this chapter is brought to you by mio
as translator, proofreader and editor!
I was once the biggest tomboy in the orphanage. There was no other child who could make up such creative pranks like me, nor was there ever a child like me who received the most scoldings from the teachers.
“Teach, here’s a present~!”
“Ahhh! What is this?!”
I would bring a frog as a gift and hide it in the teacher’s desk drawer.
“Ara, did I or did I not just finish erasing all the graffiti you drew last time?”
“I drew a new drawing! This time, it’s a puppy that even the teacher would like!”
I had scribbled as if marking areas everywhere, regardless of whether it was on wallpaper or an outer wall. With the other children, I would make the teacher suffer by hiding all of the teacher’s writing aids in the playground or deliberately get myself extra dirty during playtime.
“Ara Lee! Just where on earth did that child go again?!”
Whenever I heard my name ring out loudly in the orphanage, I would feel happy for no reason. Even if it wasn’t love, I found it satisfying as long as I had a stake in the teachers’ heads.
Then one day, the director of the orphanage called me in. I walked in grumbling, wondering if they were going to tell me I had caused a mess or scold me again, but the director of the orphanage unexpectedly didn’t look angry. Instead, they gave me the coke that I liked and had me sit down on the sofa.
“Although I’m not sure you think of me, I sincerely support your future.”
The director, who had only approached me intimidatingly, spoke in a friendly voice that didn’t suit them.
“Now that you’re a full-fledged teenager, I have something that I have to tell you.”
It was about a month before my middle school entrance ceremony.
“You should’ve felt it in primary school, but you are very different to the other kids in your school.”
“Because I don’t have a mom and dad?”
I vaguely remembered that the director had smiled painfully at the fact that he had thoughtlessly spit out.
“But compared to other kids who only have one mom and one dad, I have five teachers who are like my mom and five uncles who are like my dad.”
The cleaning lady, the bus driver who drives me to school, as well as the faculty staff uncle on the second floor who gives me candy everyday.
“Yes, we’ve always cherished that positive spirit of yours.”
The director patted my head affectionately.
“But Ara, this world is not as optimistic or as tolerant as you are.”
“Since you are different from other children, the world will view you differently, even if you do the exact same thing.”
“Um… it’s hard for me to understand what you mean.”
The director spoke in a more serious voice.
“It means that you will have to start taking responsibility for your actions and words.”
I left the director’s office without understanding what it meant in the end. It was only after entering middle school for a few months that I finally came to understand the meaning of what they said.
“Ah, I was hit in the back by my mom again because I was playing games yesterday. Aren’t my mom’s slaps getting more painful day by day?”
As always, my classmates were chatting about what was happening at home. It was a conversation that was rather trivial since everyone had experienced something like that. So I also shared my daily life that was rather trivial.
“Me too. I was watching the video you sent me yesterday but got hit on the back by the teacher for using my phone while eating.”
But the moment I said that, the surroundings immediately became quiet. The two in front of me looked at me in shock and seemed taken aback. They tried to gauge my mood, exchanged glances with each other before asking me cautiously.
“This might be crossing the line, but… do the helpers at the orphanage normally hit a child like that?”
“Do they do it often?”
I was speechless. It was something I often saw. Children who were scolded by their teachers for just playing on their phones. At worst, they’d be confiscated. So I had talked about it casually, but the conversation had gone in a completely unexpected direction.
“If that happens a lot… isn’t that child abuse then…?”
“Do they hit you really harshly? Then… shouldn’t we report this?”
“What sort of nonsense are you talking about? It’s exactly the same as when you got smacked on the back by your mom for using the computer.”
“Isn’t… isn’t that a little different from this…?”
Even the friends who asked were cautious. Their voices were full of doubts, as if they weren’t sure.
“My mom is my mom. The orphanage helper is… um…”
I pursed my lips tightly at the sight of my friend’s eyes darting here and there without finding the right word. I wasn’t sure what sort of existence a mother was since I had only seen it in books and videos. But if what was in those books and videos was a mother, then to us, our mother was the helpers at the orphanages. However, other people didn’t seem to see it like that.
