The log was left behind.
There were documents too. There was also the world. But he didn’t need to rely on that. Shinobu’s own memory was enough.
It felt long. But, it hadn’t even been ten years. Like the click of a tongue…
And an eternity as well.
Widening blue – the sky.
The world was thought to be large – but it was limited. That kind of gloomy thought seemed to expand outwards to infinity – expanding like that sky.
Atemiya Shinobu dropped his gaze.
There was a white house. There. Considering the construction – single detached. An elegant and high grade residence.
A brand-new wall. Inorganic. A garden. Trimmed. A lawn. Arranged. No lack of order.
It was a conspicuous place. The other houses were overwhelmed by that – White. Too conspicuous.
Slight frown. Eyebrows knitting. But Shinobu couldn’t stand around forever. From his pocket – an envelope.
Rolled up and crumpled. Inside – a key.
If you considered the market value, it was comparatively secure – a high keep rate.
Using the key, he was about to enter.
???: “Excuse me!”
A female voice called out. His pulse, and heart-rate, quickened.
Woman: “Are you living here?”
Shinobu: “I am.”
Late twenties, or early thirties at best. Tall in stature. Regarding looks – she fell on the side of ‘beautiful’.
Slim. No excess fat. Like a model. A gentle look, with not a trace of animosity – nor a stern expression.
Perhaps, a bit of sternness. To put it simply, there were moments when that softness seemed to vanish, as though she wasn’t used to smiling.
Woman: “This is the first time I’ve seen anyone living here.”
He remembered the words he prepared.
Shinobu: “My mom and dad are out of town.”
Woman: “Hmm – I see.”
Shinobu: “So, they sent me back first.”
Woman: “I see. You must be a smart young man.”
Shinobu: “Not at all…”
Woman: “And your family name is… Takemiya?”
She said that while touching the nameplate.
Shinobu: “It’s Atemiya.”
Woman: “A strange name, isn’t it?”
Shinobu: “It comes from a Heian Princess.”
“I see. And you must be Atemiya…”
“Shinobu. Pleased to meet you.”
Courtesy. It wasn’t that.
She was slightly taken aback. He noticed too. He gave a deep bow.
Thinking it as a kind of boyish joke, she produced a smile.
Woman: “What a beautiful name. Shinobu.”
Shinobu: “Thank you.”
It was curt. Monotone. He was well aware.
Woman: “You can call me Benio.”
Shinobu: “Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Benio”
A weak voice. It came from behind both of them. He calmly looked over.
A girl. Younger than him. Younger by about 2 or 3. Rushing over. Huddling close to her mother’s legs.
You could even call it the ‘base’. With a tall mother like her, it was really a whole world of difference.
Benio: “My daughter – Azusa.”
She looked at him. Cautious.
Pragmatic answer. To him, she was insignificant.
Azusa paid him back with nothing but an unfriendly stare.
Benio: “We’ll be seeing you, then.”
Smiling. Leaving. Azusa followed behind. The pace was different too. Way different. The daughter took smaller steps.
On the way, she only looked back once. Their gaze didn’t cross. He was thinking of something.
The woman, and mother, called Benio. She was excessively courteous. Even her smile.
Post Translation Note
To me, the secret to getting the rhythm is abuse of em dashes like Emily Dickinson – as well as stop-start full stop rhythms. The problem is that you have to understand how the words flow, if not it’ll sound like a bunch of random words floating in the air. With that kind of technique, you may be able to match Romeo’s minimalism, though you can’t apply that for all sentences. Knowing where to stretch and where to condense is important.