He felt like he has been talking for a long time but when he check the clock, it was less than enough.
It just that it makes him to lonely to think that he was able to explain everything that happened on that day in such a short span of time.
“You are first person I have ever talk that much in detail with, Utaha-san.”
He says that while his eyes were following after Shizuka.
He was aware that his field of vision was well up with tears. While enduring the urge to not cry, he glanced over to search for Shizuka as he was unable to face Utaha.
She walks like she is pursing a fish that should have never existed.
When he stood in front of the painting that Mari left behind and the painting that he himself drawn, Keito tilted his head slightly and stopped walking. However, that is all he did. It seems like he is not aware that he himself is being reflected.
“Thank you for talking about in detail.”
After she sympathize with Keito, Utaha served him a cup of dandelion coffee. He initially thought that it would better to drink something cold since the weather is good and he kept talking for a while now, but that warmth penetrated his heart from his throat.
“Did it calm you down?”
“Yes, it did.”
His right hand is still shaking a little. However. Keito put strength in his fist and grasped tightly.
“Shizuka-san is a lost words that has a deep bond with you. You should know better than anyone else, and of course better than me. She is probably the person you always wanted to meet.
Or would you like to rely on me. Do you require my help? Who is the one that Shizuka needs?”
“……..I will do it.”
I will save her with my own hands, not someone else.
I don’t want to any regrets anymore.
I will make sure that I will never let go of the hand that I once did on that day.
“It is already very late. Why don’t you go back for today? I will look after Shizuka-san.”
When he checked his cellphone, he saw that he received many incoming calls from his house. He was completely focused on Shizuka that he didn’t noticed at all.
“Like I said earlier, I will your advice. I am also interested in your future. Please allow me to watch over to see how will the ending turn out.”
Having a peace of mind upon hearing those words, he went and check the state Shizuka is in for one last time, there was the silhouette of the girl called Shizuka standing here just like before.
“Goodbye, Shi-chan, I will see you tomorrow.”
He knew that he wouldn’t get a reply even if he called out to her but it felt natural to do so.
When he returned home, his worried parents and little sister were waiting for him. His heart was supposed to be calm while on the way home, but Emi was shown with dried tears at the corner of her eyes and asked him if something happened with a sobbing-like face. He felt happy thinking that his little sister still keep her tender side even though she has became a shut-in since that accident.
The next day. he is worried about Shizuka since morning, but the email from Shiba briefly stated that there was no particular change, so he went to school as usual.
“Hey, Aikawa-kun. Are you okay yesterday?”
As soon as he entered the classroom, Seiko approached him.
“I am fine. It is nothing.”
“Really? I felt that yesterday’s situation was a little different thought.’
“It was because I was in a hurry to use the toilet.”
“Then, why were you at the park yesterday?”
“Hmm……..If you have any problems, you can discuss with me too okay?”
Seiko has the face of an reliable class president. She is one of few people who share the secrets of the lost words. He was grateful for the point that she easily believes in the unbelieveable.
He kept thinking about the future even during class. Speaking of being optimistic, it is probably a good thing.
How can I get words out of Shizuka? He only knows one messenger, Utaha. He only knows her method, in other words tracing the feelings of the lost words, speaking on their behalf and in order to provide that opportunity, she will bestow them with poems or songs filled with the feelings of the predecessor’s old days.
Her mother, Mari also used painting as a start but he don’t know the details. His paintings probably won’t be able to convey his feelings like Mari.
If so, then he needs to know more about Shizuka. Keito can only start by following in her footsteps.
“Takumi, I need to talk to you. Want to eat lunch together?”
During lunch break, Keito went over to the next class.
“It has been a while since I was been invited in such a manner.”
At the corner of Takumi’s class, they placed the tables faced each other and had lunch together. Like Takumi said, when was the last time this happened? Isn’t this the first time since he entered high school?
“I met Junichi yesterday.”
“I have to ask him something……Hey, do you know anything about Jun-nii quitting basketball? He had been trying his best.”
