52. Faucet and Cup
Following what happened, my days of observing the situation around Natsukawa related to Blondie continued, as I couldn’t bear the thought of Natsukawa getting harmed. Since then, however, Claumaty hadn’t contacted her. After learning more about the ‘East and West’ rumor, it was clear where this awkward atmosphere came from. As of right now, there were rumors here and there coming up from clubs about members being unfriendly with each other.
That being said, since both Natsukawa and I were in the go-home club, we didn’t know anything regarding that. Ashida also said that the volleyball club didn’t have any west-side students either. And Saitou-san’s tea ceremony club apparently was on the acquaintance principle, so the members didn’t talk too much.
Information is a weapon after all, and though I’m worried about Natsukawa, I want to avoid trouble as best as possible. But, no one knows when something will happen again, so it’s better to keep my antenna up and be on the constant lookout. Hm? Aren’t I actually more competent than usual?
The rain was so heavy today. In a way, it was like a baptism by summer.
…Talking about the rainy season, people generally think of June, but for many years, rainy seasons actually often continue into July and August. Even if you protect yourself with an umbrella, the ground is still all wet. And you need to spend time in school with your drenched socks, the discomfort you feel from them just, step-upping frustration.
Walking my way to school, I was humming a popular song with the rain falling as a musical accompaniment. The melody of water droplets played by my umbrella, completely drowned out my voice.
The humid feeling, the unpleasant feeling, this karaoke-esque feeling healed it all ── hey, didn’t that sound like a poem just now? Nah…
As I was thinking about these pointless things in Japan, I heard the sound of a large truck approaching me from behind.
Need to get out of the way──ah, right, I’ve been walking on the sidewalk, no worries…… No, wait a second?
“Both his eyes and face look so dead……”
The tension went reminiscent of the so-called miraculous fork ball. It fell so much that it landed a straight hit directly into the catcher’s balls. That was quite a power word, one might say. But if that really happened, it really wasn’t his day, and let alone his baseball career, his life as a man would be over.
“Today’s not my day……”
On the way to school, I was attacked by violent water.
Now, not only that, Ashida’s pity expression dealt a mental attack in the style of a spike.
One thing was, I didn’t expect to get handkerchiefs or towels handed to me at every corner.
Thanks Yamazaki, but how long did you keep that towel in your bag, to be so messy?
Adding to that, the dirt and sand that splattered on me I could only wipe away, not completely wash off. The sense of discomfort was similar to when you were washing the tableware with detergent, and this bit of dirt wouldn’t get off no matter what.
“It’s summer already, how come you have your PE uniform ready… I mean, an unopened one.”
“Because I don’t have to wear it for a few consecutive days… And at the beginning of spring, just one was enough.”
“Hey, there’s still the price tag on there.”
“3980 yen… So that’s my value right now…” [TN: about 35-40$]
“Ah~, I totally get it~ When you’re down, you’re down for good~”
“That sure gave off a dull sound……”
My forehead fell down on the desk ahead of me. It hurt, but it also didn’t. More than anything, I just didn’t care. Even without the rain, there were just times when I felt that way. The only good thing about this was Natsukawa’s faint kindness.
“Can’t say anything other than, you have bad luck today.”
“I wonder why would a truck pass there on a rainy day of all times…”
“Right, as if they wanted to splat those puddles on purpose……”
Is having such a truck passing so close to the residential district really a good idea? It’d make sense if they’re some moving company, but that was clearly the logistics-type….. Is there even a common folk who’s getting all those things…? Who is it, really……
“Wha, eh, Wataru!? Don’t just sleep, at least remove the price tag first!”
“Eh? He fell asleep? For real? No way.”
“He’s faster at falling asleep than Airi……”
No, not yet… But, whatever, this ain’t half bad. Resting my head like this is much more comfortable. I don’t have to feel my drenched underwear glued to my skin every time I move.
But, despite the first period not even having started yet, what’s with this exhausted feeling… Is it a mental problem? Maybe I should watch some cat or dog videos and get healed… No, watching videos without Wi-Fi is just, no… Mom will get angry at me.
Ahh… I can’t muster up any motivation. Is there no switch on my body I can flip for that……? Well, doesn’t matter if there isn’t. For now, I’ll just wait, for my clothes, to, dry……──
There was a cup.
Inside a pure white space, I could see a transparent cup, and I was only staring down at it.
Then, a faucet appeared. A stylish one, the kind you would see in a new family home.
The handle was turned upwards, and it began pouring water into the cup. As if saying, ‘It’s delicious,” it continued to pour the water.
Then, the water stopped. An amount comfortable to drink was inside the cup. Since I might as well, I tried to help myself by reaching out for it with my hand, but my hand didn’t even appear in my view. I was left baffled, but the cup still seemed satisfied.
