing a big truck stopped near the last gas station from behind us. Did you guys see the driver or the truck?
Officer Naruyuki: "We did and suspect he may be the cause of the accident. Based on his testimony when he was caught stumbling into his car at the gas station. He said he needed to stop because he thought he made someone crash but when he saw no one there he thought maybe he had drank too much of his spiked coffee."
Officer Naruyuki: "Yes, some drivers believe that the kick helps keep them to be awake while rrelaxed to be able to drive the whole time when transporting whatever it is they’re hauling that day. We have the man in custody right now and will question him when he is soberer. Is there anything else you can tell us from you point of view on the events that occured?"
Passerby:"No, it’s pretty much as I told you before. We saw the truck before coming up but paid no mind to it. When we came around the curve we saw some damage to the guard rail and thought that there may have been accident and slowed down in case they hadn't finished cleaning up or moving the cars so others could pass. When we saw the full extent of the damage of the guard rail, I stopped the car and asked my girlfriend to call 911. From there I helped as much as I could until you guys showed up."
Just as the passerby finishes his statement one of the paramedics that has been helping with Tsyuko and Chelsea comes up to the officer to tell him how they kids are.
Paramedic: "Officer a word please"
Officer Naruyuki : "Excuse me" (Now to the paramedic) "How are the kids doing?"
Paramedic: "They are both bruised and cut from the initial crash. The girl has a dislocated shoulder but that's it as far any real injuries. The boy has a gash and a possible concussion but we would need to get him to the hospital before we can confirm that, the concussion test is too hard to do in a dark area like this. Otherwise some rest and some pain medicine would help them through the rest but the real problem is their mental state."
Officer Naruyuki: "Their mental state? What do you mean?"
Paramedic: It’s not uncommon in these situations but the kids have been rather unresponsive outside of crying even when we are looking at the boy he just sat there. Not a twitch or cringe of pain as we look at his gash and applied some stitches. While the girl did cry when we popped her shoulder back into place she keeps asking for her parents. These kids need some family around, they have gone through a lot and the thought of losing their parents must not be sitting well right now. Have we been able to reach any of their family?"
Officer Naruyuki:" It was hard but we reached their aunt who will be waiting for you and the children at the hospital. Now we are just waiting on news from the others that went to the crash site..."
Officer Naruyuki is looking over towards the cliff side where the search team went down and sees a young officer coming up with a paramedic, both with sadden looks. The lead officer bracing for the worse then hears the young officer speak
Young Officer (with a sadden tone): "We found the parents....."
Officer Naruyuki (While wiping away at his face due to the frustration of knowing what they are about to say): "Don’t tell me."
Search team Paramedic (In a somber tone): " They were already gone when we got there, the woman snapped her neck on impact and the man died due to blood loss, we just barely didn't make it for him."
Officer Naruyuki (with a sadden tone and sigh): " Jessus.(looking to the other paramedic he was conversing with before they arrived) Should we tell the kids."
Young officer: "No sir, I know this may be out of line but we believe it would still be too soon to tell them with everything that they have gone through right now."
Officer Naruyuki: "No, your hearts in the right place for this. I know it’s tough but we have to do it. Otherwise we could end up hurting these kids worse."
While the conversation between the officers and paramedics continues, another group of paramedics are hoisting the gurneys with Tsyuko's and Chelsea parents on them. It is a slow process, Tsyuko has been looking in their direction to see if their parents are coming up. When the gurneys reach the top, they are properly propped up and pushed toward the second ambulance there. As the lead policeman and the others finish their conversation they see the gurneys passing between them and the children when one of them hits a bump on the road toppling of the gurney showing the lifeless hand of Tsyuko and Chelsea's mother.
Tsyuko jumps from the ambulance to rush to his mother’s side. The lead officer seeing this intercepts Tsyuko. Tsyuko knows that is his mother in that bag, he begins to be angry at the thought of their “promise” to be right behind him but only sadness will come. The thought of his parents now being gone overwhelms him as he begins crying and calling out to his mother, erupting his emotions from being so quiet before, only wanting this to be a bad dream.
Tsyuko (crying and yelling): "Mom! Mom! Mom, please get up. Mom!"
The lead officer can't do anything but hold back Tsyuko as the paramedics carefully place her back, zip the bag up and place her back on the gurney. The police officer overwhelmed at the amount of grief he feels from Tsyuko, gives tsyuko a hug and tells him the only thing he can at the time.
Officer Naruyuki: "I’m sorry. I’m so sorry."
As the officer is holding him, Tsyuko begins to feel light headed, his voice begins to lower as he is still calling out to his mother while the muffled sound of Chelsea doing the same can be heard as everything goes black for Tsyuko. The officer notices that Tsyuko has gone limp and immediately calls the paramedics over to check on him. Tsyuko fades in and out of consciousness to see bright lights and doctors around him, fading again and coming back he sees his aunt Noumi with Chelsea near a door as Tsyuko fades again. When Tsyuko wakes up, he awakens to a bright light only to find that he is in a hospital room, where his aunt is there half awake and half asleep next to his bed when she slowly realizes that Tsyuko is awake. Filled with relief and joy she quickly reaches out to hold him and thanks god he is okay.
Noumi: “My goodness Tsyuko, I’m glad your awake”. Wiping away the tears from her face she asks, “How are you feeling?”
Tsyuko while wiping his eyes: “I feel a little sick but I’m okay. Where is Chelsea?”
