Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
I had a dream about my childhood…
“I love you, Takkun!” A girl said.
“Then, please stay with me from now on!”
“Mhm! I’ll make a promise with you!”
The girl’s voice was happy, and I was happy, too. I thought that blissful time would last forever, but…
“—Seriously! Hey, you agree with us, don’t you?!”
“Eh, um… I— Yes…”
She nodded hesitantly while I was crouching on the floor, surrounded by our classmates.
Beep! Beep! Beep—!
“Nnn… Ugh…” I wake up to a rasping sound, the herald that wakes me up every single day.
Above me, a familiar ceiling to remind me where I was. A room with the morning sunlight shining through the window, dust glistening as it wafted around. Its owner was absent for a few days, after all.
Looking outside, I see little birds chirping to the break of dawn.
Worst morning ever.
That was a dream I stopped having for quite some time. I thought I was able to finally shake off the past and look forward, but as soon as I believed that, it came back.
I feel something rise up from my stomach, and I almost feel like throwing up. The memories of what happened after made me sick…
I glare at the digital clock standing beside me and click my tongue. That high-picthed grating sound just added a flair to that discomfort, almost like salt to my wounds. I slam my fist down half-heartedly and stop that constant screeching, but..
The shrills just wouldn’t stop, even after stopping the alarm. I turn to the source of the sound, and find it was coming from my smartphone under the pillow.
Come to think of it, I had both alarms set. I sigh, feeling sorry for my own poor memory, and my frustration fades along with it.
… Okay, I’ll just turn it off.
My alarm was grating on my ears as I unlocked my phone. To my surprise, I see two new messages. One from my mom, another from my sister.
I stop the alarm and then check the messages.
“Congratulations on enrolling in high school, Tatsumi. I was going to wake you up, but you were sleeping so well I just couldn’t wake you up. I’m going off first, so don’t be late.”
“Congratulations on your new school year. I can’t go with you because I have work for the student council, but I’ll be waiting at the school gates, so come asap. I won’t tolerate tardiness on your first day.”
Those were the two messages.
“Ah… Today’s the entrance ceremony.”
It was 10 PM yesterday when I came home. I thought it’d be best to be here at least the day before the ceremony. I’d quietly opened the door so as to not wake Mom and Sis, but the light in the living room was on. Someone must be awake, I thought.
“… I’m home,” opening the door, I found my sister sitting on the sofa while reading a book.
She turned her face to me and said, “Welcome home,” before going back to what she was doing. “I just got a call from mom saying she took the day off and will be coming to the entrance ceremony tomorrow… That’s a relief.”
“I… See… Well, that’s unusual.”
With that short reply as the last word, we both stay quiet. Silence overtook the living room, reigning over us. This was the first conversation I had with my sister in several days.
Although we’ve been in frequent contact through messages, I still feel nervous when I meet her face-to-face.
After a short while, I couldn’t stand this awkward atmosphere any longer, and I went upstairs to my room. Then I set those two alarms for 7:30 AM so I wouldn’t be late.
… Ah, that’s right. I had that conversation.
My consciousness gradually came into focus. After that dream, I just couldn’t think straight, nor did I feel well-rested. I think I should do something about it, but it’s just a matter of how I feel, so there’s no point.
Oh, and you’re in the student council, huh, sis? I had no idea since we haven’t talked much in the last few years.
And if you and mom were worried about me being late, you could’ve just woken me up. That way I wouldn’t have had that dream. Ugh, it’s okay though, it’s all in the past…
I looked at the time, and the screen showed 7:33. School would start at 8:40, and it’s a 20-minute walk from here to there, so I still have plenty of time. However, my sister told me to come early, so I’d better hurry up a bit.
In any case, I get out of my futon and change into my brand new uniform. Walking downstairs, I stuff my stomach with breakfast and quickly wash the dishes afterward.
Then I go to the washroom, give myself a quick freshen-up, and head to the entrance.
… These mornings are always the same. I’m usually home alone at this time, so there’s no one to say goodbye to.
It’s April, yet the mornings are still a bit chilly. As I left home, I noticed the nameplate next to the front door.
My last name. The proof I’m my mother’s son, and my sister’s brother… But am I really a part of this family? Do they even think of me that way?
… Well, I’m hardly ever home these days.
However, this is completely self-inflicted. If I had a delinquent son who didn’t even show up at his parents’ house, I’d say, “You’re not my son!”. Though I don’t think my mom would ever say that…
So, at least when we’re at home, we try to do things that are family-like, in a sense. Just saying “I’m home” or “I’m off” makes us look a little more like family, doesn’t it?
That’s why I turned around to this empty house of ours and opened my mouth.
“… I’m off,” I muttered quietly.
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