Riku and Tidus make conversation.
“Boating is fun, and tiring after awhile, but what’s flying like?” Tidus asked.
“Huh?” Flying was Sora, Sora meant sky, the ground and the sky were two separate realms, the sun was stuck behind the sky and the land liked it that way, why didn’t the sun?
“What’s it like to fly, like on a plane? I’ve never been on one before, and I was kind of excited about the one that was going to Balamb. Just curious, ‘cause I know you’ve been on all those business trips with your parents.”
“Oh,” Riku said, “Well I really like flying, so I might be a little biased, but... It’s pretty unique. Your ears pop constantly so you keep swallowing and on long flights the seat gets really uncomfortable so you’re squirming and the people behind you are always talking loudly. It’s kind of boring, if you don’t have a book to read or a window seat to peer out from. Window seats are awesome, especially when you’re moving quickly below the clouds: everything always looks so tiny and intricately complex, like the back of a circuit board, and the quicker you go the more you try to take everything in, the higher you go the bigger you feel inside, the smaller the detailed world seems, as if you could just brush away entire cities with your bare hands, if only you could reach them. Then the clouds come if it’s a cloudy day and you’re swallowed by the sky and a million shades of blue and white and maybe a bit of turbulence and you get bored and turn on your walkman and that’s it.”
“I see.” Tidus said, then, “you have a walkman? Dude, ipods are so much better. Even mp3 players win out to walkmans.”
“I don’t know.” Riku said, “I’ve just had mine for so long I’ve gotten used to it. Batteries might be interrupting but at least they’re portable, and you don’t have to set out for the nearest electrical outlet or computer whatever every time you run out of charge.”
“But still, listening to the same twenty tracks over and over again? There’s no variation, you have to get bored after awhile. And changing the CD is kind of interrupting, too.”
“Mmm.” Riku hummed.
“When did you get your walkman?”
It was like it always was, wasn’t it. The more other people talked about themselves or asked about him the more he clammed up.
“I think my mum bought it for me when I was little, for one of my birthdays, when I told her I didn’t really like loud music. I kind of only ever originally used it out of spite.”
“Don’t you get along with her very well then?”
“I don’t know.” He did know. “I think a lot of kids my age have problems with their parents, but a lot of the time I feel as if it’s not my problem with them but their problem with me.”
Tidus disagreed. “I’m sure they love you somewhere deep down,”
Riku snorted. “You serious? My dad can’t even remember my name, he’s so obsessed with his work and the rewards he gets from it. The number of times he’s called me Richard I’ve lost count.”
“Well, your mum then.”
“She freely admits in cold blood that the only reason she ever had me was because all her friends had kids and she wanted to jump on the bandwagon, but thought adoption would cause a stir. I don’t think she’s in denial: nowdays, my worth to her as a person is directly akin to how I treat the neighbours, and however many chores I do around the house.”
Riku shrugged, full well knowing Tidus couldn’t see the casual gesture.
“I think I‘d rather have my parents dead then alive and not loving me.” Tidus admitted. “I’m gonna miss Jehcht. I think I already miss Wakka, y’know? We aren’t always that close, definitely not as close as you and Sora, but I looked up to him in a kinda brotherly way. He always knew the right thing to say, even if it wasn’t always the thing you wanted to hear.”
“Yeah,” Riku remembered their notebook conversation in detention, those few months prior. It seemed so long ago. “Feels weird to be talking about them in past tense.”
“We’ll switch back to present eventually.” TIdus said. “We’re bound to see them again. It’s a small world, you know?”
Looking up into the night sky, Riku wasn’t sure he did. It was in remiss that one Nickelback song he always listened to on repeat on his walkman but only ever remembered one line of ‘and as we stare, into the stars, we realize how small we are.’
It was a long time before they went back to the cabin after that.