3 August, Rinko Kamizu

文字数 2,203文字

There are masks everywhere you go. Masks on everyone and his brother. Masks on even mascots. Masks as far as the eye can see. A world where I can be normal.

  Everyone says they want to take off their masks because they can’t breathe. I’m just the opposite. It’s when I take off my mask that I can’t breathe. To me, it’s an oxygen mask.
  Because, yeah, the world is suffocating.

  Your mouth is kind of creepy.
  It was a mistake to fake a smile. I was always pushing up the corners of my mouth because I wanted everyone to like me. But keeping a smile pasted on my face was hard, and I developed a twitch around my mouth. I put on a mask to hide it. I didn’t have to fake a smile anymore, and I was able to breathe freely. But my classmates were weirded out by me wearing a mask all the time, so I didn’t feel comfortable at school anymore.
  Anytime you wore a mask outside of early spring and winter, people looked at you suspiciously, but now, it’s just the opposite. Maybe wearing a mask all the time will be normal from now on. Then, maybe I’ll be able to go anywhere and do anything. Although, we can only go places we’re allowed to right now.

  Huh? Why?
  This store was supposed to be far enough away from the school that I wouldn’t have to see anyone I knew here. Oh, no, he’s coming this way.
  You should come back to school.
  What? Huh? Is he talking to me?
  I’ll be waiting.
  Because of his mask, it was impossible to read the expression on his face. Oh, yeah. So, this is what it feels like to talk to someone wearing a mask. Yeah, I understand now.

I hurried out of the store. From the store window, my eyes caught his.
  I took off my oxygen mask and mouthed the words:



  I could see that he was smiling even through the mask.

The world isn’t as suffocating as I thought.

Translated by Takami Nieda/Arranged by TranNet KK

Rinko Kamizu
Born in Nagano Prefecture, 1979, where she currently resides. Graduated from a dental hygiene college. Won the 13th Shōsetsu Gendai New Face Award for Best Novel for



(My sweet home), and made her literary debut in 2019. Her most recent work is






  • 特大
  • 生成り
  • 水色
  • 明朝
  • ゴシック
  • 横組み
  • 縦組み