“So you heard about that huh.”
Takumi showed a bitter look.
“It was because he did his best. He kept doing his best so that is why when he wasn’t able to, he can’t stand it. He didn’t know what to do. He stopped there, not knowing what to do next. I have been debarred to say this but………..Junichi have injured his shoulders in that accident.
It goes without saying that Takumi was referring to ‘that’ accident.
“His shoulders suffered a blow when everyone was running and he got dragged into the crowd and fell. I didn’t had the time to look at the scene but I heard what happened afterwards. Junichi wanted me to tell the others especially you, Keito.”
According to Takumi, his shoulders wasn’t able to heal entirely, putting aside his daily life, he couldn’t play basketball like he used to.
Junichi who wanted to continue playing basketball for his club after school, didn’t told anyone about his condition, but in the end he couldn’t throw the ball the way he wanted so he used his non-dominant left hand which he ended up hurting as well. Thus he decided to quit basketball.
Takumi, who joined the basketball a year later didn’t saw Junichi’s name in the club, contacted him directly and as a result, Junichi told Takumi what happened.
“Junichi love basketball, wanted to play basketball, only knows about basketball, but he couldn’t play. Couldn’t find anything to do…….So he ended up like that………..”
“Did you meet him?”
“I used to see him occasionally. He will always be Jun-nii who excel at basketball to me. But now, it is painful to watch his current state and he himself also hates it. That is why I haven’t seen him recently.”
“So that is why Junichi said 『it is my fault』……………….”
“I think that is why Junichi told me not to say it because you would feel responsible. Despite that, why did you went and meet him? You don’t any business with him anymore right?”
That is a lonely way of phrasing it. But it contains the truth. If it had not for the matter regarding Shizuka, he probably wouldn’t went and meet Junichi and Keito would have known the state he is in now.
“I have to something to ask regarding Shizuka. To think something like that happened.”
“Shizuka…….You mean Takamori Shizuka? Why at this point of time?
“Does Junichi thinks so too?”
Both Junichi and Sarasa also said the same words, 『point of time』.
“I am not wrong. For us, that ended two years ago. Something we want to forget about.”
“No. To me it is not. To me, that is not in the past………..Shizuka is a present continuous tense.”
“So, what do you want to hear about Shizuka? Don’t tell me not only you went to Junichi’s place but to Irifune’s as well?”
“Yeah. She said ‘at this point of time’ as expected.”
“What I wanted to know is the whereabouts of Shizuka’s parents and the location of her grave.”
“Now that you mention it, I don’t know where it is either. I see, so you too.”
There was to find Shizuka’s lost words, but now it is not a priority. However, there is no doubt he would find out eventually.
Right now, his goal is to draw out the words from Shizuka’s lost words which is something that he can’t do by himself. That being said, he have decided not to rely on Utaha. Are all of Shizuka’s childhood friends not interested in her anymore?
That is just too despairing.
I met Shizuka.”
This is a wager.
Takumi was about to eat his rice but picks it up in a panic as drops the grains involuntarily.
“Is that some kind of an allegory? Shizuka is alive? That is impossible. Or did you found a diary like a ghost is been resurrected from the past? So you want to return it to parents or offer it in front of her grave?
Thus, Takumi took the bet.
“You really are full of imagination, Takumi. I can’t think like that. That is why I mean exactly as stated.”
“Okay, so you mean the ghost of Shizuka. Very well, I will join in with your joke for a while longer. Is Shizuka still here? Is she listening to our conversation right next to us?”
“Not at the moment. She is at another place.”
“She is at one of my acquaintance’s place, someone that you don’t know.”
“That detail is inadequate. The book-loving Shizuka won’t be happy.”
“Fine, I will tell you. She is with Umegae Utaha.”
“This has became definite all of a sudden. And who is that? It is suspicious that she exist in real life, but the moment when you said her name, Shizuka is probably there. I see, the details have became clear-ish.
