On the Way to a Smile, Episode: Tifa [Revised]

The first thing they did was gather information in and around Midgar. There was a lack of materials, but above all, there wasn’t any information being passed around about where to get things. The three of them split up and went around sharing the information they gathered with those who were in need. They lent their strength to those unable to move on their own. At night, they slept beneath Midgar’s Plate, which was rumored could fall at any moment.

One day, Barret came back with a wine bottle, heater, and several types of fruits. They were given to him as thanks for helping someone dismantle a house.

“I told you, just watch.”

With one hand, Barret deftly went to work preparing something similar to sangria. Tifa and Cloud sipped their drinks tentatively. Barret drowned himself in it as he pleasantly recounted his memories of more peaceful times. He told them how he once drank too much and wound up taking an unexpected fall into a well. He also reminisced about when he went to propose to his now deceased wife, too drunk to remember how he even got there. It had been a long time since Tifa and Cloud burst out laughing.

The next day, Barret had a serious expression as he spoke,

“How about we start a business and sold this wine?”


“No, you idiot! We can’t draw customers! Tifa will do it.”


“You’re good at it.”

Not long ago, AVALANCHE’s hideout was at a bar named Seventh Heaven. It was what funded the members’ lives and activities. Tifa was the barmaid there, or more accurately, the bar’s manager. Barret continued.

“From what I see, the people of Midgar can be split into two types: those dilly dallying around who still can’t accept what’s happened to the city, and those who are working to live on. I understand how both types of people are feeling. Everyone is facing their problems but they’re just dealing with it in different ways, right? The solution to everyone’s problem is alcohol.”

“Why’s that?”

“I dunno. But when we were half-drunk yesterday, we laughed. We forgot all sorts of things, right? That’s the moment we’re after.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

“Times like that are important, ain’t they? Hey Tifa, what do you think?”

Tifa couldn’t answer right away. She understood what Barret was saying, but opening up a bar felt like going back to her days in AVALANCHE. Cloud spoke up.

“Tifa, let’s give it a go. If it gets too tough, we can just stop.”

“It won’t be tough. If Tifa doesn’t work, she’ll end up thinkin’ about all sorts of things. Then she’ll end up not being able to do anything.”

That might be true.

The three of them began preparations. They decided to build in Edge, a new town springing up along the avenue stretching east from Midgar. The people they had aided quickly banded together, transporting materials from Midgar that would become the bar’s beams and walls.

Barret shouted out his orders while Cloud went around correcting them in a low voice. Tifa, on the other hand, learned how to make Corel’s wine, and improved it so that it was better to drink. She also thought of the food she could put on their menu, using the steady supply of ingredients they could use. Marlene was like a mascot to the people who helped build their bar. She insisted she would be the new barmaid. It was hard work resolving the problems that arose every day, but there was some fulfillment. Sometimes, Tifa would find herself feeling guilty for her sins when she smiled , but someone would always call her over to ask about something, which interrupted those thoughts.

“A few days more and we might be able to open the new bar”

“What are we going to do about the name.”

There were a few suggestions, but Cloud’s one was boring, and Barret’s one made them think of monsters. In the end, the decision fell to Tifa. The two men promised they wouldn’t complain, no matter what she came up with. But with the grand opening only days away, Tifa had more work to do than ever, and no time to think of a name.

“Did you decide on the name?”

“We’re still thinking. If you have an ideas, let me know.”

“I like ‘Seventh Heaven,’”

That was the one name I wanted to avoid. Just having the past in me was enough. I wasn’t sure it was right to use a name that would remind me of it.


“Because it was fun. If we make it Seventh Heaven it’ll be fun again.”

We had forgotten. We all had our ambitions, but Marlene wasn’t part of that. To her, Seventh Heaven was a happy home where her family and friends were.

“Hmmmm, Seventh Heaven…”

I couldn’t erase my past. I could only acknowledge it and live on.

Tifa decided she was ready.

The first day of Seventh Heaven’s opening was a great success. Corel wine was something that you could make yourself if you felt like it, and the food was nothing special either. Because of the limited ingredients they had, they couldn’t make anything special. Even so, people sought places like this. A place where they could be with friends while drinking. A place where they could get over the depression of reality or maybe forget about reality and think of the future. People who didn’t have money were allowed to trade items to get a drink. They even prepared all sorts of juices, so that children could go in too. However, they only served the ones that got Marlene’s seal of approval. She had become an indispensable presence in the bar. At night, before it got too late, she worked as a waitress. Customers who’d had too much were sent home without a second thought.

Barret would sip his drink in one corner of the bar. Maybe he thought he was the bouncer. Cloud’s job was to acquire the provisions and wine – but he didn’t know the names of most fruits and vegetables. Tifa was surprised at first, but came to accept that as a natural consequence of the life Cloud had led. It amused her that his new life was going to start with vegetable names.

Cloud wasn’t the best at socializing, or more accurately, he was downright awful at it. Yet, he would go negotiate with people to obtain the ingredients they needed, everyday, without objection or complaint. The process of negotiating carried more value than the price he paid. Cloud was taking small steps forward.

He’s pushing himself too hard for me. Will he leave one day, once the bar gets on the right track?

Tifa shook her head, trying to drive that doubt away. She told herself she shouldn’t hope for anything more than this.

After the first week of being open, Barret, seeing how well the business was going, told the others that he leaving Marlene with them and going on a journey.

“I want to go on a journey to settle my past.”

Tifa was disturbed at Barret’s words, but Cloud nodded calmly as if he understood completely.

“What about me…? … You think I don’t?”

”Tifa, you can do that here… both of you. Don’t just take. Show that you can give too.”

After saying this, Barret said he still had to get ready and walked out of the bar.

“You knew about this?”


“Did you try to stop him?”

“Nah, I didn’t, because he would just say this is Tifa’s place.”

“…hmmm. I guess there’s nothing we can do then.”

Does Cloud also think this? Actually, I wanted to ask him about that.

Marlene, who had always slept in Tifa’s bed, slept with Barret the night before he left. Their conversations could be heard late into the night.

Early the next morning, Barret set off.

Behind him Marlene shouted, “Send me some letters! Phone me, too!”

Barret lifted his artificial right arm up, which had a machine gun attached to it. He kept walking without looking back. It was the back of a figure who had no other way to live than to fight.

I wondered just what kind of life he would find. I prayed that he would be able to stay far away from war. Not just take. I prayed he would be able to prove that he could give, too.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be a good girl for them!”

Hearing those words, Cloud and Tifa exchanged glances.

… for us?

“I’ll take care of Cloud and Tifa!”

Looking back, Barret shouted, “Do your best!”

His voice was a little shaky.

“Keep the family together and keep at it!”

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