Kamisama no Memochou:Volume 9 Chapter 8
Even when the story comes to an end, everyone's lives has to continue, and this God's Notebook naturally has their happenings recorded in it.
Major established a game development company, and developed a few gun shooting games that are passionately praised by a few group of players. He's enjoying himself and busy all day long, but still heartily accepted my interview. When I visited him at the office, he gleefully brandished a real gun collection at the office that's used for reference (is it really fine for him to possess them?)
Yondaime too opened a few new companies, and the most successful of them seems to be clothing mail order. It seems the secret of success came from the difference in local prices, and interviews of him can be seen in several magazines. However, he's still the same as before, occasionally coming to the 'Hanamaru Ramen Shop' and causing a drunken commotion with Tetsu-senpai and the others.
Tetsu-senpai started a 'Punching Bag Service'. Most of us hearing this for the first time would ask 'What's that?" Well, it's a job for him to settle disputes. Once customers get in trouble, they'll just need to call him for help, and he'll get there quickly to 'be the punching bag'. It seems that his job scope is a little wider than that; I guess I'll ask him about that next time. I'm guessing that most of the requests are from the Yakuza.
Most surprising of them all however is Hiro. He's married. The wedding was held at a bar managed by Yondaime, and he got all those acquainted with him to celebrate. Min-san was dressed in wedding dress, and was prettier than any bride I saw.
Right now, Hiro's dressed in that black waist-length apron, standing in the kitchen of the ramen shop. It's said that he deleted the numbers of all the women he recorded in his phone, and isn't fooling around with girls anymore. Min-san's response to this was to say "I don't mind, is he an idiot?". After a while, 'Hanamaru Ramen Shop' was described as "A mysterious ramen shop owned by a beautiful couple with delicious ice cream", becoming a little famous, with a massive boom in female customers. Right now, their ramen's delicious too, so I hope everyone can continue to praise them, I think.
Ayaka enrolled in the college Major was in. "Eh? Wait, isn't that the national university that's hard to get in?" When I asked her that, she laughed, saying "I chose a faculty that's easier". However, I'm guessing that she's just trying to be humble, and that it's the result of her working hard where I can't see. I didn't know any ordinary ordinary college students, so I often asked her for help to help me sneak into their library.
And just as everyone had predicted, I was unable to be motivated, and did not enter college. After I graduated, I did not proceed with any part-time job, and stayed around at home, doing chores for a while (in other words, a NEET). Recently, a novel I wrote in the past received a certain award, and I did manage to earn some money. The sales volume was not much, but I did continue to write. I moved into an apartment near 'Hanamaru Ramen Shop', so that my sister can get married earlier without any worries ; this was my first time living alone.
The curtains were closed as I sat in front of the computer, recalling the cases I went through in high school, and wrote them down in a draft. Suddenly, I felt that every step I took till this day was a predetermined outcome.
For a detective's assistant had decided become a novelist.
Without thinking, I stopped typing, and went back to recalling.
I met all kinds of people. Living people, dead people.
I beat up these people, I was beaten up by them; I cried for these people, I was forced to cry, and I did laugh with them. Through such landmarks, I arrived at my current position. Was that notebook as written? Or were the records jotted down by following my footsteps? Assuming that time is a loop, there would be no difference in these two, and anything goes.
Anyway, I'm here right now, writing the story of her, who left me.
At the same time, this is my story, the story of the people I relied on, and even the story of thousands of anonymous people who passed by me and vanished into the buzz of the city. Even so, from the initial meeting till the final farewell, this story remained a vast ocean, and she was nowhere to be seen.
Thus, I could only use my own fragments to write down this story, scattering them all over the world, hoping that the me on this planet will be able to find her no matter where I am on this world, no matter how far in the future it was.
"Don't you feel lonely?" Min-san once jokingly teased me as she asked,
"I guess." I answered. "It'll be a lie to say that I'm not lonely."
"Ever since you became a novelist, you're becoming wiser in whatever you say." Min-san laughed. Perhaps that's the case. I can't cry when I'm sad like a normal would, scold when I'm angry, laugh when I'm happy, and say whatever that's on my mind as per normal, and because of that, I started to write my own story.
Even now, I can't forget about you right now.
That was all I wanted to tell her.
The editor-in-charge from the publisher called me. "Right, I'm done with the afterword. It's fine, I'll send it over right now." After hanging up the phone, I was about save my file in a text format, before I stopped.
The smartphone basked under the window sunlight at the edge of the table vibrated.
Then, the little device started to sing. A dog's bark then summoned a guitar, a bass and the drums that formed a loud arch.
It's a nostalgic song. I never heard it ever since then, and I thought I would never hear it again. It was a song of extraordinary significance.
The rusted shackles within me started to grind and tug at each other, and the sealed memories within me started to barge the doors open, the wave rushing through. All kinds of images, colors and sounds, smiling and crying faces flowed into my mind vividly.
I picked up the smartphone, checked the name shown on the screen in utter disbelief, and put it at my ear.
