Across the Platform
Andrew W. Yoon

At Shinjuku Station, Tokyo, Taro Yamato, sees a familiar woman on the platform opposite boarding a train. Later, her photo falls from a shelf as he exits his apartment before flying to Osaka. Picking it up, he looks at it briefly before leaving. As the airplane takes off he narrates the events that brought her into his life...
In Osaka, two years ago, Taro was working in a restaurant, where he receives a phone call from his friend Michi Ito asking to meet at their school.
“Taro, can you come to the school real quick?” said Michi.
“Dude, I’m working right now,” replied Taro tiredly.
“It won’t take long, come on.” begged Michi.
He finds Michi at an upper classroom window, looking at an attractive girl talking with a teacher. She is a new student from Tokyo who Michi was asked to show around earlier. Taro wasn’t interested, he tries to get a look of her but fails. Leaving together, the boys talk about their upcoming high school trip to Hawaii.

Taro gets his bicycle and meets Michi at the school gates, where he is introduced to the new girl, Masako Kuroda.
“Nice to meet you,” said Masako with a smile.
“Oh... hi,” replied Michi shyly.
She smiles before leaving, thanks Michi for his help. Taro teases Michi about this,
“I see something going on between you two, haha,” said Taro jokingly.
“No no no, she was just asking for directions to a book store!” said Michi blushing.
Walking home, Taro, suspecting the distracted Michi's reason for phoning him, teases him about his crush.
Masako proves to be gifted academically and at sports, but is arrogant and hard to approach. Taro believes she is unhappy at having to leave her home and friends in Tokyo.
“I heard there is a new girl, Taro. Masako-san?” asked Taro’s mum curiously.
“Yeah, she transferred from Tokyo, she’s a loner,” replied Taro ignorantly.
“Well I heard that divorce brought their family here to Osaka, leaving his father,” said Taro’s mum who learned from the local gossip network.
In a later telephone conversation with Michi, he also discovers that Masako is living alone, away from the Kuroda family house.
The school year ends, heralding the Hawaii trip. Taro, suffering from an upset stomach, is heading through the hotel lobby where he is stopped by Masako. She explains that she has lost her money and asks to borrow some of his, remembering that Taro had a part-time job and could afford to make such a loan.
“Taro-san, I lost all the money that I brought here! What am I going to do!” cried Masako.
“What? That is serious trouble!” said Taro worriedly.
“So I was wondering if you could lend me.... ¥60,000?”
Knocking back his astonishment at her carelessness, she persuades him to lend her ¥60,000 instead of the dollar equivalent. Promising to repay him, she warns that it may take a while and not to tell anyone about this event. As she leaves, Taro sees Michi and feels compelled to explain what happened.
“It’s not what it looks like,” said Taro trying to explain.
“I didn’t say anything,” replied Michi laughing.
During a party later that night, Masako searches out Taro and angrily tells him that Michi has also made her a loan, and once again insists that he not to tell anyone.
“I thought I told you not to tell anyone!” shouted Masako angrily.
“I was just...” said Taro.
“Urgh!!!! Never mind!!” said Masako frustrated.
Back in Osaka, the third school year begins with Masako making a friend, Remi Shimizu. Masako has not yet returned Taro's money and he wonders if she has forgotten it. Then, one day out of the blue, a distressed Remi calls Taro, explaining that Masako had tricked her into coming to the airport on the pretence of a concert trip, only to discover that their real destination is Tokyo, the tickets paid for with Taro's money. He races to the airport to rescue the situation, sending Remi home, saying that he will accompany Masako.
Upon arrival, it appears that Masako has not given her father any notice of her intent, interrupting his planned with a new lady-friend. Her father thanks Taro for accompanying his daughter, repays the loan and arranges for a room at the Hyatt Regency hotel. Later that evening a dejected and upset Masako turns up. She explains that when her parents where fighting, she'd always sided with her father, but had now discovered he wasn't on her side. Comforting her, Taro offers up his bed for the night and attempts to sleep in the bath tub. The next morning, Masako seems back to her normal self and kicks Taro out of the room so that she can change clothes to meet a friend for lunch. Taro wanders around the city, and decides to apply to a university there. After catching up on sleep back at the hotel, Tuku receives a phone call from Masako asking to be rescued. The friend she met for lunch turns out to be a former boyfriend, Tadashi, who is not quite the person she remembered him to be.
Returning to Osaka, Masako ignores Taro, but doesn't hide from others that they spent a night in a hotel room together. Taro discovers this from Michi, who had earlier confronted Masako for confirmation of the rumour. He had also admitted his feeling for Masako to her, and had been shortly rebuffed. Upon hearing this, Taro confronts Masako in class for hurting the feelings of his best friend, calling her "The worst!". She responds by slapping him hard across the face and he returns the favour in equal measure.
The autumn school cultural festival arrives and Masako, who has been avoiding rehearsals for the mass dance, has become even more distant from the other girls in her class, many of whom openly dislike her. They confront her behind the school building, but Masako stands firmly against their criticism. One girl believing that Masako was flirting with her boyfriend attempts to strike her, but is held back by her classmates who then walk off. Taro, who has seen all from a corner, approaches Masako and comments that he is impressed with the way she handled herself. "You're quite something else" he sums up, at which point she slaps him while shouting "Idiot! You're the worst!" before storming off. Michi confronts a somewhat stunned Taro, who tries to explain the situation. Michi punches him hard and then walks away, leaving Taro to pick himself up from the trash. The two boys do not talk to each other for the remainder of the year.
In the present, Taro's plane lands and while looking for a taxi he is offered a lift home by Michi, who explains the reason he punched Taro was because he realized he'd held back his feelings for his friend's sake. At a later class reunion, the alumni reminisce, and some confess their crushes. Former student-body president, Akiko Shimizu, mentions to Taro that she had seen Masako in Tokyo, much to his surprise as he thought she'd gone to Osaka University. He now realises that Masako was the woman he'd seen at the train station. Walking home, Remi tells Taro that she too had met Masako, explaining she couldn't make it to the reunion. Recounting their conversation, Masako said she wanted to meet a person she knew, but wouldn't say who it was... saying only that he slept in bath tubs.
Back in Tokyo, Taro once again sees Masako across the station platforms, but this time runs through the underpass to find her. The train pulls away and he looks disappointed in having missed her again, but he suddenly notices someone to the right of his vision. Seeing her again, he realises that he had always been in love with her.