“And where do you plan to go with that?”
”Hmmm. Far away for now.”
Going far away. Sachi’s words were the start of our date, but I didn’t expect her to mean exactly what she said.
It was a little after 10 o’clock. Sachi and I were riding the train together on a journey with no destination in mind.
”Where shall we go today?”
“Where are we going…”
It gives a sense of randomness, but I’ve noticed that it’s not really that. Her steps are too sure and clear for the purpose of just wandering around. I mean, all my suggestions have been rejected, so I guess Sachi has a definite destination in mind.
”Fufu, isn’t this fun?”
Sachi probably knows that she’s been exposed. The fact that she is acting this way means that she is genuinely enjoying this exchange.
I’m going to go with Sachi’s idea here. It’s not going to be a bad thing, I’m sure.
Besides, how could I not be excited about an outing like this?
”Uwa! A nice inn in a place like this!”
”… This is impossible.”
The train ride took two hours. And that was with an express train, which we rarely take, in between. It was obviously a planned trip, and there was no way I was going to be fooled by such an act.
“I’ve made up my mind! Let’s stay here today!”
” We don’t have the money to stay in such a nice place though?”
It was an expensive inn that I could see. I had never expected to come to a place like this in the first place, so my wallet wasn’t very well-stocked. Besides, this was a tourist spot. Because when you get off the train, you are at the beach. It wasn’t even summer vacation, but the place was full of stalls. It was not the kind of place you come to on a whim.
”It’s all right! I’m sure there are good people who will give to the poor folks!”
”There’s no way there is…. Oh, wait, Sachi!?”
Sachi, oblivious to my worries, pulls me by the hand and enters the ryokan.
“Sa-chan! I’ve been waiting for you!”
“Thanks for waiting, Saori! And thank you for today~”
We were greeted by a girl who looked somewhat familiar…
”Saori… Is that you by any chance, Yamashiro-san?”
”You remembered me! That’s right! I’m Saori Yamashiro!”
She smiled as she showed a quick salute, and seemed much more mature than I last remembered seeing her.
She, who calls Sachi Sa-chan, has been Sachi’s friend since kindergarten. Sachi and her and I had played together several times when we were still in elementary school.
After that, I don’t know what happened. I think she came over to my house a few times, but I never came out of my room.
“Why are you here, Yamashiro-san?”
”Just like the old days, Saori! Ask Sa-chan how it happened! I’ll show you your room, not here for now!”
I notice that her frank words and actions contain a certain amount of concern. Could it be that she is…?
”I’ve heard a lot about what’s going on from Sa-chan. I’m more of a consultant, or something like that anyway, I guess?”
“That’s kind of… Thank you.”
While walking down the wooden corridor, Saori overheard me and said something like that. It seems that she knows a lot about the situation in our house.
“Well, anyway, I’m glad to hear that Onii-san is doing well.”
”What are you two talking about? In case you’re wondering, I don’t want you to leave me alone either!”
Sachi’s cheeks puffed up and we both laughed. It kind of reminds me of the old days. I really miss the days when the three of us played together like this.
”I’ll take you to your room here, okay? Then, take your time~.”
”See you later, Saori.”
Saori showed us to our room, gave us a brief explanation, and then left. I would have liked her to explain more about the situation.
“So what’s this all about? I mean, you didn’t tell me you were staying overnight.”
“Well, let’s see. I’ll start by telling you where we are…”
According to her, this is an inn that Saori’s uncle is opening this summer. This is what is called a pre-opening.
The truth is, there was someone staying in this room, but that person has been sick since the day before yesterday.
It was only this morning that it was confirmed that this room would be available. Sachi had heard about this last night and had been invited to stay with us if a room became available.
“They have a kind of accommodation plan for young people, and they want me to tell them what I think of it.”
I see. Sachi and Saori are still good friends, and I understand that she was chosen for the job. But I’m not sure.
“You should have told me yesterday. I mean, what are you going to do tomorrow…”
“You don’t have a part-time, right? I heard from Shion-chan that you’re free this Saturday and Sunday.”
Who is Shion… Does she mean Sakakibara? When did the two of them make contact? I mean, they’ ve never met before…?
“Besides, Onii-chan, lately you’ve been letting me know in advance when you have something to do. This time it was sudden, forgive me? okay?”
I’m not mad at you?
Besides, I was quite fascinated by the information on the table about the open-air bath with a view of the sea. It was an opportunity I had to take advantage of. It would be a loss if I did not enjoy it.
”… I didn’t bring any underwear.
