Learn To Love Again
The Unpleasant Visitor
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
[First Name], you parted ways with us in a way that was no where near fair and square, and severed all ties that you have with him or us without us knowing—maybe it's because we deserve this guilt of blame, but we all truly admired and adored you as a friend. In fact, we still do.
Hange has been roaming around lots of places through [country’s name]'s [city's name] in her warm office wear of black jacket and a pencil skirt with a white dress down underneath and high heels for her feet; there has been the educational kinds of walks and tours, viewing ancient remains and historical landmarks; and there has been the nostalgic kinds of strolls and expeditions, checking up houses that may have harboured you safely behind their doors and asking the neighbours around for someone—you.
I know I don't have the right to, but I'm doing this for the both of you—for all of us! I know you loved Levi very much from the moment you both first met through to the day you walked out of his life—of our lives. Even then, I wonder... Were you able to move on and forget the past? Are you happy with someone else and moving on? Did you ever think about us at all? Do you continue your life in happiness and joy, unlike the most of us?
She stops midway in the street full of people, earning their jeering and insulting sneers but she doesn't look like she paid any attention to them at all; her bright chestnut eyes examine the map in her shaky hands, her eyebrows crease in disappointment and dejection—but there is still a small determination set in her eyes that sparks her motivation. She whip out her phone from her jacket and checks a list of names and addresses. Still ignoring the crowd that bumps her shoulder or throwing cusses at her, she cross references the list with the map before going on her way again. It’s a rather large city for someone like her and she has to make sure that all her phones and items are securely kept in her bag pack.
“Just let me find you, [First Name], please!” she mutters to herself as she walks towards the pedestrian crossing.
I understand Levi's position. I may not show it much, but I am too as depressed as he is. I cannot begin a single day without crying just thinking about the look on your face when you told me that Levi has left you a present (a lingerie of the slut he slept with) on your bed—only to know deep inside it shouldn't ever touch your skin or belong to you as a present or any such thing! I should’ve told you the truth, should’ve confronted you and be brave with you! My heart aches just thinking about how I allowed you slip away!
The grip she has around the straps of her bag tightens; her feet has been dragged across the starkness of the sawtooth, grey pavement and does so in a very dreary fashion as she contemplates. She raises her head on intervals, checking her route abruptly at times, and then even bumping into some people—but they always end up as the ones who apologised after having seen the distraught look on her face as she searches on.
I can't move on without your forgiveness as well—I had been pretending that I was fine and happy, when I am no where near that! But I had to be strong for Levi and I guess in a way, he has been hanging on to invisible things like I am—things that are no longer there... But we won't last much longer than this. We're not happy without you, [First Name]... We think of you everyday... Please... Come back to us!
Hange's face has paled, her stomach grumbling distinctively in her ears and her body has slowly began trembling, but she has now brought herself to a much more appropriate part of her search—a quaint residential area not far from the city, only about half an hour's ride on the bus. She has rang so many bells here and there, refusing to stop and take a break until she has found at least one breakthrough.
But Fate is cruel—she hasn't come to the closest of a breakthrough or anything like that! No one here, in this West side of the homely estate, has ever seen anyone that looked like you staying around!
I have to find you, [First Name]—you're the salvation that we seek! You’re the only one who could end our pain, our suffering, our... blame. I’m so sorry, [First Name], but please just hear me out and see me if you’re out here!
She has come to a more vibrant part of the residential homes where most of the houses are occupied by students who undertake courses at a nearby university, which she had past and totally forgotten about—she didn’t think that you would be around there, considering your well-earned degree. A few of the students barbecuing in the porch under the sun notice her walking so precariously from the pavement and then onto oncoming traffic; but she manages to dodge it last minute, even if she is still walking dangerously in the middle of the road afterwards.
“H-hey, hey, hey! Lady!” one of them calls out—a tall, burly and blonde haired one with both hands in his hoodie. “Shit. She’s walking like a drunkard in broad daylight!”
A bald boy with a round face and big eyes raises his head through the porch’s green shrubs, munching delicately on his steak, “Eh? Where is she heading to? Shouldn’t the university be the other way round?”
“Maybe she’s not heading towards the university,” this time, a smaller and timid golden haired boy states the obvious.
