One Week of Evil -- Chapter 7 "Sunday"

"Good morning~!! Well, let's go~!! Quickly, get ready!!"
The next day, I woke to my mother's voice, so energetic it was piercing. Recently because of the misfortunes that had been raining over me like surging waves, I had completely forgotten that today was the day of a once in a year big event: 'Get Up Early! Parent And Child Marathon Convention!' For this parent and child marathon convention, as it was called, participants would be recruited and as the name suggests, parents and children would run together for a distance of about 5 km. The bizarre rules were decided such that, though one or the other would arrive at a goal site, if it wasn't recognized as the goal then both would have to arrive at the true goal together. The age limit for children was up to the end of elementary school, and it didn't matter if the adult was the father or mother. I didn't know what purpose those rules might've held, but for children, this marathon convention was in fact an important event in their own regard.

Because of this, the winner of this convention would be awarded a trophy. Sponsorship day, for the child from the winning pair, was said to be Sunday, and everyone in the entire area came together for the event. At school on Monday, the winner would become the 'Person of the Moment' in a single bound, everyone watching with envious looks. Surely they would be a hero. Therefore, the children would indeed drag their unwilling fathers and mothers in, and run recklessly for this crude trophy.

As it was, I went alone to good places every year, and in spite of that could still never surpass the higher level students... But this year would be different. I had become one of those higher level students, and according to my research, there wouldn't be a single rival above 6th grade. The likelihood of me being able to win the championship was great. And above all else, it seemed that my mother's fast running was her only redeeming quality. Every year, she'd arrive at the goal site first, and be waiting for me.

I was thinking. Surely I had a chance!! I'd never again have such an opportunity to wipe out my recent image, would I!! If I won the championship, the misfortunes of the week before could be turned around just like that. Oh, but that's not all. I could even show a huge face to the teachers I hate!! (If I think back now they were such petty thoughts...)
I did my warmups at once.
Changing into my jersey and casually descending the stairs, I saw my mother eating breakfast in the living room.
"Well, Hitoshi, you must eat quickly too. We'll be late otherwise," she said, while hastily munching away.
"I'm good. My weight will go up..." I replied, wanting to face the challenge with a flawless form.
My mother said, "Ah, right. Well then, your mother will eat your portion too," and she filled her bowl with a second helping of rice. If I think about it, that was the beginning of a disaster...

I arrived at the assembly hall and was instantly surprised at all the people. I had a feeling that more people would come each year, but could this year be about double from last year!? It seemed to be flourishing, I thought. I started to become a little uneasy, but on the other hand if I was to become the best here, I could display my own true abilities.
'I'll do it!!'
My fighting spirit ascended to the max. At the reception desk I received a cloth with my athlete number, and in order to have even a small advantage, I pushed through the crowd to arrive at the starting point. There, a staff member with a megaphone was greeting us and speaking about important points, while looking around. Many of the guys from my class were also there. With increasing vigor, I informed my mother of my strategy.
"We'll run separately as usual and wait at the goal!"
My mother was also brimming with energy. "I got it. Maybe I'll arrive first, and I'll wait for you at the goal!" she said hopefully. And thus,
"Well then, everyone take your places, good!!" Pop!
The gunshot starting signal resounded. I cut through with a flying start just a little earlier than that signal. First of all, I launched off from outside the starting point. The people who got a late start caught up to me midway but could by no means pass me, and were therefore a hindrance. I kept running frantically. I kept running with all my energy like a sprint. There was nobody around me. Then I was running alone.
'Good going!!'
I couldn't help that my legs were aching, and with good feelings I kept up my pace. As soon as I started running, I had faith that I'd win. Looking over my shoulder, I could see that the second place person was considerably behind. Brimming over with increasing vigor, I galloped more and more. Eventually, at what seemed to be the halfway point, there was a lady standing and holding a flag.
"Fast, aren't you~ Number one~ Keep going!" her dragged-out voice called out to me.
Then I looked over my shoulder once more. There was still nobody. It was the second half toward victory. Running as fast as I was, nobody would be able to overtake me. When I arrived at the goal site, a lot of adults were sending out applause. "Awesome~ Faster than even the adults, aren't you~? Now you can only wait."
While my shoulders heaved as I regained my breath, I answered them with a smiling face. I raised my face to look and even then, I couldn't see any people following behind. Inside my mind I was screaming.
'I did it!! I'm the winner!! I only have to wait for my mother. Hurry up!! Come quickly!!'
Inside my head was already full of tomorrow's matters. Would I be introduced at the morning assembly to the whole school? Only the unpleasant things were continuing, but at the last moment there was a sudden reversal.
"I'm a great man! I'm a hero!! Now I'm a god~!!!"
I was entertaining foolish delusions when figures came into sight. Adults and children were running ahead and behind. Although I didn't know who the children were, I could pick out my mother amongst the adults without mistake.
We would cross the goal together. Turning to face it, I prepared to cut the tape.
Tatatata. Footsteps steadily came closer. I was overcome with emotion and almost wept, but in the next moment everything crumbled away. Those adults and children quickly making their way past me, and they even made it to the goal.
"Eh!! What? Mother??"
Inside my head became full of questions. I looked back without understanding the situation, and I could see my mother's figure running dozens of metres away, bringing up the rear. Dumbfounded as I was, I crossed the goal with my mother. Unable to fully accept reality, I stared hard at my mother as she clutched her sides, speaking in heavy gasps.
"It hurts... my stomach... hurts... I overate... my meal... four servings..."
In my head there was the sound of glass shattering together with pitch darkness.
'A fool... this person is such a fool... four servings... what has she done~!!'
When I saw her in the morning, my mother was already eating her third serving of rice...
I cried without hesitation before everyone's eyes. I was completely shut off from the shining dream of tomorrow that I had embraced. And furthermore, it was because of my own mother... What a sad thing to happen... While I was crying, I left my mother behind and turned to walk home. I shut myself into my room and did nothing but cry. I cried so much. I thought about various things. By some chance, could it have been the fault of my name? Because I was aiming for number one, could it have been that I was always second best?¹ I thought deeply about such things.

When my mother returned home, she made all kinds of excuses, but I wasn't really listening. Like this, my 'one week of evil' was brought to a conclusion by the least expected character.

It goes without saying that I didn't participate in the next year's convention...


1- He's relating the kanji in his name. 一志  is 'one' + 'aspiration'.

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