“Ababababa ……, Onii-chan came home with a friends …….”
I was casually looking out the window of my room when I saw Onii-chan with a beautiful woman …… and the Yankee girl I’ve heard so much about.
I was so shocked that I threw off the pajamas I was changing into, and I sat upright in the middle of the room.
“And I thought you didn’t have any friends. …… I thought you were just acting tough.”
My chest hurt ……an emotion I hadn’t remembered in a long time …… jealousy …….
When I was a kid, I loved Onii-chan. I wanted to annoy my brother, who was always playing with his childhood friend Shizuka.
When I heard a bad rumor about Onii-chan at school, I told my mom just for fun.
I thought that if I did that, Onii-chan would play with me……
Everyone knows me. Everyone thinks I’m a stupid kid.
But that’s okay. Everyone loves me when I pretend to be stupid.
If I pretended to be stupid, I wouldn’t know who I really am anymore.……
Onii-chan stopped talking to Shizuka. Or rather, he stopped talking to anyone.
I don’t like my brother when he gets darker. It was boring to go out with him.
He didn’t respond to anything I said. I was so frustrated that it became normal for me to lash out at my brother.
My mom and dad were nice to me. But what was really expected of me was Onii-chan………..
He only thought of me as a puppet.
And I thought that if I could be nice to him at some point, he would automatically fall in love with me. Gap, gap.
In junior high school, the bad rumors about Onii-chan continued to grow.
I don’t know if they were true or not.
My mother was disgusted and blamed Onii-chan in a harsh tone of voice, and I was pulled in by it and blamed Onii-chan. I couldn’t stop myself.
Dad was different. He was strict, but he tried to treat my brother as a normal person.
However, it caused him to fall out with my mother.
Although he is far away from home now, …… if he had stayed at home, …… he would not have been able to help him……
I can’t get my head around it.
Onii-chan, who was outside, had a peaceful look on his face.
I haven’t seen a face like that since …… I was a kid!
Onii-chan became darker, but he became more beautiful and cooler. His grades at school improved dramatically, and he became the Onii-chan was proud of.
I wondered if it was time for us to be friends. It was around the time I graduated from junior high school that I thought it was time to be friends with him.
I made the mistake of being nice to him at the wrong time. …… If only I had been nicer to him sooner, …….
I should have made up with him sooner.
I pretended to be an idiot and I couldn’t do that.
I was a real idiot for calculating such timing …….
Since then, every time I try to get to know Onii-chan and talk to him, I hurt myself.
Because …… Onii-chan …… looks at me like I’m a stranger.
I tried to talk to him over and over again.
The words that came back to me were all hollow.
But I was not discouraged. I should be more foolish. I should just sleep and forget about my sadness.
“Why did you have to go …… with that yankee girl, the one with all the bad rumors? Let’s …… talk Onii-chan for now.”
My heart sank.
Regret weighs down my body.
Why do I feel like this?
Where did I go wrong?
…… Does Onii-chan think that I believe the rumors?
I was only joking.…… Onii-chan …… Is it for me …… too late?
I thought I had told you that I was joking,…….
–The truth is, I know. I’m sorry that I was stupid enough to believe a bad rumor, even if it was a joke.
I ran out of the room without putting on my pajama bottoms.
Onii-chan was about to open the door to his room.
“Hey, Onii-chan! I bought you your favorite rice cake today! We’ll eat it together—-“
He only bowed deeply to me.
“Haruka-san, I’m sorry, I’m full. Good night.”
He did smile. But that smile made my heart ache ……. It was as if he didn’t see me as family.
I don’t know when it started. Onii-chan calls me Haruka-san. That …… made me feel terribly distant and it …… hurt my heart.
The door slammed shut quietly.
I was standing there in the hallway with my pants hanging open.
“It’s okay, it’s okay, Haruka will forget about it after she sleeps. It’s ……, so it’s okay. Mmmmm!”
I spanked my a*s with both hands to get myself together and went back to my room.
“Thanks for the update! Uhm, I’m Pomeko. This story was a lot brighter than usual, and it put me in a fun mood! …… Take care of yourself and keep up the good work! I’m rooting for you!”
Before I knew it, I had a routine.
I check my phone before Homeroom in the morning. There was always a message from Pomeko-san on my phone.
A few days had passed since that day, but Shinozuka and I hadn’t spoken to each other at school.
I don’t know Shinozuka’s reasons, but we have been betrayed by someone we trusted.
I wasn’t going to make any friends.
After I finished checking my phone, I took out my book.
Shinozuka, who was sitting next to me, was also reading a book.
It was a quiet space.
It was comfortable for us.
At the homeroom meeting, we discussed the formation of our field trip group.
The teacher just told us to make a group and left the rest to the class members.
The class members awkwardly presented their ideas to their classmates on the podium.
As a result of the various discussions, it was decided to form the groups as they wished.
