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He pulled out a tin case at his bedside and pushed a candy into Elisha’s mouth. She accepted it with familiarity. As the candy melted in her mouth, she looked at Lucerne.
“This is also a secret, Elisha.”
“… … .”
“My mother was a crazy woman, afraid the Cartiers would come after me. So we lived in a secluded, ruined house. She was always smiling like an idiot as she stroked my head and comforted me. She was always singing too, sometimes folk songs, sometimes humming the story of my birth, or the story of the first time she met my father.”
Elisha didn’t know what to say. Who would believe it? This indomitable man, with nothing to fear but whom everyone was afraid of, had an insane mother.
“What song did she sing?”
“A song called the Black Wall.”
Elisha searched her memories:
Oh oh oh~ Don’t go outside the black wall.
Outside, the world is hell.
Baby, let’s live forever in her mother’s arms. Oh, my dear child~
“Ah, it’s an old nursery rhyme.”
“… … right now?”
“Come now. You said you wanted information.”
Lucerne placed his hand on her lower gut and began to caress her gently. Reluctantly she sang the song a little.
“Ah… … .”
She clasped his hand, stroking her lower back, and teasing her pale pubic hair with his fingers. Elisha’s singing voice trembled every time his lascivious fingers moved in and out of her wet opening.
“Heh… … . stop… … .”
Lucerne bit her ear and fell off. Elisha bit her lip. She ran out of energy in a short time.
“When I’m having a hard time, I think of my mother… … how about you? Did you love her?”
“I don’t have that kind of affection. If she’s dead, she’s dead, and if it’s done, it’s all done and gone anyways. If she was alive, she would have enjoyed what I have now. Unfortunately, that just didn’t happen.”
Why? Elisha was comforted by the fact that Lucerne was terribly realistic.
“I see, just… … . I was wondering if she was a good memory or a bad memory for you.”
“How can it be a good memory? A woman who was no less than an idiot barely able to survive with her child.”
Elisha could easily imagine. Probably, if you were that weak, you wouldn’t have been able to live amongst people for fear that other people would persecute and do harm.
“But, sometimes I do think about it.”
“… … .”
“I don’t think it was unfortunate. When I was young, I didn’t have much, so I had to use those memories to my advantage.”
Elisha knew that feeling well. They had similar tragic childhoods. As an orphan girl with nothing, her memory of the love she had received was faint.
The memory of being unfairly kicked out by her father hurt her mother’s heart. And she never recovered. Elisha’s mother was a woman who always cried. Later, even the way she cried became a fond memory.
Elisha groped for the love, imagining the affection her mother would have given her, and tried to learn to love herself. Although she was not successful, perhaps her heart would have been even more impoverished if she hadn’t had those memories.
“Why do you look like that? Maybe your maternal love is stimulated?”
She rubbed her eyes.
“Never, how strong are you? With whom should I sympathize with?”
Lucerne raised the corners of his lips. He hugged the naked Elisha from behind. He wrapped around her rigid body, immobilizing her, and placed his head on her shoulder, closing his eyes.
“Don’t pity me, Elisha. It is arrogant to have sympathy.”
“… … .”
“But if you’re stimulated by maternal love… I guess it’s okay for me to be pitiful.”
Days and nights that ended with familiar teasing, she was no longer embarrassed. Elisha also slowly closed her heavy eyes.
And that night she had a dream. Under a large tree she saw an idiot, whose face was not visible, holding a young Lucerne.
It was a beautiful and sad dream indeed.