I am.

Seventy-five years have passed since the day I first lived alone.

When I wake up in the morning, I go to your altar.
There is a picture of your face on it, and I say 'good morning' to it.
That is the beginning of my day.
The beginning of a world without you.

You have been gone for ten years now.
My daughter is alive and well and my grandchildren are starting to stand on their own.
I am doing well and have not forgotten you.

I was a little scared of the world when you died.
Because even though you are so dear to me, the world continues to tick by without a hitch.
The clock you gave to my daughter is still ticking.
But soon the fear was gone.
I felt as if you were somewhere watching over me.

I am not alone.
Every day I rode the shuttle bus and made friends in a facility where old people like me gathered.
We talk mostly about the old days.
There is not much to talk about now.
Where I used to be, what kind of work I used to do, how my grandchildren are, and so on.
Some of my friends are forgetful, so we talk about the same things over and over again.
It's okay, we are having a good time.

But sometimes I feel uneasy.
When my friend's children or grandchildren come to visit her, sometimes she doesn't know who her own children are.
It is hard to see.
That forced smile of a child forgotten by his mother is so ...... heartbreaking.

--I wonder if I will end up like that.

Will I forget Alice someday, too?
Will I make Alice look like that?
Will I forget even you?
My heart aches so much at the thought of it.

Good morning, dear.

I call out to you at the altar.
Don't worry, I remember.
I remember your face, which I love, though I forget things a little more often.
I wish you would turn into a ghost and come to see me.
But you won't come to see me.

I'm going to visit my friend again today. And bring your picture with me.

I ride the bus with a cane, being cared for.
I am the sun on the verge of burning out.
Even if you come back, you won't know where you are by this weak light.

Everyone gathered with old photos at the facility.
Sitting on chairs, they talk to each other with a picture of their youth in their hands.
I brought a picture of you.
You are good looking and I am beautiful in the picture, so I am sure you will be proud of me.
Of course, you were well received.
The caregivers as young as my grandchildren were also surprised.
I was a little sad that I had lost so much of you, but I was happy to be able to boast about you.

I thought I was enjoying every day of my life.
But you know, I still miss your voice.
Even if I say good morning to you, your good morning never comes back.
That's why I've been watching recorded videos these days.
Some of them are of my daughter when she was little, some of them are of our wedding, some of them are of our trip around the world, and so on.
I am reminded of the greatness of the digital world.
You may be gone, but the proof of your existence remains.

Mr. Sakakiki

Oh yes, your last name is still there too.

Your daughter is here.
Oh, thank you. I'll be there.

Alice came to see me more often.
I think she is worried about me because I am very old.

'Mom, are you feeling okay?
I'm fine. Alice is ...... Alice is doing well?'
Don't worry about me. You take better care of yourself. Don't go out alone too much.
'I'm not a blur. I'm walking so I don't get blurry.

My daughter looked appalled but gave me a chuckle.
I want to make someone laugh, just as you made me laugh.

At night I began to cry a lot.
When I close my eyes and go to sleep, I see your back in my dreams.
I force myself to wake up without seeing your face.
Because it is not you.

'Oh, ...... how I miss you. ......

I wet my pillow and mutter.

'I miss him. ...... I miss him. ......

I hold your picture in my heart so tightly that it will not be torn.
This is love.
As long as I have this love, I will still shine as your sun.

Will I see you when I die?
I wanted to know the answer, but I did not want to know.
If I know that I will not see you, I will have to live more.
I am the only one who knows you best now, and I feel it is not good if I die.
Your sister died not long ago.
I am the only one who has lived long enough.
Ugin, did you see him?
Can I see him?

I no longer walk.
I need someone to push me around in a wheelchair.
It has been a long, long life.
All that's left is to end this life.
I have nothing more to say to Alice. Our daughter is a strong girl. She will live a long life like me.
In the evening, she looked at the setting sun and murmured

Are you watching too?

The hospital staff who misunderstood replied, 'We are watching you.
I was really talking about you--the comet--but being the kind person that I am, I replied, 'It's beautiful.

You were right next to me then, weren't you?
I knew you were with me the whole time.
That's why I wasn't at all afraid of leaving that night alone in an empty hospital room.

I envy you your deathbed. I was with you, my daughters were with you.
But I died alone.
No, you didn't.

You were there.

I woke up.
I sit up and rub my eyes and look around. I remembered that I had fallen asleep in the school library.
I looked at the clock and was surprised to see that the hands were pointing to 17:00.
I must have slept here for about an hour.
The library is now empty, not even the librarian or the librarian.

'Ugh ...... what am I supposed to do with a key or something ......'.

I let out a sigh and let my back be held as I adjusted my disheveled uniform.
I close the book I've been using as a pillow, reach into the bag at my feet and unzip it.
I saw my textbook and remembered that I had a test coming up. I should not have been sleeping.

I heard the door open.

I lift my head and look toward the door.

'You're still here.

You're here.
You're standing there with that hateful grin plastered on your face.

'Alina, I told you to make friends. But you keep reading books in the library...not even insects will make friends with you! --What?

I cried.
I couldn't stop the tears from falling from my eyes, and I cried so hard I thought I was going to throw up.
I wanted to see you for so long.
I have missed you so much.
I miss you so much, I miss you so much ...... that I want to hug you right now.
But all I could do was cry.

Alina-san. Why are you crying like that?
'I don't know, you idiot. Don't look at me, I'm disgusting!

That's not what I'm trying to say.
I've been looking for you.
I've been looking for you in a world without you.

'Don't cry, Alina. I'll always be with you. ......
'Don't ever leave me again.'
'I've never been away. I'm a comet!
'Yes, I am the sun. No wonder you can't stay away.

I stopped crying and stood up, taking his outstretched hand.

'Let's go home.
'Yes, let's go home.

I walked out of the school holding his hand.

I will never shed another tear.
Because of you.