Shukan Soine Volume 14 – Kaede
CV: Morikubo Shoutarou
It’s gotten pretty late. She’s probably asleep by now.
Hmm? The lights are on. No way…
Ah! You’re still awake?
Yeah. I’m home. I planned on finishing work earlier than this though. Sorry for coming home so late.
I used the spare key because I thought you were asleep. But I actually didn’t want to have to use it. You would’ve opened the door if I’d come when I promised to, right?
I like having you welcome me home and let me in with a smile on your face.
I’m sorry for always breaking my promises.
You’re really kind. It’s okay for you to be a little more selfish.
Eh? You know that I’m doing my best?
I see. Thanks.
I often tell my students at the cram school that whether you’re trying hard isn’t something you can judge by yourself. When someone else tells you that you’re trying hard, you feel as if your efforts have been recognised for the first time. Anyone who tells themselves that they’re trying their best is just being soft on themselves.
Ah… Work is over, but I’m still acting like I’m giving a lecture. Anyway, I’m trying to say that I’m happy you think that I’m trying my best. I know you’re doing your best too.
Thanks for everything you do for me. I’m really grateful.
I feel calm when I’m holding you like this and feeling your warmth.
Hey. Can you say “Welcome home” one more time? I want to hear your voice when I’m right beside you.
Yeah. I’m home.
Your hair smells nice.
Ah, so you took a bath just now. That’s why you feel so warm.
Hmm? Ah! You made dinner.
And they’re all my favourite things too. It’s gotten completely cold though.
I’m sorry. It must have been tough to make this much food.
It was fun? Was that because you thought of me while you made it?
Just kidding. Don’t look like that and laugh.
Can we eat what you made for breakfast tomorrow?
Okay. Let’s eat breakfast together after we wake up.
Let me stay like this a little longer.
Ah. You’re right.
I’ll take a bath. I’ve worked up a sweat anyway.
It’s gotten late, so you can go to sleep before me.
It’s okay. Don’t worry about it. I like watching your face while you sleep anyway.
Haha. Isn’t it a bit late for you to be embarrassed? We’ve seen what each other’s faces look like while we’re sleeping plenty of times before, right?
Alright, I’m going to take a bath. Don’t wait up for me.
I can finally take a break.
Oh? You’re still up? I said you could go to sleep before me.
I see. You’re right.
I wanted to see your face for a little longer too.
Aren’t you tired though? Don’t push yourself too hard. We’re going to spend the day together tomorrow.
So what were you reading?
Hmm… A book of landscape photographs and a picture book… They’re both unusual things for you to be looking at.
Ah… These photos look really beautiful. Looking at the blue sea and the blue sky makes you feel relaxed.
Looking at the photos is fun because it feels like you’re on holiday? I guess you could say that.
Do you want to go on holiday?
I see. It’d be fun if we went together.
What’s this picture book?
Ah… So it was first published more than twenty years ago?
Picture books feel kind of nostalgic.
Huh? I’ve never read a book out loud before!
No, it’s not like I can’t do it…
When you say it like that, I can’t refuse…
Jeez. Don’t expect too much then.
What’s with that happy look on your face?
Alright, get under the duvet. Come closer.
Are you warm? It’s easier to see the book like this, right?
Alright, let’s start. Don’t force yourself to stay up if you start feeling tired. Even my students tell me that my voice makes them sleepy.
This is the tale of a far away country. There was a small country, in a green and fertile land where the sun shone warmly. The residents of that country were always smiling, and the country was filled with great happiness.
One day, a girl was born to the king and queen. The girl received many blessings from the residents of the country and grew into a beautiful princess.
Everyday, there was a boy who would visit the castle where the princess lived. The boy was pulling a large cart and came to deliver milk. The princess always saw the boy from her window and called out to him one day.
The boy noticed the princess and smiled, then bowed his head. The princess greeted the boy again the next day, but the boy only smiled and bowed his head again. She did the same again on the next day, but all the boy did was to smile and bow his head like he usually did.
