Soft Spoken Brutality: That night, basking in some evening light
Difficulty to comprehend the implications behind his current friendship was a must in this kind of situation, thought Kaneki as he lay in a somewhat comfortable bed. Comfort, to him, was a requirement for reflection, perhaps the only moment of peace during which the timidity that dominated his personality cedes ground. Reactions between adrenaline, panic and urgency; novelty, curiosity and desire; fear mixed with novelty… while those were all very self-explanatory in regards to why they were felt by Kaneki, the actual way of dealing with those particular emotions had escaped him to some particular degree.
“Perhaps this would have been the issue with any ordinary person in this kind of situation,” he muttered offhandedly. Yet he never had any particular reason to think much about ghouls, or any elements of their life. Ghouls were mentioned in the news; wards were closed off or guarded more intensely during bouts of exploding ghoul activity. Some wards were simply deemed uninhabitable by non-ghouls. Of course Kaneki knew that. Anyone living in Tokyo in this day and age would have known that much. Yet, to be living in the peaceful 20th ward and realising the truth behind the cafe that was a very important part of his daily routine weighed heavily on him, much more heavily than realising Kamishiro Rize was an actual ghoul.
Of course it is more realistic to believe that someone you just met is more likely to kill you, than the staff of a cafe you have been frequenting in the close past. That kind of conclusion would be immensely easy to make, especially if one were to take into account the fear an ordinary person has of betrayal. The deeply rooted hatred of betrayal any normal being may have is amplified in the case of this particular protagonist – familial betrayal, having to share blood with the very person who decided that their life and existence takes trump over their kin’s. It is this very betrayal, which drove the uncertainty about ghouls within Kaneki.
“Ghouls and humans, huh? With persecution being so harsh, of course the ghouls would hide…” the way he muttered it was ordinary, yet at the same time he was stating something incredibly self-evident. Perhaps it was the tiredness he was feeling due to the sleeplessness he had experienced during the past few nights. Some time had, of course, passed since the incident in Anteiku and the construction yard. Yet it seemingly all blurred behind a dull, throbbing and consistent sound of a hammer hitting a soft sheet of jello. Tiredness and a lack of food seemingly amplified the sounds one may have ordinarily heard in the process of ordinary life by almost tenfold, whilst any sort of uncertainty and panic reached a frantic pace almost instantly.
A loud ring interrupted this particular train of thought, one among many that had perhaps escaped the black haired youth in this haze of an escape. What he didn’t understand was Hide’s thought process behind trying to contact him at the youthful hours of the morning. Hide had previously attempted to find him at different, more suitable time, despite his lack of success in that endeavour. Hide’s persistency humoured Kaneki and made him quite happy. This was the anchor that remained in his life, the flagship of normality within the sea of chaos that was the setting for the more recent duration of Kaneki’s life. Yet Kaneki had his reasons for maintaining distance, at the very least in the immediate short term.
In actuality, the issues were both physical and mental: doubt and fear about two beings whom he had invested attention rejecting one another. This was less about them and their sense of worth and more about his sense of trust. It was about the soaring sensation one gets when achieving something, the throbbing when it is taken, the silence when it is gone. Yet here he decided not to take this risk, not with the mental exhaustion laughing openly at his panic. The option of lying never reached the forefront of his mind, for this wasn’t about him or his seeming betrayal of humanity. This was about his friend and his life.
Perhaps I pushed too much during our meeting with the young man. Behind the brave front lies a fragile young man. The hands and his posture telegraphs much… way too much. I have no doubt about the safety of Rize-chan or any other ghoul inhabiting the 20th ward. Yet this young man and his dilemma is too much reminiscent of becoming a ghoul himself, his mental health deteriorating due to his isolation and eventual separation from the human identity.
My inattention nearly costs me once more, as I fail to notice the teacup nearing the edge of the counter. Despite the astounding poise we display at Anteiku, a lack of attention or direction is always an issue that plagues even the veteran of our staff, with each of them being so unique in both origin and disposition.
Due to tonight being a late night shift, my relative loneliness in the cafe is justified. It is always this type of night, some night, some tasks and no ‘purpose’ to any of it beyond the routine. It is said that a schedule can take one’s mind off those troubling details that plague the present, past or future.
The next part would be to prepare and clean all of the machines for use tomorrow. Ordinarily that would, of course, involve washing the individual containers and ensuring that all filters were in place, whilst also ensuring the coffee beans and sugar along with the more ‘sensitive’ contents of the Anteiku freezer stay out of public eye. All of this seems incredibly ordinary to anyone who would observe my evening doings.
Immediately I realise the absence of Yomo and the implications of what that means for this man’s routine – an addition to my failure to realise Koma and Irimi not being the very last to have left the vicinity. It never fails to remind me of how any misstep or carelessness on my part could lead to a repetition of the more tragic portions of my youth. This type of thought is always sobering during the quiet night of reflection and isolation. My life is the price I would give for any and all of the members of Anteiku, yet sometimes it feels that despite my supposed diligence, the heat of my missteps can be obviously gathered.
Having experienced the death of many allies and friends, this steadfast approach perhaps gave and still gives this old man a sense of stability within life. This means a lot, as the faculty for success is the mind that can lead one out and into any potential situation. This is the reason that human ingenuity, despite their weakness, is known to trump the brutality of the lesser ghoul. Yet perhaps due to my steadfast appearance, others often fail to notice those missteps that occur. Of course there must be a measure of efficiency based on the frequency associated with those missteps and the importance of each individual occasion, that is, IF one had the leisurely time and opportunity for such things.
After mentally noting Yomo’s time of return, I decide to give the matter of Kaneki-kun and Rize-chan some more thought, for this instance is of vital importance in the future. On my handling of this situation rests the fate of the 20th ward, and despite my tendency to make errors, it has never truly forsaken my being. The gravity of any situation was always innately perceived: the shift in the air, the movement of those in the area, the activity of the CCG…
Soon, out of habit, I navigated to situate myself closer to the window observing the alleyway, in an attempt to pacify my usual caution. During said process I turn to observe the trash littering the street corner: packs after packs of various household commodities, human food, electric appliances, clothes and …