Chapter 16: I Dreamt of My Previous Life

 For those of you who were students during the 1990s, you might find some items nostalgic.

This is longer than usual (1.5)


 Remembering my previous life, I was surprised to find that the way I dreamed was the same as before.

 The dreams I see are easily recognizable because of their phenomenal perspective.
 Whether they're fantasies or mere reconstructions of facts, I am aware that they are dreams, and perhaps because I know that I am dreaming, I am somewhat calm and can remember the content clearly.
 It was the opposite of my husband, who was so realistic that he was swept away by his dreams.

 My husband's dreams were colorful and full of realistic sensations that heightened his five senses, and he often had nightmares.
 When this happened, I would wake him up and force him to end the dream.
Then, half-asleep, he would explain to me what the dream was about.

-”Ugh … thanks … If you hadn't woken me up, I would have been killed …
 Today I was attacked by some kind of … zombie and I fought back with my … friends and…”

-“It was bad … This time, we were hunting demons.
Demons are so strong…”

-“My friends kept falling down.
I was the last one to go…”

 My husband liked war, zombies, and other graphic movies and dramas, but I am not at all fond of such things and never watch them.
 I can't help but wonder if nightmares are the reason I suffer from such images, but the timing is so random that I don't see the relevance.
 My husband was frequently in mortal danger in his dreams, and each time I became his savior and woke him up.

 Such were my dreams, even when I was reborn as Rebecca, they took the same step back.

 Today's dream was of my former life, of my husband.

 We were classmates in junior high school.
 We were in the same class in the third year when I exchanged words with him for the first time.

 Because it was in the countryside, the junior high school was a multi-level school made up of three elementary schools in the area.
Children often took more than 30 minutes to walk to school, a lot of the students would commute by bicycles.
Some of my friends complained, “The school in the next city is closer!”
 At the time, there were nine classes of 40 students.
It was possible that I wouldn’t even know his face until the last day, but I did recognize him.
He was the head of the kendo club.

 His first words to me were very original: “You're going to like me.”
 Admittedly, my first impression was not bad, or rather, I liked him a lot.
I didn't expect him to declare that I would fall in love with him right out of the gate, but I didn't feel uncomfortable at all, only that he left a strong impression on me.

 I actually had my first boyfriend at this time.
We had just started dating during spring break.
 I was at a loss for comment and ended up saying, “I don't know … I' m dating someone,” and smiled vaguely.

 After that, I only talked to him occasionally as a classmate, and nothing noteworthy happened, and then graduation came.

The next time we met was at a small reunion held during the summer vacation of our senior year in high school.
 It was so small that I am not sure if it could even be called a reunion.
It was something like a mixer with four girls and four guys.

“Wow, it's been a long time! You haven't changed!”
“Hey, do you have a bell(note at end of postscript) or PHS?”
“Bells are all the rage, aren't they? Girls are taking over all the pay phones.”
“Those users are craftsmen, craftsmen.”

 I remember the conversation with my former classmates well, but I don't remember much of what I talked with him, which is the most important thing.
Perhaps too many old memories have since been buried.

 As we were updating each other on what was going on, I learned from the conversation that he wasn’t dating anyone.

 I had also broken up with my boyfriend from junior high and was free.
My boyfriend told me he wanted sex with me on his 16th birthday, and I gave him my first…but to my surprise, he bragged about it like it was a medal and told everyone about it.
 I was furious and blamed my boyfriend, he called me a tuna, and we broke up shortly after.

 The members of that day's group didn't seem to know the full story, and when I told them I was free, they started asking questions about why we broke up, and so on.
 Brushing it off seemed to only fuel their interest even more.
I was at a loss as to what to do, when he interrupted the conversation.

“It doesn't matter, does it? It's just that they weren't compatible with each other.
 Anyways, where do you guys want to go to college? I'm thinking of going to a prep school at ……”

 With that, he changed the subject.

 My heart skipped a beat at the casual thoughtfulness.
I felt comfortable with the distance between me and him sitting next to each other.
 Come to think of it, this man had assured me at our first meeting that “you will fall in love with me,” and I felt a sense of destiny, strangely conscious of it.

 As he continued the conversation, he unexpectedly took off his watch.
Then he said, “It's soooo itchy, probably from the heat.
I'm afraid I'm going to lose it, so hold on to it,” and dropped it with a plop into my bag.

 As expected, I forgot to return the watch, and the two of us met up later that day.
 We met up at the aquarium, like it was a completely normal thing to do.
I was supposed to return the watch that day, but I ended up forgetting to return it.

 We went out together many times during the summer vacation.
 One day, I visited him at his house where he said he lived alone with his mother.
It was a weekday afternoon.
His mother was away for work.

