2 August, Arimi Yazaki

文字数 3,516文字

The Stories Dance


For the past year, Hina had been writing stories.
  At the time that she began writing, she had felt that her life (though she was only twelve years old) was incredibly ordinary. As nothing unimaginable, unthinkable, or even surprising ever happened to her, she believed that it could only happen within the words of her stories.
  Recently, however, something truly unimaginable

had

happened. Due to the new pandemic, she was barely able to go to school anymore. Moreover, her summer vacation had vanished as well.
  She had always imagined that if something like this really happened, she would be excited about it, yet she wasn’t excited at all. Rather, she was sad, and frightened. Her mother and father were shopkeepers, and normally were hardly ever at home, but now that businesses were self-quarantining, they were spending long periods of time together. She was happy about this, but the two of them seemed sad somehow. This depressed Hina as well.
  Whatever story she might write, it would never come true in a world like this, Hina thought, but still somehow she scribbled letters onto the page. She put down suitable words and strange kanji, bizarre four-character compounds and foreign words of her own making—when putting them all together, it somehow even became fun. Only things that would amuse Hina herself came to mind.
  At first, she wrote only the things that she wanted to write, but gradually, a strange girl began to speak within her head. As she penned obsessively the conversations she had with this annoyingly chatty girl, she began to think, Oh, this reminds me of someone. Who could it be? she wondered as she continued to write—when suddenly, she knew.
  It was her mother. Her manner of speaking and her turns of phrase, the way she got angry and the funny faces she made, were the spitting image of her mother!
  And so, Hina did everything she could to make this girl happy. Or rather, the girl did so all on her own. She ran and jumped and danced and sang, so swiftly that Hina’s pen could not keep up. It was like she was really alive.
  The moment she finished writing, Hina got the feeling that she had written something completely different from anything she had written before, but at the same time, the feeling of wanting someone else to read this work bubbled up from the bottom of her heart. Violently so.
  She showed it to her mother, who was in the living room with a gloomy expression upon her face. Her mother then laughed so hard she cried. To think that adults could laugh like that, too!
  I had no idea you’d been writing, Hina. This was really funny. You’re very talented, said her mother, wiping away the still-flowing tears.
  To Hina, hearing those words was far more unthinkable than anything in her stories, than even the state of the world right now. She was shocked at how happy it made her just to hear that her writing could amuse someone like that. Perhaps it was unseemly to get so worked up about it, but it was the first time she’d ever heard this!
  I’m gonna write a story for Dad, too, then!
  Yes, please do. I’m sure he’ll love it.
  Would her father enjoy his story as well? she wondered. Would he laugh, just as her mother did?


Translated by Diana Taylor/Arranged by TranNet KK

Arimi Yazaki
Born in Saitama Prefecture. Won the award for excellence at the Hoshi Shinichi Short Short Contest in 1985. Made her literary debut in 1989. Has written many works including the Butabuta (Little pig) series.

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