A few days have passed. Regardless if he has club activities on that day or after school on weekdays, he would always stop by to see Utaha on his way home. He also went out on his day off, to check if there is any progress regarding Shizuka.
And he confirmed nothing changed. Such a routine continues.
If he didn’t know about the lost words and didn’t met Utaha, he would have been living his life as per normal.
Then, Utaha might brought forth Shizuka’s lost words in front of him one day. That might not happen.
Anyhow, Keito should remain as a bystander untill that day comes.
However, he can’t go back to the usual days.
Frustration was born inside of Keito’s heart. While he is doing this, Shizuka’s lost words might be somewhere out there. Maybe she is wandering about, unable to find 『Tsuyukusa』 and disappeared without reaching. No, it could be possible that she is already……
After listening to story of Misora and Sasami, that thought have grown particularly strong. Sasami’s lost words appeared in front of Utaha was in spring of this year.
Is there something he can do? Should he keep waiting? Or should he go out to the town and search for her?
“For example, maybe she could be in the home she lived in or at the graveyard?”
Maybe they should head to a place where Shizuka had a deeper affinity other than this place.
However, Utaha tilted her head.
“Up till now, I have met the lost words that either have visited here, or happened to see one in town and met up with it.
To be honest, there is a high chance that will end in vain. So like I said before, it is better to wait here.”
“Regardless………I am thinking of finding Shi-chan.”
He felt that he can’t bear it to just sit around and wait.
“I don’t know what the correct answer is. I don’t know much about them either. That is why if you wish to do so, Aikawa-san, I have no reason to stop you.”
After that incident, Shizuka’s parent got a divorce and there is no one is living at her house at that time. Their whereabouts were also unknown.
Keito’s heart ached once again. It was a pain that is pressing hard on his chest, making him want to tear it off.
“Why Shizuka only?” “Why do you want to save Shizuka?” “You are better off dead.” “Go and dive into the sea right now.”
He have known her since he was a child. When they went out and play, she would always take out sweets and juice. Although she would get angry if they tried to play pranks, she was a very affectionate mother.
The words Shizuka’s mother used were thrown at him as if a storm had assailed his heart. Keito thought impartially that one would called that a angry facial expression for some reason.
Shizuka’s father managed to calm her down but later snapped at her and they got a divorce immediately after that. Perhaps they loved Shizuka therefore they couldn’t accept her death.
Her mother left the house and her father was the only one who remained but he was gone before anyone realized. Keito noticed that a year ago but couldn’t do anything about it.
He haven’t been close to Shizuka’s house for years. There is no doubt to say that he is involuntarily avoiding them. However, he can’t stay like that forever.
It was Sunday again. In the morning, he played with his sister in the morning after a long time. It was an important time, but he might be trying to stall for time while having the resolution to visit Utaha’s house.
He finally get to leave the house once the day reached in the afternoon. It takes about fifteen minutes to walk to Shizuka’s house, if he cycles there it would only take a few minutes. However, if he deliberately tries to pay a visit, the chances of passing through the front would be rare.
Although it was mainly cloudy, there wasn’t any rain and the wind was comfortable to a moderate level. The end of the rainy season was not announced but there hasn’t been any rain in a while.
However it is possible to say that Keito’s mood isn’t very bright. Shizuka’s house which he haven’t seen in a long time was more weathered than he remembered. The flowerpots which can be seen through the fence have withered a long time ago and it has already into something brown in color. The once pure-white wall has become more noticed with dirty line of raindrops. The building had decayed due to the lack of inhabitants.
He went and rang the chime but naturally, there wasn’t any response. He grabbed the fence’s handle and tried to budge numerous times but it produce clattering sounds and it doesn’t seemed to be able to open.
He knew that. Nevertheless, the memories playing in this house has been recalled and it ached his heart.
And there wasn’t any sign of Shizuka’s lost words. After getting a grip on himself, he boldly rang the house’s intercom on both sides.
When he was a child , he played with the children of this house but they knew about the incident recently. He tried to call out to them, but it seemed no one is living there. He didn’t know what happened. There are lies mixed in it but he wants to be forgiven for his methods.
Fortunately, both family members are at home, but no one could tell him the whereabouts of her parents. Obviously they couldn’t have known there is a tomb for Shizuka.
Rumor has it that the house has yet to be put up for sale so he thought maybe they had the intention of returning back because the building is under the father’s name. That was what the middle aged woman who lived beside to the right came out and said to Keito when she visited, but it is not an immediate useful information.
He knew that, but his moment of departure was crushed all of a sudden.
When it comes to Shizuka’s classmates, there is one who is one year older that Keito. When it comes to her close friends, he have no idea other than Sarasa.
As expected, he has no choice but to start by asking three of his childhood friends again.
Takumi is in the next class. Meeting up with him is the easiest, but he probably doesn’t know anything.
Sarasa was close to Shizuka. There is a chance that she might know the whereabouts of Shizuka’s parents. He hesitated to talk with the current Sarasa, but he can’t say that either.
There is one more person, Junichi but Keito has no idea how is he doing now. He didn’t think that the baseball club has practice on Sundays in the middle of July. No, have the third-years students retired already? Are they in the middle of qualifying for the summer competition? Keito doubts that he is even at home.
Nevertheless, Junichi’s home is the closest from here. He should head there first.
There is a small park that is beside Junichi’s house where Keito was passing by the side of it. It is a Sunday with a gentle weather and there are children playing in the park just like them back in the days. Three boys are competing to see who can sit on the swing and swing the highest.
