According to rumours, Araragi-kun’s little sisters, Karen-chan and Tsukihi-chan, take the initiative of waking him up every morning. They always come to wake him up without fail, regardless of whether it was a weekday, a day off or a holiday, or so it is said. Araragi-kun seems to think of it a considerable nuisance, but from where I stand, they look like nothing if not ‘close siblings’.
In fact, as is normal, I am totally jealous.
Truly, I am.
Just how many brothers in the world could be so dearly loved as to be woken up like that every morning? — though in this case, perhaps the one I am jealous of is not Araragi-kun himself, but Karen-chan and Tsukihi-chan who can see his sleeping face every day.
Oh, I am so totally jealous.
Truly, I am.
Well, to talk of how I, Hanekawa Tsubasa, wake up; like Araragi-kun and his sisters, I am woken up every morning by Rumba.
Rumba is, of course, not the name of the Hanekawa family’s cat, nor my strikingly-named little sister Hanekawa Rumba, but a run-of-the-mill iRobot automatic vacuum cleaner, or in terms of model number, a Rumba 577.
It’s set on a timer to automatically start working at six every morning, and when said smart vacuum cleaner bumps into and pushes against my head, I wake up.
Be that as it may, like all vacuum cleaners the Rumba makes quite a lot of noise as it cleans, so by the time it has crawled down the hallway and gotten close to me, I had actually already woken up — and yet, the fact that I continue to lay in bed until my head is pushed, waiting with my eyes closed for the bump, is perhaps because I long for the sensation of ‘being woken up by someone’, and ‘being woken up’.
Like Sleeping Beauty, poetically speaking.
Well, not that it can be said to be poetic with the other party being a vacuum cleaner.
Sleeping Beauty — that was quite something, coming from myself.
Even with regards to the Rumba, seeing as there is someone sleeping in the hallway as it cleans there, it’s probably a nuisance to it as well.
Yes, I sleep in the hallway.
I sleep in a futon laid out in the second-floor hallway of a detached house.
I had once thought that this was something normal and quite obvious, but apparently that was not the case. As such, ever since losing a friend with whom I talked to about this when I still had not known the truth, I haven’t talked about this in a particularly open manner.
Not that I particularly want my own bed after such a long time.
It’s become natural.
I don’t want what is natural to change.
It’s not as though I’d ever childishly thought of wanting my own room, and when I talked about this to the classmate I became friends with, Senjougahara-san, figuring she would be fine hearing it,
“Is that supposed to mean something to me?”
is what she said.
“My house doesn’t even have a hallway to begin with.”
From the perspective of Senjougahara-san, who lived with her parent in a one-room apartment, this may seem like the worries of the ostentatious, and I wasn’t worrying in the first place.
Perhaps that’s wrong.
I imagine that perhaps I do not want to make this house ‘the place I belong to’. It’s something like the opposite of an animal’s marking — perhaps I want to keep my distance from the house.
As little as possible;
I don’t want any trace of myself to be left in this house.
Perhaps that is why.
…Putting aside why I must make conjectures and suppositions about my own heart, or why I can only ever say ‘perhaps’.
“Well, no matter what I want, in a few more months it won’t matter, so I shouldn’t think too deeply about it.”
Speaking to myself, I folded up my futon.
I don’t have any problems getting up in the morning.
Or rather, I don’t quite understand the sensation of being ‘half-asleep’.
The on-and-off states of my consciousness are probably more distinct that they need to be.
If only I could just sleep when I felt sleepy.
Sometimes it makes me think that.
“It’s probably because I’m out of sync with other people with sensations like that. Araragi-kun tells me that a lot. ‘The things you do that you think are natural are simply miracles to me’ and such — but it’s going too far to call them miracles.”
My soliloquy continued.
I don’t do it when I am outside, but I can’t help but frequently talk to myself when at home. If I don’t, I feel like I would forget how to speak.
I am not sure what to think of that.
Just as I am not sure what to think of me remembering Araragi-kun during said soliloquy and then naturally breaking into a smile.
Storing the futon in a closet, I went to the bathroom to wash my face.
