First Posted at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu
Arc 2: The First and Last Date
A few days passed. Mr. Death greeted me, the same as he had been diligently doing these past few days. Hello, he said as he popped in through the window.
The time that I set for him to appear was around noon. It was after lunch, a time when no one came to my room.
“What’s new today?”
“I don’t have something interesting happen every single day of my life. It was the same as yesterday.”
“Is that so? But you should have a lot more happening than me, who simply sits here day in and day out.”
I had to admit I was harsh. It wasn’t Mr. Death’s fault that I was here. If I had made efforts to make my monotonous days different, perhaps they wouldn’t have been so boring. It was my fault, lazing on my bed doing nothing, simply looking outside the window.
“But you can see the cherry blossoms from here.”
Hearing Mr, Death, I swallowed my words of apology back and inadvertently questioned him.
Why did he name that out of all the things he could?
“Yeah. I love cherry blossoms. That’s why—“
“No! …I hate that tree.”
As I tried to change the topic, I heard a knock on my door. I flinched and turned to look at the source of the sound, only to find the nurse peeking through the opened door.
“Mahiro-chan. Sorry, I forgot to run your tests in the morning. Can I take your blood pressure now?”
What to do, how should I explain this situation? As I glanced at Mr. Death, I found out that his face was hidden beneath his hood, making his expressions indecipherable. You could say his thoughts were a mystery unless he spoke his mind.
Oblivious to my musings, the nurse continued taking my blood pressure. It seemed as if she hadn’t noticed Mr. Death.
What did it mean? To begin with, if the nurse had noticed someone other than me in the room, she would have greeted them, saying something along the lines of ‘Sorry for disturbing’.
Could it be that…she can’t see Mr. Death?
That would be convenient if it were true, but even I had never seen or heard about the existence of a Death God all these years. I had been in and out of hospitals countless times as a child and had seen sad partings, people leaving this world forever many times. But I can confidently say that I saw a Death God for the first time only a few days back.
If that’s so, just like how I wasn’t able to see Mr. Death all these years, people other than me must not be able to see him now either. It made sense.
Thinking so, I suddenly relaxed. My heart had been beating wildly all this while. If it reduced my lifespan further, it was definitely Mr. Death’s fault, I thought. As I was lost in my thoughts, the nurse took off the sphygmomanometer, saying “Alright, it’s done!”
Keeping aside the sphygmomanometer she had taken off, the nurse spoke.
“Were you talking to your boyfriend before I called you?”
At her sudden words, my mind suddenly turned blank.
What does this mean? I thought she couldn’t see him, but did she spot him? Perhaps she mistook Mr. Death as my boyfriend and considerately tried to talk to me about him?
Annoyed on seeing Mr. Death feign ignorance as usual, I opened my mouth to say something to the nurse as I racked my brains for a reply. Yet nothing came out as I stood there with my mouth gaping.
Perhaps the nurse had some misunderstanding of some sort as she saw me like that. She gestured at my smartphone on top of the bed.
“This is a hospital, I’ll be troubled if you use it that freely.”
“But Mahiro-chan, you’ve spent a long time in the hospital, haven’t you? You must be very bored.”
It can’t be helped, the nurse said as she gave an inconvenienced laugh. Looking left and right to make sure no one overheard, she whispered into my ear.
“It was me, so it’s fine…but make sure not to let the head nurse see you calling your boyfriend on the phone, got it?”
“Eh. No, um, that…”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. You’re of that age, I get it.”
Seemed like the nurse had seen me talk, but hadn’t spotted Mr. Death. Giving out a sigh of relief, I muttered, I’m sorry, agreeing to her version of the story. She laughed it off with a wave of her hand.
“It must be nice being young. I too had lots of fun when I was Mahiro-chan’s age.”
“Yeah, I’m sure you did.”
“You’re right. Well, that’s already ten years in the past.”
Saying so, the nurse cleared up the instruments and left the room, turning to look back at me one last time.
“But don’t force yourself. Enjoy in moderation.”
Seeing me nod, the nurse smile, and this time left the room for real.
Hearing the door close and the footsteps turn faint, I sighed in relief.
