The heavy atmosphere hung in the spring air.
The third term, filled with various events, had come to an end, and everyone was looking forward to the upcoming spring break, known as the “best waiting time.” The famous cherry blossom trees in the Ouzakura District, which had been quiet, had regained their colors, and the vibrant pink cherry blossom path was bustling with people.
I myself had come to the Ouzakura District just last November, so I hadn’t yet seen the famous cherry blossoms in full bloom with my own eyes. Yuji and my classmates had talked about the beauty of the cherry blossom trees many times, so my expectations were higher than ever.
Someday, I wanted to see the truth with my own eyes…
Balancing a tray with rice balls and miso soup in one hand, I knocked on the door.
“I’m coming in”
There is no answer to that sentence either, but I open the door.
“…It’s breakfast.” (Yuran)
About a month ago, we were struck by tragedy.
It was a horrific and malicious event, more horrifying than any tragedy I had experienced in my life, and it easily shattered our hearts.
It was that day, one month ago.
After hearing the truth from Mana, I rushed out of the hospital.
“Nee-san is coming nearby!!”
And, worst of all, she knew the location of my house.
I imagined the harm that could come to Ginro-san and, without realizing that my toenail had cracked and was bleeding, I ran with all my might.
I couldn’t fathom what I could do if I had to confront my sister, screaming in trauma, losing my mind, and regressing to being a toy. I didn’t not think about those negative things, but what was more painful to me than anything was the thought of Ginro-san being harmed.
For reasons I didn’t understand, Ginro-san had become an incredibly important person to me, to the point where she was the reason to stand up against my sister.
By the time I arrived at the apartment, barricade tape had been put up in my room, and several police cars were parked below the apartment with their sirens blaring.
Yes, everything was too late.
My worst-case scenario had been tragically realized.
From that day on, I couldn’t get in touch with Ginro-san. I couldn’t return to the room that had become a crime scene. Naturally, I couldn’t go to school either. I slept in a manga cafe and went to the police station every day for interrogation.
And of course, all I heard was that Ginro-san was being detained at the police station.
I couldn’t get in touch with Ginro-san at all, didn’t know her mental state, physical condition, or what she was thinking. I knew nothing about her. I couldn’t be there for her, and that was the most painful part.
It was truly hellish days.
I only learned everything about what happened two weeks into that life.
One day, I was called to the police station as usual, and the detective told me that all the interrogations were over, and I would finally be able to know the entire truth of the case.
My house had been infiltrated by my sister, who had spent two days making a copy of the key.
The fact that my sister had caused Mana’s suffering.
Ginro-san, who had encountered my sister, had stabbed her with the broken shard of a cup in self-defense to protect herself.
And my sister’s consciousness had not yet returned.
The words that were spoken seemed unreal, as if they were stuck in my throat, and the detective calmly recounted the gruesome truth.
Knowing the truth was good, but faced with such a horrifying reality, I felt a despair I had never felt before.
When Mana was hurt, when Ginro-san was hurt…
Why couldn’t I be there for them?
This day, I spent a night truly wishing that I could disappear due to my own helplessness.
But more than me… Ginro-san and Mana were suffering.
It wasn’t a time for me to act like a victim, crushed by negative emotions.
And I understood that my mission was to help Ginro-san and Mana recover.
Ginro-san didn’t have any noticeable external injuries, and initially, the investigation treated it as an attempted murder case by Ginro-san, so they had her detained as the primary suspect. However, as the investigation progressed, it became clear that Ginro-san’s actions were in self-defense against my sister, Maya Kimisaki, who was behind both the attempted murder and the accident involving my younger sister, Mana Kimisaki. Therefore, the legitimacy of Ginro-san’s actions was recognized, and she was granted provisional freedom.
The day after the detective told me the truth, I went to the police station as Ginro-san’s legal guardian, and after two weeks, I was finally able to reunite with her.
However, after being confined to the police station for two weeks, undergoing relentless questioning by men despite her fear of them, and above all, burdened by guilt for nearly taking someone’s life with her own hands, Ginro-san was in no condition to have a proper conversation.
