Let Me Listen to Your Lingering Regrets Ch 39

Last Story – A Bouquet For Your Smile – Part 10

Senpai walked past us, as if he didn’t see our presence, and placed flowers on the grave and lit the incense stick with a lighter. He crouched down in front of the grave, put his hands together in a prayer and quietly closed his eyes.

Seeing the unexpected turn of events, Mr. Sasamine and I were both too stunned to speak.

But that’s when it dawned on me.

Senpai probably already knew what I was up to. He came to visit the grave, or he might have deliberately followed me and listened to our conversation. After all, our hearing was much sharper than that of humans. Even his timely appearance must have been out of consideration for me.

Senpai’s visit probably didn’t take long, but it felt like it did. As I had thought, Senpai might have been touched by my kindness because he spoke to me in a relaxed tone.



“I—I was wrong. When Kyoko died, her parents ironically resolved their regrets and went to heaven. I was at a loss for words. But I figured her parents must have regretted it. They were sent to heaven under such circumstances. I just couldn’t forgive myself. I hated myself more than anyone.”

After saying that, Senpai gave me a feeble smile. Then he shrugged his shoulders lightly, and turned his gaze towards Mr. Sasamine.

“Sasamine, I had to contradict you back then. You helped send Kyoko to heaven but she was at her lowest and in despair so I could never accept your method. At that time, I thought I was dead.”

Senpai scratched his head and glanced at me before continuing. “But even for someone like me who’s dubbed a heretic, there are still people who admire me. And also thanks to someone by my side who works hard even though they’re called a ‘failure’, I’m slowly starting to regain myself little by little.”

Mr. Sasamine let out a rare, slightly irritated sigh. 

“Well, well, you and I are supposed to be parallel lines, aren’t we? Two lines that never intersect—that’s you and me. There’s such a huge difference with the way we think, but we respect each other. You’re the one who accepted that more than anyone else.”

Senpai, however, calmly disagreed. “No, that’s wrong.”

Mr. Sasamine frowned. “Well, I don’t know. That’s why I said we’re like parallel lines. I don’t understand why you’re offering flowers to Kyoko Kasuga’s grave like this nor why you bother to pose with your hands together. After all, when humans go to heaven, they just disappear. I’m not saying we can do whatever we want, but if the results are the same, shouldn’t we just be doing the same thing? It’s all the same anyway.”

“That’s what I’d call third-rate nihilism.” Senpai argued. “For example, just like how the feeling of thirst proves the existence of water, aren’t lingering regrets proof of the future of the person’s soul? We may have been born from the feelings of humans, but then why did those ‘feelings’ create us?” It’s because humans deemed us as important. In other words—”

Senpai spoke in a firmer tone. “We are important to humans. Why? Because we are important for their future.”

Mr. Sasamine shook his head. “Is that even possible if that so-called future is just nothing?”

“Oh, right. Even if the future is nothing, humans have no choice but to need us. There must be some meaning to it that we’re unaware of. Indeed, humans may become nothing, but they’re never entirely meaningless.”

Mr. Sasamine didn’t seem particularly impressed and then quipped, “Well, we’re really like parallel lines, aren’t we? If I’m a third-rate nihilist, then aren’t you just a third-rate optimist?”

“Do you think I won’t argue against that? I will say it again: Humans are by no means meaningless beings. Or perhaps I can only believe so. But even so, that’s what I want to believe. Even if people call me heretic.”

With a repulsive look on his face, Mr. Sasamine sighed, then turned to me.

“Man, at this rate, we’ll just end up with that kind of idealism. Are you trying to prove the existence of God? Yuma, look, this is the real him. What do you think?”

I was visibly confused, caught off guard that he suddenly asked me.

Senpai’s belief and Mr. Sasamine’s point of view.

I can’t tell who’s wrong.

And my own “feelings” are also probably different from their way of thinking… Probably.

“I’m… stupid, so I can’t keep up with what you guys are saying.”

I gave Senpai a timid look. He nodded lightly, his eyes were encouraging as if to say, “Feel free to say what you think.”

Thanks to his support, I decided to voice out my thoughts, albeit stutteringly.

“But, I think it’s actually a lot simpler. At least based on what I’ve learned from my training so far.”

I took a deep breath, trying my best to convey the essence of my thoughts, no matter how naive they might be.

“Mr. Sasamine, I don’t think it’s entirely meaningless even if human souls end up vanishing into nothingness. On that point, I share the same thoughts as Senpai. I hope you don’t mind.” I confidently told Mr. Sasamine, then turned to look back at Senpai.

“Senpai, I didn’t mean that the human soul itself has a meaning. Rather than the soul having a meaning, I think that the soul carries a meaning.” I prepared answers for them both.

Considering the clients I’ve met so far, I don’t think their souls were meaningless. But if you look at it from a broader perspective, each of them might just be one piece of a huge puzzle. 

I tried to accept and deny both ideas at the same time.

