Farewell 14

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March 5th 2015  |  2  |  Category: Drama , Fiction , Romantic Love  |  Author:  |  1677 views

One morning, Tohko heard the alarm bell of the railroad-crossing again.
The dry sound continued for a while, and stopped suddenly.
But a short time later, it started again.

Because this area around her working place was near the station, this sound was what everyone was familiar with.

Tohko was sweeping the street in front of the cake shop at which she was working.
She had just opened a shutter and taken out the signboard of the shop onto the street.
After finishing most of the work to carry the cakes to the showcase of the shop, she went outside in order to clean the street.

Tohko was wondering, “Because this street is covered with an arcade, the sound of the railroad crossing is coming here as if passing through a tube from the station.”
When she worked inside the shop, she was not conscious of the sound so much.
But, when she went outside, she suddenly felt like that the sound was very near.
Furthermore, it was doubtful for Tohko that such many trains would really come and go so frequently.

“It isn’t Yamanote line in Tokyo!
In this level, and in this size of this local city, is it possible that many trains were running so frequently?” Tohko thought.
There was only 1 JR line train par 1 hour at Tohko’s hometown, which was a small country town facing with Sea of Japan.
In spite of feeling that the alarm bell rang so frequently, she did not check the frequency correctly.
She only noticed it during working time, and thought, “The alarm is ringing again. It’s so frequently.”
Because she did not use the private railway running through this shopping street, she had never seen the timetable of it.
She would like to check the timetable someday, but she had never done it.
Tohko only saw the train bringing the people from their town to here in the morning, and sending them to their town in the evening every day when she was walking to go to work.
The noise of this shopping street, lengthening from the station, did not become bustling in the morning.
Still, the shoppers came and went there, and the energetic barkers were often happened here and there even in the morning.
It was hard time for small shops. They were quite deserted because most of their customers were stolen by the big chain of discount department stores.
But this shopping street was lively despite such a time.
The numbers of shops starting to arrange the lunch boxes and side dishes onto the wagon at the street in front of the shops were gradually increasing.
The steam baskets drifting white smoke and many colorful flags for advertising started to appear.
The vigor around there grew stronger and stronger.
The peak of the crowd of this shopping street was lunchtime.
And there was another peak again at dusk.
The atmosphere, which the whole of this street became very busy with preparations for the first peak, was so lovely for Tohko.
She couldn’t get to like her job at this shop very much.
On the contrary, she hardly felt the attachment for it.
But, digesting the work seriously and plainly made her feel peaceful.
Tohko was an editor of the magazine when she lived in Tokyo.
She had believed that she was good at it.
Planning some articles, reporting, and going to the filming trip.
These were her works once.
Her work and her life were to make the page of the magazine.
She always wrote some sorts of text at the medium as a writer.
Recently, Tohko was still writing the text like a novel on the internet, but she hesitated to do the job as a writer she used to be.
She had been living in the world, where only the appearances were gorgeous, until having moved to this city of Western Japan after the disaster, she felt.
And she was afraid that because she lived without thinking about an essential thing, such a terrible thing happened: The big earthquake, Tsunami, and the nuclear plant accident.
She had not thought about the essence of health, happiness, and life.
Or she was apt to look down on them.
She couldn’t believe such her ex-job as a writer anymore, because of noticing that the big main stream media never reported the correct information at all.
Besides, the main stream media tempted all the common people to think that the nuclear accident happened because of their own fault.
Of course, it was shifting the responsibility for the nuclear accident onto the common people by the true criminals, Tohko felt.
In truth, the common people were not responsible for it at all.
However, the worst existence never make themselves noticed in the world.
They had concealed themselves.
The managers of the company owning the nuclear power plant, or the politicians who had promoted them were responsible for that catastrophe.
But there must be the worse existences behind them.
Neither their face nor their name appeared on the front stage in this world.
Because they did not want to be criticized, they concealed their own existence skillfully.
The really bad existence let the common people feel a sense of guilt: They regretted to  spend their time frivolously while enjoying the easy, flashy, and unstable life.
And such an existence having the power, were still acting big in spite of their wickedness.
However, separately from it, it was also the fact that she personally got to want to live modestly after that big disaster.
