Edited by Poor_Hero
” What are you doing…. ”
An old man who was about 60, said, looking stunned.
The youth, who was spoken to suddenly, jumped. He then turned around slowly and timidly.
” Ah…no… I’m…erm… ”
The youth’s eyes wandered as he was about to explain, but then his wandering eyes met the old man’s stunned ones and his voice went lower and lower until it sounded like he was muttering to himself.
During this entire time, the youth’s eyes were wandering around, as if tracking a fly which only he would see. But unluckily, no one noticed. Why? Because that youth was…
” You look very suspicious, with that sunglasses and mask covering your face…. I won’t be helping if you are reported to the police. ”
The old man’s shoulders slumped, as he gave a long deep sigh. Yes, the youth carrying a satchel coming back from school….. his own grandson, had his face covered with a large pair of sunglasses and a mask. He couldn’t even get angry at him.
As for that, the old man knew the reason for the youth’s action. He took on the responsibility to help the youth and yet this told him that his help was still not enough, thus the shoulders slumping. But the biggest problem was the youth’s way of thinking.
” Ah don’t worry, Katsuo-san. I look at most 4th grade, so people would think that I am just playing around. ”
The old man…. Katsuo, sighed again. The timid youth had replied with a very rational answer. To make matters worst, he had both of his thumbs up in a ‘good’ pose.
All this from a 3rd grade boy…..
Katsuo felt like sobbing. He had no idea where his idiot son had gone to but if his son was to ever appear in front of him, he had the confidence to punch him till his arms stretched. Until he can’t even raise a white flag. Since his son was a weak man who might even faint once from that.
As Katsuo kept on cursing his idiot son in his heart, it also allowed him to feel blessed to have at least his grandson by his side.
” Are you planning on doing that even when you go on to the 5th grade? ”
” ….Ah. ”
Katsuo asked, his voice mixing with a sigh and his grandson, Shou, exclaimed softly. It seemed like Shou hadn’t thought that far ahead yet. Katsuo was relieved that he was still child-like in this aspect.
Thinking about everything in front of him was how a child acted.
Thinking about what the future was was how an adult acted.
When Katsuo was around Shou’s age, he was playing tricks on everyone, causing a lot of troubles. He did get scared when he was pointed at with a gun when he ventured over a foreigner’s fence….
Anyway, children should be playing around, pulling pranks and running around with their snot hanging from their noses. At least that was what Katsuo thought.
” And? Why did you cover yourself up like this? ”
He asked, as they walked down a corridor. Shou, with his sunglasses and mask still on, followed behind Katsuo.
” ….T..To prevent getting sick. ”
After a long while, Shou answered with a trembling voice. Katsuo can’t see Shou’s face as he was walking behind him, but Katsuo knew he was pulling quite a bitter face.
” This… seems to be quite serious. ”
Katsuo said to himself.
After Shou’s mother passed away, he was brought to a run-down 1-room apartment where a man…. his grandfather lived in.
As Shou was still stunned, many stuff happened and before he realized it, he was living with that man. It seemed like his name was Katsuo. Even since he was born, he had never once met any family from his father’s side so he had thought that they had all passed away. The man, who appeared suddenly, felt more like a distant relative than his grandfather.
At first, he felt very uneasy. But even though Katsuo had a sharp mouth, each sentence was about being worried for him. Plus, he never once gave Shou a despised or reluctant look like how his mother always had. Katsuo was a very kind man.
Shou knew all of this. But some things he still cannot control.
He had decided to live strongly without his looks but no matter how he struggled, his face was attached to his head and irremovable from his body. He can’t turn his face into a smooth and flawless egg. He wanted people to see his achievements instead of focusing on his looks but the first thing people see would always be his face.
What was why, having no other way, he tried hiding his face but Katsuo had looked at him, stunned. True, with this, before people could look at his achievements, he would be seen as a suspicious person.