”Of course I have it.”
My sister quickly pulls out my underwear from her backpack.
… I am impressed.
I thought that it was too sudden, but I know that Onii-chan would have had a lot of ideas if I hadn’t been so forceful. It is true that Saori’s invitation was sudden, but I thought I would surprise him anyway.
It was indeed a sightseeing spot. At lunchtime, there were many crowds on the main street.
I was walking with Onii-chan, looking at the various souvenir shops lined up along the seaside.
There are many people. It would be a disaster if we got separated. I was a little embarrassed to hold his hand… so I took Onii-chan’s arm and held it…. I feel like I’m doing something more embarrassing than him, but I don’t care anymore, it’s too late.
Onii-chan makes a troubled face and looks into my face as if he is trying to find out my intentions. That kind of look makes me want to be meaner to him.
”What is it?”
I blurted out, pretending not to understand anything. Of course, Onii-chan could hear all that I was saying, but perhaps he gave up on my attitude and accepted my selfishness.
This is selfishness. A monopoly I was allowed.
”It’s fun, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it’s something.”
I haven’t done anything yet, but I can still think it’s fun. No doubt there will be more fun times ahead.
We walked slowly, gazing at the sea. We had lunch on the way, and when we were satisfied for the time being, we returned to the inn.
I told Saori, who greeted me, what time dinner would be served, and we decided to relax in the hot spring until then.
I parted from Onii-chan and headed to the bathhouse by myself. I met up with Saori, who was waiting for me on the way, and we took a bath together.
”Sa-chan, how was your day?”
“It was great fun, thanks to you.”
I answer Saori’s question while looking out at the ocean in the open-air bath. The pleasant breeze soothes me as we talk about what we did today.
—-But somewhere inside of me, my heart is rebelling against it.
”Sa-chan, is there something you are worried about?”
I was surprised by Saori’s question.
“… Do I look like I am?”
“Yes, I see it. It feels like… Impatient?”
I don’t know what on earth Saori is thinking when she says that. An expression? A gesture? Or a hunch? In any case, Saori, who I have known for a long time, is saying it. I must be somehow different from usual.
And I was aware of it. She was right, I was in a hurry.
I felt that Onii-chan was already an adult.
If I were in his shoes, would I have been able to forgive myself?
Probably not. I would probably not be able to forgive my sister for doing all those things just because she was a relative of mine.
I would never actually be in that position, so this is just a hypothetical. Maybe I could forgive myself with a generous heart, just like Onii-chan.
”I know that Onii-chan is going to leave home someday.”
That meant an inevitable goodbye in the sense that regardless of the family environment, one day he would become independent.
”I felt lonely when I thought about it, and more importantly, I knew I didn’t have much time left.”
A family of 4 again. My wish was terribly selfish. [TL: I don’t know why 4]
What if Onii-chan chose to live on his own to attend college? There is nothing strange about that. He has been able to do it before. For Onii-chan, it is a realistic option.
I must not destroy his choice because of my selfishness. It is an inviolable territory that must never be violated.
Until now, living alone was a choice that Onii-chan was forced to make. But from now on, it is different. He must willingly make this choice for the sake of his future.
“Sa-chan, you are a very good sister”
”….That’s not true. I’m always causing trouble for Onii-chan”
He really is a kind Onii-chan. That’s why I am allowed to be spoiled by him. It’s not me who is amazing. It is Onii-chan who allows me to do so.
“You love your brother, right?”
”…Yes. It’s a matter of course.”
Because he’s my Onii-chan Because he was my Onii-chan.
”I don’t get along with my brother at all.”
”Is that so? Is that so?”
”That’s right! He’s always in the way when I’m at home, and he’s weirdly annoying and kind of creepy, and I always wonder if he’ll get a job soon and leave home.”
But you know, Saori continued.
”But, you know, we’re siblings. Words can’t describe it, but there’s still something special there.”
Siblings, even if they are not close. It’s a very nice feeling.
“Even if we don’t get along with each other, we are still a family. That’s why Sa-chan will be fine. Because he’s such a good big brother, right?”
”Yeah… I’m sure you’re right…!”
”That’s right. So don’t be so uptight. You should try to spoil him as much as you can once in a while. I think it’s just right to be selfish and annoy him a little.”
“…Yes. Thank you, Saori.”
Saori then gets out of the hot water. Perhaps it was because she mentioned her own brother, but her ears seemed to be a little tinted with vermilion, but let’s just say it was because of this wonderful hot spring.
I’m sure I’m the same as Saori.