“Shota-kun, …… Shota-kun.”
Tap tap, he taps me on the shoulder.
When I responded to the voice calling me, I heard the sound of rain outside and smelled the aroma of fragrant butter coming from nearby. When I opened my eyes, my vision was unfocused and blurry.
“Good morning. It’s …… 5:30 pm in the evening. Are you okay with the time?”
“Eh, ah, …… yes. Yes, it is fine.”
Hearing Makoto’s words, I understood the situation.
It seems that I had fallen asleep before I knew it. I believe it was around 3:30 pm when I came here. I don’t remember anything after I had a sip of coffee and talked with Makoto for a little while, so it seems that I had been asleep for almost ……2 hours.
“I’m sorry, I fell asleep.”
“Don’t worry about it. You must be hungry, eat this.”
After checking my face, Makoto put an omelet and water in front of me, saying, “Your stomach rumbled while you were sleeping”.
“Thank you. …….”
My head wasn’t working very well and I answered that reflexively. I was certainly hungry. I was even more hungry when I heard the sound of my stomach grumbling. Perhaps that’s why the omelet that was served to me looked better than usual, better than when I had been served it once before.
“Yes. …… Oh, you don’t have to pay for it.”
“Eh, no, I’ll pay for it.”
“I can’t take money for something I served without your order. Well, just think of it as a kind of meal.”
He laughed gently and went to the back of the restaurant. Hmmm ……. Well, if that’s the case, I’ll take it gratefully……?
“Thank you very much …….Thanks for the food.”
I scoop the omelet into my mouth, and it tastes amazingly good, probably due to my hunger. I feel like just one bite will cheer me up.
….I wonder what my mother’s cooking tasted like today.
Suddenly, such a thought comes to mind. But no matter how much I thought back, I couldn’t remember anything but that sensation, like my head was being shaken.
After taking a few bites, I noticed that there were no other customers.
“Did you….. close the store already today?”
“Oh, yeah. I was originally going to close early today. Tomorrow you can take the day off. Didn’t I tell you?”
“Aah, you did. …… Sorry about everything.”
Because I fell asleep, I wonder if he stayed behind… He even made me an omelet like this. ……I wish you would have woken me up, isn’t that what I’m saying?
I fell asleep, so he stayed with me. …… He even made me omelet rice this way. I guess it’s not for me to say, “You should have …… woken me up.”
“Don’t worry, don’t worry. Michiko is already resting.”
Makoto says so with a smile.
……I’m really, really sorry.
“Fu……. Hope you get some rest.”
I was just scooping up a spoonful of omelet rice to hurry up and eat when Makoto sat down in a chair inside the counter and spoke to me.
“Ah, yes. …….”
Makoto-san sat down and continued working.
Well, should I say something? Even though ……, what should I talk about ……? I can talk normally when I’m working part-time, but when I remember what happened before I fell asleep, the words don’t come out like they usually do.
Come to think of it, before I fell asleep, I couldn’t hold a lot of things in, and I think I told him about my day, about junior high school and about my family, all in one word: trouble. I asked for advice, so should I talk about those things properly? ……No, but I don’t want to talk about such a long story now. ……
……Better yet, should I eat quickly, wash the dishes, and go home? I can’t stay here forever.
I was just a few bites away from finishing my meal when I heard the ringtone of my cell phone, something I don’t usually hear, coming from my pocket.
My heart instantly beat faster from surprise. And then, without settling down, it beat faster and faster.
Was it my mother? I had said I was going to call her or something.
I checked the caller’s name, feeling as if my body temperature had dropped all at once, and as I expected, my mother’s name was displayed.
“Is it a phone call?”
“Ah, yes. …….”
I answered Makoto’s question, but my fingers trembled and would not move as I tried to press the answer button.
I took a deep breath, put my finger on the answer button, and put the phone to my ear.
[Ah, Shota! Did Haruka go to your place?!”
I was told something unexpected before I could prepare myself for what was going to be said, and I just had to ask back.
[I’ve not been able to contact her since she left saying she was going to Shota. She left in a hurry. She didn’t even take her umbrella with her, and I thought something must have happened to her–]
……It’s only 5:30 pm and I think you’re worrying too much. Haruka is already in the eighth grade.
I mean, why come to my place? ……Why?
“……I don’t know, I’m not at home right now. Anyway, I’ll go to my house now.”
“I’ll call you when I find her.”
[Please do. I’ll look near my house.]
I took my phone away from my ear and heard a small pop, the sound of a call ending.
Although I was a little worried about Haruka…… I was relieved that it wasn’t about me.
“…… are you okay?”
“Ah, yes. I’m sorry, I have to hurry and go home.”
“….Yes, take care.”
I put my cell phone in my pocket and put my bag on my back.
Now, if Haruka is at my house, that’s fine …….
If she was……. No, it’s obvious that she should be there.
I hurried to the door and opened it to the sound of rain falling as loud as the clanging of the bell.
“Haa, haa, haa.”
My hair was in the way as I ran in the rain. My clothes also weighed me down, making it hard to run, and I was breathing faster than usual.
Nevertheless, home is close and I’m almost there. It’s just around the corner.
“Haa, haa. ……”
I looked toward the front door of the house and saw Haruka there, sitting down.
…..For now, thank goodness. ……
Haruka had the darkest expression I have ever seen on her face.
…… What should I do from now on…..