An unfamiliar ringing.
That thought drifted through my still fast asleep head. An alarm clock? But I’m still sleepy. Anyways, let’s sleep some more. Eyes still shut, I felt for the smartphone which should have been beside the futon.
I extended my hand even farther. This alarm is really getting annoying… where the heck did I put it?
With a thump, my back made a full force collision with the floor. Apparently, I just fell out of my bed… eh? Wait a second… bed?
Finally opening my eyes, I raised the upper half of my body.
A totally unfamiliar room.
I am in a totally unfamiliar room.
Did I spend the night somewhere?
“… Where am I?” As soon as those words left my mouth, I noticed that my throat felt strangely heavy. Instinctively, I put my hand against it. My fingers felt a hard, protruding lump. “Hmm?” My voice sounded oddly deep. I dropped my glance down to my body.
An unfamiliar T-shirt stretched straight down to my stomach. Gone.
My boobs… are gone.
And right smack in the middle of my lower body, there was something, emitting such a strong sense of presence that it overshadowed the unnaturalness of my boobs’ absence.
What… is this?
Slowly, I moved my hand closer to that thing. It felt as if skin and blood from my entire body were being sucked up into that one point.
… Is this…. Could it be…
My hand made contact.
I very nearly lost consciousness.
Who is this guy?
Standing in front of the mirror in an unfamiliar bathroom, I stared intently at the reflection of an unfamiliar face. The slightly sloppy hair coming down to eyebrow level had about a 6:4 ratio of not trying to trying. The eyebrows themselves gave an impression of stubbornness, but the pair of eyes below them, which were a little on the large side, looked like those of a kind person. Farther down were rough lips that seemed to be completely isolated from the concept of moisturization, and behind all this was a stiff neck.
For some reason, on one of the cheeks a large bandage had been stuck on, and, upon gently touching it, a dull pain ran throughout my face. It hurt, yet still I did not wake up. My throat was severely parched. I twisted the faucet on and gulped down water collected in both my hands. It was uncomfortably warm and smelled like pool water.
“Taki, are you up?”
Hearing a man’s voice suddenly from afar, I let out a little yelp. Taki?
“… You were on breakfast duty today, weren’t you? What the hell are you doing?” As I peered timidly into what looked like the living room, a middle aged man wearing a suit glanced at me briefly before dropping his gaze back to his meal and tossing that question my way.
“S-Sorry!” I apologized reflexively.
“I’m going to head out. There’s some miso soup, so help yourself.”
“Even if you’re late, make sure you go to school,” the man said as he quickly gathered his dishes, put them on the small kitchen counter, walked past me standing frozen at the entrance towards the foyer, put on his shoes, opened the door, stepped outside, then shut the door. It all occurred in a flash, faster than a black kite could get out one chirp.
“… What a weird dream,” I said out loud, then looked around the room once more.
All over the wall, pictures of designs of bridges or buildings or various other structures were posted. On the floor, magazines and paper bags and cardboard boxes lay messily scattered about. Contrasted with the Miyamizu household, which boasted cleanliness on the level of a venerable ryokan (although that was all due to Grandma), it gave off the impression of a lawless wasteland. The room itself was rather small, so I guessed it must have been an apartment.
I don’t know where all the source material for this dream came from, but it seemed pretty realistic. My imagination must be great. Maybe I could be an artist or something in the future?
As if responding to my musings, the electronic dinging of a message being received rang from down the hallway. Panicking, I gulped and dashed back into the bedroom. A smartphone had fallen beside the sheets, and on the screen a short message was displayed.
Are you still at home? Run! – Tsukasa
Eh? What what? Who is Tsukasa?!
First things first, I need to go to school. I looked around and spotted a boy’s uniform hanging by the window. But the moment I took it, I realized an even more urgent issue.
Ahh… why does it have to be now?
I need to go to the bathroom!
I let out a sigh heavy enough to make my entire body collapse. What is it with boys’ bodies?! I somehow finished my business with the toilet in one piece, but my body was still shaking from anger. Why is it that the more I tried to pee, the more I tried to adjust aim with my fingers, the harder and harder it got to let anything out?! Am I dumb?! Or is this guy just weird!? Ahh, I had never even seen one before! Despite all my complaining, I am still a shrine maiden!
Hanging my head at the unbearable disgrace and holding the tears back, or rather failing to and spilling a few, I changed into the school uniform and opened the apartment door. Anyways, let’s just get out of here, I thought, and raised my eyes.
— And then.
By the sight before me,
My breath was stolen away.
I was standing in what seemed to be an elevated corridor of an apartment building. Beneath my eyes lay the green expanse of a park. The perfectly untainted sky was uniformly painted a vivid cerulean blue. And on the border where the green from below and the blue from above clashed, buildings of all sizes stood lined up, almost like rows of neatly folded origami. In every one of those buildings were detailed, elaborate windows, carved into the sides like stitched patterns. Some windows reflected the blue of the sky, some carried the deep green of the trees, and some glittered in the rays of the morning sun. The small red pinnacle visible in the distance, the rounded silver building somewhat resembling a whale, and the shining building which looked like it was cut out of a block of pure obsidian were surely all famous, sitting vaguely somewhere in the back of my memory. Also faraway, seemingly toylike cars formed into an orderly flow, weaving between the buildings.
The scene before me was far more beautiful than what I had imagined, or anything that I had seen on TV or in movies. Or perhaps I had never seriously tried to visualize it, but there it was: the cityspace of the largest metropolis in Japan. Deeply moved, I could do nothing but utter a single word.
I took a deep breath and squinted my eyes at the dazzling, radiant world in front of me, as if I were staring straight into the sun.
“Hey hey, where did you buy this?” “In Nishi-Azabu, on the way home from lessons.” “On the opening act of their next concert…” “Hey let’s skip practice today and catch a movie…” “About tonight’s party…”
W-What are these conversations? Are these people really modern Japanese high school students? Not just reading celebrity Facebook posts or something?
I was half hiding myself behind the door, observing the classroom and waiting for the right timing to enter. By the time I got to school, after hours of getting hopelessly lost despite using my smartphone’s GPS the whole way, the chime that signaled the start of lunch break had rung.
But seriously, this school building… with its entire walls made of glass and colorful iron doors with little round windows in them — what is this, a world’s fair or something? That’s how modern and stylish it looked. So this was the world that this Tachibana Taki fellow, who was the same age as me, lived in. The name I confirmed in the class roster and the nonchalant face on his ID photo popped into my mind. Somehow it pissed me off a little.
