11 August, Mafuyu Miyanishi

文字数 3,581文字

Don’t Open Until Tomorrow


When Mana discovered the letter in the mailbox, she was thirsty and drenched in sweat. It was supposed to be summer vacation, but this year she had to attend school in the oppressive heat. The letter was from her cousin Michiko. On the back of the envelope, it said: Don’t open until tomorrow.
  

A

letter

from

Michiko?


  Hiding the letter in her schoolbag, Mana went inside the house and straight to her room. She sat on her bed and stared at the envelope, wondering what the letter was about.
  

Whatever

it

is,

it

cant

be

good.


  Every August, Mana’s family spent the Obon holiday at Michiko’s house. Mana looked forward to seeing her grandparents, but she was even more excited about seeing Michiko, who was her age.
  Last year, however, the family reunion hadn’t gotten off to a good start. When Mana walked into the house, her grandmother had said, Look at you! You’re a young lady now, so fair and thin. Michiko’s too dark, and she’s got such fat legs. What a disgrace! Then she’d given Michiko’s thigh a loud slap.
  The grown-ups had laughed. But Mana had seen the color drain from Michiko’s face. How could grown-ups be so insensitive?
  Michiko had said she was going for a walk, and run out of the house. Mana had gone after her. You’re not fat, Michiko. Some kids say I look like a skeleton.
  Shut up! I hate having you over! Michiko had reacted in an unexpected way. Then she’d said, I don’t want you here next year.
  For a long time, Mana didn’t understand why Michiko had gotten upset. She even thought it had been wrong of Michiko to get angry, when all she’d done was try to make her cousin feel better.
  Then, something happened that finally made Mana understand.
  At school, Amabie images were all the rage. Amabie was a mythical creature said to ward off plagues, and rumor had it that, by setting its picture as the wallpaper on your phone, you could keep from getting the coronavirus. The problem was that the image had to be sent to you from a friend via the Line app, which Mana didn’t have on her phone—a smartphone for kids. It wasn’t that she believed the rumor. What upset her was being teased by her classmates, who called her childish for using a kids’ phone in junior high. When her friend had tried to defend Mana by saying that childishness was a part of her charm, it had upset her even more.
  Last summer, Mana had returned to Tokyo before she’d had a chance to make up with Michiko. This year, Mana’s parents had decided it would be better to stay home and not risk spreading the virus.
  

Michiko

must

be

glad

Im

not

coming

this

year.


  That was what Mana had thought. Then, she’d gotten the letter. It hadn’t been easy waiting until the next day not knowing what was written inside. Nervously, hesitantly, she opened the envelope.
  Inside, she found a handmade face mask wrapped in a plastic bag, and a card that read: You should wait a few days before wearing it, just in case there’s any virus on the mask. See you next year!
  Gazing at the mask, Mana thought about what to send her cousin.


Translated by Asuka Minamoto/Arranged by TranNet KK

Mafuyu Miyanishi
Born in Yamaguchi Prefecture, 1984. Made her debut in 2017 with

Dareka

ga

miteiru

(Someone is watching), which won the 52nd Mephisto Prize. Her writing depicts the struggles of people’s lives, with works such as

Kubi

no

kusari

(Chain around the neck), and

Tomodachi

misui

(Attempt at being a friend).

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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