A few months had passed since the meeting where you and Matthew met America, and you started coming up with various ways to try and get Matthew's mind off of becoming a country. You took him to various exotic places in your country, took him on many short vacations whenever you had the chance, and always tried to keep him occupied with something other than thinking about how it was "mandatory" for him to represent a country when it was more or less clear to you that that wasn't what he would've wanted.
One morning, just a few days before the next meeting, you lay in your bed, your eyes exhausted with sleep. For some reason you weren't able to figure out, throughout the past few months, you started doing less work and began sleeping more. It seemed like you were getting at least seven hours of sleep a night, when before, it had been hard for you to sleep for more than four.
You covered your mouth with your hand and yawned, sitting up in bed before you rubbed sleep from your closed eyes. Once you removed your hand from your face and opened your eyes, you turned your head to look at the digital clock on your nightstand, smiling to yourself when you realized that it was already a bit past eight in the morning.
You sat in bed for a few more minutes, several thoughts running through your mind. Matthew seemed to be getting better throughout the past few days. He became less depressed, he actually started to smile more often than not, and he met your gaze when he talked to you instead of keeping it focused on the ground. At this rate, within a few more months, you hoped that he would've gotten over the fact that he was a country and would've started acting normal again.
You were about to get out of bed before you heard quick, heavy footsteps approach the door to your room. You froze, eyes widening in panic and heartbeat rapid.
"Mom!" you heard someone yell, and you figured it was Matthew. But his voice was a little bit
"M-Matthew?" you yelled back as you heard the footsteps grow louder. "What"
Before you had the chance to finish your question, the door to your room burst open, and at the sight of the person standing at the doorway, it took all your strength to prevent your jaw from dropping. There, at the doorway, stood a fully grown man with short, wavy blond hair, a curly ahoge, and violet eyes. This time, you weren't fooled about who this person really was.
"M-Matthew!?" you gasped, your voice filled with shock.
"M-Mom, is that you?" Matthew said, his voice hushed and filled with panic as he squinted.
You forced your breathing to slow down and took a deep breath before you replied. "Matthew, is that you?"
"Yes, Mom," Matthew said as he pressed the palm of his hand against the door. He frowned as he continued to squint. "Where are you
You felt your eyes widen in panic. "Mattie
y-you can't see?"
"No, I can," Matthew replied hastily. "I-It's just that
everything is blurry
"Oh," you murmured. After a few more seconds of silence passed, you cleared your throat, trying to get rid of your shock. "I-I'm on my bed."
Matthew nodded before he rubbed his eyes with both hands before he blinked a few times and slowly made his way towards you, his hands extended out in front of him. When he was finally within reach, you extended your own hands and grasped his before you pulled him down next to you on your bed.
"Can you see me a little better, Mattie?" you asked him sweetly as he continued frowning at you.
" Matthew replied quietly. "But
for some reason I can't see as clearly as I did yesterday, and
you look shorter."
"Hold on, Matthew," you said as you tightened your grip on his hands. "Let me think for a few seconds." Throughout the next few moments of silence that passed, you took the time to examine Matthew thoroughly. He was now fully grown. In fact, he looked to be the same height as you. He was no longer the preteen who you tried to cheer up months before. This was a person who looked like he was capable of feeding himself, taking care of himself, living by himself
You quickly took that thought out of your mind and instead focused on something that you found a bit disturbing. Now that Matthew developed into a fully grown person, you thought he actually looked a bit
cute, and not in the way he was when he was just a baby. Due to his sudden growth, Matthew's clothes were once again torn, and as soon as you realized this, a blush quickly made its way to your cheeks.
" you murmured after a few more seconds passed. Finally, you let out an exhausted sigh as you rubbed the back of your neck with your hand. "Mattie
it seems that you've
grown up again."
"What?" Matthew asked, his voice filled with shock. He suddenly started to fumble with his tiny clothes as he let out a flustered groan. "H-How do I look?"
"You look like a
" you murmured as a tiny smile came to your lips. "A man who needs new clothes and glasses."
"W-Will I be growing any more, Mom?" Matthew asked, an edge of panic to his voice.
You placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "I believe not. Once a country grows into an adult, it will be a very, very long time before they grow again."
" Matthew said softly before he drifted his gaze down to his hands, which were rested on his lap.
At that moment, out of the corner of your eye you were able to spot a large ball of white fluff enter the room. You shifted your head so that your gaze rested on Mr. Kumajiro, looking the same as always, as he crawled over to your bed and began clawing at your covers.
"Mr. Kumachiku, is that you?" Matthew asked as he looked down at the ball of fur.
When the bear didn't reply, you smiled. "Yes, Mattie, that is Mr. Kumajiro."
Matthew bent forward so that he was able to grasp Kuma and lifted the bear onto his lap, where he gently began stroking his fur. "It feels weird not being able to see you properly, Mr. Kumajori," he said as he continued to stroke the polar bear's soft fur.
In reply, Mr. Kumajiro lifted his head so that his black, beady gaze met Matthew's. "Who are you?" he asked, his voice the same as always.
Matthew paused from stroking the bear's fur and let his hand drop back down to his side before he closed his eyes and sighed. "I-I'm Matthew
" A few more seconds passed before he slowly opened his eyes and hopelessly looked down at Kumajiro. "Mr. Kumahika, why can't you remember who I am?"
In response, Mr. Kumajiro brushed a paw across his forehead before he shrugged. "It's hard to tell who you are. You should try being different."
"B-But aren't I already different?" Matthew asked, his voice dropping so low that it was barely a whisper. "I age differently than normal people, I'm supposed to represent a country, which is something normal people don't do, I have a responsibility that is much bigger than the average person"
"Why don't I prepare breakfast for the both of you?" you asked loudly as you placed both hands on Matthew's shoulders, trying hard to quickly change the subject. "Matthew, since you can't see, I can make breakfast for you and Mr. Kumajiro. While the both of you eat, I can go out into town and get you some new clothes. When I come back, I can take you out so we can get your eyes checked and give you eyeglasses."
After you bought a few pairs of clothes you figured would fit Matthew and he put some on, you took him out into town to get him some glasses. It took a while of searching and getting his eyes checked, but you were finally able to present him with an adequate pair of eyeglasses.
Now, you held them tightly between your fingers, Matthew staring expectantly at you. "Okay Mattie, are you ready to try these on?" Matthew nodded, and you lifted the glasses and carefully placed them on him.
Matthew, who had his eyes closed, now slowly opened his eyes, and his gaze instantly brightened.
"Can you see?" you asked him expectantly.
He nodded, a smile coming to his face. "I can see everything perfectly now. Thanks, Mom."
You smiled as you led him out the door. "No problem, Mattie."
As the both of you were walking home, Matthew looked at you, nervousness flickering in his eyes. When you saw his intent gaze upon you, you stopped walking, and turned your head so that your gaze met his. "Mattie, is something wrong?"
Matthew cleared his throat before he stared down at the ground and began fiddling with his fingers. "Well, Mom
I would've really felt a bit better if you stopped calling me Mattie
Your eyes widened in surprise. "What for?"
He looked up at you and a tiny frown came to his face. "Well, to me, that name sounds childish, and well, you know, I'm not a child anymore."
A few moments passed in silence, you staring at Matthew with your mouth slightly open, before you drifted your gaze down to the ground. "Um
of course, M-Matthew."
He nodded. "Thanks, Mom."
The both of you continued your walk with several thoughts running through your mind. Matthew no longer allowed you to call him the name that you did ever since you first found him in the woods many years ago, and the thought pierced your heart.
That was when you realized that Matthew was really, truly, no longer a child.