Small Things

chapter six

第六章 | また春

new life again

... you remind me of a former love that I once knew
and you carry a little piece with you
we were holding hands
walking through the middle of the street
it's fine with me
I'm just taking in the scenery
you remind me of a few of my famous friends
well, that all depends on what you qualify as friends
take a chance, take your shoes off, dance in the rain
we're splashing around
and the news spread all over town
I'm not complaining
I'm just saying I'd like it a lot—more than you think
If the sun would come out and sing with me

finds a job after graduation in the quaint little village of Lascaigh—a nice little place with wide, open spaces, right next to the sea. There's a castle not far from the bed and breakfast that they've bought with the help of Aoife and (rather depressingly) a mortgage, and it's little more than a forty-minute drive to Aoife's house in Sligo. For the first time in life, he feels like he's finally making decisions that he's proud of.

He doesn't forget his children, of course: between his job at the local school and running the bed and breakfast alongside his sister, he makes sure to video chat with them regularly and keep up to date with what's happening. He is excited to hear about his dear Takato's upcoming graduation, Hiyori's rapidly developing interest in UFC, and Yuuki's newly made best friend. The very next day, armed with a parcel, he goes down to the post office to ship off letters to his beloved children, and a special graduation present for his eldest.

, of course, spends most of her time tending to the bed and breakfast. While she chose not to pursue education in the end, she seems happy to be doing what she's doing. She always looks content when she's cooking or cleaning or managing bookings for the bed and breakfast. When she's not looking after the place, he'll sometimes see her writing anywhere that fits her fancy. He's seen her write in the study, in the back garden—sometimes she even takes her things down to the shore to jot down a line or two in that notebook that she carries everywhere.

He's not entirely sure where she got it from, but when she's out of the room one evening he takes to sneak a peek at it. It looks expensive, but he's not sure just how expensive it is until he checks it out online and finds out that it's a bloody Smythson, and a single one goes for an unspeakable price. She laughs when he catches him spluttering over the price, and says, "It'd still be cheaper if he sent me two thousand notebooks from Daiso, don't you think?"

It's not odd for her to bring him up now and then. Even though 's settled and found a delightful new beau—a potter, down on the main street—she's never really made the effort to. He catches her writing letters addressed to Japan, sometimes England, and he knows that she's never really moved on from Keigo, but it seems plain that she doesn't want to. They've remained good friends over the years. When he's in Europe, he'll send for cars and planes to any inch of Ireland that's required to bring her to him. She laughs to that she sees Keigo more often since she's moved to Ireland than she ever did while she was still living in Japan, and tries to laugh along with her, but privately, he's never really sure if he did the right thing by making her come along with him. Even despite the yearly Christmas cars, is convinced that Keigo despises him from taking away the one thing that could make him forget who and where he was.

- x -

tells that she's taking the weekend off, and he agrees to look after the business without much complaint. It's a nice excuse to have Dáivi around for the weekend, and it's a nice excuse to have someone to help him out over the weekend with the bed and breakfast instead of managing it all on his own. 's not the worst cook in the world, but he'll admit that Dáivi is much closer to 's level of expertise.

The sun comes out in Easkey that Sunday, and it's been such a dreary March up until now that they decide they simply have to take advantage of the rays. They decide to have a picnic down by the beach, so Dáivi makes their food while goes upstairs to find a picnic blanket and a good book to enjoy after Dáivi inevitably falls asleep.

While he's up there, milling around in front of his bookshelf and searching for something that might fit his fancy, something catches his eye. He sees a car pulling up at the front gate, and gets out of the car. She's wearing a white sundress that he's never seen her wear before. He heads downstairs and hovers by the front door until he hears her shoes crunching through the pebbles, all the way up to the front doorstep. When she opens the door, she's wearing a smile that he's never seen on her before. She looks as though she's gotten a bit of a tan, so she's clearly been nowhere remotely near to Ireland or the United Kingdom.

Dáivi comes to the landing at the sound of the front door opening, perhaps thinking had gotten tired of waiting and left without him, but is pleasantly surprised to see . He asks her in Gaelic where on earth she managed to find enough sun to get such a tan, and she replies in her best (though broken) Gaelic that there's a surprising amount of it in Malta.

"Then why on earth did we move to Ireland?" asks.

"You're telling me." She laughs, sweeping past him into the kitchen. "Who's cooking?"

doesn't think he would have noticed it if he hadn't walked into the kitchen after and stood on the other side of the bench to her, watching her cut sandwiches into little quarters. Actually, it took him a little while longer to realize that it was there—that little band of gold around her ring finger. Neither of them chose to draw any attention to it, even though it had clearly become the elephant in the room—so it remained just that as packed their sandwiches for them and sent them off with a smile and a wave to enjoy their picnic.

He feels lighter as they walk down to the beach. There are so many questions that he wants to ask her, but doubts that he ever will out of respect for the relationship that he genuinely believed he'd quietly and unwittingly destroyed. So he lets it settle with him—go down with the sandwiches that he bites, chews, stomachs. And when Dáivi falls asleep, like he does every time, sets aside his book and lays down next to him, wondering if this is his ending, if this is the person that he can finally be with, and wondering if whatever they have will ever be the same as what and Keigo do.

An Deireadh
the end

Princo & Ribbon

December 27, 2017.


Iascaigh: It's a village in Country Sligo, although the English name for it is Easkey.

UFC: For those of you who aren't aware, it's an American-based mixed martial arts company and they do, like, I mean, probably like WWE, but UFC isn't exclusively wrestling. I don't know much about it myself since it's never exactly tickled my fancy, but my grandfather and sister watches it from time to time. I mean they both put on shows so w/e HAHA. UFC stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Sun in Ireland: Look, a few people have told me that the weather is totally unpredictable in March, but it's not impossible to see the sun during this time.

Ribbon: Five years later it's finally done. I kind of forgot that this was meant to be a Christmas gift from Princo one year, but someone it's just turned into this giant sappy work that put my wanderlust at bay for a little while. Look forward to another story update in like 10 years!

Princo: Okay so I totally did not tear up coding this. And I totally did not just learn UFC is more than just a gym that I live nearby.

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