I heard noise, chirping, laughter, and--
'--Why are you still using this ringtone now? Goodness. Haven't you switched phones thereafter? Or have you always set it up like this?'
Her voice never changed.
And mine was stuck in my chest, unable to come out.
All my throat could only eke out was a strange voice akin to an eraser squeaking against the blackboard. I could practically see her frowning on the other end of the phone.
'What? Did you forget my voice or something?'
I looked up at the ceiling, lowered my head down to look at my knees, and then my eyes returned to the story I was typing into my PC. I'm not in a story, this is reality.
I took a deep breath, and after a lot of effort, I eked out a voice from my parched throat.
"...I can't possibly forget about that, right?"
She laughed on the other end of the phone.
"Hey, where are you right--"
I asked, and then, I recalled her first line. How could she possibly hear my phone's ringtone?
And so, I stood up, pulled the curtain and windows aside, and leaned my body out to look around. The grassy air drifted in, and the sun at noon shone hard on my eyes, hurting them.
Finally, I found her, dressed in a white one piece dress, standing at an empty field behind the apartment that was covered with sand and wilted grass. She put down the phone by her ear, and smiled at from under the shadow of the small straw hat.
"It has been a while."
I could only call out her name.
My heart felt as there was new blood infused into it at this point, and the vitality injected all over my entire body numbed my fingertips. I was unable to say anything, and hurriedly retreated to my room, ran to the corridor, put on the sandals, rushed down the corridor, tumbled down the rusted stairs, darted past an alley, and got to the back of the apartment. Alice was still waiting for me. Again, I exerted effort in rushing to her, panting furiously.
Looking at her face from up close, I finally relaxed. She was bashfully pouting her lips, averting her eyes; it's really her.
"Wh-what is it? Why are you just looking at me without talking? Say something already."
She didn't change; really, nothing changed at all. Ever since that day--I wonder how many years passed? No matter how she appeared to be, I can't tell if there's anything different. It's a waste of time wondering how many days passed.
"...You haven't changed at all, have you?"
I accidentally blurted it. Alice went beetroot, and scowled,
"That's the first thing that comes up in your mind!?"
She took off the straw hat, and charged at me, so close that our noses were almost touching.
"Look closely. Look! I grew 6cm!"
"Ah, ahh, yeah."
Speaking of which, back then, Alice seemed to be at the height of my chest.
"I can also evolve every day, not as weak as I used to be. I can carry a 17 inch laptop around now!"
What's there to be proud about? A laptop's meant to be carried around anyway.
"I know how to ride a bicycle now."
"Heh...that's...well, that's amazing."
Alice leaned her upper body skeptically, and looked up at my face from below,
"What's with you? You've been acting strange all this while. Have you forgotten how to talk because you've been shutting yourself in the room and writing drafts for so long?"
"No, it's not really that exaggerated."
Looks like she knew that I became a novelist. I'm happy.
"...It's just that...I have too much to tell you...and I don't know where to begin with."
I honestly stated my heartfelt words, and Alice widened her eyes, before she shyly averted her eyes,
"I see...hmph. I can forgive you for that."
And then, she softly added on,
"I'm the same too."
I narrowed my eyes, and again sized up Alice from head to toe. I was worried that if I blinked, she would vanish like steam, but she did not go anymore.
"There's a lot I want to ask you, a lot I want to tell you. Maybe a thousand a one nights won't be enough for me to finish."
"Yeah, me too. But anyway--"
I held in my agitated emotions, and exhaled to vent my mood. Now's not the time to cry.
"I'm glad to have you back."
Alice turned aside, her face completely red, and so was her ears, retorting back with some teeny weeny voice I could not hear. It's fine. I understand. i have the same feelings.
"Anyway, there are some things I really have to handle right now, urgently!"
Alice suddenly howled, and shocked me so much I retreated.
"I read the novels you wrote. Ignoring the other details, your description of me and the plushies are too careless!"
You read them? Why thanks for that. No, let's not talk about Alice. The dolls are the details now?
"Didn't you write the final volume? Before you send it out to the publisher, correct everything I pointed out!"
"..Eh? How did you know--ah, you hacked into my computer?"
"That's my right of course. I'm a detective. How can you possibly remember every single detail with that mind of yours alone? Bring me to your room!"
Alice said, and grabbed my hand, dragging me along to the stairs of the apartment. My heart was filled with sweetness and bitterness.
She's a detective.
Nothing changed at all. She's back.
"Oh yeah, does your room have any air conditioning that's numbing cold, and is there a dozen of Dr Pepper in the fridge waiting for me?"
I smiled as I hurried my steps, holding her hand.
Our shoulders side by side, we head down the first path together.
Awaiting us in front in an unknown desert with no footprint imprinted. Even if a detective were to search all over the world, she would not be able to check on the future. The only way would be to write it down with our own hands, feet, and blood. It is a flat road that would not lead far, sizzling with the heat. It is a vast blue, blue ocean with no wakes in sight. A sculpture that is yet to be dyed in truth or lie, despair, blissfulness and reality--
This is the story, of Alice and me.
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