First Posted at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu
Arc 2: The First and Last Date
The temperature inside the hospital was regulated. That meant I felt neither hot nor cold inside.
That is except the times the breeze blows in when Mr Death opens the windows to enter. The cherry blossoms on the other side of the window did tell me of the arrival of spring, but experiencing it in person was totally different. The temperature, the fragrance. It was on this day that I truly learnt what spring is.
“It sure is spring.”
But, even though it is spring, it wasn’t that warm yet. People called the warm days that marked the beginning of autumn, ‘Indian Summer’1. But it is just the beginning of spring. I wonder what to call this season, with its occasional warmth amidst the biting cold.
“Is it cold? Are you alright?”
Mr Death paused and asked in a worried voice.
“I think better if you don’t force yourself…”
“I said I’m fine.”
I couldn’t let him take me back. I repeated that I was fine and pulled along the unmoving Mr Death as I walked.
I still had lots to do. I couldn’t simply say, “Let’s go home after all.”
“Hey, let’s go quickly.”
“Has Mr Death ever been to a game centre?”
“Me? If you ask me, I have, but then…”
“As a Death God? Or…”
It was a simple question. Had he always been a Death God? Or was he a human before he became a Death God…?
Unfortunately, Mr Death shook his head.
“It’s a secret.”
“Ehh? Tell me, please.”
“I cannot answer personal questions.”
“What’s with you, saying it this late—“
As I grumbled, Mr Death scratched his head through his hood as if he were troubled, saying, “Well, it can’t be helped.”
“As you thought, it’s before I became a Death God, back when I was a human.”
“I was right! I thought so! Hey, Mr Death what kind of person were you?”
Hearing my question, Mr Death placed his hand at the back of his neck, thinking deeply for a moment. He then opened his mouth to answer.
“I was an ordinary one. I lived and died, without having anything fun ing happen in my life.”
“That’s right. That’s why I think it’s great that you’ve lived a much more proper life than me.”
“I don’t think so…”
Hearing him suddenly say that in a serious tone, left me at a loss.
Seeing my subconsciously turn to look the other way, Mr Death asked, “What’s wrong?”. I couldn’t give him a reply.
I haven’t done anything that deserved such praise. I didn’t try to desperately survive; I didn’t even give life my all. In the end, all I did was run away in fear. It was nothing but fear that spurred me to come to terms with the fact that I will die.
To realise that from the words of Mr Death…
Look! isn’t that a game centre?”
“Let’s go in quick!”
Not waiting for Mr Death’s reply, I dragged him towards the game centre.
“Ehh, so this is what it’s like.”
The inside was packed with people, music playing loud. If it’s this noisy, even if I’m alone (Mr Death can’t exactly be seen by the people around), I don’t think anyone will mind even if they notice me talking to myself.
“So this is what a game centre is like.”
“There are more men in pairs and parents with children than couples here.”
“You’re right, maybe that’s because it’s an afternoon on a day off. You might find more couples on a date if it were a weekday evening.”
“Hmm. What, that’s boring.”
Realising what I had unconsciously said, I turned to Mr Death in panic.
“T-That’s not what I meant!”
“I-I didn’t mean to say that coming here with Mr Death is boring, that…”
“I know it.”
His tone was gentle. I looked up to see Mr Death’s face, hidden by his hood.
“I know it. You always looked forward to living out the scene in manga, where the girl goes on a date with the boy she likes.”
“I know it. Because, because― I am your supervisor.”
“Do supervisors know that much?”
“Ah, No…I don’t know about the others. But I want everyone to die without any regrets.”
Mr Death spoke in a panic. His forced excuses made it seem as if he had something to hide…But, why? That…”
“That’s quite like Mr Death.”
Mr Death repeated my words in doubt.
I hadn’t spent enough with him to say if something was like or unlike him, but meeting him every single day, from the day we met to today, I knew he was an awkward but honest guy.
“I’m glad you’re my supervisor.”
“Ah! It’s a photo booth! Let’s go.”
I inched towards the photo booth corner I saw inside, a little embarrassed. Mr Death followed closely behind.
Come to think of it, will Mr Death be visible on the picture? It’d be nice if I could see him.
Unfortunately for me, all such hopes of mine were crushed.
“Ah, I can’t see you after all.”
There was a huge empty spot where Mr Death should have been. Taking the stickers, I sighed.
Seems like I can’t take a picture of him.
“…I told you. It will be boring if you take me along.”
His voice sounded lonely. I stuffed the photo booth stickers I was grabbing deep into my bag and took Mr Death’s hand.
“Next! Let’s go!”
“If we don’t go quickly, it’ll be evening before we can go anywhere!”
“I’ve got no choice, do I…”
Mr Death returned my grip, saying “Don’t run.” “Yes!”, I chimed in reply, as I waved our interlocked hands.
The people around eyed me with suspicion, but I didn’t mind. Because I am happy, being able to go out with Mr Death like this. I want Mr Death to know that too.
“Ah, they’re selling ice cream!”
“You’re right. That’s unusual in this season.”
“Let’s split it!”
“That’s fine, but…”
Before he could finish his reply, I walked towards the ice cream shop. Buying a vanilla flavoured ice cream, I sat on a bench with Mr Death.
The ice cream I ate outside was colder than the ones at the hospital, and sweeter.
“Here, Mr Death.”
“Why, you don’t wanna eat?”
“You sure? Seeing Mr Death, I thought you wanted to eat.”
I really wanted us to eat it together, but it was fine even if he sat beside me.
It was enough, but…
As I doubted my ears, Mr Death grabbed my hand and took a bite of the ice cream.
As I sat frozen at the abrupt occurrence, Mr Death let go of my hand, saying, “Thanks.”
“No, it’s nothing!”
Although his touch should not have any temperature, why did it feel this hot?
I feigned nonchalance as I frantically stuffed my cheeks with the ice cream.
I don’t know why, but the ice cream tasted sweeter than before, and just the tiniest bit bitter.