Mandarin Orange, Kotatsu, And A Found Cat - Chapter 19 Question For The Cat
Living alone has the great advantage of freedom, but it also has its disadvantages.
One of the things I felt most strongly about was, simply put, loneliness.
When I opened the door of my house and announced my return, there was nobody to answer me.
When I ate, all I could hear was the sound of my own chewing and the sound from my phone.
Even though I thought I had gotten used to it, the loneliness still pricked my heart.
I hadn’t met anyone special at work, and those feelings had long since cooled down, and I couldn’t even imagine sharing my life with someone.
But today, as I was eating my dinner, there was a girl sitting in front of me.
Her name is Mashiro. That was the name I gave her.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that Mashiro is my child.
She was a cat that I picked up in a back alley a few months ago and has been living with me ever since.
She’s both a girl and a cat. I’m sure you don’t know what I’m talking about, but that’s the only way I can describe her.
One day, when I came home, Mashiro had suddenly changed into a human form and greeted me in human language.
As proof that she is Mashiro, she has ears on her head of the same shape and color as Mashiro’s.
Incidentally, she has a firm cat tail behind her, wagging and swaying at will.
And she is just as beautiful as she was when she was a cat, with a face that makes you want to stare at her.
Speaking of this mysterious cat, Mashiro was currently sitting across the table, eating her meal in a well-behaved manner.
Incidentally, what she was eating was the same as mine. She was eating the grilled jake, the main dish of the day, skillfully removing the small bones with her chopsticks.
“Umm, it’s hard to eat when you stare at me like that…”
I quickly apologized to Mashiro, who looked away in embarrassment.
It was hard not to be suspicious if I stopped my chopsticks to watch her.
But for me, it was quite refreshing to see a cat that I’ve spent my life with taking the form of a human being and eating elegantly. Or to put it another way, it was bizarre.
In addition, the way she held her chopsticks and her table manners were amazing.
It was hard to believe that she had been in the form of a cat until this morning.
“Can I ask you a few questions?”
“Yes. As many as I can answer.”
I knew that this girl in front of me was the cat I had owned.
However, I had too many questions about Mashiro to count.
Why was she a cat that had human-like characteristics? Also, she eats the same food as I do; I wonder if that’s okay.
And why was she able to change her appearance from a cat to human in the first place? On the other hand, is it possible for her to change back?
The list of questions I wanted to ask would be endless, but asking them all at once would only annoy Mashiro.
There was no other way but to take my time and understand her one thing at a time. As I had done in the past.
“Is Mashiro a cat?”
“You didn’t think I was a cat until now…”
“Ah, no. It’s not that. It’s more like…I was just wondering which is your true state, as a cat or as a human.”
It was difficult to put the question into words, but this was the first thing I wanted to ask.
From the moment I picked Mashiro up, she was always a cat.
…No, maybe she was in human form while I was away from home.
However, when I picked her up, she was acting perfectly like a cat whenever I saw her.
In my mind, I’m still most aware of her being a cat, but maybe she’s a person who can take on the form of a cat. That was the meaning of my question.
“State, huh? As for myself, I think I am who I am in both my cat form and now in this form.
“But you’ve always been a cat in front of me, haven’t you?”
“That’s, well…it’s a bad way to put it, but it’s relatively easier for me to be a cat…”
Somehow, I could understand why. It may be true in everyday life, but this may apply for other things.
I’m not going to ask this of Mashiro yet, but whatever the reason, she was abandoned by someone in the middle of the night.
Then again, what if she had been in her human form at the time? What would have happened to her?
Not only was it cold that night, but if she had made a mistake, she could have gotten into some kind of trouble.
If I found Mashiro that day, at the same time, in the same place, would I have acted the same way if she hadn’t looked like a cat?
I may not have pretended not to see her, but at least I wouldn’t have been able to pick her up and bring her home.
Whether or not she had such intentions at the time was completely speculative, but I suppose there were advantages to being a cat in that aspect as well.
At least I’m glad she was in cat form when we first met.
“Rather than…being able to change into either form, it would be closer to say I’m half cat and half human.
It was quite powerful, but her words were surprisingly fitting.
If that’s the case, then it makes sense that Mashiro’s etiquette was both human-like and cat-like.
Maybe she had spent a lot of time living as a human being before she met me.
If not, I can’t explain Mashiro’s good manners to this point.
“By the way, Satou-san. Your chopsticks have stopped. Do you not have any appetite?”
“No, not really, but…”
When I stare at Mashiro’s figure and think about it, she was worried about me.
“…Do you still have a problem with me looking like this?”
“No, not at all. Of course it’s hard to get used to, but I don’t think it’s a problem.”
“Have I made you feel uncomfortable…?”
“No, I haven’t. You don’t have to worry about it.”
Mashiro asked me with her ears down and a worried look on his face.
Her tail also seems to be poofy and down, and I reminded her not to worry about it.
I wondered what would be the best thing to say to her to make her feel a little more confident.
I haven’t had a chance to talk to a girl of her age in years, let alone with a cat. Or rather, how should I interact with her?
In front of her still expressionless face, I pondered what I should do next.