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The Old Man and the Skyline

Illustration for article titled The Old Man and the Skyline

As the ray of light hit his face, he winced, and with a small grumble and a swipe across his eyes, he began to slowly wake up. Looking around his aged and weathered apartment, he struggled to align himself with the prospect that this was yet another day to go through without her. He shut his eyes again, turned around to face the inside of the couch, and felt his body rest back into a short nap.


When he re-awoke a short time later, it was because the alarm in the bedroom had gone off. The bedroom seemed like such a far place... A land unto which he dreaded entering. He'd lost his wife the year before, to cancer, and he couldn't bear the thought of sleeping in their bed without her next to him, so he'd make shifted a pretty comfortable setup out on the living room couch. By avoiding the bed, and the bedroom itself, he at least had a better chance of convincing himself that it was all a big dream, and that he'd wake up one day and she'd be there. But he knew she wouldn't. And with that grappling realization, he heaved his aged and tired 73 year old self off the couch, in search of the alarm clock that wouldn't shut up.


Breakfast was simple: Rice, Toast, and an Apple. After breakfast, he began to hand wash yesterday's clothes. His wife had never truly accepted the tech age... So they had never gotten a laundry machine, even after the time that his son insisted on buying them one on his visit to back home to Hirakata from America. They had travelled in his rental car all the way to Osaka to pick one up, only to have the old mans stubborn wife say "Too difficult to understand" to every machine they saw. He himself, although old and clumsy, could figure them out in a short while. It was his wife's stubbornness that had cost them the trip, and the return with no machine in tow. But that's why he loved her... When they came home, and his son left, she insisted that she didn't need it. She had been hand washing his clothes for 50 years, and even though he found it kind of hard to believe, she said she felt connected to him through it.


But at this moment, right here, right now... He really wanted a washing machine.

Reaching into the pants pocket, he found his wallet. Struggling to grasp it with his wet hands, it fell to the floor. A $10,000¥ note fell out, as did a picture of the three of them from 1984. He stopped what he was doing, dried his hands with a towel, and picked it up. The leather bound wallet was soft, and as he looked lovingly at the photo, he began to sob. He caught himself, began to compose, and changed his mind. "No", he thought. "Today won't be about chores... Today I'm going to go for a walk."

With that, he took the 10,000¥ bill, the photo, and left the rest of his wallet on the counter. He put on his sandals, and lumbered down the steps of his apartment building. When he stepped outside, he was again startled by the extreme effect of the sun, as it shone directly onto him like he did to the ants he used to play with as a child. He stumbled a bit, shook it off, and began the walk to Hirakata-Koen Station.

When he got to the station, he got on the train, stared at the Ferris Wheel in the background, and began his journey to Kyoto. Watching all the little houses fly by, he began to smile. As small town turned back into fields and country side, he laid his head back, canted his eyes forward, and began to soak in the beauty. It was then that he saw it.


"KGC10. 4 door. GT-X? GT-R? Doesn't matter. Either way.. Definitely an old Skyline", he thought. For a splitting, gleaming, eye-opening second, the train had gone by it. He had seen it clear as day... On the edge of a field, under a tree, with no wheels, and no front window. At the next station he got off, and made his way to it.


As a young man, him and his wife had attended the races at Fuji. They had seen the Skyline's dominate. And he had bought one upon making it to senior departmental police officer rank, as a surprise for her. It had been a GT-X, light blue, coupe. He used to drive his son back and forth to Kindergarten in it. His son called it the "Blue Katana". And this one here... It too was blue at some point. Although, now, it seemed more like a faded chalk blue, and it wasn't a 2 door like the one they had. He could see it from the side of the road... The only thing stopping him from getting to it was all the mud in the field.


He leaned down, took off his sandals, rolled up his pants, and began to trek through the thick, sloppy muck. When he arrived at the car, he finally got a better look. The windshield was gone, both headlights missing, all the wheels long ago stolen, and all the badges ripped off. Inside, the steering wheel remained, as did the drivers seat, but the passenger seat was oddly missing, as was most of the inner dash. In its place lay a mess of wires. He tugged at the door handle, and burned himself on the hot metal. "Oww!!", he shouted, and was just as startled a second time to see a large Spider crawl out from behind the handle.

Wrapping the bottom of the shirt around his hand, he retried at the handle... And the door gently creaked open. He peered inside, and saw an empty Coke can, an old Hentai comic, and a Teddy bear laying on the floor, it's beady black eyes looking up at him in an almost helpless manner. He leaned into the car, and sat down on the drivers seat. He closed the door. And then he closed his eyes.


"All those years", he thought. "All those years I'd never been out this way by myself. And then I see this. It must be a sign from you..."

He wiped away a tear that had begun to run down his cheek.

"I miss you. I miss us. I miss our family. I miss our car. I miss our love."

He broke down into a barrage of emotion, and started to slam the steering wheel with his fists. His unyielding tears rolled down his cheeks with tremendous force, making loud popping sounds as they hit the ripped and tattered leather upholstery of the seat. He cried and cried for what seemed like ages. When the tears finally stopped flowing, he leaned back in the seat, and put the photo of him and his family in a crease on the dash. He stared at it... And then he fell asleep.



When they found the man, he had been in the car for a couple days, so the body had become rank. An old man tending to his field had found him, and at first had thought it was some punk kid who had fallen asleep in his old car, again. But when he had found the man, he was no young punk, and the old farmer pitied the situation, and called the authorities.


What they found was an old man, with no name and no ID, alone in a dilapidated Skyline, dead of apparent heat stroke. On his face was a smile, and in his arms... was the Teddy Bear. What they'd never figure out, is that he had finally felt like he was home again.

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