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July 7th 2015  |  2  |  Category: Drama , Fiction , Romantic Love  |  Author:  |  1702 views

26th December, 200X

At the beginning of the twilight hour, the orange color of the sun still had warmth.
But it was quickly getting darker and darker like cloudy meat broth before Tohko noticed.
She glanced at the color of it, which was about to remind her of something. So she suddenly looked away from it in order not to think anything deeply anymore.

Now, Tohko was remembering the day when some friends of her had given a farewell party for her, because Tohko decided to go back to her hometown.
She was recalling it for writing about the memory.
As usual, Tohko was writing about something: She boarded a sightseeing boat cruising the Sumida river at Asakusa stop with three good friends of her.
One of her good friends, Sumire, sent an e-mail to Tohko just after Tohko had been fired from work.
Sumire suggested on the e-mail in November, “If you would regret that you haven’t gone to somewhere in Tokyo, let’s go there together as a memory!”
But Tohko was so busy one way or another even after having a paid vacation in December, and the days passed all too quickly.
So, when Tohko realized it, it was already very the day before going back to her hometown.
“Well…, Sumire, no, her name might not be even Sumire. I am writing Sumire as not one person, but more than two friends, uniting them?
Did I decide to call what I’d united them ‘Sumire’?
In other words, Sumire doesn’t truly exist, and it is just an idea?
Because I hesitate to write about all friends of mine in detail on public place.
How about entrusting existence, concept, and memory of all my friends to the name called ‘Sumire’?”
Tohko made such an excuse. But, a woman whose name was “Sumire” might have actually existed.
Assuming that, it was certain that “That man” would exist in this world, but there was a possibility that “That man” written by Tohko on her works didn’t indicate a certain person.
In other words, it was also an existence uniting every man that was in Tohko’s memory: Her ex-boyfriends , her old schoolmates, her old co-workers, and so on.
Tohko thought, “I was the very person writing this, but I don’t know what the correct answer is. Morever, I might be a person who don’t know it the most.”
That would still be something far in the future for when sightseeing boat like a spaceship appearing in a kind of SF films would appear on the Sumida river, and an event would be held there.
Many artificial fireflies lighting by the solar power generation, which was equipped with its LED, would be released into the river at the event.
No, they would be going to appear at Tokyo that was contaminated by radioactive motes severely after the catastrophe as if waiting it.
But now, the sightseeing boat, which Tohko and her friends went on board, was the one from the old days.
Although it was the day that many people had already gotten the winter holiday, there were not many people on the boat on such a very cold weekday late in December.
The four ladies of Tohko and her friends, dressing up showily, wearing high heels and sunglasses, and holding a paper cup with local beer made in Tokyo, appeared on the boat having a nostalgic atmosphere. One foreign man taking a professional full-frame camera seemed to think that they were so picturesque, and respectfully asked them, “May I take some pictures of you?”
After obtaining their permission, he had continued taking their pictures until the boat would arrive Odaiba stop.
They changed the boat at Hinode-Sanbashi stop once, and went toward the Odaiba district, which was the final destination of the cruise.
Tohko and her friends including Sumire, spent the time on the boat, while being aware of his gaze through a finder of his camera all the time.
They heard the sound a shutter made, which sounded not so frequently, but was sometimes mixed with the sound of the boat’s engine.
Whenever the four women heard the shutter sound, they felt as if they became a fashion model.
Each woman of them had a job that looked gorgeous, and all of them were familiar with attracting other people.
They didn’t boggle at such a situation, rather felt exciting, making more glamorous face than usual, sharing a sense of complicity, and making a show of their beauty as if competing each other.

Tohko was certainly such a type of woman in those days.
Then, because Sumire was the best English speaker in four of them, she gave the foreign man her e-mail adress. Later, some pictures that had been taken by him were sent to Tohko via Sumire.
But, Tohkko had already started to live in the way that she spent time sleeping all day long at that time, so she wasn’t interested in anything in her real life, and didn’t remember what kind of those pictures were.
Later, the event that a myriad of artificial fireflies were released into the Sumida river was held.
Because the event was held after the big disaster which caused Tohko to leave Tokyo,
she didn’t see the scene of the event actually.
But when she saw a picture of it on news, she felt that it was like Shoryo-Nagashi.
Shoryo-Nagashi was a traditional Buddhist event held at Kyushu district in Japan every summer.
On that event, people floated many boats, which were used to transport the spirits of the dead into the river.
Especially Shoryo-Nagashi that was held at Nagasaki prefecture was famous in Japan, because a famous singer sang about it, and the song was very popular.
It was held on 15th August that was the anniversary of the end of the Pacific War, and Nagasaki prefecture was the place on which the atomic bomb had been dropped.
Therefore, Tohko had an image that Shoryo-nagashi was held for mourning the dead people by the atomic bomb in Nagasaki.
Tohko felt that the event at the Sumida river was just like Shoryo-nagashi held in Tokyo.
The picture of the event was too perfect as if it had been retouched: There was Tokyo Skytree soaring into the night sky, emitting pale light. The Sumida river was flowing around the root of Tokyo Skytree. And the countless dots of also pale light were floating like bubble on the surface of the water.
That scene had an impression that was not only cruel, but also beautiful. Which made the people, who were looking at it, perplexed.
Tohko always felt like that SF films produced a religious atmosphere.
The picture of the scene had the same atmosphere, she felt.
“That was not so much an event as a ceremony.
What does it mourn?” Tohko wondered.
Then, most of her friends still lived in Tokyo after Tohko had left Tokyo in order to take refuge.

At first, when Tohko went back to her hometown after losing work, she was gradually estranged from most of her friends while she lived there for 2 years.
In addition, after having come back to Tokyo, Tohko had been busy in caring for her child, so their correspondence was apt to come to an end.
After the great earthquake had happened in the eastern area in Japan, Tohko move to the western area to avoid radiation exposure caused by the nuclear power plant accident, so their friendship completely ended.
After the refuge, Tohko lost not only fer friends that had gone on the cruise at the Sumida river together at that time, but also almost every acquaintance.
Anyway, though the air was cold, it was so fine on that day.
The ray of the sun was so warm, they could drink beer onto the upper deck of the boat.
The local beer was sold at a kiosk on the boat, so Tohko even drank another cup of it, eating some wizened French fries, which were rewarmed, or cheap snack confectionery, which was packed in bag.
When the boat was on the point of arriving at the Odaiba stop, Tohko was watching the scene that the sun heavily went down.
As soon as it arrived there, the four of them hurriedly got into a taxi to go toward a restaurant for Tohko’s farewell party.
Tohko had forgotten the scene for a long time.
Although Tohko had lived in Tokyo for more than 10 years since she was 18 years old, she felt like that she saw a typical scene of Tokyo for the first time on that day, because almost she hadn’t gone sightseeing in Tokyo until then.
She saw the picture of the scene that there were many artificial fireflies on the Sumida river.
So her memory of the day that she had taken a boat with her friends might be renewed by the impression from the picture.
And she was getting to feel such a way by passing through time.
In either case, that was the memory of a day before the day when Tohko left Tokyo for the first time.
It was the peaceful time before the big disaster happened.


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2 Responses to Farewell19

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