When Love Came Once More

One day in high school, I came across Mr. Aota. He stood facing the line of pine trees in the distance. The sky in the background looked as if it were a part of his very self. Wow, so this is what love felt like.

“Are you spacing out?” I asked, approaching him. 

“Not a respectable example a teacher should give, I know.” He said, laughing. 

“I think it’s ok,” I reassured him. “Then, you could stop looking at everything so seriously. Not everything has to have meaning. And once you start thinking like that, life might just be beautiful.” 

How the rest of our conversation went, I no longer remember. It had been so many years ago. 

Now, my face is full of wrinkles. And yet, fate surprised me when I chanced upon Mr. Aota once again. He was in the same rest home as I was. All his hair had turned white, though his presence still looked as large as the world behind him. 

“Are you still spacing out?” I asked, sitting down next to him. 

“Thanks to what you said,” he replied, “I got through. Even when my wife passed away, I never succumbed to despair. Life, you see, simply exists. It doesn’t have to have notions of bad or good. It is simply beautiful, like now when I met you again.”

It was the same for me.

“Yuko,” Mr. Aota said, “the weather should be nice tomorrow. What say we go on a walk together?”

“Teacher,” I couldn’t help teasing, “are you asking me out on a date?” 

“I see you haven’t changed at all,” he laughed, making my heart flutter like in the old days.

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