“I like you.
 If you like me too, will you let me kiss you?
 If you don't like it, I won't do anything.
I'll walk you home.
And I won't see you again.
I don't have the heart to treat the person who rejected me like normal.”

 I think that’s how it went.
 It was very unique and surprising, but … I liked him too, and I didn't want to lose sight of him again.

 There were two colleges I was planning to attend.
 One was a private university in the prefecture, within walking distance.
 The other was a famous national university outside the prefecture, and despite living alone, my parents recommended this one.

 I didn't want to leave him.
Long distance relationship? Are you kidding?
 I kept his existence a secret until I graduated from high school, and wrote my entrance essay for a national university entirely in hiragana.

 I took my schoolwork very seriously, very seriously indeed, because I owed it to my parents for tricking them into sending me to a private university.
Although he was at a different university, and we didn’t belong to the same clubs, we were often together.
 He majored in economics and I majored in English and American literature.
Whether we were studying in the library or visiting him at his house to brainstorm on a paper, we were content just to share the same space.

 When we both managed to get job offers through job hunting, he proposed to me.
Saying, “Let's get married after we graduate from college.”
 When we formally greeted my parents, he was stumped and nervous.
My father, on the other hand, who had become quite familiar with him, was relaxed.

“I have no objection to giving you my daughter, but wouldn't it be better if you had a few years of working experience?”

 It was a reasonable opinion, but I thought to myself, “If I had lived alone at an out-of-state university, I would have left home much earlier, so why not?”
 At any rate, we were successfully engaged, although we didn’t plan out a wedding day.

 Things took a sharp turn when we found a room to live together early on.

“Living together will get complicated! You should change the family registry!”

 At my mother's mysterious insistence, we became husband and wife upon graduation.

 When should the wedding anniversary be, on the wedding day or the day you joined the registry? We talked extensively about this.
“If we make it on the same day, we don't have to wonder whis is right or wrong?”
 So we did the wedding ceremony and the registry in one day, and I was ridiculously busy that day.

“Pleasure to be with you from now on, my wife.”
“Thank you, my husband.”

 At night, while cuddling on the futon in our new house, we talked about many things.

 When he asked me what my first impression of him was, I chuckled and replied honestly, “What a funny guy.”
 My husband desperately explained that it was love-at-first-sight for him and the line had just come out of his mouth.
“But I was happy.
You were very likable from the beginning.
That's what's so weird,” I had to soothe him.

“We will talk about everything and live together from now on.
 For the time being, is there anything that you won't give up?
 I didn't want to give up the futon or the table.”

 My husband, who was accustomed to a Japanese style of living, was not at home in the Western style I had proposed.
After much discussion, we decided on a Japanese style for our new house.
 Although the direction of our non-negotiables was different, I decided to tell him because it was a good opportunity.

“I will never forgive you for cheating on me.
I will divorce you immediately without hearing any excuses.
 Other than that, I think we should discuss everything first.”

“Oh, that's the same for me.
I'm the same way.
I'm not going to share my woman with someone else.
 I would never cheat on my wife.
Watch me, I'll prove it in 50 years.”

 We were two for one.
 My husband could do what I wasn’t capable of.
 Whatever I could do, my husband had a hard time on.
 We shared the same fundamental way of thinking, and although we argued, we never fought.
 Even when we were doing different things, it was so natural for us to be together that I felt uncomfortable if we weren’t in the same room.

 The “other me.”

 That was the feeling we had for each other.

“Shu-chan, are you okay?”
“Saki! Saki! Saki!”

 When I found out that I was involved in an accident, I was still concerned for my husband's safety.
 But he just kept calling my name and I couldn't tell if he was okay or not.

 If he can scream that much, I wonder if he is okay …?
 I wanted to think so, but I couldn't even stay conscious.

 —And so, that was how my previous life came to an end.

“ … This is the worst.
Why, of all days, would I have this dream on the day of my social debut …?”

 Tears ran down my cheeks as I slowly sat up.
 I miss my husband, I'm sad, and my heart is crushed.
I really wanted to just drop the everything and go back to the territory.
 But in reality, I can't and won't do that.
I would only go through with it after fulfilling my minimum obligations of an audience with His Majesty the King and Queen and attending the ball afterwards.

 There is no way I would cancel an audience with the royal family.
I know that my behavior wouldn’t affect just me.

 I understand the Queen and Mother's desire for me to find someone I love, especially at the ball.
I was going to go for them just this once and declare that marriage was still impossible and that I wanted to remain single.
 I had to apologize to the people I met, and perhaps there would be someone at the ball whom I wanted to meet for the last time…

 I wiped away the tears that had run down.
 Looking at the dawn sky through the gap between the curtains, I renewed my resolve to leave the capital as soon as possible after surviving today.

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