“Nn, …look how late it’s gotten. I wonder if Aniki and the others are waiting for us.”
“Yes, we should probably go back soon…”
“…Time seems to fly by when I’m talking with you, Shannon-chan.”
He seemed to be speaking the words of my heart. We were thinking the same thing, so the same words came out.
“I wish we could talk together like this forever… I hate clocks.”
“Same here. Talking about this stuff with you is the most fun part of coming to Rokkenjima.”
When I saw that his smiling eyes were looking right at me, …I turned around. I couldn’t let him see my suddenly red face.
“If only I could leave this place, …I’d be able to read so much more…”
The bookshop on Niijima that I go to and the bookshop he goes to in the city are on completely different scales. The book exchange between the two of us had become completely one-sided, with him giving me all the books.
“How long do you plan to be a servant, Shannon-chan?”
“…I don’t know.”
“If, someday, you decide to quit…”
“If I do…?”
“Come over to my place.”
He said it almost carelessly. Maybe he was a bit embarrassed, since he laughed weakly and blushed.
“And then, …we won’t need to worry about time running out anymore.”
“…That’s right. …We could be together…as long as we wanted…”
The little secret dates on this island only happened a few times a year, …and even when they did happen, it was only for a short, uncertain period of time. It wouldn’t work over the phone or with letters. We can only talk about our mystery when we’re standing together like this.
“I know that day’ll come someday.”
“…You think it will…?”
“Yeah. I’m certain of it.”
Certain? Why is he certain…?
“When that day comes, …I’ll come for you, riding a white horse.”
After saying this, he turned away. He was probably too proud to show me his blushing cheeks. But even without seeing, I knew what his face looked like. To come riding on a white horse… …umm, isn’t that… Uhh, isn’t that like a prince riding a white horse…? So, what exactly does that mean… umm… ummmmm… Does it mean…you’re going to be my prince…? …My mind was going blank, so I just couldn’t reason out his mystery of love, even though it was all plain and simple…
“I, … I wonder… when that day will come…”
“Very soon, once you’ve made up your mind.”
My heart skipped a beat…
It was so sweet…yet it hurt…
“Any time’s good for me. This is your life we’re talking about, Shannon-chan. You should think about it carefully before you decide. …And once you’ve made up your mind, I’ll respect your decision, no matter when you make it.”
“I’ll keep on waiting until that day comes.”
If only I had been a bit more foolish…and courageous. I could have said then and there that I was already prepared, and asked him to take me away from this island right away… But I couldn’t say it. I had to think carefully about my future, for both of our sakes… My head was filled with pointless, senseless thoughts…
“I, …I’m glad… …Thank you…”
With his back still to me, he scratched his head and laughed. I knew he was doing this out of embarrassment, so I could clearly tell what his expression must have been. In the same way…
He must have realized what my face looked like. We’re both puzzle-solvers of love. We theorize about each other’s love, solving each other’s mysteries…
“…Thanks for giving me time.”
“You have all the time in the world.”
“No. …I’d feel bad if I kept you waiting too long.”
“So, I’ve prepared myself. …No, I should say that I will prepare myself. …I’m not going to quit my job right now. …Yes, …one year. …I’ll do it in one year.”
…If, a year after now, you still feel like coming for me on a white horse… And me too. If I still like you a year from now… I’d like to dedicate the rest of my life to you…
“One year from now, right here, …I’d like to make my decision.”
“…A whole year, huh? That sounds good. Spring, summer, autumn, winter. …That’s a good amount of time to look deep into your heart.”
“S, …so…next year…”
You’ll come to get me, …right…?
He responded to my cowardly determination with a quick, strong answer…
“I’ll be waiting for that day to come.”
“Yes. …I’ll be waiting too… …Make sure…you come, okay…?”
“…Don’t forget. Come here next year, okay?”
“Yeah. I’ll definitely come. I’ll meet you here.”