Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
After much crying, I ate my dinner and fell into a deep slumber…
However, I woke up to some noise in the house. Walking to the living room, I find my grandfather and his friends gathered there.
“Oh, Toshi! You’ve grown up! You’re even bigger than my Reika!”
“Of course, he’s a man! I mean, dad, you’re drinking way too much… Oh, um, Toshiki, long time no see… How are you? ”
“Yo, Toshi, how are you? I heard you’re not well, so I came here.”
“Damn, you’ve turned into a nice guy, just like your dad! I’m sure you’re plenty popular at school!”
“He’s thin but nicely built… Hmm, not bad. Wanna join my unit?”
The only language spoken here was English. Occasionally, though, a bit of Russian was mixed in.
Everyone here can speak Japanese, but I feel more comfortable speaking my native language, so I just respond in English.
“Yeah, I’m fine… There’s just a lot going on, so I’m a bit depressed. Though I feel better now after a good sleep… Hm? Reika, what’s wrong? Your face is red.”
“Z–Zip it! Why didn’t you call us?! Bet you were playing around with the girl next door!”
“S–Sorry, thought you were busy with your studies abroad…”
Reika then took a step closer to me, dressed in her T-shirt and half-pants combo. Very tomboyish, and also very eye-catching.
She was my childhood friend. We used to play together every day until up until I turned six, but due to family reasons, I had to move away from Japan. We still see each other once a year, though.
And whenever we talk, it just takes me back to when we were kids. She hasn’t changed one bit, always energetic and a bit mean to me.
… But a dear friend nonetheless.
“Wait a sec, grandpa… Did you guys let her drink?”
“… When I was 15 I was already drinking.”
“Don’t even try! When was that?! H–Hey, Reika, calm down! Drink some water!”
“… Hey, hey, dude~ For real, I haven’t heard from you in a while, I missed you a lot… I was soooo relieved when I saw your face… I mean, you’ve always been so gloomy… Hic—!”
Reika just leaned over me and fell asleep. Her father, Mr. Sakashita, was taking pictures of her while laughing hysterically as if this was some sort of top-notch joke.
“Toshi, what did they say about your dad at school? Damn, kids these days are so quick to look up everything… He was a dear friend of ours…”
Mr. Sakashita patted Reika’s head with a gentle expression on his face, and the other friends nodded at what he said.
“He saved my life, too. I haven’t been able to repay him, but now he’s gone…”
“Me too. We wouldn’t be here without him…”
“He was a great guy… He could put up with tough times with a smile on his face… Damn, now I’m getting a bit sad…”
Grandpa then put his big hand on my shoulder.
“Mhm, I’m fine now grandpa… Dad’s not a criminal, and I know it… We all know, right?”
My grandpa’s grasp strengthened, then he took out a bottle and took one hell of a swig. He was like a bear. Rugged face, scars all over his body… I love this Grandpa I have.
I see… I have such important people in my life… I should just forget everything that happened with Eri…
Mr. Sakashita then told me something with a serious look on his face.
“About your girlfriend, Mashima… Are you okay now?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I loved her, but I’ve decided to forget all about it, and let it go.”
But if it was that easy to give up, I would’ve done so in this past decade. My chest aches, but this time I’m really giving up.
I should just forget everything. She’s already rejected me, so I should just throw away all the memories I have with her. I need to think rationally as I’ve always done in the past.
And with that, I felt even the slightest bit lighter.
“… If you say so, I won’t add anything else. Well then, drink some sake too! Japanese sake is amazing!”
“… Daddy, hey, don’t pick on Toshi! You muscle-brained idiots!”
I decided to soothe Reika, who just woke up.
And as I was having a great time with my friends, the murky feelings that lingered inside me soon vanished.
“Hey, Toshi, are you sure you’re okay…? You’ve always liked her, right?” Reika asked me. She, the drunk adults, and I were talking outside. It was windy, so I felt very refreshed.
I’m okay now. Our gathering kind of reminded me of my time when dad was alive, back when I was a kid… He was just so cool.
My dad was my hero, but when I was six, he was just gone… Then, I met Eri.
“I’ve forgotten about it. She rejected me.”
Although I say that, emotions you’ve harbored for 10 years don’t just go away in a day or two. But there are some things it’s better to forget.
I guess this is what it means to grow up…
“Got it… Then you should skip school tomorrow.”
“Hm? Don’t you have school tomorrow, too, Reika?”
“I–I’m on special leave! Besides, it’s better to have some fun and forget all about these bad things… Okay, I’ll give you a makeover!”
“Sure, let’s do that… Haha, somehow talking to you makes me feel like I’m a kid again.”
“Yeah! And you were such a brat, even though you were so short… When you were a kid, that is. Now you’re taller and more mature…”
“… But I’m dark, plain, and I have no friends at school. I’m all alone…”
“But to me, you’re the same old you.”
“… Because you don’t have to act carefully with me?”
“So, Reika, what are you gonna do with me?”
“Hm? I’m going to… Hmm…”
What can you possibly do? I’ve had a falling out with… Eri, everyone at school hates me, and I’m all alone.
“Thanks for sticking with me, Grandpa, Reika… It’s because of you that I’ve found some solace.”
“… Dummy, d–don’t embarrass me like that…”
She turned away with a pout. I found it a bit cute, so I patted her head.
“… I–I’m not a kid anymore! G–Good grief… Well, I’ll forgive you if you pay me a drink on our date tomorrow.”
“Ah, it’s no—Y’know what, I don’t care! If you wanna forget about Eri-chan, you need to stop hiding yourself!”
“Yeah, you’re super smart! You even got into that school! Also, you’re thin, but you’re very dense! How hard did you work out to get that, huh?!”
I didn’t mean to hide these things from myself. It’s just that my whole life revolved around Eri. I got test scores to match hers, adjusting every little thing so I could equal her.
… Huh, I wonder what this is. My heart feels so wide-open, I’ve never felt this way before.
I feel so free.
It’s not like Eri was tying me up, but:
“We’ll join the same school!”
“Hm? You’re not good at sports either, are you Toshi?”
“Wow, you and I have such similar tastes!”
“Toshi, you’re amazing. Your taste in food is so perfect!”
“Fufu~ We’re kinda like each other, aren’t we?”
Goosebumps ran through my body. I felt like I’d done something terrible without knowing it.
“Good grief, you look like you just found that out!”
“Y–Yeah… It was bad—Hm?”
I noticed Reika was looking somewhere, so I turned around and saw a boy and a girl walking intimately together.
Immediately, I knew who they were. Hiratsuka-senpai and Eri held hands, happily strolling about.
Reaching her house, they parted with a light hug right in front of her door.
“Toshiki…” Reika gave me a concerned look.
I felt a bit nauseous, but I was better than I thought I’d be. It was probably because I had Reika by my side. And besides, I was a rational person to begin with. Eri dumped me and told me to never talk to her again.
No emotions. No affection.
Why should I care?
… I see. I was this kind of guy. It’s been so long, I couldn’t remember.
But then, Eri noticed us. For some reason, she wrinkled her brow, glared at Reika, and spat out some silent words as she went into her house.
However, both Reika and I could tell by the movement of her lips. The words she whispered were:
“You thieving cat!”
And silence fell between us both, lingering for a moment.
“I–It’s fine. Let’s go inside, too.”
“Y–Yeah, mhm… Oh, let’s make plans for tomorrow!”
Eri’s expression concerned me a tiny bit, but I quickly stopped caring.
We then finally walked into the house.
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