Peal of the azure ocean (3)

They arrived at Utaha’s shop when the day came closer to evening and by that time, it has began to rain. When he thought of Emi who was waiting at home, he can’t stay here for long but if he don’t listen to Misora’s story now, he don’t know when he would be able to.

While he apologized to his little sister in his heart, Keito sat down on his usual chair along with Misora.

There was no one else in the building. He peek into the back just to be sure but Shizuka’s lost words wasn’t around her painting as well.

“Here is a glass of Kabosu’s fruit juice*. You will feel refreshed.”

The tray that Utaha carried contains clear green-colored juice on it. Seems like the juice has been diluted. The ice is floating on top of on the cool-looking glass, making a *clink* sound as it hit the edge.

When he drink the juice together with a small fruit, a moderate amount of sweet and sour tastes spread within his mouth and it is certainly refreshing and pleasant.

“It’s tasty! Your house really has a lot of unusual drinks, Utaha-chan”

“I am learning it by imitating my mother. I still have many other things that are beneficial to the body. How about trying a glass of green juice*?

It is generally said that it is difficult to drink and unsavory, but there are some that are palatable and refreshing.

“…..That will be for the next time.”

If it gets hotter, perhaps it could be more sweeter to drink.

“Oh right, the story about me and Sasami.”

Once she was relaxed, Misora began to talk.

“Permeating the skies might shook the verdant foliage
And the ocean with sorrow
The azure ocean echoed”*

Misora expressed her feelings fully in a poem with a clear voice.

“You don’t know it?”

“Yeah.”

However his intuition says that it is a miserable song because the sea reminds one of the lamentable memories.

“You remembered right, Utaha-chan?”

“That is because I am the one who offered that poem to Sasami-san.”

“It is a poem by Wakayama Bokusui.”

“Speaking of Bokusui, are you referring to
『Does not a white bird Feel within her heart forlorn?
The blue of the sky
The blue of the sea. Neither
Stains her, between them she floats.』*?”

Wakayama Bokusui was a poet in the Meiji era, Taisho period who composed poems about loving to travel and alcohol.

The poems Keito gave as an example are also written in textbooks. Just by reading it, a still picture depicting blue skies and sea spreading out for eternity and isolated swans were infected by it at the ravine came into his mind. Together with feelings of loneliness and a touch of admiration.

“It is pretty impressive for a high school students to know this much. Your thoughts on the poem was superb as well. Are you a literary enthusiast, Keito-kun?”

“I have a friend who is knowledgeable with this subject, I just happened to remember it somehow. In reality, I didn’t know the previous poem.”

“That poem is included in the same poetry book 『Sound of the ocean』as well as 『White bird』. Like that preface『I loved the sound of the ocean』, Bokusui loved the sea.”

When Misora was explaining as if she was giving a lecture,

“Permeating the skies might shook the verdant foliage
And the ocean with sorrow
The azure ocean echoed”

She recited that poem once again.

“I don’t know any other poems that can better describe my adolescent days with Sasami.

Then on that day, that was the song that was the most satisfactory for Sasami who have returned to the sea’s bubbles. Do you remember, Keito-kun? That incident where the ship had caught fire two years ago. “

As soon as he heard Misora’s words, he was so shocked that he thought that his heart had stopped.

He looked towards Utaha’s direction without saying a word, barely holding on. She didn’t show a change in her expression, but her eyes were looking down slightly. Did she know about it? Well, of course she does.

She have said it before that the lost words that was involved in that accident have visited here. So she was referring to Sasami.

Misora continued her story, oblivious to the shock Keito had received.

“I was friends with Rokujo Sasami since high school. Unlike me who can get along with anyone, she was very quiet and couldn’t say what she was really thinking.

When I was about to be bullied in class, she saved me and we have been talking ever since.

She was someone who was more knowledgeable than me. It was because of her influence that I have been reading books just like I am doing now. In the end, I became an editor for a magazine.”

Misora looked into the distance for a brief period, as if she was missing her.

