Antique Shop『BEAR』 - Chapter 31
Chapter 31 – Princess Hand Mirror
Ami put the hand mirror in her bag and ran back to Hosho Station to the antique shop. The shutters of the shop were closed.
Forced with no choice, she sat in front of the store and waited for the owner to arrive.
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She heard her mother’s voice. When Ami opened her eyes, her mother and father were throwing her a birthday party. Right before her eyes, there was a cake and seven candles. It was her birthday of the year she turned into a first year.
“Ami, turn around.”
His father was photographing her. The day after the birthday party, his father was gone. That’s because of the divorce.
“Ami, blow out the candles.” Her mother was laughing, on the verge of tears.
I see… mother had such a face knowing that father would be leaving.
Ami raised her sullen face.
“Oh, I have a present for you.”
He took out the wrapped bag. Within was a set of illustrated books and stationery that she had never said she wished for. In large drops of tears, Ami began to cry.
“What’s going on?”
When the candle was blown out, the area grew dark.
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Vaguely, she opened her eyes in a thin layer.
“Something the matter?”
The owner of the antique shop sat in front of Ami, eyeing her concernedly.
“Are you not feeling well?”
“Excuse me… I was waiting for the opening and fell asleep.”
The owner wore an expression of shock. “Sorry to keep you waiting.”
When the owner lifted the shutter to open the store, Ami sluggishly rose to her feet and made her way into the entrance. The owner hurried to the back of the store and switched on the lights.
“Thank goodness today happens to be a business day. I don’t operate daily.”
“Oh, I see…”
“May I be of service?”
Ami placed the bag on the register. “I bought a hand mirror here… and I dropped and broke it. Would you be able to repair it back to its original state?”
Upon checking the mirror, the owner looked at Ami in amazement.
“… Understood. The repair will cost 5,000 yen and require about a week.”
“A week…? Okay…”
“I apologize, but payment must be made in advance.”
Ami didn’t hesitate to offer the repair cost, which was even more expensive than the hand mirror.
“Thank you very much. The repair will be completed by this time next Friday, so please come and pick it up at your convenience.”
Ami looked at her watch; it was past 23:00.
“I understand. Thank you in advance.”
The owner grinned at her. “I’ll take care of it.”
Since then, with her mirror out of sight, Ami had been confronted with the reality of her appearance. From then onwards, it was like a lie as her appetite returned and she resumed consuming junk foods, drinking and smoking, all of which she had abandoned. However, as long as the hand mirror would be available again, she didn’t give it a second thought.
A week later, the long-awaited hand mirror was ready to be handed over. On the way home from her part-time job at the bakery, she bought a large amount of sweet bread and ate it lying down at home, watching her phone and waiting for the time to pass. When she left the house at 23:00, the lights of the antique shop could be sighted at the end of the stone pavement. Ami dashed into the store.
“Is the hand mirror fixed?”
“Yes. Go ahead, check it out.”
Ami took a seat in front of the cash register, her heart pounding with nervousness and excitement.
“Here is it.”
Ami’s eyes widened.
Flawless. The beautiful oval mirror was back in place. Ami gazed into the mirror, her heart racing as she picked up the hand mirror.
“What do you think?”
“This… this is wrong…” Ami was so perturbed that her hands trembled. “Look… totally different… This is not me in the mirror!”
Ami checked the mirror several times herself as she showed it to the owner.
“The mirror has been thoroughly replaced with a new one. You can see your reflection in it, too, though.”
“But… this is merely an ordinary mirror. It’s not me from that time!”
“Let me wrap it up for you.”
The shopkeeper gently took the hand mirror from Ami and wrapped it in the same way as before. Ami’s mind replayed the birthday party of her childhood. The birthday that her father would be going away the next day. A present that was not what she had requested.
“Thank you for waiting.”
The memory of the birthday party day dissolved once again in Ami’s mind. After receiving the bag, she walked out of the store, unable to utter a word.
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That night, Kuma’s wife, Aoi, visited the shop.
“Aoi. What’s up?”
“I just came to check on you! Hey.”
Aoi’s eyes fluttered as she regarded the shelves.
“Have you sold the mermaid hand mirror?”
“Quite a while ago.”
“Oh, man. I wanted that.”
Kuma gave a bitter smile. Then, in a whisper, he replied. “About that one. It was the beloved hand mirror belonging to an individual who died of eating disorder.”
“Huh? What?” Aoi looked at him quizzically. “Well, we have enough mirrors at home.”
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