103-opening of war...

I thought that my hatred would burn unquenchable until I was old and decrepit.
Until death. Until the moment my consciousness sublimated and I left for somewhere else, I could not forgive Akira Setoyama, my father, and my will was strengthened even more as I regained my memory.

Why did I decide to visit my father's grave?

It was already late afternoon when I arrived at the cemetery near my father's home after changing several trains.
Maybe because it was a holiday. There were more people visiting the cemetery than I expected. Many of them were elderly people, and I, a high school girl who came alone, must have looked out of place.
The subject of visiting the graves never came up with my mother. She probably had no intention to do so, and she probably did not mention it to me because of my feelings. I also did not dare to talk about anything that would bring my father's shadow into the picture. That is why I am here in secret this time.

I found the graves of the Setoyama family easily. I stood still in front of it.

Is my father really here?

The question swirls in my mind. The fact is, my father is dead, and I saw him with my own eyes. But I worried every day that he might show up on the scene in a flash and try to get his hands on us again. Even though I knew it was impossible, my body did not listen to me, and I was always sensitive to the shadows of others.

I can't forgive my father anymore. Nor will I. So I thought I would stand here and yell at him for escaping 'death', but strangely enough, my emotions were not aroused.
That's why I was confused. I thought he had already forgiven me.

'No, of course not.

I mutter to my father's grave.

'Even if you repent, we will never heal.

It was a waste of words.
No matter how much I fussed, there was no answer. No spirit will ever stand by my bedside.
Then why am I here?
The answer I came up with was for the comet. It was my father's death that made me forget him, so I guess I thought in the realm of the unconscious that if I looked at his death, I would remember him. I have zero evidence for this.
I have a pretty good idea of what he was like.
But there was not a single scene that gave me a sense of d j vu, not even in a cruel way. There was nothing nostalgic about his distinctive way of speaking, and moreover, it was new. I tried my best even though the days when I thought, "No, I can't remember.

Suddenly, the devil whispered to me, 'It's okay if you don't remember.

Why don't you just leave it the way it is? Because it doesn't affect my life. You just lost the memory of one man.
It was hard to say no with my logic-clenched head.
But sometimes he had a sad look on his face. Soon he goes back to his usual serious or joking expression, but I know it. He is hurt by my innocent words. And it weighs heavily on me.

And there is one thing that gives him a hard time.
In my notebook, I wrote that I gave him a valentine. Unfortunately, I don't remember, but I'm sure I did.
But he didn't give me anything for white day. That's one of the things that gives him a hard time.
I know that he is serious inside, even though he wears a cloak of insanity. I can imagine from his personality that he either doesn't see the point in giving it to me now, or he doesn't want to bother me with unnecessary things. Maybe it is both.

'Yes, this is Sakakiki.

I called him before the convention in the hope that I could dispel some of his doubts. But when I heard his voice, everything I had to say flew out of my head. Partly because there was no wavering in his voice, and partly because I was a little embarrassed to talk to him directly and seriously about my father's grave and other things that he might be concerned about.
Besides, he might care more.

Hello? This is Sakaki Ki. Alina Hiba, can you hear me?

Telling him that I still can't recall a shred of his memory is still counterproductive.

'I'm sorry. I can hear you.
'So, what are you talking about?
'Well, I've forgotten.
'Excuse me?'
'Let's do our best at the gymnastics festival the day after tomorrow.
Oh, oh. We're going to win!
Of course. See you tomorrow.

What was that? What was it that I forgot?
It would have been better if nothing had happened, but there must have been something that made him cut off the conversation in such a vague way.

What are you going to win the championship with?

Ugin said so after hearing my brief exchange.

'The interclub relay.
'You're not in a club, brother.
I'm tired of hearing that line. But you know what? You've got the best pick of the bunch. You can destroy the world five times.
'Wow, that's great!

I'm pretty sure she doesn't think so. Because she's glued to her phone screen, not making eye contact with the person she's talking to. I'm so sad, my brother, I feel like I'm going to rot in every fiber of my being.

