Episode 10 –  Exploring the old Saara’s memories at the barbershop

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https://ncode.syosetu.com/n5042hw/10/

Due to a sudden schedule, my Sunday went straight to the nearby barbershop.
It is better to do this kind of thing ahead of time than to put it off.
By the way, the store is fully booked on Saturdays.

I rarely get a haircut, and I usually cut myself a mess already. ……

“…… can change, huh?”

Saara’s words echoed in my head.

When you are assured so strongly, you feel as if your heart, which you had hoped to spend the rest of your life in seclusion, is melting away.
I thought that perhaps I could still do it.

It’s just that….
I mean, it was Saara, the princess who had changed so much, who said

“I could have changed too.”

Even if she says that, the comparison is so great that I honestly can’t have confidence in her.
It’s like being told by an Olympic athlete, “If you work hard, you can be just like me.”

“Welcome!”
“I made an appointment for you at 17:00.”
“Iida-sama, right? You have an appointment……. Yes, indeed. Would you like a cut?”
“Yes.”

I sat down in the chair, looked at the magazines placed nearby, and made my choice.
I don’t intend to make it extremely short, but I thought it would be better to cut at least the bangs to show more of my face than it is now.
I’ll leave the rest to the shopkeepers and trust their skills.

My hair is washed, a towel is wrapped around me, and the scissors go to myself in front of the …… mirror.
I closed my eyelids to keep them out of my eyes as I felt my hair being cut.
–I was always with Ayato.

I am reminded of Ayato, with his shaved head, following me.
He would follow me around with his fingers in my long sleeves.
Inside or outside the house.

“Yes, I’m going.”

Yes, yes.
Ayato used to reply like this.

We couldn’t go far, so we played in the yard of our apartment complex.
We played on the playground equipment, but Ayato didn’t like sports that much back then.
I wonder how much effort Saara, who is an active member of the athletic club, has put in until now.

I wondered.
I wondered if Saara herself remembered any of her friends other than me.
I don’t remember anyone but Saara anymore, but I wonder if she remembers any other childhood friends.

“You are a very stout man, aren’t you? Do you do any sports?”

Suddenly, the man in charge of me asked the question without stopping the scissors, causing me to pause in my thoughts.

“I don’t do any sports right now.”
“I was surprised to hear that you are not playing any sports. You seem to have strong muscles for that …….”
“I’m in the cooking club.”
“Cooking! I didn’t expect that!”

I chuckled at the sound of the man’s surprise.
I certainly can’t imagine a man with such a homey image of cooking.

“But it takes a lot of muscle power to use an iron pot, so maybe being macho is a prerequisite for being a cook?”
“Hahaha, That’s interesting! But it is true that fried rice in Chinese restaurants is made in huge pots.”

While having such a conversation, the barber deftly cut my hair.
When he finished cutting my hair, he shampooed it and dried it with a hair dryer.

“Yes, it’s done! How do you like it? Onii san is a very handsome man, so I was very enthusiastic about it.”

Chuckling at the over-the-top lift from the popular barber, I stared at my own face in front of the mirror.
I don’t usually have the habit of looking in the mirror much, and since I had been growing my bangs out until recently, I get the odd impression that I used to look like this.

–I wonder if I can change.

“Yes, that looks great. Thank you.”

The barber’s skill was good, or so I think, and I can’t say for myself, but I think it turned out not bad in its own way.
It’s not easy to evaluate yourself.

After leaving the barbershop, I stopped to feel the cool breeze on my scalp.

I don’t think I’ve changed just because of this.
But I feel as if I have definitely climbed one step up the ladder.

“……Well, let’s go home.”

As I was leaving, my cell phone rang unexpectedly.
It was my mom on the other end of the line, and as soon as I picked up the phone, the question hit me.

“How’s it going? Have you cut it off yet? Shorter? Did you wax it?”
“Wait till I answer each question. I cut them, they’re normal, and I didn’t wax them.”
“Did you cut your bangs?”
“I did. It would be strange if I didn’t cut my bangs after all that. ……”
“Yes.”

I was stunned that my mother was more excited than me for some reason, but I asked her a question that caught my attention.

“Hey, Mom, I used to hang out with Saara a lot, but were there any other kids we hung out with?”

This is what I thought while my hair was being cut.
If the memories of people before I can remember are doubtful, of course I should ask my mother, who was an adult at that time, to find out the exact information.

For some reason, the caller asked my question as if it were a mystery.

“What are you talking about? You were always calling out to Saara chan from Aozora and taking her out.
“….Was that so?”

Was that so?
I’m not sure if my memory is reliable.

….Then

“I thought she was the child you had been attracted to since back then~”
“No, no, no, I really didn’t mean it like that, and at the time I even seriously thought she was a guy.”
“I’m sure you can’t say that…… either, can you? Saara chan, things are totally different now.”

Saara’s recollection of her appearance in this area is probably the same as mine.
She called herself a fatty, too, and I’m pretty sure she has a close-cropped head.

“But Saara always looked at you as if she wanted you to talk to her, and she only played with you every day, so it was a win-win situation.”
“What, I didn’t know that.”
“I see. That’s why the two of you always came to house together~. You were really good friends”

Apparently, the courier arrived in the middle of the call, and Mom immediately hung up the phone.
Well, I guess I generally got what I wanted to hear.

“The appropriate man, huh”

Saara is returning to her parents’ house for the night.

“I’m really looking forward to it! I won’t see …… until Monday!”

She said.
I cut my hair at her request, and I wonder how she will react to ……?

I walked home under a clear sky, my hair blowing in the wind.
My steps were somewhat lighter than they had been in the morning.

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