“What happened, you ask…
Picking up a pillow on my bed, I threw it at Mr. Death. Easily catching it, he said, “Did I not tell you that only the humans we are in charge of can see us?” Feigning innocence, he tossed the pillow back to me.
“Didn’t you hear!?”
I roughly flopped the pillow on her lap. Mr. Death continued to feign ignorance in his voice as he rummaged about his pocket. He took out the notebook I had seen on the day we first met— the one with a broken star on its spine.
“It’s a tool we use for work. The names of the people I am in charge of are written inside. Of course, your name is in there too.”
“I see… But why is that?”
“Nobody other than the people whose names are written in this book can see me. On the other hand, Death Gods other than me can’t see you either.”
In other words, the nurse couldn’t see Mr. Death and mistook it as me talking to my boyfriend on the phone. If it weren’t for my phone, perhaps, she would have thought I was talking to myself in my room.
Perhaps the nurse was worried, hearing me talk by myself in the room and came to check on me with the excuse of taking my blood pressure.
In that case, if I kept my phone at hand’s reach at all times, it might do the trick (although I didn’t get calls from anyone in particular).
“What’s with that. Tell me earlier! I would have been so nervous then!”
“Ahh, so that’s why you made such funny faces. I thought I’d burst out laughing at any time.”
“I did not!”
Hearing my sudden retort, Mr. Death tried his best to hold back. Yet a small chuckle escaped his lips.
This was the first time I had seen him laugh. If anything, this was the first time he had shown any emotion on his face.
“Mr. Death can laugh too…”
Hearing me state so, he coughed lightly and emotionlessly said, “I didn’t laugh.” However, on noticing that the tone of his voice was slightly higher than usual, I let out a tiny laugh.
“But a boyfriend, hm—”
“That’s right! Hey, you asked me before, right? If I had any regrets? Does that still hold?”
“Well, you aren’t dead yet, so you could say that, but…”
Getting an ominous feeling, Mr. Death spoke evasively.
I smiled at him. Pointing at Mr. Death, I said,
“I wanna go on a date.”
“Yeah, with you.”
His tone reeked of annoyance, and I was surprised to realize that one could so easily discern another’s emotions, despite not being able to see their faces.
Yet, despite realizing it, I was not fazed.
“ I realized it when the nurse mistook Mr. Death as my boyfriend. I haven’t ever gone on a date!”
“Yeah, that’s quite unfortunate. Then, why don’t you ask someone—”
“I don’t have a friend to ask this favor from. And even if I had one, I wouldn’t ask.”
“If something happened, I’d definitely get them in trouble.”
My illness could take a turn for the worse when I step outside. Even if that didn’t happen, I’ll surely get scolded. At that time, if it weren’t me, but the other person getting scolded, I’d hate that. I don’t want to get someone else in trouble because of my selfishness.
“But, if its Mr. Death…”
“If it’s me…?”
“Its a part of your job.”
“That’s stating the obvious.”
“Moreover, nobody else can see you. So you won’t get scolded.”
Noticing that he had inadvertently agreed to my words, Mr. Death uttered in panic, “No, no, no, I’m telling you…”
One final push.
I caught Mr. Death’s sleeve, making a sad expression to arouse sympathy.
“Aren’t I pitiful? Hey, please!? I don’t want to die like this, not having gone on a date even once! I’m of that age, I’m a girl too!”
At my fervent pursuit, Mr. Death could only utter variations of “Ah” and “Um”, and slowly began backing away. If this continued, he would go back. But I won’t let him. Gripping his sleeve even tighter, I called out to him— “Mr. Death.”
“You really can’t do it…? You told me to tell you if I had any regrets…”
“That’s… But, it won’t be fun with me…”
“That’s not true!”
My voice was louder than I had expected as I refuted him. Slightly embarrassed, I cleared my throat and smiled at him.
“I’ll decide who I want to go on a date with. I want to go with you, Mr. Death.”
I decisively spoke. Perhaps he realized that arguing with me would lead nowhere. Mr. Death nodded his head in resignation. I got it, he said.
Chapter 4 is up on patreon~