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Sai~~~~ (spoilers, if you haven’t seen/read all of HnG)

Doing all right. Work was fine. Robert ordered a new computer from Dell for me, and after work I went to look for a new desk. Hopefully we’ll have something set up by Friday when the computer arrives, but I didn’t see anything particularly good when I browsed Office Max, Office Depot, Target, and Staples. I even went to a new furniture store called Ashley, but that place is way too expensive/ritzy for us :> There was one desk at Staples that had pretty much all the features I was after, but it ended up being too much. There was one at I think Office Max that was okay, and Robert is going to go buy it tonight so I can put it together tomorrow.

After driving around looking at desks, I went home and watched a bunch of Hikaru no Go (eps 50 through 59). It’s getting nearer and nearer…Sai’s disappearance.

Every episode is bittersweet now, especially with Sai’s own realization. Why don’t you tell him? Tell him, Sai! But I know what Sai is thinking. He thinks Hikaru won’t believe him. He tried to tell him before, after all.

You didn’t try hard enough, Sai.

He’s too bitter now to make the effort. He’s too envious of Hikaru’s future. He’s too upset and depressed and mortified that he won’t be the one to reach the Hand of God.

But even as he’s feeling all these things, he’s feeling bad for being so selfish. He hates himself for how he’s feeling. He doesn’t want to disappear, to pass on, to lose his chance to play more go…to leave Hikaru. But he wants Hikaru to go forward, to show his strength to the world. He’s so filled with pride and admiration of Hikaru; it’s just that he’s too blinded by the immediacy of his own situation to feel it unselfishly. By the time he realizes his true feelings–that he’s proud to have been such a big step towards the Hand of God, to have sent the amazingly gifted Hikaru on to find the Hand of God with his rival, Touya Akira–it’s too late. And Hikaru doesn’t hear him say goodbye…

I always think, when I start to rewatch this series, that I’ll stop before Sai disappears. That way I won’t have to remember that he’s gone, that he won’t be there to smile demurely, to astonish with his brilliant play…to whine at Hikaru to let him play more go, to gaze wide-eyed at the modern world and then smile and think, “Everything is now as it was then.”

And I won’t have to watch as Hikaru realizes he is the only one who truly knew Sai, even if Touya realized that somehow Sai was inside Hikaru. I don’t have to see that Sai’s memory is gone, not even recorded in the history books. I don’t have to see that his existence, while serving the noble purpose of setting Hikaru out into the world of go, ultimately ended, his name erased and covered by those of others. His true name–part of it–was known to those who saw him play on the Internet, but even if they remember to their deaths the undefeated genius Sai, once they are gone–once Hikaru is gone–Sai will be gone.

Forever.

I think those things every time…but somehow I am never able to stop watching.

It sucks you in, that show. Too many great battles, too many gasps of shock and discovery, and suddenly Sai is sighing in the background, wondering when he’ll get to play again, and then you know it’s coming…but then Hikaru’s playing Touya-meijin, so you can’t stop watching now, and then Sai makes his move of ultimate selfishness…and after that you have to watch to see the resolution, the forgiveness on both sides, and before you know it you’re in too deep.

And then, after Sai’s gone, you have to keep watching…because you have to see Hikaru find Sai in his go. It’s all you have left. And while you wait for that moment, you endure with Hikaru the excruciating pain of Sai’s loss–you feel it with him, and in Hiroshima, when Hikaru spins around after that fast game of go and grins, How was that, Sai?, only to find no one there but a local, wondering why Hikaru’s staring at him…you think that’s perfectly natural, and the shock of Sai not being there hits you just as hard as it hits Hikaru.

Sai!

You haven’t found the Hand of God yet!

Touya Kouyou is still waiting for you!

The entire go world is waiting!

But the one they’ll all eventually meet…the one on his way to the Hand of God…is Shindou Hikaru.

I wish it was Sai.

Fujiwarano Sai…you live in on Hikaru, in Hikaru’s go, and in the go of every player who will come up against Hikaru…but you live on anonymously. Your name will not be written down; records of your games won’t be stored at the Institute. This is the pale existence, the existence you hated, projected into the future. You had no body then, and you have no existence now…nor will you ever.

God’s punishment for taking your own life?

Punishment for your treatment of Torajirou…Honinbou Shuusaku?

And yet could a kinder person, a man with a stronger sense of fair play, a wiser teacher than you exist?

Did Torajirou’s kindness live on in you? Were you young, selfish, immature before you inhabited him? When he died, is that what changed you into the noble person you were when you met Hikaru?

Was the change too late for God’s liking?

You seemed to accept your fate at the end…but then you couldn’t even say goodbye. Not until much later, and then you couldn’t even speak. You smiled, passed your fan on to Hikaru, and disappeared again. Was that even really you? Did Hikaru conjure you out of his own need to see you again?

You had your chance to play go as much as you liked, in the brief span of Torajirou’s life. Then, as Hikaru grew, your time to play was limited, almost nonexistent. Go was the reason your spirit remained on Earth…and you still wanted to play, many more games. That never changed.

What did change was your understanding of Hikaru’s abilities, and your eventual acceptance that he would walk down the path to the Hand of God…

…and so in return for this revelation, this growth of character, this moment of truth, when you realized that you had been brought to this time and place to show Hikaru that game with Touya-meijin, to raise him up to the level of understanding it…

In return for fulfilling your obligation, and for finally understanding what you were still there for…you were forced to leave.

Sai!

What a long and tragic existence you have led. The people you have loved and respected…died before you, or will go on without you. You pass into whatever afterlife awaits you without truly finishing your first life–a right you willfully gave up when you drowned yourself. But even your spectral existence was incomplete, leaving not only you but everyone you touched unsatisfied. And yet you were forced to pass on.

Sai. Wherever you are, I hope…you get to play a lot of go.