Chapter 2.Winter: Gifts
"You should go back to Tokyo. You are not a citizen here. You have
received hardly any thanks-tickets. I cannot accept you here."
Tetsu, hearing what Mr. Kishigami was saying, interrupted their conversation.
"Wait a minute, won't you first take a look at this?" he said heartily.
A signal from Tetsu's RUICA connected to the projector wirelessly and a picture was shown on the big screen in the center of the room. "Ah..."
It was a picture of the interior of the car. Takashi was holding Ta-kun wrapped in many clothes including Takashi's. Ta-kun was sleeping peacefully in Takashi's arms. Takashi's eyes were also closed. The picture had been taken by Tetsu without Takashi's awareness. "If Takashi-kun was really a bad boy, he would not have done this."
Yuri ran and took her father's RUICA and pointed it toward Takashi. She issued many thanks-tickets.
"Thank you very much for saving Ta-kun." This time Takashi burst into tears, unable to control his emotions. It had been a long time since he heard someone thank him sincerely, as Yuri did. He had not felt that anyone was glad he was alive. Mrs. Kishigami also cried.
"Yes, because Takashi-kun was with Ta-kun, he was saved. Thank you, Takashi-kun. "
He could not raise his head. Even though he wiped away a stream of tears, they continued to flow freely.
Still crying, Takashi took out his RUICA and issued his first thanks-tickets: five tickets to Yuri and five tickets to Ta-kun. And for the first time, he was happy to be connected with other people, and thankful that he was alive.
"Now since you are all cold, everyone should take a hot springs bath. The police have said that you should go the police station tomorrow."
Ryoko's voice was kind and gentle like the Virgin Mary's. Everybody including Tsubasa headed to the public bath as advised. Takashi felt that he had become a member of the community. He and his parents embraced. The town was covered in deep snow, as if it was wearing a soft cotton hat.