The Akiyama family grave lies on a grassy hill in as middle of nowhere as he can get in this town. The buildings recede into the background and just the harbor and the sea lie far out ahead. It’s here where Akiyama gives the occasional bouquet to his mother, the only person who does so now. He’s been here several times since the Liar Game has ended: her birthday, the anniversary of her death, the anniversary of his graduation, and today—which isn't yet a special day.
Hyacinths, carnations, and lilies touch her grave, and Akiyama crouches down on the dirt. He has a lot to say, so many things that have happened since she left, so many changes to list: regrets and, conversely, things he'll never renounce, and every time he makes a start to enumerate them all, his voice falters. He clams up and sits in silence. Without the persistent questions she used to ask about his life—his major, his friends and professors, his plans for the future—the memories refuse to budge. Today though, he has to find something to say.
"Mother," Akiyama doesn't—can't—know whether his voice can reach her. He highly doubts she'll talk back except in an image he molds from the memory of her—that delicate, always-smiling woman who worked her hands to the bone and still found it not enough. If he says that one word the rest will follow.
That's not true. The magnitude of what he needs to tell her blocks up his throat.
So he starts with the stupidly trivial, the better to protect himself. The last time he had visited her in the hospital—a venue infinitely more pleasant for the fact that she lived—he had brought her flowers, the same ones he brings her now. Back then, she had told him to set the flowers in water, to make them last a little longer. He closes his eyes, and focuses on the words in front of him. "I forgot to bring a vase, and I don't have any water on me, so I guess these flowers are on their own. You'll forgive me, right?"
That's a start. But there's still a world of things she's missed. His eyes open to that same sunny desolation, just Akiyama and a stone on the top of a hill.
"I've tried to be honest, really. When they released me, I promised myself—promised you—that I wouldn't swindle again. I had my revenge that was enough. But…and you won't believe this, I didn't even get two kilometers from the gates when I met someone who wanted me to play the con artist for her. I wanted to good by your words. Even if I couldn't be happy, I still wanted to lead an honest life and make you proud in that way at least."
"But…" He breathes, and thinks about that day, Nao's refusing to do anything but wait for him, "she was persistent, and when I heard her situation, I couldn't turn my back on her. So, I ended up swindling again, not to make a profit for myself, just as an extracurricular."
He looks down at the ground. "I can't say I regret it. Being honest in that situation wouldn't have led me to happiness, but maybe because I chose to lie then, I can make an honest person very happy. I'm going to try at least." Akiyama stands up and checks the clock on his phone. Good, he's still got some time before he has to meet Nao. If he leaves soon, he'll still have time to change, and get another bouquet—or perhaps something with roots—for her.
"I don't ask for it often, but wish me luck. You would have loved her, and…she's kind of amazing. Maybe if you'd talked to her back then, I wouldn't have to come all the way out here to bring you flowers. If she says yes, I'll bring her by the next time I'm here."
And there, finally, he sees the core of what he needs to convey. The words that have been missing all this time step forward.
"Anyway, I suppose all that's just a long way of saying that, even though I still miss you every day, I'm going to be fine. There's a lot ahead of me now."
He brushes himself off. "I'll see you again."