She did not have any great ideal to want to change the world, and could not but change her own way to live.
Therefore, she did not feel like doing the job like what she used to do.
When she looked for a job, she referred for the jobs published on the advertisement paper.
And she started the job at this cake shop which hired her firstly.
At that time, any jobs were enough for her if she could work.
But, she had not been able to feel love in her current job from bottom of heart.
She thought that it wasn’t good to work with such an incomplete feeling, and had a sense of guilt.
Of course, she tried to think that it was just a job. Still she felt that it was not the job to want to do truly.
The manager, who was also a pastry cook, ran this cake shop.
He was taciturn, very difficult and never frank with anybody.
Tohko was no exception, he was difficult for her as well as other members to deal with.
There were about 10 cake craftsmen and about 10 staffs of the sales floor in this cake shop.
Tohko felt that many of other staffs had gotten this job unwillingly, too.
Working among the people thinking that there were not true themselves there, Tohko thought the same.
Because she did not want to work at the chain stores managed by the corporations with a large capitalization, she chose the shop having been here since old time.
“Why have I felt such a sense of incongruity?” Tohko felt, and was not satisfied.
She felt ill at ease about spending the rest time of the job with other staffs of the cake shop, so she always went out to kill time.
Although she felt that the urban life had many problems, and moved to the local city, she realized that it was also difficult to establish the community-rooted lifestyle immediately in this country.
“This city is neither a countryside town nor an urban city.
Is such a nature of this locality not good?” Tohko wondered.
She did not choose her hometown for the refuge, because the level of the contamination of there wasn’t clear just after the catastrophe.
Of course she wanted to part from those nuclear facilities as possible.
But it was the fact that she wanted to live in the bigger city than her hometown, because her hometown was too small for fatherless family like hers.
Every day, Tohko exited from the cake shop quietly at the rest time for lunch, bringing the bag with lunch box.
She remained wearing the cake shop’s uniform without the apron, only putting on a thin cardigan.
Every lunch time, she also ate home-made meal in the lunch box.
She cooked it together when she made the lunch box for her son instead of the school lunch every day.
She ate it at the public space of the shopping center in this street, which used to be the biggest movie theater in this city.
After that she ordered a cap of coffee at some cafe in this street, or brought her own pot and drank coffee filled into it at her home.
Then, she always started to write something by hand at the rest of the lunch time because of not having the PC when she was not at home.
Tohko had recognized that there was such a trend: The people believing that the next world or the previous life really existed were considered unscientific.
But recently, she began thinking about it, Tohko found that there wasn’t such a trend.
Nobody concluded that there was not the next world.
Of course, nobody concluded that it would really exist, too.
There were somebody saying that it really existed, or there were someone saying that it did not exist.
It was only the matter of the possibility, and no one could prove it.
Because it was the matter which anybody living now could not know, everyone didn’t prove it.
It was just Tohko’s prejudice that people believing the next world must exist were considered so unscientific.
On the contrary, she found that when she talked with somebody, and suggested the topic about the next world, they rarely laughed it down.
Some of them told her their mysterious experiences: Someone said that he had had a presentiment that his grandmother would die. Someone said that because some mysterious coincidences had happened, he had been able to be in time for meeting his father just before he died.
Most of them said such a thing: “There might be the next world really.”
There were rarely people who said, “How crazy! I can’t believe the next world”.
On the contrary, many people might believe the existence of the next world vaguely.
Tohko wondered, “Still why have I thought that there was a trend that believing the next world was so unscientific? It’s so strange for me.”
She was writing down such a content onto the notepad while telling herself.
It would be written by her as a novel before long.
And she thought, “I mean not only the next world.”
Another place, another time, and another phase…
Being connected, communicating, and exchanging with somebody by a rare way.
And being affected each other by some sort of means, which it was impossible to do under usual circumstances.
Although Tohko considered it was impossible, she created the world supposed to be dream, and went in and out there.
She considered it to be just a game, so she was often lost in thought, and often wrote the stories based on it.
But she had not thought that it had a meaning.
Tohko thought,
“Well, I am continuing to write just now. Does the world have any meanings whenever I’ve written something?

