“A mysterious night that seemed to span an entire year. If she would be kind enough to tell me about her exploits, I would respond with the memories of mine.”
-“Senpai,” Night Is Short Walk On Girl
Many, many years ago, before I worried as much about anything and everything, I had nights like the one in Masaaki Yuasa’s anime film adaptation of Tomihiko Morimi’s novel Night Is Short Walk On Girl. Nights where the entire world seemed to stretch before me endlessly. Nights where I would seemingly be lost in the Vermont woods until the light of day revealed a small trail behind my campus. Nights that could contain everything from romance to heartbreak, or both.
The time I told my friend smoking languidly in a dirty spotlight outside his townhouse that he was beautiful.
The time a group of friends and I decided to snowboard at 2 a.m..
The time another friend and played beer pong until sunrise using the half-empty bottles abandoned after a house party.
The time, the time, the time.
This year, I went to Busan, South Korea as the second stop in a four-city tour for a work event. I stayed on a different beach (Gwangalli) than the majority of people (Haeundae). I didn’t need to be near everyone else, I told myself after discovering this, because I was a train ride away from the venue, and that was all that mattered. I’m older than most people I know from esports, my days of short nights that seem like days are long gone.
So I told my stories instead. I thought to myself as the words tripped out of my mouth, “How boring! How boring and old I must be.”
Then I went out a few times. I watched as friends had those nights while I was still invited to come, have fun, partake in as much or as little as I wanted so long as I was there. It was warm. I made real friends.
I first watched Night Is Short Walk On Girl with my friend M, who is like a sister to me. We both thought back to our own similar evenings with nostalgia and a shudder. We both laughed about how we enjoyed those times, but never wanted to go back.
But in Busan, I learned that you don’t have to go back to have a good time, and you shouldn’t automatically shut yourself out of opportunities to get to know others a bit better. Life is short, so walk on girl.