He only noticed it when Katsuo pointed it out. Shou removed his mask, his face flushed red. Although Katsuo, who was walking in front, had directed stunned looks at him, it was not one that looked down on him and Shou was glad that at least he was not indifferent to him.
Be it anger or stunned.
So this was how it felt when someone cared about him, Shou thought happily as he adjusted his sunglasses, a smile tugging at his lips. Reaching the end of the corridor, Katsuo opened the door on the right. In there, was a kotatsu on top of a tatami-flooring, a very typical Japanese-styled living room.
[TN: Please ask google-sensei if you had no idea what those are]
And on top of the Kotatsu was a bowl of mandarin oranges, and facing it was the TV. To Shou, who had spent his days either doing housework or studying, it was his first time knowing the thing called ‘amusement’. Kotatsu and mandarin oranges was the world’s best combo! Watching the TV on weekends as he lazed around felt better than he thought.
And it seemed that some people had called mandarin oranges as ‘TV Oranges’.
[TN: TV oranges was written in english]
Besides, there was also novels and games left behind by Shou’s father. There once where Shou had forgotten the time as he read the novels, causing him to almost miss the time to prepare for dinner. He had never thought that that would ever happen to him.
Him doing housework was something brought up by Shou himself. He wanted to do it as thanks to Katsuo, for all the things Katsuo had done for him.
And when Shou persuaded Katsuo with that above point, Katsuo had a weird look on his face. And after that, he had always praised Shou’s cooking. And again, Shou was happy.
As all these when through his mind, he had stopped in front of the door and was looked at weirdly by Katsuo.
” Nothing. ”
Shou smiled wryly as he headed inside.
Leaving his bag inside his room, he snuggled inside the Kotatsu immediately. Next to the living room was a 5.6 square meter room and it was given to him as his room. Katsuo had furnished it with a writing desk and a bookcase.
Every time Shou came back home, he would bounce towards his desk. Since he had always done his homework in advance, the most he could do with the desk was to read novels there. He had always felt sorry for not putting the desk into more use.
Today, it seemed that Katsuo had come back earlier than usual. Usually, he would only come back around evening, as it seemed like he was being relied on a lot at work. Once, Katsuo had brought Shou to his working place and was told by the people there ‘Katsuo-san is really good.’.
That man looked like he respected Katsuo a lot and Shou felt proud to be his grandson. He then set his life goal to become someone who would also earn respect.
Since Katsuo came back early today, Shou was secretly happy inside. The 2 of them snuggled within the Kotatsu as they watched TV, before Katsuo spoke all of a sudden.
” Ah, Shou. ”
” Yes? ”
” You, that….Ah no. I was told off by a subordinate’s daughter today that ‘Please go home early once in a while! It wouldn’t be good if you wreck your health!’. It was quite tiring when I used to stay back in the company till wee hours. But somehow, I hardly do that anymore. And when I thought about it, I realize, it was because you are here. ”
Katsuo seemed like he wanted to talk about something else at first but by now, Shou had no interest in what it was. He gripped his fists, trembling under the table, deeply moved.
Because you are here.
Katsuo’s word sounded over and over again in his head. Shou was happy that he was of help, that he had come to live here. He realized that yes, hard work did have results.
” ……so thanks…. oi! Are you okay, Shou?! ”
Shou was so moved that he can’t control his tears from falling. Katsuo, who noticed big drops of tears falling from Shou’s face, moved about, flustered. Not knowing what to do, he awkwardly patted Shou’s back, but the more he patted, the harder the tears fell.
He was needed.
Shou was really happy, but it had been sometime since he last cried so losing control, he just can’t stop crying. He had no idea when and why he cried, but he just kept crying.
And Shou kept crying till he fell asleep and Katsuo, who was at first flustered, turned calm halfway though and kept patting Shou, who in turn cried even harder.
And that day marked the first time Shou cried till he fell asleep.
TN: I managed to get connected after trying a weird way.
It’s Shou this time. He badly needs a hug.