Leaving the awareness for scenery drifting behind the train window somewhere else, Keito lets his thoughts slipped into the past.
It was around the time when he met Shizuka. A short while ago, he didn’t give Junichi a clear answer when he turned him down but Keito remembered properly when she called out to him.
Even then, that evening suddenly assaulted him with a feeling of loneliness.
He still solely remembered the loneliness and anxiety that he felt during the time when he just moved to this town and his parents were busy tidying up the place and taking care of his newly born little sister.
It would just be a nuisance if he stayed at home so he walked around the neighborhood alone. When he stared into the crimson skies, it made him highly conscious that he came to a foreign place, lonely, sad and before long, tears began to flow from his face.
When my little sister was born, I thought I shouldn’t be crying now that I am a big brother, more tears flowed down from my face. It was bad enough that many people had call me a crybaby.
『Tears have the same water as the sea.』
Before he knew it, the girl appeared before him said that and wiped the corner of his eyes with her index finger. She then placed her fingers into his mouth.
『Yeah, it is salty. Taste like the ocean.』
The girl laughed.
『I love the ocean. So you can cry all you want.』
『I see………so it is okay to cry.』
Keito was enticed by her smiling face and his tears had stopped unconsciously.
She introduced herself as Takamori Shizuka and asked: 『Hey, where do you come from?』
When Keito told her his name and answered 『Tokyo』, She burst out by saying 『There is the sea in Tokyo right?!』which made him surprisingly pleased.
And the rest is exactly as Junichi said.
Eventually, their intended station approaches.
It was completely dark outside of the window. When he looked at his watch, it is already very late.
“I am hungry.”
Everyone agreed to Junichi’s words. Fatigue were also shown on the faces of Sarasa and Utaha.
The train started to decelerate slowly. The sound of the brakes continued as the train finally shook slightly and stop at the station.
The town that Keito’s grandparents live in is close to the seashore. When they alight, there was seemingly the smell of seawater.
The lights in the town are scattered. If you exclude the electric lights installed at the station, there was only the illumination from the curtains of the private housing.
After the full moon passing slightly, it started to wane under the night sky a second time.
Everyone stretched and relaxed their bodies. If one stretched out and look up to the skies, there was the starry skies that connects that sea to Somiya.
Keito tugged Shizuka’s hands and heads for the ticket gate.
The winds felt cooler here than their home area probably because they are from the north. He heard the calls and sounds made by insects coming from afar and thought for an istant that the night of autumn had came.
However, the rainy season hasn’t ended here. On average, it is about a week away but fortunately the weather is looking good. It was foretasted that it will be a fine weather for the entire day tomorrow.
As soon as they left the ticket gate, they immediately ran into his grandfather who was waiting.
“I will be in your care today. I am terribly sorry for the crowd size.”
In response to Sarasa’s greeting, Keito’s grandfather answered her by lightly waving his hands and saying: “I don’t mind since we have lots of empty rooms.”
Except for Utaha, the other three of them are acquaintance of the old man since they were kids. That being said, it has been years since they last met. Keito himself hadn’t seen him since that accident happened soon after.
Grandpa smiled cheerfully at everyone who introduced themselves and said: “Getting bigger”. He then twist his neck as his gaze stopped at Utaha and questioned her: “This is our first time meeting right?”.
“Yes. My name is Umegae Utaha. Thank you very for much for listening to my unreasonable request.”
Grandfather stared intently at her face who was greeting him,
“Have we met somewhere before?”
“No. I think this is the first time. However, there was a period my mother used to visit here frequently, so perhaps the one you saw might be her.”
“I see. Then this must be some kind of fate.”
When he beamed at her again, grandfather guides us to his car.
Just as they reached his grandparents’ house, it felt like there was a time leap for a moment. The making of the house, the structure of the room and the state of the garden made them recall as if everything is acquired by hand.
Memories works in mysterious way. It connects regardless of the passage of time.
Keito thought that his grandparents had prepared too much for a meal but Takumi and Junichi proved them otherwise.
As one would expect there was the fatigue from the long trip and everyone turned in early afterwards.
The room was divided into Keito, Takumi, Junichi with Sarasa, and Utaha.
The room where they slept in was the same room that Keito stayed at numerous times when he came here. He felt a sense of nostalgia for the doodle on the wall and the stains on the ceiling.
Keito remembered a time when he was young, gotten scared of it because he thought it look like a ghost.
Since his mother has a lot of sisters, their child, in other words Keito’s cousins are included, there will be lots of people, so the number of futons here also correspond to that amount. His grandparents were also delighted that they were able to take out those futons after a long time.
“Well then, see you tomorrow.”
Takumi’s voice was already half sluggish when he got into the futon.
“Bring me back to the school trip.”
