Farewell 23

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October 29th 2015  |  2  |  Category: Drama , Fiction , Romantic Love  |  Author:  |  2874 views

The end of this year was coming soon, and today was the final Friday.
Tohko got into a train with her son Kotaro.
“It has been a long time since we last made a trip.”
Kotaro said, and put a backpack, which he’d carried on his back, on his lap.
“Where are we going to?”, he asked Tohko.
Tohko suddenly got an idea of making this trip when Kotaro was at his elementary school.
Because her part time job ended earlier than usual today, she hurriedly came back to home, packed for the trip, and waited for Kotaro’s getting home.
Tohko and Kotaro made a hasty departure, so Kotaro did not know even where he would go from now on yet.
“A hot spring resort.”
Tohko replied.
Although it was near the evening rush hour, the train was not as crowded as Tokyo in where they’d lived before the big earthquake and the nuclear disaster happened.
Two of them sat side by side. Kotaro was wearing sweat shirt, short pants, and jacket like baseball team’s.
Tohko was muffled in a black, tight, and long coat.
She didn’t originally like a style that was too feminine, and especially after that catastrophe, she only wore dark-colored clothes that were like ones for male.
Under the black coat, she wore navy sweater, also black trousers, and black boots.
The black coat was sharply tightened by a belt at her waist.
When Tohko, who was tall, was wearing it, Kotaro often kidded her, “Are you a spy?”
Still, her excitement and elation made herself put on earring, and make herself up more brilliantly than usual.
But she usually wore more humble clothes than the days she’d lived in Tokyo.
Tohko handed Kotaro a pamphlet, which had been put into a pocket of her bag.
“Well, is it possible to get safety foods while traveling?”
Kotaro asked Tohko anxiously.
After those nuclear power plants had exploded, it had been impossible for Kotaro to make a trip. Tohko and Kotaro could not eat out, and he brought lunch box that Tohko had made instead of school lunch. It was difficult to get safe meals while on a journey, Kotaro had thought. Many radioactive contaminated foods were sold at most of the super markets, and used at most of the restaurants in this country now.
“I’ve booked a small villa having a kitchen. We can cook there.”
Tohko pointed to a page of the pamphlet introducing such a villa.
Today, Tohko finally got into the train that she only heard the alarm bell of its railroad crossing while working at a cake shop.
When she ate lunch at a public space of the shopping street where there was her working place, she happened to see a magazine rack displaying some free magazines, some PR brochures of this city and so on.
She knew there was a free magazine written about the sightseeing of this area on the magazine rack, but the current issue caught her eyes. So she took it in her hand for the first time.
The photograph of its cover was a hot spring bath house, which had not only a nostalgic atmosphere, but also a modern-skilled architecture.
The big bathtab in it was made from Japanese cypress, and was filled with light-green water.
And the elaborate design of its interior reminded Tohko of the ancient remains.
The window made of stained glass was fitted on the upper area of the wall, and the sunlight passing through it reflected diffusely. So the photograph was so colorful.
According to the article of the magazine, a deserted hot spring resort in this area, at where Tohko was living now, was renewed as a project of revitalization, and was promoted actively by the local government.
“It is like a story I’ve already heard. Hahaha!
It is like almost the fantasy I made!”
She looked at the magazine in amazement.
“At last, the hot spring resort, which I’ve made up in my imaginary world, appears in this real world! Am I dreaming? Is it real or not?”
Tohko confused.
She had not known this real hot spring resort since she had started to set an imaginary hot spring resort as a stage for meeting “That man” someday in her imaginary world until now.
But had she misunderstood?
Although she had realized that she created the hot spring resort by her own imagination, she might have only used the information about this hot spring resort that was in her subconscious.
After having moved to this city, because she was so busy, she might have heard about this real hot spring resort without knowing.
In any case, Tohko could not contain herself anymore, she accessed the website of this hot spring resort by a smart phone hurriedly.
While checking it out, she found a place for camping near the hot spring resort, and there were some rental villas. She suddenly made a telephone call to management company of it, because there seemed not to be many visitors very much in such a cold season, she could make a reservation for Friday, and Saturday.
It was only 4 hours before, at her lunchbreak.
Tohko thought that it must have been difficult to book the hot spring hotels of the resort on weekend.
She planned to stay over for two nights at the villa having a kitchen, cook the meals at the kitchen by herself, and take a bath at the public bath house of the hot spring resort, which was used for the cover of the free magazine.
“Hey, Mom. I read that there’s a stock farm near the hot spring resort. We can buy soft ice cream made from the milk of this farm. It’s possible to eat, I think.”
Kotaro said with excitement, reading the pamphlet.
“That’s good. We never ate any soft ice creams this summer.”
Tohko replied joyfully, too.