Ginro-san’s cheeks were gaunt, dark circles had formed under her eyes, and her once beautiful silver hair now looked messy and tangled.
I ran to Ginro-san, tears streaming down my face, and embraced her.
I couldn’t understand the reason for my tears. Was it because I felt sad seeing Ginro-san’s changed appearance? Or was it because we had finally reunited after being apart for so long? Or maybe it was because I was lamenting my own powerlessness.
No matter how I tried to analyze my feelings and fit the appropriate emotion into the situation, like a language arts test, it didn’t work. I just held Ginro-san tightly, crying openly without caring about anyone else’s gaze.
This happened about two weeks ago. Since that day, I’ve been letting Ginro-san stay at my house because I realized how dangerous it could be to leave her alone and how I wanted to provide her with some reassurance.
However, it wasn’t as easy as it might sound. Ginro-san’s wounds weren’t healing quickly, and she couldn’t even talk, let alone get out of bed.
“Ginro-san, it’s time to eat.”
I tried to talk to her, but Ginro-san just stared into space with empty eyes, showing no reaction.
I had thought that maybe she could eat even if she wasn’t responding, but when I returned to her room to check on the lunch I had left, I found the untouched cold food on the desk.
Ginro-san hadn’t touched her meal at all.
That’s when I realized I had been too naive. I had underestimated the depth of Ginro-san’s wounds.
I needed to feed her myself.
I took a spoonful of soup and brought it to Ginro-san’s lips.
Still, no reaction.
The soup I had left by her mouth gradually grew cold as she ignored it.
My arm, which I had been using to feed her, was trembling from exhaustion, so I returned the spoon to the dish.
This isn’t working either…
I looked at Ginro-san.
She was so frail now, and her once-beautiful nails were dry and brittle.
If she continued like this, she might die of malnutrition…
What can I do?
I continued to search for a solution.
Then, an idea struck me.
I had to face Ginro-san’s wounds head-on and accept the consequences of my own trauma.
I steeled myself for what I was about to do.
“Let’s sit next to Ginro-san.”
I sat down next to her on the bed, slipped my hand under her back, and raised her upper body.
Her body felt as if it were made of soft vinyl, lacking a sturdy skeleton.
I held her close.
Our faces were now very close, and I could hear my heartbeat racing.
This was the only way… If it’s Ginro-san, she’ll accept it.
She accepted the traumatized me who had been scared of her. No matter what I’m like, she’ll surely accept me.
I scooped some soup into my mouth and then gently opened Ginro-san’s half-closed lips with my hand, feeding her the soup mouth to mouth.
It startled her, and her choked gasp echoed in the room. I felt overwhelmed by guilt, but then I heard the reassuring sound of her swallowing.
Ah, mouth-to-mouth… It works.
I clung to this glimmer of hope.
I wiped away the saliva that had overflowed from both of us, and with renewed determination, I spooned more soup into Ginro-san’s mouth.
Ginro-san seemed to struggle, flailing her limbs.
I panicked, thinking she might be experiencing a trauma episode, and moved away from her. But then, I heard the sound of her swallowing once again, and she swayed before leaning against my chest.
Is she resisting…? Or maybe it’s because I gave her too much soup too quickly?
“I’m sorry, Ginro-san… Let’s take it slow, okay?”
I found a way to feed her, but I had to be careful not to rush it. I gently and slowly spooned small amounts of soup into her mouth.
At some point, Ginro-san began to open her mouth on her own, patiently waiting for me to feed her.
“Ginro-san… I love you.”
After I finished feeding her all the soup, I kissed her cheek and then her lips.
Even if Ginro-san never fully recovers and we continue living like this, I will continue to love her.
Two weeks ago, I made up my mind.
“…Ginro-san, let’s sit here.”
Ginro-san didn’t nod.
“For today’s breakfast, we have salmon rice balls and miso soup with tofu.”
No response from Ginro-san.
“I’ve adjusted the salt level in the rice balls to match your taste, Ginro-san.”
The Ginro-san who used to appreciate my cooking is no longer here.
But even so…
“Well, are you ready?”
I will continue to support Ginro-san.
That’s my reason for living and my mission.
TL: We caught up. I don’t know if this is the end or not.