The brute one snorts, “I don’t know! But if she keeps down that road, she’ll head down to Eren’s place.”
“Speaking of Eren,” a tall, tanned and dark haired woman steps out into the porch with a casserole steady in her right palm, “Armin, spare us from Mikasa’s devilish pies and send this one off to him, will you? Then maybe you could help out that drunken lady get back home or wherever the Hell she’s heading to!”
“If I must,” says Armin as he walks up to the young woman and takes up the casserole; he follows the gaze of his taller and muscular equivalent, giving chase to Hange, “M-Miss! Watch out!”
Hange feels herself being tugged to the sidewalk by a small arm as a loud honk resounds; safe from being hit by a car, she now turns around and has hopes that it is you who pulled her away. But much to her dismay and surprise, a meek boy with neck-length golden hair and blue eyes stands beside her with an angry visage. He heaves in deeply and sighs, before releasing his hold and smoothens the contortions on his face. She swears that for a second there, he looks a bit like you—only then she realises she has been too hungry to think straight.
“What the Hell do you think you’re doing? You could be road kill just now!”
Hange sheepishly shoves her glasses up, “I-I’m sorry! I-I’m actually l-looking for someone... a person who... may live in this area? I’m looking for this address...”
“Let me see!” he urges, watching as she takes out her phone and shows him the address—earning a widen pair of blue eyes, “I know where that is. I’m heading there now. Let me take you to it!”
“Thanks very much!” she yelps and follows him patiently through and through.
For the rest of the less than ten minutes journey to the end of the cul-de-sac, the boy has introduced himself as Armin Arlert, a local high schooler that has just recently joined the university nearby to undertake his philosophy programme; he wishes to become a teacher, hoping to inspire others and encourage others. Hange has an immediate fascination over him—he is the living proof that the place and country has everything good to offer and it makes her feel at peace that you lived in this kind of place.
I really, really like this place. It has so much good things and good people—they not only appear good, but their actions show their compassion and sympathy... [First Name] should stay here forever. Am I being selfish if I want you to follow me away from this place and back to that place that has turned its back against you?
“It’s this one, Miss Hange,” the clear voice of the blond boy beside her suddenly interrupts her train of thoughts, “I’ll check and see if anyone’s at home.”
Hange gulps a nervous lump in her throat as she nods to Armin, who leans down and sneaks under a flower pot by the doorway to take out a key before he opens up the door. He walks in without a word, leaving the door ajar only slightly, and voices could suddenly be heard—one is groaning in pain while the other in annoyance as Armin’s voice come with an explanation of sorts. Then, just as her curiosity got to her, Armin appears at the doorway—he starts to see her face right between the crack, nearly touching his nose, before he blushes and leads her to enter.
“So we actually have a... guest,” he mumbles as he closes the door after Hange and leads her.
A tall brunette boy peeks his head from the living room—his bright emerald eyes throwing curious daggers at her, “Who is this—your girlfriend? Isn’t she bit too old?”
“I think it goes without saying that that’s not at all abnormal, Eren,” says the annoyed voice that Hange heard earlier; it’s coming from a young woman with platinum blonde hair tied to a bun, sitting on a stool at the kitchen counter. She’s wearing a hoodie and shorts with a book in her hands and a bored look on her cold face—her visages as equally icy as that of Levi’s as Hange stares. “Wouldn’t you agree? I bet you actually feel glad if that were true—considering how much you liked [First Name]!”
“S-Shut up, Annie!” Eren blurts angrily—Hange even notices a blush over his cheeks.
“Anyways,” Armin sighs as he points the couch towards the guest, “Miss Hange, this is Eren and Annie; they’re sharing this house with Miss [First Name]. So you could stay here while we wait for her. Please, have a seat. Make yourself at home!”
Hange nods vigorously—but she couldn’t keep the excitement from seeping out and kept on standing right at the edge of the couch behind her, “Thank you so much, Armin. I-If you don’t mind me asking, just w-where is she exactly?”
The Eren boy turns to the clock on the wall behind him and then back to Hange with a comforting smile, “She should be on her way from work! She always gets back by five o’clock.”
“Where does she work at?” She jumps in excitedly.
“At a publishing house downtown.”
