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.
My head doesn’t work well and I can barely form thoughts. I think Hiratsuka said something to a classmate, and I feel like people around me are berating me.
He then left the classroom supported by Eri.
However, I’ll never forget how she looked at me back then, and I’ll never forget her voice:
“Why… Why did you hide it from me? I can’t believe it… And to also hit your senior…?”
Her eyes burned with hostility, and disgust dripped from her expression like venom. I’d never seen her make such a face before.
I’ve always done everything so I could see her smile, but it all came crashing down in an instant.
Indifference morphed into malice, and the stares around me started to change. I didn’t mind the indifferent glances, but I did have some friends.
“Ha? Why did you… Sh*t.”
He was my only male friend, Hayakawa. Eri and him were classmates, and we had very similar interests… Maybe he believed the rumors, too.
I recalled our interaction yesterday—
“Yo, Toshiki~ When are ya going to confess to Mashima-san? I mean, you two are already a thing, right? Huh? Not yet? Well, guess we’ll need to have a strategy meeting after school! Let’s go to an internet cafe!” He’d said all that with a warm smile.
Simple, quiet like me, yet so kind and friendly… That’s how he was. And that same guy scowled at me. I guess the word that I’m the son of a criminal reached him…
All I could do was walk away in silence, yet no matter where I went, I could not escape their gaze.
As I toddled down the hallway, a small girl gave me a big gaze.
“Senpai, I’ve heard some strange rumors about you… Are they true?”
She was Moe Nakajima, a girl one grade below me, and a member of the Women’s Manga Research Club.
A long time ago, she’d dropped her notebook and we searched for it together. Since then, we’d often run into each other in the hallways, and she’d complain to me every single time.
I was honestly impressed by the way she enjoyed talking and complaining about anime.
But as I thought about my past with her, Eri’s image popped into my mind… Let’s not think about her…
However, I’m sure this girl’s heard the rumors and despises me too.
“Hey, what kind of rumors?”
“Um… That you’re the son of a criminal, and despite being meek you’re a delinquent. Also that you mug people, and you’re violent, and… T–That you went for Mashima-senpai’s weakness…”
Oh, I see… Rumors have already reached you, too. Haha, that does make me seem like a very bad guy.
I think I might understand how my dad feels a little bit.
“S–Stop laughing and answer the question!”
“You shouldn’t have anything to do with me anymore… And, I’m the son of a criminal, so… you’re not wrong.”
When Nakajima heard my words, she looked astonished, though only for a moment.
But that brief moment said it all. Although she’s always been kinda mean to me, I never felt bad, she was a very kind girl at her core.
That’s why she shouldn’t get involved with me anymore.
Nakajima was saying something, but her words didn’t get into my head. I turned my back on her and walked to the staff room so I could tell the teachers I’d leave early today.
It was an unusual time to leave school. I couldn’t see any other students around.
After taking in a breath of fresh air and calming down a bit, I opened my messaging app so I could apologize to Eri.
… But apologize for what? For pushing down the man she loved? For hiding my dad’s circumstances from you?
I’m not even sure anymore, so I only sent her one word: “Sorry.”
“… Unread, huh…”
And at this moment I truly understood our positions. We live in entirely different dimensions: I’m the son of a criminal, and you’re a bright girl.
There’s nothing wrong with you for turning against me, Eri. If only I’d been brave enough to explain myself from the beginning, but I was just too scared… Scared that you’d leave me if you knew about my father.
I’ve loved you for ten whole years, but I couldn’t tell you that.
Memories of love showered my mind like rain.
“Hey, Toshi, is there anyone you like?”
“Eh, um, n–no there isn’t.”
“Hmm, well, if I can’t marry anyone, should we get together?”
“W–What are you talking about? Who’s the guy?”
“Toshi, your face is turning red~ But I’m not kidding, okay?”
“Oh! Let’s go to Destinyland together sometime!”
“W–Well, sure… Let’s go home now, then? Uwaah—! What are you doing?”
“Hm? We’re just holding hands. Come on, come on, let’s go home!”
Huh? Why is it that… I can’t stop crying?
Why are tears rolling down my face?
Is it because I can’t see her anymore? Is it because my dad is a criminal? Or is it because I’m all alone at school?
I don’t know, but I shouldn’t cry. Grandpa will be worried, and his friends will all laugh at me.
I couldn’t sleep a wink last night. Although I pretended to be fine in front of my grandfather, all kinds of emotions came rushing in as soon as I was alone.
The next morning, I was a bit sleep-deprived, so I just left home at the usual time. Habit is a terrible thing.
But I regretted it the moment I opened the front door.
Eri had just come out of her front door at the same time. Her eyes unexpectedly met mine.
… This was my last chance. I had to directly apologize for hiding my circumstances from her.
But her face was scary. She looked at me like she was looking at a piece of trash thrown by the wayside.
But still, I had to open my mouth and—
She spoke before I could even begin:
“… You know what, don’t ever talk to me again. I love you a lot, Toshi, but your father… You know what I mean, right?”
Eri just said that and left, and soon something cold ran through my heart. She just sliced my whole body with an invisible knife.
I knew. I knew I could never go back. That bad feeling simmered in the back of my mind, yet I didn’t want her to look at me so coldly. Not even if she said she loved me.
And even if she didn’t think of me as a man, I was at least trying to be gentle, which is what she’d always liked.
I don’t know what to do, but I shouldn’t cry. I have to go to school soon, after all…
But I couldn’t move my legs. Fear of going there overtook me.
I’m afraid of the way everyone looks at me.
Then, out of nowhere, I felt a big warm touch on my shoulder.
“… You don’t have to go.”
Turning around, I see my grandpa there. He was as big as a bear and stared up at the sky, his large palm resting on my shoulder.
I have to put on a happy face so that I don’t worry him. I have to smile.
But… I couldn’t.
I just couldn’t.
“… You can cry now, but let this be the last time you cry… When you’re done, eat a hearty meal and go to bed.”
“O, okay… H–Hic…”
It was then I heard a crack as if something inside me had broken.
And I too broke down right there, crying every single drop of tear I had welled up inside me.
But through every moment of my suffering, I felt a warm touch on my shoulder.
Thank you for reading! Feel free to comment your opinions below!
Also, if you enjoyed my translation and would like to feed my caffeine addiction, click on the button below and graciously give me my fix-–I mean, a cup of coffee.