The Day the World Changed
It was a hell-like sight that stuck in Marin’s memories and wouldn’t disappear. Marin couldn’t tell anyone, not even Violette, about that which she would still have nightmares about seven years later, which she didn’t expect at that time.
Everyone surely knew about this. They knew, yet they couldn’t do anything. If an adult servant couldn’t even do something to fix this, how could Marin, a mere child, do it?
What she could do was just increasing her time when talking with Violette a little bit more. Even that would come into nothing when Violette was called by her mother, and in the end, it didn’t have any significant effect.
Those days came to an end less than six months after Marin started working there.
Suddenly, the number of calls for Violette visibly decreased. And then Bellerose could no longer get out of her bed, let alone her room.
And finally, she couldn’t get up anymore.
Bellerose didn’t talk with anyone. She didn’t see anyone’s eyes. She just called the name of the head family, Auld, like she was talking in delirium.
“Violette-sama… Are you alright?”
“I… I’m alright.”
Violette was sitting on the garden bench, her hair swaying in the wind.
She had changed visibly after she was no longer going to Bellerose’s side. Her hair grew a little, and her tone of voice and clothes gradually changed.
For the first time at that moment, Marin knew that Violette was a girl.
That was the reason why she had been feeling a sense of incongruity since a long time ago. For a boy who was ten years old, her wrists that were peeking through her sleeves, her neck that was seen through her hair gaps, and her waist that was seen through her clothes seemed unreliable and thin.
Her height was reasonable, but her build was a girl’s. Marin thought that Violette was a thin boy until a while ago, but now she could only see her as a beautiful girl no matter how she looked at it.
And of course, Bellerose wouldn’t have liked it.
The daughter Bellerose loved as Auld was becoming a woman. Unable to accept the natural phenomenon, she fled from her dream in reality to her broken pieces of hope. Perhaps Bellerose had forgotten about Violette that was forced out from her dream, not even a shadow and shape of her left.
“I’m sorry, Marin.”
“I’ve shown you a world that you don’t want to know because of my selfishness.”
If they were talking about whether Marin really didn’t want to know, Violette was right. She had resigned herself at the time she was abandoned by her parents long time ago. That’s why, she dreamed of others’ families.
A gentle mother and a strict father. But the mother was the scary one when she got angry, and the father had a sweet spot on his daughter.
Such happiness should be common in the world, and yet…
What she saw here was a father who had abandoned his family, a mother who saw her daughter as her husband, and a daughter who was left alone in a large mansion.
Marin didn’t want to know this kind of world.
“Why did you hire me?”
She was a little girl who was just a little bit older than Violette, not related to her at all. She had no family, no money, and no education. A filthy homeless child without any good points.
She wasn’t suitable to get this job that guaranteed her food, clothing, and shelter, she just barely passing the mark. There were so many reasons to chase her out right at this moment as well.
“What do you… expect from me?”
Marin had nothing, and she could do nothing. Even if Marin saw that sight in her dreams and woke up in fright because of that, she wasn’t someone who could bring Violette out of that hell.
She had a narrow heart and lacked power, to the point that she felt jealous at Violette who she should give praise as her benefactor.
Marin couldn’t understand what did Violette want from her helpless self.
“It’s because I thought those eyes were beautiful.”
Violette said so as she looked straight at Marin’s eyes.
Marin’s red eyes. They were the proof of betrayal that influenced Marin’s life.
She hated her own eyes.
Marin couldn’t ignore the fact that she had been abandoned no matter what, and if her parents came to pick her up now, it was impossible for her to say that she had any attachment to them. She would only have distrust and disgust towards them.
But sometimes, when she looked at the families that came to the church, parents and their children that passed by on the road, and houses with lit lights, she would wonder.
If these eyes were not red. If they were the unproblematic color which was the same as her father and mother’s, would her life have changed?
“I was not good with red eyes. They made me feel like my mother was watching me.”