Incidentally, there should be a rule where one kicks shoes and the one who launched the furthest is the winner.
There was once where Sarasa joined in and kick her shoes and lost one of them. Shizuka looked at that and was amazed.
They also played baseball. That was Junichi’s solo stage.
There is a small pool where they played in the summer. Sarasa would strived to be the first to dive in and they will play until the sun went down. Every summer, she would be sunburned until she was pitch black. Shizuka would be chasing after her as well, not wanting to lose to her.
Those memories were nostalgic but somewhat distant and a limited sense of reality.
Among his seventeen years, does ten years ago seems forever?
It was clear but he were driven the thought that all of that did not happened for some reason.
Nevertheless, Junichi’s house was over there, just as he remembered.
Junichi’s mother, who responded to him has already grew very old, as one would expect.
“Yes, I am Aikawa. It’s been a long time, Madam. Sorry for asking out of the blue but is Junich-kun at home?”
After enquiring her, she blatantly averted eye contact.
Her wrinkled glabella pushed against each other, as if it was receiving the impression that Keito’s visit won’t be a pleasant one.
There is no doubt that each of the members’ family have been affected by that accident.
It can’t be helped that she would be unfavorable towards Keito because he is the one who created the cause by inviting them to the trip.
The face of Shizuka’s mother came to his mind. It would be better for him to leave before Junichi’s mother make the same face in front of him.
“Sorry, I will come again.”
“Ah, erm, Junichi is not at home right now. Can you come back another time? If you have something to tell him, I can pass it on to him.”
As she showed an apologetic look, it could be possible she does not detest Keito visiting.
“I would like to ask you, Madam………..do you know where did the parents of Takamori Shizuka who died in that accident move to or the location of Shizuka’s grave?”
“Takamori-san?……….Sorry, I don’t know either of them.”
Keito gave her his phone number,
“Does Aikawa-kun have practice today? Please tell him to contact me later.”
“Practice? Eh? Err, that is right. Really sorry about that.”
Futhermore, Junichi’s mother bowed and apologize countless of times as Keito was about to excuse himself from the Ezaki residence,
A low voice could be heard from the back.
“If you are talking about me, I am here. Don’t decide that I am not in by yourself.”
That familiar voice is definitely Junichi’s. The one who slowly appeared behind his mother was the Ezaki Junichi, a childhood friend who he met for the first time in two years ever since the graduation ceremony of junior high school.
“Junichi…….are you okay with it?”
“Since I came out of course it is fine. It is been a while Keito.”
He is taller than an average person like Keito and Junichi is even taller. However, his eyes are lacking of vigor and his body is dropping. The face of the number four and former ace of the basketball team during middle school was pale.
“Let’s head outside.”
Junichi passed by Keito without waiting for his response.
When he passed Keito, Keito thought there was a smell of cigarette. His mother send Keito a look as if she was relying on him.
Keito chased after him in a panic.
Junichi drifted a little further from his house and headed to the park where Keito had just passed. Keito silently walked behind him.
“I heard what you said.”
When they entered the park’s bower, Junichi told him.
“Why do you want to hear about the past after all this time?”
“Recently, I have finally gotten organized within myself. That is why I wanted to visit the grave.
He couldn’t talk about the lost words. No way Junichi is going to believe that. That is why that word is a lie. Organizing has yet to come.
“Organize huh. Sorry but I also don’t know where are Takamori’s parents and the location of her grave of course. I also just heard for the first time that her parents have moved.”
Keito told him about Shizuka’s parents they have divorced after her death and also no one is living there right now,
He fended off that explanation as if he was no interested.
“I lost to nostalgia and came out by mistake but it would be better if I was stopped. You are in the same school with Takumi right? How is he doing?”
“I think he has baseball practice today.”
“I see…….Then how about Irifune?”
“Who knows…..? We are in the same school but we rarely talk to each other. She is the vice president of the student council.”
“That is so her.”
“Jun-nii, right now………….”
He tried to ask about his current circumstances he couldn’t continue. Junichi has probably stopped playing basketball. That can be easily inferred without asking.
“Jun-nii, huh. That is a nostalgic way of calling. At this age, we are just one year apart, it is the same as saying no differences. There are way more brilliant people in the second year. Much more than me.
“It is possible to gather everyone again?”
“Why? What are you going to do when you meet them? Are you going to talk about the past and drink alcohol? Keito, how are you? Are you an old man thinking back on his past at an Alumni association?”
“I want to hear about Shizuka.”
“Hmph. You lost your favorite girl in that accident and cried, but you have finally getting back on your own feet after some time. So that is why you trying to step forward, huh.
Well, that is a great thing. Congrats. But I won’t be having fun talking about Takamori, neither will it make me recover. I can’t sever the past that easily.”
Keito tried to continue by saying lost words but stopped. But saying that right now is just adding oil to the fire.
“I have stopped playing baseball.”
When he said that instead,
“Didn’t you hear it from Takumi? Ah well, I can’t hit the ball anymore.” *
He twisted his mouth as if he was laughing at himself.
Towards Keito who muttered upon reflex,
“Then, I will tell you the real truth. It is all your fault, Keito. Because of you, I had no choice but to quit baseball.”
“My fault? What is that supposed to mean?”
“Don’t make me say any further.”
As he spat, Junichi left the park.
Like Junichi, who was the number one leader among his five childhood friends, Keito hesitates to chase after him and could only look at his back. He can’t help but to experience the lapse of time.
TL: I need help with that sentence [まあ、詰まんなくなったからな.] I don’t know how to phrase it in the baseball term.