The princess wondered why the boy didn’t say anything. The princess was still determined to talk to the boy and thank him, so she called out to him everyday. However, the boy would only smile.
When the princess asked her butler about the boy, he told her that the boy was unable to hear or speak. When the princess heard about that, on the next morning, she greeted the boy who came to deliver the milk in a different way. She gave him a piece of paper with “Hello. Thank you for the delicious milk.” written on it.
Then the boy began to cry and wrote “I carry the milk everyday to make you happy. I can’t hear or speak, but I’m very glad that you understood my feelings and felt happy.” When she read the words the boy had written on the paper, the princess smiled even more.
From then on the two of them continued to write their feelings down on paper. They often spoke to each other and spent a lot of time together. They became very important to each other. With the blessing of the people, they married. Even after that, they would write down their words on paper and thank each other for the love that they had received everyday. When they went out, they would hold each other’s hands tightly and walk together.
That warm love was very peaceful and gentle. Just like their love, the country they lived in was filled with warmth. They would always share their words of love with each other, and together with their gentle smiles, they lived happily. The End.
I haven’t read a picture book since elementary school. Were you okay with me reading it to you?
What’s with that look on your face? You seem really happy.
Huh? I’m like the boy? Really?
I’m not pure like that boy and I’m not good at saying my feelings either.
Just like the boy’s honest feelings were understood by the princess, my feelings are understood by the students I teach?
And what about you?
I see. I’m glad then.
You’re overestimating me though. Facing my students and their parents is just part of my job.
But you’re right. I want to make sure I do my job well. It’s my job to give all my students new possibilities and the ability to move forward. What I can tell them in a limited amount of time everyday is important. Even though studying is just one word, there are different ways of doing it.
Even as a cram school teacher, there are still a lot of different things for me to study too. But right now, I want to tell my students everything I can manage. But if I’m the boy in this story, then you’re the princess.
You’re embarrassed even though you said the same thing to me?
The princess thought it was only natural that the boy would have been able to talk. That’s why she didn’t hesitate to say hello to the boy everyday. But when she found out that the boy was unable to hear or speak, she communicated with him in a different way, right?
That’s right, she used a pen and paper to tell him how thankful she was, right? The princess didn’t just judge his outward appearance, but saw his true nature and tried to face him with her honest feelings. She wondered how to speak to the boy. She was a considerate girl who tried to imagine herself in someone else’s position.
That’s a lot like you. I know that you don’t realise it. That’s why your words are truthful.
I’m no good at thinking about feelings. I rationalise everything and prioritise the end result. I’ve hurt you because of that sometimes, haven’t I? But you always waited with me so I could be able to put my feelings into words. That’s why we can understand each other.
Do you remember the day I confessed to you? I’d made up my mind to do it that day, but when it came to it, I couldn’t say the words.
I didn’t have the confidence to say it. I thought you might not accept it even if I did.
You quietly waited for me when I was hesitant to say something. When I finally told you that I loved you, you smiled in return. I realised that I could make you smile with my words and I was really happy.
If you say I’m the boy from this picture book, then I would be pulling the cart to make you happy. No matter how long the road is and no matter how heavy my load is, I can keep on going if I’m making you happy.
When I see your smile, my tiredness disappears and I can overcome anything. I’m not good at saying how I feel, but you understand what my feelings are. But I thought it’d be no good if I didn’t say the feelings I have to tell you out loud. That’s because feelings aren’t something you can see with your own eyes. If you don’t put them into words, the person who’s precious to you won’t understand. From now on, I’m going to tell you my feelings and I want you to tell me if you’re ever lonely.
It’s okay to say something selfish. You should depend on me. That’s because you’re my princess.
You’re right. I’m sorry, you felt all alone until I came home. Sorry I made you wait. I wish I could be with you more often too. I really missed you.
I want to fall asleep with you in my arms tonight. I want to feel you lying in my arms.
