give them shelter
❝ WHAT WILL BECOME OF ME FROM NOW ON? AFTER SOME TIME, I STOPPED THINKING ABOUT THAT. MAYBE I FORGOT...HOW TO THINK AT ALL.
like you've done for me
every time you sleep it feels like you're floating in and endless ocean. no need to breathe, or think, or move. you're suspended in the dark blue depths, sunshine flutters above your head. there's cherry blossoms down there sometimes, they flash before your eyes, moving like jellyfish. twisting and turning and curling around your red hair as it lay suspended. time seems to stop when you sleep, a vast void of nothingness. in your dreams this is what you do, you merely float along. its peaceful, though. you've never really known anything but peace.
waking up feels the same every time. you're gently pulled from that darkness that you settle into by the comfort of the morning sun as it slants through your huge window. outside its always the same, a bleak nothingness. inside your room you've everything you need. clothes, paper and pencils, a large and fluffy bed. as well, you have your tablet that gives you the ability to shape the world in any way you want it. but your days are vastly the same; a veritable utopia that's just waiting for you to create it.
❝ NOTHING CHANGES ANYMORE. THIS WORLD THAT BELONGS ONLY TO ME, EACH AND EVERY DAY, CONTINUES ON.
its a monotonous routine of waking and sleeping, of bouncing around the beauty of your open world. there's no danger here, only adventure and excitement. you claim you're not lonely. its been 2539 days since you've gotten a message. you're utterly alone here, but you don't really know any better. its not lonely, not really. you can create vast arrays of different landscapes from huge towering pillars of ice to beautiful oceans and bright, starry skies. you can fly through the clouds if you so wish it. being able to mold the world around you, is there anyone else that can do this? you haven't seen anyone here, no people, no one like you. the animals you meet, you create them. the worlds that you paint are from your imagination and the help of the program on your tablet. so the world dissolves around you and day after day you draw out the platform you want.
you remember when you first woke up in this strange new world. one message set up on your tablet that told you that you had the power to draw anything you wanted. though you were here alone, you weren't scared. you were only sad. where was everyone else? and, more importantly, why couldn't you remember where you came from? you have no memories from the moment you're here in your utopia; where did you grow up? where did you come from? where were your parents? for all you knew, you didn't have any, for all you knew, this life just was. for the first few days you were sad, laying in that big puffy bed, floating in the suspended ocean depths at night. the more days go by, the more mornings you wake up, the more you realize that this life isn't so bad. but you do wonder, all the time, why you're here alone.
❝ BUT I'M NOT LONELY...IT DOESN'T BOTHER ME AT ALL.
you remember the first thing you ever built; a pillar into the sky. it warps before your very eyes, the sky filling in, grass and moss and ivy covering the whole stone structure. your tablet's program has everything in it from sky and stars to trees and ice and snow and rain and grass. you can build whole cities; small homes with thatched roofs and chimneys that filter smoke into the sky. you don't build those as often because the raw allure of nature draws you forth. soft breezes that blow through dark green leaves of tress, water that spills over cracked ocean rocks. you can pick up and move anything you like, ripping a full grown tree from its grassy prison and shuffling it over to another side. clear skies and snowy days, dancing colors in the darkness of the night sky. you peer out from your little room and, for days, you do this until you realize you can go outside.
from there all bets are off. you illustrate your world to your liking, sit atop grassy knolls or spiraling icy peaks. you run through beautiful fields of the brightest grass, smell the green of it all and the sweetness of the air. you do this for so long, day in and day out, until suddenly the world has built something for you. you've never seen it before, sprouted from a tree that grew in the middle of a field. it hangs down, made entirely of vines and wood, gently sways in the breeze. you've no idea what it is, so you reach out and touch it. images flash before your eyes and in them you see a man. he smiles, softly, gently, and you feel your chest tighten. there are tears in your eyes and you're not sure why. its the first time you've felt some crushing kind of weight, like there's a world out there you don't know about, but could.
for some reason, the next day, you build a wasteland.
a long way forward
❝ EVEN IF THOSE MEMORIES MAKE ME SAD, I'VE GOT TO GO FORWARD, BELIEVING IN THE FUTURE. EVEN WHEN I REALIZE MY LONELINESS...