Its at this moment that Tsyuko’s hospital room door opens to see a somewhat sobbing Chelsea. Chelsea thought that her aunts yelling was a sign of bad news, but is relieved to see that Tsyuko is just fine. Filled with joy and relief herself she rushes toward him jumping into him and their aunt as she hugs him exclaiming while crying loudly.
Chelsea “ I thought you were gone. I thought I lost everyone but you’re okay. I’m so glad your okay!”
The doctor treating Tsyuko walks through the door to ask them to quiet down a bit, also notices Tsyuko is awake.
Doctor “Hey there buddy, you’ve been out a little while. How are you feeling?”
Tsyuko “I feel a little sick and my head hurts but that’s about it. Where are my p…..”
Just then everything that happened flashes before his eyes. He realizes that his parents are dead. Tsyuko does the only thing he feels that he can do as he begins to cry and looks to his aunt.
Tsyuko “Auntie, they’re…….they’re..they’re gone. Mom and dad are…”
Before he can finish his sentence Noumi embraces Tsyuko and Chelsea as they both begin to cry harshly, feverishly. The doctor can’t bring himself to ask any more questions as he walks away, closing the door behind him, lowering the noise and giving them the privacy they need right now. As the crying dies down, the nurse comes into the room as visiting hours are over to find the family asleep in the same bed with Tsyuko. The nurse just smiles, checks Tsyuko’s IV and leaves the room for the night. The next morning, the doctor comes into the room with Noumi just waking up with Tsyuko right behind her waking up as well.
Doctor “My nurse tells me, all of you got some good rest. Are we doing better today?”
Noumi “Yes doctor we’re fine. (As she looks at Tsyuko waking up, sees him make an expression she hasn’t seen him make before) Are you awake sleepy head?”
Tsyuko only glances up at his aunt without saying a word to her, expressionless. Thoughts of what he feels he could have done to help race, as he just wants to be left alone with these thoughts. After what feels like hours, Tsyuko merely nods and puts his head back down.
Noumi (worried but tries to continue with the doctor) “Okay, sweetie. What is it you need to tell us doctor.”
Doctor “Yes, um (raising his notepad with Tsyuko’s information) Tsyuko has a mild concussion and a gash. Both only need some simple pain medicine, which can be easily some over the counter brands and he will be fine with some rest. I know with the current circumstances that will be hard to do but try to make sure he gets the right rest or it could worsen his concussion, that’s not good at his age.”
Noumi “Thank you doctor. What about Chelsea?”
Doctor “Well if she can get a better appetite than she has had the last two days they’ve been here, she can recover some of her energy. She has been sleeping a lot and not really walking around in the least, she needs some balance right now to keep her healthy and her shoulder will take around two – three weeks to fully recover. Once all of that is done she should be just fine as well. Im going to recommend some medicines for them both. They will be allowed to leave after a final checkup.”
Noumi “Thank you doctor, for everything.”
The doctor leaves shortly after speaking to Noumi. Noumi gathers their things as they get ready to leave the hospital. The entire time Tsyuko is quiet, not a word. As the nurses complete their final checkup, Tsyuko seems lost in his own world. Walking out of the hospital of what he feels is the last of his family. Through Tsyuko’s eyes, his life seems to be blur. A mix of things moving faster than he’d want while feeling like it’s been an eternity. Weighed down by his thoughts of the accident. Seeing his parents in their final moments. Returning to a home that feels bigger than it use to, only to realize that its actually more empty. During this time his aunt is busy making phone calls making his and chelsea’s food. Taking them to a formal store for a black dress and suit. The hours turn to days as Tsyuko hasn’t spoken a word since he first woke up in the hospital. Knowing all too well his aunt is preparing their final good bye to their parents. The funeral for his mother and father, that isn’t much further away. Tsyuko, knows this but isn’t ready in the least, as the day finally comes.
Tsyuko (Speaking to himself within his thoughts) “I don’t like funerals. Not in the least. I’ve only been to two of them but each time I’ve had to say goodbye to family. All of these people here with their empty sorrys. What do they know about what we are going through. They knew mom or dad but not me, not Chelsea. Being sorry isn’t going to bring them back.
As the house fills with people for the funeral at their house. Tsyuko, Chelsea, and their aunt Noumi sit near the platform with pictures of their parents, decorated with red roses and white lotus flowers. Though they are inside the weather for today couldn’t be more fitting with the rain outside. The sermon begins.
Tsyuko (Still in thought, though he is now lightly sobbing) “Why do we do things like this, I don’t want this to be real. I want this to be some bad dream but I can’t seem to wake up. Just three weeks ago I was talking about graduation and what we should do for it. So why did it turn out like this. Why did my day, my fun have to kill them? (Tsyuko looks up to see his friend Yosuke sobbing, just then Yosuke glances over to Tsyuko with a look of concern as Tsyuko glances back down) Don’t look at me like that Yosuke. With that look of “if you need anything I’m here for you.” Nothing can really help us, unless you can rewind time. But this isn’t like our manga books, where things like that can happen, is it. (Tsyuko looks up to his aunt holding Chelsea as she begins to cry again, doing her best to hold back the tears she thought were all gone by today but come all over as if it’s that day again. A man in a military uniform walks over to Noumi presenting here with a folded U.S flag.) What does this flag mean to us? It only reminds me that she was foreign, that mom was a soldier nothing else, it doesn’t calm me down now that she’s gone. It doesn’t help Chelsea either, can it help us when we need help like mom did, can it bring mom back. It can’t because that’s not how it works. It only makes us miss her more. It makes me wish I had behaved a little more, it makes me wish I could have done more to help. It makes me wish that I didn’t want to celebrate my graduation, that way they’d be here.”
