|Thereafter| Third Month

By then, he had learned to get used to his new pattern of living, and his new, yet not so new, partner, who would never realize what their relationship was.

He couldn’t help but still hope that one day, he would wake up to a kiss from her, that she would remember everything and return to her old self again. He thought about it over and over again. He thought that, if only he could have just one more chance, he wouldn’t hurt her again. If he could have just one more chance, he would make everything right, and they would live happily ever after. He wouldn’t pick fights again. He would care for her the way she would feel it. He wouldn’t push her. Sometimes, he cried silent, unnoticed tears on his own. Those were tears she wouldn’t understand, because he was no longer special to her in that sense. Sometimes, he dreamed of how they used to be. He missed everything, to the last detail, even the pointless arguments. He wished for her return, day after day.

At the same time, he had learned to accept reality. Ekko was Ekko, no matter in what shape or form, personality or intelligence. Ekko was Ekko, and Derik loved her all the same. Although he wished she could be like she had been before, he was also fine with who she was now.

One morning, as he went out of his room to enter the living room, he found that she had fallen asleep over her sketchbook on the table, a red crayon still in her right hand. Out of curiosity, he peered at the drawing under her slender arm.

It was a plain one. On the white sheet of paper, there was a big, red heart. Inside the heart, there were two words: “Derik” and “Ekko”.

Maybe, deep in her heart, she remembered that they loved each other.


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