“!!” My shoulders having been suddenly grabbed from behind, a little whiff of air that failed to become a yelp escaped my lips. Turning my head, I saw a boy with glasses and a neat appearance characteristic of a class officer grinning broadly, his face so close that our bangs almost touched. Ahh! This is the closest I’ve ever been to a guy!
“Coming to school during lunch, huh? Let’s go eat,” the glasses boy said, then walked with me down the hallway, his hands still locked onto my shoulders.
Whoa, whoa, too close!
“Ignoring my texts…” he mumbled.
Ah, that’s right. “… Tsukasa-kun?”
“Haha, kun? Is that your way of apologizing?”
Not knowing how to respond, for the time being I wriggled my way out of his arms.
“… you got lost?” a largely built and kind looking boy named Takagi asked, unable to hide the disbelief on his face. “How the heck do you get lost on the way to school?”
“Um…” I fumbled for words. The three of us were sitting in the corner of the school building’s wide roof. Perhaps because everyone wanted to avoid the hot summer sun’s rays, even though it was lunch break there was hardly anyone around us. “Uh… watashi…”
Takagi and Tsukasa eyed me suspiciously. Oops. Right now, I am Tachibana Taki.
“Ah, um… watakushi!”
Finally, the two nodded, although the suspicion didn’t leave their eyes. I see. Ore. Got it!
[Here Mitsuha was testing out different pronouns to refer to herself, trying to see which one Taki uses.]
“… It was fun. Tokyo’s so lively and exciting, kinda like a festival.”
“… Are you talking with an accent?” Takagi asked. [I could not think of a good way to convey Mitsuha’s rural dialect.]
“Ehh!” Accent? My face flushed red.
“Taki, where’s your bento?” Tsukasa continued the interrogation.
“Ehhhh!” I don’t have one!
“Are you sick or something?” Watching me frantically search my bag with sweat streaming down my face, the two laughed. “Tsukasa, you have anything?” “Egg sandwich. Put your croquette in with it.”
“Thanks…” I said, slightly impressed with their instant makeshift egg croquette sandwich. Who knew guys could be this stylish and kind? Ahh, wait wait Mitsuha, I can’t fall in love with both of them at the same time! Well, I won’t… but anyway, Tokyo is too amazing!
“So, want to stop by that cafe again after school?”
Upon hearing Takagi speak those words, my gaze became frozen on his mouth, which a bite of sandwich was about to enter.
“Ah, sure sure,” Tsukasa said, then took a sip of water.
Eh? What did he just say? Stop by… where?
“Taki? You coming to the cafe too?”
“C-C-Cafeee!?” Paying no attention to the ever growing suspicion in their faces, I couldn’t stop myself from screaming in excitement. Now was the time for revenge for that bus stop cafe!
Two small dogs wearing idol style clothes were sitting in chairs nearby, staring at me with their beady eyes and wagging their tails lazily. There was an unusually wide space between each table, an entire half of the customers were foreigners, a staggering third were wearing sunglasses, three fifths had a hat on, not a single person was wearing a suit, and I had no clue what the professions of any of them could possibly be. Seriously, what is this place? A cafe where adults gather on weekday afternoons with their dogs?!
“The wood framework on the ceiling is nice.”
“Ah, looks like a lot of work was put into it.”
Showing no signs of fear at the awesomely stylish environment, Tsukasa and Takagi casually shared their opinions of the interior design. Apparently, these children had an interest in architecture and were going around looking at different cafes. What kind of hobby is that!? Aren’t high school boys into reading ‘Mu’ or stuff like that?!
“Taki, you decided?”
Urged on by Tsukasa, I interrupted my observations of the room to look over the massive leather bound menu.
“….!! I could live on the price of this pancake for a month!”
“What era are you living in?” joked Takagi.
“Hmmm…” An internal debate raged for a moment, then I realized that this was all a dream. In that case, who cares? It’s Tachibana Taki’s money anyway, I’ll just eat whatever I want.
Ahh… what a nice dream. Finished eating my heavyweight pancake, which looked kinda like a fortress surrounded by blueberries and mangos, I let out a deeply satisfied sigh and sipped my cinnamon coffee. Just then, a chime went off on my smartphone… a lot of angry emojis in this message.
“… Ah! What do I do? It says I’m late for my job! Someone that looks like my boss is angry!”
“Oh, was your shift today?”
“Then hurry up and go.”
“Got it!” I stood up in a rush, then…
“… What’s wrong?”
“Where do I work again?”
The pair’s expressions had surpassed astonishment, bordering on anger. Not fair! I don’t know anything about this guy!”
“Um, excuse me, where’s my food?” “Taki! Get table 12’s order!” “I didn’t order this…” “Taki! I told you we’re out of truffles!” “Where’s the check?” “Taki! Get out of the way!” “Taki! Take your job seriously!” “Taki!!”
It turned out to be a rather high class looking Italian restaurant. A sparkling chandelier hung from the two story tall ceiling, along with a big, slowly spinning propeller fan that looked like something out of a movie. Tachibana Taki worked as a bowtie wearing waiter, and by evening the restaurant was hellishly busy.
I messed up orders, messed up table settings, got scolded by the customers, and got yelled at by the chefs, but somehow I was still managing to stay on my very confused feet. I mean, come on, this is my first time here! I’ve never even had a job before! Wait a minute, this dream is starting to become a nightmare! Agghh, when am I going to wake up!? This is all your fault, Tachibana Taki!
“– Wait a second, young man over there.”
“Eh, ah, yes?” I turned around hurriedly after passing by the owner of the voice (how the heck am I supposed to tell who you’re talking to by ‘young man’?)
Eek. Sitting there was a man wearing a collared shirt with a gold necklace wrapped around his neck and many large, shiny rings on his fingers. Very obviously a gangster. Well, you can see some of these people in front of the station in the city next to my hometown. In that sense, maybe I was closer to him than the shiny celebrity looking customers.
With a faint forced smile, he said to me, “There was a toothpick in my pizza.”
Mr. Gangster held up his last slice of basil pizza, showing me the toothpick that he clearly stuck in himself. Maybe he was joking, but even so I had no idea how to respond.
“This would be dangerous if I ate it now, wouldn’t it? I’m lucky I noticed, but… what are you going to do?” he said, with that smile still pasted onto his face.
“Eh…” I believe you put it there yourself, is that right? Of course, there was no way I could say that. At a total loss for words, I tried my best to put on a friendly smile. Immediately, the smile on the gangster’s face disappeared.