The funeral proceeds with a speech from a priest, some words from friends of the family but to Tsyuko it just sounds like muffled speech as if something is covering their mouths to speak and just as quickly as it started the funeral is over. Tsyuko starts helping his aunt clean up around the house away from the platform with his parents pictures as he remembers his first mothers funeral and the words of his father.
Jin: "Do you miss her Tsyuko"
Tsyuko: "I do dad but boys don't cry right, that's how we stay strong right"
Jin: "Funerals are here for us to cry, its the one time we can as we say goodbye for the final time until we are able to see them again. It’s okay son, cry your heart out, a boy shouldn't have to be strong when saying goodbye to his mom"
Tsyuko cry's harshly, loudly as his father holds him and we fade back to the current funeral and he has a tearful blank expression as he finishes cleaning around the house except the room with the shrine. Tsyuko sits down to think of what he should do, as he looks over to the room with his family's new shrine simply looks to it and asks "What should I do"?" after some silence he begins to cry more. He begins to make his way into the room, he walks directly to the new shrine next to the platform they made.
Tsyuko (Speaking to the shrine) “You guys aren’t here anymore. This shrine is where you are now, technically. We’ll never get to hear you guys again, never get to hug you, get embaressed, or tell you how great of parent’s you guys are and that we love you.” (Tsyuko begins to get mad as tears increasingly come out.)
Tsyuko:"You said you were right behind us, but now you’re not here. What should I do about school, what should I do about Chelsea, what will she do, I don't know how to help her."
Tsyuko: (now yelling as if arguing with his parents.) "why did you lie and say you were okay? Why, what are we going to do? How do we know if we’re doing right, how do we know if we’re helping each other properly? Who will stop our arguments?” (Tsyuko collapses to the ground with tears gushing from him over the sadness he feels, that fault that he feels.) “What are we going to do without you, how can I help Chelsea. Why did this have to happen?"
Tsyuko's aunt hearing this slowly walks in to check on her nephew.
Tsyuko "I'm sorry I wanted to celebrate getting into the arts academy. If we didn't you would still be…" Tsyuko's aunt runs to him, grabbing onto him simply hugs him and says
Noumi “Don't you ever feel sorry or responsible for this, no one could have seen this coming, its more disrespectful to your parents to that. Its defiantly not your fault."
Tsyuko "Then what do I do"
Tsyukos aunt "You can cry your heart knowing it’s not your fault, that your parents loved the both of you so much, they lied to keep you both safe."
The last words of his parents come flooding into his mind as he remembers what they said.
Tsyuko’s parents “We love you both so much”
Tsyuko can’t help but break down into tears more than he ever has. Crying on his aunts shoulder like a small child, angry, sad, and many other emotions as he cries his heart out. Chelsea was sleeping in the hallway leading to the living room, with a stuffed bear that their dad got her. Hearing Tsyuko cry as much as he is worries her.
Chelsea (Thinking to herself) “I thought he was doing better with this than me but I guess I was wrong. If he cant keep it together then how will we make it through. Maybe the best thing for me to do is just cut myself off from everything. That way no matter what, I can’t get hurt again, at least nowhere near like this.”
Chelsea gently lays back down on the floor with her bear, falling asleep with a tear in her eye with Tsyuko crying in the background. Late into the afternoon as he’s laying on his aunts lap, he awakens, while thinking of what would be best for him and Chelsea. He doesn’t want to leave the house with all the memories here. He wants to stay in the house that has all the memories of his family. They have some money from the life insurance but Tsyuko worries if they should use the money that way. To just pay to stay where were last a family together. Tsyuko decides that is what he should do, it’s the only thing he can do, as he asks
Tsyuko “Auntie, I want ask you something. (Noumi looks to him still waking up herself rubbing her eyes. He takes a deep breathe) Could Chelsea and I stay here, by ourselves?
Noumi "Why would you want to stay here by yourselves? (She takes a second to think) While you do have enough money to last the bills until you graduate but what about College what about Chelsea’s high school of choice? "
Tsyuko "I think it would be best for the both of us. I don’t want us to just leave this place because of the memories. This is where I grew up. This is where all of us were last a whole family. I don’t want us to also have to deal with having to get use to a new place, new school or new neighborhood."
Noumi (Thinking and worrying a little) “I understand that half of it but why by yourselves? You both gone through a lot, I could move in to help. If I didn’t who would take of the both of you? Would you really sacrifice your music studies to be an adult for Chelsea and yourself? Really think about that before deciding this.”
Tsyuko “I already decided that when I first asked. I don’t see it as me being an adult for either of us rather a way for the two of us to gain some sense of normalcy. Being in the music classes would be great, its what I’ve always wanted but I think it would be best to be around right now and beyond. I don’t want to feel like Im running away from any of this or burry myself in music. I really believe it would be the right thing for me and Chelsea.”
Noumi thinks on this for a few minutes. Thinking over everthing that’s happened and if she really should allow them to be by their selves at this time. After a few more minutes she reluctantly agrees to it on some conditions
Noumi “Alright but I will hold onto the money. I will be the one putting the money to the bills and I will be staying with you guys for six months at least. I don’t want you guys alone right now, not so soon.”
