"Kazuko, the working gloves?"
When asked that by her husband, Ohkawa Kzuko peered beneath the counter from behind him. "In that box."
"Ain't there." Ohkawa said, to which Kazuko remarked Oh my. She could tell her husband was in a foul mood. Her husband always was the type to get frustrated over little things but this was worse than that. It was as if everything around was constantly upsetting her husband.
"I wonder if we've run out of them? I'm sorry about that," Kazuko said with a feigned smile, lining up a detailed excuse. "I guess since there's just been so much happening, it slipped my mind. But, how strange. I was sure there were some left in there, but. Maybe Matsumura-san or Atsushi might have taken them? We really shouldn't already be out of them..."
Ohkawa's expression twisted with outrage. Knowing what that meant, Kazuko quickly turned around. "I'll go to buy them now. It really is strange. There should have been some left but. I wonder who might have taken them? Even though the one who took the last pair really should have told me!"
While saying that, Kazuko quickly left the shop. Come twilight, even the shops in the shopping district were making preparations to close for the day. There were already several shops with their shutters already down. They were the shops of those who had moved. Without a word to anyone, they went missing as if they were running away. The string of death announcements, (the Murasako Rice Shop also had successive funerals themselves....) moves, and the mysterious rumors. If things which were meant to be like "this" were even a bit off from "this" it put Kazuko's husband in a foul mood.
Kazuko hurried the small distance ahead into the Gotouda clothing store. The incredibly small shop had only things like work gloves, completely common-place under clothes lined up that nobody but the elderly would be interested in.
"Excuse me. Could I bother you for about twenty pairs of work gloves, I wonder?"
Gotouda Kumi worked within the darkness of the shop. Kumi raised her blank face, giving a labored nod. Behind Kumi, one floor step up in the living room was a woman she had never seen before.
"Oh my, is she customer?" Kazuko peeked into the living room. The unfamiliar woman might have noticed Kazuko, she did turn her gaze towards her, but without even a smile she returned her attention to the TV. She's a kind of gloomy girl, Kazuko thought. She should have probably been about the same age as Kazuko, but.
"Cousin," Kumi answered.
"Oh my, yours, Kumi-san?"
".....Right. I'm turning the store over to her."
"Eh?" Kazuko looked to Kumi as she took out the work gloves from a shelf drawer. "What are you saying?"
"I've turned over the shop to my cousin. Since I'm leaving the village."
"That's.... my, but why?"
"My daughter's marrying. So, I'm going too."
Kazuko was flabbergasted. Kumi's daughter Kyouko was a 40 year old widow. Of course people did have second marriages but it bothered her that Kumi's expression wasn't very light, and that there was a tone of formality to her voice.
".....You're going with her?"
"Right. I'm going with my daughter."
"That's, well that's glad news, isn't it? That's nice, isn't it." Kazuko tried to force herself to sound encouraging but Kumi only nodded with a melancholy face. "And, when is that?"
"Who knows. Maybe tonight."
Right, murmured Kumi, presenting the gloves to her as if forcing them on her.