Fate Comes with Time (1)
「Mishima, Mishima-san, I’m sorry. I’m going to have to……. 」
These are the words used by Etou-kun to shatter my love into a million pieces.
Ah… I’m so irritated.
I think anyone who had experienced an office romance will be able to relate.
Meeting him everyday, experiencing his warmth and kindness, seeing his smile, Etou-kun’s everything attracted my heart, going to work became much more enjoyable .
Overtime was never boring with him. Actually, I cherished the time we sent walking the dark streets, just the two of us, after finishing the extra hours.
But all that has now come to an end.
「Mishima-san has helped me a lot at work, so I feel bad about having to refuse.」
That’s how Etou-kun declined my invitation to go out on a date.
I stood there, rock-still, holding the planetarium tickets i just bought today, they were supposed to be given to him.
「It has always been you who’s treating me, for so many times …… 」
Yes, I thought we were dating or at least heading towards that direction since we had two meals just the two of us, …I guess Etou-kun did not think so.
「Besides, my girlfriend would get very jealous……going out with another woman on a date would be bad.」
Oh…he has a girlfriend! and he’s telling me that only now!!. I guess the relationship between us is that shallow!.
「It is a very awkward misunderstanding, I’m sorry.」 My voice finally squeaks out, coming out hoarse like a wicked witch.
「No, I’m also very sorry.」 Etou-kun apologised in turn.
I showed a little relief as I looked up with empty eyes.
Ironically, seeing this, he’s starting to relax. As for me, even though I’m still hurting, there is a part of me that’s happy he looked relieved.
Since it can’t be helped, I decided to give the tickets that I bought to Etou-kun.
They were meant for him anyways, since he had mentioned before that he wanted to visit a planetarium.
Even though he had been in the city for three years now, after finding a job, he didn’t have the chance to visit. I intended on taking and introducing him to the Science Museum. as we did had a conversation indicating that before. 『Why don’t you try going once? It’s well equipped and it’s worth seeing.』
『Oh, that sounds good, I’d love to go.』
The memories of such a conversation still remained brand new in my mind.
Well, he did want to go, but he did not say he wanted so with me. I guess it was my wishful thinking that heard it that way.
「I’ll give you the tickets, why don’t you go with her? 」
I said that while presenting the tickets to Etou-kun again, but he still refused.
「No, that would bad.」
「It would be bad if they were wasted, at least you can go on a date.」
「Isn’t it expensive? Don’t you think that Mishima-san should use them for a date instead?」
Etou-kun said that with his usual gentle, warm smile.
He did not seem to realise the pain his words made my heart go through.
I refuse to cry during work hours. So, I just finished the day’s work, did not do any overtime, walked aimlessly through the streets, and before I know it, I reached home.
I rushed into my room on the second floor of the apartment and went straight to the verandah with my bare feet.
My room has a small verandah from which the view is not bad.
I did not change out of my suit and just went to the verandah as was.
As I was feeling the cold breeze of the night on the verandah, I let loose my tied up hair. The view was of the night-lights of houses from the residential area I live in, it was nice and quiet, the numerous warm lights were comforting for someone who lives alone.
Will this broken heart of mine ever be healed?
「If you have a girlfriend, please tell me first……」
As the night scene gradually got blotted out, I closed my eyes tightly.
I knew that was a selfish demand. Etou-kun was there to do his job, he had no obligation to tell me about his private life. But still, if I had known sooner, my wounds would have been a little bit lighter.
Why did I have to get carried away on my own?, I even bought him the tickets!, and yet, he only saw me his senior, and treated me like how a junior should.
Perhaps it was annoying to invite me out for a meal before?. Being his senior, I couldn’t refuse out of good-will towards my junior. Maybe Etou-kun misunderstood my intentions thus he didn’t tell me he had a girlfriend, he did want my help after all. (TN: Her mind seems muddled, the sentences were all over the place and made it a right pain to translate ….)
The pain of a broken heart can cause one’s mind to fail.
What am I to do now?. I am way too embarrassed to face Etou-kun.
I wonder if this is considered as a senior bullying his junior.
Ah, this is the worst! Now I’ve become an abusing senior who needs to avoid the junior she bullied.
Although I did not plan for it to happen, I did end up liking him, earnestly.
「I really liked you……」
I murmured as tears were falling, I slumped down on the handrail of the verandah.
It’s good that tomorrow is Saturday.
I would definitely be troubling Etou-kun if I went to work with a swollen face after crying too much.
I guess I’ll just cry my heart out now, maybe that will lighten my mood, would drinking help? but that will make me drunk, alone, and I’ll still be crying!.
While being caressed by the gentle night breeze, I only had those thoughts in my mind.
「– – Ahh, I’ve finally met you.」
From somewhere close came the voice of an unfamiliar man.
As I was face down, I didn’t know where the voice came from.
I wonder if someone is talking outside…. that’s what my tired mind thought of.
「Onee-chan, nice to meet you. I’m the one that has moved next door, please have my best regards.」
My mind kept telling me that those words are directed at me, and yet, here I am, face down, still crying from a broken heart. I told myself I need to answer, but I couldn’t even raise my head.
