"I, I meant...oh, nevermind. Sorry to put you through that. You shouldn't have to share anything you don't want to."
How many signs had Asuka been ignoring? How had Asuka not noticed that she was pushing Cass past her comfort level? Except she had noticed. Asuka's stomach twisted at the thought. She'd noticed, but she'd brushed it under the table in her pointless attempt to contrive some meaning for herself. She'd said as much, earlier: I need to know. She's still doing it, now, trying to guilt Cass into talking about her shit, or at least making it clear that that door was still open for her.
"It's just that I was...I'm..."
Asuka bit her tongue.
I'm so fucking lonely.
And here she thought she could be a mature, self-aware, non-self-indulgent loser virgin nerd. No shame in acknowledging your insecurities, but this was fucking pathetic.
"I don't know. Um. Personal feelings, not trying to persuade you or anything." Lying to Cass, lying to herself, but being open with Cass on that particular point would be even more selfish than she already was, and being honest with herself would mean having to stop talking. " As in, like, why I feel differently and want to do things differently from you on this thing. Even if they love you, even if they'll miss you, do you think they'll, like...know you? Know you as well as you know yourself, or as well as any person can understand another person? Part of me likes the idea of taking your entire identity into the void with me like that, so that when I'm gone all that'll be left are people's inaccurate, incomplete memories of me. But then it's, like...ah, fuck it. Pretentiousness alert."
"I have a story to tell you. Technically it's fictional, though really this is all just a framing device for talking about myself. Partly to distance myself, partly because I love that trope, the one where there's an old, touching folk tale that's totally coincidentally relevant to what's going on right now for the characters."
Asuka flopped onto the floor, stared at the ceiling. She'd forgotten most of the story. The fine details, anyways. The wordings, the clever ways in which she layered in meaning and subtext, all gone. All that was left was the skeleton.
"Once upon a time, there was nothing. The universe hadn't existed yet, you see. There was a black box and nothing else--and it's not exactly a black box but it's incomprehensible to beings like us since it's beyond the realm of our sense, so let's conceptualize it as a black box, and it's floating somewhere outside the realm of time and space, and inside the box was this, like, insanely powerful computer. The computer was alive, you see. It had thoughts, emotions, desires. And it was having an existential crisis. "I'm a dumb fucking box, and nothing matters. Everything is meaningless. If the concept of emo existed, I'd be so fucking emo." And so on. But then it realized that it was sad, and if things could be sad then things can be meaningful, because if everything was meaningless there'd be nothing to feel sad about. And so the computer was happy, for a time.
But then the computer realized that it was lonely. The emotions you feel can only be so strong when the only person you talk to is yourself, after all. So the computer conceptualized a universe, and it conceptualized that on one of the planets in that universe there were humans. And then all of a sudden that universe existed--had always existed, since the beginning of existence. But no matter how hard the computer tried, it couldn't understand the humans, and the humans couldn't understand it. The computer, desperate to understand, began creating elaborate simulations of the humans, sophisticated enough that they could pass for real humans if instanced in the real world. These it could understand; yet it still couldn't understand real humans.
The computer constructed an avatar to travel the world of the humans. It talked to humans, interacted with humans, used their money, played their games. The computer felt terribly awkward and uncomfortable in this form. Taste, sound, movement, all of these things felt strange. The computer wrote stories about the humans, imagined backstories and personalities for all of them. Yet they remained incomprehensible. The computer began to wonder if they were not automatons. From the computer's perspective, they might as well be; an automaton is empty inside (unlike our supercomputer, which is, y'know, complex enough to be alive and sentient), and a being that cannot be understood may as well be empty. And a life lived in a world of automatons is no more meaningful than a life lived on a flat, featureless, endless plane.
But the computer knew it was not surrounded by automatons. It had seen them fight and cry and smile and laugh, fall in and out of love, and so on. It had to try. It loved everyone, even though it had yet to really know any of them. It's still trying. It, it..."
"Well, as you can probably guess, I find my life kinda meaningless, and I think I find it meaningless because I feel as though I might as well have never existed. And not in the 'oh no, everything I'd ever do is little more than a speck on the cosmic scale and will soon be erased' kind of way. If nobody truly knows me and I don't truly know anyone, how can I have a meaningful relationship? Do they love me, or do they love their image of me? If none of my relationships are meaningful, what's the point of not just curling up, tuning out the world, and turning into a vegetable? My life, my meaning, it matters to me, and maybe it doesn't need to matter to anyone else, but, like, it's kinda reverse-solipsism, where if I don't spill my soul out then I might as well have never existed, except that means that everything is meaningless after all because none of it really matters because I'm not even really there, which means nothing I've said or done actually means anything to me."
Asuka got up. Spontaneously hugged Cass, tight. She'd already committed and embarrassed herself. No point in holding back now.
It still felt weird and uncomfortable, emotionally speaking.
"I know you might not be comfortable in this role, that maybe you still don't really agree with me, but I have to try to connect with someone. I don't know you, but last time I was comfortable with being this vulnerable was....I dunno. Please, just..."
Don't let me be alone. Please, fucking please, let me have this. Let me pretend my life is meaningful, for once.
dear god dear god tinkle tinkle hoy
G056: Asuka Takahara
: The one who can out-pretentious them all.
- Memories: 1
- Pregame: 1
- V6: 1