“You mean [Office Name]?”
Hange’s face fell into an abyss of obvious disappointment, sadness and grief; she takes out her phone, allowing the three youths to observe her with a cocked eyebrow, and starts to key in somethings. Her chestnut eyes lose its glow of life as she checks the list of names and places, where one of it has the name of the said office above—her hands fall to the sides as she plops down.
It’s not that I didn’t have any breakthrough—you avoided me. Now you know I’m coming. D-Do you even... Will you even come back here, I wonder?
“So you’re [First Name]’s friends, huh?” that Eren boy prods on to change the subject as he takes a seat on one of the tall chair next to Hange’s, “She never mentions—”
Annie joins them and that interrupts Eren’s attention span as his eyes are directed to the moving figure; “You’ve come a long way,” she observes as she stands beside Hange’s seat, “Why have you come?”
“Annie, do you kno—”
“Miss Hange is here for... Levi, isn’t it?” Annie words make the boy’s emerald eyes widen, as do Armin’s.
Hange is slightly surprised, but she swiftly thinks you must’ve at least talked to someone you trust about what happened between you and Levi; thus, you must trust this person. She takes in a deep breath and nods, “Yes, I am... Not just for him, it’s more for me too.”
“Asking forgiveness, maybe?”
Armin raises his hands suddenly, much to Hange’s gladness, “Uh, will you guys fill me in here? What could you mean by that? Who’s this Levi person?”
“Armin, you’re not aware of her being engaged once to man named Levi, right? Well, she only told me and Eren about it since we asked on the first day she moved in,” Annie decides to take a seat before Hange to emphasise her position, “It was during our flatmate interview. I asked her for no bullshit and that I didn’t want to share a place with someone older without knowing their reasons for staying here... especially since she’s come so far. So tell us, Miss Hange, what are you really doing here?”
The older woman between all four of them lets out a long sigh; she takes off her glasses, folds it in her hand and grips her skirt as she slowly words out, “I’m going to ask her... for forgiveness... and then some...”
“I want to bring her back. No, I need to bring her back. It’s the only what that I won’t lose two persons that I treasure at the same time...”
This place is my safe haven. It’s the one place no one could get to me...
It’s been one and a half hour past five o’clock—the time you should be leaving from work.
As much as you cannot wait to hit the bed and sleep at home or cook some dinner and watch some TV with Eren, your mood for the rest of the day has been spoiled when you were called out in the office. That afternoon, you were told that you had a visitor and then, when they mentioned the name, you quickly shut yourself out. You refused it immediately and locked yourself for an extra hour of overtime just in case she was waiting down at your office lobby.
So when the coast is clear, you had to take some time to slow down your walks between your office and the subway, letting the dread ease out of you just like everyone else, and try to cool your nerves down. You were angry, enraged, confused, curious and eager all the same time when you heard it was Hange who tried to find you at that publisher office of yours. You wanted to know why she had come as much you hate to think she dared showed up at your doorstep.
But as you walk your way back home, you just couldn’t help but have this growing feeling in your gut that something bad has happened.
Why is Hange here? Why is she looking for me? Is she... No, did he send her to invite me to his goddamned wedding? Fuck that! But what if... he sent her for the ring? J-Just how could he have known about—
You’re not paying attention to the way your feet has already brought you into your homely neighbourhood—the sounds coming out from the earphone attached to your ears are blanked out as you wave your hands towards a group of freshmen across the street. They were all clearing up their porch after what appeared to be a barbecue, but there are still some leftover smoke flying and beer cans lying around.
Oh, I missed the barbecue. I got so consumed by avoiding Hange that I forgot they threw a party...
You knew the tall blond by the doorway as Reiner Braun, an English rugby athlete with an eager sense of justice to equip him and he has been close friends with that dark haired gentle giant beside him, Bertolt Hoover—another athlete himself, who plays excellent basketball. You liked both their companies—most especially the latter—because his shyness made him adorable; he’s always uncomfortable around women, but he makes up for it by being the sweetest. He’s also tall, dark and handsome—the very classic hero of any young girls love fantasy.
But they understand. They don’t need me to explain and they’d still understand.
