Scent of plum blossom (9)

It is by no means a apathetic compliment, but for someone like Utaha who spends her time ornamenting paintings around her, I don’t think she is unable to judge a picture’s quality. It surely sounds like a compliments but I stowed it deep in my heart knowing this is not the time for that.

“What are you going to do with this?”

“I thought of copying it, put on a poster and ask around.”

“It is like finding a lost cat.”

“The point where she can’t speak proves that it is the same. You must be tired, and it is getting late too. Let us stop here for today. I will go and get more coffee.”

That was continued from yesterday and it had a wonderful flavor as before. Thanks to it, his fatigue was eased.

“I know it is a little late to ask this but is this a cafe? I didn’t pay for that coffee yesterday though.

Keito tried to pay for yesterday and today as he took his wallet out from the bag.

“Your consideration is unnecessary.”

However, when Keito insisted, Utaha gently shook her head again.

“Thank you very much.”

Taking up on her offer, he put away his wallet.

“So lost words don’t eat?”

Keito questioned while remembering the sweetness of the chocolate in his mouth.

“That person won’t be themselves if you leave behind the person’s figure and stopping their past emotions.”

“She didn’t say a word today.”

Yesterday she said the word <<Chikako>> but the old lady remained silent the entire time when Keito was drawing a sketch of her today.

“After being born, the lost words will gradually lose their memories, emotions and words as time passes. However, my guess is that this person seemed to have not spend much time yet. Those who have spend a fair amount of time have limited expressions and lighter presence.

Maybe she had been wearing those clothes about two months before spring? If that is the case then I think is about four months. At that level, she would normally have a more affluent expression and is able to remember about herself. That is why it is not difficult to send her off but………”

Utaha ambiguously left the end of the sentence. Seems like there is room for concern.

“Perhaps this person had dementia. It is possible that her had became formless by the time she passed away.”

“It other words, there is a chance that her memories might not come back.”

“I think that would be alright because that strong desire of wanting to convey to that special someone have been engraved deep in her heart.”

He thought Utaha’s voice was

Just from hearing her voice he thought Utaha was monotonous and distant, but that matter suggest that Utaha have a deep attachment towards lost words.

Keito looked at the old lady once again. Normally he has a limited opportunities to come into contact with the elderly. He is living with his paternal grandparents but his maternal side is living in the Tohoku region and has never seen them for the past few years. An old man is living in the neighborhood but Keito doesn’t go and talk to him in particular.

Aside from his family, the rest of the elderly population are a distant existence, a heterogeneous group frankly.

That is why nothing came to mind when he is in front of the old lady either.

“For now, the only clue we have is <<Chikako>>.”

Immediately after Keito said <<Chikako>>,

<<Chikako>> <<Chikako>> <<Chikako>> <<Chikako>> <<Chikako>>

The old lady finally spoke in an audible voice and repeating the words Chikako.

“I finally understood how important the name <<Chikako>> is to you. Is that your name, a family member or friend’s name? I still don’t know that but I will definitely send you off.”

Utaha gave her a hug as if to sympathize with her.

Keito also thinks that he would like to help someone who is in trouble. It is probably conscience that the majority has.

However that strength differs from each person. Keito has never thought that attitude was weak. However, Utaha’s way of dealing with lost words does feel different. Could it be that he could relate to the lost words other than the one Utaha is dealing with?

Keito brought home the sketched drawing that he drew. After making a copy, he decided to visit Utaha again. He intents to use the photocopying machine in the clubroom.

The next day, it was raining again since morning. It is still the middle of June and the rainy season is far from over.

“Are you going to the club today?”

Once school has ended, Seiko asked Keito as if she is probing into it.

When he said he was going, She looked contented.

He walked with Seiko from the second floor of the second year’s classroom to the third floor where the art club is located.

“Haa……”

In the middle of the stairway, Seiko walked down a step and sighed deeply. Seemed like she is not feeling well.

“Are you feeling unwell now, Haruchika?”

“Eh? A-Ah sorry about that. To think I would sighed in front of Aikawa-kun……….I didn’t have enough sleep you see.”

“Something worrying you?”

“No, nothing at all. I just stay up a little late.”

She replied shyly as if to hide her embarrassment.

Keito has been in the same class and club since the first year. She has a petite and a little round body shape. She has a sociable personality and shows no discrimination to anyone she talks to and is well liked. It is unclear whether she cares being recognized like a small puppy.

Up till now he has practically never seen her gloomy face, but she has been inattentive and sighed more often since he progressed to the second year.

Even in the club the seniors seems to be worried about her. Come to think of it, she does seems unwell. As he was thinking of doing that, he asked her while she was sighing but her response is still the same.

Is she trying to put up a front so that she won’t be able to let anyone see her fragile side? Or is there really nothing happening? Keito was helpless towards that decision.

“By the way Aikawa-kun, what is that paper you are holding?”

“I drew it yesterday but I was thinking of photocopying it in the clubroom.”

“What kind of drawing did you draw? Can I see?”

Just before opening the club room door, Keito casually handed over the paper to Seiko.

After that, he entered the clubroom as it is. The smell of wet paint reached his nose.

“…..Haruchika?”

Keito looked back at Seiko who is supposed to enter after him but she is standing still at the entrance. Several people are already waiting for the both of them inside and were giving them a dubious look.

“Aikawa-kun……….who is this?”

The only way to express Seiko’s manner is dumbfounded, who has tears flowing down her eyes.

“I don’t even know who she is. I thought of going to find her after this……..”

After coming all the way here, one inference came into Keito’s mind. Up till now, her full name: Haruchika Seiko is not related to <<Chikako>>.

No, Seiko (誓子) is not read as <<せいこ>>. If so, is it a case of mistaken identity?

“…….Perhaps she is related to you, Haruchika?”

Nevertheless as he cautiously ascertained his claim,

“Why is grandma………Why does Aikawa-kun……..?”

Seiko grasped the paper that she is holding tightly. Seems like the person drawn is her grandmother.

“Come with me, Haruchika.”

Keito forcefully pulled her hand by force while Seiko is still unable to apprehend the situation.

“Sorry, but we are leaving for today.”

When he raised his voice inside the clubroom, the head was taken aback and replied by saying “take care”.

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