When I was young, dreams were everything to me. For as long as I can remember, I was a solitary child. Lonely. Other children sensed something about me, I suppose. They kept their distance.
I tried not to let it affect me, but there are times when I can still remember their whispers . . .
"He's so weird . . ."
"Look at him! Why does he think he can fit in here?"
"Don't get too close, Hitomi! You might catch something!"
Hitomi. I try not to think about her. It was fourth grade and she was the first girl I ever liked. She was pretty and sweet. But she wasn't kind.
She was my assigned science partner and we had to work together on the big science project due at the end of the year. It was our final grade. She was nice to me for a little while . . . until I had completed the entire project by myself.
Then I overheard some of the other boys in the locker room after gym class talking about "Hitomi and that freak."
About how she was just using me . . .
So, of course, I just *had* to pick a fight with them, because I really, truly believed that Hitomi was not like that.
Afterwards, when they had left me in the locker room, my head bleeding and my clothes torn, a dent in the locker nearest me from the impact of my head colliding with it, I smiled. Because it was for her. For Hitomi. Because she would never betray me like that . . .
And the next day, when I walked into class with my head bandaged and my arm in a sling . . . She looked at me and laughed.
It shattered my heart.
I decided then and there that I would never let anyone have that kind of hold over me again. It hurts too much when you place too much faith in someone. You're inevitably let down. People aren't to be trusted.
The only one I could believe in was a figment of my own imagination. My dream princess.
I dreamt, sometimes, that there was one special person out there for me. She was a princess, beautiful, graceful, and kind . . . And she loved me unconditionally.
It was a beautiful dream . . . but each time I woke from it, I was overcome with sadness. It was a dream that could never come true.
Then I met Usagi and everything changed.
I remember the first time I ever saw her . . . She was running pell-mell down the street, her hair flying out behind her, her cheeks flushed pink with exertion. I thought she was an angel.
The first time I spoke to her . . . my image of her was slightly adjusted. I can't remember exactly what we said to one another . . . but I do remember seeing the mark she got on her test and saying something rather condescending. It shocked me, a little, I suppose, that she could do so poorly in academics. But then, I was judging her against myself . . . and I've learned since then not to base my judgements of others on myself . . . not only is it egotistical, it's also unfair.
Other people simply aren't like me. They don't bury themselves in their studies, keep themselves distant from others . . . They aren't whispered about behind their backs as the smart one, the strange one . . .
They are capable of real human interaction and relationships. Something that I fear I have failed at all my life.
But with Usagi I wanted it to be different. I wanted her to see me in a different light . . . to see the true me, the one lurking beneath the surface. I wanted her light to draw me out of my darkness . . .
Before I knew it I found that I loved her. Loved her and wanted her to feel the same about me. But everything I did to try and convey how I felt backfired. I always said or did the wrong thing and to her I must have seemed arrogant and self-centered, forever trying to sound superior.
She ended up despising me more than ever. And who could possibly blame her? Certainly not I. I deserved her disgust and condescension. How could I possibly strive to be the man she loved? Her warm and friendly nature contrasted with my solitary one so completely . . . even when I tried to be more open, my every friendly overture was suspect. I could not be the man she deserved to have in her life.
And yet . . . and yet . . . something in me still strove to fight against my own convictions. Something in me still wanted to try. I found I had not the heart to deny myself . . . because my heart was her and to try to suppress the feelings within myself was too difficult a task for one who had grown unaccustomed to feeling anything at all.
But I was fighting something more potent than a mere rival. I was fighting *her* dream.
Sometimes I would hear her talk about her knight in shining armor. The black-caped mystery man who would sweep down and carry her away. I was jealous. Irrationally so.
I wanted to be the one in her dreams . . . as I was becoming more and more convinced that she was the one in mine.
But as each day dawned I woke from my dreaming to a harsher and harsher reality. Each time I saw her I could feel my heart break a little more . . . could feel my dream slipping a little farther away. The eyes she turned to me, while sometimes friendly, were never really looking at me . . . They looked through me. They never saw the me that I wanted her to see . . . the me that truly loved her.
What they saw was the annoyance in her life, the sometimes-friend, the person she would inadvertantly be kind to because that was in her nature . . . to show kindness to everyone. But never was I anyone she could think of loving. In my heart I knew that my battle was a losing one . . . And little by little I resigned myself to it. The inevitable.
Little by little the dream of her faded. She came less and less to haunt my sleep. In time she ceased to come at all. When I look at Usagi now I see what might have been, what never can or will be . . .
My dream princess.
It's time to give her up. It's time to move on with my life.
I will miss her. I'll miss how thinking about her and dreaming about her made me feel. But that feeling doesn't even come close to the real feeling of loving someone and being loved back.
So, good-bye, my princess. I'm letting the dream of you go. The impossible dream that I could never make real.
I turn and smile at the beautiful girl standing before me. Her angry expression fades as she looks at me to be replaced by one of resignation. "You're so dumb, you know that?! You're the one who wanted to go to this movie in the first place!"
I take her hand in mine, marvelling that this is real. That she is really here before me. "I'm sorry. Let's go now, shall we?"
She sighs and turns away, reaching for her jacket which is draped over one of the chairs in my room.
I put my arms around her as she does so and kiss her softly on the cheek. She blushes, the red color quickly staining her cheeks in the way I find so adorable. "Don't," she protests softly, but there is no fight in her words.
"You know how much I love you, right?"
"I know," she whispers, turning in my arms. "I love you, too." I kiss her once, gently, on the lips, and she pulls away, blushing more than ever. "You!"
I shrug, then pick up my own jacket. "Shall we go?"
She stalks out of the room, mad from embarrassment. It's a new thing for the two of us . . . being together. And she still finds my random acts of affection embarrassing . . .
But I don't mind. Not in the slightest.
She might not be as sweet or as perfect as my dream girl, but unlike that girl, she is truly mine. And I will love her as best I know how . . . for as long as I can. Because the time has come for letting go of fading dreams and seizing onto new ones being born.
And my dream right now is a certain red-haired girl . . .
. . . not yelling at me quite so much.