Casablanca Memory

Originally appeared in Run-Run, September 1993.
Translated by Kurozuki (manga@kurozuki.com). Version 1.0, 8.96.

Do not link directly to this page. Do not redistribute this translation in any form, such as by posting it on another web site.


April 17th.

"Hino Rei-san! Happy birthday!" The boy holds out a bouquet of flowers. "I always see you on the bus. My cousin goes to T-A Girls' School, so I know that today's your birthday..." He gives her a letter. "Read this. I decided to give you a bunch of red roses. They're perfect for you. Bye!"

Usagi peeks out from behind the corner. "I saw that! I saw that!" She grabs the letter from Rei and opens it. "Wow! It says for you to meet him! Rei-chan, you're popular!"

"I didn't know it was your birthday, Rei-chan," says Ami. "You never told us."

"Wow..." says Usagi. "I wish that would happen to me. I want to get a bouquet from a guy..."

"If it was important, I would have told you," says Rei. "But I don't want presents, and I have no interest in boys."

"What!? You don't like boys!?"

Rei walks away.

"Since we've met her, she hasn't acted like that..." says Usagi.

"She goes to a different school, too," says Ami. "She really hasn't talked much about herself."


"I'm home, grandpa."

"Oh, Rei," he says. "A present came from your father." He hands her a bouquet of flowers and a box.

She opens it. "This year too," she thinks. "These flowers, and a white dress..."

"Rei-chan!" Usagi calls. She comes inside with Ami. "Happy birthday. This is a present from us."

"Hey, this is the first time Rei's gotten a gift from friends," her grandpa says. "A music box? Has a pretty sound."

Rei looks down. "Thanks," she says. "I'll treasure it."

"Ooh! These white lilies are really pretty," Usagi says.

"They're called casablancas," says Rei. "They're my favorite flowers."

"Rei, the car's here," says her grandpa. "You see, every year on her birthday, Rei-chan eats dinner out with her dad. It's about her birthday... Rei's father works as a politician, and he rarely comes home. She dislikes him. Since her mother died, she hasn't gotten along with him, and she came to my shrine."


Rei enters the Rain Tree restaurant.

"Welcome. Your father is waiting." The waiter takes her to a table, where her dad is with another man. "Sir, Rei-san is here."

"Kaidou-san!" Rei thinks.

"That white dress," her dad says. "You look like your mother."

"It's been a while," says the man. "That suits you well. Very."

"Kaidou-san..."

Music plays from a music box in the restaurant like the one Usagi gave Rei.

"That's..."

"Do you know it?" asks the waiter. "That lamp has a music box inside it. Right now it's a popular item. Since the song of the music box coincidentally has the same name as this store, 'Rain Tree,' we're displaying it."

"Today my friends gave me a gift the same as that. 'Rain Tree'..."

"Did you come here together with Kaidou-kun on your birthday last year, too?" her dad asks.

"Yeah, I did," says Rei. "Since you couldn't come..."

"Kaidou-san," she thinks. "Dad's top assistant, Kaidou-san... Since I was little, he often visited our house. And then after I moved in with grandpa after mom died, too. He took care of me, just like a brother. Then when I was in 6th grade..."

"It's almost your birthday," Kaidou says. "Is there anything you want?"

Rei looks in the window of the flower shop. "Look. Those are pretty... Big, white lilies..."

"They're casablancas. White suits you well, Rei-san."

"I got them for my birthday. A bouquet of casablancas and a one-piece dress."

"It looks good on her," Kaidou says to Rei's dad. "The dress your gave her."

"It does," says her dad.

"I knew it then... The gifts weren't from dad... Kaidou-san picked them out. Then last year, too. I got a bouquet of casablancas and a white dress in dad's name. Last year I just celebrated my birthday with Kaidou-san..."

"That looks good on you," Kaidou says. "The white one-piece. It's too bad your father couldn't be here as well."