You blush slightly, noticing the wave of Christa, who was standing beside Ymir; the first is a fashion undergraduate and is quite timid for the taste of the industry she’s studying—and she has the stereotypical look of long blonde hair with blue eyes—while the second is a photographer—tall, skinny and dark skinned—who equates to becoming a model sometimes. You enjoyed brushing Christa’s hair whenever she’d let you and you like how stern Ymir would be when she teaches you to take pictures with your Nikon DSLR. They were like sisters you never had, making you forget where you came from or even what happened in the past.
I’ve been here longer than I expected. It feels more than two years now—I feel like I’ve known everyone here for more than that! They have been my friend and so much more during my time of need...
When you glance over to the porch of their house again, you catch two naughty troublemakers throwing water balloons at each other’s face instead of picking up thrash; one was known as Sasha Braus, a misfit of sorts who studies culinary arts and cooks the best of foods for you to make you forget his—she has long brown hair and big pair of chestnut eyes to match. The other one is known as Connie Springer—the bald and mischievous one of all—and his sense of humour never fails to entertain you; sometimes his directness reminds you of Levi’s.
I cannot leave them behind. But the past... I can leave that behind, right? I can move on with this present right? That’s right... The past has ended...
By the time you looked up, you’ve already take out a couple of keys from your back pocket and thrust it into the key-hole; you turn it and waltz into your home with a sigh of relief. You pull your earphones with a tug, heading straight into the kitchen to wash your hands and past the living room without even looking at the crowd that gathered there—you didn’t even notice the quiet.
“[F-First Name], y-you’re back,” you recognise the voice as Eren’s as you open up the fridge to drink something refreshing.
You nod curtly—still no eye contact to the room behind you, “Yup! Sorry I’m late! I had an unexpected visitor at the office today!”
“Oh?” this time it’s Annie, “How did that go?”
“I rejected them,” you swallow the deep shame in your tone as you taste the bland mineral water down your throat; pursing your lips, you quickly turned, “I just can’t accept—”
Your [Eye Colour] eyes widen in pure shock—heck, you’ve even dropped that glass in your hand.
“Whoops!” Eren stands up now and strides towards you, “Let me clear that up! No worries!”
Wh-What is she doing here? What the fuck is Hange doing in my damn house? This is my house! This isn’t—
“H-Hello, [F-First Name]...” the brunette woman promptly speaks up, “It’s been so long!”
You watch as Hange stands up and you tread slowly towards her as you are drawn to her; but just as she spreads her arms, you raise one of yours and throws a slap across her cheek—you heard Armin (you’ve just noticed his presence) and Eren gasp while Annie says nothing at all. Hange doesn’t say anything against that; instead, the look of acceptance in her eyes made you guilty and shameful. You feel your hand tremble as you retract, trying to word yourself out and that’s when—
“It’s okay, dear,” Hange cups her red cheeks calmly—but that tinge of pain in her voice make you wince, “You can hit me all you want... if that helps. I-I’m really sorry that I’ve come unnannounced—but it’s hard since you—”
You hold your breath as you scream, “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!”
“Hey, hey now,” Annie’s aloof voice make you turn to her for some kind of comfort, “It’s our house. She’s my guest. Be calm a little, would you? I’ve taught you that much...”
Why has everyone turned against me? Why have they let Hange in? Why did they—
That’s true; when Annie and Eren interviewed you as a flatmate, you made a condition that they would have to be your friend after you told them of your past (about your old friends, your old love, your old life and how that all changed one day). Annie responds to your condition by teaching you to heal yourself, conceal your emotions and controlling them more appropriately; but still, looking at Hange made you feel like... you haven’t changed at all.
“I DON’T GIVE A SHIT, ANNIE!” you proceed to yell, “GET HER OUT! I DON’T WANT TO SEE HER DAMN FACE!”
Annie abruptly jumps on her feet and approaches you; she grips you by both shoulders, hissing at you, “Calm the Hell down! You’ve earned yourself that much after so long! And you need to hear what Hange has to say!"
“NO, I DON’T GIVE A FLYING FUCK WHAT SHE WANTS TO SAY!”
The two boys and Hange stay out of this converation as Annie suddenly starts raising her voice as well; “Wake up, [First Name]!” she bellows, “You’re not like them! Or him! You’re kind, you’re compassionate, you’re sympathetic, you’re empathetic and you’re unselfish! Just because one of them shows up, it doesn’t mean you have to lose control of your good self! Get a fuckin’ grip!”