“Sasami loved the sea. She admired the ocean……….No, it might be better to say that she was swayed by the waters. She was a girl that will spend a whole day staring towards the horizon, staring at a small boat, concentrating to the sound of the waves and sometimes she would turn towards to the sky. Keito had a affinity with Sasami. She resembled Utaha.

“During our free time, the both of us would usually go to the sea. One time, I asked her why won’t she get tired visiting the sea. Then she said this:

『The sea admire the sky. However, it is too far away. That is why the sky is crying. I am here to listen to the mistpouffer*.』

However, I objected to that interpretation. Just as the sea admire the sky, the sky also admires the sea. The mistpouffer is a call for the sky to reverberate. The blue skies and seas are always next to each other. The horizon melt together and are holding hands.

Towards my answer, Sasami replied,

『 That might be true. Haha, I am grateful to you, Misora. I want to be your friend forever. And if I am the first to die one day, I want my remains to be washed into the ocean.』

Then, she looked depressed with tears flowing down her face. I didn’t know what to do but I remembered softly holding her hand.”

Soon, the both of them went on to university. Although they went on different paths, but they still continued to mingle. However, an accident occurred in spring two years ago. They were supposed to go on a trip. On the surface of the ocean which Sasami loved. However, Misora had something urgent to do and couldn’t go.

“I should not have told her to go alone………I still regret saying it until now. Sasami……..wanted to me to come along.”

Sasami went on a journey alone.

Then, the ship that she got on (the one that Keito and Shizuka also got on) was met with that accident. There was a fire on board which caused a total of twenty-five people dead and missing. The damage became widespread due to a moonless night, fine weather with clear skies, failure to extinguish the initial fire, poor evacuation guidelines combined with other factors.

Among the twenty-five people were Shizuka and Sasami. Perhaps they might have passed each other while onboard.

“After losing Sasami, I thought of wanting to get a job that compile books. Although I am just at the start line, but I am having fun now.”

“You are very optimistic person, Oda-san despite having a loved one.”

“Are you unsatisfied with that?”

Misora smiled.

“Maybe it was because I was able to know Sasami’s feelings. Even if I didn’t hear it, I am sure I would have set out on my own because I know Sasami doesn’t want me to stop. However Utaha-chan was the one who gave me that opportunity.

If I was with Sasami, I would have saved her. I have often dreamt about it up till there. A dream where Sasami submerged below to the bottom of the sea as her icefish*-like body fade away. Even though I frantically tried to stretch out, I will never reach. It was such a dream. When I woke up, I was drenched with sweat……….Recently I haven’t been able to see it though.”

Keito also have something in mind. He was unable to look at Misora so he switched to looking at Utaha, but she had a painful expression on her face as well.

However that expression immediately disappears,

“Since I returned to 『Tuyukusa』, my first customer, in other words a lost words, was Sasami-san. Her picture is also displayed here.”

It is true that Mari also drew pictures of victims that were in that accident other than Shizuka. She said it would a guide for the lost words.

Sasami’s lost words also probably arrived at 『Tuyukusa』. If there are actual results, that means there is hope.

“What did Sasami’s lost words convey to you?”

“Can you overlook that? That is a secret between Sasami and I. Our relationship will always resonates with the sky and sea, just as Bokusui composed it. That is what she told me.

Keito-kun, the famous fairy tales writer Andersen* had said: 『Tears are the smallest sea in the world』. That is why Sasami and I love the same story and up till now when I think of her, the sea in my heart is softly overflowing with tears.”

Misora’s voice reminded him about something Shizuka said before.

『Did you know that the tears we shed when we sad and sea water have the same component? Maybe our eyes are connected to the ocean. That is why it is okay keep sobbing because your tears are inexhaustible.』

The story associated with those words are just a story between Misora and Sasami, just like Keito and Shizuka.

He doesn’t have to listen. However, there are lost words of the victims in that accident which have been peacefully delivered to the people who request it.

