Monday, November 29, 2010

Our Courage, Chapter Five (part f)

(Translator’s Note: In the novel so far, Yuuri has been disguising herself as a boy, both in her clothes and in her manner of speaking. Japanese doesn’t really use “he” and “she” the way English does – it might use “that person” in conversation, though usually it drops the pronoun altogether. Anyway, I’ve been being lazy so far and just translated all references to Yuuri as “she” regardless of whether the speaker actually knows she’s a girl because it’s awkward otherwise. But this section won’t make sense unless you know that Takeru, until this point, has believed Yuuri to be a boy…)


Yamato and Takeru were heating up their oil-can bath in front of the school.
“That didn’t make much sense...” Takeru said.
“What didn’t?”
“You were the only one who looked cool.”
“Was that what it was?”
“Basically, who had the idea about how to get outside?”
“You did.”
“Right. I was the one who said you should go get the medicine.”
Yamato nodded.
“Right, so that someone could say it to me.”
“Say what?”
“Like, if I was in your position. ‘Takeru, you did really great, you were so brave, you looked so cool,’ they’d say to me.”
“Who’d say that to you?”
“Who knows...”
Yamato tilted his head, looking at the sulky Takeru. He was being a little more serious than his usual frivolous self.
“What are you talking about?”
“Who knows.”
“Did something happen while I was gone?” Yamato asked.
For a second, the scene Takeru had witnessed in the music room the night before flashed through his head again.
Yuuri was - Yuuri was...
He’d been speaking with Kiichi, and had walked out of the gym. He’d seen Yuuri enter the music room, and followed after with a bottle of water in his hand - everyone should drink more if they didn’t want to catch colds.
But Takeru’s feet stopped dead in the doorway of the music room. Yuuri was changing clothes inside.
Between men it would have been no big deal. Yuuri was... a girl?!
Yuuri always wore large, rough clothes so Takeru couldn’t have noticed before, but just remembering those soft curves now made his heart beat violently.
But he wasn’t about to mention any of that to Yamato.
“Who knows?” he side-stepped the question.
Irritated, Yamato said, “You keep saying that, what does it mean?”
“Who knows means who knows?”
Just as Yamato entered the hot water, the wound on his thigh started to sting. He whined, “Ow, ow, ow!”
Takeru, disgusted, said, “Don’t try to get sympathy, you’re a man, aren’t you?”
“A man can still say it hurts if it hurts!”
“I guess a man can act like a woman if a woman can act like a man?”
Takeru laughed through his nose. Yamato glared at him, even more confused. “What the heck?”
“Who knows?” and with that, he bent over to put more wood on the fire.
Ignoring the pain, Yamato thought back over his long day.
He’d been to the peaceful outside world. In this city, devastated by violence, there wasn’t a single person who had enough.
But there was one thing, Yamato felt, that they had plenty of, and that was friendship.



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