“Are you a boy?”
With that unexpected question, the door to my destiny swung open.
In the silent classroom, I could hear even the ticking of the clock’s second hand as clear as day. Outside, the lively voices of students engaged in club activities reached my ears.
It was my first day at this new school, and I had originally planned to explore various club activities (limited to literary clubs), but something more important had just come up.
It was to uncover the identity of the girl before me, the one who adorned her silver hair and seemed to possess all the beauty in the world.
I had a mission—to uncover her true identity.
Due to that incident with my older sister, I had developed a severe fear of women. At the mere sight of a woman, I would plunge into a panic so deep that it left me unable to function—a wound that had left the worst possible scar on my psyche.
However, she was an exception.
Normally, the faces of women in my field of vision were shrouded in a black haze, darker than any abyss. It was the very thing that triggered my panic.
But for some reason, she had no such haze around her; I could see only her beautiful, flawless face.
“Is there something on my face?”
“Ah… N-no, I’m sorry… I was just…”
While I desperately pondered, I had apparently been staring at her face the whole time.
Actions speak louder than words, but I doubted that my true intentions had gotten through to her. I probably seemed like nothing more than a foolish man who was captivated by her beauty.
“I’d like to get to the main topic… Is that okay?”
Unbeknownst to me, I had wasted time lost in thought. Now that I looked again, Ginro-san’s expression seemed slightly displeased.
“What’s your name?”
When she called my name, Ginro-san narrowed her eyes and looked to the side, seeming to be lost in thought.
Ginro-san closed her eyes, as if hesitating about something, and then looked at me.
“I have a panic attack when I see a man’s face… But…”
Ginro-san stood up, her beautiful eyes wide open, and her snowy-white cheeks flushed like crimson as she continued speaking.
“For some reason… For some reason, I’m perfectly fine when it comes to you.”
I gawked at her, utterly dumbfounded by the sincerity in her confession. Ginro-san seemed to shrink back and sat down in her chair.
“It’s strange, isn’t it? I know… But this is…”
Finally comprehending, I interrupted her and rose from my seat.
“I’m the…. same.”
“I also have a panic attack when I see a woman’s face, and there’s this black haze-like thing over their faces. I thought I was done for. I thought my life was over.”
My thoughts were all over the place, and my vocabulary was in shambles. My words were disjointed and incoherent, but I had to convey this feeling to Ginro-san right now. This raw emotion needed to reach her before my brain could translate it into beautiful words.
“I thought my life was over because I couldn’t look at a woman without my heart racing, and I couldn’t even speak. It felt impossible to go on.”
Ginro-san’s response was hard to gauge, whether it was affirmation or denial. Her beautiful eyes remained locked on me, and the center of those eyes seemed to pierce straight through me.
“But I saw you. You were visible to me… “
Suddenly snapping back to reality, I blushed a bit and sat back in my chair. However, the way Ginro-san’s eyes shimmered was different from before.
“I’m happy. I felt the same way as you. I couldn’t see men, and in some cases, even women. I thought it was hopeless.”
“I feel a little better with you around. My heart has lightened quite a bit.”
She continued to gaze at me, and I gazed back at her. I didn’t understand why, but tears welled up in my eyes. I felt saved, like her existence was affirming even my trauma.
The orange glow of the evening sun streamed through the classroom window, enveloping both of us.
I opened the door to my house, kicked off my shoes carelessly, and navigated through the countless boxes still piled up, making my way to the room with the bed. I dove onto the bed.
This moment, with the pleasant coolness of the sheets and the discomfort of my school blazer, was something I couldn’t quite put into words. I leisurely took out my smartphone from my pocket.
There, I saw her name: “Suzune Ginro.”
A sense of excitement, different from when I left home in the morning, surged through me.
“Maybe with Ginro-san, it’s possible…”
I couldn’t help but speak the name of the transfer student I had met today. I was so intrigued by him that his name slipped out. I’m a defective product; whenever I see a man, I fall into a panic.
However, with him, even when we locked eyes and breathed the same air, nothing happened.
Furthermore, he was a defective product just like me.
I had thought I would be alone for the rest of my life, that I would never find someone who understood me. Because ever since I thought that I was the only one carrying this bomb…
But it was different. He was carrying the same bomb as me.
There was nothing happier than this, nothing luckier.
My joy was beyond words.
I looked at the message app on my smartphone.
His name was displayed there.
“…Why are you… not affected by my trauma’s influence?”
“I want to know more… about you.”
Today was the first time I ever considered myself such a unique presence in this dark room.