Grandmother had passed away yesterday, my father informed me through the phone so I was to go back to our hometown as soon as possible to attempt her funeral.
I'd got myself ready early in today´s morning. I am going back to my hometown by train. The neighbor´s housewife saw me off to the train station.
When I got in, the train was almost empty. I settled myself down inside one of these empty coaches. Afterward, I suddenly felt eerily tired.
The train moved forward slowly as I sank to my seat, having those dull vaporous daydreams about the past.
I didn´t know exactly how long my daydreaming had last.
All I could recall was that by the time I came to my sense again, there was a man sitting on the opposite side of the coach.
It was hard to make out the age of this man. Twenty years old? Thirty? Forty? But his face could pass for all these ages.
The man´s face was as pale as a marionette, and also as expressionless. He was wearing a white coat, quite reminded me of the kind of gown that a doctor might wear.
But in an instant, I had an impression that he was wearing a black suit for mourning.
The man had a box with him, sitting on his laps.
He talked to the box from time to time, and sometimes he smiled at it.
Looking out of the window, I could see countless pale pink sakura peals fluttering. How strange, I thought to myself. I could barely recall seeing so many sakura trees along this railway.
But the man seemed to be unaware of anything around him, his mind was fixed on the box on his laps. And as if making a response to the man, the box quivering slightly all on its own.
A small but clear voice could be heard coming out from inside the box.
What was this voice? It sounded like a human´s voice.
I froze immediately, fixing my eyes on the box.
The man cocked his head to look at me. "You can hear it too?" he was smiling.
Everything went quiet expected of his voice and the time around us frozen dead as well.
He held the box slightly up, opened the lid. "Please, don´t tell anyone about this!“
I leaned forward to see what was inside the box.
A very beautifully boy was stuffed inside the box. His feature was as exquisite as a traditional Japanese marionette, his eyes shut gently, a dreamy peaceful expression on his face.
The body part below the boy's chests was missing. However, you could tell this was a boy, not a girl; just by looking at his remained upper body.
Meanwhile, the boy in the box spoke again with his clear fine voice. "Hi."
Then, he smiled.
Oh, he was alive, perfectly alive.
The man smiled back at the boy inside the box, satisfied.
And then, all of a sudden I couldn´t stop envying the man.