Honey and Clover II. A Grey Window.

There are stories that change your life, stories that seep into your mind and resettle the way you see the world; they affect how you think, and feel, and see. They are colored contact lenses; they are a permanent aftertaste; they are the ever-present smell of your perfume, your shampoo, your shirts and slacks.

Honey and Clover is going to be with me for the rest of my life.

Like Evangelion.

Like Final Fantasy.

Like Northwestern, and High School, and track-and-field. Honey and Clover will be right beside Legend Lake afternoons, to the left of sneezing and itchy eyes, saddled in-between my first kiss and my most enduring disappointments.

Today, I watched Honey and Clover (Season 2) episode eight. And I spent the last twenty minutes of the show lachrymose and overwhelmed. I was crying. I don’t want to go into what happened, for fear that I might ruin the episode for someone — god forbid that anyone go into this episode prepared.

Episode 8 is structured around an unanticipated shock. And H&C isn’t a show about surprise or concussion; it’s about melancholy love and living with art. This was like an earthquake, or a fire alarm at five a.m.

I can’t believe what happened to Honey and Clover.

I sat at my computer for ten minutes, staring at the final frozen frames on my media player. Here I am, warm and unsettled.

The sun has shifted so that I no longer get direct light in my apartment. The walls of the building next-door have the grey quality of an oncoming rain, even though it’s a clear, cloudless day.

I’m sure it’s because the week has been overwhelming. For the last few days, I’ve been nearly unable to organize my own thoughts. Sometimes ideas will float up to the surface, like the inner cube of a magic-eight-ball, but the answers remain out of focus. I don’t even get the hope of “Ask Again Later.” Instead, I get something blurry and unhelpful, like advice in a dream.

I wish everyone had access to anime, and that this show was on the air every day. It’s like The Office; it’s painful, subtle, and tragic, but disguised as something broad, funny, and obvious.