My classmates were happily making their groups.
The only ones who didn’t move were me and Shinozuka.
We were going to be left out anyway. We’d be on our own.
So we just waited for the time to pass.
I heard a loud sigh from next door.
At the same time, Shinozuka stood up, making a clattering sound with her chair.
“Haa ……, can’t help it.”
She looked at me as if she was glaring at me, and then walked towards the blackboard.
The class members were frightened when they saw Shinozuka.
My classmates were buzzing.
“Eh, you’re not happy?”
“I’m going to skip the field trip anyway.”
Shinozuka bowed to the teacher and snatched the chalk from the class member with vigor.
“What? Shut up. I want to go home as soon as possible.”
She began to write on the blackboard with the chalk.
In surprisingly clean, large letters, he wrote 『Shinozuka, Shinjo』 and circled it in a large circle.
Saito-san made a sound like a scream.
“‘Eh……! W-why? I-I knew it…….”
Shinozuka ignored the voice and said to the teacher.
“It’s our group. No complaints, right? It doesn’t matter if there’s two of us, we’re just a couple of outcasts.”
“Eh, uh, Se-Sensei…….”
The nervous class member asked the teacher for help.
The teacher said there was no problem.
“I don’t mind if its a group of 2. So that’s it. Yes, dismissed!”
Shinozuka sniffed and went back to her seat…….
I mean, why did you decide to do that?
Shinotsuka told me as she sat down.
“It’s not that I want to get to know you, but I just wanted to get home as soon as possible.”
“I see…… that’s fine.”
The HR session ended, and Shinozuka and I left the classroom early.
The two of us walked our separate ways. We are not friends.
“Why did you put us in a group together? Pomeko-san!”
“What? It was a pain in the a*s! Damn it, If I hadn’t done that, you would have ended up in a group with some weirdos!”
“…… You’re right. I don’t want to be in Saito-san’s group.”
“Right? Nyanta, you need to speak up.”
“I’m not a yankee like you, Pomeko. …… Let’s not talk about school anymore.”
I know how lonely it is to go on a field trip by yourself.
Although everyone seems to be having fun with their friends, an overwhelming sense of alienation and loneliness follows.
Even if I strengthen my heart, it’s hard to make it all go away.
It was something I could never get used to, no matter how many times I experienced it.
We were in the food court of a desolate shopping center.
We hadn’t made any special arrangements.
Whenever I come here, Pomeko-san is usually there.
It’s not that I’m here to see Shinozuka. I just find it easier to write than at home.
Pomeko-san drinks a glass of juice as she clicks away at her keyboard.
“So, how’s the latest story coming along? I mean, how’s the book going?”
“I’ve finished tonight’s story, just need to polish it and I’m done. It’s going to be a book.……”
To be honest, I’m still hesitating. It’s a great honor. It’s a pleasure to have a novel that I’ve written as I please become a book.
But I’m a minor. I’ll be causing trouble for my …… family.
“Well, take your time. You’re meeting my sister the day after tomorrow, right? She may be a blabbermouth, but she’s got real passion for her work.…… maybe that’s why she can’t get a boyfriend.”
What is it? Shinozuka was less intimidating during Pomeko’s time.
Even now, I could feel the way she felt about Saeko-san.
” Yeah, you really like your sister, don’t you?”
“A-are you an idiot!? No, not really. …… Well, we’re family.”
“I see. Family…….”
How is my father? I haven’t seen him in a long time, but I wonder if …… he would have supported me if he was here.
“Hey, Nyanta! Don’t look so glum! Come on, we’re going to battle now.”
“What’s the subject?”
“Hmm, how about the field trip?”
“Okay, 500 words, right?
“Yeah, I’m in!
We’re going to write a short story and let her sister judge the quality of our work.
This is a game that only Pomeko and I can play.
I have no intention of getting along with her. Shinozuka must be feeling it in the back of her mind.
–I’m afraid of being betrayed.
So I’m careful not to step in any more than I have to.
“Whoa! The speed is my victory!”
“Pomeko, you have a funny ending.”
“Shut up! Let’s see what you got!”
We exchanged our phones. I had never given my phone to anyone before because I was afraid.
I had been robbed before. I never want to remember it again.
Pomeko-san was reading a short story on my phone, and her expression looked – very – happy.
I felt something strange on my face and touched my hand to it.
Something was distorting my face.
No, this is a smile.
Well, …… I’m having …… fun right now.
Even though it was supposed to be fun, for some reason something came up from the back of my mind.
I tried my best to suppress it as I read Pomeko’s short story.
Pomeko’s bland words were terribly painful to bear.
“An? You’re about to cry, Nyanta! Okay! It’s a work of art!”
I—- answered honestly.
“Yeah, that’s true. …… Pomeko is amazing. Haha.”
“Fufun… …… I see… ……”
Pomeko’s gentle smile seeped into my heart.