Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Side Story: Salmon, Egg, and Arugula Galette
I wasn’t really sure if I truly did love that person.
She would talk to me with a smile whenever we met, which made the naïve me think that this was the case.
She was a tutor who looked after me, a foreign-exchange student.
I had just come to Japan, so I relied on her a lot and didn’t want to leave her side. The moment I heard that she was single, I unconsciously confessed to her.
To think that she would look at me like that…
Did she abhor having a relationship with a foreigner? Or, did she have a problem with me as an individual?
I didn’t know.
Now that I think about it, the only expression she had ever shown me was her smile.
I didn’t really want to see her. What if she treated me coldly from now on? But, I also wouldn’t be able to maintain my composure if she showed me the same smile.
If things were to go wrong, my feelings would explode, leaving me either in tears or anger.
I didn’t want to go to school.
Thinking this, I no longer wanted to move. I found a café in front of the station and sat on a seat in the corner.
It was small, empty, and outdated.
I didn’t see any customers, but I think that was the reason why I had chosen to enter.
The store had nothing, not even music.
There was a young man wearing an apron and baking something in the store.
A faintly sweet scent wafted over.
“Are you hungry?”
The man said while peeping at the stove fire.
Normally, the barista would say, “What will you have?”, right? But, if that was what he actually said, I guess that meant that my Japanese still needed work.
When I didn’t answer, the man tucked his long fringe behind his ear and looked at me.
“Are you a student?”
His eyes met mine and he smiled sweetly.
He transferred the thing he was baking onto a plate and brought it over. I think I saw a halo behind him.
Please stop. If you smile at me like that, I’ll immediately misunderstand.
Yet, the man stood in front of me on the other side of the counter.
“Can you eat? You don’t look very well.”
Did he think that I was younger than him? He wasn’t speaking formally to me.1 Ah, but this was probably the attitude someone would take if they were dealing with a crying child.
But, I wasn’t crying.
I brought my face close to smell the sweet scent coming along with the steam.
I looked down at the plate on the table.
“It’s a buckwheat galette. If you’re not allergic to it, you should eat it. It’s definitely delicious.”
Galette… On top of the crêpe-like base were egg, salmon, and arugula.
Was the faintly sweet scent from the buckwheat flour? Honey or sugar might have been added to it.
The color from the three toppings was used to make a somewhat beautiful design.
I unconsciously reached for the fork.
But, could I eat it? This was surely the man’s lunch, right?
When I looked up from the plate, I saw the man watching me with a smile, his eyes expectant.
A sweet, itchy feeling rose up from my chest.
“Is it fine if I eat this? I didn’t order it, so I won’t pay, okay?”
When I said that, the man replied in a bright voice.
“Of course. It’s my present to you.”
This should be our first time meeting, so why a present? His smile… the whole air around him… I loved them. This was bad.
“If you do something like this, you can’t run a business.”
“Is that so?”
“I’m exactly how I look—a broke student. Even if you treat me kindly once, I won’t be able to give your store a single cent.”
“That’s fine. I wasn’t expecting that from you.”
The man laughed and said, before thinking for a bit and opening his mouth again.
“But, I do expect you to eat it all.”
“Because I want to see you eat it.”
What a strange man. His face was smiling, but his eyes were earnest.
Pressured by those eyes, I grabbed the fork.
“…Thank you for the food…”
I said, cut a piece with my fork, and put it into my mouth.
It was soft and slightly sweet. The flavor was, how could I put it, not distinct. But, I felt like I wanted to keep eating it.
Was it delicious?
This time, I put a larger piece into my mouth.
Yeah, there really wasn’t any flavor that stood out. If I had to say, I would say this tasted homely. If there were other places that sold galettes, it would be difficult for this place to stand out.
Tears spilled from my eyes and fell onto the plate.
I certainly enjoyed this flavor more.
And this man…
I wiped my tears. I dipped the salmon and arugula in the egg yolk and ate them.
This slightly flavored it, and the ingredients’ taste became stronger.
“Um, mister, do you have someone you like?”
The man had come over to refill my glass with water. He smiled and looked up.
“Someone I like, hmm.”
His answer was unfair.
“How about you?”
My question was thrown back at me.
“I…I do! My heart was broken yesterday, but I have found someone new I like now.”
The man stared at me, absentmindedly, with his mouth open, and then, he suddenly burst into laughter.
“Sorry for laughing. When I heard that, I also started to like you now.”
This was the first time my confession was laughed at, but I was happy.
I liked this man’s smile.
I wanted to ask him out, but I stopped myself.
“What is this store called?”
“It’s ‘Coffee Galette Chofu Store’…”
The man took one of the shop cards from on top of the counter and handed it to me.
“Come back if you’d like to.”
I silently nodded.
I was fine now. This was good. I think I could make it to school again today.
I had been forced to study abroad to gain success in life, so I had to go to school.
Who cares about a broken heart? I had a bright future ahead of me.
“The galette was delicious. Thank you for the food.”
I put the shop card, the same color as the galette, into my pocket as a good luck charm.
Author’s note: I wrote this side story from a Twitter prompt “Recueil of Delicious Food BL”.
There were many wonderful works tagged with that, so please look up the hashtag (#ルクイユのおいしいごはんBL).
Translator’s Note: And we’re done with the series! To all you (two) readers out there, thanks for sticking with the story. I did grow frustrated when I realized that no one really cared to see this story through. I had already read through it myself, so why did I have to bother to translate it if no one wanted to read it? But, in the end, I thought that I might as well finish it since I didn’t want to abandon a story that I enjoyed. I liked it for the sweet moments (honestly, the whole story would have been fluffy if it weren’t for Housou’s r*pe scenes). But, now that it’s done, I’ll probably look for other fluff stories to read.
Editor_1’s Note: Thank you for choosing to read Coffee Galette! It’s a very warm and sweet story; all of them are so cute! I really liked working on this series, and a big congratulations to the author for finishing it! I’d like to thank Ad-Senpai for translating the story so brilliantly and Mil-Senpai for helping me and teaching us more about coffee!
Millinia’s (Editor_2’s) Note: Wow! This is the first series I have been a part of where I have contributed from start to finish and it feels great to be able to say I played a part, even if it was small. Ad is a great translator to work with and honestly made editing super easy, which is a testament to how awesome they are. Cale was the real MVP for editing, and I was glad to help out when I could. The story was simple, yet sweet in most parts and I agree with Ad that Housou should kick rocks. Thank you all for letting me be a part of this, for sticking with us until the end, and I hope you join us in reading our future translations.