This story takes place in the first year after their first child is born.
“Grandma, I’ll take the asparagus,” I said, my straw hat swaying in the wind.
“Make sure to leave the thin ones,” she replied from where she stood in front of the okra.
The ones I had my eyes on were as thick as my index finger. I picked the spears, putting a bit of power into it, and the asparagus came free with a clean, crisp snap. I harvested seven in total, overlooking the thick and short ones since I would be picking them tomorrow.
“It’s delicious if we boil it and eat it with mayonnaise,” I said.
Sounding just like the old woman she was, grandma let out a “Heave-ho!” as she bent to pick up the freshly-harvested asparagus, and carrying them to the gable-roofed house.
Thanks to my dedication in helping her clear the weeds and take care of the field, my body felt as heavy as lead. Now, however, it was so light that I almost couldn’t believe it.
I ate the vegetables grown with my own hands. Delicious. Living the kind of life where you could see for yourself the results of your hard work seemed a good fit for me. Especially since I’d always liked making things with my own hands.
Just like that, a month passed, before grandma asked me with concern, “Is everything okay with your job?”
“Don’t worry. I can research all I want and get in contact with the people I need to get in contact with. I can do my job anywhere, Grandma.”
See, this was a convenient world where I could interact with anyone, anytime, and anywhere, as long as I was connected to the internet.
I also consulted with my editor about the plot of my new story.
While living with grandma to rehabilitate, I drew some short stories and posted them on the internet.
I had holed myself in grandma’s house, and now almost two months had passed.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
“Ktfrf rtbeiv yf gfjvs rbbc.”
P aegcfv atf ybaaifr bc atf vfrx jcv gbiifv atf qiewr atja kfgf qlmxifv lcrlvf. Ktlr kjr atf ijra pelmf ifoa ogbw beg ijra tjgnfra. Xgjcvwj ijeutfv ja ws jmalbcr, cjggbklcu tfg fsfr atja vgbbqfv klat kglcxifr. “Pa’r ecereji obg sbe ab ilxf qiew pelmf.”
“I don’t like rice balls with plum filling, but juice is a different story.”
“Oh, what a shame. Dried plums and rice is a delicious combination.”
“I’ll show you the deliciousness of Tenmusu later, Grandma.”
Grandma, who was boiling the asparagus I had harvested, suddenly fell silent. Then she said, “About two months have passed now. Is it okay for you not to go home?”
“…Yeah. Anyway, I already told my family and friends where I am.”
Work was fine too, since I had informed my editor as well.
Yet, despite hearing my answer, Grandma seemed like she had something to say.
And to be honest, it were as if a strange lump had grown inside my throat.
I wondered why that was. The state of my apartment didn’t cause me worry. Although the rent was wasteful, I didn’t have any plans to leave the apartment for now. Plus, I needed a base for my job.
“It’s nice to have your help, and I also have a lot of fun with you here. It’s just that you’ve been restless ever since you arrived. Is there something bothering you?”
I arrived here like I had been trying to run from something, so it was only natural I felt restless. Even I found myself behaving like a spoiled child this time, and kept asking myself every day whether this was really okay.
I was already twenty five years old. If I gave up making a living from manga, I would have to explore another lifestyle. My parents would surely be more relieved. Each time they informed me that my friends from my hometown or cousins had married, their silent pressure crushed me.
As if they were asking whether I could start a family with such an unstable job.
Because my twenty-nine-years-old elder sister had a career, they compared us even more often recently. Mixed with jokes, they told me it would have been great if our genders had been reversed.
Marriage, family, work, children―
Even my sister would make a bitter face during such a topic. A topic that would upset anyone.
Once I had left the room, I recalled Grandma’s words.
“Is it okay for you not to go home?”
“That’s right. Maybe… I should go home soon.”
But go home to where?
It was true. All I had was that small, beat-down apartment.
Nevertheless, I envisioned something else.
A small house in a small field. Bright red tomatoes.
A cow and her calf eating grass that swayed in the wind.
Such a nostalgic image caused me to suck in a breath.
What was that just now?
A small child was feeding chickens with a smile.
I felt like someone had called my name, and my chest tightened.
Like a flood of memories.
And the scene of that day reappeared in my mind, clear and vibrant.
He was a boy with unusual purple eyes and fluffy black hair.
Almost one year old, Ray was growing well, to the point that it proved bizarre.
In fact, now that I thought of it, my son could hold his head up since birth and stand still the next day.
I had been prepared to raise him like he was a normal human infant, so his extraordinary and quick growth shocked me.
“It’s different from the parenting I envisioned…”
“Minoru, calm down. This is normal in my race.”
Seemed like his race was an independent kind that could stand up soon after birth.
So this was something that they knew innately the moment they were born.
By the way, Sig also seemed to be pretty good when it came to raising a child, so we decided to take care of Ray, relying on God’s book, “How to Raise the Inhabitant of Heaven.”
…I hadn’t known that Sig’s race was called the “Inhabitant of Heaven.”
After a year of being shocked over various things, we had finally progressed this far.