3 July,  Homare Maekawa

文字数 3,096文字


Alerted by the intercom, I looked up from the electronic patient chart, my eyes instantly turning to a corner of the nurses’ station. A small figure appeared on the security camera at the ward’s entryway. I sat up from my chair, and stepped out to the linoleum-floored hallway.
  I opened the ward’s entry door to find Akane standing on her own. Just like it had been the day before, her hair was tied in a ponytail, and she wore her bag across her body. The floral-patterned mask covering her mouth looked like it’d been handmade.
  Hello, Ms. Nurse. I’m here to see Daddy again.
  Hearing her cheerful voice, I so wanted to take her to him as usual. I swallowed the bitter taste that filled my mouth.
  Hello, there. Your mommy hasn’t told you about visiting the hospital? I said, taking care to speak gently.
  I watched her round eyes cloud over as I explained to her the decision made at yesterday’s infection control committee meeting. Even family members are no longer allowed to visit patients, I told her quietly; it’s to prevent the coronavirus from spreading in the ward.
  So I can’t see him anymore?
  Not for a while, I’m afraid. I’m so sorry.
  Akane had been coming to visit her father at the hospital almost every day. I had seen the two in the ward’s communal lounge countless times, playing a game of Othello or working on a jigsaw together, sipping drinks side by side. Remembering these moments, I felt a dark shadow creep over my heart.
  I promise to let your father know that you came to see him, I continued. It sounded like some kind of apology.
  Instead of replying, Akane stuck her hand into her bag, and eventually pulled out a green piece of origami paper.
  I’ve washed my hands and disinfected them with alcohol.
  With that, Akane began to fold the green sheet of paper, skillfully transforming it with the swift motions of her nimble fingers.
  Please give this to Daddy.
  I quickly held my hand out, and a little origami frog jumped onto my palm.
  Wow. Does your daddy like frogs?
  Akane shook her head.


me, get better and hop home soon.
  Her round eyes widened, turning into a translucent brown. A smile had broken across her face, even though her mouth was hidden behind her mask. After bowing once, she made her way towards the elevator.
  My eyes followed Akane’s small figure as she walked away. Turning around, I headed straight to her father’s room, her little messenger safely enfolded in my hands, as if to keep it from hopping away.

Translated by Yuka Maeno/Arranged by TranNet KK

Homare Maekawa
Born in Miyagi Prefecture, 1986. While working as a nurse, he began writing literature on the side. Made his debut in 2017 after winning the 7th Poplar Literary Prize for New Writers for




(Erasing all traces). Was nominated for the 22nd Haruhiko Oyabu Award in 2020 for








(Secret pain: Yosari medical prison’s south ward).




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