A small crowd had gathered to watch the disaster. The ship had been evacuated and no causalities had been counted (though that would have hardly made a difference to the spectators), and merely lazed perpendicularly in the harbor's deep water. Seemingly too apathetic to even sink properly, and instead preferring to remain partly afloat. Those meant to pull it out did their job half-heartedly.
As twilight begun coating the city the crowd dispelled. Only two souls remained, sitting together on a concrete wall, observing the sinking ship in silence.
"Do you ever think your life is a waste?"
The woman spoke casually, asking a simple, factual question. Because to her life had always been a simple, factual thing. The man removed the cigarette from his lips and blew a string of smoke in the distance.
Silence once more covered them. A quarrel had broken out in front of the sinking ship, too far away to understand the words, Naruse limited himself to imagination. Those meant to return the ship to an afloat position and take it away had grown tired. Their motorboats too had grown tired. They demanded a break. Of course, the ship's owner found the request maddening. It's not going to sink completely boss, we can leave it, the workers might have said. The boss would not have been impressed, I'm paying you for this! Get back to work!
"I don't believe in that whole 'everyone has a purpose' stuff."
The woman spoke again, never looking at Naruse. He made a faint clicking noise with his mouth. Before he could formulate a response, she had spoken again.
"So I think, in some way, everyone's life is a waste. Nobody is born for a purpose."
Naruse briefly glanced at her through the corner of his eyes. She sat completely still, deeply immersed in following the distant quarrel. You're wrong, he thought, dropping the cigarette.
"Didn't take you for such a philosopher."
Myranda shot him a look somewhere between annoyance and disappointment, but remained quiet.
Dusk had comfortably settled above the grey city. The argument in the harbor had broken up and the workers returned to their motorboats, once more attempting to return the ship completely above water.
"You still feel guilty over something you didn't do. You should stop letting people scapegoat you, you know?"
The woman dug into Naruse's coat pocket for the lighter and cigarettes. She lit one nonchalantly, then placed the lighter in her own coat pocket. Naruse sighed inappreciably; he distracted himself with two lone seagulls flying against the darkened sky. Myranda took what she wanted when she wanted. Society saw in her a shallow and aggressive ticking time bomb merely waiting to explode. They saw someone without a heart, someone who would have burned down the whole city if it only meant all eyes would be upon her. He saw beyond that. Naruse saw in her a lonely girl, someone too accustomed to being pushed aside and having the ground taken from beneath her feet. Someone who only knew recklessness to feel alive.
"You were born for more, is what I'm saying."
Naruse breathed out an airy half-chuckle and spoke with that cold, monotone voice that had come to characterize him.
"That makes you a hypocrite. You just said life is pointless and whatever."
"And? Just because we're born without a purpose doesn't mean we can't create one. I'm just saying," Myranda paused, thinking about her words, "you don't have a purpose in life, but you can't just let people walk all over you."
She took a drag and faced Naruse for the first time that evening. The two lone seagulls had long disappeared into the night. Maybe my purpose was this, the words formed in his mind without prompting. There needs to be someone to take the blame, that's just how it always is.
"I'm not my sister and don't care about you." Myranda exhaled smoke through her nostrils and leapt off the short wall with grace. She stretched her arms upwards. "But when I see something that isn't right, well, I have to point it out. That's what people do."
Naruse followed her movements and too leapt off the wall. He glanced back at the sinking ship one last time, then faced Myranda.
"Inspiring speech. Can I have my lighter back now?"