“NO! NO MORE, ANNIE! I DON’T WANT TO!”
You quickly break away from her grasp and run up the stairway to your room, noticing that Annie is right on your tail; at precisely when you are just curling your fingers around the knob, she grabs your wrists and forces you to look at her as her touch turns vice grip by the millisecond.
“[First Name]! Listen to me, damn it!”
“B-But, Annie—” you feel hot tears drip from your eyes; you don’t want to show that you care—no, in fact, you know you don’t. But your body seems to want to leak out some of its own buried emotions as Annie stares at you kindly. “Annie, I don’t care... I don’t want to care anymore...”
“Have you ever considered that what she might say may be something of divine justice to you?”
“Wh-What? What are you talking about?” you whip, eyebrows creased in confusion.
The platinum blond woman sighs, “[First Name], it’s about Levi...”
“But I told you!” you growl angrily, “I don’t care about him anymore! He’s just another piece of—”
“Please, [First Name], just listen to her! That’s all you need to ever do and you can walk away from this! You won’t have to look back again! Just do this one thing and walk away forever—forever, [First Name]!”
God, please tell me this is worth it. Please tell me he’s married, fucked his woman so bad that he has ten babies at once or at least, please tell me he’s miserably dead. Please just tell me anything... so I don’t have to care anymore...
Just as you nod, there is loud ring in the air and it freezes you two in place, slowing time down. Then, it is followed by a sudden shrill and loud thud startles both you and Annie—Eren even let out a loud several desperate calls for Hange; your flatmate quickly rushes down the staircase, leaving you there in a sudden rush.
This bad feeling... It’s back. Why do I feel like—
You slowly inch your way towards the edge of the corridor; the voice that mumbles down below slowly becomes clearer as you get closer. Annie is trying to keep control of the situation, trying to calm down a hysterical, sobbing Hange, and it’s all just a blur to you. Confusion crawls up from your bubbling pit and you feel goosebumps from the end of your toes to the ends of your hair; it is, needless to say, a freaky feeling and you never felt this way before except when you woke up from that revealing dream—the night you left Levi.
Why do I feel like something is so wrong? Why do I feel this same pain in my chest? My heart is—
As you peer your head down the stairs, Annie is comforting Hange as she rubs the woman’s back while Eren looks slightly disappointment and Armin equally upset; you couldn’t help but feel even more confused at the sight of Hange crying with tremors raking her body as she curls up on the floor and staring at her phone like a possessed madwoman.
“I-I’s L-Levi,” is the start of her coherent lines, “H-He’s in the hospital and he’s condition is unknown—t-they say he’s critical! I-I mean, h-he downed eight heavy sedatives and is now in a temporary coma!”
What? What the fuck did you just say?
You gasp quietly, covering your hands over your mouth; you slowly back away from the stairs, trying to avoid from being seen.
Hange goes on, “I just left him a day ago! How could this happen? He was the same as always—sassy and snark, even if he was depressed and suicidal! But how could he suddenly just—”
“Something in him must’ve just snapped,” you heard Annie sighed as you wrapped your fingers around the doorknob of your bedroom.
But why? It should’ve been me who tried to kill myself, not him! So why does he tried to kill himself? T-The Levi I know... won’t even... He couldn’t do such things! Not to himself—he’s always like that!
You shut the door behind you, slam your back against it and begin to cry—you don’t know even why.
But you don’t feel happy. You don’t feel satisfied.
In fact, you even feel bad. You feel ashamed, hurt and like you’ve done something wrong. You feel like Levi’s been the only one who has appreciated the love you two had that he’s willing to die just to prove it and you haven’t even gone that far—no, you had been having a great time mending and meeting new people; sure, you figured your life as more precious than his and you didn’t even pawn the ring he gave you for a reminder of your pain but that doesn’t mean that you—
“Why the fuck did you try to end your life, Levi? You don’t care about us anymore... Why did you—God, you’re such an idiot! If you’re sleeping around, you’re not the one that’s suppose to commit suicide—you’re not the broken one! I am! So why did you...”