Editors: Yuuki, xyi
Chapter 12: Living Room
“Well, I’ll be heading out now.”
“Alright, have a safe trip.”
I lightly waved my hand as I saw Yoshida-san off at the front door.
The moment he closed the door, the house seemed to turn silent.
With a murmur, I returned to the living room. I first cleared up the tableware from today’s breakfast and then moved it to the sink.
After breakfast came washing.
That was always the task that followed after Yoshida-san left for work.
I could feel my mind clearing up whenever my hands touched the flowing water. As a plus, the squeaking and scrubbing noises distracted me from the looming feeling of loneliness that tended to take over my mind whenever I was all alone.
I quickly finished washing the dishes. Since there was nowhere to let it dry off, I simply wiped off the remaining droplets of water with a cloth.
Around 10 minutes passed while I was occupied with that.
The distance from here to the nearest station was also around a 10 minute walk. I wonder if Yoshida-san was on the train already?
The more I thought about it, the more it seemed ridiculous.
“What difference does it make if he has already boarded the train or not?”
No matter how much I talk to myself, there was no one around to hear my words, no one around to respond to them. The frequency at which I talked to myself has risen considerably when Yoshida-san wasn’t around.
My loneliness would grow with each passing occasion.
Now that I think about it, Yoshida-san would often talk to himself too. Not to mention, it was all unintentional. Every so often, he would blurt out his honest thoughts too. It was pretty funny.
I let out an utter as I returned the dishes to the cupboard.
“I started thinking about Yoshida-san again.”
Murmuring that, I let out a long sigh.
Before coming here, I had wandered around from one man’s house to another. It’s of course a given, but each and every person had different characteristics. There wasn’t one that was the same as another. Despite that, the men whose homes I stayed in all had only this one point in common.
They allowed me to stay ‘for their own sake.’ I think that such a mindset is fairly commonplace. I was sure that there was not a single person out there who would unconditionally treat someone kindly if there was no benefit for themselves in doing so.
The men until now have all touched me.
It was completely natural. It was the object of the negotiations that allowed me to stay at their homes.
In exchange for inviting the societal bomb that was me into their homes, they would get to have their fill of my high-school girl status.
Honestly, I think that such an exchange was clearly the norm.
Rather, the miraculous one here is Yoshida-san.
I really believe that he’s a miraculous person.
To be completely honest, when Yoshida-san had said that he had no interest in brats, I was convinced that that would all change in the course of a few days.
Yet, that never came to pass.
Instead, not only did he wholeheartedly scold me, but he also allowed me to stay at his home for the incredibly low price of simply doing the chores.
I couldn’t comprehend his actions.
Maybe there was some sort of benefit for him in letting me stay here?
I don’t think he particularly needed me to do his housework. Rather, it would be more accurate to say that ‘it’s not like he couldn’t do it himself even if I wasn’t here’.
In reality, he had been living on his own until now. Although it was plain to see that he didn’t cook for himself at all, he could probably get by just fine on his own.
I couldn’t understand why all he wanted from a ‘High School Girl’ that had suddenly started staying at his home was to ‘just do the housework’.
From an age perspective, I was a high school girl bursting with youth and energy; and although it would be improper to declare this outright about myself, I think that I’m rather good-looking too. This isn’t boasting, but rather an objective assessment.
Even if he had no interest in people younger than himself, he should at least…
“He should at least… feel it sometimes, wouldn’t he…?
Voicing this thought out loud, oddly, made me feel a little murky inside.
Yoshida-san is kind.
Although I was doubtful at first, I had to admit that I was extremely fortunate to be here after spending a few days here. That was the undeniable truth.
Yet, that was the only thing that I couldn’t comprehend.
What the others had ‘desired of me’, Yoshida-san hadn’t requested any of in the slightest.
That made me feel strangely uneasy.
“Why is it?”
I just don’t understand.
It’s a sense of unease that I’ve never felt up until now.
The loneliness I felt in the afternoon when Yoshida-san wasn’t here was also a really strange feeling.
