On my way home from Destinyland…
I met Rika’s mother, Yamaga-san.
It turns out that Rika is the girl of my memories, Rika Kinasa-chan.
A few hours later.
I was at home.
I was lying on my back on the bed, thinking.
Rika-chan, the girl I loved so much, was a good friend when I was in elementary school.
She moved to the countryside and we never saw each other again.
I always wanted to see her.
I wanted to see her again, so much so that I named my circle [Rika].
Finally…I was able to meet Rika.
I was happy.
I wanted to rejoice in our reunion.
“…… sorry, Shin-chan …… sorry”
Rika went inside her house.
He broke off the conversation with me as if to withdraw.
“Why are you apologizing?”
There was nothing to apologize for, so why?
I wanted to know how she felt.
I wanted to talk to her.
To fill the void of the past few years.
But…why did Rika withdraw from me?
I couldn’t have much conversation with Yamaga-san because she had to work.
Tomorrow…I might go to Rika’s house again.
Just when I was thinking that.
“Who is it? Dahlia-san?”
I picked up my phone and pressed the pickup button.
[Virgin-kun! Oh my God, Rika-tan is gone! Rika-tan is missing!]
What do you mean? She’s gone?
How did she…? I don’t understand!
[I tried to call her a few times, but she didn’t pick up. I called her mom, too. When she went to check on Rika-tan, she said she didn’t see her at home…]
Why would she need to disappear?
I don’t understand…
[Virgin-kun, will you help me find Rika-tan?]
“Of course..! Oh…”
Suddenly, I remembered.
I remembered the memories of Rika…no, Rika-chan.
[Virgin-kun? What’s wrong?]
“I think I know where she’s going.”
If Rika is really, Rika-chan.
[Where! Where is she?]
Dahlia-san’s voice is hoarse.
She must be worried about Rika’s disappearance.
“Sorry, I can’t tell you where she is.”
Dahlia-san is surprised.
What a silly thing to say in such an emergency situation. I understand how you feel.
“Sorry, it’s a secret place. It’s a secret place for me and Rika-chan.”
It’s a secret place.
When we were in elementary school, we decided on a secret place… a secret base.
Because of the memories we shared together, I don’t want anyone to know about it.
She probably thinks so, too.
“I’ll go there. So… you should stay at home.”
Over the phone, Dahlia-san was silent.
She probably wanted to look for Rika.
It was only natural since he was Rika’s best friend.
[I’ll believe you, Virgin-kun.]
I’m glad she understands what I mean.
[In return, you must bring Rika-tan home properly.]
“Of course. I understand.”
I put on my coat and leave the apartment.
Rika and I have fond memories of that place…
I went to the secret base.
Rika Matsumoto was alone in a park at night.
It was a park not far from the luxury condominium where Shinji live.
There is a large dome-shaped slide with a hollow inside.
The inside of the dome is quite large, and part of the inner wall protrudes.
It was just like a two-story Kamakura.
Rika was on the second floor.
She was curled up on her knees.
Shinji found out.
He knew that she was Rika Kinasa he had met in elementary school.
When Shinji found out the truth…
Rika felt fear.
She thought that she would disappoint him.
Human beings are always able to glamorize the past.
In Shinji’s mind, [Rika-chan] seems to be a very important person.
At the Winter Comic, Rika heard Shinji’s memories.
He named the circle after Rika so he could meet her again someday.
All along, he had been longing to meet her.
It turned out that he loved her and she was happy that he had been thinking about her for so long, and she was sorry.
There is no way we can meet.
Because I am…like this now.
When Rika moved to the countryside, she temporarily lost her way.
She dyed her hair gold, her behavior became worse…and she found herself labeled as a “gyaru.”
When she came back to Tokyo again, she remained separated from him.
She would never see him again anyway…
But in 2020.
She went to high school and was finally able to meet Shinji.
I remember that time vividly.
I was so happy that I even cried…
I wanted to call out to him right away. But…I couldn’t.
I was in such a state, and most of all… next to him… was his ex-girlfriend.
Rika was in despair.
She was sad. Everything was already too late…she lamented.
But that did not stop Rika from trying to steal him away from his girlfriend.
She didn’t think it would make Shinji happy.
If Shinji was happy, that was fine.
That’s what she thought when she stepped aside…
But on December 24, Shinji was dumped.
A chance came her way.
But…she couldn’t immediately reveal the card she had been hiding, that she was Rika-chan.
Because… because it was…
Rika looks up.
Inside the dome, in the secret base… Shinji had appeared.
“I didn’t know this playground equipment still existed…it’s so nostalgic…”
Why… oh, why…
Rika’s eyes were filled with tears.
Is it because she is sad? No, it was because she was happy.
He came to look for me after I was gone…
But…but still, I’m afraid.
I’m afraid to talk to him. I want to run away.
I don’t want him to be disappointed in me.
Shinji was smiling.
He was smiling gently, not showing any sense of disappointment toward Rika.
“It’s been a long time. I’m glad to see you’re doing well.”
Rika is happy that he found her.
And most of all…she is happy that he is still smiling at her.