Disclaimer: Characters belong to Bandai/Sotsu/Sunrise.

Notes: This can fit any m/m or m/f pair you'd like. I expect that the angst level will depend entirely on your personal experience--you'll either sniffle a few times or shrug and say "I don't get it" and move on.

by D.C. Logan

The conference lasted three days. I took an additional two for myself. Hadn't been to earth since the end of the war, and decided to take advantage of the opportunity. You would have told me to do that, I know. The city isn't what I expected it to be. There's a pattern to it, but a veneer of complete randomness overlays everything. The streets are set out on a grid, except for a few. The stores and restaurants are open late, except for a few. The people are generally in a hurry to get from one place to another with no time to waste on a colony tourist, except for a few. So the random and the fixed can coexist. The pattern lends predictability, the random energy--the entire place reeks of energy. It seems loud and confusing when set against my quiet life.

I brought along that shirt you gave me. I excused its place in my luggage by calling it a nightshirt, and wrapped it around a glass bottle for good measure. It's worn to softness now--both in color and texture. I'm not tolerant of needle and thread, but I've repaired the small holes and tears in the fabric. Odd how in both life and in fabric it is easier to mend a tear than to fix cloth worn to threads by age, care, and contact. I wear it to bring me comfort when I need it. A silly thing maybe, but I find that it helps. Or at least I tell myself that. There's little difference between the two views really. I wear it close to my heart as I try to sleep each night.

I slept in this morning. First time in weeks I've been able to do that. I still have to set my suitcase and a few books on your side of the bed so I have something to bump up against during the night.

It doesn't always help.

I didn't want to stay at the hotel any longer than I needed for a shower, shave, and a comb through my hair. The sleep brought with it a clarity of mind I forgot I possessed. The shower was strong and very hot. I lifted towels from warmed racks; the mirrors in the room were all fog free. I didn't even nick myself with the razor--a first since you left. I'd been marking myself with a badge of blood every morning. I could call it a poetic strike, but the truth is that I just don't care what I see in the mirror any longer and it's made me careless with sharp edges.

You'd enjoy this hotel I think. It's got lean good looks and strong design. There's art in the curve of the atrium walls and in the placement of the sculpture and lighting fixtures. It's impersonal and professional, and I don't fit here--though I can appreciate the view.

It's a beautiful day on earth, full of the light that draws artists from all of the colonies down to this rock. I am a product of my upbringing; I find the sun too bright, glaring. It highlights the imperfections of the buildings around me, throwing each crack and mark into sharp relief against its shadow. I feel inferior under this light. I can't hide from myself here. I miss my gray indistinct colony light. It hides more. Still, this is different, hard and stunning--like this city.

There's texture everywhere. It breathes in the people and the languages here, patchwork-paved surfaces, building sides, glass, and scents from every doorway. I got used to the prefabricated monotony of home. Here the city is not a backdrop for the life living on it; it is a parade. The variety is overwhelming and wonderful in its confusion. You would love this--so much here to see, to touch, to experience, to analyze. Always something to busy your mind.

You said I never learned the difference between loneliness and being alone. I understand that now. You taught me that lesson. Here I am completely alone in the center of a city among millions... completely alone.

I found a shop a few blocks over from the hotel that sells used books. Remember that copy of 'Wind and Shadows' you were looking for? I found it. Bought it in fact. Cost me a fortune. I didn't know then why I did it, but I do now. I even asked about that other book you were always searching for, but the man behind the counter looked puzzled before admitting that he'd never heard of it.

A man pushing a food cart gave me directions to the cathedral. It was a longer walk than he told me it was, but worth going the extra distance--such height within, such care of construction, a place for pausing. I don't remember how long I sat there, simply absorbing it all into my bones. I felt better afterwards.

I bought lunch in a plastic bag and walked it to a nearby park. No grass to speak of, just stained and cracked pavement with a few trees behind iron guards. Still, there's more sky above this patch of ground than the other spaces I've walked through.

The food was protein, little else, but was compensated by a hidden treasure of a bakery I found a half block away. I bought two pastries, intending to take one back to the hotel. But the first one lost its flavor after a few bites. I carried it back to the park with the hot drink I'd purchased alongside. I sat for a while just thinking. Fed the remaining pastry to an unusually bold squirrel. Didn't feel like carrying the other one and shoved it into an overfilled trash bin along with the half-finished drink.

I watched an elderly couple walking together, neat and orderly only as such with military backgrounds or a lot of free time can be. Both were tottering alongside a rattling cart with small-portion packages in only the top basket and I thought, painfully, that that will never be me. Ever. That I'll never have anyone to share that with--the living, the dying...

There was a day you'd be walking alongside me, telling me to eat the rest of my food, encouraging me to explore my day, enjoy my vacation, lending meaning to my observations. I hear your voice in my mind, and I'm doing the best that I know how. Unsure if it would meet your expectations. I'm trying. Doing the best I can at the moment.

Life hands you a random number of perfect days.

This was a perfect day, save for one thing...

You weren't here to share it with me.

Wish you were here...


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