Junichi also answered with a tone that was midway towards dreamland.
“Best regards to tomorrow.”
He called out to the both of them but he could already hear them wheezing.
However, Keito is certainly sleepy and tired but even if he lay sideways, he can’t sleep at all because of the anticipation above everything else.
At the corner of the room, Shizuka is there. In a room that has a small night light, her faintly suspended shadow makes her look exactly like a ghost.
“Please hold on, Shi-chan.”
He softly muttered.
He can’t allow her to vanish as it is. However, when he is able to draw out the words from her safely that also mean that is the time to part with Shizuka’s lost words.
He dare not to think about that moment, instead he just thought about achieving his goal.
However, being unable to fall asleep, he went to the restroom once. Keito remembered the time he got scared needing to walk through the pitch black hallway in order to use the toilet when he was a kid.
After finishing his business, trying not to make any noise as he heads back, Keito heard the sounds of footsteps.
Sarasa came out of the darkness towards him.
“Using the toilet too, senpai?”
“You don’t have a shred of delicacy, do you know that? You are wrong………I was outside catching some fresh air.”
She muttered in a husky voice at the end. He might be imagining it but it looks like she is about to cry.
He got worried and tried to call out to her but she returned to her room and said good night to him before he could respond.
Keito also went out. He could not fall asleep immediately and was in the mood for the cool evening.
There was a preceding visitor at the entrance. It was Utaha. Keito couldn’t speak to her immediately as he looked at her profile which was admiring the moon floating in the sky and feeling the night breeze.
She noticed him and turned towards him. In a bright place, her hair mixed with red has the impression of mixing with the evening glow, was received by the silver moonlight and became deeper than blood. Her fair-skinned was even more apparent because of her black nightgown. That imbalance was breathtaking pretty and captivating.
“You can’t sleep too, Utaha-san?”
“No, I was just talking to Irifune-san for a little while.”
“With senpai? I just passed her but……”
She didn’t said anything about Utaha.
“What did you talked about?”
“A little regarding about lost words. You can’t sleep?”
She changed the subject. Looks like she has no intention of talking further about the conversation she had with Sarasa.
“Yeah. I got nervous when I thought about tomorrow……..oh, no today.”
“When I left the room, she was squatting at the corner of the room.”
“I see. Irifune-san is probably resting by now. Let us talk for a while and return to our respective rooms.”
Keito opened his mouth as if he was being invited by Utaha’s words.
“Honestly, I am a little scared.”
“There are……..various reasons. The biggest one would be what Shi-chan would say. In the end, I let go of her hand. She might have be holding a grudge against me. No, she definitely has one. That is what I am afraid of.”
“You said that no matter what the lost words are trying to convey, the messenger must convey that message right? However, I don’t know whether I am prepared of it. That is scary too.”
Utaha urged him to continue with a short answer.
“Can I even pull it off in the first place? Unable to do anything, I couldn’t get anything. and Shi-chan disappeared before I knew it. If that happens, I wouldn’t know why did I came all the way here.”
“But I want to know Shi-chan’s words. No matter what it is……..It will be better for me if the others put the blame on me…..”
He was surely being driven by the feelings of making a breakthrough.
“Do you want to hang loose?”
“Well…..Obviously I want to. If my heart can finally be freed from the burden, that would be better of course.”
The words he spat out were scattered into the darkness of the night.
“What on Earth are lost words anyways? Normally when a person dies, that was it. Like Junichi said, you can’t retract the past. The truth is there is no retry. That is why, like senpai said, you have no choice but to forget about it. If that is the case, she is just an existence born to disturb us. Why does lost words exist?”
“I don’t know. However, there is no choice but to accept that they are here. Why does my mother, and then Aikawa-san and a portion of people are able to see lost words? I don’t have the answer, but I think that they all have something in common in that they all have lost someone special in an unexpected way.”
Keito remembered his own experience. Utaha’s mother died in front of her daughter. Did the same thing happened to her mother?
“I have such experience, that is why I know the importance of conveying one feelings. It might be misleading to say that I was chosen but I want to carry out the role I was given.
Even if I keep getting lost……….
I have no intention of forcing it on you, Aikawa-san. You need to find your role.”
Utaha’s words have spread under the veil of darkness once again.
By the time Keito returned to his room, he has already gotten sleepy and kept yawning. Takumi and Junichi have bad sleeping habits as they rolled over.
Shizuka was still squatting at the corner in the same position as before. He was feeling relieved that she hasn’t disappeared and motivated at the same time thinking that everything will be decided tomorrow again.
If he don’t sleep, the things that are not going well will all the more be nugatory.
No matter what kind of ending it be, everything will end tomorrow.
When he lied down and closed his eyes, he was naturally lured into sleep.