“I’m asking you what you’re going to do about it!” he yelled suddenly, banging the table loudly with his knee.
The ambient noise throughout the restaurant instantly froze, along with my body.
“– Sir! Is something wrong?”
A waitress appeared and pushed me out of the way, telling me to back off as she passed. Another waiter, probably one of Taki’s senpai, then grabbed my arm from behind and dragged me away from the scene.
“You’ve been really weird today, you know?” he said with a worried face.
Out of the corner of my eye I spotted the waitress bowing deeply and apologizing to the gangster guy. Then, as if someone had twisted the volume dial, the background chatter in the restaurant once again returned.
The restaurant’s operating hours had finally come to an end; the chandelier’s light had been shut off, and the tables had been stripped of their cloth. Some polished glasses, some checked the inventory, some were on the computers by the register. As for me, I was pushing a giant lawn mower like cleaning machine across the floor.
I still hadn’t gotten a chance to talk to the woman who saved me earlier, who was now wiping the tables one by one. Her long curly hair obscured the side of her face, leaving me unable to read her expression. The one thing I could tell, however, was that her glossy lips were curved into a kind smile. She had slender arms and legs and a thin waist, yet also had fairly large breasts. Passing by, I managed to read ‘Okudera’ from the nameplate sitting on top of them. Ok, here we go!
“– Okudera-san.” As soon as I mustered the courage to call her name, I felt a poke on the back of my head.
“Senpai!” The man who just poked me scolded me in a joking tone as he passed by on his way to the kitchen, a bundle of menus in one hand.
Ah, I see. Senpai, huh? Alright, one more time!
“Um, Okudera-senpai! About earlier…”
“Taki-kun. Today was a disaster.” She turned around and looked me straight in the eye as she said that.
Her long eyelashes, curled up towards the ceiling, her beautiful almond eyes, and her sensual voice that gave me tingles up my back made me instinctively want to confess my love for her then and there. Feeling my cheeks redden, I panicked and lowered my gaze to the floor.
“He was definitely lying. Well, I still gave him his meal for free like the manual says.” Not seeming particularly angry, she turned over her cloth and began wiping a new table.
As I started to speak again, another waitress came by and butted in.
“Ah! Okudera-san! Your skirt!”
Upon twisted her body to look at her bottom, Okudera-senpai’s face grew bright red. A little above her thighs, a deep cut ran horizontally through her skirt. She let out a little yelp and quickly covered up the gash with her apron.
“Are you hurt?” “Wow… was it that customer?” “This kind of thing happened before, didn’t it?” “Bullying?” “Do you remember what he looked like?”
A few other employees had gathered around senpai, raising voices of concern. Okudera-senpai remained silent with her gaze on the floor, and I stood beside her looking like an idiot, the words I had tried to speak still stuck in my mouth. Her shoulders began to shake slightly. I thought I could see a few tear droplets welling up in her eyes.
This time it’s my turn to save her. The thought hit me suddenly, and, before I knew it, I had grabbed Okudera-senpai’s hand and started walking off, ignoring the ‘hey, Taki!’ calls behind me.
Green for an open field. Orange for flowers and butterflies. Hmm, I want one more motif. Let’s make brown… a hedgehog. And cream for its nose.
Pinching senpai’s skirt, I sewed on a pattern over the rip. For some reason, the sewing basket in the changing room had various colored embroidery threads, so I decided to use them to make a rather elaborate repair. After being drilled by Grandma my whole life, needlework was a specialty among specialties.
“Finished!” After five minutes of threading, I handed over the repaired skirt to Okudera-senpai.
“… Eh, is this…” Senpai’s expression gradually changed from one of suspicion and anxiety at being dragged by me to the changing room into one of surprise. “Wow! Taki-kun, this is great! It’s cuter than before.”
The cut was an about ten centimeter long straight, horizontal line across her skirt. I had sewed the two parts together while also creating a pattern of hedgehogs playing in a field. The rest of the skirt was plain dark brown, so I thought it would stand out in a good way, bringing a cute aspect to senpai’s beauty. Her face, which looked like it belonged to a model in some magazine, changed into the warm, friendly smile of a neighborhood girl.
“Thank you for saving me today.” I finally managed to get the words out.
“Hehe.” She laughed softly. “Truth is, I was a little worried then. You’re quick to get into fights, even though you’re weak.” Senpai tapped her left cheek as she spoke. Ah, I think I can guess how this band aid on Taki’s cheek got here. “You’re a little better today,” she finished jokingly. “Oh, also, you’ve got a surprising amount of feminine charm.”
My heart leaped. Her smile at that moment, which made me want to immediately offer all of my belongings to her for free, was the most valuable thing I had laid eyes upon today in Tokyo.
The train on the ride home was empty.
It was at this time that I noticed how Tokyo was filled with such a variety of smells. The convenience stores, family restaurants, people passing by, parks, construction sites, stations at night, insides of trains; almost every ten steps brought a new scent. Until now, I didn’t know that humans produced such strong smells when they gathered into one place. And in this city there was unmistakably human life, as evidenced by the lights in the windows flowing past my eyes. At the overwhelmingly countless number of buildings, lining up until the very ends of my field of view like a mountain range, my heart grew restless.
And Tachibana Taki was one such human living here in this city. I held my hand out to the boy reflected in the glass window of the train. It annoyed me a little, but maybe his face wasn’t so bad after all. I started to feel a certain familiarity with this boy, as if he were a comrade who fought alongside me through this exhausting battle of a day.
“But still, this is a really realistic dream…”
When I arrived home, I threw myself onto the bed which I had woken up in this morning. I imagined how I would tell Tesshi and Saya-chin all about my amazing dream the next day, and how I would brag about the superior power of my imagination. Maybe I could become a manga artist… or no, I’m not too good at art, so maybe an author? I could definitely make enough money so that we could all get a place in Tokyo.
Smiling at my thoughts running wild, I rolled face up and grabbed Tachibana Taki’s smartphone in my hand. As I swiped through it with my fingers, I noticed that he kept a diary of some kind.
9/7 Ate at KFC with Tsukasa and Takagi
9/6 Movie at Hibiya
8/31 Architecture tour; bay coast edition
8/25 Job payday!
I scrolled back in time through the numerous headings, slightly impressed at his dedication. Next, I tapped on the photos icon. Most of them were scenery shots, with pictures of Tsukasa and Takagi coming in second. Eating ramen and going to parks together… they looked really close. A gyuudon place, a train station soba stand, a hip hamburger joint. The road home from school, the sunset peeking through the gaps between buildings, the backs of friends, the trail of an airplane through the clouds in the sky.
