夏はどうしてこんなに切ないんだろう

その世界では何もかもが完璧に思えた

夏が好きだった。日本の夏が

虫あみを握りしめて、キンキンに冷えた水筒ぶら下げて、1日中走り回っていた

いつからだろう。お金を使わないと楽しめなくなってしまったのは

十字路の自販機前で友達と待ち合わせて自転車を走らせる。

「今日は隣町まで行ってみよう」

それだけで胸が踊る冒険だった

入道雲が天高く伸びる昼下がり

素麺を食べながら、夏休みにしか見れない昼ドラをのんびりおばあちゃんと見ている時間がたまらなく好きだった

育てていた紫陽花の鉢を抱えて、ありったけの教科書を詰めたランドセルを背負って帰った下校道

近づく夏休みの足音に胸が高鳴っていく

広い空も、降り注ぐ蝉時雨も、田んぼに伸びるあぜ道も、裏山の秘密基地も、駄菓子屋の当たりも、転んでできたすり傷も、全部が当たり前だと思ってた

そんな当たり前が全部、当たり前じゃなかったって、大人になってから分かった

太陽を浴びた土と草の匂い

夕立の後のアスファルトの匂い

雑木林を漂ってくる少し酸っぱい樹液の匂い

夏は色んな「匂い」がする


ヒグラシの声に包まれる夕暮れの帰り道

友達と別れを告げて

遠くでどこかのお祭りの太鼓が響く

今日の夕飯はなんだろうか

換気扇から漂うカレーの匂いにお腹が鳴った

「何歳から大人になるんだろう」

親父に聞いた

「それは分からないけど何歳になっても心は子供のままなんだ」

その意味は分からないままでいたかった

蚊取り線香の匂いと居間から漏れる優しい光に包まれてウトウトしていく

本当はもう少しだけ夜更かしして大人の気分を味わってみたいけど、いつも気づいたら夢の中だった。

子供の頃はあんなに大きく見えた小学校のグラウンドが、雑木林が、公園が、川が、今はやけに小さく見えてしまうのは、大人になってしまったからなのか。物事の道理を知りすぎてしまったからなのか。常識を常識として捉えてしまうようになってしまったからなのか。

今年も夏が来る

またいつものようにクーラーの効いた部屋でゴロゴロするのもいいかもしれないけど、少しだけ子供の頃に戻って冒険をしてみようか。

青い空と入道雲の下で

もう一度世界が広く見えるように

ちっぽけだった自分に戻れる旅に出ようか

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