Tsyuko “I promise that we will be fine. Trust me.”
Noumi “Im not changing my stance on this Tsyuko. While Im here, Im going to show you how to properly do laundry and cook. You can’t just spend money on takeout or junk food all the time.”
Tsyuko “Fine. I might consider doing some small work.”
Noumi “(Sighing) Now Tsyuko whats the difference in having a job and going to your music classes?”
Tsyuko “My music classes would be everyday, keeping me away from home longer. With a part time job, I could do on the weekends for few hours. That way Im always home right after school to be here to help Chelsea with anything and have money that we can spend on stuff like the movies or going out to have fun so we can save more. At least once things start to feel a little more normal around here.”
Noumi “Fine, but you do it later though, not immediately. Im going to use our time wisely to teach you how to cook a lot of meals. Though I thought I’d be teaching Chelsea.”
Tsyuko “I know she’s only a year younger than me but I want lift as much of the stress or worry on her as possible. If I can do it, I will.”
Noumi (Relieved to see some new resolve in Tsyuko.) Well, I’m going to teach her how to cook some meals too and to do laundry. You can’t be superman all the time, especially if you end up sick.”
Tsyuko and his aunt share a laugh as they agree on the what to do going forward. The next week and a half is spent helping his aunt pack her things, selling unwanted or needed Items, and setting her up in the house. She decides to pick the guest room as her room, leaving their parents room alone until they want to clean it out.
It doesn’t take Noumi much time to settle in, as she begins teaching Tsyuko how to cook and clean. Chelsea even joins them from time to time to learn how to make certain dishes. Times seem like they are picking up, Yosuke even comes by a little more frequently to visit and hangout. It’s a reassuring feeling as summer break comes to an end and the beginning of a new school year.
Tsyuko is trying on his school uniform to make sure it fits. After looking at himself in the mirrior he decides to show off his uniform to his aunt and Chelsea, thinking of the time that has passed.
Tsyuko “Time sure flies when you look this good and learn to cook, only to go learn more at school…..Can we extend summer?”
Noumi “You do look good but I don’t think school will just extend summer break because of it. If only school worked like that, your auntie would have had better grades in school.”
Tsyuko (Chuckles at the thought of his aunt slacking off) “I can’t imagine you not wanting to work hard. You had me working like a slave.”
Chelsea “Looks aside, you’re not the only one who was working ya know. It can’t be helped when you’re as lazy as you are. (giving off a slight hint of sarcasm)”
Tsyuko (playfully annoyed) “Hey now, I did my part and learned more dishes than you. Just when I thought we’d end the day on some of your favorite dishes for dinner.”
Chelsea “Uh, Mom, you see how Tsyuko treats me.”
A harsh silence falls in the room after Chelsea’s comment. Noumi looks to Chelsea as she grows quiet, expressionless. Tsyuko, wants to comfort her but doesn’t know what to do or say. Chelsea gets off the couch and starts to head to her room.
Chelsea “ Im going to get my stuff ready for school tomorrow. Call me when dinner is ready.”
Noumi “Okay, sweetie. It should be ready in another hour or so.”
It’s from this day onward that Chelsea begins to seem aloof, cut off from everything around her. The semester begins with her like this as, old friends of hers begin to leave her as she no longer likes to talk as much as she use too. She is even doing this at home as the days go on through the new semester. Chelsea slows down on her learning on the chores as well. Tsyuko and Noumi, feel powerless for not being able to help her. They attempt to help her from time to time but are meet with empty replies of “I’m fine, thank you though.” It only gets worse as Christmas comes along. Yosuke has decided to come over and have fun with them and brings some gifts, hoping that this may help, if just a little.
Yosuke (As the front door opens) “Tsyuko, Chelsea, Mrs.Noumi, how is everyone today.”
Tsyuko “Yo, I didn’t think we’d see you today.”
Youske “We exchanged presents yesterday and I even got some for you guys.”
Noumi “Its good to see you Yosuke, please come in. (As Yosuke walks in, she looks at the presents, playfully saying) Did you bring enough for everyone?”
Yosuke “Yes I did Mrs.Noumi.”
Yosuke passes a small gift box to her. When Noumi opens it, she finds a nicely woven scarf in white, blue and black.
Noumi “Thank you Yosuke its lovely.”
Yosuke “No problem Mrs.Noumi, Glad you like it.”
As Yosuke looks over to Tsyuko and Chelsea, he notices that Chelsea still hasn’t said a word, as Tsyuko walks over to check on her to make sure she is okay. Yosuke walks over to them as he presents their gifts.
Yosuke “Tada! Here is a gift from my family to you two.”
Chelsea gives a gentle smile, slightly bows while placing the gift next to her on the couch.
Tsyuko “Thanks man, you didn’t have to do that. (Just as Tsyuko is about to open his gift Yosuke stops him.)
Yosuke “You don’t have to open it right now. Let’s play some games for a while, you can open it before I leave.”
Tsyuko knows that Yosuke is only trying to help but can’t help but feel slightly annoyed at this.
Tsyuko” Okay we can play some games first. Chelsea do you want to play with us?”
Chelsea nods her head no but leans over to pass them the remote she is holding. She decides to stay in the room with everyone and enjoy the time. Tsyuko and Yosuke play games all through the day as night comes just before he leaves.
