A temple with a thousand faces

There is one picture that hides many secrets from me. It wasn’t shot by me, and I wasn’t even there; when I got there, I was a few hours late. Or perhaps, a lifetime late.

I believe this same picture still haunts the girl who shot it, though in a completely different manner, for reasons I will not state.

I cannot say that I loved her. I cannot, even though I wanted to; my actions, my inconclusiveness and one dreadful, horrible, revealing mistake tell a different story, which had turned me into somebody who could not morally bring himself to pursue her. And rightly so, for she deserved much more.

Yet, the night of the photo, I found myself pursuing her, not metaphorically. She had gone out with somebody, and an error in communication on her part had made it appear to us as if something had gone wrong.
For the friends with me, that photo perhaps means an evening spent in anxiety. But I cannot say for sure.
And so, while the others asked around the hostel, I rushed out searching, and ran, ran, ran, whilst the Tokyo summer heat drenched me in sweat.

The truth was, I was not worried, not in the common sense. When, at the end of it all, she phoned and I came back to the hostel, they told me I had looked really anxious. I told them they were wrong and they laughed it off. They had misunderstood really, for I really had known all along, deep inside me, that she wasn’t in danger.

Before this happened, while I was still running, the picture had unfolded inside my mind.

A lovely story of them walking, laughing merrily as the gentle breeze from the Sumida river sifted through their hair. And then holding hands in front of the Sensou temple, and perhaps timidly entering a love hotel, looking into each others eyes, everything so full of love. All of this in my dreary, dirty, useless imagination. So much that I knew I wouldn’t have found her, and I didn’t want to either. She was having the time of her life, she was happy, how could I?
Yet, I could only keep running, and asking around, as if part of my mind wanted to keep up the pretence that she had been kidnapped by a lowly hostel-dwelling maniac.
To this day, I don’t really know what went on exactly that evening, and never will, neither it does matter, except that she went out with said person; at the time curiosity, instead of jealousy, was eating me alive, for reasons I do not yet fully understand. I know I am a spectator in life, and probably things will not change. I know that it was a night she won’t forget, and that’s that.

After a bit of running I was notified, by phone, that after all she wasn’t in danger. I stopped to catch my breath. I was inside the temple, right next to where the photo had been taken, some time before.
I still ran, this time back to the hostel. They were crossing the bridge. I ran past.

And the day after that, we took a plane back home, a bubble burst. I remember crying, and her holding my hand. Pathetic and silly, could be, but it was one of those time when I felt something.

The memory is faded now. It does not pain, nor affect me as much anymore, and I don’t think I want to forget it. It says a lot about who I am, a person who doesn’t know how to, where to, when to, why to pursue. Me and her are still friends; I am really glad it is so. It has been enough time for me to elaborate, without wanting to go back, and change things.

But still.. how can you create so big a void in so little time?

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