“Now do you believe that I’m telling the truth?”
“I never thought you were lying in to begin with. And I believe that it was possible you had a sister. Just, isn’t it a bit far-fetched to assume that she was eliminated by the school?”
“If she had died of an accident or sickness, they wouldn’t have had to hide it from me, right?”
Maria avoided my eyes. “I guess that’s true. But maybe they just wanted to protect you from having sad memories.”
“But look at the characters. Don’t they seem too clumsy? Like Satoru said, my sister must have been bad at using her cantus.”
“I won’t deny the possibility, but it’s still just speculation.”
Satoru took the mirror from me and adjusted the angle at which it projected onto the fence.
“Now that I look at it, I wouldn’t say that it’s all badly done. The characters are carved properly stroke by stroke. It’s just that they’re kind of crooked and overlap each other…”
At the time I didn’t understand what Satoru was trying to get at. Much later, I learned that this kind of writing was caused by a type of visual impairment, and was surprised at how perceptive Satoru was. I strongly suspect that my sister had been judged to be inadequate at cantus because of her vision problems, but now that most records have been lost, I would never know for sure.
It appears that these vision problems had been called nearsightedness or astigmatism back in the old days. To treat it, people wore glasses with lenses of various prescriptions. This brought their vision back to normal and they could live life without any problems.
“Anyway, I did have a sister.” I took the mirror back from Satoru and held it up high. “This is the proof.”
“Cut that out,” Satoru said quietly, “you’ll get in trouble if anyone sees you.”
“Saki, I understand how you feel,” Maria whispered with her arms around my shoulders. “But please don’t stir up any more trouble.”