Yosuke (Just finishes losing to Tsyuko in a game, looks over at the clock) “It’s getting late, I should be going soon but first the main event. Open your gifts.”
Tsyuko opens his gift to find a scarf of his own. It’s a sapphire blue scarf that seems a little small at first due to it looking short in length but before he says anything, he suddenly notices that Yosuke has some bandages on his hand.
Tsyuko (Thinking to himself) “He must have made us all scarfs. (Shaking his head with a slight laughing chuff) This guy really goes out of his way for us.”
Tsyuko “Thank you Yosuke, it looks nice. (Tsyuko reaches out to fist bump Yosuke.)
Yosuke (Fist bumps) “No problem, someone has to make sure you stay warm. Always trying to look good is fine but dress warmly at least. No girl wants a good looking sick guy.”
Tsyuko “I’d still look better than you.”
As they both share a laugh, Yosuke looks over to Chelsea for her to open her gift. When Chelsea does she sees a Ruby red scarf that feels a little thicker than most scarfs but likes it all the same. The scarf reminds her of a scarf her mom got her when she was younger, before she married Tsyuko’s dad.
Chelsea (Thinking to herself) “I wonder what mom would think of this scarf. It’s a lot like the one she got me a long time ago.”
As Chelsea remembers the old scarf her mid drifts to other memories of her mom and spending time with her on other Christmases. A gentle smile at the present fades away as all of those memories come to mind. Not wanting to be rude to Yosuke, she walks over to thank him for the gift and heads off to her room for the night. Tsyuko and Yosuke have no idea what to do as they say goodnight to her, leaving the room.
Yosuke (as he is walking out the front door) “Thanks for letting me stay so long, its been a while since all three of us hung out like that. I can try and come by tomorrow too if you want. This little break won’t be forever so let’s take advantage of it.”
Tsyuko is still thinking about how Chelsea walked off just now. Thinking of how to comfort her or get her to come out of this slump. Thinking on this, he replies to Yosuke.
Tsyuko “No that’s okay, Im going to see what I can do around the house first, maybe take Chelsea somewhere.”
Yosuke “Oh, Okay, just let me know when you want to hang out again. Okay?”
Tsyuko nods his head yes as he sends Yosuke off. Yosuke feels as though he can do more for his friend but doesn’t want to pry. He will let Tsyuko come to him when Tsyuko is ready, but that doesn’t mean he can’t try once in a while.
The next day Tsyuko and Chelsea go out to the shopping district for grocieries. It seems alright but its another day of Chelsea, not speaking, not doing much of anything. Until, Tsyuko see’s her look up and stop. Worried, he asks.
Tsyuko “Are you okay?”
Chelsea “Can I borrow some money really quick please?”
Tsyuko being happy that she has taken some kind interest again.
Tsyuko “Sure. (as Tsyuko passes Chelsea some money)
Chelsea walks into a nearby store, walking out with two cans of canned chicken. She immediately turns to the direction they were walking ahead of Tsyuko. Noticing this, Tsyuko tries to keep up its not long until he sees what she went ahead for. A dirty small box on the sidewalk has Chelsea’s attention as she looks in it. She reaches into her bag to open one of the canned chicken and places the food in the box. As Tsyuko comes closer he finally sees it. A small puppy all by its self in the box. The puppy wages its tail as it eagerly eats the food. Tsyuko smiles as he looks on this.
Tsyuko (thinking to himself) “Even now she’d worry about this little guy more than herself. When she’s having the worse time, it’s probably the cutest thing about her that I never really understood”
Chelsea just smiles petting the puppy. Than with hopeful eyes she looks at Tsyuko while picking up the box.
Tsyuko “We gotta ask aunt Noumi but I don’t think there should be a problem.”
Chelsea gives the biggest smile she has had in a while. They bring the puppy back to the house asking their aunt if they can keep it. Seeing that Chelsea has a smile on her face, she gives in without a fight but the puppy needs shots and care. Before all of this can be explained, Chelsea is asleep on the couch with the new puppy in her arms. Tsyuko picks her up carrying her to her room while their aunt takes the puppy and puts it in its box with some more chicken in a bowl and some newspapers. They both hope that this will help Chelsea overcome her depression and they can have her back to normal, but that isn’t what happens. Chelsea grows more distant while making sure their new puppy Shiloh is okay. There are times where she simply stays in her room or watches over the dog like a baby. The times turn to hours into a day, as she progresses through all of this. They get her to smile and she seems happiest around the dog but it doesn’t help her want to talk as much nor go anywhere as half way into the second semester she asks if she could be home schooled. Her aunt doesn’t want this to happen but Tsyuko, asks for her as well, thinking that this may be whats best for now until she gets out of her rut. Chelsea doesn’t like going to school anymore, often staying home over going to school. It seems like this could be what helps her the most, by being with her more often now at home.
Noumi is still worried but she accepts this while deciding to stay three more months compared to their original agreement. Tsyuko does his best to do everything around the house, talk to Chelsea and get good grades. Its not long that Tsyuko decides to get a job at a convenience store a block away from their house, while their aunt gets an apartment another block away from the convenience store. Once it becomes the two of them, Tsyuko feels as though he can try and talk to her more openly about everything. More so since the accident but all his attempts fall on deaf ears as things stay the same as the new year roles in.