"I won't be deceived by this dress," says Rei. "Dad hasn't thought importantly of his family since a long time ago."

"I thought I could somehow replace him, and I threw a birthday party for your friends. It wasn't very thoughtful..."

"I have no friends," she says. "And I don't want to make any. You can't have faith in people. I believed in dad. Mom always looked lonely... Mom was a slender person... But in dad's mind, there was nothing besides politics. Mom's weak body was dying alone. In the end, you can only depend on yourself, I think. So I don't want to marry, either. Kaidou-san... You're probably entering the same political world as my dad, right? Everyone's saying it, that you're his successor."

"I don't want my daughter to be unhappy," says Kaidou. "I can't convince myself that I'm an adult, so I'm not fit for politics. I don't feel like marrying at all, either. I think it's fine like this."

"We're the same," says Rei. "You and me. Kindred spirits."


Rei sits up in bed, holding her head.

"It's because I saw Kaidou-san at that store after such a long time," she thinks. "That's why I'm remembering the past. I wanted to forget, but..."

Music plays from the lamp on the desk.

"The Rain Tree..."

She sits before a fire. "The fire is in disarray," she thinks. "Somehow, I can't concentrate..."


June.

Two girls stare out the window at T-A Girls' School.

"Rain..." says one. "It's so gloomy. It reminds me of him... Oh, that Rain Tree music box! I have one, too. I like that sound."


"Ohh..." says Usagi. "The start of the rainy season... How depressing."

"Lots of homework, too, at this time," says Ami. "Everyone's bought one of those Rain Trees like Rei-chan's. The sound of that music box... 'Rain Tree.' That's perfect for this season."

"The melody is just right..." says Usagi's mom. "Makes you remember the past..."

"The rainy season," says Luna. "I wonder if that's the reason everyone is so gloomy."


Rei walks down the street, carrying an umbrella.

"Mako-chan?"

"Oh! Rei-chan," says Makoto. "It's this long rain spell. My plants at home aren't well, and I came to buy some nutritional supplements. These people just walk everyday in the rain. They all look gloomy. That sound... A Rain Tree. I've been hearing it a lot lately. This kind of sad tune..."

"Me too," says Rei. "We've never really talked before. Want to go inside some store?"

They enter the Rain Tree restaurant.

"Welcome, Hino-sama," says the waiter. He takes them to a table.

"Mako-chan," Rei says.

"Yeah?"

"You said your heart was broken before you came here?"

"A friend and I," says Makoto. "We both liked the same guy. But he didn't choose me. I was the closest girl to him, so I thought he would, but... You know."

"We're kindred spirits," says Rei.

"What?"

"Kindred spirits," she said to Kaidou.

"Soon after that," Rei thinks, "I happened to see him on my way home from school..."

Rei sees Kaidou smiling, his arm around a woman.

"It was the first time I saw him look that way. I didn't know him. I couldn't believe it. The face he showed me..."

Kaidou turns and sees Rei running away.

"Kaidou-san?" says the woman.

"I thought it was everything."

Rei holds the phone.

"It's about Kaidou?" says her dad, on the other end. "I thought he was building ground with you. I trusted him in Nagatachou too. Since I'm doing business, I thought he could be in my place. He's engaged, to the daughter of the head of the DLP. They're a perfect couple."

"That music..." Rei thinks. "The theme of the movie Casablanca."

She sits at a grand piano. "May I play?"

"Casablanca," she thinks as she plays. "Spanish for... White house."

A group of people listen. "I understand that's the daughter of Hino, of the Democratic Liberal Party."

[Name change: This represents the real-life Japanese policital party, called the 'Liberal Democratic Party.']

"Oh, really."

Rei gets up and a blond woman sits down to play.

"Rain Tree..." Rei thinks. "Such sentimental music... It's making me so sad. There's really something wrong with me... It's strange, this store. It's pretty badly lighted. It's oppressive..."