Oh, wait…, whenever I’ve written something, a new concept would be created.
So can I think that the concept is the world? The new world would be created by our imagination?
Am I creating the new world one by one by what I am doing unintentionally?
A new world? Is it something like a parallel world?
The world of dreamland, the life after death, the previous existence, the future, the past, the fairy, the ghost, the another planet, and the another dimension…,
Such things are apt to be despised as an imagination world. But have we proved that the imagination world would not be real world really?
Because we know that the imagination world is as important as, and perhaps more important than, the real world, we give many time of our life to imagining, don’t we?”
She still wanted to write more, but the lunch time break would end soon.
Until her finishing time of the job, she would work after having gone back to the cake shop.
She would fill the box with some cakes adding some dry ice, and wrap the box in the beautiful paper if she would be asked by the customers as a shop clerk.
In her spare moments, she packed the cookies in the bags, decorated them with a seal or a ribbon.
She sometimes put the seals of the address onto the post cards of direct mail, or put advertising flyers into the mailboxes of neighborhood when there were little customer in the shop.
She didn’t intend to look down on her job, because it was the job anybody could do easily.
But she never had the passion for it.
Still, for the purpose of doing such a job, she went back to the cake shop.
The shopping street was prosperous also today.
If she met some acquaintances working at this street, she greeted them.
Again, she heard the sound of the alarm bell of the railroad crossing.
Somewhere not being here, or sometime not being now.
“I noticed that I’m living such a terrible world. So I’m a mad middle-aged woman longing for such things?”
She thought. But she was calm strangely.
“It’s no problem if I were mad. Still, I will watch all I can.”
Tohko said to herself.