“Ah, in any case, if it gets worse, be sure to tell us, okay? Since that’s a really serious problem.”
“That’s right. We’ll protect you.”
My two friends said firmly, but that only confused me. As I looked back on that days conversation several times on my way home from school, I began to understand what the director had said to me. Even if i did the same thing, the world would view it differently. So that’s what it meant. In my point of view, what those children had experienced and what I had experienced hadn’t been very different, but my ‘complaint’ had suddenly inflated into a serious social problem. And then I realized.
‘I probably shouldn’t complain about things like that anymore.’
That would make those who heard it feel awkward, and may even harm those around me. Upon realizing that, I changed my behavior. I became cautious in order for them to be unable to find any faults in me, and didn’t speak recklessly on ‘trivial complaints’ that would clearly show the difference between us.
I didn’t think it would be that difficult. Wasn’t it just having no one to rant to about my injustice and being unable to relieve my anger and shutting up and retreating when I came across an unfair situation? In other words, it simply meant that I wouldn’t be able to let anyone know about those minor ‘complaints’ that anyone could make, such as, ‘How nice, we didn’t get any money for new year’s’.
I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal. But I didn’t realize until later.
How big of a difference it would make over whether I was able to spit out a small word of complaint or not. Everytime I swallowed a complaint, it felt as if a small stone was weighing down on my chest, and over time, as the stones piled up and up, they eventually crushed me. My small, insignificant worries that I had turned a blind eye to began to fester.
Accurately trying to explain what the problem was only yielded an ambiguous answer, so it was difficult for me to shake off this twisted emotion that had come from someplace. Even though I was clearly aware of how it was affecting me, I swallowed every single grudge I had and internalized it, as if it had become a habit. I destroyed myself internally and caused my fatigue to quickly pile up, as if I was waiting for someone to give me permission to complain to them.
But someone said something like that to me for the first time. If it’s too hard, it’s okay for you to complain. It was a phrase that alleviated the heavy burden that the world had put on me.
Something which had been tangled deep in my heard suddenly threatened to surface as I grabbed the collar of the person hugging me and started to sniff. I didn’t want to cry, but my tears kept flowing out.
I knew that everyone was having a hard time. Since there’d always be talk of chronic fatigue and suicide on the TV and the internet. So I knew that there were people who endured worse conditions than me, and that there were a lot of people who bore a greater responsibility than me.
The same was true of this epidemic. They almost lost their lives, and some could lose their friends, colleagues, or even their only family. Knowing how frightening and difficult it must have been, I had no choice but to follow the doctors for three days until I collapsed out of exhaustion. Since my fatigue couldn’t possibly be compared to their pain.
So even though I knew my pain was extremely insignificant… even if that was the case, I still hoped that someone would understand. I wanted to complain.
I eventually burst into tears.
I didn’t tell you that I wanted to complain, but you knew. What was this, it felt warm and grateful.
Although I was extremely shy and embarrassed, I felt relieved to be able to think, ‘It’s okay for me to do that too’.
I buried my face in the man’s shoulder and shook off my grievances for a while
pls do not share this anywhere or the transmigration gods will transport u into boku no pico !! this translation has been stolen from mioscorner.com, pls only read there i’m begging u :kneels:
Isn’t everyone aware of it? When you cry, it feels as if the whole world resents me, so you cry harder, but after you finish crying, the belated embarrassment that comes rushing in so big.
In what right mind would a grown woman cry like that in the arms of an unfamiliar man? Oh, right. I must’ve cried because I was out of my mind.
…But now what should I do?
With my face still buried in his firm shoulders, I urgently tried to wrack my brain for ideas. Now, no matter how much I squeezed my eyes, the tears didn’t seem to want to come out anymore. I was so embarrassed to the point that I couldn’t bear to lift my head up that I wished that I had just collapsed from exhaustion after crying instead.
Then his voice resonated in my ears.
