“Wow! That was fun! I knew I’ll never get tired of coming here.!”
We walked out of the horror house and basked in the sunshine for the first time in minutes.
The weather was unusually sunny for this time of year, and it was a perfect day for a field trip.
I can’t remember the last time I’ve enjoyed a field trip this much …….
I don’t remember it anymore.
Because for me, Anri Shinozuka, field trips were like a game of batsu.
(Batsu game – Punishment game or something unpleasant and a No-Go)
No one would go around with us.
There was no one at the meeting place.
They made fun of me.
I don’t know where I went wrong, but …… I was always the target of the class’s leader, the girl with the big rear.
“Anyone who plays with Anri should be hacked.”
“She’s so ugly.”
“Don’t mind the boys, either!”
I didn’t understand. She was just a quiet, plain girl.
It didn’t change when I went to junior high school.
The main girls in my class would make me the enemy of their eyes.
Even though I hadn’t done anything wrong, I was still the target of …….
“I’ve never done anything, but she’s been all over my boyfriend.”
“I mean, her glasses are so ugly.”
“All the creeps are over here.”
My mind was still in its infancy. The unwarranted verbal abuse exhausted my mind.
I cried every day in my room at …….
I made a friend in the school library.
The first time I talked to her, I couldn’t speak very well because it had been so long since I had spoken to her.
Momo-chan was also a bit frightened, but since we had similar interests, we quickly became friends.
She was a friend that I could trust and talk to about anything. I knew the two of us would be fine.
However, Momo-chan changed after she became friends with other rear girls at ……. She changed me.
When I remember it……, I felt pangs of pain in my chest.
The word “friend” confuses me.
We’re a friend, and I’m going to make an impossible request.
I told my friends about it, and they’re going to tell their secrets to each other.
I’ll tease you because we’re friends, even though it’s no different than bullying.
I was reminded of how much people can change in relationships.
-What is a friend? If this kind of relationship is a friend, then I don’t need one.
That’s what I thought.
I should just keep my mind strong. If you don’t get involved with anyone, you won’t suffer.
I thought it would be easier if I killed my mind, my emotions.
But I had a family.
I had a kind sister and a loving mother. My cool dad is on a business trip overseas, but he still sends me emails every day.
My family was the only thing I could trust. My sister taught me to write novels, and I gained a competitive spirit.
I couldn’t kill my emotions.
But I never wanted to be friends with anyone outside of my …… family.
–I was having fun, but why did I remember the past?
I guess you can’t erase the scars. ……
I was having so much fun with Shinjo-kun, so much joy, even though I’m so happy, and yet–
But I still remember the old days at a moment’s notice.
I can’t help it, I’m weak, I hate my heart.
I hate my heart, which is so weak and helpless. …… Shinjo-kun has had a much harder time than I have.
When I looked at Shinjo next to me, he had a pale face.
“…… Poh, Pomeko-san, isn’t that horror house too scary?”
No, no, no, no, no, that’s not scary, even for a kid!
“So, Shinjo doesn’t like scary things? Hahaha, your face is scary!”
It was so funny that the always calm Shinjo-kun was scared.
“No, no, there was definitely some kind of bad spiritual stuff in there. …… Maybe it’s just me. ……”
“There is no such thing! This is destiny land, remember?”
“I’m sorry, Pomeko-san, but I need a favor from. ……”
When Shinjo-kun is frightened or embarrassed, he calls me Pomeko.
I don’t mind being called Pomeko. It sounds like a special …… word.
“Can I hold your hand? I’m a little nervous …….”
“What? Oh, uhm , okay ……, if that’ll calm you down. ……”
Come to think of it, earlier I had been holding onto Shinjo’s sleeve all the way until we entered the horror house. Since entering the horror house, I haven’t grabbed his sleeve.
The …… physical connection is soothing.
Huh? Wait? Come to think of it, …… I …… when I’m grabbing his sleeve, I’ve never …… remembered anything from the past. I’ve never thought about heartbreak.
Could it be?
When I think about it…
Wait, my mind is …… not ready.
Shinjo-kun grabbed my hand gently.
He touched my hand as if to wrap it softly.
After a moment’s hesitation, I felt a strength in my palm.
I can feel the warmth from Shinjo-kun. It’s as if my entire body becomes warm.
–Ah ……? I was not sad, but …… tears were about to come out. I’m just happy,…….
I knew it,……. My heart is filled with joy.
It’s like the old days don’t matter at all. You can forget about the scars on your heart.
Hahaha ……, Shinjo-kun …… is amazing.
“It was a hard horror house. I’m fine now. ……, you must be hungry. We have to move to the restaurant.”
Shinjo’s complexion is still not good.
“I’m fine now. I’m not sure if I can stay here any longer. You know, maybe it’s just that when we chain our hands together, all the …… bad things from the past just disappear.
I find myself being more honest in front of Shinjo.
The look you don’t even show your sister.
Shinjo-kun smiled at me.
It’s not a fake smile,……, it’s a gentle smile that shows he cares about me from the bottom of his heart.
When I saw that smile, for some reason, an unknown emotion welled up in me from deep in my chest.
It was warm but not sad ……, pounding but not painful …….
Yeah, I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s not a bad feeling.
“So, do you want to walk …… hand in hand?”
I’m sure my face is turning bright red.
But I can’t help it, this is …… to forget the pain. Yeah, that’s what I’m going to do!
“Hee hee, let’s do it then! It won’t fix Shinjo’s face!”
“Oh, yeah, let’s go–uh? What’s that ……?”
Shinjo-kun was holding hands with me, looking at the exit of the horror house.
There was a small …… girl of about middle school age standing there all alone.
She was wearing a school uniform, so I guessed she was on a school field trip with us.
She was looking around a lot.
It was obvious that she was acting strangely.
Her expression of anxiety, resignation and …… despair was like looking at the old me.
She looked like she was about to cry, but she was holding back her tears.
Only those who have experienced it can understand this feeling.
Even though I didn’t want to have anything to do with my family or anyone but Shinjo-kun, I couldn’t leave that girl alone because I was worried about her.
Because that girl was like looking at the old me.
“Sorry, Shinjo-kun. Is it okay if I’m late for lunch? …… Oh, can I talk to that girl?”
Shinjo’s grip on my hand became stronger.
I can’t imagine myself talking to a stranger in my normal life.
Even so, I can’t imagine talking to a kid who is all alone and has a face like that.
“Shinozuka-san, there’s nothing to apologize for. It’s okay, I’m here with you.”
Shinjo’s words gave me courage.
–I walked to the girl, still holding hands with Shinjo-kun.