Tsyuko spends his first day of the second year going through the motions, just wanting to get back home as soon as possible. As the day ends, Tsyuko stops at the front gate, remembering that it’s been a little over a year now since his parents passed away. Thinking of the time they spent together and what might they be doing now had things been different. What would they do to Chelsea if they were around. As Tsyuko is spaced out at the front gate Yosuke notices him and tries to call out but Tsyuko doesn’t respond.
Yosuke “Yo, Tsyuko! HEY!”
Yosuke, looks around to see if there is a way to get Tsyuko’s attention. He looks around for a few seconds to find a feather. Smiling mischievously, he picks up the feather as he quietly makes his way over to Tsyuko. He lightly reaches with the feather and begins to slide it up Tsyuko’s back and yells.
The feather freaks Tsyuko out while the yell makes him jump back in even further surprise like a jump scare.
Tsyuko" What are you trying to do, give me a heart attack? What kind of person does that to their friend?"
Yosuke "The best friend kind. (Yosuke begins to laugh, joined by Tsyuko). Let’s head to the roof before we leave, we still have time because of after school activities. You don't have work, today right?
Tsyuko "Yea, I’m off today.”
They both head up the roof of the school to continue the conversation. Once they arrive on the roof, Yosuke decides to sit by the door while Tsyuko walks over to the roof fence.
Yosuke "So, whats on you mind"
Tsyuko (Pausing before speaking) "It’s been a year since our parents died, it doesn’t feel that long when I think about it. It doesn’t feel like that at all sometimes. I wonder how things would be different if they were still around. What would they do for Chelsea as she is, ya know.”
Yosuke “It can’t be helped, you both lost a lot and handled it differently. The best you can do is be there for her and sometimes ask for outside help too. You can’t solve all problems by yourself.”
Tsyuko “I know but it I just want to be able to solve our problems ourselves. I don’t want to burden anyone with that weight. If I can fix it, I will. I’ll do what it takes to make her as comfortable as possible so she can be better, so she can start to enjoy things again, enjoy them together.”
Yosuke "Okay, superman, but even you need help. Who’s going to help you when you’re trying to fix everything around you for everyone else. I know, I haven’t been through what you guys have and I’m not the best at being subtle and probably obnoxious because Im trying to help at times. I just want to help my friends out, don’t push me away when I can help. If you did your grades wouldn’t be slipping and you wouldn’t look like you’ve been in the rain for hours.”
Tsyuko “Hey, Chelsea thinks I look good and I’d still be the talk of the school for girls here. (Tsyuko begins to laugh)”
Yosuke (Laughs with Tsyuko as he catches his breathe) “Says the guy without a girlfriend, I look way better by comparison. If you want your precious Chelsea to keep thinking so, you gotta take better of yourself. The way talk about her these days it’s almost sounds like you’re in love with her, you lolicon.”
Tsyuko continues to laugh but as he thinks about the time he has spent with Chelsea, the times where things were better, they that she is so kind even now, thinks it over before responding then says.
Tsyuko "Yea I think I do love her"
Yosuke " Of course you do you’re her brother"
Tsyuko "The thing is, I’ve never really seen her as my sister. I know that sounds weird since we’ve been together so long. How I’ve always wanted to do what’s best for her but not as my sister. As a girl that I just didn’t want to see hurt so much, because I know what that hurt, what that pain is. Even though I called her mom, mom, I don’t think I have called her anything but Chelsea. I think I am in love with her and I only want her to be happy. (Tsyuko takes in a deep breath as the realization fully hits him, then begins to smile)”
Yosuke "Wait a minute Tsyuko, are you sure you want to go down that road. I know you’re not related by blood, but once you do this there is no going back. Even if you feel this way what if she doesn’t feel the same? What if it does workout, you two live under the same roof and people will talk, what will you do then? What if she recluses further or decides to move out because of either outcome? I just want to make sure you’re really thinking about this and not on an impulse or whim.”
Tsyuko "I know what you’re saying but it’s a strong warmth that I get from her, it’s not like a big brother, nor like a father’s love, there’s this feeling of happiness that I get from her. I only want to be around her, I only think about how to take care of her. Otherwise I think I would have moved out by now. All this time I’ve thought about how I felt like it was my fault that everything happened with our parents. I thought if I were away from everyone, alone, everyone would be better."
Tsyuko “I know its weird, I know it may not make a lot of since but I want to make her as happy as she makes me. Support her as she does for me by being there. I don’t know what I’d have done during this time without her, without wanting to better myself because of her.”
Yosuke playful punches Tsyuko's shoulder "Alright, alright Romeo. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m here for you if you need me"
Tsyuko "You won’t let me forget.”
Yosuke “Come on, its getting late and Im sure you’ve got dinner to cook.”
Tsyuko “ You know it. I’ll make some leftovers if you manage to come over this week.”
Yosuke “Might be tough, club meetings for the going home club take forever.”
As the conversation finishes, Tsyuko walkes with Yosuke to his house just up the road from his aunt’s house and the convenience store to buy the food to make dinner. As he walks to the store he thinks of what he should buy for tonight.
Tsyuko “I think I will make Chelsea's favorites tonight. “
After he finishes shoping, it isn’t long before Tsyuko arrives home, drops off his school bag on the table while heading to the cabinets to grab some seasonings and begins to prepare dinner. While preparing dinner Chelsea comes down from her room early to talk with Tsyuko before dinner.
