Because it’s “family”
We finally arrived home.
The smell of cigarettes was making me feel bad, so thank God… no, it wasn’t just the cigarettes that were making me feel bad.
I thought I hadn’t heard from my mother in a long time, and she made me feel bad.
How could I not feel sick?
“Well, that’s why you should at least study. I checked your grades too, and they were terrible… After all, if you could get results, there would be nothing to complain about… Maybe if you were a little more competent, your mother might love you.”
With a tiresome attitude, my aunt said something like that to me as she left. This time she was smoking a regular cigarette, not an electronic one.
I knew this one smelled worse.
I held my nose and tried to walk away. But suddenly I stopped and turned my attention back to my aunt.
“Hmm? What happened?”
I looked back at her again, and she was tilting her head.
I asked her something like this.
“Why do I consider that person to be my mother?”
“…Because you are her child, right? Just as a flower can’t choose where it blooms, a child can’t choose the parents who give birth to it. Well, you were unlucky.”
“Unlucky… huh? But even if they are parents on the family register, I wouldn’t normally consider someone like that to be a parent.”
“… If it were me, it would have been so. That’s why I’m surprised you’re so obedient. I don’t understand you who adore a person like that as your mother.”
“Don’t be silly. Don’t act like a mother now. What have you ever done for me? What right do you have to ask me? I’m not your toy, your tool, your property. Don’t think that I’m going to do what you want me to do.”
My aunt grinned at the emotion that spilled out unexpectedly.
For better or worse, she is a stranger to our family.
She is indeed my mother’s sister. Cold-blooded, unsympathetic, and always looking at things objectively.
I was never good at that. My mother is a similar person, so when I look at my aunt, I can’t help but see my mother’s image in her.
That’s why I couldn’t help but express my true feelings to her.
But that is something I would not have said if she were the person I envisioned.
So, I held back and retracted my bad feelings.
In my head, I could see Shiho’s face.
Surely, if I used such bad words, … she would be worried.
I don’t have to be like my mother and aunt.
“I didn’t mean to say that.”
So I denied it.
I promised myself that even if I thought it, I would never say it.
“Even though she is such a person, she is the mother who gave birth to me. I don’t care how she treats me or if she doesn’t love me. I will do what makes sense to me as a child. I will love her, even though she is a mother like that.”
It doesn’t matter what kind of person she is.
Because that person is family.
“It’s ‘family’… To deny my … mother is to deny half the blood that flows through me. I don’t want to hate myself any more than I already do. So even if that person doesn’t fulfill her parental duties, I will still go through my duty as a child. So don’t worry … I’ll do my best, just like you said.”
I felt a little better after saying it out loud.
It is more comfortable to have positive feelings than to be dominated by bad feelings.
Shiho taught me that.
I am able to be positive because of her.
“Hmmm…, you also say some pretty nice things?”
My aunt smiled at my words, as if implying something.
“But I’ll give you one piece of advice. There is nothing more shallow than the bond of family… If everyone were like you, I’m sure they’d be happy. There are more people in the world who aren’t.”
Uncharacteristically, my aunt extinguished her cigarette and dismissed me with a wave of her hand.
“Your mother is the best of them. I know it’s one thing to reject her, but … well, even that’s my sister, and she’s my employer. There is nothing more I can say to you. Go on, go home… I’m busy. I don’t have time to deal with the little boy’s flowery theories.”
As if smelling something.
My aunt laughed and put her seatbelt back on. I guess she doesn’t want to talk any more.
I closed the door and the car drove away.