We have long debated the value of life.
It is always a debate over those who are branded as 'unlivable'.
I am not for or against the death penalty. I have chosen not to think about it because the spectacle of arguing over incompatible emotional and religious arguments is ridiculous. So you may ridicule me for abandoning thought.
However, Japan has established the death penalty because the majority of philosophies are winning even if I do not think.
When my mother told me that my father had died, my first thought was about the death penalty.
Comet is always saying something to me. But my reality was fading away. It was as if I was in a swimming pool. Everything is blurred, outlines are lost, sounds are muffled. A small pressure tightens around my neck and raises my heart rate.
If I am asked if my father should have died.
My father, who abused me, who violated my heart, who tormented my mother, who ruined my life, if his life or death could be decided by a single word of mine.
Which would you have said, yes or no?
Did my father deserve to die?
Conversely, what is a person who should live?
I don't want him to die.
I just didn't want to see him. I wanted him to remain a ghost.
Comet escorted me home.
A police car was parked at my house, and my mother and two police officers appeared at the door. I thought that my mother had killed my father, and my heart beat strongly and quickly.
I did not know the expression on my mother's face. Sadness, relief, confusion, and resentment. A mixture of these emotions that exceeded the limits of expression. I think my face has the same expression.
Comet left without saying a word. I felt sorry for the trouble I had caused him, but there was not a drop of strength left in me to utter that apology.
Without understanding the police officer's explanation, I was put into the car. My mother got in the car, too, and the policeman mumbled something over the radio, and the car started to move slowly. I do not know where we were going.
I followed the artificial lights of the city streaming past the window with my eyes, longing for the end of the seemingly eternal drive to come soon. There was silence in the car, only the occasional sound of a radio signal coming from the outside.
The doctor mentioned my father's name.
My mother and I had to identify the body that would have been so named in order to clarify whether the body was my father or not.
I know I was Alina Setoyama. It was the name in my photo albums, my shoes and textbooks in elementary school. But I don't remember ever saying it or being called by it.
My father died of suffocation.
He was so drunk that he fell asleep on the street, vomited, and suffocated to death. There was no sign of his death because his body had been cleaned up. He did not look like he was dead. Until the last days of his life, my father was addicted to alcohol and seemed to be crazy with it.
In front of his body, my mother said nothing. With her bangs hanging down, I could only see the tip of my mother's nose and could not make out her expression. The only thing she said to the doctor was, 'It's Ming. There is no doubt about it.
After that, I had to wait in another room. A counselor-like person approached me, but I didn't want to talk about anything, so I turned him down softly and waited patiently for my mother, the policemen and the doctors to finish their conversation.
They told me that my father had passed away.
My mother's words come back to me.
Suddenly I felt an uneasy feeling in my chest. A man had died. A death that was far more weighty and real than what I knew from the news ticker stirred my heart. Both of my lungs are not breathing oxygen properly. I feel off the ground.
I want to run away.
I don't want to feel anything.
My stomach contracts. I broke down and stuck my forehead on the desk.
About two months ago. I wonder if my father's words were true when he visited me on December 30th.
Was he telling the truth when he said he was reformed, that he was sorry, and that he would give himself to me?
Now it is an eternal mystery. Because the mouths of the dead never open again.
They were not detained for a long time because there was no case to be made. They will talk to me again later, but it will be to my mother, so I don't think I will have anything to say to them.
The Setoyama family was in charge of the funeral.
We refused to attend. The Setoyama family did not say anything. It was an unspoken agreement because they knew our situation.
When we returned home, my mother told us to take tomorrow off from school and disappeared into her room. I was worried about her because she looked so agitated and exhausted.
I went into my room and sank into bed.
It was around twenty-two o'clock at night and I was still in my school uniform. I closed my eyes, not feeling like getting dressed.
My father's death has not changed my life. Why do I feel uneasy?
I could live in peace now.
I am free from my latent fear.
Why am I so anxious?
The consciousness that is slowly surfacing slowly regains its senses and flows into my body.
When I woke up, my whole body felt tired. My ribs felt a little sore, as if they were crooked. My chest was in agony, as if I had slept on my stomach last night. When I got up and took off my uniform, I felt nauseous.
I did not vomit. I took a breath, and when I calmed down, my head felt strangely heavy. I did not sleep too much or not enough, but my head felt heavy. Something was wrong.
As I was unbuttoning my shirt, I noticed a board hanging on the wall. It was a handmade board with the name "Alina Setoyama" written on it.
My finger stopped.
I know. I made that board in arts and crafts class. I made it in arts and crafts... using glue and nails, and varnishing the wooden parts. It was fun. I remember that day I smelled so bad of varnish that my sense of smell went crazy.
The vision that should not be remembered colors like a flower opening.
I stood up and held my head.
My father's face comes back to me vividly. I remember when I graduated from elementary school. Memories of Aki and my senior year. When I played basketball. When my father was arrested. When I took my mother's maiden name. Everything the other me has seen. All the abuse my father gave me.
The pieces of the puzzle that had been scattered about were moving together to form a picture. That's what it felt like.
Why did I--?
Why had I forgotten.
How is this possible?
I have suffered from amnesia for three years. I thought I would die alone, not knowing who I was for the rest of my life. To have my memory come back to me so suddenly and without warning only confused me.
Memories associated with every object in the room were slowly being pulled out. It was a strange sensation. I didn't know when they were put in this room, but now I could see the whole story. It's like a fog has lifted.
But I felt like I lost something.
I'm sure I'm mistaken. I remember the last three years, I know the high school I went to, I know my friends. But I still felt strange. Was it my father's death?
My anxiety was still unsettled.
It had been three days since Alina missed school.
I wondered why my father had died. There was no way I could ask her, and I went on with my ordinary life.
After Valentine's Day, the scenery returned to normal, and the perfume and the host disappeared as if in a hallucination. The topic of conversation about chocolates has disappeared, and the next topic of conversation for us sophomores has shifted to class changes and entrance examinations.
I saw Nichiha just now.
Makoto said as he put his finger on the lid of the can to open it.
'Yeah. I saw you walking with Shirana.
I went out into the hallway. Immediately I saw Alina and Shirana's backs.
'Hey, you're here!
They turned and looked at me.
'Alina, are you all right now?
She did not answer, but covered her mouth with her hand and whispered in Shirana's ear. Shirana said, "What? After that, he slapped Alina and laughed at her, saying, 'Again~.
Alina seemed unconvinced and looked puzzled with her eyebrows furrowed.
Are you in a fight with Comet, Arina?
'If it's one-sided abuse, it's a daily occurrence.
Did I do something to offend you, sir?
Did I do something rude when I drove you to Alina's house?
No, no, no, no. Because if I did, I wouldn't be alive. I'm a very energetic member of the club today.
Alina tilts her head and looks at me.
I'm sorry, who are you?