3. Our Daily Life Began.
Hayase-san was something similar to a doctor in this village.
In the first place, it was Hayase-san’s uncle who the doctor of this village and was the former resident of this detached house. When Hayase-san was around ten years of age, the village got cut off all of a sudden and from then on, Hayase-san began assisting his uncle, learning in preparation to succeed him.
Since Hayase-san’s uncle and his wife had disappeared in successive incidents five years prior, the villagers’ health was entrusted in Hayase-san’s hands alone. Not just people, he even had to examine horses, cows and other domestic animals. There was a small herb garden beside the house and taking care of it, he’d somewhat become the village’s go-to person for advice. The village had many elderly people and calling in upon them every day was a must and thus, Hayase-san was pretty much busy all the time.
The villagers, including Ayama-san, took care of him. To not mention cooking and washing, there was always someone bringing various things to eat.
With this village being cut off from other lands and people now disappearing one after another, Hayase-san did not believe there was any special meaning to being a landlord or anything, but the others did not think so.
When I first came to this world, I didn’t know what to do and since I wanted to learn more about the village, I was always around only Hayase-san.
One day, while waiting for Hayase-san, who was calling in upon the elderly in another house, I saw a person from the house drawing water from a well. It seemed heavy, and I thus decided to give a hand.
It was heavy. Drawing water is extremely laborious.
With so many elderlies in this village, every day must be arduous.
There were electric poles lined up in rows on the street where I first appeared that lit up at night, so there was no mistaking that electricity came from somewhere. But there were no electric appliances other than the streetlights. The fields were ploughed by bulls and hoe, and wood was used to build fires. Everyone expended time and energy. If only there was a hand pump, everyone’s lives would be much easier.
I decided to accompany the villagers and help them out with miscellaneous tasks. Be it drawing water, chopping firewood, carrying farm produce, there was a lot of manual labour. Everyone was grateful at first and were overjoyed. I liked moving about in the first place and had no troubles, and seeing everyone being happy gave me joy too.
Hayase-san never spoke of it, and paid close attention so that it did not appear in his actions, but he did not like me leaving his sight after all. He’d remember of the time when his family disappeared and feel anxious.
That’s why, in the house, I’d stay as close to Hayase-san as possible and accompany him in doing things.
Looking after him was better left to others, but I tried calling out to him, challenging doing laundry in the washbasin and cooking on the stove together with him. The both of us cooked, making blunders along the way, laughing as we ate it and grappling with the stains that wouldn’t come out. Ever since we started living a life that was possible with the efforts of two people, Hayase-san’s emotions settled down considerably and his smiles increased in number.
Hayase-san went out for a stroll every evening as a routine. I often accompanied him for them.
Hayase-san always carried many strips of paper in his sleeve.
While out on a stroll, Hayase-san would tie these strips up at various places.
When I asked him, “What are they?”;
“They’re letters”, he told me and unfurled one for me to look at. Written in it was, It snowed less this year and there was a bountiful harvest of tangerines. Hayase-san folded the strips of paper and tied them to a branch like fortune slips.
“It’d be nice if I could tell the disappeared villagers even a little about the happenings here.”
“……Will they reach them?”
“I believe it.”
Hayase-san, saying so, gave a wry smile.
“If I keep them tied like this, they’ll disappear someday. The letters, after they disappear, will go to the same place as the people who disappeared. It’d be nice if that happens, I think.”
At that time, I honestly was doubtful if such a thing happened.
But the moment I looked back at them, I noticed that the letters had disappeared, and understood that wasn’t the case. The letters had surely disappeared.
The village was in unrest even now.
But that’s exactly why Hayase-san and the villagers were awfully kind. I lived life to the fullest, prudently and steadily.
I had asked Hayase-san, “Aren’t you in despair?” But Hayase-san laughed it off saying, I’m well past that stage now.
While I looked on, Hayase-san spoke.
“I’m anxious too, but every day is dear to me.”
I lived my life here peacefully, helping everyone out with their jobs, having trivial conversations and laughing together.
Huh, what am I doing here?
Walking along the street, a sudden thought popped up in my mind. The idea that perhaps everything was a dream too surfaced.
Reminiscing of the family I’d left behind, my friends and school, the track-and-field events I did as part of my club activities, the manga I read and the games I played, the society I came to know of from the news and many other things from my former world, an unbearable feeling arose. While I was doing this, my friends would all be busy studying for their entrance examinations and will go to university the following year. Yet here I was, with even my clothes not of my former world.
When I realised I’d left all of it behind, my head felt strange with a feeling of impatience.
I frantically hid those feelings.
Because Hayase-san and the people of the village were gems of people, and they always paid attention so that I wasn’t inconvenienced in any manner whatsoever. If they came to know of the fact that I was lamenting the fact that I came here like that, they’d definitely feel hurt. That’s why I always smiled when everyone was around. I couldn’t let anyone know of my feelings.
One day, Hayase-san left for a house visit late at night and left the house open. All alone, gazing at the light of the electric poles that extended into the vast unknown, I felt a sudden urge to cry badly.
I loved both this world and the people of this village. I wanted to be with Hayase-san. Those were definitely my genuine feelings.
But my tears flowed as they pleased.
In a corner of the pitch-black room, for a long time, tears trickled down my cheeks, yet I left them alone.
Suddenly a warm thing hugged me from behind.
It was Hayase-san.
Hayase-san who’d returned home at some point hugged the back of the crying I.
I was at a loss.
I turned my head towards the side and hastily tried to wipe off my tears. It wasn’t Hayase-san’s fault. Why was I making him apologise?
But Hayase-san stopped my hands, and hugged me so strongly, it hurt.
He gently rubbed my head, and I cried uncontrollably.
It was embarrassing to show my crying face, thus I buried my face in Hayase-san’s shoulder.
Hayase-san kept on whispering “I’m sorry.” Unceasingly, endlessly.
Before long, my heart started feeling surprisingly light. As if Hayase-san took away half my pain.
It was shameful, but I probably was extremely hurt by the fact that I’d been cut off from my former world, but unreasonably kept it to myself and didn’t want anyone to realise it.
Hayase-san realised it. And he accepted all my feeling of anger and sorry.
Ah, I’m alright. I finally thought from the bottom of my heart, I can live my life here too.
1. Fortune Slips: Or Omikuji as they’re called in Japanese, random fortunes written on strips of paper at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan. You’d usually tie them to a pine tree if you get a bad fortune.
Happy New Year everyone! Hope you enjoy the New year with lots of fun and BL ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)…Welp I’m gonna be a bit busy till March prepping for college. Wish me luck!