My Simple Friend

2020.09.06, by Bedivere

[Ansel] The idiot is wearing the tube top like a skirt…

[Bedi] Ant is having a lot of fun dressing up in her new clothes.

[Ansel] And the worst part is that it looks really cute, ugh…

[Akihiko] I think it looks fine.

[Ansel] You have no standards.

[Akihiko] You’re just a hard-ass.

[Bedi] I’m glad she’s able to do something fun. These past few days haven’t been kind to her…

…I remember when I first met her. She had absolutely zero interest in me, haha. That was years ago. It was only after her father… Then, she started coming by more frequently. But she saw everyone back then. I wasn’t exactly special. No, wait. Everyone was her friend—she wanted to be friends with everyone. So I was just as special as everyone else, haha. Really, if it hadn’t been for my beard, she probably would have never taken a closer interest in me. …It’s been at least a year now, since I’ve had a beard. I’m fine with a goatee, even very fine, if I may say so myself. And I don’t need a beard to make her eyes light up whenever she sees my face.

I remember all the times she wanted to die. The first time I met her… I knew something was off. All smiles, some of them even genuine. But for the most part, cold, tired eyes. The kids like this game, called Yakuza, and there’s a part in it where one of the main characters has these dark, unhappy eyes before mustering his persona as a bright and dashing cabaret club owner. She was kind of like that. The act of living was a prison for her. But she had to do it because she was the one who was still alive, even though she had nothing left to live for. Dying was the easy way out. And as a survivor… You couldn’t do that. You couldn’t bring more shame to the people you loved by choosing to die when they never even had the choice to live.

I look at her now, after everything that’s happened this week. She thinks that █████. I can’t say that she’s wrong.

…I remember the first gift that she gave me. It was food, of course. A dumpling she had made herself. Then roses made out of light… Those came later. Ahh. When did I… when did I give her that rose? It was copper, turned red with borax. Then Nova would come by with bags of borax every other week… And how often did we have pies together? I never cooked with her, strangely enough. She did all the cooking. And she was so proud of it. “I’ve never made a pie before. Now I’m really good at it!” The reason she started baking pies? She knew I liked pies, so she wanted to feed me one… That’s how simple she is.

She can’t stand, withstand, understand anyone who isn’t simple like her. So, that’s most people. I think about Giovanni… … He didn’t survive, and I don’t think she will. Not after this. I’m glad that she can’t drive, at least. I don’t want her careening off a mountain like he did.

How many more betrayals can she survive after this?

Oh, we… We were supposed to have baked cookies together. That’s right. After that disaster that was my homemade Valentine’s gift…

I know she can survive and will survive anything. Unlike me, she hasn’t reached the end of her woven rope yet. She still has a lot left to live. Even if she doesn’t want to. She has to live.

And that’s what hurts. She doesn’t want to live. She won’t say it, but all she wants to do is spend time with her dad again. The man who taught her that there were people just as simple as her. The man who changed her favorite color from blue to purple.

Ahh. Whatever it is Simone has done, she’s really messed up. And she’s left my young friend all alone again…

“I don’t understand anyone! How hard is it to be a good friend?!”

“Apparently very hard, Ant. I don’t think people love people like you do… That’s the problem.”

“What? If you love someone, you try to make them happy, right? And you try to be a good person for them. That’s not hard, right? I may be different from everyone else but I’m—”

“I think most people love others less than they realize. If everyone were like you, then we’d all be fat from baking for each other.”

“Ah. That’s…”

“You always like brightening other people’s days, don’t you? Didi and you are exactly the same. You live for that. Seeing other people smile… But, you know. Other people aren’t like that. They fight more than you and Didi ever fight.”

“That’s a frightening thought.”

“Hahaha! It is.”