One day, Tohko was writing, too.
It was before the disaster happened.
It was at Tokyo station.
She was going to go back to her hometown facing the Sea of Japan.
That day, she had just said good-bye to “That man” at Ofuna station, after having spent the time with him.
When they met, he guided her in Kamakura.
After having met, Tohko departed to Tokyo station from Ofuna station, and he should have departed to his home in Japan from there.
She couldn’t remember what she talked with him at that time anymore.
Because she could not but think that she parted from him at the Ofuna station, she just wrote so.
But she completely forgot even the place where she parted from him.
Still, she could remember the memory after having been alone.
It was raining that day.
Contrary to the day when it was splendid weather in May she was guided in Kamakura, the Kanto region had been covered with thick rain cloud since that morning.
Tokyo station was so crowded, and the humidity like membrane stuck to everywhere.
Because Tohko had time for the departure of Sinkansen, she was spending the time at air-conditioned café-restaurant while drinking something.
Tohko was writing about the memories of those days.
After having evacuated from Tokyo to a city of western Japan, she sat down at the computer and wrote when she had no job.
As soon as finishing the house-keeping she sat down at the PC.
She wanted to write as possible, and put her fingers onto the keyboard of the PC impatiently.
She sometimes wrote something expanding what she had written at the lunch time, wrote the very thing that she had written at the lunch time, and wrote other things. While writing it, she remembered the smell of the rain at May, the chilly air controlled by the air conditioner, and the chaotic color of Tokyo station.
She could call such things in her mind, but could never recollect what she talked with “That man” till she parted from him at Ofuna station at all.
So she had not been able to write the memories about the time that she spent with him.
On the other hand, Tohko almost perfectly remember the day before she met “That man” for the first time.
She met her friends at Shibuya, went to Italian restaurant, and talked with them for a long time drinking many glasses of wine.
But she couldn’t recall the time of after having met him at all.
In addition, she never recalled his face, his voice, and the way of speaking.
“I don’t remember at all. Anyway, I will write. I like to write even the little piece which I can recall. It’s not sure that there are really the memories of mine.
Even though I have considered them as my true memories, there is a possibility that they might be only the story I made up.
Still, even though it might be so, I can’t stop writing.”
When she checked her watch, though there was almost all ice tea left in the glass, she called the waiter to stop, and ordered a glass of gimlet.
She would liked to drink the alcohol.
Because it was nearly dusk, and was at the urban city area, she should have not hesitated to order the alcohol.
But because Tohko was living in the local area as a mother recently, she noticed herself to be nervous when she wrote about this experience.
If Tohko would order the alcohol in the city to where she moved, she was worried to be watched by somebody or was worried how the waiter would consider her.
But when she was at Tokyo station, she was a single woman, and there were only strangers there, so she should have not hesitated to do.
At that time, she never guessed that when she looked back over the past, she would be nervous about such a thing after about 10 years.
She didn’t have the habit to imagine about her future in those days.
That was why she chose gimlet only because it was one of the cocktails found onto the menu of the restaurant.
It was rare that she would ask a bartender to make it.
At that time, was she excited at the restaurant because she had really met “That man”?
She would completely fall in love with him, and wondered the future of her and him?
Or she might be dazed losing herself in happiness of having met him?
She certainly remembered that she was drinking the cocktail while waiting for the Shinkansen at the restaurant in detail like that.
Then she finished drinking it, and started to go to the platform of Shinkansen.
When she went out of the restaurant, she became tired of the humidity again.
She bought two magazines at a kiosk built onto the platform, and got on the Shinkansen.
Tohko took the seat of the second floor.
Then, Shinkansen departed, and she left Tokyo in the dusk.
It still rained persistently, but the heavy rain of the daytime was about to change to the gentle one gradually.
At the very moment, “That man” coming back to his country must be at his hometown Kamakura, but Tohko being in the Shinkansen did not think about him anymore.
She was suspicious of herself, “What do I always think in my life?”
But, she didn’t know.
“When I had just fallen in love, what was I doing?”
Suddenly, she recalled.
At that time, she was also writing something.
It was only 5 minutes of the beginning that Tohko flipped through the pages of the magazine after having taken the seat of Sinkansen.
As soon as she stopped reading it, she took the notebook out, and started to write with a black ballpoint pen earnestly.
She wondered, “What did I write? For example, a feeling to him?”
No, she was writing something like a novel at that time, she remembered.
Just like digging up the memories, or creating something from the imagination.
Still, it was the same thing which she was doing now.
She was doing the same thing all the time.
Only one thing.
To write something.
Suddenly, she realized.
“I am doing only one thing. It is to write.
I don’t know whether it was a novel or some other things. Still, I’ve written what I want to write. And now, I’m doing the same. And I guess that I always want to do it, and I am going to do it forever.”
She understood it on a sudden. But which would not get her nowhere.
There was no meaning to write, but she was writing.
She wrote something only because she could not but do it.
Then Shinkansen stopped at Echigoyuzawa station.
It was already dark.
Because the air was dry, she understood that it had been fine here since this morning unlike the Kanto region.
A fine smell of spring sun remained here and there.
She changed to a limited express train from Shinkansen there.
After passing though the mountainous district with many tunnel, the train ran at the Sea of Japan coast as if tracing it.
The sea of Japan, which she saw on the way, had been already covered with black darkness.
The train arrived at the station of her hometown late at night.
She came home by taxi, and handed some souvenirs of Kamakura to her parents while telling about her friends whom she met in Tokyo after a long absence.
But, she did not talk about having met “That man” at all.
She did not intend to conceal from her parents that she met him.
Just because she didn’t have the custom to tell them about her boyfriend.
And she took a bath and went to her bedroom to sleep.
Next morning, she started the life, which she was always sleepy, and was actually sleeping for a long time, again.
But, one thing was changed in such her life.
It was that she started to have the relationship with “That man” by using skype or something to talk.
She always set the alarm clock in order to wake up till at the time when she had an appointment to talk with him on the internet.
And she sometimes visited him during those days.
Or, she and “That man” went to travel together.
She actually met him when he came back to Japan again.
But except for meeting him, she slept all the time, so she suspected that all of her memories might be only her dream.
She was always sleeping and dreaming during these 2 years.
Thus, all her memories concerned with him were also her dream?
“I certainly met him. I certainly talked with him in reality. But everything might be the story I made?”
Tohko was continuing to type at the PC.
She noticed it rained outside the window.
“Is that the Ofuna station?
Oh, is he ‘That man’?

He seems to be standing next to me.

Although it rains, both of them don’t put up an umbrella.
They are talking.
How happy their laughter are!
Both of them look so calm.
Is that a true memory?
It really existed?”


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2 Responses to Farewell 14

  1. Pingback: 小説「Ferewell」目次ページ(日本語&英語バージョン) | 雨や霧や雪/降こめられる日々

  2. Pingback: “Farewell” written in English.  | 4:AM MAGAGINE

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