Chapter 15: Encounter
He doesn’t seem to have recognized me, but actually, me and Shinzaki-kun, we’ve met before?
Well, it was just like a small meeting.
Otherwise, I wouldn’t have talked to him just because we were in the same situation.
Well, that was when I was in the eighth grade, I think.
I was on my way home that day after a boring school day as usual.
Alone, of course.
I don’t know why, but sometimes when I am alone, I am the target of bullying.
This doesn’t just apply to me, I’m sure.
I think sometimes when one kid in a class is isolated, he or she becomes the target of bullying from one day to the next.
That was me at the time.
I was walking slowly when I was suddenly pushed from behind.
Bleeding from my knees as I was knocked forward.
Several people were laughing behind me.
I was mentally weak at that time, and I had reached my limit.
It was so frustrating, so hard, so painful that I cried.
At that time, he appeared.
“Hey, I don’t think this kind of things are acceptable, no?”
Perhaps startled by the sudden voice, several people behind me backed away.
“W-Who are you? It’s none of your business.”
It’s none of your business.
“Yeah, well, I’m not going to let the bullies get away with it.”
In retrospect, I think he was wearing a mask at the time.
Still, I think it’s honestly amazing that he was able to speak to them in that situation.
“I wasn’t picking on her! Hmph! Let’s all go now!”
With that, the girls in the class, whose names I don’t even remember, left.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Thanks.”
I thanked him briefly and turned to go home.
“Hey, hey, hey! Wait!”
I wanted to get home as soon as possible.
“Your knee! It’s bleeding.”
“It’s nothing serious. I’ll be fine.”
I said, trying to be strong at the time.
The truth is, it was hurting really bad.
“Now, now wait a minute”
He took out his handkerchief.
A beautiful, white handkerchief.
Without hesitation, he tied it around my bleeding knee.
Would you normally go that far for a stranger?
Thinking about it now, I laugh a little.
But at the time, I was very happy about it.
“Is something bothering you?”
“No, it’s just that you’ve been looking kind of gloomy since a while ago.”
I wanted to distract myself from the pain and bitterness I was feeling at the time.
I guess that’s why I told him.
“I didn’t want people to hate me, so I was being nice.”
I started to blurt out.
“I took the initiative to do things that people didn’t like, and I made sure that everyone didn’t feel bad.”
While I was talking, he was listening to me with a very serious face.
He must have been comparing it to himself.
But I got tired of it and said what I was thinking.
I think I was crying at that moment.
I’m ashamed to admit it.
“And then everyone left me.”
My voice was tearful.
“Everyone was so selfish. They just use me and then leave me when I tell them how I really feel.”
I couldn’t stop crying anymore.
“Mou, I don’t know what to do anymore.”
I knew at the time that talking about this would only embarrass myself, but I couldn’t help but want to tell someone.
Then he said.
“…I think… it’s okay for you to be the way you are.”
“I mean, I don’t know what to say.”
He seemed to be choosing his words.
” Because I couldn’t be like you.”
There was a hint of self-mockery in his expression.
“It’s hard to live your life hiding who you are, isn’t it? That’s why I think it’s good to be the real you.”
I think those words saved my life back then, but when I hear them now, I feel like cringing at it.
“Besides, someday you will have a best friend who accepts you for who you really are.”
“Yeah, I used to be there, too.”
All I could do was cling to those words.
I wasn’t completely uncoiled in my heart, but I felt a lot lighter.
He and I sat in silence for a while.
“Well, thank you. For listening to me.”
“No, it’s no problem at all.”
He smiled at me and said that.
I was inwardly wishing I had a friend like that.
I never saw him again, but I was very grateful to him.
Then, after high school, I saw someone in my class who was just like me before, and I looked at him and…
I did a little dance in my heart.
He had that look on his face, a little bit of his innocence was gone, but there was definitely a trace of the man he was back then, and I was sure it was him.
But he kept pretending to be someone he was not.
He kept on pretending to be someone he wasn’t, even though he told me I shouldn’t force myself to change.
I began to worry about him.
He was just like me before my breakdown.
And my fears were right on target.
He was broken.
My heart ached.
And he broke more than I expected.
The timing of it all was wrong.
In a little while, he would be truly irreversible.
Thinking of that, I couldn’t stay still and called out to him.
He turned around.
“What is it?”
