I went to a department store nearby and bought two umbrellas on the lower floor; one with a samurai-type handler, the other one that can be collapsed inside out to keep the water inside. Then I headed to the kitchen utensils section, and bought an improved model of pressure cooker to replace my mother’s old one. As for Hideki, I went to the stationary section, of course: I chose a refillable pen in a concealer stick form.
After an hour of window shopping, and purchasing all those items, I left the store.
I looked at my watch when it started to rain outside.
A few raindrops fell on my watch’s screen.
Then, the rain started to become heavier.
Within a few seconds, it’s evolved to be a heavy downpour. Some people ran across the street to the front of the department store to take cover. And some, who just walked out of the store, stood beside me, as they started to call for either a taxi or their families.
I looked at the gifts I bought. I can stuff Hideki’s pen into my pocket, carry the pressure cooker with my left arm, and hold the umbrellas with my right, while using one of them.
It will take about 10 minutes to get to the train station from here, maybe more, in this state. But for now, I need to cross the street first.
I opened the umbrella with a samurai handler and looked left and right of the street.
No car. Clear.
I took a few steps out but I suddenly felt a vigorous sense of fear: I immediately changed my mind and went back under the shelter.
And in that moment, a honking car flashed through the street, spraying the water to the sides, and almost made my shirt wet.
“You ok?” a customer who’s also taking shelter asked.
“I—I almost died,” I said.
“Yeah… I thought you saw the car coming when you wanted to cross just now. Didn’t you?”
“That car was already honking at you when you took the few steps out into the street though. Are you really sure you are ok?”
“Yeah, I just… maybe I should calm down first.”
I then waited, as I stared at the street in front of me. There were children singing what sounded like their school’s song, when they passed behind me with their parents.
I felt like I’d forgotten something important.
My head started to hurt as I tried to think about it.
I looked at my watch.
Why do I keep looking at my watch?
I felt a sharp pain on my head again, like someone put a nail and knocked deep into it.
Ok. Maybe I shouldn’t think too much about this. Perhaps this was just some typical déjà vu.
I stopped thinking about it, and waited for the rain to drizzle.
I then walked across the street using the pedestrian crossing a few stores in front of the department store, and with my gifts, I walked to the station and bought a ticket back home. There were fewer people now in the station compared to when I arrived, and most of them were wearing office suits, likely having to work half-day today.
I stood in front of the boarding platform, just a foot or two away from the railway tracks.
Then, I heard a familiar knocking sound.… Why did I think of scythe?
I looked over to find a staff member of the station hammering a board beside the counter, aligning it. One of his shoes was untied.
I looked at my sports shoes. One of them is untied as well. The tie must have come off when I was almost involved in a car accident just now. A car accident?
I put my items down, and crouched down to make a firm bow tie on my shoe. But suddenly, a kid bumped into my back. I lost my balance for a moment, but managed to support myself by putting one of my hands on the platform in front of me.
“Sorry,” the kid said, with his twin brother behind him.
“See! I told you not to run around in the train station, it’s dangerous. You two almost knocked this big brother into the tracks!” their mom came behind them.
“I’m very sorry,” she said, bowing down to me.
I stood up, “No. It’s ok. Really.”
“Apologize together!” She looked at the twins.
“Sorry, big brother,” they bowed.
I smiled at them. “Be more careful next time, ok?”
They nodded at me, before taking their mother’s hand, one on each of her side.
I looked at the box of pressure cooker that was toppled.
If I hadn’t tied my shoe back then, I might have lost my balance holding this box and fell down, likely into the tracks. I might not get hit by the train, but maybe I’d hit my head and lost consciousness first.
The train arrived as soon as I finished my thoughts.
I picked up the gifts, and boarded the train.
Along the almost 3 hour of changing trains’ trips, nothing special happened. But I got a lingering feeling that something bad would happen. That, I’ve missed something important. I tried to refresh my thoughts.
I got my gift right here. Chiaki’s gift is with Hideki, which he will bring tonight. I’m still waiting for Chiaki’s answer. Yui is coming too tonight. What else did I miss?
I looked at my watch.
7 hours left.
Wait… 7 hours left? To 12:00AM? What happens at 12?
The train’s door opened. I stepped out with my gifts.
I started to feel dizzy. I felt like I was going to puke. This strong, poignant feeling seems to be chaining me down. Blocking something. I can’t think straight. But I can’t stop myself from thinking about it. I felt like if I did, then there’d be no turning back. And I’d regret it.
Suddenly, I heard a familiar whistle.
“Shin!” My father called me, through the open window of his car, stopping in front of the train station.
He whistled again. “Come, we’re going home. What are those things?”
“Gifts,” I raised them. “Wait, I’m coming.”
I then ran and got in the car.
“What were you spacing out for?” my mother asked, as my father started to drive us home.
“I—Something I needed to do.”
“Is it important?” my father asked.
“I felt like it was.”
“Then you’ll remember it, one way or another.”
I didn’t say anything in reply to him, and just listened to the radio broadcasting old music as I watched lines of rain dropped down the car’s window. They continued their conversation but it all sounded vague and I couldn’t get a single word into my head. I stared blankly at the rainy scenes outside the car, enjoying what seemed to be the calm before the storm.
Only that, I have no idea what the storm is.