And Then After Christmas

I could hear the holiday music from a distance, interspersed with the creaking sound of the swing where I sat. A tip of a Christmas tree could be seen behind a building in pitch black, and its light gave the night sky a faint glow.

“Momo, what are you doing in the park?”

I looked up and saw Aunt Yayoi. “Could you pretend you haven’t seen me?” I said, gripping the swing’s chain and pushing the ground with my feet, sending myself a bit forward. “I’ll go home soon, so don’t worry.”

“What’s wrong?” Another, sitting in the swing next to mine.

I pushed the ground again, lightly.

“Tell me what happened,” she said. “Or I will drown you with my tragedy. Like how I got fired from my job at Christmas.”

“You already told me.”

“And now it’s your turn. Hit me with your worst.”

I touched the ground with the tips of my toes to make the swing stop. “I wanted to go to a music school,” I said. “But Dad said he would never pay for it. So I told him I would work and support myself. We ended up having a big fight.”

“Working and supporting yourself through school,” Aunt Yayoi said. “It won’t be easy.”

I gazed into the night where the music was still playing. And I could smell baked goods, which made me a bit hungry.

“There’s a Christmas festival nearby, isn’t it?” Another said, getting up. “Want to go?”


“Both of us are already in a big mess, right?” Aunt Yayoi said. “And once tomorrow comes, we’ll have a hell of a lot of fighting to do. So tonight, let’s go have fun.”

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