She would always be there waiting for me. But today, she’s nowhere to be found.
Although it bewilders me how I manage to arrive here before her, it also makes me a bit happy. Since she would always scold me for being late, I’m looking forward to see how she will react this time.
Sensing people nearby, I hide in the long, dense grasses. I look around and spot the servants in the mansion running about in a fluster. Usually, no one would come around here except for the two of us…. Something doesn’t feel right, so I keep hiding from view. I’m sure she is having a hard time coming here in such a commotion.
“Still, what happened?”
I’m curious, but I’ll cause her trouble if I end up being seen by the people from the mansion. She’ll get angry at me, too, so I stay still and conceal my breath for a while until the people go away.
After about an hour, the place finally quiets down. There are no more people in sight. When I look around to search for her, I see a silhouette slowly coming closer. Just in case, I keep myself hidden to confirm if it’s really her. It’s hard to tell because I can’t see her face. But, it’s her.
“You’re late. What happened? I saw the people from your mansion running about.”
She’s as expressionless as ever, but I can feel that she is depressed somehow. I really want to know what happened, but she rarely talks about herself. She won’t answer even if I ask. I don’t want her to hate me, which makes me hesitate to press her for an answer.
Still, I can’t help the feeling that she looks different from usual. I’m worried.
“……Are you okay?”
“What do you mean?”
“Somehow or other.”
“That’s a weird thing to say…”
She weakly smiles, and she looks at me with her narrowed eyes. For some reason, my body feels stiff, as if she’s captured me with her gaze. Then suddenly, she grabs my arm, she’s hugging it.
“What… is it?”
“You only need to stay being yourself.”
“What do you…”
I don’t really get what she’s saying. I’m confused.
“That’s all you need to do.”
I nod to her for now, and she tightens her embrace on my arm a bit. I can do nothing but to stand still in that place. I’m not able to hug that small body of hers. I don’t have any gentle words to say, either.
“Your body… is warm.”
……I can’t even understand her worry, her pain, nor her sadness.