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A girl with mechanical arms sits silently by the window.

Rays of sunlight pierce through the clouds, landing on the edge of the window’s façade and casting a lurid silhouette of the girl’s slim figure. Although dressed in the elegant uniform of an auto memories doll, her astute posture still carries some reminiscence of her past life as a soldier.

Winds blow by, seemingly carrying something shiny amidst the chill, autumn air.

Click, click, click, the sound of mechanical fingers striking the cold, brass keys of a typewriter.

The girl raises her head from the cascade of letters and looks at the window. The autonomous typing noises ceased, replaced by the soft gushing of the passing wind.

A year has passed since she parted with Major Gilbert during the Battle of Intense. To this day, however, his last words still linger by her ear.

“From the bottom of my heart, I love you.”

What did he mean by this?

The girl continues to allow her sight to wander from cloud to cloud, as if hoping to find an answer among the azure sky. Somewhere under this vast dome, she hopes, the Major is also looking up, seeking transparent strands of possibilities for a reunion.

If only the wind could carry my thoughts to Major, the girl clenched her emerald pin with her teeth. Slowly, she lowered her sight back down to the table. The metallic surface of her hands glistened under the sunlight. She had lost both of her arms during the battle. The girl turns her palms. How many lives have my hands ceased? Could many of them have also carried similar feelings to that of Major’s? Unconsciously, pools of tears started swirling at the corner of her eyes.

Am I worth the title of an auto memories doll?

Maybe she really is just a doll. Beneath her elegant skin, she holds no comprehension of the vicissitudes of emotions nor the complexities of human thought. During the war, gunshots and the sound of flak cannons have been her lullaby, the commands of superiors her guidance, and the mission to kill her purpose. After the war ended, she remains an empty shell, devoid of value and the ability to understand the workings of human hearts. Major, she sobbed, please. I need one more command from you.

Thump. She noticed something has dropped onto the floor. It was the parasol she received from the writer, who saw in her his deceased daughter. She bent down to replace the parasol back onto the shelf, but found her hands clenching onto the handle. Suddenly, memories started to flood into her mind. Memories not from the turmoil of war, but from her journeys as an auto memories doll.

In front of her eyes appeared the smile of Luculia, who conveyed her hard-spoken feelings to her brother through a brief yet heavy wishing letter; the affirming grin of Iris, who summoned courage in letting go of her ego and expressing her true thoughts to her family through the apology letter; the face of the princess, who stepped out of the masquerade of language to deliver her authentic love for her prince; the beam of hope reflected on Leon’s face, who formed the resolve to relinquish himself from his self-restraining moral obligations and pursuit his own dream of traveling the world; the look of catharsis within the writer’s weathered eyes, as he found resolution and inner-peace upon the acceptance of her daughter’s – and his own – fate; the powerful figure of Ann’s mother, who, although stricken by terminal diseases, instilled her everlasting love for Ann into 50 post-mortem letters in her final days; the withered face of Aidan, who passed his emotions and longings onto the delivery of his final oral messages…

And – finally – the face of Major’s mother, who softly said, “[Major] is alive, within my heart. I will never forget him, for that I love him.”

Tears have now fallen from the girl’s elegant face, dropping onto letters on the table and becoming one with the typewriter’s ink. Although the hands that have conveyed so many people’s sentiments might be made of metal, the words typed for each letter contain nothing but true, human emotions. Slowly but steadily, droplets of ink consolidated into flowing streams, filling an empty space within the doll-like girl’s heart.

What happened in the past cannot be changed. The anguish and grief are irrefutable, but so are longings and hope. We may not know the right answers to our emotions, or what the future may lead to, but we will continue to live, to seek, and to feel what it is that we call “love.”

As an auto memories doll – no, as Violet Evergarden – I will forever cherish my memories with Major and the people whom I have met. These feelings will forever live in my heart, driving me forward to the day where I shall see you again.

Wiping away her tears, the girl continues to work on the typewriter. This time, touching the keys feels warmer than ever.

Autumn passes. Winter goes by. When Spring arrives, the Violet is ever so beautiful.

  • In Memory of Violet Evergarden, 2021