The president and I then sat in silence.
After a little while, he told me about the old days, and then he put on his uncle’s face and told me a story about him and my dad.
With kind eyes…really nostalgic for his youth, Uncle spoke up.
“Seiji and I, you know, were childhood friends. When I was a little boy, I was always weak, almost crushed by the pressures of home. My grandmother was very strict. It was natural for me to help out in the family business, and it was natural for me to be the best in school. That was my upbringing.”
Narimiya’s family is said to have been a large landowner for a long time. He did not learn about the family’s business until after he joined the company.
His grandfather, the predecessor, retired from the company and lives with his grandmother in a care house a short distance away, but I wonder if he was that scared.
I can’t imagine that because he was always so kind to me when I was a child.
“Whenever I was down, Seiji would listen to my complaints. He saved me many times. Then one day, I fell in love. She was one of the best girls on campus. Even Uncle had his younger days. Of course, so did Seiji.”
I was not able to talk about my father’s love life before I was old enough to remember it, but for me, it was a topic that I was not allowed to talk about, so it was new.
“But I’m not much of a romantic person. Between my studies and helping out in the family business, I was completely out of the loop.”
This was a little surprising, given his strong communication skills. After all, what one evaluates of oneself does not always match what others evaluate of one.
“Seiji was a quiet and gentle man who read many books. He had always had a different angle on me. He noticed my infatuation right away and made a connection with that girl. We were in the same club. I was just floating along, not thinking anything of it. Hahaha. I had my father’s forceful personality, so I did as he told me and aggressively pursued the girl.”
I don’t think he was aggressive; I think he was straight with people. The company motto and company precepts, which are said to have been created by his grandfather and the previous president, were indeed very convincing.
“And they bore fruit. But you know what? I finally realized after that. Seiji was in love with her, too. But he didn’t look at me with false eyes. He was really happy.”
“…I can imagine what it was like.”
“Right? But I, you know. He is still my childhood friend. I was aware of the fact that he was hiding something from me. But until it came to fruition, I was too occupied with myself to tell him. I told Seiji as if I was turning my back on him. It was a shameful thing for me to do. I asked him many times if he was really okay. Looking back, I think that was the rudest thing I could have done to Seiji, but I didn’t know at the time. But instead of getting angry or sad, he would say each time, “Akira Narimiya. What are you?””
I don’t know if it was from the past or if it was a quote. I’ll ask him next time.
“Hahaha. I didn’t know what it meant at first. I was angry, thinking he was making fun of me. He said there was no answer. But then I started to understand. It was a way to unify my thoughts, to know who I really am and what I’m looking for. Know who you really are and ask for it. That’s how I took it. I guess that’s when I started. I became this way.”
“…I knew that Seiji had always been a man who wished for the happiness of others rather than his own, but I realized that I had never seen him for anything but myself. That girl… my wife understood”
“That we both loved Suwako. Seiji doesn’t acknowledge, though. That was painfully obvious to me. Besides, my wife tried very hard to explain it to me. Only when he married Honoka did he tell a lie that only I could understand. It was about you.”
Uncle knew about it too?
“Seiji’s first false eyes upset me. I’m sure he had feelings he didn’t understand and it conflicts with me. Nevertheless, it is also true that Seiji’s big lie saved my life. After all, he deceived all of us when we were in love for the first time. That was probably the biggest lie of his life. Therefore, there was no second time. I thought so and congratulated him without saying anything. I was sure he was in love with Honoka. I didn’t understand it, but it was the path he had decided to take. So it was my turn.”
“But I was conflicted. I wanted to tell Seiji many times. Each time I did, my wife would stop me, and I’d get pathetically jealous. Hahaha. But eventually I realized. I was convinced on my own that Seiji and Toki-kun are father and son after all.”
“You’re convinced…on your own accord?”
“Yes. The way you behaved towards Haruka, haha. You were the Seiji of my childhood, Toki-kun.”
“…Is that so….”
Yes. It warms my heart to know that I am not the only one who feels a connection between my father.
“Yeah, you and him are really alike. Well, that’s why. I was really happy when Toki and Haruka started dating. Even though I am not related to Seiji by blood. I also had my own conflicts, so I didn’t show it openly.”
When I was a child, Uncle Narimiya took care of me in every way.
He still is.
He is the one who took care of the company and my father’s hospitalization. I wonder if my father supported my uncle that much.
Maybe it was a place of support. The importance of a place where one can vent one’s feelings is something I have only recently come to understand, and I am sure it was very necessary for Uncle.
“That’s why I… brought up the idea of a marriage proposal to keep you and Haruka seperated after all that happened. ……Even if it doesn’t resemble me. The truth is that I was weak, stupid, upright, and selfish… and I hurt you. For that I am truly sorry.”
“No…that’s okay now.”
“Toki-kun. Seiji… at that time of our first love, he was really bright and cheerful and told a big lie… totally and utterly infuriating. Hahaha…”
Saying this, Uncle Narimiya turned his warm eyes on me, something I had seen in the past.
Despite his words, he seemed to be in a very pleasant mood.
“Haha. I see.”
Then he shifted his gaze out the window and muttered in a voice so small I couldn’t make out to whom he was addressing.
“So I thought I would let me spit a little bit too… don’t you think it can’t be helped?”
I don’t know what kind of lie he was telling, but I assumed that he was wishing for someone’s happiness.