Warm Place Chapter 8


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Reminiscence 3

I frantically turn the square-shaped toy, making some clattering sounds. But the colors just won’t line up no matter what I do, and so I throw it away.

“Not a chance! It’s too difficult for me!”

She picks up the Rubik’s cube that’s tumbling on the lawn, and she makes a fed-up face.

“You sure give up fast. How about giving it some more effort?”
“I’m not good at using my head.”
“That’s right.”

Clatter clatter, she turns the cube several times before holding it towards me.

“Eh, the colors are all lined up…”
“You just need to arrange them properly.”

So she says nonchalantly.

“This is so unfair—!”
“Even if you tell me that…”

My complaint makes her look a bit troubled, which is an expression that I rarely see from her. So even though I feel bad, it still makes me a tiny bit happy.

“With a bit practice, I’m sure you’ll be able do the same.”
“I wonder.”
“It’s like how you’ve been improving your cookies.”

I haven’t managed to squeeze a “delicious” from her so far, but at least her response has changed to “so-so”, recently. By the way, I’ve started baking cakes, waffles, and other kinds of sweets, too. Along the line, it’s become a fun thing to do before I could realize it.

“Hmm, but that’s because making confectionery is my hobby.”

I’m not really motivated to do something that I’m not interested in. But maybe I’ll try since she’s telling me to.

The cell phone in my pocket suddenly vibrates. Taking a look, I see that I’ve got one message.

“…Who is it from?”
“My sister. She’s been sending me lots of them ever since my parent bought her a prepaid one.”

The content reads △. She’s even mastered how to use emoticons, how endearing. To think that she would send me some unidentified string of numbers when she’s still new with the phone; she’s been making a remarkable progress.

She peers at my phone, and she narrows her eyes.

“She wants you to go home, it seems.”
“Hehe, my sister’s a spoiled one.”
“How about you go home now?”
“Eh? but…”
“Just go already.”
“Y-yes!”

I end up shrinking away because of her no-talking-back glare. She knows that I can’t say no if she overbears me like this. How sly of her.

“I-I’ll be going then.”

I helplessly turn my back to her, but then I feel the hem of my clothes being pulled. I can’t go home like this.

“What?”

Curious, I look over my shoulder. Although, I can’t see her expression since she’s hiding her face. I wonder what’s going on, really.

Could it be that she doesn’t want me to go home or something? Nah, this is her I’m talking about. Besides, she’s the one who told me to go in the first place.

“………”
“………”

She isn’t saying anything. So, I don’t, either.

Not being able to move, I stay like that for a while, and we both keep silent for the whole time.

I don’t really get what’s going through her mind. It’s always been like that. Although, perhaps I’m the one who’s too dull to notice. But still…

“Sorry.”

She releases her grip, I can move around now.

“I need to go back soon… See you.”

She is returning to her mansion, and I simply watch her in silence. But that back of hers seems so small somehow, like she’s going to disappear somewhere. I feel anxious.

That’s why, I softly call… her name. It seems she hears my voice, though, since she turns around towards me.

“I’ll do my best!”
“Eh?”
“Uum, yeah, the Rubik’s cube! I’ll keep practicing until I can solve it!”
“…Isn’t it impossible?”

Wha- aren’t you the one who told me that practice is all I need?

“It’s not impossible!!”
“…………”
“……hh!”
“Do your best.”

It feels to me that I can see her smiling a bit. She returns to the mansion while I’m still in a daze,. Suddenly she’s already gone from my view.

…That day, before I go home, I swear to myself that I’ll beat her time record. I practice for around a week after that, until I manage to put all the colors in order. Although, I still cannot beat her time. She does recognize my efforts, but I am not satisfied with that.

In the end, I never get to achieve my goal. It’s so vexing.


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