Ch 46 Change
A gentle mountain breeze caresses my body.
It is a little cold, but the warm sunlight neutralizes it.
The sounds of nature and children frolicking in the distance.
After eating lunch, I and Ageha lay down on a leisure sheet.
With our eyes closed, all the sounds in our ears, all the stimuli stimulating our entire body, lulled us to sleep.
This feeling is similar to… that.
It is like when you are taking a class with a teacher who reads the textbook in a calm voice without hesitation after swimming class.
The relaxed air in the classroom.
It is the kind of feeling that makes you surrender to the happiness in front of you rather than fight the urge to sleep.
In other words, what I am trying to say is that I melted right into nature.
Just before my consciousness sank, a sweet scent tickled my nostrils from right next to me.
I hear a gentle humming. It is a soothing tone.
I open my eyes and look to the side, where I see Ageha’s figure illuminated by the soft sunlight pouring through the leaves of the trees.
Unlike me, who was lying down, she was sitting flat.
It was refreshing to look up at her from below, and I couldn’t help but gaze at her.
Her ponytail, tied at her back, swayed from side to side to the rhythm of her humming.
She always has a cheerful smile on her face, but now she seems to be staring off into the distance with a calm expression on her face.
I was thrilled by her appearance.
I wanted to watch her for a while longer, but my desire was abruptly cut short.
Suddenly my nose started itching and I reflexively sneezed.
Naturally, Ageha seemed to notice that I was awake, and with a happy smile, she said to me, “You’re awake.
Feeling somewhat embarrassed, I raised my upper body.
“Yeah, Ageha was awake.”
“I couldn’t let both sleep. Besides, I was busy watching Haru’s sleeping face.”
“I’m a little embarrassed by that.”
“I’m embarrassed to say it too, so we’re even.”
She raises her voice as she turns away with a bright red face.
The subtle residual sleepiness blows away with the heat.
As I hold my neck, which is on fire, I hear a mischievous expression on the face of Ageha, who has regained her former state of mind, and is plotting something.
“Did you sleep well?”
“Much better than usual. How long did I sleep?”
“About 30 minutes. You seemed to feel good.”
“That long? No wonder my body hurts…”
As much as I slept comfortably, my body was slightly sore from sleeping on the grass, even though I had laid out a leisure sheet.
As I was turning my neck to loosen up, I felt Ageha tap my thigh while subtly leaning closer to me.
“Can I be your pillow?”
I froze for a moment at her suggestion of giving me a pillow on her knees.
I am also a man. If it’s a cute girlfriend’s lap pillow, I’d definitely like to order it.
However, there were two problems.
One is that my sleepiness has completely disappeared.
The other was that there were a lot of people around.
When I remained silent and didn’t answer, Ageha’s expression relaxed as if she was teasing me even more.
I was a little frustrated to be teased at this point.
I guess she knew that I would refuse her proposal.
She always enjoys seeing me confused, but when I sometimes accept her suggestions, she turns bright red and becomes confused, so I hope she learns her lesson.
“…Unfortunately, I don’t want to sleep anymore, so I’ll refrain from doing it. Maybe I’ll ask for a lap pillow another time.”
The promise of a lap pillow. Yes, this is already a promise.
A promise that I will surely fulfill in the future.
Ageha’s mouth is agape, and she stiffens up just like I did a moment ago.
Of course, it’s the same for me. Even though I was trying to get back at her, I was actually extremely embarrassed.
After an awkward silence, I said,
“… Well, if you’re embarrassed, don’t worry about yourself. I’m embarrassed too.”
“~~~, it’s in my nature.”
It’s a trait that no one can benefit from.
… No, well, thanks to that, I was able to secure a promise of a lap pillow, so at least I might be getting a profit.
When I think about it, I thought that the nature of Ageha was not bad.
After putting away our leisure sheets, we proceeded further into the plaza.
At the far end of the square is a small hut that serves as a play space for children.
Inside the hut is a slightly old-fashioned but well-equipped playhouse with a variety of toys.
“Would you like to play?” asked Ageha, but I politely declined.
As I walked along the narrow path lined with trees, the sound of water rang in my ears in the distance.
I walked in the direction of the sound and found a small pond.
In the center of the pond, there is a bridge connecting one end to the other.
Not a soul was to be seen in the surrounding area.
It was the kind of place that one would reach by chance while strolling in the mountains, and it was not usually crowded.
“Oh, Haru-kun. I knew it was still there!”
Looking toward the direction indicated by Ageha, I see a small box by the pond.
Sold for 300 yen each are carp feed.
When I came here with the Aizawa family, I used to feed the carp here.
Ageha must have remembered that time.
“Well, you want to give it a try?”
I tossed in three hundred yen and out came a container full of small brown bait.
I handed it to Ageha, and she excitedly made her way to the center of the bridge.
“Oh, look, look! They’re already coming closer!”
Perhaps sensing the presence of people, the carp in the pond had begun to gather just below the bridge, even though they had not yet thrown in their food.
“Yes!” and the mouths of many carp appear on the surface of the water.
The colorful carp were vying for the bait floating on the surface of the water.
“Let’s do it, Haru-kun!”
Reaching into the container that Ageha held out, I grabbed some bait and threw it in.
The sound of the bait being thrown into the water is heard as it is sucked into the carp’s large mouth.
When I was a child, I used to get excited just by watching the carp running wild on the surface of the water, but now I enjoy watching and enjoying the same scenery with Ageha more than anything.
Thinking about this, when I look at Ageha, our eyes meet.
Reflexively turn away from each other, and drop your gaze to the surface of the water again.
The carp drowned out the silence that came.
After finishing the koi feeding experience, I took a quick walk around the area and then turned back the way I had come.
The only way to get to the pond was to go deeper into the plaza where we had just been and pass through a narrow path overgrown with trees.
Many people would rather climb the mountain right in front of us than follow this narrow path, which resembles a mountain trail.
Therefore, there are naturally few signs of people, but there are many people who prefer this kind of place.
We pass elderly couples who love nature but find it difficult to follow steep mountain paths, and children playing hide-and-seek.
“How are you?”
Seeing the child running around with a serious expression on his face, looking for a place to hide, Ageha laughed at me.
I nodded back silently.
When I was a child, I was shorter than I am now, and my stride was smaller.
However, with my inexhaustible physical strength, I was able to run around the wide world with innocence.
Now I am a little older, taller, and my stride is bigger than it was back then.
I am slowly looking around at the world that has become a little smaller.
The place is the same, but the view is different.
It is even more so when you are with someone else.
After returning to the plaza, it was time to go back to the flower garden and look around.
Since the purpose of the trip was originally a picnic, we decided to return home before dinner.
Naturally, we headed back to the bus stop.
Before returning to the bus stop, I stopped by a public restroom located out of sight from the road.
(Maybe next time I’ll go mountain climbing.)
As I walked outside with this thought in mind, a couple standing just out of sight, in a position hidden in the shadow of a public restroom, caught my eye.
It was hidden behind the body of a brown-haired man with a slender model figure, but I could easily imagine what he was doing from the way he hugged the woman facing him and brought his face closer.
I hurriedly turned my face away from him and quickly made my way to the place where the Ageha was waiting for me.
I vaguely thought as I returned the wave of her hand.
I wondered if I would kiss her someday.
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