—Because, more than anything else, that was what the clients have taught me. That my words were both mine and not mine. That was for sure.

“I’m going to say something a little out of the ordinary.”

I lowered my head a little, took a deep breath, placed my knuckles on my chest and raised my head.

“In my opinion, humans are born, live and die as ‘we’… I don’t think anyone can ever exist as a solitary ‘me’’.”

Just like how Shion went to heaven together with Miki’s “feelings”. Obviously, Miki’s soul didn’t go with her. But she was undoubtedly accompanied by her close friend.

“Sorry about the poor analogy. Let me put it this way. For example, if the father is gone and the mother dies immediately after giving birth, the baby will be alone. But the fact that the child had a father and a mother, no matter how you look at it, cannot be denied, right? Therefore, humans, no matter what form they take, will never just be a solitary ‘me’ the moment they are born. And the same is the case for when they die.”

Just like Yayoi and Asuka, no matter how much they tried to cut ties with each other, there was still something that connected them together.

The clients I’ve met so far have managed to fulfill their purpose in the end and went to heaven. Even though they encountered twists and turns, they always took a new step forward, while accepting their doubts, anger, sadness and everything else along the way. They never disregarded anything as meaningless.

However, they didn’t go to heaven because they were convinced that they had resolved everything on their own. Even after they were gone, they still had some kind of connection—some kind of a long, thin but unbreakable thread—that even if their souls had vanished into oblivion, they were still connected to the present living world. In other words, even if the human souls end up becoming nothing, the fact remains that that their connection never disappears.

….To be honest, I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

I was just voicing out what I thought of after listening to Senpai and Sasamine’s banter.

—But at the same time, that was also undeniably true for me.

Oh… And that made me realize…

I was able to worry, think and be myself all because of Senpai. His warmth gently enveloped me and protected me. And thanks to the clients I’ve met so far, I was also enlightened, despite all my doubts.

“In other words, humans are born, live and die as ‘we’… in the past, in the future, and in the present… They can never just be a lone ‘me’. And that’s why they won’t just become nothing after death. On the contrary, there’s no point in finding the meaning of a single soul. A person’s soul is a part of the sum, not the sum of them all. ‘We’ can never become ‘me’ — and that’s destiny.”

After saying all that in one go, I lowered my head again.

How much was I able to convey? It was such a poorly delivered emotional rambling and I wondered if there was any meaning to it in the first place. I felt that my thoughts were of no value and even I was getting tired of my own immaturity.

“I don’t have Senpai’s wisdom nor Mr. Sasamine’s profound experience…at least, not yet. But if humans can’t become more than ‘we’, even if they become nothing, to those who are still alive—no, even to us agents—whether to other humans or agents, if they leave a trace of themselves and complete their lives as ‘we’… why do you think humans still regret their lives in their last moments?”

I took a deep breath and continued firmly. 

“Humans are like passengers on the train running on the railway called life. And each of them gets off at different train stations. When those burdened by their own destinies reach their respective stops, they help other people on the same train who are heading to the next station in order to leave behind a piece of their own existence. In the same way, isn’t that why we, agents, exist?”

After finishing my long monologue, silence reigned over for a while.

—How much time had passed?

Eventually, Mr. Sasamine raised his hands, disappointment was painted all over his face.

“Oh dear, I guess I picked the wrong person. Seems like you and I are not on the same wavelength, Yuma. A pity, really. Let’s just forget about what we talked about before, all right? I wish you all the best in your path as an agent. I’m not being sarcastic, okay? I just believe that if we aren’t on the same wavelength, then we shouldn’t interfere and hold each other back. You get it, right?”

“Yes, and I’m sorry.”

“No worries, Yuma! No problem at all! You didn’t cause me any trouble.” He laughed and said in an energetic voice. “Now that I’ve been spectacularly rejected, I shall make my leave gallantly!” He then turned on his heel.

He seemed so unbothered even till the end that when Senpai and I looked at each other, we simultaneously both smiled wryly at each other.

“It’s over, right?”

“I think it’s over.” After saying that, Senpai took his eyes off of me.

“Anyway, I’m quite impressed by your way of thinking, Apprentice. And I’m amazed that you can express yourself so well.” He said as he patted my head.

“After listening to you and Mr. Sasamine, I thought about the clients we’ve met so far and somehow the words came out naturally. I’m embarrassed to say this but I don’t actually remember what I said.” 

Senpai laughed. “Oh dear, I even complimented you on that. But well, you and I are different. I know that. And that’s okay. You don’t have to copy me. As long as you’re fine with it, you can continue being yourself. And if that’s what you believe—if that’s something you’ve spent time pondering over, then I’ll be here to support you all the way.” Senpai frantically ruffled my hair.

“Don’t mess it up so much. You’ll ruin it.” I pursed my lips in annoyance.

“Whatever, let’s go home.” He said without feeling the least bit guilty.

But I felt the warmth of his large and heavy palm, which felt so comfortable.

“Okay!” I nodded deeply, feeling refreshed.

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