"Left Side Train Windows" Saori Kaneko

by 半空文学賞

“Riding on this train, and facing left towards the direction we're traveling; That scenery is my favorite.” he said, laughing.

No, whether he laughed or not, I actually don't remember. He was always a calmly smiling person, though I may be imagining that to be the case for my own benefit.

It was around the beginning of spring when I started having had that dream. It started in an unknown station where I was standing. The local line's station had an archetypic old charm. Beside the railroad tracks, tall yellow flowers were swaying, and white butterflies were playfully fluttering. It's a scene that can be understood if it's the peak of springtime, but I didn't sense the wind, aroma, or temperature. Because of that, I realized I was in a dream. Before long, I would ride the incoming train. When I turn around, I see him standing on the platform, and before the door closes he says.

"The direction of travel, on the left side. Got it?"

As if to emphasize that he likes the scenery there, so make sure not to miss it.

I had never heard that kind of talk, while he was alive. He hardly never talked about himself, nor did he say he was from Shikoku's smallest prefecture, I learned that after he died. Naturally, I did not learn the name of the local line passing through his hometown. However, in a dream I keep having, he will tell me about it preciously and softly.

"Hey wake up, we are arriving." I heard a voice and woke up. It's not his voice. In the opposite seat was a little boy, shaken and awaken by his mother, and slowly putting on his shoes.

Bump, and the train shakes. An announcement to tell the station's name. I wonder if I’m in a dream or if this is reality. The direction of travel, on the left side. Because of those words, I check the direction the train is moving in and subsequently look to the left. My eyes opened wide.

"The sea,"

Those two words spill softly from my mouth. The sea, it's the sea. Outside, the surface of the ocean, whose color was like boiled down sky blue, extends far and beyond. A faint scent of moist sea water drifts in through the cracked opened window.

“I love this scenery the best!”

I hadn’t noticed these things before; he was a boy brought up by the oceanside, and that gently smiling boy and the calm, deep ocean were so alike. I had not even tried to learn about him properly. Even though I’ve noticed it now... it’s too late.

Before long the ocean disappears from view, and the train once again enters town.

The wind hitting my face was somewhat cold, and softly caressed the tips of my ears as it passed by. The ocean surface filled with deep waters gracefully reflecting the glow of the sun, continued on to the ends of the earth.

The 3rd Nakazora Literary Award

"Kotoden Story Project"