18 August, Haruka Shirao

文字数 3,863文字

A Letter from the Future


This

has

got

to

be

a

joke.


  Sana felt her pulse quicken; the after-rain smell of grass and earth seemed to have grown stronger. Slowly, tentatively, she took the white envelope out of the tin box she’d just dug up. On the front of the envelope, it said: Dear Sana—From your thirty-year-old self.
  Last September, Sana had buried the box behind a tree in the park with her best friend, Hikari. It had been their very own time capsule, different from the one they’d made at school with their classmates, which was to be opened in eight years when they turned twenty. Sana and Hikari had decided to wait until they were thirty to open theirs. Inside the time capsule were letters they’d written to each other and their future selves, along with surprise gifts they’d chosen for one another.
  Thank you for your letter. It brought back a lot of memories. While I can’t go into details, the answer to three of your five questions is yes. Being a grown-up isn’t always easy, but it can be fun, too. There are more things to enjoy, more ways to have a good time. I’m wondering if you would do me a favor. I know you’ve come to get rid of some things, but I’d appreciate it if you held onto them. This isn’t advice for a better future or anything like that; it’s just a selfish request on my part. I think they’ll help me remember the life you’re living now, which I want to try my best not to forget. Take care.
  

Thats

it?

This

doesnt

make

any

sense.


  Sana wasn’t sure if she believed what she’d just read. Yet she was unable to take her eyes off the objects at the bottom of the box, the things she’d been intent on discarding until a moment ago: her gift and letter to Hikari. The gift, wrapped with a gold ribbon, was a pretty glass Sana had picked out for her friend to use at the sleepovers they would continue to have as adults. Her message to Hikari was on a card with a sophisticated floral design, and Sana could still recall each word she’d written.
Hikari, however, had probably forgotten all about their time capsule.
  Due to the coronavirus, school had suddenly closed, and graduation had been a blur. Since starting seventh grade, Sana rarely got to see Hikari. They were in different classes, and only went to school once a week. When Sana asked her parents if she could hang out with Hikari during the stay-home period, they refused out of concern for Sana’s grandmother, who lived with them. After a while, Hikari stopped calling. She made new friends, with whom she formed group chats, played online games, and went to the park. By the time school finally reopened, her attitude toward Sana had grown cold and distant. Summer break was short this year, and Sana had no one to spend it with.
  

So

you

want

me

to

hold

onto

them.

Do

you

have

any

idea

what

Im

going

through?


  The buzzing of numerous cicadas could be heard overhead, and Sana was enveloped in a curtain of sound. She felt dizzy. After putting the box back in the ground, she angrily set out for home, determined to write back to her selfish thirty-year-old self.


Translated by Asuka Minamoto/Arranged by TranNet KK

Haruka Shirao
Born in Kanagawa Prefecture, raised in Tokyo. After graduating from a university in the U.S., returned to Japan and was employed at various companies including foreign-affiliated film corporations. Currently works as a digital-content producer in a freelance capacity. Won both Grand Prize and Reader’s Prize at the 16th R-18 Literature for Women By Women Award in 2017 for Akurosu za yunibāsu (Across the universe). Made her literary debut in 2018 with

Ima

wa

sora

shika

mienai

(Right now, I can only see the sky), which contains her award-winning short story.

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