Let’s say that Shizuka is at that Umegae-san’s place. Did Shizuka complain something to you? It is being said that ghost disguise oneself as a hateful spirit, but I don’t think that Shizuka had a grudge against you.”
“I want to find that out.”
“What did Shizuka want to accuse me of, what does she want to convey? Perhaps she might be bearing a grudge. However, she won’t tell me anything, won’t teach me anything. That is why I want to know that. In order to do that, I need everyone’s help……..I think.”
“Everyone? You mean Junichi and Irifune-senpai as well? That’s impossible. I don’t think they are going to buy in to such a ridiculous story.”
“By the way, I don’t think I have the ability to sense the supernatural, but will I be able to see Shizuka?
“I think it is impossible.”
“What a pity. Although I said previously ‘after such a long time’, but it is not like I don’t have compassion. If I am able to see Shizuka, I would like to meet her. I am curious.
Shizuka was quiet, had a mature behavior since young and has grown even more beautiful when she is in middle school……..it’s not like I fall in love with her or anything. Although she was a little hard to approach, I admired her. Keito, you loved her right?”
Towards Keito’s honest confession, Takumi replied: “I knew it”.
“My bad, this is story is certainly in the 《present》for you. It is not easy to forget about someone that you once loved. Even if you want to find your next love, you want to properly put an end on the previous one first.
“Takumi, you are more of a poet than I am.”
“It’s not like that. It’s because I also have someone I like.”
“Hey Takumi, what is love?”
“………You are probably the poet. I don’t know the answer even if I heard it again. If you say you like her, you are probably in love with her. That is not logic, it’s emotions. Sometimes it settled down naturally and sometimes you can’t forget about it no matter how long time have passed. Feelings like anger and joy will last longer and that’s the way it is.”
Wonder who has Takumi fallen for.
“I get it.”
Keito asked instinctively in return “about what?” as Takumi continued talking all of a sudden.
“What do you mean ‘about what?’, you want Shizuka to rest in peace right?”
“Saying that is a misleading statement but I am trying to find out what Shizuka wanted to convey.”
“If that is the case, why don’t I lend a hand?”
“Really? You believe what I said?”
Well, I believe you, if you asked whether I believe you or not, I can’t say either, but you going to meet with Junichi and Irifune-senpai too right? Let’s ask them for their help.
We used to play together when we were kids after all. Junichi is the person who inspired me to play baseball. I am not as skillful as him and the team biggest objective is to reach the third match of the prefecture which are far from the Koshien but it’s still fun.
Until now, I don’t know why Irifune-senpai would play with us, but it was certainly fun at that time. It doesn’t hurt talking to her one more time.”
“I know it’s sudden, but would you like to visit Jun-nii together?”
“Today? I don’t mind though, but just because we are going together doesn’t mean the conversation will go smoothly.”
“I will think of that when that happens.”
“Roger that……….I didn’t know you have the ability to take initiatives, Keito.”
“I probably don’t have it. But if I stop now, I think I may never move ever again.”
I am a weak person, a person who will be swept along easily. That is why I keep running up the hill and have finally improve the current condition.
“I get the feeling that it has been a while that we are able to chat without haste. Are you avoiding me?”
“I am not blaming you. The feelings is mutual. After entering high school, I prioritize my club activities and made new friends. And above all………….when I see Irifune-senpai and your faces, I remembered the accident that happened on the boat. I didn’t suffer a huge damage, but that is a hindsight-based opinion.
You lost your beloved Shizuka. Your emotional scars are probably bigger than mine. Despite that, you are trying to do something now. That’s why I thought of supporting you.”
The lunch break was already close to the end before they knew it. The both of them devour the remainder of their food and choked a little.
Returning to his classroom, the afternoon class had begin as soon as Keito took his seat.
I think that I am glad to have talk to Takumi.
I am the one who built the wall. However, that wall was illusion. I felt like I understood that. With that, I might be able to be frank with Sarasa as well.