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Aki means Autumn or Fall

I always want to play guitar. It’s like when someone plays the guitar, the aura around them shifts just like the tune. I know someone who played guitar really great. Every afternoon she’d have this performance at the café in town. She encouraged me to play and came to her house. Her father owns this secret institute. She’d tutor me about guitar and went to café together in the afternoon. I was able to see her playing for around five years before she’s gone. 

The institute I’m now joining is her father’s. The place is in outskirt of town and I need Poe to take me there after school. I like the fact that the institute is surrounded by hills and I enjoy the serene atmosphere.

“Clare, I want you to play the tune I ask you to make last week. Are you ready?”

“Please, not now. I need to practice some more time, Teacher. Is that okay?”

“Well, I’ll give you thirty mins, then. I’d be at the yard, okay?”

Clare nodded in agreement. She waited until her teacher close the door completely. She took the guitar off the bag and also one scramble paper. The paper before her full of music note doodle. It was rumpled, rough sketch here and there. She smiled weakly and began to play.The clock showed that it’s already 15 mins Clare playing guitar. She played her piece 7 times already. She slowly gained her confidence and that her first piece flowing into something credible enough. She’s about to start again from the beginning of the tune, when someone passed outside her practice room.

The room was in the left side of the institute. No windows, only glass doors. The curtain was folded aside and someone from inside could see the outside clearly, and vice versa. Clare stopped playing and stared at the foreigner curiously. She’s been seeing the guy for several times. And yet when she asked her teacher, he said he didn’t have male student.

Clare eyed him carefully when the guy open the door and came into the room which Clare stayed.The guy moved in careful motion. He closed the door, turned his back, walked straight, and it seemed like he counted his steps.

Clare was about to greet him with smile, the guy passed her as if she weren’t there at all. Then he opened the inside door and went to other room. Clare was still stunned. Did he not see me? 

A week passed. The teacher praised Clare for the first time she played her piece that day. Clare proudly reasoned that it’s his late daughter who inspired her. This action made her teacher fell silent for a moment. 

After the class, Clare was busy put her things inside the bag and ready to get home. She exited the room and bam, there the guy was. He was walking from parking lot to the door Clare just exited. She greeted him quietly. The guy seemed surprised. But he greeted back and they chatted for a second. Clare found out that he was the twin of Yui, the guitar girl who inspired Clare. He couldn’t see and he liked violin. 

Another week passed. Clare found out more about the guy, Aki. He lost his vision when he was eleven which was six years ago. He really missed his twin. Clare talked a lot to console him. Even some days, Clare would play Yui’s piece for him.
“I’d like to hear your piece, Clare,” said Aki with innocent tone.Clare felt herself blushed, “But I am not as talented as Yui.”
“You should be more confident. I’ve heard your first song last week and I think that was amazing.”
“Omg, you did??”
Aki laughed. “I was in other room at that time and yes, I listened to your piece and it was beautiful.”
Clare was stunned again. Not by his confession but by Aki’s laugh. It was like a melody in her ears. It's light and nice. Her mouth moved upon that and Clare found herself smiled. “I bought my Polaroid. Do you want to take picture with me?”

Clare found Aki waiting for her in the swing outside the practice room. Clare smiled and changed her direction. It was still 15 mins until the practice begin, she crossed the yard into the swing. She took off her bag and took place beside Aki. 
“What you’ve been doing all alone here?” 
Aki smiled. “Waiting for you, Clare.”
Clare laughed. “You look so pale today. Are you alright?”
Aki turned his head to Clare, “I’ve never been healthy. Why?”
Clare laughed again. Little did she know, Aki liked her laugh just like Clare like his.
"Can I have a hug?”
“What?” Clare turned her body to Aki abruptly, more like shocked from Aki's proposition.
“Can I hug you, Clare?”
Without Clare’s permission. Aki snaked his arms on her shoulder and pulled her close. He rested his chin on her shoulder softly. Clare was too shocked to function. Unconsciously, she stretched her arms to return the hug.
They enjoyed each other’s warmness until Clare thought that Aki was too silent. 
“Aki?” Clare hated to let go the embrace but she felt something wasn’t right. 
The loud bang from the practice room door surprised her. There, revealing her teacher looked into her direction with panic expression.
“AKI!!” he shouted.
Clare retreated herself from the embrace but only to find that Aki’s body leaned forward with her as well. It’s not like Aki didn’t want to detach, it’s like Aki been lost his consciousness. 
Clare’s feet suddenly went cold. 
“Aki? Answer me?!” cried Clare.

Here I am, sitting again on the swing where I hold Aki for the first and the last time. He didn’t survive long after his sister’s death. Liver cancer got Yui earlier. Brain cancer pulled Aki along to his sister’s side. And yet here I am, in my seventeenth birthday. Mom’s been so nice to make a party for my birthday today at my house. She invites my best friends from class but it's still 4 hours to go. Poe agrees to take me here after I plead wholeheartedly.  

I glance into my palms, finding my Polaroid pictures with Aki that afternoon. Suddenly the sad feeling rushes into me. It's only one minute until the tears pooling my eyes again.  

The moment Aki’s father took him from my embrace. The moment I ran into Aki’s car. The moment I sat in the car with his limping body beside me and his father drove so fast into the hospital. The moment Aki gained his consciousness only to say, ‘I like you, Clare’ and shut down his eyes again. The moment the hospital bed screeched loudly into the hall. The moment the doctor got out from ER to say something to Aki’s father. The moment he collapsed to the wall beside him and I ran into his side. The moment he pulled me into hug and cried and I cried along.

The one thing I regret the most.
The one thing I know I should say it earlier. 
The one thing … I should say back to him, ‘I like you too, Aki’.

Inspired by Jin - Gone (both lyric and music video). 

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