In the places where I’ve been to until now, times when the homeowner wasn’t home were times where I could instead have a peace of mind. It was a time where I didn’t have to reciprocate anyone’s expectations, a time where I could do whatever I pleased.
But here, it was different.
I had taken my time reading through the books and manga that Yoshida-san had bought, but even so, I had already finished reading through them in a matter of days. I was always in a good mood when I was reading, but rather than it being because of the contents of the book, it was moreso because of the fact that Yoshida-san had bought these books for me. Until now, countless others had given me gifts – necklaces, underwear, other things that were far more expensive than mere books and manga. Yet, none of those gifts made me happier than what he had given me.
Even I couldn’t understand what was happening.
The time that I spent with him was time that I could spend relieved.
And, because I was too relieved, I became afraid.
Why did he place me such a wonderful environment? Just what merits was I providing Yoshida-san? I couldn’t understand any of it.
This incomprehensible anxiety possessed me and continued to grow with each passing day.
At this point, I think I would be better off if he just made a move on me.
Someone needing me in a simple way was just plain better for me. Plus, in truth, there was a part of me that wouldn’t really mind if Yoshida-san laid his hands on me. Why? I don’t know.
Yet, that was impossible.
Yoshida-san doesn’t look at me in such a light. It wasn’t just that he was holding back, he truly had not the least bit of interest in doing those things to me.
All of this was a first for me. I’ve felt nothing but bewilderment ever since I came here.
I was relieved, yet I became uneasy. I’m uneasy, yet I feel warm inside.
Somehow, it feels as though my own feelings are none of my business anymore. I feel like I haven’t been honest with my feelings for the longest time now.
As I wiped the table with the kitchen cloth, I let out a long sigh.
“I wonder for how much longer I can stay here?”
Murmuring to myself, I flopped down onto the living room floor.
I wonder if Yoshida-san will chase me out once it becomes inconvenient to have me around, like all the other men I’ve been with until now?
What if he got a lover?
As I thought that, I was suddenly overcome with an intense, suffocating feeling.
“He’s so kind, after all”.
Rather, why hasn’t he had a significant other until now? Even from a female’s perspective, it was rather odd.
He seems to still be recovering from being rejected by Gotou-san, but he was also invited to go drinking by another female coworker pretty recently, so it’s not like he doesn’t know any other girls.
With that in mind, it wouldn’t be strange for other girls to try and take advantage of his sorrow to try and win him over.
With all that said and done, when Yoshida-san gets into a relationship with someone else, I will no longer have a place here.
I’ve personally witnessed high-schoolers invite their significant other to their house to play, so it would be no surprise if adult couples did the same; that goes doubly so for a man who’s living alone.
And when that time comes to pass, how could there possibly be any space for me? He may live apart from his lover, but how could it be possible to maintain a relationship if his lover were to know that he was living together with an unknown high-schooler?
“Hehe, if he gets a girlfriend, he’d definitely have no choice but to drive me out.”
I let out a dry smile.
As this negative stream of thought continued stirring in my mind, a thought surfaced in my mind.
What if he got a girlfriend?
Would Yoshida-san… make love to her?
My body was filled with goosebumps at that thought.
“…I have to finish the laundry.”
I stood up and headed towards the washing machine, but the delusions from earlier continue to flicker in my mind, my stomach seemed to shrink.
Yoshida-san making love to an unknown woman.
The image of that in my mind made me feel extremely unpleasant for some reason.
I mean, it’s not like it’s something that I should be concerned with.
It should be normal for someone as kind as Yoshida-san – moreover someone as reliable as him – to have a lover, and such activities between lovers was normal as well.
In spite of that, the more I thought about it, the more uncomfortable I felt.
I plopped myself down on the floor before reaching the washing machine.
“What the heck is this…”
The time I spent alone in Yoshida-san’s home were honestly painful.
I felt like I would drown in this sea of loneliness and the whirlpool of negative thoughts.
“Yoshida-san… come home.”
Though he had only just left, I uttered his name as if holding on for dear life.