“I cooked some meals and bring them for today’s supper, because we won’t have time to prepare it after arriving the villa this evening. But I read there was a shop selling only the vegetables made at this area.
Let’s have meals that I will cook using those vegetables from tomorrow morning. In addition, there is a barbecue cookstove at the villa’s garden. Let’s have a BBQ dinner tomorrow!”
Because she talked about food, she noticed that she didn’t give her son any snacks yet today. So she took a banana from her bag, and handed him it.

Akihiko did not tell either Takanobu and Mitsuru that the plan that Akihiko was going to visit the U. S. during this vacation had been canceled.
There was no particular reason, and it was a fact that Akihiko somehow missed his chance to tell them at first.
A grandmother of his friend, who invited Akihikko, fell into a critical condition, so his friend had to go back to his country soon.
When Akihiko got such a notice from the friend at the midnight of Shanghai, he thought that he was going to go to the U. S. without cancelling any his plans at first.
Even though he could not stay at his friend’s home, he would be able to freewheelingly take a trip to the U. S. alone.
But next day, he changed his mind, and cancelled the reservation of the flight to the U. S.
Akihiko asked himself, “Then, where am I going to? I will go back to my home town?”
It was a quiet, peaceful town, which was famous as a high class residential area near the sea.
And there was the junior and senior high school that Akihiko and Takanobu went.
It was the very town Takanobu was going to go back to during this vacation, and there was still Akihiko’s parental house near Takanobu’s.
Yumiko, who was Takanobu’s wife, was born and raised at the center area of Tokyo, and there was her parental house there, too. Takanobu’s family would visit both of their parental houses, and would have joyful time there, Akihiko guessed.
Akihiko got airplane ticket newly.
But it was not a flight to Narita or Haneda airport, which were the airport located in Tokyo metropolitan area, but a flight to a certain city of western Japan.
After then, Akihiko spent time until the day of his departure, trying not to think about what he was going to do very much.
When Akihiko joined a party at Takanobu’s home with Mitsuru a few days ago, Akihiko spent time as if nothing had happened.
Akihiko sometimes felt that it was a breach of faith, and sometimes felt that it was not significant very much. His feeling came and went between these two points.
He sometimes hated himself because of his behavior, but barely let himself go past such feelings.

When Tohko went out from the bath for women, Kotaro was drinking a bottle of pop soda that she’d permitted him to buy. She checked whether it would be contaminated by radioactive materials or not in advance.
If the pop soda would be made at a contaminated area, there was a possibility the water of pop soda was contaminated, too.
There was a large television at the lounge of the public bath house, and it was broadcasting a news program.
Tohko also sat down onto tatami floor in front of Kotaro, and took the lunch boxes from her bag to eat them.
Then, the voice of a TV newscaster suddenly changed, and he began to speak seriously, “Here is a fast-breaking news.”
It provided an ominous mood to the space of the lounge.
Tohko looked at the television, and felt that other people being there looked at it together
“The S airline aircraft 901 disappeared from air traffic controllers’ radar screens at about 3:00 pm, while flying from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, China to Q International Airport, Japan.”
Q prefecture was the very place where Tohko and Kotaro were living now, and there was this hot spring resort. And most of the visitors of this bath house were living in Q prefecture, too.
People around Tohko in this lounge seemed to be surprised by that announcement that there might have been an accident near them. The lounge resounded with their frightened voice.
“Mom, is Shanghai a city of China? There is a direct flight between here to Shanghai, isn’t there?”
Kotaro said to Tohko anxiously.
“According to the passenger list, there’re 49 Japanese in that flight. Now, I will read the list.”
The newscaster began to read it out one after another, and the names of them also began to run as a telop on the TV.
Tohko felt like that her neck would be wrung by a bad presentiment.
“Mr. Akihiko Waki”
When she heard that name, she felt like that she’d known that there must have been the name on the list before hearing it.
“Hey, Mom. Are you all right? You look pale very much!”
Kotaro said more anxiously.
“Is the airplane that ‘That man’ is boarding about to come here?”
And the airplane disappeared.
She felt like space and time were warped flexibly.
Suddenly the thunder roared loudly.
Tohko was going to shout. Or she might have already shouted?
No, time had stopped, and had disappeared?
“Please, please…” Tohko groaned.
Then pure white light enclosed everything completely as if by swallowing.
And the beginning and the ending would come here simultaneously.


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2 Responses to Farewell 23

  1. Pingback: 小説「Ferewell」目次ページ(日本語&英語バージョン) | 4:AM MAGAGINE

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