A Nighttime Confession
They say there's no louder sound than someone who's trying to be quiet. That's the type of sound that woke me up one night during my travels in Hoenn. One of my friends--I couldn't tell who without opening my eyes, which I didn't, because I wanted to get back to sleep--had gotten out of his or her sleeping bag, and was starting to walk away. I guessed that they were headed for the lake that was within view of our campsite. On the other side of the trail, through a thin grove of trees, was a beautiful lake that had been covered by a blanket of fog the last time I took a good look at it. When the footsteps stopped, I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn't. I kept wondering why one of my friends had gotten up and headed over there. I decided to check it out in case anything was wrong. Looking around, I took a head count. Brock and Max were still sleeping peacefully in their sleeping bags, Pikachu was curled up next to me as usual, but May's sleeping bag was empty. Well, that answered that. As quietly as I possibly could, hoping that I wouldn't waken the others the way May had unintentionally awoken me, I slipped out of my sleeping bag, slid on my sneakers, and headed towards the lake in the general direction I thought May had headed.
I treaded carefully through the trees, worried that a cracking twig or a kicked rock might alert her to my presence. I didn't want to make myself known until I knew what was going on. I noticed that the lake and surrounding shore was still foggy, and as I got closer, I could barely make out May just ahead. She was sitting on a large rock with her chin resting on her knees, staring out at the lake. Like me, she was in her pyjamas. Hers were pink with little Torchic pictures scattered over them. She wasn't wearing her bandanna either, which wasn't surprising. She only ever took it off to sleep, swim, or bathe, and sleeping was what she had been trying to do. "Guess she couldn't sleep," I thought to myself. To my surprise, May gave a start and looked around. I must have whispered my words without realizing it.
"Who's there?" she asked, a little worried.
"It's ok, it's just me," I said, approaching from my position between two trees.
"Oh, Ash, you startled me," May breathed a sigh of relief. I enjoyed listening to her voice, I realized. I thought it had sort of a musical edge to it. I already knew she was fun to be around because of her enthusiastic attitude, now I realized she was nice to listen to as well.
"Sorry..." I said. "So, um, are you ok?"
May sighed and looked away from me again, out at the lake. She shifted position, now sitting cross-legged, still on the rock. "Well, now that you're up, I may as well get it over with..." she finally said.
"Huh? Get what over with?" I felt like I had come in ten minutes late to a movie.
"You travelled with Misty for a long time, right?"
"Are you guys...you know..."
"What? What are you talking about?" I wished she'd give me a straight explanation without keeping me guessing all the time.
May rolled her eyes in what I could only guess was mild amusement. "Is she your girlfriend?"
Wow. Shock city. The question caught me completely off guard. I reached back and scratched the back of my neck in nervousness. "Um, well...no...not really..." I managed to spit out.
May raised an eyebrow. "Not really? Come on, Ash, either she is or she isn't. Do you at least like her?"
"Um, well...wait a minute, what's this got to do with you?" I was no less confused now than before.
"Just tell me." she insisted.
What could I do? My friend seemed depressed or something, she caught me off-guard with a question, I had no choice but to tell the whole truth. I stared at the ground and braced myself. I was about to tell May something I had never admitted to anyone, not even Mom, Professor Oak, or Brock...wait a minute, that's not quite right. Pikachu knew, although I didn't admit to it. Pikachu had figured it out on its own. "I wouldn't be where I am today...I wouldn't have finished in the top 16 in the Indigo League, I wouldn't have won the Orange League, I wouldn't have finished in the top 8 in the Johto League...if Misty hadn't been with me. I'm doing OK so far with the Hoenn League Gyms, but now that she's back in Cerulean...it's like a big part of me is back there too." I paused, waiting for a reaction.
May sighed yet again. "That's what I thought you were going to say," she said, sounding disappointed. "You see, when I was on my way to Littleroot to get my first Pokemon, I fully intended to travel by myself. Even though I didn't like Pokemon at the time, I could sense your devotion to them, and you just seemed like a really fun guy to be around. I have to admit, I thought you were very cute, too." I reddened at this. No girl had ever told me that before.
"As time went by," May went on, "your skill as a trainer, your kind heart, and your love for Pokemon just became more and more obvious. I knew you didn't seem like the romantic type or anything like that, so I held back, but I did drop a couple of hints. Remember when I talked about the power of love after we met Romeo and Julie with their Volbeat and Illumise? I wanted to see your reaction. You had mentioned Misty before, but then when we finally met her and had that whole Togepi adventure, I really started to wonder just what the relationship between you guys was. I wanted to have a girl-to-girl talk with her about it, but I didn't get the chance. So I figured I needed to ask you...but for some reason, I just got really nervous about it. So I kept putting it off...and I guess I started feeling down over it."
"Wow...I really don't know what to say. This has never happened to me before," I admitted.
"All along I suspected that you guys might have liked each other...I mean, for two people travelling together as long as you did, how could you not? So I understand if you don't want there to be...THAT kind of a relationship between us. Misty's your best friend, after all..."
Wow, relationships and love. The two things I felt the most uncomfortable talking about. If I was gonna do so, couldn't it at least be at a time when I was well-rested and had a full stomach? But I guess that wasn't meant to be. Now, I had no choice but to tell May the kind of thing I'd only seen on TV. "May...you're a great person. You're fun to be around, your enthusiasm is infectious, and I love listening to your voice. But, like you said, I was with Misty for so long...it just wouldn't feel right. I don't know how else to explain it. I like you, but only as a friend."
May slowly nodded. "I know...I can deal with that...but I just need some time to think right now," she said, turning to stare at the lake again. I followed her gaze, noticing for the first time that if you stared hard enough at one place in the fog, you could start to see little designs in the fog form and disappear.
"Want some company while you think? You won't even know I'm here."
"Sure," she said, shifting over to let me climb up on the rock next to her.