“Here I go, Dad !”

“Oh ! Bring it on !”

I loved the days when I didn’t have school.

Because I could play catch with my dad at the park.

Even in elementary school……I couldn’t make any friends. I didn’t like talking to people.

I felt like I had to entertain everyone. Then I couldn’t move my mouth well. I couldn’t talk.

It was very tiring. I enjoyed being with my mom and dad more.

I realized that I had never made any friends as I was about to enter the fourth grade.

After school, I would go home to help my mom and play with my dad.

On vacations, my dad and mom would take me for a drive, or we would play catch at the park like this. But lately, we don’t play catch as often as we used to. I get teased at school.

That’s why I’ve been going to the movies more often these days. Perhaps because I often watch movies with subtitles, I’m better at kanji and words than the other kids around me.

I also did many other things.

That’s why I didn’t feel lonely.

“Oh? What’s wrong? Did something happen?”

Sometimes in the movies, the phrase [to be captivated] is used.

I didn’t really know what that word meant. Until that moment.

“……Who’s that girl?”

I knew all the kids who came to the park. I live nearby. Though I hardly ever play with them.

That’s why that girl stood out so much.

Pure white hair and blue eyes.

I thought she was not from Japan.

“……Oh. You’ve got your eye on another great girl, don’t you?”


“All right, Souta. Try talking to her.”

“Eh !?”

My dad suddenly said that to me. I was surprised.

“Well, even if you can’t communicate with them, you can talk to them with your body language….see. You can just use gestures.”


“Yeah, that’s right. Gestures. Well, she might be able to speak Japanese normally. Let’s try that first.”

That’s what he said to me.

–Normally, I would not speak to her.

It should be like that, when I noticed. I started walking toward her.


As I approached, the girl looked at me intently.

When she looked at me with her eyes, I couldn’t breathe.

It was different when I was at school.

Still. I gathered up my courage and spoke to her.

“If you want, will you play with me?”

The white-haired girl…..shook her head.

My heart was squeezed. It was painful.

“….Oh. You were rejected. Hey, young miss. Do you speak…..Japanese?”

When I came to my senses, my dad was behind me. He was talking to her. This time she nodded her head. She seemed to speak Japanese.

“If you like, you can play with my son. He wants to play with you, but he won’t say it.”

“D-Dad !?”

I was surprised by my dad’s words. …..That girl was also surprised, and her eyes widened.

Just a little bit. That girl nodded.

“Oh, I see. Thanks, yeah?”

With that, my dad walked to the vending machine.


I can’t keep calling her that.

“What’s your name? I’m Souta. Minori Souta.”

When I asked her that. She was a little lost.

But it was only for a little while.

“It’s Nagi.”


“Yes, you can call me that. ……Souta kun.”

When she called me by my name, my heart was squeezed again.

But this time, it was not painful.

“Yeah ! Let’s play then !”

Just then, my dad brought me a ball.

We decided to play ball together.


“Is it lifting?”

“Yeah. This is how you do it.”

We played with the ball in various ways.

We were just kicking a ball at each other, but Nagi’s eyes sparkled at each one.

She kicked the ball with her foot. She wasn’t very good at it, but Nagi was still happy.

That also made me happy.

“M-me too….”

“Yeah !”

I handed the ball to her. Nagi stared at the ball and then kicked it.

The ball flew high and went toward the sandbox.


“Watch out !”

Nagi almost fell over as she tried to step on the ball.

My body was still moving as I said that.

But I couldn’t catch Nagi’s body. I fell down.

“Hyah !”

“Whoa !”

My back and hips hurt. But then I was surprised to see Nagi on top of me.

“N-Nagi ! Are you okay !?”

“…..Y-yes. I’m not hurt. How about you, Souta kun?”

“I’m fine.”

It hurts just a little. I’m fine.

But my dad, who was sitting on a bench in the distance, approached me.

“A-are you okay? Are you guys hurt !?”

“Y-yeah. I’m fine.”

“I-I’m fine too.”

I was relieved to hear those words…..and it was at that time.

From outside the park, I saw a man walking.

Nagi noticed it, too. She stood up with a huff.



My small voice was unintentionally asking back. But no answer came back.

The man who was called ‘father’ approached us.

“Is everything alright, Nagi?”

“Yes……I’m sorry, Father.”

Nagi looks down. And said that.

I found myself standing next to Nagi.

“I’m sorry.”

I bowed my head. I tried to straighten my back as much as possible, so that I would look nice.

“……Why are you apologizing?”

“Because I said I would play with Nagi. I almost made her…..hurt. I’m sorry.”

I didn’t want Nagi to make that face. Then it’s much better for me to get scolded.

Raise your head, dear……what is your name?”

“Souta. Minori Souta. It’s similar to sea (海) and (蒼) for blue and thick.”

“Souta kun. It’s a good name.”

I looked up. The man’s face was right in front of me.

“Thank you for protecting Nagi, Souta kun. If it’s alright with you, Souta kun, will you continue to be a good friend of Nagi?”

“F-Father !? B-but. What about studies and lessons?”


Nagi fumed a little. But when the man called her name. Nagi closed her mouth.

“Did you have fun playing with Souta kun?”


“I want you to answer honestly.”

“……Yes, it was fun.”

Those words made me happy. So Nagi enjoyed it, too.

“Are you sure? Nagi. You can study and learn anytime you want. You still have a lot of time.”

“B-but. If I don’t make good use of my time, I’ll never be able to be like Father.”


The man made eye contact with Nagi. Did he smile a little?

I’m not sure. Because his face didn’t change at all. But I thought he was smiling.

“I–as your father. I’d be happier if Nagi played with Souta kun and the others.”


“Yeah. Of course, I want Nagi to continue doing what she wants to do. One of the things I want to do is just to play with Souta kun.”

Nagi’s eyes lit up at those words.

“I-is it okay?”

“Yeah, of course. I mean, as a father, I’d really like you to play with him.”

And then. His eyes turned to me again.

“I’d like you to play with Nagi from now on, Souta kun. …Is it okay with you?”

“Yes ! Of course !”

And so, I–

–That day. I met Shinonome Nagi.

Although I had no way of knowing it at that time. This conversation with Soichiro san seemed to have a great influence on Nagi’s family relationship after that.

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