* 55 *

When I realized my former girlfriend was right there, was in a similar situation, and experienced the same kind of anguish... on the contrary, I wasn't happy.
In fact, it only seemed to deepen my despair.

Why? Well, even if Hiiragi here was my real girlfriend, the one I loved more now was Tsugumi, the “fake" who better resembled her from my first life.
I wasn't concerned as much with “original or copy" as with “who will make me feel the same way as the first time?"
The genuine article had changed, so I had little interest in her anymore. The right answer isn't always right, you could say.
A mistake just doesn't seem worth fixing once the mistaken party goes on with it for ten years.

What's more, I was dejected knowing that Tsugumi who I sought was not my former girlfriend at all; effectively a complete stranger.
There was no longer any foundation for her and I to get together now, was there?
The eternal bond I believed in wasn't with the girl on the plaza, but with the girl with head in hands beside me.

Looking Hiiragi over with the consideration that she was my girlfriend the first time around, I felt like I was looking objectively at my own second-self.
I knew to a dreadful degree how people who knew me in my first life would react to seeing me now.
No, it wasn't a very good feeling.

For these reasons, it was not a fateful reunion.

As my "true first girlfriend" looked lonesomely over the plaza, I felt that she needed someone warm beside her.
And just this one time, I feel like I wasn't mistaken.

But I didn't speak to her, and left the café.
Because just like I didn't need Hiiragi, but rather Tsugumi, she didn't need me. She needed Tokiwa.

It just wasn't going to work out. But that all started with me.
If I had not made my mistake in love at first sight, perhaps Hiiragi and I, though not living a perfect recreation of our first lives, would be happy together.
No, I couldn't deny that we could have been even happier than before.

And if I hadn't messed things up with not just Hiiragi, but with my sister, my parents, Usumizu, all those people, there was no doubt they would have lived ever so slightly happier lives.

That's around where I cut myself off from thinking about it any more.
I give up now, I thought.
It seemed like it was about time to just forget about my first life entirely.

Chapter 56

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