Chelsea in a monotone voice " Tsyuko, I need to talk to you"
Surprised Tsyuko stops making dinner for a second and asks
Tsyuko " What is it?"
Chelsea gets distracted by the smell of dinner a familiar smell she hasn’t smelled in a while that gives her a faint smile.
Chelsea "Dinner smells great, what are you making"
Tsyuko "I'm making all your favorites for dinner tonight katsu, mashed potatoes, pasta salad and regular salad with extra onions"
Chelsea "You remembered that I like extra onions"
Tsyuko "how could I forget, during the first two months when mom and dad were first together you ate whole onions and had onion breath the rest of the time, I picked on you while mom and dad bought fresh gum each month. You felt so embarrassed you stopped after all that, I guess I picked on you a little too much then. Sorry about that."
Chelsea is now quiet with a sadden look on her face.
Tsyuko looks over from the stove to see Chelsea’s now sadden look. He questions her.
Tsyuko "Whats wrong?"
After taking a moment to collect herself from the mention of their parents. Chelsea bluntly and clearly says.
Chelsea "I don't want to live with you anymore"
Tsyuko scarcely surprised " W-what do you mean? That's not a really good joke."
Chelsea stays quiet and just looks at her brother with somewhat empty eyes.
Tsyuko "If I said something or did something wrong you can tell me, you know that right. So, tell me what I did and I can fix it".
Chelsea looks to Tsyuko, then turns around feeling the weight of her own guilt for wanting to leave. She feels as though she can’t face him but her mind is made up.
Chelsea "Being with you brings back too many painful memories. Every day there’s something around her that reminds me that mom and dad aren’t here. They won’t ever be able to, ever again. I don't want to remember those things, the emptiness of not having them around. Realizing I don’t have their love anymore.."
Tsyuko (somewhat panicked) "Why, why would you want to leave? We can get through if we have each other as we have over this last year. I can help you we can live like we use too.
Chelsea sharply "I don't want to, I don't want to live like this anymore. I’m tired of feeling as sad as I do. Living with these painful memories. So, I'm going to take my part of the money that mom and dad left, Shiloh and move in with aunt Noumi.”
Tsyuko "What’s wrong with remembering those things. It’s those memories that help us keep them in our hearts, knowing that they loved us, so why would you want to forget that. Why would you want to run away from them, when they loved us so much?”
Chelsea yells "It hurts to much, I want mom here, I want dad, why did everything happen, well if we are going to live an unfair life without them then, I don't want to be somewhere where all I can do is think of them, it’s a living hell that way."
Tsyuko is taken back and reaches out for Chelsea as she takes a step away from him ever so slightly and says,
Chelsea "I will take dinner in my room tonight to give you some time."
Tsyuko " Don't do this, all we got is each other, we have each other and aunt Naumi. (Stammering) And, and, and I love you Chelsea, isn't that enough."
Chelsea "I love you too, more than you really know, but I just want to forget everything and let it go. Good night Tsyuko".
Chelsea leaves and walks up to her room sobbing as she runs up. When Tsyuko hears the door close he goes back to finish the food quietly, still in shock over what has happened. He can’t help but want to know what he can do to stop this, but feels deep down in his heart, he can’t. He takes Chelsea her plate, knocking on the door as he places the plater at the foot of the door. He puts up the food into the refrigerator steadily while feeling every ounce of his body wanting to collapse all at once. Once he returns to the table, he collapses into the chair at the table and begins to question everything about his life so far, how can he help his sister, how can he get her to stay, how can he show her that his love can fill that pit of despair left by losing their parents. Tsyuko thinks about this all night as he sobs the entire time and until he falls asleep.
The next day Tsyuko is quiet in class and a minimalist at work. Yosuke catches Tsyuko during a lunch break and asks.
Yosuke “How do you wanna tell your sister that you love her? I was thinking we could do a double date, maybe go somewhere, where you two could be alone for a little. I’m sure she’d love getting out of the house and seeing some new places outside of the neighborhood.”
Tsyuko only glances up at Yosuke, no reply as he continues to eat his food.
Yosuke “Tsyuko, is everything okay? What happened?”
Tsyuko wants nothing to do with Yosuke and his questions at the moment. He packs his lunch and walks off, away from Yosuke as he reaches out for him.
Yosuke “Tsyuko, talk to me, we just had this conversation. I’m here to help, just tell me whats wrong.”
Tsyuko (In a broken tone of voice) “It’s too soon right now. Give me some time and I’ll come talk to you. Otherwise I might say something I don’t mean.”
Yosuke let’s go of Tsyuko.
Yosuke “Alright…have it your way.”
As Tsyuko walks off Yosuke feels concerned as he’s never seen Tsyuko like this. He wants to keep pushing to see what’s wrong to help but doesn’t. Because he knows that right now isn’t the time to be pushing his luck or pushing Tsyuko.
During the week, Tsyuko is stuck thinking to himself, over and over of what he can do, what he could have done differently to change the current situation
Tsyuko “Why does she want to leave? How did this happen? Why does this have to happen? Can I fix it? Will she let me fix it? (Feeling powerless at the fact that he can’t come up with an answer) I cant. I can’t do anything for her anymore, I don’t even think loving her anymore will be able to help keep her here. Should I go with her? But what about mom and dad, this is where we all lived together, where our friends and family are, the great memories that make us smile not hurt. I guesss I never really looked at that. I guess, I failed her. Maybe I should give up….”