She nudges Makoto. "Mako-chan, you all right? Wake up."

"Huh?"

"Let's go."

They exit the store and walk in the rain.

"This is relieving," thinks Rei. "Weird. I wonder why it was so stuffy in there."


"'The continuing rains are causing floods across the country,'" Luna reads from the newspaper. "'The abnormal weather is of unknown cause.' Whatever it is, it's strange. It's bringing so much rain."

"Because of all the kids absent with the rain," says Usagi, "they closed the school."


"On rainy days like this, I stay inside. It'll flood. That music... A Rain Tree again. Now wherever I go, this music is flowing. It's somehow irritating." She holds up a vase filled with flowers. "Mako-chan will be delighted. We've been talking of broken hearts..."

She goes up to Makoto's apartment and rings the bell. She looks at the door.

"It's open?" She goes inside. "Mako-chan!?"

Makoto is sitting in the corner, listening to a Rain Tree. "Senpai..." she mumbles.

[In this case, she's referring to an old crush.]

"Mako-chan!?" Rei says. "She looks strange! A Rain Tree again!? That music box!!" She picks the box up and throws it on the ground, breaking it.

"Wh- What!?" says Makoto. "I-!? Rei-chan!?"

A spirit begins to rise from the shattered glass.

"A ghost!!" Rei thinks. "They're flooding the city! The Rain Tree music boxes! It can't be... An enemy!? Even I got sentimental in spite of myself. I wasn't aware of it! Hold on, Rei! Mars Power! Make Up!!"

Two crows fly down to Rei.

"Phobos, Deimos," she says. "You're soaked."

Kaidou approaches her. "Since I was in the neighborhood..." he says. He holds out a book. "Your father entrusted this to you. Since I found this great book... He said."

Rei takes it. "Why do you always mention dad?" she asks. "Because I'm still a child? Are you getting married?"

"Your father said to... I couldn't refuse."

"You'll become a politician, just like dad," says Rei. "Your children will be unhappy."

"I won't have any kids..."

"You and me. Kindred spirits."

"Liar. If you enter the political world... If you succeed dad, then... I wanted you to marry me..."

He leans over and kisses her.

"Katsu!"

The glass of all the Rain Trees shatters.

She hears music.

"The sound of a piano!?" She sees the blond woman playing. "What!? That's...!? A huge Rain Tree!?"

"Isn't it beautiful?" says the woman.

"The pianist at the store!?"

"I made it with the sentimental energy of humans. This Rain Tree. It's flooded people with memories. The rain it's causing will not stop. In a while, I'll have soaked up all the energy of this city. Everyone will become empty shells. Heh heh. Can't even you forget the past!?"

"Rei?"

"Mom!?"

She sees the face of Kaidou. It blurs with the face of Jadeite.

"Rei!" he says as he grins evilly. "Even I will really do it!"

It blurs into a large apparition approaching her.

"Stop confusing me!" Rei says. "It's my principle not to look back on the past! Phobos! Deimos!" The two crows fly down in the moonlight. "Many treasures unite! Purify the six roots of perception! Flame, come to me! Evil spirit, begone!!"

Flames surround the woman. Rei drops to her knees.

"Hmph," the woman says. "I thought I would take revenge for Jadeite, but... You're strong."

"Mars!" Makoto calls. She runs up with Usagi and Ami.

"If I was in love," says Rei, "I would surely want to do everything like that person. Make everything only mine. That's wrong. So I won't fall in love. I don't need love now. But I have kindred spirits with the same goal. I have you all."


August.

Rei sits back in her beach chair.

"That long rain seems like it was a dream," says Makoto. "I feel great."

"Rei-chaan!" calls Usagi. "Wanna come swim?"

"I'll stay here," says Rei.

"Miss," says the waiter. He hands her a drink. "From them." He points to two boys.

"This will be my fifth," Rei says. "For my part, I can just stay here and drink all day long. How nice."

"Rei-chan..."

The End


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