13 July, Ame Kujirai

文字数 3,775文字

Waiting for Ice Cream in August


“Summer vacation—come back from the dead!”
  Nana took off her face mask and let out a cry. She had forgotten to bring a parasol, so she was walking in the shade of the buildings.
  “We lost our summer vacation.”
  Lala answered, walking next to her. She was holding an open parasol. It was to shade herself from the sun that’d peeked out, and to maintain her distance, instead of wearing a mask.
  They had finally begun the eighth grade in June. With school assemblies cut and club activities limited, a month and half of non-stop study had passed.
  The girls were on their way home from school. They were walking along a major road.
  “It was cloudy just a second ago.” Nana glared at the blue sky. “If it gets any hotter—”
  Lala chimed in, “We’re going to melt headfirst.”
  “Yeah, really. I hate muggy weather, but I hate plain old hot weather, too!”
  The rain had let up, and the first rays of sun in days baked the asphalt. Through the breaks of rain, the dog days of summer were approaching.
  “We’re supposed to get a break in the summer because it gets too hot, but not this year!”
  Nana was gearing up for an epic rant, but instead let out, “Ugh, I can’t even,” and wiped the sweat from her neck.
  Lala was craving something cold to eat.
  “Hey.”
  A convenience store sign came into view at the intersection up ahead.
  “Motion to propose—ice cream.”
  “Motion adopted!”
  The girls broke into a fast walk.
  They went through the wide-open doors and into the air-conditioned convenience store. Fluttering their school uniforms in the cool air, they made a beeline for the ice cream section, peered into the freezer, and gave each other a look.
  “What are you going to have?”
  “Hmm, what should I have.”
  After some going back and forth, they each decided on an ice cream cone. Nana chose chocolate, and Lala the vanilla.
  They refused the plastic bag at the register, and exited the convenience store, reluctantly, with the cool air at their backs. By the time they sat down on a bench at a nearby park, the ice cream was starting to melt. Beneath the trees filtering the sunlight, the girls hastily tore away the wrapping.
  “Yumm-o!” Nana had bit off most of the top in one bite and put a hand on her cheek. “It’s so cold!”
  Lala took a bite of her ice cream. “Mmm, there’s nothing like ice cream on the way home from school.”
  “The hotter the weather, the better the ice cream tastes. That’s a universal truth.”
  “It tastes even better with you, Nana.”
  “What? Awwww!”
  “Let’s enjoy it while we can before the rain comes back.”
  They went on eating their ice cream, until Lala said, “But,” with a hint of regret. “That new shaved ice looked really good, too.”
  “We can always try it next time.”
  Nana smiled. Her hair stuck to her forehead with sweat.
  “Ice cream after school in August is going to be the best, I know it.”
  “Oh, right . . . ’cause we have school in August.”
  Lala smiled, too.
  “We can have more ice cream together after school.”
  During an after-school in August that can only be experienced this year.
  The girls each took a bite of their cones, making a loud crunch at the same time.


Translated by Takami Nieda/Arranged by TranNet KK

Ame Kujirai
Born in Toyooka City, Hyōgo Prefecture, in 1998. Currently resides in Hyōgo and is enrolled in university. Has been writing for 11 years. Began uploading short-stories and long-form novels on a literature website starting in 2015. Won the Literary Flea Market Short Story Award in 2017, and made their official literary debut in 2020 with

Hare,

tokidoki

kurage

o

yobu

(Sunny with a chance of jellyfish) for which they won the 14th Shōsetsu gendai chōhen shinjin shō (Modern long-form novel new face award).

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