ITSUJITA ~ C33: Aina's mother
Chapter 33: Aina's mother
"......Shirou Onii-chan, here."
Me, Aina, Karen, and Rolf are on our way to Aina's house.
Her house is located far outside the city.
There are several houses in the area surrounded by farms.
I look around.
None of the houses are nice, and many of them are in bad shape.
On top of that, all the plants in the farms looked small.
It was easy to see from the cracked grounds and dying leaves that those plants were not growing well.
Above all, the atmosphere in this town outskirt is heavy and gloomy.
"Karen-san, is this ......?
I softly speak into Karen's ear as she walks next to me.
She immediately knew what I'm going to ask her.
Karen began to speak with a painful expression on her face.
"This is an area where the ...... poor and sick live. Some of them have been abandoned by other villagers.
"As Mayor, I am ashamed to say that ...... Ninorich is a poor town. Every year there are people who can't survive the winter. Most of those people live here."
According to Karen, this town outskirt was naturally formed when sick people, children with no relatives, and the elderly gathered together.
Because there are so many sick people, they are shunned and avoided by the town residents.
I guess they build and live in those shabby houses because they have nowhere else to go.
Emotionally, I don't agree with it at all, but I understand it.
If the disease is contagious, approaching this place is risky.
"Aina-chan came all the way to my store from this town outskirt?......"
Just when I am muttering that.
"Here it is. This is Aina's home."
It seems that we just arrived at Aina's house.
Aina's house is slightly tilted, and it seems quite small for two people to live in.
There is a farm beside the house, where some plants similar to eggplant grow.
"This is a vegetable called Nash."
Aina must have noticed my gaze because she picked it up and told me.
"I make it into soup and eat it with my mom."
"...... I see. You make it?
"Yes. Shirou Onii-chan, do you want to try it? I'll make it for you."
"Eh? You don't have to."
"It's OK. I have to cook for my mom, so please eat. Mayor and Rolf Onii-chan too."
After saying that, Aina-chan took a couple of pieces of Nash.
Holding the nashes in both hands, she takes a deep breath once or twice.
And then, she smiles.
"Mom, I'm home!"
Aina cheerfully opens her house door.
I look at her small back and feel a pain in my chest.
The deep breath she took at first was to calm her sorrowful feelings.
She forced herself to smile to reassure her mother.
Aina, you are such.......
"Mom, today we have guests!"
"...... Oh dear, that's unusual."
I heard a woman's voice.
Her voice sounded very gentle.
"Please come in to see my mother. Shirou Onii-chan, come in, come in!
Aina smiles and invites me in.
I slapped my cheeks with both hands.
Osh. I'm fired up now.
I will smile as good as Aina.
"Nice to meet you, mam. My name is Shirou Amada, and Aina is helping me run my store."
I walked into Aina's house with a smile on my face.
It's as if I'm a door-to-door salesman.
"I see. You're......."
A woman is lying on the bed.
"I'm Aina's mother, and my name is Stella."
A beautiful woman who looks a lot like Aina gave me a weak but warm smile.