“What is your father doing, Utaha-san?”
How many times have Keito visited Utaha’s cafe?
Up till now, he has rarely seen anyone else but Utaha in this place. He only met a friend of hers who is named Misora.
And speaking of other customers, there was only a lost words here. Recalling the words from Utaha that many people who visited here have affinity with lost words, it might only be reasonable that there are very few visitors here. Is Misora one of them?
Between Utaha’s parents, aside from her mother who had already passed, he has never met her father as well. Upon hearing that, Utaha slightly closed her eyes.
“My father is still on a journey to continue finding my mother. He rarely returns home.”
“I think it is natural to be suspicious about it, but I will tell you everything in the near future.”
If Utaha doesn’t continue explaining, Keito was also unable to probe further.
“Aside from the paintings that were left here, the ones that my father drew were sketch on the road and brought here for the finishing touches. I think I can introduce you to my father when he returns.”
His name is Ichiro, it seemed he used his own name as his signature. In other words, this means that he is the other artist who exhibited his art in 『Tsuyukusa』, along with Utaha’s mother Mari.
When he asked about this store,
“My mother started this first so she could display paintings that could be a sign that lost words may appear. Before long, people came wanting to see the paintings and that is how I am serving drinks in here. Dandelion coffee was something I inherited from my mother.
When my mother was still alive, there were some customers that came here because it is a cafe, but after my mother passed, I closed the place for some time and this place has considerably lesser customers since I took over this place. It seems the neighborhood thinks that this is an abandoned coffee shop.”
Her tone was surprisingly a mockery of herself. Looks like a topic she doesn’t want to talk about.
She also didn’t want to talk about her mother, Mari.
She had already passed. Then, Utaha’s appearance, her hair faintly mixed with yellow and the color of dusk with her distinct looks, and he tried and judged from her snow-like skin, but her maternal grandfather is a french.
Mari was a messenger just like Utaha and have received a fair amount of influence from her mother.
Well that is obvious. There is no way to depend on someone who is unable to sympathize with the other party in which they can’t see or talk to. Not to mention that the other party is her own mother.
However, he does not know anything more than that and she seems to have no intention to talk about it either.
Ever since Keito has been going back and forth between his school and the cafe, there is only one lost words that have visited with the exception of Haruko. it was a young boy that Keito remembered calling once.
It has been two months since then, during that time the boy was probably roaming about in secrecy.
The death of a young child is rare. Utaha painstakingly investigated past newspapers at the library while Keito sketched a portrait of the boy to ascertain his identity.
He was a five year old boy who was caught up with a traffic accident about a year ago and breathe his last two days later.
Utaha and Keito matched the boy’s lost words with the dog that his parents are keeping.
Before Utaha recites the poem, she took out a soap bubble set. It contained a container for the solution and straws.
“I am sure your child would be happy.”
Putting the end of the straw in her mouth, she exhaled and numerous rainbow-coloured spheres filled the sky and then it popped.
His parents looked up and were moved to tears.
The young lost word was staring at the floating soap bubbles.
Utaha write down on the paper, spelling out its orthography and recited it.
Once again, Keito had a vision. The fate of the seven colored prism of spheres were blown by the wind, soaring all the way up to the roof and then they disappeared. The wind had a somewhat sweet and nostalgic scent in it.
She had offered the young boy 『Shabondama*』. It was a famous nursery rhyme.
The boy said his farewell to his parent and his dog Mary. It was a lot of fun when they played with soap bubbles together. He conveyed to his parents that if he was born again, he wanted to be their child again as he vanished into thin air.
The parents, who appeared to be in their thirties thanked Utaha and Keito numerous times.
“Why did you chose that song?”
“It has been said that Noguchi Ujo*, the poet of the rhyme『Shabondama』wrote the song to signify the requiem of his daughter who lost her life at a early age. Even if it breaks and disappear, the child will make new soap bubbles to play.