“You must be hungry after lying in bed for such a long time.”
As soon as he finished speaking, the sound of thunder roaring sounded from my stomach.
A moment of silence passed.
Ah shit… so embarrassing…! Where’s the doghole? Even if it’s a mouse hole, I just want to stuff Lecht in it and run away…
“I heard that their rye bread is their specialty here.”
“Would you like to go down and eat? Or would you like me to bring it to your bed?”
To what he had added, my stomach answered instead of my voice.
Another short moment of silence passed as I felt a puff of breath from his laughter brush past my ears. Embarrassed, I didn’t even have time to ascertain to what that sound was.
“Excuse me for a moment.”
As soon as he finished speaking, my body suddenly felt light. I looked down at him, startled by the sudden elevated view I had.
“Wh-What are you doing!”
“Because you didn’t seem to want to move.”
It’s because I’m too embarrassed to raise my face!
“I thought you didn’t have any strength in your legs since you hadn’t eaten anything, so I thought to just move you directly by myself.”
“My legs are fine…!”
So I had said that in a way of inadvertently wanting to be let down, but he replied with an irrelevant answer.
“If you’re uncomfortable, should I hold you differently?”
“That’s not what’s important right now.”
“If you hate it, then I’ll put you down.”
The words of him, who was looking up at me, made me speechless.
“It’s not that I hate it, but…”
Although I was surprised, I didn’t hate it. Although it was embarrassing, it was never something I hated. It was the first time someone had lifted me up like this after the teachers at the orphanage had done it when I was very young. Oddly enough, my heart felt slightly ticklish, perhaps because it had also brought back a lot of my childhood memories.
But unlike when I was small, I was now an adult. Both my height and heart had grown so much that it had now become heavy.
At my muttering, Lecht let out a hmm before saying.
“If this is heavy, then what the hell is light?”
Those words that contained sincere questions sounded sweeter than nonsense such as, ‘No, you’re light’, or, ‘It’s fine’, so my face flushed bright red.
“Then something like a feather… that’s light…”
Embarrassed by his needlessly serious question of him asking me to tell him, I hid my face with both hands and muttered softly in reply.
“A feather you say.”
He repeated my gibberish and little by little began walking.
“Feathers are hard.”
“It’s hard to hold onto something so light it might fly away.”
My face, which had barely calmed down, turned red again. Was he saying that feathers were hard or that it’d be hard for me to be like a feather? I didn’t know exactly what he was trying to say, but my brain automatically interpreted his words in a sweet way. I felt my heart flutter at those meaningless words of his.
As I shut my mouth in order to reorganize my thoughts by myself in my fantasy, he quietly added.
“Even if that’s the case, since you like feathers, then we’ll go with that.”
He said while staring at my blushing face.
“Your job is to do whatever your heart desires. It’s up to me to follow you.”
Thump thump thump.
My heartbeat was the first to respond. Then my breathing hitched and halted, the nerves in my whole body tingling and coming to a standstill. My face was already red so I didn’t know if it could turn any redder, but what was certain was that my cheeks were as hot as the stones in the desert. Lecht was clearly saying this because I was the saintess.
As a saintess, just going your own way will be enough. We will simply follow after you on our own.”
What he had said obviously hadn’t been any different from what Lydia said. But why did it sound so different? Was it because of his handsome face? Is it because I’m a straight woman, and Lydia is a woman and Lecht is a man? Or…
My thoughts, which had been floating around in confusion, were cut off by a sudden disturbance.
wow this chapter is one of my favs! i like how they delved into meliara’s past life and how that shaped her as a person as well as how the author highlighted the importance of not bottling your own feelings up and how detrimental it is in the long run of ur mental health.
ngl i did loki nearly tear up when ara cried PLUS I ALSO LOVE LOVE LOVE THE DYNAMIC BETWEEN THE ML AND FL LIKE URGHDSLFKJSFJ sobbing screaming throwing up shitting tears, god i hope my next breath is my last but i also love them sm HGDSLJFSDFJ