In the end, I couldn’t get any power for my pets from the mountain gods. But this goddess, Suwako, who was smaller than me, was kind enough to tell me to come visit her again whenever I wanted. There are not many people, or gods, who recognize me and greet me. Actually, none at all. So I think the reason I’ve been feeling this warmth in my chest for a while is probably because of this feeling of joy. I feel the same way I did when my big sister smiled at me. I also talked with a (demon dressed as a) miko about killing lots of humans above ground, and promised a thief that she would come to visit me. In a short time, I was filled with warmth.
After I closed my eye, I lost track of everyone. Of course, that’s what I wanted, but I also lost track of myself, and I think that’s why my sister is so worried about me. I’m not in that kind of trouble, but it’s not a good idea to worry about me.
I wave goodbye to them and say, “see you!” It’s nice to see the miko and the thief happily heading back home while yelling at each other. But I’m sure they will soon forget about me. It’s a shame, because it’s been a long time since I’ve met such strong humans. Will they forget the promise we made earlier?
I don’t remember what happened before I closed my eye, so I’m not sure if there was a brighter, more shadowy feeling inside me, but I think the gray, rough image I’m feeling right now is closer to loneliness. It’s been a long time since I’ve been lonely. It’s been a long time since I’ve been seen or talked to anyone. I’ve only talked to my sister and pets for a long time, so that’s natural.
It had stopped snowing a while ago, but now it has started again. Come to think of it, a long time ago, I remember taking my reclusive sister out of the house to travel to the surface with me. Everyone came with us. It was snowing like this at the time. I’m glad that I can remember what happened even though I’ve forgotten my feelings. My heart is now a little dull, but my brain isn’t as dull as it should be.
I think the snowscape I saw then was more beautiful. The bleakness of the scenery isn’t so different, but I don’t know why.
“Oh my, you’re still here.”
I hear a voice and turn around, and I see the goddess from earlier.
“I’m still here. Am I a disturbance?”
“No, that’s totally fine. Don’t you have to go home?”
As she says it, the goddess sits down next to me. It’s kind of weird that I’m the only one standing there, so I sit down too.
“Hmm, maybe I should go home.”
“I don’t know. What, are you a runaway? At that age?”
The goddess laughs.
“I know, I’m sorry. I just… don’t get it.”
I’ve never felt like this before. I closed my eye of my own volition. I didn’t regret it, of course, and in fact, I thought it was a good thing because it made me stronger than my sister and most people. But then all kinds of humans, youkai, and gods perceived me, and I was able to talk to them. And then, emotions that I should have forgotten, or rather never had before, began to rise up as if they were filling a hole in my heart.
“Oh, dear… you’re crying.”
Hot liquid is flowing from my eyes. These are tears. It is called crying when tears flow. When was the last time I cried? Emotions are such a heavy thing to have. But when they are buried, my heart is not so heavy.
“Maybe it would be better if I didn’t close my eye.”
I surprised myself with the words that came out without going through my brain. The goddess smiles gently and seems to have compassion for me. Then she wipes the tears away with her index finger and says, “Who knows?” It doesn’t sound insincere. She is a goddess, so maybe she can see it all.
I don’t know why I’m crying right now or why I said I shouldn’t have closed my eye. But I decided not to tell my sister. I don’t want her to worry. I want her to smile.
“I’m sorry to have bothered you for so long. I’m going home.”
“Sure. You can come again anytime, as I said.”
The snow has stopped completely. The goddess was right next to me the whole time, silently. She is a good person – as expected from a goddess. I wave my hand and start to walk away, but the goddess calls out to me again.
“You can bring your sister with you next time if you want.”
It would be very difficult. But I don’t think it’s 100% impossible. There are no such things as absolutes in this world.
When I go home, I want to hug my sister and tell her that I’m home. With high spirits, I head home.