I stare into his eyes.
He asks again.
“Have you finally taken off your mask?”
He looks as if he has been caught in the act.
What? You didn’t think I wouldn’t notice? It’s obvious. I do.
“W-What are you talking about?”
“Ara, you’re playing dumb?”
There’s no point in being so coy about it now, is there?
“T-that’s right. Maybe this is the real me.”
“Of course it is.”
I already knew that.
“How did you know I was pretending to be something I’m not?”
“Because you used to be so distorted and weird.”
Just like me.
“What do you mean?”
“I used to pretend to be something I’m not until I was in middle school, trying to have a good relationship with people around me.”
I connect my words.
“I didn’t want people to hate me.”
He listens intently.
Fufu, he looks just like he did back then.
“But if I did that, I became a convenient person.”
Not anymore, though.
“One day, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I told them what I really thought. Why are you relying on me? I’m sick of it.”
You’re sick of it, too, aren’t you?
“Naturally, everyone left me when I told them how I really felt.”
It’s hard, isn’t it?
“Then I thought to myself, “I’m done with this.” I couldn’t stand to be around people anymore.”
It’s a pain in the *ss, isn’t it?
“I get the same feeling from you right now as I do. I think you can relate to what I just said, no?”
This is not the first time I have told you this story, you know.
I know exactly what you mean.
“Here’s where you and I differ. Dear, if you keep this up, you’re really going to end up irrevocably lost, you know that?”
And that pains me, too.
“Ara, you seem to know your situation pretty well, huh? Yes, as you can imagine, if things continue as they are, your heart will completely break, and worst of all, you may end up taking your own life.”
Don’t do that, okay?
I think it’s time to let ease your heart.”
No, his heart is probably long past its limits.
“What was I supposed to do…?”
He muttered as he looked down.
“I don’t think what you did was wrong.”
What kind of words would you like me to say to you in such a situation?
“The worst thing that happened in the first place was those people who trampled on people’s feelings.”
Yes, what he did was, well, somewhat bad.
But to play with people’s hearts is dozens of times worse.
“It must have been hard for you. You have been in a lot of pain. Let is all out of your mind. Even if everyone blames you, I’m on your side.”
“Fu, ugh, uuuuuuuuuuugh…”
Ara, I made him cry.
You’re the complete opposite of that.
“I hope you’ve calmed down a little.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry, I’m a little distracted.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
I wish he’d pay a little attention, though.
“Hey, why did you ask me?”
Suddenly he said something like that to me.
I thought about it for a minute.
“…Nothing, it’s just that it reminded me of the old me”
I was lying.
I was embarrassed to tell him that I was the only one who remembered what had happened, and that I couldn’t leave you alone after you listened to me.
Well, that’s good. It looks like everything is under control now.
I am the one who should thank you.
“…I didn’t do anything you should be thanking me for.”
You saved me first.
“Nevertheless, I want to thank you.”
Stop it. You’re embarrassing me.
“So, dear, what are you going to do now?”
I asked after a pause.
“What am I going to do?”
“I mean your personality.”
He looked like he was thinking about it for a moment.
“… I think I’m going to keep it the way it is.”
” I see.”
“You’re not gonna ask me why?”
“I just don’t have to.”
Because I know.
“Of course you don’t.”
I’m lifting my bag.
“Well, I’m going home.”
I’m a little sad to leave, though.
Ara, I wasn’t expecting to be stopped.
“What is it?”
“Uhm, will you be my friend?”
I guess I am very happy.
Because my heart is beating so fast.
I’m trying to hide my embarrassment.
“Ara, you don’t have many friends, I see.”
I said with a laugh.
“I don’t want to be told by you.”
He says back.
Fufu, I kind of like this kind of thing.
“Well, all right, take care of me then from now on”
“Yeah, same here.”
I headed home, my body bouncing a little as if in a state of euphoria.
4 comments »
k1nngAugust 9, 2022 at 12:52 am
best chapter, will it be if the story gets good now? thanks for chapter.
GuyAugust 9, 2022 at 1:04 am
Seo Best Girl, If he’s gonna end up with someone, it better be Seo or else … xD
GattsAugust 9, 2022 at 7:42 am
Thank you for the chapter !
Luo (@luohuo123)February 5, 2023 at 7:53 pm
this girl is the real one it seems like.