“Ahh, must be nice… living in Tokyo.” As I spoke, a yawn came out. Feeling a little sleepiness coming on, I flipped to the next photo. “Ah, Okudera-senpai.” The picture showed senpai’s back as she cleaned a window at the restaurant; it looked like it was taken secretly. The next picture showed her noticing the camera and posing with a smile and peace sign.
…. Maybe this guy has a crush on Okudera-senpai, I thought. But it was probably a one sided love. She was a college student; a high school boy was still just a kid to her.
I sat up on the bed and created a new entry for today in the diary app, then started typing in all the experiences I had been through. How I messed up a lot, but in the end I became closer to Okudera-senpai. How, on the way home, she walked with me from the restaurant to the train station. Half wanting to report to Tachibana Taki, and half just wanting to brag, I wove those stories into the diary. As I finished writing, another yawn escaped me.
Who are you?
Suddenly, for some reason, I remembered those words I found written in my Japanese notebook. I imagined Tachibana Taki in my body, in my room in Itomori Village, writing those words in my notebook before he went to sleep. It was a strange image, yet it held an unusual sense of credibility. I took a sharpie lying on the nearby desk and, on my palm, wrote Mitsuha.
A third yawn. It was only natural how tired I was. The day had been an exciting and colorful one, like I had been bathing in a rainbow or something. The entire world had sparkled, even without any BGM. Imagining a surprised Tachibana Taki reading the words written on his palm, I smirked a little as I fell into a deep sleep.
“… What is this?”
I couldn’t help but ask out loud as I looked at my palm. Underneath the letters scribbled there, I saw my uniform and tie, all wrinkled up. … So I slept without changing?
“… W-What is this!?”
This time, I screamed. My father looked at me for a moment, then quickly lost interest and returned his focus to the rice bowl in front of him. Meanwhile, I stared at my phone incredulously. A diary entry that I had no memory of writing went on and on.
… And on the way home from work, I walked to the station with Okudera-senpai! All because of my feminine charms ❤
“Taki, want to go to the cafe again today?”
“Ah sorry, I have work after school.”
“Haha, do you remember where you work?”
“Huh? … Oh, it was you, wasn’t it? Tsukasa,” I asked accusingly, raising my voice a little. Actually, I really hoped it was Tsukasa’s doing. Unfortunately, his questioning look said otherwise. There was no reason a random person would go through that much trouble just for a stupid prank. I knew that much.
“… Never mind. See ya,” I said reluctantly as I stood up from my chair. About to leave the classroom, I heard Takagi’s voice behind me: ‘he’s normal today, huh?’. A chill ran through my feet. Something very strange was happening to me.
“… What is it?”
I had just changed into my work uniform and opened the door of the changing room, only to discover three of my senpai standing there blocking my way. One regular employee and two college part timers, all guys, were glaring at me with ominous bloodshot eyes. As I gulped in fear, they started talking to me in threatening voices.
“… Taki you bastard, trying to steal her?” “Explain yourself!” “You guys walked home together yesterday, didn’t you?”
“Eh… wait, seriously!? Me? With Okudera-senpai!?” Which meant… the stuff in that diary was true!?
“What did you guys do after that!?”
“Um… I really don’t remember very well…”
“Don’t screw around with me!”
As one of them was about to grab me by the collar, a calm voice rang throughout the hallway.
“Okudera, reporting for work~”
With her shiny long bare legs and shoulders poking out of her top, Okudera-senpai came walking over. Stepping heavily in her high laced sandals, she greeted us with a smile.
“Good work, everyone~”
“Good afternoon!” Unable to withstand the dazzling presence of Okudera-senpai, who was basically like an idol in the restaurant, the four of us guys unintentionally returned a greeting in unison. For a moment, I forgot about the trouble that was about to occur; then, she turned around and looked at me.
“Let’s do our best again today, Taki-kun~” senpai said with a tone so sweet I could sense a heart emoji at the end of her sentence. She then winked at me so hard it almost made a sound and disappeared beyond a door.
My face turned bright red; I almost felt steam coming out of my head. I suddenly got the urge to polish all the windows in the restaurant until they were sparkly clean.
“… Oi, Taki.” The dark voices of the three men, which sounded like they were resonating up from the very bottom of the Earth, brought me back to reality.
— This is bad. While receiving the brunt of their wailing interrogation, I thought. What in the world could be happening? Did everyone get together and decide to pull one big prank on me? Could I have really done something without remembering a thing about it? And what the heck was ‘Mitsuha’?
Outside, the birds chirped their morning melodies as lively as ever. Pure rays of warmth and light born from the newly risen sun crept their way into the room through the thin paper walls. An ordinary, peaceful morning. Despite that, upon waking up I discovered on my hand unfamiliar handwriting, written in a way that looked like someone had infused irritation itself into the pen.
Mitsuha??? What are you? Who are you????
Extremely bold, violent letters were written with sharpie all the way from my palm to my elbow.
“Onee-chan, what is that?”
Looking over, I saw Yotsuha standing in front of the opened sliding door. I gave her a look that said ‘that’s what I want to know’. In response, she made a face that said ‘well, whatever’.
“At least you’re not fondling your own boobs today. Breakfast! Hurry up and come!”
I remained sitting in my futon as I watched her close the door and go off like always. Eh, boobs? Not fondling them today? Huh? An image of myself joyfully groping my own breasts popped into my head… what a pervert!
As soon as I stepped into the classroom, everyone’s eyes all focused on me at once. Eek. W-What? Walking timidly over to my seat by the window, I heard quiet whispers being exchanged between my classmates. Miyamizu was so cool yesterday. Maybe I need to rethink my opinion of her. But didn’t her personality change a bit?
“I–I feel everyone staring at me…”
“Well obviously. You sure did stand out yesterday,” Saya-chin said.
“Yesterday?” I asked as I sat down. Saya-chin peered at my face with a shocked yet worried expression.
