“In this wide, wide world, do you think you’re the main character? Or are you a side character?”
I wonder when it was that he asked me such a thing. It felt like just yesterday, but it felt like it could just as well have been over ten years ago. At the time, as I recall, he was reading a small and thin paperback book, while I was reading a big, thick Corocoro.
That’s how we would usually spend our time.
He made a bittersweet smile as he waited for my answer.
“Let’s see…” I thought.
When I was small, I thought I was the hero. That there was an incredible power hidden in me, that I’d someday become a hero of justice, that I’d fight the bad guys for the sake of world peace. I firmly believed it.
But as I grew older, such thoughts faded away.
In Gentle Breeze Park, the lady in the strange suit taught me.
There are no heroes of justice in the world.
It’s simply impossible.
If in the million to one chance a hero of justice existed—that a protagonist was out there, then at that very moment, as I wasn’t fighting for the world, I was a side role you could find wherever you looked. Nothing more than bystander A.
But despite that.
“I think I’m the main character. In my life’s story, the main character can only be me.”
For the time being, I decided to say something cool. I think my strongest intention was to convince myself.
“Hmm. I see. You say some cool things.”
“What do you think?”
“I don’t think I’m either. No, they’re just both wrong would be more accurate. I’m not a main or side character, and no one in the world’s a main or side character.”
Unable to grasp his meaning, I tilted my head.
“Main characters and side characters don’t exist in this world, And it goes without saying that villains don’t exist either. All that’s there in the world… is readers.”
“Humans are all readers browsing a book titled ‘self’. An unfortunate person’s ‘self’ just wasn’t written to their tastes, that’s all there is to it.”
With a somewhat pitying smile, he spoke as if he had it all figured out.
I myself, half understanding, half oblivious, somehow managed to ask back.
“But if humans are all readers, then who’s writing the story?”
He stuck up his index finger to point at the sky. Bitter and sweet, a smile that truly fit him floating on his face, he spoke in jest.
“—Got to be god, right?”