「I wanted to give my greetings yesterday or earlier today, but you were away all this time. I’m glad to finally meet my neighbour. Please do not worry because I live alone, and am not noisy.」
He disregarded my head that won’t raise up and kept talking.
By the way, the room next door was vacant for about a year now. Did it finally get tenanted?
As much as I was reluctant, I still turned my head towards the direction of the voice.
The second floor had four rooms, each one of them had a narrow verandah, and these verandahs were separated by firewalls between the rooms.
I peeped at my new neighbour’s face from over here, I rubbed my eyes and let the tears spread all over my hands, his face finally began to clear up.
As I thought, the voice was a man’s.
His hair was dyed ash blonde with a slight wavy perm gently descending to a medium length. His ear peeked out as the gentle night breeze slowly swirled his hair making it sway slowly back and forth. A sweet smile likely to melt a girl’s heart was gently floating on his face, it matched perfectly with his droopy eyes.
My first impression of him was… not a salary-man.
“How old is this person,” I wondered in my mind. He certainly looks younger than me, maybe around twenty-three or twenty-four perhaps.
The person who had been smiling all along finally realized I was crying
「Ahhh, I’m sorry. You were having some troubles, weren’t you?」
After staring at him wide-eyed, I simply withdrew to my room for some reason. However, when I returned to the verandah, I found a thin box presented from the other side of the firewall.
「Please use this as you see fit. This is my greeting gift to you.」(TN: Hikkoshi Aisatsu, if you want to look up the custom.)
「Haaa! thank you.」
I didn’t know what to say, so I just received the box that was tied up with red string. I was hesitant to open it up in front of him, so I kept holding it in my hands.
「My name is Chrono.」
He looked towards me and smiled again.
「I’m a hairdresser. I’m good at listening to my customer’s stories, so feel free to consult me if you have troubles.」
I was quite impressed with his courage, to be able to talk in such an overly-familiar way with a crying woman he met for the first time must require guts. I wonder if this is due to his profession.
「No, there is no trouble……」
I was at a loss for words. Being freshly brokenhearted today, I neglected to keep up appearances and appeared abrupt to my neighbour.
「It’s just a broken heart. I’ll feel better after crying a little. 」
「Heeee, Onee-san is tough isn’t she?」
Chrono-kun said in an impressed tone.
「It is unlikely for people to be able to say that whilst crying from a broken heart.」
「Is that so……?」
I wonder if I was praised?
Honestly, it would be much more complicated, if it went according to my anticipations.
I take a deep breath.
「Ahh… well, it was somewhat of an empty wish.」
Chrono with a doubtful face asked,「What is it that you desire?」
「The other party is a junior in the same workplace. So, I have to recover by the end of the weekend.」
「That’s awkward, isn’t it?」
「Yeah, it is. Though confessing to him felt a little like salvation.」
「Ah, maybe you found out that he has a girlfriend?」
「That…, perhaps it was like that. It is not like I knew he had one beforehand.」
Before i realize it, i had fluently confessed everything, I was shocked! Why am I talking about such a personal issue with a neighbour I’m meeting for the first time?
Even though he offered to listen, it was still inappropriate to talk about my problems to a stranger. However, Chrono listened to me with a gentle countenance. He even smiled so sweetly.
「Well, Onee-san. Let’s do it all at once.」
「Of course, your hair. It will give your heart a fresh start, improve your mood and refresh your mind.」
You truly think so?
「Did I just fall into work-mode?」he said.
I couldn’t help but to hook up my lips a bit, though, my smile must have looked terrible. However, just the fact that I was able to laugh now was really surprising, considering the pain my heart was going through.
「Onee-san’s smile, I’ve finally seen it for the first time.」
「From the time I had first seen you, I kept on thinking that a short hair would fit onee-san perfectly.」he continued.
「I’ve never had it short before.」
I have been maintaining a certain length for a long time since my school days. And because I’ve always liked to style my hair myself, I often tried new hairstyles to find the ones I like.
Since Etou-kun liked the side-tails hairstyle, I have always maintained that look in his presence. Though now I have no reason to.
However, cutting my hair still feels wasteful, and will probably trouble Etou-kun once he sees it.
Let’s just do it!
「I bet, you are absolutely right」
Since Chrono is a professional hairdresser I had confidence in his opinion, Isn’t it normal to feel comfortable doing what the hair-dresser recommended?
It would be an adventure for me, maybe I’ll even be able to clear up this feeling in my heart.
「But……」, I’m still hesitating.
「『An unrequited love or a haircut. Which one should you go on with?』 The old man at work always asks that question whenever a female customer says 『I’m broken-hearted. 』」.
Actually, a broken heart is often the reason why a girl cuts her hair. Well, not that I care that much…… it’s just……
「A girl cutting her hair to start anew, that happens often.」
Chrono replied to my doubts.
Ah…, I wonder if I should do such a thing?.
But I guess people often do change their mindsets when they are brokenhearted, So… I think I’ll do it!, the first step to breaking the heavy melancholy I’m feeling is to lighten my head by cutting my hair.
I want to change my mood.
I want to change.
I will have to face Etou-kun again at the beginning of the week, so I need to stop crying forever.
The feeling of wanting to change had given me the courage to take a big step.