２１ Ａｐｒｉｌ， Ｋｅｉ Ｎｉｔａｄｏｒｉ
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
Born in Chiba Prefecture, 1981. Made his literary debut with
deru(High school ghost busters) in 2006, for which he earned an honorable mention in the 16th Ayukawa Tetsuya Award. Following the
kōkō(Municipal high school) series which began with his debut work, he worked on the popular
sōsa-kan(Detective out of the force) series and
Dōbutsuen(Kaedegaoka zoo) series. His other works include
kara(The pastry chef’s whodunit: Enjoying a meal from the suspect),
jibun(The approaching self),
fukinkō(Disproportion of Sherlock Holmes),
meitantei(Solving the mystery on the way to the register: The detective bookseller),
jūjika(The crucifix of Sherlock Holmes),
made(Until it reaches her color),
Yoriko-san(Ten billion Yorikos),
tanjō(The birth of the detective),
tanpenshū(A collection of short stories with a narrative trick),
ni(Even though you are there).