Right now, knowing that fact is good enough.

Before he heads home, he went and look to see a picture of Sasami that is displayed in the building. He has seen it many times before, but it is the first time he was looking at it with better understanding. It was said that she was a high school student when she died, but she looked even more matured. He thought that her bangs were cut to the same length as her eyebrows shows her quiet personality. Is her stiff but anguish expression from the deceased lost words or time when she is still alive?

Misora’s sunshine and Sasami’s shadow are probably a good combination.

“How was she, isn’t she pretty?”

Misora bragged, as if somewhat proud about her. Keito placed his hand on his heart to Sasami who he has never met and never will.

When he heads out, it was still raining. Looks like it is going to rain until tonight.

“Well then, I am leaving for today. Till next time, Utaha-chan, Keito-kun.”

Misora then got into the car with her usual cheerful voice, rolled down the window and waved good bye.

To think such a merry girl had a past of losing her best friend. He doesn’t know about the rest.

“Then I am leaving too.”

His umbrella is inside his bag, but somehow he wanted to get drenched as he heads home.

Wonder why. By doing that, will it make him feel closer to the sea?

At night, he had a dream again.

He thought of the dark dark ocean bottom where no light could reached and over there, a small aquarium was at Soumiya park which was supposed to be demolished a long ago. Among it, there is a girl who is walking towards here. He Intuitively understood that person emerging out from the darkness is Shizuka.

There is no one else. The building was cramp, then it became awfully spacious.

She stopped in front of an example aquarium and looked inside. When Keito was petrified and unable to speak,

“I wonder if I am swimming her.”

Shizuka muttered without turning around.

“Keita-kun, can you come here quickly? I am always waiting for you.”

Did she noticed that Keito is behind her or not?

Shizuka is a lonely word. That is definitely a desire hiding inside of Keito’s heart.

Shizuka’s appearance from behind stood like an illusion in a dream was smaller and weaker than he remembered.

 

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TL: Kabosu (Citrus sphaerocarpa) ​is a juicy green citrus fruit closely related to the yuzu with the sharpness of lemon, used instead of vinegar in some Japanese dishes. It grows on a flowering plant with sharp thorns, and the fruit is harvested when still green but ripens to yellow. Thought to be an ichang papeda – bitter orange hybrid, the Kabosu was brought over from China in the Edo Period and became a popular fruit in Japan. It is produced in most areas of Ōita Prefecture but particularly in Taketa and Usuki.

TL: Aojiru​is a Japanese vegetable drink most commonly made from kale. The drink is also known as green drink or green juice in English, a direct translation of the Japanese meaning. (In modern Japanese, the character 青 ao means “blue”, but it is commonly still used in older contexts to refer to green vegetation).

TL: 「空の日に浸みかも響く青々と 海鳴るあはれ 青き海鳴る」is from the book 海の声 (Umi no Koe ) by Bokusui Wakayama. I couldn’t find the meaning of this poem online so if anyone has a better way of phrasing it, it would be much appreciated.

TL: [白鳥や哀しからずや空の青 うみのあをにも染まず ただよふ] also another poem by Bokusui Wakayama.

TL: Mistpouffer – An unexplained sound, like a cannon or a sonic boom, heard in various waterfront communities.

TL: Salangidae – ​Icefishes or noodlefishes are a family, the Salangidae, of osmeriform fish, related to the smelts. They are found in freshwater environments in Southeast Asia, although a few species are anadromous, spending most of their life in coastal waters, and only visiting fresh water to spawn. They have translucent or transparent bodies, and lack any scales. The head is strongly depressed and has numerous teeth. The adults are believed to be neotenic, retaining some larval features.

TL: アンデルセン sounds like both Anderson and Andersen. But if the words is the latter, it might be referring to Hans Christian Andersen, a Danish writer who was famous for his fairy tales like “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Nightingale,” “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”, “The Red Shoes”, “The Princess and the Pea,” “The Snow Queen,” “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Little Match Girl,” and “Thumbelina.”