The time is past 7:00 am. The season is early June.
On weekdays at this time of the day, working people are probably going to their offices, and students are probably walking to their school buildings with a lot of reluctance.
And for two students, it was supposed to be the same time, as usual, to go to school… However, unexpected events always come out of the blue.
“I’ve decided to go out with Ishida-kun from class 2.”
My eyes widened at this unexpected statement from my childhood friend. I have never been so surprised in my life. My sleepy brain was instantly awakened.
I, Yuji Sakamoto, and my childhood friend, Airi Himeda, are both in the second year of high school and the same class. We have had a close family relationship since we were children because we live close to each other.
However, I have been aware of her as a woman for a while now, and I have a strong crush on Airi.
So two months ago, I made up my mind to tell her how I felt about her…
“Ummm… wait a bit, I want to think seriously about you and Yu-chan.”
That is what she told me at the time.
I didn’t get an immediate answer. But that was okay.
I think now that it was a sudden confession at the closing ceremony of the first year of high school.
Above all, I was really happy that he said he wanted to seriously think about it.
We have continued our relationship as usual since then, and I don’t feel that I should not have confessed my feelings to him at all.
I was thinking that it would be good if I could get a reply from Airi when she was ready… even if it would take some time.
I couldn’t keep quiet and decided to question Airi about it.
“No, it’s fine that you’re going out with him… but what about the confession I made at the end of the school day? I haven’t gotten an answer yet?”
“Th, that’s not true!”
Airi hurriedly denies it, but I am more and more puzzled when I hear it. If she didn’t forget, why did she decide to go out with Ishida-kun without giving me an answer?
Before I could ask Yuji about it, Airi gave me a reason. However, upon hearing the reason, my discomfort was further amplified.
“Well… it’s hard to say, but Yuu-chan is family… I can only see him as a childhood friend. I guess you could say that my heart doesn’t get excited even when I’m with him.”
“…Then the answer is no good?”
“No! That’s not true!”
“… then what’s going on?”
─ ─ With every answer I hear, more and more questions are raised rather than resolved. If the answer to my confession isn’t any good, then why do you have a boyfriend? Airi seems to be at a loss for words, so I start asking more questions.
“So when you’re with Ishida, you’re nervous? Is that why you said yes?”
“I was working with him as a volunteer for the entrance ceremony preparation, and when we were working together, I got… very nervous… and we got into a good mood, so…”
Before the entrance ceremony…right after I confessed…so her heart moved not long after that.
But, well, even though we were together for more than a decade, for Airi, I guess my existence was only enough for her to get a boyfriend without replying back to my confession.
What was it about wanting to think seriously about it? I was really happy to hear those words….
…And now that’s something I can’t bear to see.
I didn’t want to see Airi talking about the opposite sex with red cheeks…
“And then…Yuu-chan’s reply is on hold for the time being…Is it no good?”
I was also caught off guard by the outrageous thing that was said and unintentionally gave a cold reply. Airi, who was told this, also seemed surprised.
However, I don’t feel guilty for surprising her in the slightest. After all, Airi had said those unbelievable words…
On hold…? She has a boyfriend, but she still says she’s withholding her answer…? That’s a joke.
Does Airi want to keep me? If not, she must think I’m a handyman.
No, I don’t think so… but I’m pretty sure she’s had that tendency for a long time.
I was invited to a movie I didn’t want to see on the same day, suddenly invited to a sweets store because my friend couldn’t go, forced to choose clothes when I was sleeping at home on my day off… and many other things.
I had been going out with Airi because she was fond of me and I thought she was interested in me, but it wasn’t like that…
I was really just being used for convenience…
“…Yuu-chan, uh…are you angry?”
Airi asks fearfully.
Did you really think I wouldn’t be angry at you for treating me this way?
…No, she must be serious.
Well, I’ve never been angry at Airi before. There have been a few times when we almost fought, but I broke it off every time. Maybe Airi thinks I’m a creature who doesn’t get angry.
Well, I’m sure I’m irritated, but I’m not going to go out of my way to say it out loud. I don’t mean to say it out loud, though it might show in my attitude unconsciously.
“I’m not angry.”
“Really? Thank god.”
“Just, let’s get this over with. You’ve got a boyfriend, so don’t leave my confession on hold. I want to hear your answer because I want to feel better and move on.”
“Yeah, but… that’s… uh…”
“I’m not mad at you, okay?”
Oh… I’ve been with her for years, so I get it.
The way she phrased it in that unclear way is Airi when she’s in trouble… It’s quite difficult to persuade Airi to give you an answer when she’s already done that.
I was going to be late for school if I didn’t do something, and I really didn’t want to, but I had no choice but to give in.
“So, why don’t we just forget about that confession?”
“Eh, that’s right! That’s better! I want to stay in the relationship I’ve had with Yu-chan.”
I am convinced of this when I see Airi smiling as if she is relieved.
When I confessed my feelings to her, she must have been secretly thinking that my confession was a nuisance. When she said she wanted to think seriously about it, she probably said it as a stopgap measure.
I think it’s not because she doesn’t like me, it’s just that she doesn’t want to ruin our relationship as childhood friends… I know it’s hard to say, but I wish she would have said it right then and there… It’s not a shallow relationship…
I don’t care if the answer is no. …… If she had told me right then and there, I would have been able to congratulate her on having a boyfriend.
The idea of escape, of disrespecting the other person’s feelings, was the essence of Airi’s nature. I didn’t realize it even though I was by her side the whole time. I’m so sorry. It’s a shame.
I felt my affectionate feelings for Airi crumble. This was no illusion. The feelings that have cooled off must be real.
I don’t love Airi now.
“Congratulations on having a boyfriend.”
I gave her a blessing that I didn’t even have in mind.
I didn’t see the look on Airi’s face when I said it.
“Um. But I’m really sorry, okay?”
“It’s fine, don’t worry about it.”
—Although she felt uncomfortable with Yuji’s nonchalant words and actions, Airi did not pursue the matter. Rather, she was too uncomfortable to do so.
He felt that she was acting a little strange, but after giving it some time, she would return to her usual behavior, and Airi is still optimistic about things here.
This is the kind of thinking she escaped with, a spoiled way of thinking.
The childhood friend that Yuji liked, Airi, no longer exists in his mind.
Unaware of this, Airi heads off to school shoulder-to-shoulder with Yuji.