so trust in me
you walk through a desolate wasteland, broken down and dark, drained of all the color you've ever given your world. what is that feeling? you suddenly start feeling that there's more to your life than this. its been 2578 days since your last message and, as you're laying in bed on morning, your tablet springs to life all its own. it traces out a town, sweet little homes and paved walkways. your existence flickers and flutters, the world around you crashing into static. when you open your eyes again you're somewhere you've never seen. inside a home, warm and safe, and you see her. a little girl. small, dark hair, but her eyes.
they're your eyes.
the shock sends you spiraling through time and space and memories start rushing into your head. you fall and through each layer of psychedelic pink and purple you see memories. you're on a swing in a park, smiling and happy as you push yourself and then whine because you're not going high enough. someone stands before you, welcoming and familiar; a feeling like unconditional love rushes through you. he grabs the edges of the swing behind you, pulls back, and pushes you forward. then you're in a sandbox, and that man is beside you still. you can almost feel the grains of it underneath your fingers as the younger you pulls up the things she's built. you're still falling, tumbling down a rabbit hole, and pictures of these long lost memories float, suspended in air around you.
❝ EVEN WHEN I REALIZE MY LONELINESS AND AM ABOUT TO LOSE ALL HOPE, THOSE MEMORIES MAKE ME STRONGER.
you're sleeping then, you see a picture of a woman, and a news show on the tv. current conditions in tokyo...is that where you're from? where is that? you see him, that man that makes your chest clench and heart flutter, build something. your name is scrawled along the blueprints. the smaller you watch him do it, clutching your teddy bear while the current you clutches your tablet and stands, shell-shocked, at the images you're seeing. what does it mean? in flashes you're moving forward; its christmas, you're cooking dinner, you're getting cake. you receive your teddy bear. he brushes your hair and its spring, you're walking from a festival in a small kimono, holding a fan...and his hand. you ring the bell...for what? do you wish? what do you wish for?
quick glimpses show you he's watching the news, something's coming. two worlds, about to collide. and then you're crying. what's he saying? what's he doing? the sky is angry and red, a planet looms above the twisted clouds. the sun is setting and you're there, both of you, crying. emotions rush into you all at once and the you of now clutches your tablet and screams into the open air. they can't hear you. you can't reach him, your father. he is your father. the man with the gentle smile and sadness in his eyes. your heart beats wildly as you try to reach out to him, tears cloud your vision. you see him, you see the younger you, you see the planet and the pain in his face.
you're above the world, floating in suspended animation in a pod in space, your teddy bear by your side. the you right now is an illusion. the you right now isn't real. the you right now is just a virtual reality. as you crash land back to this made up reality with the sorrow in your heart and the tears in your eyes, your tablet flashes to life. one new message. you open it quickly, see the words written across the screen, and you cry even harder. it hurts. soul-crushing it rips through you in a way you've never felt before. he gave his life for you.
there was just so little time left after you were born.
❝ I'M NOT ALONE...BECAUSE OF YOU.
i don't know how much love i managed to pour into raising you after your mother died...
but your smile kept me going i would like to have come with you, but i couldn't.
i wanted you to forget everything and move on...i knew you'd be alright.
but you'll get lonely, and remember.
i know you'll grow strong and read this letter some day.
i really wish we could have spent more time together.
you were so young back then, too young to understand what they meant.
so let me repeat my final words to you...
is he right? are you strong enough to get past this? why couldn't he come with you? you can't forget everything and move on, you can't forget the sacrifice he made, or the fact that you don't really exist as you know yourself. where are you now? you've so many unanswered questions and there's no one here to answer them for you. for now the only thing you can do is what he would have wanted. you've got to grow stronger and get past your loneliness. you can keep those memories close to you but you can't fall into sorrow. he wouldn't have wanted that, your father. you still feel love for him though you barely remember him. those memories you've kept have been imprinted on your soul, on your tablet that's close to your heart at all times. he doubts the love he gave you but you feel it, even without him here, you know how much he loved you.
so you promise, for your dad, that you will be the person he wants you to be. even if you've got to do it on your own, even if you never find out who the real you is, you'll stay in this world forever. you can't disappoint him. you'll be everything that you can be, even when it hurts. he did so much to save you that you've got to stay strong. one day you'll be together again and he'll know that he did the best thing that a father can do for his daughter.
❝ THANK YOU.