Source: neverland-anime.com (Mar 21, 2019)
Written by Nanao
“Huh? Norman caught a cold?”
Little Emma dropped the paper decoration she was folding, and stood up. Isabella, who had stopped by the playroom, knelt down as Emma scurried over.
“Yes, that appears to be the case. Since his fever’s getting worse, we may have to cancel his birthday party.”
As Isabella furrowed her brows in disappointment, more children began to gather around her. The date was March 21st, six years after Norman’s birth.
“Poor Norman. On his birthday, of all days…”
“Can we celebrate once he gets better?”
Emma squeezed her way out of the crowd of clamoring kids, and pulled on Ray’s shirt.
“Hey, Ray. Should we use that again?”
Ray, who was in the middle of reading, knew exactly what Emma was referring to. With a silent nod, he closed his book and got to his feet.
Following dinner, Emma called Isabella aside.
“Mom, I wanna wish Norman a happy birthday.”
Not even Isabella could say no to Emma, who clutched a string phone in her tiny hands.
“So be it.”
Holding onto one of the paper cups, Isabella opened the door to the infirmary and stepped inside. Emma peeked into the room with a worried expression.
A string phone was the solution that Emma and Ray had come up with after seeing how lonely Norman looked, isolated on his sickbed.
Isabella exited the infirmary. Confirming that the string on their makeshift telephone extended all the way into the room, Emma brought her lips to the paper cup on her end.
“Norman, can you hear me?”
After speaking into the cup, Emma pressed it against her ear.
“I can, Emma.”
Norman’s voice traveled along the string. As soon as it reached Emma, she shouted.
“Hold on… Everyone, gather ’round!”
“Better keep that thing away from your ear, Norman.”
The dichotomy between Ray’s warning and Emma’s outburst made Norman chuckle. He followed Ray’s advice and distanced the cup from his ear.
Just then, the string vibrated and a chorus rang out.
“Happy birthday, Norman!!”
His siblings’ cheerful voices could be heard not only through the phone, but also through the door. Subconsciously, Norman let out a hearty laugh.
“Norman, did you catch that?”
Emma’s voice echoed from the string phone. Norman mustered a reply in spite of his sore throat.
“Yup, loud and clear. Thanks, guys.”
Upon getting sick on his birthday, Norman’s thoughts first turned to his siblings—they were so eager to throw him a party, and he had let them down.
Yet, everyone managed to send him their well wishes via the string phone. Of all the voices that traveled across the string that day, Norman’s was by far the happiest.
Each time he was bedridden, that string phone—the one Emma and Ray made for him when they were younger—would connect him to his family.
On the night of his shipment, Norman packed that nostalgic string phone into his empty suitcase.