Violette’s mother asked for love to Violette, seeing her daughter as her husband. Why did Marin think that Bellerose was even more dirty than her mother who had relationship with someone other than her husband, even though Bellerose’s love was wholehearted, not unfaithful at all?
Marin remembered the side profile of those face that had lost her sanity, and the nausea of that day came back.
“That’s why, I was surprised when I saw Marin’s eyes… I never knew that they were such a beautiful color.”
Violette got up from the bench and stood in front of Marin who was beside her. Her fingertips stretched out slowly, touching Marin’s eyes through the gap of her bangs.
A girl with the same eyes as Violette’s mother had collapsed behind Violette’s house.
What she felt at those dimly opened red light was not her usual discomfort that felt like someone was licking her neck. They were the bright red sunset, a color that started the countdown to her liberation. For Violette’s mother, it might be a parting to let go of the love of her life, but for Violette, it was the moment of hope that ended her lie.
“It’s because it’s a very bright and beautiful red. I was unconsciously captivated by them.”
Violette used to think that the color or stickiness like the heated iron was red. Her mother’s obsession and blind faith seemed like they had entangled throughout Violette’s body, accompanied by the breathlessness as if she was slowly being choked.
She wondered if one day she would also get dragged into that madness.
“That’s why, I wanted you to stay with me. Because when I looked at Marin’s eyes, I can believe that it’s not always the same.”
Not the same. What kind of thoughts did Violette have when she said that? Did she mean that even if Marin and Bellerose had the same red eyes, they were two different people?
Or did she mean that even if Bellerose was her mother, they were not the same?
“Do you think that it’s a stupid reason?
Other people would be amazed and laugh at the absurd reason of a ten years old child who hired someone because she only thought that those eyes were beautiful, wouldn’t they?
“But… For me, it’s so important that my world has changed. I can feel at ease that I won’t get caught in those red eyes when I look at Marin.”
The hand that touched Marin was small, and when she saw Violette’s expression straight, she looked more childish than what she initially thought. At that moment, Marin realized that the girl was also a child younger than her. Marin herself wasn’t adult enough to call Violette a child, but it didn’t change that she was still weaker than Marin who was born a few years earlier than her.
“I’m sorry to get you involved, and I’m sorry to make you accompany me in this… If you want to quit, I won’t stop you.”
Violette’s distorted smile looked sad and lonely, yet she was still forcing herself to make it.
Even if Violette said that she wanted Marin to stay with her, she couldn’t reach out her hand and tell her not to go.
If no one could grant it for her, her hope was the same as a garbage. Even if she wished to express her thoughts to someone, that someone was nowhere to be found. While such things were repeatedly happening, what was imprinted on Violette wasn’t that her wish was unfulfilled, but that she wouldn’t be able to obtain everything that she wanted.
Violette’s appearance resembled Marin when she was still the daughter of her parents, which ended in just four years.
Marin who couldn’t forced out from the world where she was not loved, and Violette couldn’t escape from the world where she was not loved. While knowing the same world, they ended up with completely different results.
Marin wondered which one of them was happier, and she felt that she was being ridiculous.
Someone in this world would be happy with running away from their parents that didn’t love them and receive the benevolence from the sisters. Someone in this world would be happy with becoming a noble daughter who had wealth and power, even if they were not loved. Someone in this world would be happy to be able to stay alive.
People could easily say that they were happy. When Marin mulled over it, there was no end to this thought. There were a lot of people who were more miserable than Marin and Violette, and they pretended to comfort other people and trampled their own heart.
Marin saw those cotton-like kind of people, full of faith and selflessness, in the church. They were actually good people who were soft and gentle, but she didn’t want the happiness where she had to laugh and ignore and aggravate her already painful wound.
Marin was abandoned without being loved by her parents, and Violette was made to accompany a distorted delusion. They were by no means happy.
So surely, Marin was feeling sympathy to Violette.
“…I won’t quit.”
The girl who was standing by herself without even crying was too lonely. The fact that there was no one that supported her back was painful.
Even though Marin couldn’t stand next to her, she wanted to make sure that when Violette looked back, there was someone smiling at her.
