Chapter 61: Kind people
Let me show you to your seat.”
The waiter leads me through the restaurant, which has a relaxed atmosphere without glittering decorations.
“If you have decided what you would like to order, please let us know.”
I take the seat I was shown and look over the menu.
There is nothing new.
I was about to order an iced coffee, but decided against it.
“An iced latte and a piece of cheesecake”
I usually don’t drink sweets, but today I decided to order something that he liked.
I was in that kind of mood.
Since it was Saturday, there were quite a few customers in the evening.
I watched one girl, probably a high school student, working quickly and efficiently.
(Shuya works in a nice place, doesn’t he)
My son working in his uniform at a fashionable café.
I wonder if Shuya will allow me to come and see that in person.
Shuya and Sachi are going on an overnight trip together in the morning.
Apparently, they were introduced by a friend.
I have been putting Shuya through a lot of stress.
I hope the stress can be relieved a little.
The cause of the stress itself is my fault, but I honestly don’t know what to do anymore.
I am happy to be living with them again.
I was irresistibly happy that Shuya, of all people, had suggested it.
If it were true, I should have done it.
They really are children who are too good for me.
I have no intention of giving up on being their parent.
Not because it’s a responsibility, but because I want to be one.
I took a bite of the cheesecake that had been brought to me.
A hint of sweetness fills my mouth.
I spend a relaxing time looking at the pictures Sachi sent to my cell phone.
In the morning, Sachi asked me to relax and not think about anything, just for today.
I was aware that I was leading a tense life.
But I didn’t find it painful, and in a way it was fulfilling for me.
I knew in my heart that I could not go on like this.
Was it in my face Did Fortune think I was tired I don’t know.
But Sachi said so.
No matter what her intentions were, I was willing to accept her concern.
But it was impossible.
There was no way that I could remain unmindful of what was going on.
I wanted to do something.
I wanted to be involved with those children.
And so I went to Shuya’s part-time job.
(They look happy, both of them.)
In the photo that was sent to me, there were two people with smiles on their faces.
It was a carefree smile that I had not seen for a long time.
（Thank you, Sachi.)
I couldn’t have done it.
I could never have made Shuya truly enjoy himself and put a smile on his face like this.
Without Sachi, the relationship would have been severed long ago.
I am truly grateful.
“Uhm…By any chance, are you Shuya-senpai’s mother”
Suddenly the girl working at the store asks me such a question, and I froze.
She holds the tray to her chest and looks straight at me with a determined expression on her face.
“Yes, I am….why”
I answer honestly, because I’m not hiding anything.
But how did she know I was Shuya’s mother
”I’ve been shown family photos by my senpai before,…….”
The family photo, huh.
When was the last family photo taken The last family photo I took was when….
he was alive.
Shuya still has that picture with him.
That fact made me very happy.
”My name is Shion Sakakibara.
I’m a junior of senpai.”
Since she called him “senpai,” shouldn’t it be natural that she is his junior I thought so, but decided not to say so.
She seemed to be somewhat nervous.
Why would she be nervous around me I wondered, but soon I came to a possibility.
(…… You like him, don’t you)
I was almost sure of this.
Her eyes were like a maiden’s itself.
This would not be because I am perceptive.
I can tell when I see it.
This is the face of a girl in love.
Otherwise, I wonder if she would remember his mother’s face every time she saw a family photo.
Even if she did remember, would she bother to talk to her
“—Shuya is always taking care of me.”
”Eh! Oh, no way! I’m the one who has been indebted to you…”
Sakakibara-san bowed her head as if to say that she had no intention of doing so.
… You are so cute, like a little animal.
”From now on… Please take good care of Shuya.”
With a bow of her head, she goes back to her work.
(If it were normal, would she have talked to me)
Shuya is a bright boy.
I am sure, though, that he is aware of her feelings as well.
I don’t know their usual relationship, and this is just a hunch, but I had a feeling.
I stopped her as quickly as I could.
She turned around and tilted her head to look at me.
I thought she didn’t know.
What kind of person I am and what I did to Shuya.
But I realized something and stopped myself from saying it.
I didn’t want to hide it.
I didn’t want to cover up my ugliness.
But then I realized something.
If I told her this, she would leave Shuya.
Of course, it would be better if she didn’t have a complicated family situation.
Shuya might think that I am a troublesome person.
From Shuya’s point of view, my ego must have been superfluous.
Can I have a refill”
”… Of course!”
In the end, I couldn’t say it.
I made excuses to myself that it was better to keep it hidden.
I followed her back with my eyes and made a face, trying not to be obnoxious.
I shouldn’t have worried her.
She seemed intelligent and kind.
I guessed she was the type of person who cared.
After about 40 minutes, I paid the bill.
Standing at the cash register was a rather strong-looking man.
I wondered whether I should introduce myself.
But I decided not to.
Sakakibara-san had found out, but there was a possibility that Shuya would not think well of my coming to this restaurant in the first place.
So I hid it.
—-I was going to hide it.
”My – my son is indebted to you.
Nice to meet you, I am Shuya’s mother.”
I told him.
The reason was simple.
I wanted to do something motherly.
I was aware that it was selfish, ego-driven, and shallow.
I wanted to thank him as a mother.
I had never been able to do such a natural thing.
I wanted to be allowed to do so.
( I want….
I want Shuya to forgive me.)
Even if I am not forgiven, I am ready to continue to make amends.
But I still want him to forgive me.
I know it is an arrogant thought.
I want to say I’m sorry, and I want him to forgive me.
I want to return to that kind of relationship.
I didn’t intend to get hung up on whether or not to be forgiven.
It is not such a simple matter, and Shuya’s heartbreak is not that shallow.
But – I already wished for it.
“It’s my pleasure… Shuya-kun, he works for me a lot.”
He bowed his head lightly and said so.
That was the end of the conversation.
But I was happy.
I felt like I was recognized as Shuya’s mother.
But it was not enough.
I had to make Shuya feel that way about me.
I left the store.
My steps were not light.
The paved asphalt felt steeper than usual.
I turned around at the sound of a voice calling out to me.
There was Sakakibara-san, out of breath.
“The… The person I love is! Not strong!”
She continued in a loud voice, paying no heed to the attention of those around her.
“He’s stubborn, persistent, a little insensitive, and even a bit eccentric at times…”
She took in a breath and said with a clear face.
”But he is a kind person…! That’s why…”
She did not have to say the last word.
She didn’t have to, though, because she had conveyed the message well enough.
“From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you.”
She bent at the waist and bowed her head.
I didn’t stop her.
She must have known what was going on.
On top of that, she gave me this shout out.
Really, thank you.
She ran back to the store.
Until the figure was out of sight, I did not look back.