A 5th grade boy had a certain illness that took a turn for the worse. He was hospitalized for a month before finally being released.
While he was in the hospital, he stayed in a 4-person room. An older woman, an older man, and a girl about his age shared the room with him.
The boy was extremely shy and introverted, so he had trouble making friends with his roommates. For a few days he spent all of his time studying or playing with his Game Boy by himself.
He had already beaten the game he brought with him, but he had a lot of time to kill so he played it for a few hours every day.
About a week after entering the hospital, he noticed the girl in his room staring at him while he played his game. When he looked her in the eye, she became flustered and looked the other way.
“Do you wanna play?” he asked hesitantly. “You can borrow it if you want.”
The girl’s eyes immediately lit up, and her expression changed.
“Really?” The boy nodded and gave her the Game Boy. She didn’t understand how to play, though, so he helped her along and they played together.
The game required the player to make a party of four people. When they named the characters, the leader became Takashi (the boy’s name), while the other members were named Yuuko (the girl’s name), and the others were named after the older man and woman.
Takashi and Yuuko became closer, and they spent much of their time together even when they weren’t playing the game. They talked about school, family, music, the coming summer vacation… Time flew by for the two.
Before he knew it, Takashi was being discharged. The nurses and his older roommates congratulated him, but Yuuko could only cry. Seeing that made Takashi want to cry, too, but he managed to control himself.
“Keep the Game Boy until you leave. Call me as soon as you get home, okay?” With that, he left the game with her.
Many times Takashi thought he might try to visit Yuuko, but whenever the thought struck him he was overcome by his social awkwardness, and he never actually ended up going.
A year passed, and he still hadn’t heard anything from Yuuko. He was ready to graduate from elementary school by this time.
He wanted to see her at least once before going to middle school, so he mustered up the motivation and finally went to the hospital.
When he went to his old room, he saw that she wasn’t there. Her name wasn’t on the residents’ roster, either. Had she already been discharged?
Unsure of what to think, he went to the nurses’ station to ask what happened.
“Yuuko went somewhere far away,” and other vague answers were all he got, but he was old enough to understand what they really meant. Even without the euphemisms, the change in mood along with the nurse who burst into tears made it all too clear.
Takashi was dumbfounded. While he stood there unable to move, one of the nurses spoke up.
“Oh, are you Takashi? Yuuko said to give this to you if you came back.”
He was given the Game Boy and game he had lent her.
He went home, skipped dinner, and sat in his room with the lights off. He turned on the Game Boy.
The opening theme played, and he remembered the time he spent with Yuuko.
The file select screen came up. The first file was their shared game. It seemed as if she hadn’t really progressed much since he left her. His heart ached with his memories and sadness.
Below that file was another he had never seen. The character levels were all quite low. Did she start and give up right away? He opened the file.
When he saw the party members’ names, his blood ran cold.