After that week and a day, Yosuke comes over to Tsyuko during their lunch break. To ask him to talk to him after school on the school roof. When school ends, Tsyuko reluctantly comes to the roof and opens with
Tsyuko "What do you want"
Yosuke "Whats going on Tsyuko, you haven’t talked to me at all recently. I’ve tried calling to see if that would be better considering you’re going through something but you are clearly not yourself. Talk to me and maybe I can help"
Tsyuko "Don't worry about it, it will resolve itself in no time, just like everything else.as”
As Tsyuko begins to leave, Yosuke begins to fear the worse. That Tsyuko may be planning suicide, he begins to reach out as he catches a glimpse of the look in Tsyuko’s eyes. Eyes that look like he’s already dead, that he’s given up. Yosuke quickly grabs him to turn Tsyuko back around.
Yosuke "Don't you walk away like that; don't you walk away like you've already given up and died. Tell me what happened or I'm going to punch you until you do."
Tsyuko angrily and quietly says "Go ahead and do it then, I don't care enough to stop you nor tell you anything."
Yosuke angry pulls his fist as far back as he can and with all his strength, weight, and speed he punches Tsyuko. Tsyuko is slightly surprised at the fact that Yosuke actually punched him.
Yosuke "We've been friends for a long time, since we were kids, since your birth mother passed and I’ve never seen you like this. You tell me you don't care enough, then I will by showing you how much I care, if that hurt you still haven't fully given up but don't you dare go around saying you’re okay while looking like that. You’re clearly not okay so talk to me dammit. I'm your best friend, there is nothing I won’t listen too when you need me."
Tsyuko (Tearing up) "Chelsea wants to leave, she wants to forget about mom and dad, she wants to forget about what we all shared here, she wants to forget me. I don't know what to do, how can I keep her here. Tell me, what the hell am I supposed to do when the woman I care about the most doesn't want to be around me."
Tsyuko leans against the wall near the door and slumps down holding a knee as he sobs more. Yosuke, without a second thought, sits next to Tsyuko and puts his hand on Tsyukos shoulder while saying.
Yosuke "You ask help from friends and family, you let them help you as much as possible to share the weight of your world so it never gets too heavy."
Tsyuko (sniffle) "What do I do then Yosuke".
Yosuke “What is the one thing you want to make sure you do?”
Tsyuko “I want to keep Chelsea here with me but that would be too selfish wouldn’t it.”
Yosuke “It would be if you weren’t trying to figure out how to make it better somehow, but you are. You can look into places she’s wanted to visit that she hasn’t gotten to since being in Japan or around the area. A movie she wants to see, a show, a book store or something.”
Tsyuko “It’s been hard to get her out as is. She says she constantly remembers mom and dad because of everything around her. How do I change that to get her to go out.”
Yosuke “You can see what she likes and take her to places affiliated or that have things that she likes. That’s a nice start, it should get her mind off of everything and get her to see everything can be okay if she lets it be okay.”
Tsyuko “That could work.”
Yosuke "Or call your aunt and ask her for some help or advice, I can always stop by a little more often and see when we can all go out somewhere. We can even ask some local priests what to do."
Tsyuko "I don’t want to involve my aunt just yet and Priests?"
Yosuke " Yea, there are some Shinto, Buddhist, and Christain temples nearby that we can go talk to them and see what they can advise to us about your sister and how to help."
Tsyuko "Why are you going so far for me?"
Yosuke "I’m you’re best friend man, your practically my brother and I want to help you however I can so you never end up this low again."
Tsyuko gives a reassured smile.
Yosuke "We can check out the temples over the weekend and see what’s up then. Since its Friday, I'm going to ask my mom if I can stay at your place so we can do exactly that as early as possible."
As Yosuke walks away to call his mother Tsyuko turns to him and says
Tsyuko "Thank you Yosuke"
Yosuke (giving a thumbs up) “What are friends for?”
Tsyuko “To help each other to not be so low.”
Yosuke “The next time you forget that. I’m going to punch you harder.”
Tsyuko “I got it, besides I don’t want another one, my jaw hurts.”
As they share a quick laugh, Yosuke makes the call to his mother. He explains that Tsyuko needs some help right now without going into too much details. Knowing that her son really cares about his friend all too well allows Yosuke to stay over the weekend and will be by to bring him some cloths to change into. After the phone call Yosuke and Tsyuko make their way off the roof the roof and on the way to Tsyuko's house, when Yosuke suddenly says
Yosuke "Don't think this weekend help is completely free, I want some food, I haven't tried your food since you told me you learned to cook for you and your sister, and I’m also getting my mom to bring over some games we can play."
Tsyuko "I thought she was only bringing cloths and aren’t we were going to the temples tomorrow?"
Yosuke "We are going to the temples tomorrow, but we are going to have fun when we aren't there. Besides I already sent the text.”
Tsyuko “You can be the best kind of idiot sometimes, you know that?”
Yosuke “Only for my friends, it’s tough doing this.”
They both share a laugh as they catch up to Yosuke’s mother just outside his house, who passes him a bag with some clothes and games. She was also kind enough to give them a bag of food for Tsyuko to cook.
Tsyuko “Thank you Mrs.Namura.”
Mrs.Namura “No problem Tsyuko.”
As they walk away and into the house, Yosuke’s mother waves goodbye as she heads back home.