Mandarin Orange, Kotatsu, And A Found Cat - Chapter 16 Welcome Back, And...
As the bright-colored sky slowly began to darken.
I was alone, smiling at my phone as I rocked on the train home from work…objectively it was weird for me to look at my phone.
The reason why I’m doing such a strange thing was, of course, because of the photo of my beloved cat on my phone.
I guess it was one of those things that happens when you first get a cat, but ever since Mashiro came home, the photo folder on my phone has been filled with her.
Whether it was because she knew the camera was there, or because she was shy, Mashiro would not let me take her picture.
However, she was so cute that even just a picture of her sleeping or looking back was enough to heal me.
Not only on the train, but also at work I prop up my phone with a picture of her.
I feel like a newlywed couple who just had a baby, but I’m sure there are many people who understand…
Since I picked up Mashiro, she has basically become the center of my life.
Before, I used to work overtime depending on how my work was going. Even in this ultra-white company, which might be a rarity nowadays, overtime happens once in a while.
But lately, I’ve been leaving work before anyone else the moment the clock strikes zero.
I don’t get any sarcastic comments about it, and everyone was always cheerful to see me off, but for some reason, I felt that their gaze has been turning warm lately.
Especially the other day, when I had some work left to do at the end of the day, they said, “we’ll take care of the rest,” and handed me some cat treats.
It was getting more and more uncomfortable as even the junior staff whom I had been teaching were giving me this kind of attention.
In return, I was often asked to show pictures of Mashiro to my colleagues, and before I knew it, Mashiro had become a beloved character in our department.
I’m happy that more and more people understand and sympathize with Mashiro’s cuteness, but I feel a bit of possessiveness deep inside.
As my circle of communication has expanded, I’ve learned a lot from my cat-savvy colleagues and received cat supplies, which has been beneficial, so I can’t really say anything about it…
I went through my photo folder, which only has Mashiro in it, and came back to the most recent photo.
The most recent one was a photo of Mashiro looking at the camera, which was rare.
It was taken at the entrance of the apartment, a few days ago when I came home from work.
When I got home that day, I opened the front door and saw Mashiro sitting there, as if she was welcoming me.
It was a dreamlike situation that I had only seen in the movies.
At that time, I was so happy that I could only pet Mashiro and regretted that I couldn’t take a picture of her.
That was the first time Mashiro had greeted me. I thought I would never be able to see it again, but I was wrong…
Since then, Mashiro has been waiting for me at the door every day.
Every day without fail, even on days when I was running late for some reason, Mashiro would be there.
After that, coming home from work became the most exciting part of my day.
However, it doesn’t seem that she is necessarily spoiling me, and when I pat her on the head and say “I’m home,” she would go back to the living room as if her work was done.
It was a considerate thing for Mashiro to do, but I don’t know what triggered her to do it.
From my point of view, being greeted by Mashiro was a pleasure that made my cheeks loose on the train every day.
However, there should be no particular benefit for Mashiro. I wonder if Mashiro’s unique sense of politeness was showing here.
I don’t know what the truth was, but I do know that my bond with Mashiro was definitely deepening.
I chose to live in the future with Mashiro. I want to express my gratitude to my past self for choosing that, and to Mashiro for choosing me.
It would be enough if we could continue to take it slowly, little by little, at our own pace. There was nothing to rush.
As I was looking at Mashiro’s photo and thinking about it for a long time, the train arrived at my station.
I got off the train, went through the ticket gate, and stepped outside to see the stars shining beautifully in the night sky.
The nights, which used to be so cold last month that I could barely breathe, gradually became warmer with the arrival of spring.
However, at this time of the day, it was still chilly without warm clothes. But in the daytime, it became a comfortable season with cool breeze.
The season when I met Mashiro was over, and a new season was about to begin.
The days I spent with Mashiro passed by in a blink of an eye. Each day was full of life, but before I realized it, so much time had passed.
When I think back to the time when we first met, I realize that the distance between me and Mashiro has shrunk considerably.
At first, Mashiro was reluctant to even be petted, but now she approaches me more often.
When I called her name, she always responded adorably and ate her food without leaving any leftovers.
In addition, recently she has been giving me morning calls and even welcoming me when I come home.
My days are getting fuller and fuller, and at the same time, I’m becoming more and more dependent on Mashiro.
According to Sakakibara, the fickleness of cats is unpredictable, and sometimes they go out for a few days at a time.
They usually come back when they hungry, but if Mashiro were to find herself in such a situation, I’d be so worried that I wouldn’t even be able to work.
I can’t say Mashiro would do that.
I always tried to keep my door locked, but it was true that Mashiro longed for the outside world.
If I can create an environment where Mashiro can go outside without worry, then I want to let her have fun without hesitation.
As I was secretly making such a decision in my mind, I came to the door of my apartment.
I unlocked the door, opened it and turned on the light, picturing the scene that would be ahead.
“Welcome back, Satou-san.”
“Ah. I’m home, Mashiro.”
I reach out my hand to Mashiro’s head, who has greeted me with a healthy smile today.
And then, with all the gratitude I can muster, I gently stroke her silky hair…
The person I reached out to was…not a cat with pure white fur that was comfortable to the touch.
—It was a cute silver-haired girl in just a shirt, sitting on the floor and staring up at me.
[TLN: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH I FINALLY F*CKING DID IT. We are here guys, cat girl, but I’m gonna cliff this hahahahahahaha.
If you readers would join the discord it would increase my motivation by 10% (because I have 8 series)]