I live my life like most people nowadays do. One day at a time. It being 2022, everything is bland- almost too advanced for its own good. A good portion of these days I live are uneventful, always the same, uneventful and plain: I wake up, play video games, have bland conversations with my “sister”, and then mope around until I go to bed. Sometimes I’ll hang with my few friends, while other times I’ll just deal with my life and go though each day normally. Every so often, something new and interesting happens: I meet up with a friend online, move up in rankings online- always online.
Living in a dying city isn’t very fun or interesting. This city was once full of life and color, but now… now mostly everything is barren. Everything even remotely close to colorful only happens in virtual space. I had never seen this city during the times of life and truth, not once in person. But I have seen pictures. My mother and father lived a happy and colorful life, and they could only wish the same for me growing up.
Sadly, I cannot say I have achieved that wish of theirs.
The routine I have to live with every day sucks more out of me every time I must repeat it. I do have some moments of bliss, but the daily struggles I go through outweigh the small moments of joy I have. MMO’s and RPG’s have helped, but they are just more things to give my hopes up on. Every time I play a new game, or watch a new trailer. I recoil a bit at the bright ideas, the expansion of the sky, and the peaceful scenery of their world. It’s so hard to look at that beautiful world, having it so close to my grasp; I reach out to touch its warm colors and the wonderful people- Only to be stopped by my computer screen.
I snapped back to reality, shaking my head in anger and sorrow. It gets to the point where I will simply shut down my computer and walk away. I do that a lot, especially after my parent’s death. I go lie on my bed and think. When I feel sad, I think. When im tired, I think. When im confused… I think.
I think about my parents. My deceased parents. The only thing I’ve ever seen that even comes close to bringing me happiness is my mother’s paintings, each of them with colorful scenes of this now dead world. Her pictures usually stretched the beauty of our- no, her world. Mountains surrounded by plush green grass, flowing rivers- nothing like that exists any more. Only in video games.
Some games pleased me, took the world I wished and shoved it right at me. Not to fast- just right. Just a little while ago, I had the opportunity to Beta test the first ever VRMMORPG game in the world- Sword Art Online. That was the one game that managed to make me feel warm, like I was supposed to feel. It made me feel like I was truly home. But now that the release for the game has been set- it’s been wiped away from me. Taken. Robbed. Now it’s gone. It feels as if my life is at a standstill- but will hit play again one noon tomorrow. It will be a long day.
The day for SAO has come. Only three more hours. I sit at my grey desk, thinking. I slowly and unsurely pick up my headphones, hesitantly; I place them on my head. I reach far onto my desk and hit two buttons- first, my computer’s power button. And second, my monitor button. As my computer boots up, I stare at my reflection in my mirror. My black hair is covering my right eye, the glare coming off of the screen erases my face from all visibility. I sigh as the SAO logo- my background- pops up on the screen. Now, I start searching the internet and my magazine for all info possible of the game I may have skipped.
*2 YEARS LATER
“KIRITO~!” I hear Asuna yell, trying to find me. I sit up in my bed, rubbing the back of my head. Should I answer her now? Or, should I ignore her until she finds me- that way I can catch a glimpse of her adorable angered face. Right as im debating, she slides into my room, her socks reducing the friction between her and the golden wood floor. Her annoyed expression was quickly replaced with one that was a mix of anger and disbelief.
“Kirito. Its noon, what are you still doing asleep?” She asked, slowly walking towards me. Chuckling, I answered back calmly, “Im sorry, I was tired. And just so you know, you woke me up with your constant yelling around five minutes ago. I was just waiting to see how long it would take for you to realize I was in here the-” I stopped talking once I saw her cross her arms and puff out her cheeks. She’s being so cute… Hesitantly, I apologized- only making her arms release a little and also causing her cheeks to deflate. “Well, anyways- I was calling you because lunch is done, well, for you breakfast. Are you hungry?” Nodding, I admitted how I was, and before I knew it, we were sitting at a table with empty plates; and me with a full stomach. “Thanks Asuna, it was really good!” I complimented, smiling brightly. Her cheeks turned a little pink and she smiled back. “No problem.” She returned. “Say, how about we go out into the woods and-” It sounded like fun, so I hastily answered a gleeful yes in agreement.
Ever since that night- the night where we agreed to go run away together – things between us have been more relaxed and more… more loving? We’ve been goofing off lightheartedly constantly, and we do things such as go for strolls in the woods. And usually, we just act like little kids. Being fun and free is something I don’t think I’ve ever been able to do, or feel. It’s like im finally getting my youth back, and I love it! But not as much as I think I’ll ever love her. Her smile, her laugh, the way she acts all tough, no wait, scratch that. She doesn’t act tough, she IS tough. But, I still always feel as if I need to protect her. That’s why, no matter what, with all the fiber in my being, I will protect her. And I will always stay by her side.
But sometimes, protection comes at a cost. And sometimes, one cannot keep their word.