62. Grandmother’s story
I was so moved that I hugged Rie.
Before I knew it, Rie was in my arms.
I never intended to do such a thing with my family watching, so how did this happen?
Well, I knew why.
The circumstances of Rie and Rie’s mother were similar to mine when I was in the original world.
There was a strange feeling of closeness, and Rie’s decision to make a big decision that I couldn’t make at that time probably made my heart lose its grip.
Letting Rie go, she was now like a corpse on a bench in the garden.
And for some reason, I felt steam coming out of my body.
“You used to be more shy before, but in five years, seems things have changed, unexpectedly.”
Just as I sat straight thinking about what I had done, Grandma approached me.
…Of course, you’d think so.
Though, it’s only recently…
“It’s about my future.”
“I see. Well, if you can look straight ahead, that’s a good thing.”
…Those are such meaningful words, but what are you trying to say?
“In the world, there are many things that go beyond your control.”
When I was tilting my head, Grandma said something like this.
I wonder if she’s referring to the tyranny of power…
Rie, Makoto, and Yuuko… their parents don’t have any special powers. It’s the same with us. Just ordinary families.
…Just because I want something doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to come true.
“Well, I’ll do something about it. In fact, I’m thinking about that as well.”
Grandma opened her eyes.
Apparently, my answer was surprising.
“Sure, we’re nothing now, but we don’t know the future.”
“I see, makes sense.”
Grandma laughed out loud and tapped me on the shoulder.
Seems, she doesn’t have to get drunk to be in a good mood.
“It seems my grandson is growing up to be a big man. I’m looking forward to the future.”
After laughing again, Grandma walked away.
Did I exaggerate a little too much?
“…..Well, whatever. It’s true that we don’t know the future.”
Rie’s mother is… still chatting with Mom. They’re having fun, aren’t they?
Moe-chan and Saki-chan… look a bit bored.
“…Allright, let’s have some dessert. There’s ice cream in the refrigerator. Both of you, come. Let’s go get it together.”
” “Yes!” “
Together with Moe-chan and Saki-chan, I went to the kitchen.
The one Mom bought was a big two-liter pack.
It was a staple at parties and BBQs, but looking at it would make anyone wonder whether women really care about calories or not.
“Please bring this, and this.”
Moe-chan carried the containers and spoons for everyone, and Saki-chan ran to the garden with the ice cream in her hand.
“So… which topping should I prepare?”
I didn’t about others but in my case, I liked to use original toppings for ice cream.
I picked up honey, chocolate chips, matcha powder, instant coffee powder, and olive oil.
“Guess, it’s enough?”
Surely, you’ll find your favorite taste with this much, right?
In the end, the olive oil topping was unpopular. Even though I thought it was delicious.
The next morning, Grandma was getting ready to go back to the countryside. It was still undecided about what she would do next.
In the first place, because she went around Japan for work, she didn’t really know her own future schedule.
Looking at the little luggage, she seemed to buy only a moderate amount of souvenirs.
I whispered a question to Grandma while helping her pack.
“Hmm, Grandmother. Outside, how is it?”
“What? I’ve talked about it before, right?”
“Yes, but soon, “MSA” starts.”
If possible, I’d like to go outside. And since the hurdles for that are high, I intend to use this opportunity…
“……I think it’s changed, but not that much. As long as you can work in the special ward, you’ll be able to spend the rest of your life without problems.”
“I heard that some grown men are living outside.”
“……Well, you’re right. Some people leave the special ward for a reason, and some go out of their own volition. Even so, they don’t wander around much. Lately, I’ve met some when I’m doing my work, but that’s about it. Though, compared to before, the number has decreased.”
In Grandma’s era, the percentage of men was still high, at least higher than now, so it wasn’t really surprising if there were a few men wandering around outside the special ward.
At that time, the special ward had just been created, so some men must have had a hard time leaving the familiar land.
In the last ten years, however, that situation seemed to have changed completely.
Certainly, there were men who leave the special ward for work or other reasons, but only a few.
Grandma said that from now on, more and more men would spend their lives in the special ward.
“…Because I’m in this era, I want to go outside. If possible, I want to go out freely…… but it seems difficult, so I thought I should try to use any little opportunity to do that while I was in high school.”
“Then, let me tell you. Special wards, are like dots in Japan. And most women, live outside of those dots.”
“Yeah. I’ve heard that the outside of the special ward isn’t uniform.”
“Right. It’s different in each region, and even in the same area, it’s different for each town.”
“Social polarization, a disparity, is it?”
“That’s a nice way to say. Hmm… right, the word disparity fits nicely. It’s not just urban and rural areas. It changes depending on whether the nobles live there or not, and there’s a place where people would say “Marry someone from there”. Some towns have people who’re historically been on bad terms with each other, some have a clear gap between rich and poor, and some are only connected to other towns by a single road. That’s outside the special ward.”
“Yeah right, even if you say outside the special ward, there are big cities, villages, and many more. To explain it in one word is hard huh…”
Asking someone who lives outside the special ward, “What is outside the special ward like?”, most likely, they’ll answer with their own hometown as a basis…
“If that’s the case, what does grandmother think of “city and countryside”? How different are they?”
“That’s a difficult question. If you want to know about the general stuff, you can go to the Information Bureau in the Central Office and look at the public documents… But that’s not what you want to know, is it?”
“Yeah. I want to hear the real voice of the person who actually saw and experienced it.”
“I see… Then let me talk. Rural areas are now, built on resignation and irresponsibility. It’s no longer possible to start reformation on their own, in short, “rotting trees”, is the current situation.”
Changing one’s own lifestyle can involve pain and suffering, and there are times when even extreme patience is required.
But those outside can’t make that choice…
So, “resignation”, the act of giving up is prevalent throughout rural areas.
Within them, the time when stagnation is seen as a pause for further development is long past.
“Resignation huh…… what about the irresponsibility, to be more specific?”
“No one takes the lead. I think it’s scary to live in a society where you can’t make decisions. No one wants to take responsibility. Irresponsible. If someone raised their voice and gathered their friends, something might change. But, no one with the charisma to do that has appeared anywhere. As it is now, nothing will change.”
In the decades of transporting goods between urban and rural areas, Grandma said she had seen a lot of rural areas that didn’t change at all.
“Then, what about the urban area?”
“At least, there’s hope. But, only the areas ruled by the nobility have developed. The others have been left behind. That’s why many make an effort to move to the special ward. Or move to a city around it.”
“I understand that much…”
“If you live in an urban area, you can see the wealth, human resources, and hopes being sucked into the special ward every day. Should you join? Should your daughter join? They’re living with such thoughts. In other words, for better or worse, even if you live in a provincial city, what you see is inside the special ward.”
The special ward is full of dreams and hopes.
It seems they are thinking that way. And make an effort, or try to entrust their dreams to the next generation…
“Is all like that?”
“Hmm, those who don’t look at the special ward, look and follow the nobility who governs the land. That way they can live happily. Well, I think that’s also a way of life.”
Right, flattering those who have absolute power is also a way of life.
“Did you find it helpful?”
“Yes. But, with just even one charismatic person, will the situation really change?”
“For sure, if by any chance, if there were such a person, society would change and start moving again.”
Although Grandma said this, she didn’t seem to believe in it that much.
And after leaving behind the words, “I’ll come back again when I find free time.”, Grandma left.
I somewhat know the situation, but…
If there’s a person with great charisma, would society really change?
The words I heard from Grandma, remained in my head, for a long time.
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