— You know, in art class yesterday, when we were doing still life sketches. Eh, you still don’t remember? Are you okay Mitsuha? We were in the same group, drawing some flower vase and apple. But instead you were sketching some kind of scenery. Well, anyways, behind us Matsumoto and the others were doing their usual gossip. — Eh? About what? You know, the usual talk about the mayor election. Eh? More detail? Like town politics is just handing out grants and anyone could do it. Worthless talk like that. Then, when you heard them, you asked me ‘they’re talking about me, right?’. I answered ‘yeah, probably’. And then what do you think you did? You really don’t remember? You kicked the whole desk with the flower vase and everything on top of it over towards Matsumoto and them! While laughing! Matsumoto and his friends were scared out of their minds, of course the flower vase broke, the whole class fell silent, and even I was frightened!
My face grew pale. As soon as school ended, I dashed home. I passed by Yotsuha and Grandma having a leisurely tea party in the living room, sprinted up the stairs, shut myself in my bedroom, and opened my classics notebook. Who are you? I flipped to the next page.
A chill ran throughout my entire body. In the same handwriting, a full two pages had been buried. First, there was a giant Miyamizu Mitsuha. Surrounding it were numerous question marks and pieces of my personal information.
Second year class 3 / Friend: Teshigawara – occult maniac, dumb but nice guy / Friend: Sayaka – on the quiet side, a little cute / Living with grandmother and younger sister Yotsuha / Middle of nowhere / Dad is mayor / Shrine maiden? / Mother seems to have passed away / Dad living separately / Not many friends / Has boobs
And lastly, again in huge letters: What is this life? As I stared at the notebook, my body trembling, images of Tokyo flickered into my mind faintly, as if trying to peek out from behind a curtain of haze. Cafe, job, guy friends, walking home with someone… A corner of my brain began to grasp the tail of an absurd conclusion.
“Could this…. Could it be…”
“Could it… could it really be…”
Holed up in my room, I stared at my phone incredulously. Some time ago, my fingers had started shaking violently on their own, as if half being controlled by someone else. With those fingers, I scrolled through the entries in my diary app. Sandwiched between the ones that I wrote were unfamiliar headings, now more than just a few in number.
First time Omotesandou ❤ Panini heaven! / Odaiba aquarium with the two guys ❤ / Viewing platform tour and flea market ❤ / Visit to Father’s work place ❤ Kasumigaseki!
A corner of my brain began to grab hold of an inconceivable conclusion.
Could it be–
In my dreams, this girl and I—
In my dreams, this guy and I—
Are switching bodies?!
The rising morning sun peeking through between the mountains. The sunlight illuminating the lakeside town building by building. The morning birds, the silence of noon, the calls of the evening insects, the twinkling of the night sky.
The rising morning sun peeking through between the skyscrapers. The sunlight illuminating the countless windows one by one. The morning crowds, the bustle of noon, the scent of life in the evening, the radiance of the city at night.
Each scene, each moment, held us in fascination time and time again.
And eventually, we came to understand.
Tachibana Taki — Taki-kun — was a high school student of the same age living in Tokyo.
Miyamizu Mitsuha was a girl living in the middle of nowhere. Our switching occurred irregularly. It could come twice or three times a week. The trigger was sleep. The cause unknown.
Our memories during a switch became blurry soon after waking up the next day. Almost like we had merely been having a vivid dream.
But there was no doubt that we were switching. The reactions of others in our lives clearly proved that.
And ever since we realized that this phenomenon was occurring, we’ve been able to remember more and more of our dreams. Even while awake, I know that there exists a boy named Taki living in Tokyo.
I know that a girl named Mitsuha is living in a village somewhere in the countryside. I have no reason or logic to back it up, but I am sure of it.
And we’ve started to communicate with each other. On days when we switch, we leave each other messages as diary entries or scribbles in a notebook.
We also tried calling and texting, but for some reason neither worked. But at any rate, it was fortunate that we had some method of communication. We needed to protect each other’s everyday life as much as possible. And so, we decided on rules.
<To Taki-kun: Forbidden Actions 1>
Absolutely no baths
No touching or looking at my body
Don’t open your legs when sitting down
Don’t become any closer with Tesshi than necessary; he should be with Saya-chin
Don’t touch any other guys
Don’t touch any girls either
<To Mitsuha: Forbidden Actions Ver.5>
I told you not to waste money, right?
Don’t be late to school or work; remember the way already
Don’t talk with an accent
Are you secretly taking baths? I feel like I smell some kind of shampoo…
Don’t act so close with Tsukasa, you’ll make him get the wrong idea idiot
Also don’t act so close with Okudera-senpai
But still, reading the diary entries Mitsuha leaves behind, I can’t help but get frustrated.
Reading Taki’s diary, I can’t help but feel anger. Seriously, that guy!
Seriously, that woman!
Made big plays during basketball in P.E.? I’m not that kind of person! Also, jumping around in front of guys!? I got scolded by Saya-chin for not properly covering my chest and stomach and legs! Watch out for your skirt and looks from guys! Fundamentals of life, right!?
Mitsuha! Stop pigging out on stupidly expensive cakes! You’re weirding out Tsukasa and Takagi. Also, that’s my money!
Technically you’re the one eating them! Also, technically I’m working at that restaurant too! Anyways, you work too many shifts! I can’t go out to play at all!
That’s because of your spending! Also, making those kumihimo or whatever with your grandma, that’s impossible for me!
On the way home, I had tea with Okudera-senpai! I was about to pay for her, but then she paid for me! She said ‘treat me once you graduate high school’! I played it cool and answered ‘I promise I will’. Your relationship is going great, thanks to me ❤
Mitsuha, what the hell are you doing!? Don’t go around changing my relationships like that!
Hey Taki-kun, what is this love letter!? Why did a random guy I don’t know confess to me?! And why did I answer ‘I’ll think about it’?!?
Haha. You’re selling yourself short. If you let me take control of your life you’d be way more popular.
Don’t be so full of yourself! You don’t even have a girlfriend!
You don’t have a boyfriend either!
I just haven’t bothered to get one yet!
Another day of the rural life.
Those thoughts drifted through my still fast asleep head. That means I get to continue building the cafe with Teshigawara after school. Oh yeah, and after that–
I sat up in the futon and looked down over my body. Lately, Mitsuha’s pajamas have been heavier than usual. Before, it was just a dress with no bra underneath, but this morning there was tight underwear covered by a very securely buttoned shirt. Of course, she did this in preparation for the switch that could occur any day. I can get that, but still, you know…
My hands started to gravitate towards my chest. Today this is my body; there shouldn’t be any problem with me touching my own body, right? Or at least, that’s what I had been telling myself every time. Hm. But, I guess…
I stopped my hands. “… That would be unfair to her.”
Just then, the sliding door opened. “… Onee-chan, you really like your own boobs, don’t you?” Yotsuha said, then walked off again.