You’re tired too, aren’t you? You should go to sleep soon.
Are you cold?
I see. I’m warm because you’re here too.
I’m going to turn out the light.
Hmm? What’s the matter?
We’re together right now, aren’t we? Why are you looking at me like that?
Ah, I’m sorry. It was me who made you worry like that, wasn’t it?
It’s okay, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be here while you fall asleep, when you’re asleep and after you wake up.
See. Can you hear the sound of my heart beating?
I’m happy we’re finally able to talk like this now and I’m kind of excited.
You are too? I see. I’m glad.
Doesn’t it make you relieved to hear the sound of someone’s heart beating? It reminds you that person is close to you. I can feel your heart beating when I hold you like this. I’m relieved to know that you’re in my arms. Once again, I know for sure that this is my home.
Let’s spend the whole day together tomorrow.
You’re asleep, huh? You’ve got a relaxed look on your face.
Don’t look so defenceless in front of anyone else.
Just kidding. You can’t hear me.
I couldn’t keep my promise today either. I told you to tell me when you’re lonely, but I know that I’m the reason for you being lonely. Even though I know that… I’m always making you feel sad, aren’t I?
I can’t even reply to your messages because I’m busy. I’ve taken advantage of you saying that you don’t need a reply from me. I keep on taking advantage of your kindness. I’m a pathetic man, aren’t I? I feel as if I’m not taking care of the person who’s most precious to me.
But you never complain and you support my work. You say that you like me working hard. You’re about the only person who says that. You’re the only one who understands and knows my true self.
My heart felt painful when I saw you looking at the landscape photographs earlier.
I wish we could go on holiday together. We’ve been dating for a long time, but our dates are always in the park nearby, a movie theatre or a restaurant.
There were times that we’d eat together and then I’d go straight back to work. But you still say you’re glad to see me and you’re happy about the small amount of time we have together…
You probably don’t know just how much your smile has helped me.
I wish I could take you to different places. I’m sorry I can’t make time for that. I can at least give you all my time right now. I belong to you completely.
I hope we’re together in your dreams too.
You feel so warm.
Hmm? It’s so bright… Is it already morning?
Oh? Hmm? You’re awake?
I haven’t slept so well for a long time.
Huh? My sleeping face? You were looking at it?
There’s nothing interesting about seeing that, is there?
I guess it might be because we were sleeping close together, but I was together with you in my dreams too.
It was a good dream. You were by my side and smiling happily.
You always were close enough for me to hold when I reached out my hand. You had a sweet and gentle scent when I held you.
Yes, that’s right. You were no different from how you are now. You’re always in my arms like this, whether it’s in a dream or reality.
If only it was like this everyday. You’d welcome me home with a smile, then we’d have dinner together and talk about our day.
We’d sleep close together and wake up in the morning. I’d feel happy because of your smile again.
I want to spend everyday like that. Thanks to you, the world I see is always a brilliant one.
Huh? What’s the matter?
You’re going to make breakfast? No, you don’t have to do that yet. Let’s stay together.
Ah. Could it be that you were embarrassed?
Wait a minute. See. Even your ears are red.
No. I’m not going to let go.
I haven’t had a day off for a while. Let’s spend the whole day together for once. Let’s stay together in bed for a little longer. Spending the day off in bed isn’t so bad either, right?
And then let’s eat the food you made yesterday together.
Alright, that’s decided then!
Hey… Let’s go on holiday together soon.
I wasn’t saying it without thinking. I’m serious.
You’re like a child when you’re excited.
No, it won’t be just an overnight stay. It’ll be a little longer than that.
Don’t worry about me getting time off. I’ll sort it out somehow.
It’ll be our honeymoon, you see.
Don’t stay quiet. Say something!
From now on, I want to be closer to you than anyone else and tell you that I love you.
Let’s take our time thinking about where we’ll go.
Yes, anywhere is fine! We’ll go to your favourite place. I’m sure I’ll have fun, no matter where I go with you.