After that, I put in my contacts.
When I was wearing glasses, putting a lens directly onto the eyes seemed so scary that I didn’t even want to think about it, so of course, when I first started, I was so scared that I wanted to put the lens in with my eye closed (metaphorically speaking) but it was nothing special once I got used to it.
You can get used to anything.
Better yet, it took the burden off my nose and ears, so it’s more comfortable than glasses.
It was just that, thinking of what’s to come next year, both contacts and glasses felt like some sort of inconvenient companion, so now I’ve come to thinking I might as well bring myself to get a LASIK surgery done during my school hours.
Tidying myself up, I headed to the dining room.
There, the ones whom I should call father and mother are, as always, sitting at the same table and eating breakfast separately.
They did not even look at me when I entered the room.
I did not look at them, either.
Simply entering my field of vision does not mean seeing, if the eyes in my heart and mind would always avert its gaze. If it is difficult to see with the eyes, then it is simpler to not see.
Only the voice of the newscaster on TV, talking about the top news of today, resounded in the dining room.
Why is it?
Why is it that I feel closer to the far-away newscaster than the two in the same room as me?
Truly, I wonder.
I may as well say “good morning” to her.
Speaking of which, I wonder how many years it has been since I last said “good morning” in this house. I attempted to search my memories, but I couldn’t remember one time at all. I remember saying it to the Rumba about five times (as aforementioned, I said it not while half-asleep, but naturally. That vacuum cleaner feels strangely alive in its movements.) but I really cannot remember a single time I said it to the ones I should call my father and mother.
That’s pretty shocking.
Previously, I told Araragi-kun something along the lines of, “I do plan on approaching my parents myself” but it would seem that was different from the truth. Well, it isn’t something new for my words to be full of lies.
I am made of lies.
A far cry from truth — that is I, Hanekawa Tsubasa.
Even my name is fake, after all.
Closing the door without making a sound, I headed not for the table but the kitchen first. I had to make breakfast, but I can’t say that it wasn’t because I wanted to postpone the moment when I would have to sit with those people for as long as I can.
It was futile, or rather, empty resistance.
You can forgive this level of resistance.
It has yet to become a coup d’etat.
In the kitchen of my home — that is, the one I do not want to call the Hanekawa house in my mind — there is generally speaking a lot of cookware. There are three cutting boards and three kitchen knives. Milk pans and frying pans are three apiece as well. At any rate, there’s three of everything. As for the meaning of this, yes, it means the three people living in this house all use their respective cookware.
There was an episode when I talked to and lost a friend over this as well.
Having to redraw the hot water every time one of us takes a bath, doing the laundry individually; episodes like that are too numerous to mention, but it’s strange.
I don’t think of it as unnatural at all, and no matter how many friends I lose over it — I never felt the need to make the Hanekawa house like other homes because of this.
We more or less all leave the house at the same time, so we all ‘happen to’ gather when we eat breakfast, but it’s similar to sharing a table with strangers at a cafeteria; there is no talk, and no one would do anything like incidentally making breakfast for the other two.
Choosing my own cookware, I began the housework.
Not that I plan on being elaborate enough in my cooking to deserve the term.
After cooking up enough rice for one and preparing miso soup, fried eggs and fish, as well as a salad (I get told that I eat too much, but I’m the type who stuff myself full at breakfast) I split the meal into three parts and carried it to the table. Finally, I have one more round trip to make tea. I wouldn’t have to make four and a half round trips if I had some help, but of course, there are no helping hands in this house. Not even the Rumba can help me that much.
Thinking how good it would be if Araragi-kun could help me, I reached the table.
“Thanks for the meal.”
After putting my hands together and saying this, I took up my chopsticks.
I have never heard the other two saying something like that, but even if I don’t say “good morning” and “good night”, I never leave out a “thanks for the meal” or “I’m done eating”.
I never leave them out, especially since after the spring break.
After all, they are words meant for the animals and plants which were alive before becoming foodstuff, which will become my flesh and blood.
They are lives killed for my sake.
I will accept them with gratitude.