I watched her shut the door and leave as I fondled my breasts… just over the clothes should be okay, right?
“Grandma, why does our shintai [object of worship believed to contain the spirit of a deity] have to be so far away?” complained Yotsuha.
Without bothering to turn around, Grandma answered, “Because of Mayugorou. I don’t know either.”
“… Who’s that?” I asked quietly to Yotsuha, who was walking beside me.
“Eh? You don’t know? He’s famous.”
Famous? Maybe to these people…
The three women of the Miyamizu household, me, Grandma, and Yotsuha, had been walking along a mountain path for almost an hour. Apparently, today we had to pay a visit to our shintai on top of this mountain and leave an offering. The world that Mitsuha lived in really did seem like something out of an ancient folktale.
The bunches of maple leaves hanging on the nearby trees, illuminated from behind by the sun’s rays, carried such a vivid red they almost seemed artificially dyed. The air was dry and crisp, and the wind whistling by brought the scent of dead leaves past our noses. October. Somewhere along the way, autumn had descended upon the village.
By the way, exactly how old is Grandma? I wondered as I gazed at her tiny back. Even on this trek through the mountains, she remained in her traditional clothing. She was a surprisingly good walker, but her back had that stereotypical curve, and she used a walking stick for support. Considering my lack of experience living with an elderly person, I was in no position to take a guess at her age or overall health condition.
“Hey, Grandma!” I ran up in front of her and crouched down a little, offering my back. This small, delicate woman raised Mitsuha and her sister, and always packed them delicious bento. “I’ll give you a piggyback ride, if you want.”
“Oh! Well then.” Grandma’s face lit up as she leaned her body weight onto my back. Suddenly, I smelled a strangely familiar scent, one that I felt like I had smelled long ago at someone’s house. For a moment, a warm feeling of deja vu came over me.
“Grandma, you’re really ligh–”
As soon as I tried to stand up, my knees buckled under the weight. Yotsuha scolded me while coming in to support. Now that I think of it, Mitsuha’s body is also really thin and light and fragile. How is she even alive?
“Mitsuha, Yotsuha.” On my back, Grandma started talking. “Do you know musubi?” [literally ‘connection’ or ‘ties’]
“Musubi?” Yotsuha asked in return, carrying my backpack against her stomach.
Below us, through the gaps in the trees, I could see the entirety of the round Itomori Lake. We’ve come pretty high. Sweat had begun to drip down my body as I continued climbing with Grandma on my back.
“An old name for the god of the land is ‘Musubi’. This word also has other deep, deep meanings.”
God? Where is she going with this? But Grandma’s voice, which sounded like a narrator’s from Cartoon Tales of Old Japan, had a mysterious quality in it which made me want to know more.
“Do you know?” she asked again. “Tying threads together is musubi. Connecting people together is musubi. The flow of time is musubi. All of these phenomena use the same word: the name of a god, and also his power. The kumihimo that we make is also the craft of the gods, expressing the very flow of time itself.”
My ears picked up the faint murmuring of water. There must be a mountain stream somewhere, I thought.
“Gathering and taking shape, twisting and entwining, sometimes returning, sometimes disjoining, and connecting again. That is kumihimo. That is time. That is musubi.”
I pictured a flow of clear water. Hitting a stone in the stream and splitting up, mixing with new substances, then once again joining back together, connected as one whole entity. I had no idea what Grandma was saying, but I felt like I had just learned something very important. Musubi. I’ll have to remember this word once I wake up. A drop of sweat on my chin resounded loudly as it hit the ground and quickly became absorbed by the dry mountain soil.
As we took a small break in the shade of some trees, Grandma handed me a bottle. It was simply tea with sugar mixed in, yet it was surprisingly delicious. I gulped down two whole cups before Yotsuha demanded a turn. It might have been the best drink I’ve ever tasted.
“That also is musubi.”
“Eh?” Handing over the bottle to Yotsuha, I turned towards Grandma, who was sitting on the roots of a tree.
“Did you know? Water, rice, sake… the act of putting something into your body is also called musubi. What enters your body connects with your soul. The offering we will make today is part of an important custom tying together man and god, continued by the Miyamizu family for hundreds of years.”
As we continued up, the trees lining the path eventually disappeared, and the lakeside village below us, which was now about the size of a sketchbook, had become half covered with clouds. The clouds above us no longer had any volume to them; thin and transparent, they simply drifted away with the strong winds. All that was left around us were moss covered rocks. We had arrived at the summit.
“Hey, I can see it!”
I caught up to the excited Yotsuha and followed her gaze. Before my eyes was a giant, caldera-like depression in the ground. It was as if someone had come by and scooped out the top of the mountain. The green of a grassy wetland covered the interior of the basin, and in the center of it stood a single large tree.
I stared with eyes opened wide in awe at the unexpected sight. It was a natural garden in the sky, something I would never be able to see back home. I had really begun to admire the countryside.
“Beyond here is the kakuriyo,” Grandma said.
We had climbed down to the bottom of the basin. Immediately before us a small stream flowed by; the giant tree was still a little ways away.
“Kakuriyo?” Yotsuha and I asked in unison.
“Kakuriyo. The other world.”
The other world. Grandma’s narrator voice sent chills up my spine, like a biting gust of wind. My feet froze a bit. Sacred mountain or power spot or whatever you want to call it… there was unmistakably an otherwordly air floating about the place… it’s not like once I step in, I won’t be able to go back or anything like that, right? Right?
“Oooh, the other world~!” Meanwhile, Yotsuha raised a cheer as she crossed the stream with a hop and a skip.
Kids are really something: dumb but bursting with energy. Well, the weather was really nice and the wind and stream seemed really gentle, so maybe I was the odd one out here. Holding hands with Grandma so she wouldn’t get wet, I carefully stepped across the stones to the other side of the stream.
“To return to our world,” Grandma said suddenly in a mysterious voice. “We must exchange something very important to you.”
“Eh!!” I unintentionally let out a shriek. “W-Wait a minute, tell us that before we cross!”
At my desperate protests, Grandma merely laughed. Her cackling smile with gaping holes where teeth were missing only made me more scared.
“No need to be frightened. I’m talking about the kuchikamisake.”
Prompted by Grandma, Yotsuha and I each took out our bottles from our backpacks. They were shiny white porcelain vases, like the kind often found in kamidana [miniature shrines put in homes], with a pedestal attached to the spherical bottom and a kumihimo wrapped around the lid to keep it shut. I could hear the liquid inside sloshing around.