And if her parents abandoned her, Marin should be able to take that position.
“I’ll stay with you forever. After all, this is a life that you… Violette-sama, have saved.”
This small hand certainly saved Marin on that day. If Violette had turned away from her at that time, Marin’s life might have ended at that point.
The person that saved Marin’s life and still held on to her even until now was Violette.
Nourishing foods, clean clothes, clean water, and warm blanket.
The church, which believed that allegiance to God alone would be able to manage everything somehow, was always in poverty, receiving more orphans than its capacity. Her life was average when she was still caught in between her family members, but the current her had an even more comfortable life than all of that. All of the treatment and weighing pressure were pleasant.
If the reason was trivial, she could just laugh.
Violette said that the eyes Marin she hated so much were beautiful. Those words, that small kindness, was the trigger of everything.
In the middle of her heart, in the center of her life. In the place that gave a beating sound, there was a gentle heat.
Marin wanted to stay with her. This time, she wanted to tell the girl that said her eyes were beautiful that she was beautiful.
This was surely sympathy, and unquestionably the first affection that Marin ever had.
Not only Violette, but Marin’s world also changed at that day.
The time Marin returned to her room was later than usual because she was discussing about the breakfast menu for tomorrow. If there was a shadow of this in the morning, she would make Violette worry.
“Ah, tomorrow’s schedule…”
Violette said that she would have an outing after school, so her return should be a little later. Marin opened her regularly used schedule book and edited the timetable she had already expected to some extent.
The sound of the metal scratching the paper echoed, and the fountain pen in her hand entered her sight. Marin thought that this cherry blossom colored pen was too cute for her to use, but she was sure that she wouldn’t change it for the rest of her life.
Violette gave it to her to celebrate Marin becoming twenty years old.
She had become an adult, and Violette was also already seventeen years old.
Marin had stayed with Violette for seven years since that day, originally due to sympathy. She had seen Violette’s refreshingly selfish parents and how she was distorted little by little.
The compassion changed into affection, and Violette became more important day by day. The more Marin took care of Violette, the more she felt when Violette was not taken care of, and the more she detested those who didn’t take care of Violette.
(It’s great that she looks happy.)
Violette was a person who was good at suppressing her emotions and killing them, and rarely showed any expression. Marin couldn’t fault her since she was also like that, but in her own case, it was because her emotions’ ups and downs were very small.
That Violette seemed unusually happy, assuming from how she also didn’t force herself at the dining table that was supposed to make her feel depressed. None of the people who shared the same table with her realized that, but even if they noticed, they would only have given gave some kind of preach. If they didn’t care about Violette’s feelings anyway, it might be better that they didn’t notice anything in the first place.
When Marin inquired about the reason, she said that she made a promise with Yulan to have an outing.
Marin knew Yulan Kugles. They had met each other through Violette, but they had hardly ever spoken. The Yulan that Marin knew was from the expression she saw when Yulan was together with Violette, and also his actions to Violette’s talks.
Marin knew his name, face, and some information about him to some extent, but their relationship was not so different from strangers.
Nevertheless, Marin’s trust in Yulan was strong enough to call him her comrade.
Comrades who thought of Violette with great care.
Comrades who wished for her happiness more than anything.
If Violette was going out alone, Marin would have had to consider things a little bit more, but if she was together with Yulan, he would surely protect her from troublesome favors. Despite all of the attention Violette received, she surely didn’t understand the impact of her own appearance. It was only natural that she wasn’t aware about it in the house where she wasn’t even called by her own name, but once she went outside, everyone would be attracted to Violette, regardless of her awareness.
“Should I reduce the amount of the dinner…”
Violette would be back in time for dinner, but if she ate something before that, Marin had to reduce the amount for her master who ate less.
Marin wrote a note so that she wouldn’t forget and put it on tomorrow’s clothes. The moment she entered her bed, she became sleepy.
In her consciousness that slowly fell into the world of dreams, she wished that tomorrow Violette would return home with a smile.