“There’s something weird in the air, isn’t there?”
“Do you think so, Shinjo? It’s rather warm……”.
We arrived at the classroom just in time for homeroom and immediately sat down in our seats.
The moment we entered the classroom, the atmosphere was indescribable.
“It’s because Shinozuka is wearing glasses.”
“‘…… Ye got it wrong! It’s because you’re not smiling like a freak! Damn, you wasted my time so I couldn’t read the latest chapter…….”
“I’m really into it this time.”
“Fuun, I’m looking forward to it.”
My classmates were looking at us with stunned faces.
This is the first time I’ve ever talked to Shinozuka like this in a classroom.
Whatever. It has nothing to do with me–
At the same time the teacher came in, Saito-san came into the classroom.
“I’m just in time. I’m super tired. ……”
Sensei looked at us for a moment, and for some reason she had a look of relief on her face.
It was a familiar face – a kind face, just like old times.
During recess, the girl who had spoken to me before approached me.
I still couldn’t remember her name.
“Uhm, Shinjo-kun ……, did you get a makeover? You’ve changed your look so much.”
She glanced at Shinozuka-san as she spoke to me.
“No, it’s not like that. ……”
“Like that, like that, no honorifics! Uwa—-, I watched that thing in the morning ……, you guys make a super good couple! I’m glad I didn’t confess ……, I couldn’t, I couldn’t!”
Shinozuka and I looked at each other.
Something about the schoolgirl’s friend is trying to take her under her wings and take her away.
“Wait, Mitsuki?! Don’t disturb me!”
“Eeh! It’s okay! Shinjo-kun is the only one who can heal my broken heart.”
So your name is Mitsuki? I’m glad I finally found out.
“Excuse me, I’m reading a book. ……”
Shinozuka told Mitsuki as she shivered and pulled away.
“Wait, you! Why are Shinjo and I a good couple? Do you really want to be turned into minced meat!”
“Uwa, you look different now, and not scary at all. It’s like a Pomeranian barking, haha! ——I mean, if someone said, “Stay with me!” What would you say, neeeeeeeeee?
I’m sure she’s not a bad girl. It’s just that she was very, very annoying.
Saito-san came to Shinozuka-san, who was having trouble dealing with Mitsuki-san.
–Huh? Why are you wearing glasses too, Saito-san?
I felt strangely intimidated.
“Mitsuki ……, you need a little punishment, huh? Come here, …….”
“No, no, no, no! Don’t come to my rear! Oh, no, don’t tickle me! Oh no, don’t tickle me! Oh no, don’t tickle me!
Saito-san, along with her friend, dragged Mitsuki-san away from the scene.
She turned around and bowed to Shinozuka-san instead of me.
Her gaze is soft.
Then leaving behind, Shinotsuka and I began to …… read the novel anyway.
It was in gym class.
I don’t like soccer. It reminds me of the old days. I don’t know what to do, so I’m a keeper.
I was looking at my classmates kicking the ball in the distance as if they were someone else.
–Once again, I wonder …… I’ve invited a girl to …… my house where I live alone?
What a mess. After all this time, I’ve said some very embarrassing things.
And now I’m asking her to stay with me?
I felt like my face was going to burst into flames.
I kick the dirt on the ground with a crunch.
It’s okay, I’m calm.
Me and Shinozuka are not friends. We’re …… writing buddies …….
That’s right, I have to figure out how to develop my latest story.
The next scene is where the heroine and Mikey Saburo finally fight together.
After this scene, the two of them will be in the same party.
Yes, if Shinozuka is coming to my house, I’ll need a new cup. And since it’s tatami, we’ll need some cushions. I’m not sure if I have a water heater.
…… Funny, why are you making plans for today?
I wasn’t getting into the class at all.
A classmate’s voice brought me back to consciousness.
“Hey, Shinjo! Ball! the ball! You, stop that rear end!”
I don’t remember the name of the guy, ……, who was a sober guy unlike me.
I don’t remember his name, but he was frantically screaming at me.
Saito-san’s cronies, the rear boys, are closing in on the goal.
…… Roger that. I was in the mood for something to vent about.
“Whoa! Watch me, Miyu-chan! Goal? Huh.”
The rear boy released the ball, and I caught it.
I’m good at catching things that come flying at me.
Because when I was in elementary school, rocks flew at me.
“Shinjo, good catch! Throw the ball! Hey!!, hey!”
I put the ball on the ground.
Soccer. When I was in …… elementary school, it was popular in my class. All the boys in the class, except for me who was considered a problem child, were playing in the schoolyard.
I was just watching from the balcony.
The girls in my class looked at me with pity. It made me feel terribly lonely.
I was alone at school lunches. I was alone on field trips. I was alone on my way to and from school, whether it was going to morning assembly, traveling class, cultural festival, field day, or school trip. The student sitting next to me always opened up a space for me.
When I was in elementary school, I was still immature – I felt like my heart would be crushed by loneliness.
I miss it. I kicked the soccer ball lightly and started running.
I’ve never dribbled before. I’ve seen it before.
Just kick the ball and run. Just dodge the oncoming students.
People around me started to make noise.
I could hear them, but I focused on the ball.
When I was a kid, I didn’t know what to do.
Because I’m a kid, and he’s a kid, everyone else is a kid.
Everytime I kick the ball, I remember how much I miss it.
I was being stubborn, too. Now that I think about it, there were some students who tried to talk to me.
But I was scared ……. I thought I would be betrayed again.
The truth is that I wanted to play soccer.
–But it’s too late to think about that now. It’s in the past.
You can’t change the past. The scars will never disappear.
But you can remember the past. You can fill them with new memories.
“Hey, hey! Stop Shinjo!”
“Aren’t you supposed to be a skinny, good-looking guy who doesn’t like sports?”
“Oh, I can’t.”
I lifted my foot wide and kicked the ball hard, hard, with all my heart.
I didn’t look at where the ball was going.
I was just sitting in the middle of the field, soaking up the nostalgia.
After class, one of my classmates spoke to me.
“Hey, Shinjo, you used to be on the soccer team? That shot is too good!”
“I thought you were just a skinny kid.”
” Hey, Shinjo’s speed is perfect for the track team. Hey, welcome to the track and field team!”
I was confused.
“Ohhhh! There’s no honorifics!”
“Hey, we should get going. The next class is about to start!”
“Oh, it’s Shinozuka ……. Let’s get out of here.”
Shinozuka,was wearing a familiar jersey, walked up to me. Yeah, I knew she looked good in a jersey.
Shinozuka looked quizzically at our classmates as they walked away.
“Hmm? What’s with them?”
“…… I don’t know it either. Well, isn’t it a good thing?”
“We were just watching the boys play soccer in the middle of the game. …… Does Shinjo like soccer?”
“No, not really. …… I just felt embarrassed when I remembered what happened this morning, so I blurted it out.”
“Oh, you ……, damn it. Come on, let’s go. Oh, and later, during lunch, we’ll figure out what we need together, okay? You’re wasting your time.”
I paused, my voice trailing off.
“I need to buy a cup.”
“A cup? Oh, you mean a coffee cup? Yeah, Shinjo drinks a lot of coffee.”
“No, Shinotsuka’s cup…”
I said that and started walking.
Shinozuka followed me a little later.
“Oh, my cup! Oh, yeah, I’d love it if I had one. ……”
I walked next to Shinozuka, trying not to let her see my smiling face.
For some reason, I couldn’t wait for after school.