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The First Dream of The Year
Once upon a time, a woman was.

She was driving to a shrine in a snowtown.
The first Sunday in January, a cold wave attacked the Japanese archipelago.It had swallowed her town, like the day.
When she left home,it was only snowing a little, but now, it was snowing heavily. She could the front car's tail lamps only.
She noticed that she hadn't put on her car lights yet, she hurried to put on the lights. Various cars passed her, some cars didn't have any lights at all, some cars only had their side lights on, some cars had their head lamps on.
She was interested if these driver let take psychology test "when you light" and she continued to driving.

From her house, it took 30 min.
She arrived at the shrine that she wanted to go there.
After the first three days of the New Year, the shrine went downhill. The shrine was lonely and solitary.
But in these years, she paid a visit to the shrine on New Year's Day. It was her custom since she and a man visited the shrine at the first time when they were younger than now.
This year, she came to the shrine, and she slid her car into the shrine parking area.
The snowstorm continued, and there were no other cars in the parking area.
The shrine was lonely and solitary as ever, she gave a bitter smile. She wore a nylon coat, and she got out of her car.
Suddenly, a strong wind hit her from the lake, the snow caught her body. Her left body became snow-white. She dusted off the snow and started forward the shrine.

She went through under the gateway at the entrance, then the snow stopped likes a joke.
Of course, in fact the snow didn't stop. There were cedar grove, it just guarded the shrine area from the snowstorm.
Usually she feared the grove because it was dark and thick, in the time, she realized that the grove guarded the shrine.
Just as she expected, again the snowstorm attacked her body, it was like it surrounded her.
Behind the shrine is a cliff,in the precincts, the snowstorm surrounded the shrine building. It was very strong and continued.

She went straight to the front of the shrine building. She picked up small change, threw in the donation box. And she bowed twice, clapped four times, and prayed twice. (*This way is very regional. Especially the Izumo area have this way "twice bowing, four time clapping, twice praying".)
The shrine's appearance was remained the old style for a long time.

It was five years ago that she had last met him. And before that time, she had met him three years before, and before that, she had met him one year before.
Gradually, the time between their meetings had got longer. Since he had parted from her, it had been nearly ten years. She hadn't noticed the length of time until she counted it. She was afraid of the long time.

In these years, she got seriously ill. In the hospital bed, she thought that she wanted to meet him once more. She remembered it.
The wind continued. It was not indication that the snow had stopped. She heard a sound from behind her. It seemed a snappy sound.
" Snap... "
" Giggle.."
And she heard quiet laughter. She looked back.

A man was standing there. He wore a brown half-coat with a boa and jeans. His brownish hair was rather long. His eyes were screwed up in his glasses. He was standing there.

His looks hadn't changed since 10 years ago. She felt that her knees trembled. "Why? Why are you so surprised?" he said. "Why are you here?" she said. " N...m..
Because I want to meet you." he answered.

She thought that he had rejected me,but... .She wanted to tell him some words, but she couldn't tell him any words. She suffocated.

'Between men and woman, there were such as finishing ore not finishing, parting or not parting, there isn't one side relationship...such as rejecting.' she thought.She couldn't tell him anything.
When she was rejected, she decided that she wouldn't follow him any more. Not him, she decided. Just the time, their relationship was finished. She pretended to be an intelligent woman, she couldn't follow him. She had dreaded that she had been hurt by him, then she decided that she didn't follow him more.

He stretched for her. She went to his arms. She was crying. But immediately her hot tears cooled down by the snow wind. "I want to meet you." Just he whispered.

In a moment, she was certainly happy. When she had lain down on the bed in the hospital, she had dreamed of just this moment.

Suddenly, she realized. There was nobody except her. Her cheek felt cold with cold and numbness. "What's happened?" she muttered to herself. She hugged herself. But she didn't feel anything. She trembled by there's atmosphere.
Her body... mumbled cheek, arms and hands...didn't feel anything in the snowstorm.

Was that an illusion? She thought and looked up at the shrine building.The hard wind was hitting her body and she was shaking.
The god did her a mischief, or a whim, or an illusion...? Or, it was a small new year's gift to her faith that she haunted every year.

She thought...If that was a dream, I wanted to die in the dream. She closed her eyes. She had been thinking.
Probably, it was wrong. If she died, she could never meet him. She realized. She could think that some day or other, she could meet him.

She started to walk. She believed that someday she would meet him and be hugged by him. And she never despaired of living.
Behind her, the indigo flags on the shrine were waving as if they were laughing.

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