[The author uses two different pronouns for ‘I’, watashi and ore, to indicate whether Mitsuha or Taki, respectively, is narrating. Since there are no equivalent words in English, I will use an italic I and a bold I to indicate Mitsuha and Taki, respectively.]
A nostalgic voice and smell. A lovely light and warmth.
I am pressed right up against a very precious someone, with almost no gap between us. Inseparably connected. Not a single fragment of anxiety or loneliness lingers in me, as if I were a young infant again, simply drinking milk in the comfort of my mother’s breasts. A very sweet feeling, the feeling of not yet knowing loss, fills my body.
Suddenly, my eyes open.
— I see.
It was a dream. I get up out of bed, and, in those mere two seconds, the warm feeling that had enveloped my body already disappears. It leaves no trace, no lingering comfort. At the suddenness of it all, leaving no time to think, tears begin to flow.
I wake up in the morning, and for some reason I am crying. This kind of thing sometimes happens to me.
And I can never remember what I had been dreaming about. I stare at my right hand, the hand which had just wiped my tears away. Only a small droplet still sits on my index finger. The tears that dampened my eyes just moments ago have already dried up, along with my dream.
Once, in this hand…
Something very important…
— I can’t remember.
Giving up, I get out of bed and head for the sink. As I wash my face, I feel like I had once been surprised at the warmth and flavor of this water. I look into the mirror.
An unsatisfied face stares back at me.
I do my hair as I gaze into the mirror, then pass my arms through the sleeves of a spring suit.
I fasten my tie, which I have finally gotten used to knotting, then put on my suit.
I open the door of my apartment.
I close the door of my apartment. In front of my eyes…
The cityscape of Tokyo, which I have finally gotten used to seeing, spreads out in front of me. Just like I used to naturally memorize the peaks of mountains in the distance, I can now name a few of the skyscrapers before me.
I pass through the crowded ticket gates of the station and go down the escalator.
I get on a commuter train. Leaning against the door, I watch the scenery as it flows by. In every building, in every window, in every car, and on every pedestrian bridge, the city is overflowing with people.
A faint, hazy white sky looms above. On a car carrying a hundred people, in a train carrying a thousand people, in a city carrying a thousand trains, I gaze.
And while gazing out at the city, like always,
I am searching for someone, a single, specific person.