Full Chapter Edit
“They’re coming! Welcome to the fascinating place for buddies!!”
Under the shadows of the trees, the dark and thick smoke induced from the BBQ rose in spirals, covering the area.
Hisakawa was holding a circular fan, and his head was wrapped with a towel. Anjo and Tsurumi had already come. It was an ardous mystery of why we could gather so easily. Do they really have no friends at all? I couldn’t help unnecessarily worrying for them.
“Heheh, I’ve prepared the grill! A man lent it to me at my workplace!”
“Food? I only brought some German sausages…”
“I brought candles.”
Tsurumi brought a shopping bag in front. It was a heavy bag, and as she had said, it was filled with fragant candles.
“Aren’t we calling upon Menma? These props used in spiritual stories should be essential.”
“Ah. Oh…Then, where’s the food for BBQ?”
“I don’t really eat in the night. Don’t care for me.”
She was overly having her own way in doing things. Nevertheless, this was Tsurumi, she was like this before, but it didn’t seem this serious back then?
“Hey. Tsuruko-san only cares for herself. Oh but willful woman are of my liking!”
“What an idiot.”
“Ah. Because I thought everyone would bring food, and I was afraid I would buy repeated things, so…”
Seemed a bit embarrassed, Anjo opened the plastic bag she was holding on. Inside the bag was a cheap set of fireworks.
“Uh. What do you want to do with this?”
“Playing with fireworks? We aren’t children anymore.”
“Calm down, calm down, calm down! Everyone, settle down. We can stuff ourselves full with this!”
Having that said, Hisakwa opened the lid next to the grill. Inside was some bubbling, slimy liquid.
“This is called Kiru. It’s a sweet congee made of milk and rice!”
With her eyes gleaming, Menma looked at the liquid, speaking in astonishment, “Wa! It looks like vomit!”
“Don’t say such things that will spoil our appetite.”
I carelessly continued what Menma had said. With a “uh?”, Anjo looked at me surprisedly. And I quickly evaded her eyes in panic.
“All in all, this couldn’t be counted as a barbecue.”
“Should I make this into a teppanyaki?”
“I’m good with just German sausages.”
Consequently, the ‘Menma Finding Meeting’ started at last.
Anjo was cutting the sausages.
Tsurumi was randomly placing candles between trees. And Hisakawa was regulating the fire of the oven.
We didn’t even speak, except for the ‘how are you doing’ shouts by Hisakawa from time to time. Nevertheless, out of my expectation, there was some kind of noiseness.
That was because of Menma.
Just then, Menma was going from here to there between people, asking ‘the sausages had to be cut to little crabs!’, or ‘Poppo, the fire is huge! It’s a big poppo, big poppo!!”
This noisiness covered the sense of disharmony among us who hadn’t worked together for ages.
It was a bit forced, lonely noisiness.
For the only one to hear this noisiness was I. Save I, no one could hear Menma.
When Tsurumi suddenly invited me to a conversation, my stomach twitched. Though from appearance, Anjo and Hisakwa had changed, for some reason, I thought Tsurumi was the person with the biggest change.
“You said you saw Menma…that Menma had come back. Are you speaking the truth?”
“Um? If you don’t believe it, why are you still coming?”
“Yeah? Because I want to find you for the answer.”
Tsurumi said peacefully. She didn’t look at me while she spoke, so what hid behind her eyes, including those feelings, I didn’t have that faintest idea…
“”What do you want to find me for…”
There was a lot of noise at the woods behind. Everyone looked at the source of the sound, and they saw some white light shining out of the crevices between the trees.
I could almost hear who was gulping. At this moment, my mind became blank: is this…
But Menma is at my side? When I murmured in my subconscious…
Walking out from there, Matsuyuki lightly waved his hand.
“Eh…What, so it was Yukiatsu!!”
The tense atmosphere softened at an instant. Tsurumi seemed to have closed her eyes slightly.
“I brought some steak and also a few varieties of vegetables. There are also spice and olive oil…”
“Oh yeah! You’re surely Yukiatsu! You’re completely different from those useless women!”
“What are you saying?!”
Listening to Hisakawa and Anjo’s quarrel, I heaved a sigh. The other Menma…I could really believe in such a thing—how dumb.
Yes. No one, save Hisakawa, would believe in Menma’s existence…
“Ah. But you really freaked me out! I thought Menma would really run out…”
“If you’re talking about Menma, I saw her just a while ago.”
Matsuyuki said something astonishing with a light-hearted tone. His tone was so natural that one couldn’t even notice what he was saying.
But Hisakawa caught his words that were drifting away.
If you’re talking about Menma, I saw her just a while ago.
“Heh? Menma is here?”
I couldn’t help turning around to look at Menma, who was looking at me too. Yes. Menma was here. The thing was…
“Really? Where’s her? Where’s Menma?”
“There. At the lawn.”
“Waah! So there’s another Menma…let’s go have a look, Jintan!!”
Menma had already dashed away. “Ah…” at the moment of my hesitation, Hisakawa raced behind her frantically.
“Wuaghh! Menma, wait for me! I’ll give you some German sausages!”
There was an icy voice behind my back, freezing my steps that were about to leave. The corner of Matsuyuki’s mouth showed a soft smile.
“Seems that it isn’t only you who can see Menma.”
What was his smile supposed to mean?
Matsuyuki…did you…did you really see Menma…?
“Hey. Jintan! Let’s quickly find her!”
Being hurried by Hisakawa, I also ran away. Since some time I was unaware of, the sweat covering on my skin had split apart like a film: one layer that belonged to others, and one mine. Every kind of sophisticated feeling was stuck on my body like glue, making me maximally displeased.