The sun was just setting in the sky, dipping into the golden tinged ocean that lined the quiet landscape. I smiled faintly, remembering the day’s events as they replayed in my mind. There was a kinship in them, echoing the peaceful setting that bathed us in its light. Just the four of us.
“Hold on you guys.”
“Hm?” I turned slightly toward the lilting voice. There was an uncertainty, a quiet decision that resounded in those words. But I knew that voice as well as I knew my own; there was a sadness too.
May smiled briefly. “There’s something I need to tell you first.” Her eyes were wide, a transparent blue in the light of the sunset, both wistful and hesitant.
“What’s on your mind?” I asked, confused by the apparent emotion that she kept hidden in her voice. I was surprised to find a trace of worry in my thoughts; both familiar as it was confusing.
May’s expression turned serious, darkening. “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and…I’ve decided to enter the Johto Pokemon contests by myself.”
A smile curved around her last words. My eyes widened in spite of myself.
“By yourself?” I found myself asking. I fought to control my hurt expression, just barely leaking through my control. Her words still hadn’t sunk in.
Brock sounded confused. “But what about Max?”
It wasn’t the same question that I wanted to ask, but I decided it was a good enough excuse.
Why do you want to leave us? Leave…me?
May turned to her brother, who had remained silent the whole time. “Max, I know if you came along with me, I’d start to depend on you. You all remember when we first met up, don’t you? I didn’t have the slightest idea what I wanted for myself. But now, well, things are different. After traveling around with you all, I know exactly what I want to do.”
Her voice had become only a whisper next to my spinning thoughts.
“You all remember when we first met up, don’t you?”
Flashbacks came in brief flickers, like fireflies, like escaping tears.
“You see, I know there was a lot more for me to learn, lots more contests for me to be in. New ways of presenting my pokemon, lots of ways to make them shine.”
There was a poignant note to the end of her words, like a fading promise. I could still see my memories glimmer in front of my eyes, questioning and hurt.
Brock was the first one to speak again. “You’re right May.”
I knew I had to speak. I searched for a reserve of control somewhere, and was glad to find a bit of pride beneath my shock. Holding tightly to that feeling alone, I swallowed quickly and managed to choke out a few words. “Sounds good to me.”
No…please don’t go…
“And, there’s Drew and Solidad waiting for you over there,” Brock reminded her.
I smiled a broken smile. “Yeah, and Harley too.”
Drew…is he the reason why…?
May flashed a small smile. “Well, not sure if that’s a good thing.”
Max suddenly stood up from the table and left without another word, despite May’s protests. I stared after him, immediately understanding.
“I’m sure Max is thinking about his journey right about now,” Brock surmised quietly.
I quickly stood up from the table. I needed to think about something else. Anything.
“Ok, I’ll go talk to him!” I volunteered quickly, not pausing to gauge May’s confused expression. I turned and went after Max, glad for the distraction.
Behind me, my thoughts continued to ask silent, unanswerable questions.
She can’t be leaving for Drew…
No, it’s for her contests…
But she’s still going to leave, regardless.
Why didn’t you stop her?
She can’t leave…
But I couldn’t hear these voices. I was trying my hardest not to.
I could not stop her decisions; May could do whatever she pleased. If I searched a little farther into the recesses of my mind, I knew I would find pride, pride that she was becoming such a wonderful coordinator. Perhaps hard to feel it, but it was there.
And, most importantly, her decision seemed to make her happy. She would be with her friends, and Drew…
I blinked feverishly to try and eliminate the venom that coated that name. It made her happy. That was the only thing that mattered.
Because, no matter what, I would do anything to make her happy.