The next day, Alina was just the same old Alina. She was chatting with Tsuru and Kasai, not mentioning about last night's phone call, just talking a little about tomorrow's gymnastic festival.
I also went about my day as usual. I went to class, had lunch, talked with Makoto, went to class, and left. It was the calm before the storm. Anyway, it was a peaceful day.
Should I have asked him after all? Sometimes things have to be said, even if they are difficult to say. Maybe I should have approached him.

And then the day of the gymnastic festival.
We were sitting on blue sheets under a cloudless sky. After the opening speech, we have returned to our positions and are in the midst of raising our spirits for the first battle.
The wind blows on the dry ground and sand rises to the air. The wind blows on the dry ground and sand rises up, brushing against my skin as if testing it.

It's the show. The interclub relay is the first one in the afternoon, so we can play in the morning. That's right, play. The gymnastic festival is a place for the athletically gifted to have fun while flashing their bright smiles at the girls. Let the yellow voices beat your ears at best. The domination is about to begin... Oops...there is no superiority in the club back home...

Comet! Can we win? ......

Berserker Masao asked me, sitting upright on the hard ground.

Don't worry. Winning is important, of course, but what you get is most important. No matter what the outcome, there is always something to gain.
'Yes, I do. I'm going to be positive.
That's good. It doesn't matter what you did in the morning. It's like a hamster game. Save your energy.

As we were talking about this, the announcement for the tug-of-war came on.

'Class 3 and 5, please assemble at the entrance gate.

The rules of the tug-of-war remain the same, but the teams are mixed. The teams are made up of first, second, and third year groups. The teams of this athletic festival are so divided, and it is a form of competition for the "number one team". In our school, there are up to five teams, so five teams are competing.
To be frank, I really don't care whether this team wins or loses. The main thing is the relay race. So, I went to the entrance gate myself for the sake of Takazo, the intelligence of the third team.
I had a hard time finding Takazo, but I found him before everyone else arrived.

Hey, Takazo. How are you feeling?
'No problem. Heart rate is stable. I'm feeling very good.
'That's good to hear. Listen, don't get hurt in the tug-of-war, okay? We are one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable. Be careful.'
'Don't worry. Tug of war is an event where the more you exert yourself, the more likely you are to get traumatized. As soon as we start, I'll concentrate only on touching the rope. In terms of overall strength, I can only account for about 0.001 percent of the total, even if I put my mind to it.
'That's too small fish.'
'So it won't interfere with my afternoon. I appreciate you going out of your way to give me a pep talk.'

He bowed and walked over to the rope. If Rinne had been there, she would have said bitterly, 'If you're a hard worker, girls will just run away from you.
Praying for his safety, I went back to the blue sheet.
Sitting on my seat, I look at the three and five pairs that are now in a line.
An elderly man who looks like a professional tug-of-war judge is adjusting the position of the ropes while blowing his whistle. I think he was there last year. Who the hell is that old man?

With a signal that was too tongue-tied, the third and fifth pairs grabbed their ropes tightly and pulled each other.
Like the yelp of a wild animal, both teams bowed low and reclined in rhythm. They pulled each other to beat their opponents, not pulling with their arms, but putting all their weight on the rope. The sound of crunching sand is heard, and a cloud of dust drifts beneath their feet.
I looked for Takakura with the binoculars I had brought with me. He was soon found. While the five groups were gradually gaining the upper hand and all the three groups were gritting their teeth and struggling, Takakura alone was holding the rope with a relaxed face as if he were in an air-conditioned room.
He had warned them of their injuries, but he was just 'existing' now, wasn't he? A pebble on the side of the road. Clouds in the sky. A hawk in a tug-of-war. Seriously, that's about it.
I reminded him to put more effort into it. I wanted to tell him that he was being disrespectful to the other three groups, but he was meditating with his eyes closed in his binoculars. What was he thinking? Imaginary numbers, or the limit?
In the end, the three pairs lost.

I wonder if he was all right.

I approached Takakura as he exited the hall and called out to him.

'No external injuries. His condition is near perfect.
I'm sure. Your face was close to enlightenment.
'Did my face look like that?'
'I was the only one out of place. What were you thinking when you grabbed the rope?
'Natto for breakfast. I should have added green onions.
'I don't get it.