“Underneath that shintai,” Grandma began as she looked at the giant tree. “There is a small shrine. You will leave the offering there. That sake represents half of yourself.”
— Half of Mitsuha. I looked at the bottle in my hands. Within was the kuchikamisake that she made by chewing up rice. Sake made by forming a connection between this body and this rice. And I was the one offering it. Feeling a strange mix of embarrassment and pride, like I just scored a goal on a pass given to me by a teammate I had been quarreling with, I started walking towards the tree.
This might be the first time I’ve ever truly heard the cries of the evening cicadas. I recognized it immediately because I’ve gotten used to hearing it as a sound effect in movies and games. Actually hearing those cries resounding all around me, however, felt more movie-like than any actual movie.
Suddenly, a group of sparrows flew out from a thicket in front of me, making loud rustling sounds as they went. Used to thinking that birds were always found in trees, I was a little caught off guard, but Yotsuha chased them round and around excitedly. The village must have been getting closer: a faint scent of dinner came mixed in with the wind blowing by. Once again, I was surprised at how distinct the smell of human life could be.
“It’s already dusk,” Yotsuha said in a refreshed voice, like she had just gone through a long day and finally finished her homework. The spotlight shaped rays of the evening sun shone upon Yotsuha and Grandma’s faces beside me, forming an almost too perfectly picturesque scene.
“… Wow.” A sigh of admiration escaped my lips as the view of the village below started to reveal itself. There, spread out in front of me, was a bird’s eye view of the entirety of Mitsuha’s village and the lake surrounded within. The village had already been swallowed up by the violet shadows of evening, but the lake alone stood out in the center, reflecting the scarlet red of the sky. From the slopes of nearby mountains, pinkish evening haze had begun to rise up. From the houses, a different kind of haze, the smoke of supper being cooked, trailed high into the air like signal fires. Sparrows danced around above the village, shining erratically like the dust in an empty classroom after school.
“I wonder if we’ll be able to see the comet soon,” Yotsuha said as she searched the sky, blocking the sunlight with her palm.
Oh, that’s right. I remembered the news casters talking about that during breakfast; soon enough, a comet would be close enough to view with the naked eye. Apparently, it’ll be visible a little above Venus.
“Comet…” I repeated the word out loud. All of a sudden, I got the feeling that I was forgetting something. Squinting my eyes, I joined Yotsuha in searching the western sky. I found it immediately: above the conspicuously bright Venus, the glittering blue tail of a comet. I could feel something trying to dig its way out from the bottom of my memory.
That’s it. This comet…
“Ah, Mitsuha,” pulled back out of my thoughts by Grandma’s voice, I found her peering into my face. I could see my reflection in her deep black pupils.
“– You’re dreaming, aren’t you?”
Suddenly, I jolted awake. The sheets jumped up, then fell silently beside the bed. My heart was beating so violently it could lift my ribs — or it should have been, but I couldn’t hear my heartbeat at all. That’s strange, I thought, then abruptly the sound of my blood pulsing became audible again. The morning songs of the sparrows outside the window. The engines of cars. The rumble of trains. As if my body had finally remembered where it was, my ears started to pick up the sounds of Tokyo.
A droplet sat on top of the fingertip I had touched to my cheek. Why? Confused, I wiped my eyes dry with my palm. As I did so, the evening landscape I had just been viewing, along with Grandma’s words that I had just been listening to, began to disappear, like water seeping into sand.
Beside the pillow, my smartphone beeped.
I’ll be there soon~ Looking forward to today ❤
A LINE message from Okudera-senpai. Be there? Where? Wha? Wait a minute…
I rapidly scrolled through my phone, looking at the memos she left.
I leaped out of bed and got ready at full speed.
Tomorrow you have a date with Okudera-senpai in Roppongi! Meet in front of Yotsuya station, 10:30. I want to go, but if it ends up being you, make sure you enjoy it. And be thankful to me.
Fortunately, the meeting place was nearby. I checked my phone while trying to catch my breath. By sprinting the whole way, I managed to make it there ten minutes before the arranged time. Senpai probably hadn’t arrived yet. Despite it being a weekend morning, a sizable crowd bustled about the station.
I wiped the sweat off my face, fixed the collar of my jacket, and muttered ‘stupid Mitsuha’ three times under my breath before starting to look for Senpai, just in case she was already here… a date with Okudera-senpai? On top of that, this is my first date ever. Having my first date with idol-like actress-like Miss Japan-like Okudera-senpai… isn’t that a bit too much? Please can we switch right now stupid Mitsuha!
“Ah!” I let out a pitiful yelp at the sudden voice from behind. Flustered, I turned around.
“Sorry, did you wait long?”
“No! Ah, wait… yes! Wait, no…” What is this question!? If I say I waited then she might feel bad, but if I say I didn’t then it makes it sound like I was late! Aggh what’s the right answer!?
“Umm…” Already starting to panic, I somehow managed to look up. In front of me stood a smiling Okudera-senpai. “…!” My eyes opened wide. Black mules, a white flared skirt, and a black off shoulder top. The monotone clothes left her exposed shoulders and legs dazzling in comparison. A few gold accessories were also placed carefully to bring out the full charm of her skin. Her small white hat had a mocha ribbon tied around it. There were simply no other words to describe her: extremely stylish, and extremely beautiful.
“… I just got here.”
“Oh, good!” Senpai giggled.
“Should we get going?”
She grabbed onto my arm… ahh, for a moment, just one moment, my arm grazed against her chest. I suddenly got the urge to polish all the windows in the city until they were sparkly clean.
“I can’t hold a conversation at all…”
Standing in the bathroom, wanting to smash my head against the mirror, I hung my head very, very deeply. Three hours had passed since the start of the date, and I was already the most tired I’d ever been in my entire life. I never would have guessed that my lack of girl interaction skills was this serious. Wait no, that’s wrong. I want to believe that it’s wrong. It’s all Mitsuha’s fault, throwing me into this situation without any time to prepare. And more than anything, it’s because senpai’s so pretty that I can’t do anything.
Literally everyone we pass by stops to gape at her. Then they look at me walking beside her and make a face that says ‘why the hell is she with this kid?’. Or at least, that’s what it seems like to me. Well, they’re not wrong to think that. Even I know she’s way out of my league. I didn’t even invite her though! Every time someone passes by I want to grab them by the shoulder and tell them all my excuses. Anyway, as a result of all that I have absolutely no idea what to talk about. Senpai’s been good about starting little conversations, but I can’t stand it. And then I become even more unable to string together words. It’s a vicious cycle.