By calming that state of spirit, we can gather expand on the reincarnation phenomenon again and wish upon it. I thought of wanting to convey this feeling to that boy.”
“Good for you isn’t it?”
Keito recalled about the child who has disappeared with a smile.
“It seems like the both of you have numerous dreams about your son and at one point, chasing about what is going to happen to him next.”
They looked they are discussing about something when they are about to leave, but did they talked about it?
“However, you are finally able to look forward because of what happen today. You said that you looked to have been saved.”
Utaha had informed him so, but she was not particularly interested to the point that it was thought that she was unconcerned.
“How should the person left behind, going to live? Does one have no choice but to live on…………?”
Such a question slipped out of Keito’s mouth.
“Lots of things can be healed in time. I live day to day as if I had forgotten all about Shi-chan. However there are moments where I suddenly remembered her. At times like that, I can’t helped but to be scared, it is like remembering the pain of ripping off a recovered scab. Sometimes I feel weird for still being alive.
Will these feelings disappear once I meet Shi-chan’s lost words?”
Or will he deal the final push onto his back because of Shizuka’s words?
“I don’t know.”
Utaha casually shooked her head.
The words that the lost words conveys are neither salvation nor curse, just pure genuine feelings. Did you think it is a spell to grab hold of salvation? The answer depends on the recipient.
I think it is up to your own to find out who to deal with those feelings and words when you are facing your past. Until then, what have you been thinking? What are you planning? What have you been doing? It all depends on you, Aikawa-kun. We still have time. For you…………and for me.
When she said that, she looked down as if she has talked too much.
“Today I will be going out for a while as well.”
The second Sunday of July. There isn’t a sign of the rainy season but heavy and dull clouds were hanging over the sky. It won’t be strange if it starts to rain anytime now.
After eating lunch at home, Keito called out to his mother.
“Recently you have returning home late every day and going out on your rest day. What is going on?”
“I am just going to a friend.”
“Is it a girl?”
It wasn’t a lie. Utaha is older than a 《girl》. He has never ask about her age or what is she doing now.
She is probably a college student or a working adult. She is somehow an unrealistic person. It is hard to imagine her studying in school or working at a workplace.
“It is good to have some fun and I want you to cherish your friends but I miss Emi so please rest at home sometimes okay?”
“I got it. What is Emi doing?”
When he mentions about his little sister, Keito got cold feet.
“Looks like she is reading in her room.”
“I will show my face to her when I return. I will be back by dinner.”
“Be careful, looks like it is going to rain.”
With his mother’s words behind him, Keito got on his bicycle, crossed the river to pass through 『Tsuyukusa』’s door.
He approaches Utaha, who was carrying a big bag which was different from the usual. Seems like she has prepared to leave at once.
“Aikawa-san, I have been waiting for you. Could you accompany me for the moment?”
Keito questioned while being confused about her early request upon arriving.
“Next Wednesday is my mother’s death anniversary so I was thinking of visiting her grave today.”
“Should I really go with you?”
“Yes. There are some things I want to talk to you about too.”
Her mother Mari, who is able to see lost words and was a messenger just like Utaha. If he can hear the story about Mari, there is no reason to decline her.
TL: Shabondama is a Japanese nursery rhyme written by Ujō Noguchi in 1922. It is widely taught in Japanese nursery schools and kindergartens as a simple melody; it is also sometimes used in elementary school moral education courses, where students learn that it is a meditation on the death of a child.
TL: Ujō Noguchi (野口 雨情, Noguchi Ujō, May 29, 1882 – January 27, 1945) was a Japanese poet and lyricist of children’s songs and traditional Min’yō folk music. He wrote some of the most beloved and familiar pieces for children and youth choirs, such as “Akai Kutsu (Red Shoes)”. He, along with Hakushū Kitahara, and Yaso Saijo are considered to be the three great poets and children’s songwriters in Japan.