7 April, Yū Nagira

文字数 4,323文字

“You’re not a very lucky woman, are you?” Daikichi muttered, chin resting on his hand. I took a bite from a soggy rice cracker.
  It was true—I should’ve been at the award ceremony for the Bookstore Prize right about now, taking my once-in-a-lifetime place in the spotlight as the winner of this year’s grand prize for authors. Instead I was at home, on the sofa with my husband, who I was in a bit of a cold war with, zoned out in front of the TV. The screen displayed a huge banner breaking the news that a state of emergency had been declared.
  Since the start of the year, a novel coronavirus had spread throughout the world; the award ceremony for the Bookstore Prize, along with all other events, had been canceled; and now, they’d just announced this declaration of a state of emergency, a historic event for Japan.
  “Big bookstores will be closed temporarily as of tomorrow, right?”
  “Yeah, I got an email from my editor about it earlier.”
  “The award ceremony being canceled is one thing, but if bookstores close, things are really gonna be tight.”
  I thought about all the people at bookstores who had always supported me, and I clenched my teeth.
  “I’m guessing you’ve lost your promotion to full-time, then?”
  “They emailed me earlier. They’ve cut my original contract, too.”
  “In spite of what your name

Daikichi

(best luck) means, you’re not a very lucky man, either.”
  The conversation had come back to where it started, for about the hundredth time since this morning. Our country, our work, and our household were all on the verge of collapse due to this emergency, and with them all overlapping like this, I didn’t even have the energy to lament it. I wanted so much right now to get really drunk and escape from reality, but unfortunately for me, I couldn’t because of the circumstances.
  Our relationship had been at its worst for the last two months. Just as the coronavirus crisis hit full swing, Daikichi had had an affair with a woman at his temp agency. What were you thinking at a time like this, I’d shouted as I broke in half the figurines of pretty girls he collected; it was then we entered this long cold war.
  “Well, tomorrow I’m going to start looking for work.”
  “But we’re supposed to stay inside.”
  “Our family’s growing. We can’t afford for me not to work.”
  I was startled. Daikichi looked at my swollen stomach.
  “I’ve just overeaten, that’s all.”
  “What kind of moron do you really think I am?”
  “The kind of ultra-level moron who gets caught cheating the night that his wife was planning to tell him she’s pregnant.”
  Daikichi fell silent.
  “You’re right. That would definitely make you break my figurines.”
  He suddenly slid down from the sofa to the floor and apologized on his hands and knees. A full thirty seconds later, he looked up at me.
  “So. I was thinking we could name him Jōji.”
  My eyebrows were knit together in confusion until I heard a news presenter on the TV say, as we’d heard them repeat over and over again since this morning, “a state of emergency (

hijōjitai

).” Right, that’s where he got it. You could say it was a name of hope, the hope that we would move from emergency (

hijōji

) to normality (

jōji

). But what if it’s a girl?
  He really is a moron, I thought, putting my hand to my stomach and looking up at the ceiling.
  A dangerous virus is running rampant, your father has lost his job, and your mother’s work isn’t guaranteed, either. Joji, you’re going to be born into a world where everything is so far from normality. Are you as unlucky as your parents?
  But I’m gonna try not to worry too much. Our boat is small, but there’s room for a new life in it, and together we will try to reach the opposite shore. From the shore called the future to the next one, because that’s how we’ve lived for a long time now, and we’ll keep on going.


Translated by Morgan Giles/Arranged by TranNet KK

Yū Nagira
Born in Shiga Prefecture. Made her literary debut with the short story “Koisuru egoisuto” (Egoist in love), published in the Winter 2006 issue of

Shōsetsu

Hanamaru

. Her debut novel

Hanayome

wa

marijjiburū

(The bride’s pre-wedding blues) was published the next year. She won first place in the 17th Japan Booksellers' Award for her work

Rurō

no

tsuki

(Nomadic moon) in 2020.

登場人物紹介

登場人物はありません

ビューワー設定

文字サイズ
  • 特大
背景色
  • 生成り
  • 水色
フォント
  • 明朝
  • ゴシック
組み方向
  • 横組み
  • 縦組み