Damn it, Mitsuha! What kind of things do you normally talk about with her!? Desperately searching for help, I got my phone out and started scrolling through Mitsuha’s memo.
Well, I figure you’ve probably never even been on a date before. Luckily for you, I have gathered here a careful selection of links to study up on!
“Whoa really??” My goddess! I praised my savior Mitsuha as I opened the links.
Link 1: Man With Social Anxiety GETS Girlfriend!
Link 2: Conversation Tips for Those Who Have Never Been Popular a Second of Their Lives!
Link 3: Never be That Annoying Guy Again! How to be Loved: Special Collection
… I feel like Mitsuha’s really underestimating me here…
Anyway, I left the bathroom and was finally able to relax a little as I walked around the art museum. I wasn’t the least bit interested in the photo exhibition titled ‘Homesickness’, but I was thankful for an environment where it wasn’t awkward to not talk. Okudera-senpai walked about two meters in front of me, leisurely gazing at the pictures.
Furano, Tsugaru, Sanriku, Rikuzen, Aizu, Shinshuu… the exhibition was split into different sections based on region, but they all looked like the same generic countryside to me. Of course I don’t know the finer points of photography; about the only differences I could see were whether the background was a mountain or the ocean, or whether it was taken during the summer or the winter. The houses, train stations, and people all bore a strange similarity. Rural Japan must have this kind of scenery wherever you go, I thought. To me, the different neighborhoods of Tokyo, Shibuya and Ikebukuro, Akasaka and Kichijouji, Meguro and Tachikawa, had much more distinct characteristics.
When I came to the area marked ‘Hida’, however, my feet stopped automatically. Here was different. The scenery in the photos still looked the same as all the others, but I knew this place. The shapes of the mountains, the curves of the roads, the scale of the lake, the appearance of the torii, the positioning of the fields. Just like when you magically instantly find your own shoes among the pile after gym class, I just knew. It was like it might have been the place in the countryside where I visited my relatives every summer break — I’ve never actually done that, but a mysterious, strong sense of familiarity struck me. It was…
Turning towards the voice, I found senpai standing next to me. For a second, I had completely forgotten about her.
“Taki-kun,” she said with a smile. “It’s like you’re a different person today.” She turned around with model-like beauty and elegance, then started to walk off, leaving me behind.
The whole day, I had simply carried out the motions of Mitsuha’s date plan, like trudging through some boring homework. I spent the whole time just coming up with excuses in my head, not thinking about senpai’s feelings at all. I was the one who invited her. I should have been happy to spend time with her. I had always dreamed that one day, a miracle like this would occur.
From the pedestrian bridge where we stood, I had a clear view of the flock of buildings making up Roppongi, where we had just been a little while ago. Countless windows reflected the evening sun’s light, shining with a brilliant gold. I turned my eyes back to senpai, who walked silently in front of me. The sparkling hair, the new looking hat and clothes… she probably went through the trouble of preparing those just to show off to me today. Thinking about that, my chest tightened with guilt. It became hard to breathe, as if the oxygen in the air had suddenly grown thin. I desperately groped for words.
“Um, senpai.” She didn’t turn around. “… uh, are you hungry? Want to get dinner somewh–”
“Let’s call it a day,” she said with the soft, gentle voice of a teacher.
“Okay.” My stupid mouth could produce no other response. Okudera-senpai’s face, which she had finally turned towards me, became obscured by the sunlight.
“Taki-kun… if this is wrong, forgive me.”
“You used to have a crush on me, didn’t you?”
“Ehhhh!?” She knew!? How!?
“But now, you have someone else you like, right?”
“Ehhhhhh!?” Sweat started gushing from my face, like I had been warped into a tropical rainforest. “N-No!”
“R-Really! There’s no one!”
“Reeally?” Senpai peered into my face suspiciously.
Someone else I like? No way. Her long hair and soft boobs popped into my head for a second, but they soon disappeared.
“Hm, well whatever,” she said cheerfully, then drew her face back.
“Thanks for today. See you at work.”
Senpai waved to me, then started walking off. For a moment, I opened my mouth. Then closed it. Then opened it again. But in the end, words failed to come out. All I could do was watch as senpai descended from the bridge and faded into the sea of people at the station.
Left behind all by myself, I gazed at the setting sun. Listening to the never ending stream of cars below, I began to feel like I was standing on a real bridge over a river. The sun began to hide behind a water tower, leaving only a faint glow like a flashlight’s to reach me. I stared intently at it, as if doing so would help me regain something.
There were probably other things I should have been doing, but I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head. All I wanted to do was go to Mitsuha’s village again. Becoming Mitsuha also meant talking with Mitsuha. As we switched bodies, we held a special connection between us. Exchanging experiences. Tied together. Musubi. I felt like I would be able to talk about today’s disaster with Mitsuha. ‘That’s why you can’t get a girlfriend’. ‘You’re the one at fault for making plans in the first place’. I wanted to joke and tease back and forth with her.
Opening my phone, I discovered that there was still more to Mitsuha’s memo.
Right about when the date ends, the comet should be visible. Ahhh, so romantic! Looking forward to tomorrow ❤ Whether it ends up being me or you, let’s do our best!
I glanced up at the sky. All traces of the sunset had already faded away, leaving only a few stars and a single airplane visible on the vast canvas of black. As expected, no comet anywhere to be seen.
“What the heck is she talking about?” I muttered quietly.
In the first place, if there actually was a visible comet passing by, it would probably be pretty big on the news. She must have been mistaken.
Suddenly, I felt a throb in my chest.
Something was trying to get out of my head.
I navigated on my phone to Mitsuha’s number and stared at those eleven digits. I had tried calling a few times since the switching started, but for some reason I could never get through. I tapped the number. The phone rang briefly, then started speaking.
The phone number you have dialed cannot be reached at this time, either because the number is not currently in use, the phone’s power is turned off, or it is in an area where…
I pulled the phone away from my ear and pushed the hang up icon. As expected, calling didn’t work. Oh well. I’ll tell her about today’s misery next time we switch. I can also ask her about the comet. We’ll probably switch again tomorrow or the day after. Those thoughts running through my mind, I finally stepped down from the pedestrian bridge. Above me, a faint half moon sat all alone in the sky, as if it were someone’s forgotten luggage.
After that day, Mitsuha and I’s switching never occurred again.