First Story – Let Me Listen to Your Lingering Regrets Part 2
“What in the world is this?” That was his first reaction when he woke up. I wasn’t sure what he was referring to.
“W-What’s wrong? Did something upset you?” I nervously inquired.
“I can actually see the floor.”
“Of course, you can. I cleaned it after all.” I said with a tinge of relief.
In fact, cleaning wasn’t that difficult.
I simply gathered all the documents on the floor and arranged them on the file cabinet. I arranged the books on the bookshelf. And even though I didn’t want to touch the dirty laundry, I somehow managed to endure and folded them.
Just with that, the room became surprisingly organized. It’s unbelievable that he could live in that messy state. He only needed to do that much cleaning.
“Pour me a cup of coffee. The instant type.”
When I came back with the coffee in hand, I took a sip, then breathed out a sigh of relief.
“Yummy. As far as coffee goes, instant is the way to go. Apprentice, you seem promising. You can be a good housekeeper. Why don’t you reconsider?”
“Instant coffee, no matter who prepares it, will always taste the same. Also, I didn’t come here to be a housekeeper.”
“Then, what did you come here for?”
“Stop kidding around. It’s a matter of life and death.” I answered and he shrugged his shoulders.
“Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Just take it easy.”
“I can’t take it easy. Not to exaggerate but my future depends on this training period.”
“That’s why I’m giving you an excellent grade.”
“But that’s…unfair. I want to do my best and achieve it with my own power.”
He let out a sigh of exasperation, pulled up a chair near the desk and sat down.
“I only give excellent. Not good, not pass, not fail–only excellent. (1)
“Why is that? I want to be evaluated based on my competence.”
As I asked persistently, our eyes locked. He might be a troublesome guy but he’s got good eyes.
“Because I want to. You can say it’s selfishness on my part. Why, do you want to change mentors?”
I pondered for a bit. I considered it but what came out of my mouth was something else.
“You… are a first-class agent, aren’t you?”
“This is pointless.”
“You’re a first-class agent, aren’t you?” I asked again, this time with more intensity.
“If you’re asking about my job title, then yes.” He answered with a sigh.
“In that case, I’ll stay with you. There’s nothing better than training with a first-class agent. I’d like to learn as much as I can from a first-class agent. After all, it’s everybody’s goal.”
“First-class, huh…” He scratched his head and muttered.
“I’m not quite sure what you mean by ‘first-class’ but suit yourself.”
“Thank you! I’ll work hard earnestly and do my utmost in everything.”
As I expressed my gratitude, he smiled and shrugged his shoulders.
“Well, take it easy. You don’t have to work too hard in this profession.”
“Still, I’ll do my best.”
He sipped his coffee and stated in a relaxed manner. “Well, it may be confusing at first but you’ll get used to it soon. You’ll get used to it even if you don’t want to get used to it. But don’t ever get used to it. That’s your first lesson.”
“What do you mean?”
At that moment, the telephone on the desk rang. When he answered it, he showed me a bitter smile.
He only talked in two or three words over the phone.
“Hey, we’ve got work. Wanna join and learn more about this job?”
“B-by all means!” I shouted enthusiastically.
1. 優 (yu), 良 (ryo), 可(ka), 不可(fuka) – the Japanese equivalent of the 4-scale letter grading system in the US: A (excellent), B (good), C (pass), F (fail), respectively.