I could see a bit of steam rising from the cup. I tried touching the cup with the hand I couldn’t see, but there was no heat. When I held my hand over the cup, I could feel the warmth on my palm. The water was… evaporating?
There, I realized the stylish faucet had gone.
At the same time, the water inside the cup started to vanish like the speed of reality was doubled. I could even hear the cup desperately screaming ‘Wait, don’t go!’, to the water.
Slowly but steadily, the water decreased, until it finally hit the bottom of the cup, leaving it completely empty. It felt like the cup was tormented with grief. It was crying, ‘Why, why would you…’, in sadness. Watching this, I felt a sharp pain assault my chest.
This time continued for a while. The cup stayed empty. It seemed like time went by faster in this space. Even though I understood the cup was thirsting for water, all I could do was just watch. The thirsty cup accepted its fate, and almost seemed like it was sitting still down in wait.
There, I heard the sound of water.
I raised my head, and the cup seemed shocked as well. In a hurry, I looked around and searched for the faucet. Then, it appeared right above the cup. Different from before, it was a rusty faucet, the kind you would see in a deserted public park. And yet, the cup seemed happy nonetheless.
Right after that, a tremendous amount of water came gushing out of the faucet. The cup, getting its thirst fulfilled, was delighted for a moment, but after the water started to flow out of the cup because it couldn’t contain anymore, it started to panic. ‘That’s enough, don’t pour any more’, the cup pleaded hard. But, the water came gushing into it ruthlessly, endlessly.
As if the faucet wasn’t satisfied just yet, almost like it was saying ‘More, accept more’, it kept pouring more and more. I couldn’t get why he would be so forceful.
The cup ended up angry at the faucet.
Then, the gush of water grew weaker. Looking at the faucet, I could see water leaking next to the opening where the water was coming from. That must have happened because it was rusty, and the gush of water was probably too much for it to bear.
I was curious, and looked over at the cup.
The cup was overflowing with water. But perhaps, it got annoyed, it averted its ‘face’ as if it was sulking. Getting overflowed like that, it probably didn’t have the time or leisure to look up at the faucet.
More time passed, until the sound of water coming from the faucet changed. Looking up, I saw the exact moment the spout blew off.
Broken, more parts and water came gushing out. I tried to do something, and reached out for it with my hand, but my hand was still not visible. Almost like, I didn’t even exist in this space.
Of course, the cup realized as well, perhaps, it could feel the sudden change in the incoming amount of water. The cup looked up, and was very surprised to see the faucet ended up like that. The cup called out to the faucet with an ‘Are you okay?’, but that voice didn’t reach the faucet.
Right as the faucet broke, the cup started to regain its posture and its leisure back. The water stopped overflowing, and it seemed to have grown the ability to care for others.
Seeing the cup recovering, the broken faucet, though being neglected, seemed happy.
There, the water stopped.
It looked like the faucet changed shape greatly, blocking off the water by itself. The passion and enthusiasm from before had now vanished. Staying still just like a being with no meaning, with no consciousness──just like a broken faucet.
At the same time, the cup was humming to itself, seemingly in a great mood. It wasn’t even doing anything big in particular, just swaying a little happily, gently shaking the water left and right.
Should it be okay to be so careless? I grew worried. Should that action be laughed at? I doubted. Then, as if to answer my questions, the water started evaporating again. However, the cup didn’t even realize this.
The water started to vanish. When about half of it was gone, the cup finally realized. It startled and panicked, but it couldn’t stop the water from vanishing. Different from the stylish faucet before, the broken and rusty one stayed over it.
The cup must have couldn’t forget the feeling of having its thirst fulfilled and being filled to the brim with water, because unlike before, this time, it couldn’t forgive itself for allowing the water to vanish. ‘Stop, don’t go, I need water. Without water, I──’ ──
And, the water vanished.
The cup started crying. Were tears flowing out? No one knew, since there wasn’t even a saddened expression to see.
Even though it was very quiet in this space, somehow, I could hear the cup wailing. Watching this, my chest started throbbing with pain again. Whether it got its thirst fulfilled or not, I could only watch the fate of the cup. And I found that to be something unreasonable.
The cup didn’t stop crying. And even though the water was drying out entirely, the cup was still asking for more.
Why? How can you still ask for more? Even this time isn’t that different from before, right? There’s just no other way than to accept your fate, and be satisfied with it, isn’t it? That’s how reality works, right?
That was all I thought. I didn’t even put it into words──and yet, as if that message reached the cup, it turned towards me.
The cup, looking here, seemed shocked, and then quietly closed off its consciousness.
──Eventually, the cup withered away.
TN: Join my discord channel if you want.