21 April, Kei Nitadori

文字数 3,767文字

Listening to a Lullaby


Ever since I found out Kido had a baby at home as I do, he and I have taken to video-calling each other about parenting. Sometimes, the woes of fatherhood can only be shared between two dads.
  But today the conversation took a slightly different turn. Kido couldn’t figure out why his daughter was crying and asked for my advice.
  Babies cry for no reason, that’s what they do—we’d talked about this to exhaustion—but he insisted something wasn’t right. Apparently five-month-old Rin would, he said, “be sound asleep in my arms, but starts crying when I get up and walk around.” She was fine when his wife or father-in-law held and walked her, but she cried at times when he was the one to do so. And, it was happening with greater frequency.
  When I heard this, my interest was piqued. Typically, babies wanted to be held while you were standing rather than sitting, and while you were walking rather than standing still. All a bit of a palaver, really. Rin liked to be held while you were standing and walking, too, Kido said, and was fine until she dropped to sleep. “Maybe you’re walking funny,” I offered, among other explanations, but to each one, Kido shook his head. If that were the case, she would be crying every time he held her, and it didn’t explain why it was happening more frequently. It didn’t appear to be caused by anything external like a noisy motorcycle or a drop in air pressure, nor anything to do with Rin, like a bloated tummy. Rin burst out crying nevertheless.
  As I thought about it some more, one thing did occur to me.
  I said, “You might want to go to the hospital.”
  “Really? You think Rin is that bad off?”
  “No, I meant you.”

  Several days later, Kido video-called to thank me. Apparently, a test had detected an irregular heartbeat—a pretty bad one at that, given how the mere act of standing and walking had caused it to fluctuate. Rin had made a lullaby of the familiar sound of her father’s heartbeat, and had cried when it wavered. I’d heard that babies listened to their mother’s heartbeat in the womb. The sound must be calming.
  As we mused about how Rin had probably saved her father’s life, I heard crying from the living room and cut the video call short. The babies, at least, were maintaining normal operations.


Translated by Takami Nieda/Arranged by TranNet KK

Kei Nitadori
Born in Chiba Prefecture, 1981. Made his literary debut with

Wake

atte

fuyu

ni

deru

(High school ghost busters) in 2006, for which he earned an honorable mention in the 16th Ayukawa Tetsuya Award. Following the

Shiritsu

kōkō

(Municipal high school) series which began with his debut work, he worked on the popular

Senryokugai

sōsa-kan

(Detective out of the force) series and

Kaedegaoka

Dōbutsuen

(Kaedegaoka zoo) series. His other works include

Patishie

no

himitsu

suiri:

Omeshiagari

wa

yōgisha

kara

(The pastry chef’s whodunit: Enjoying a meal from the suspect),

Semarikuru

jibun

(The approaching self),

Shārokku

Hōmuzu

no

fukinkō

(Disproportion of Sherlock Holmes),

Reji

made

no

suiri:

Honya-san

no

meitantei

(Solving the mystery on the way to the register: The detective bookseller),

101

kyōshitsu

(Classroom 101),

Shārokku

Hōmuzu

no

jūjika

(The crucifix of Sherlock Holmes),

Kanojo

no

iro

ni

todoku

made

(Until it reaches her color),

100

oku

nin

no

Yoriko-san

(Ten billion Yorikos),

Meitantei

tanjō

(The birth of the detective),

Jojutsu

torikku

tanpenshū

(A collection of short stories with a narrative trick),

Soko

ni

iru

no

ni

(Even though you are there).

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