“I’ve decided to go out with senpai.”
The twilight-tinted sky paints her red. She hesitated, but clearly said so.
The scarlet eyes of the young woman in the photo are lit up, and without being able to read the emotions reflected in them, only the words form the reality of the situation.
I realized that it was all a misunderstanding when I heard those words from my childhood friend. Hinagi Suzurikawa.
A childhood friend who has been close to me since kindergarten. Why did she decide to tell me that? Maybe she thinks it’s her duty as a childhood friend. No, that’s not it. This is a warning in her own way. Don’t hang around with her forever.
I don’t know what she’s thinking. I can never understand anyone’s thoughts.
Maybe that’s why. For some reason, her words to me have become harsh. This is not the kind of relationship she wanted to have with me.
There is no mythical dream story between us, as is often the case with childhood friends. The promises we made when we were little, if there ever was such a thing, were only a minor quibble.
It will disappear like a bubble in a moment. But she has always been special to me.
It was definitely thanks to her that I was able to endure in a difficult situation.
Although things have been awkward recently, I thought we had been getting along well together for a long time. At least, that’s what I thought until today.
In junior high school, Hinagi became more and more beautiful. She started wearing make-up and paying attention to fashion. She was sociable and cheerful, and was a popular girl.
Watching Hinagi’s back, I decided to step out of the relationship as a childhood friend.
I was going to confess my feelings at the summer festival we went to together every year.
I thought I was in love with Hinagi. I was under the delusion that she would accept my confession.
However, such a naive outlook crumbled. It was nothing more than an act of egotism. I had mistakenly thought that the feelings she was expressing toward me were “affection”. I was happy that someone “liked” me. Aah, what the heck, it wasn’t “affection” at all
Thump, something fell inside me. Her words convinced me myself. Maybe I had been realizing that one day this day would come. A dark shadow cast over my heart. The feelings I had for her. It was not a affection, but sympathy, or perhaps sentiment, if I may say so.
I was confronted with the fact that I was nothing more than a childhood friend.
“Funn, I guess my relationship with you is over. This summer we may not be able to hang out as much as usual.”
“I see, congratulations.”
My childhood friend cruelly piles words on top of words to the person who just broke my heart. As if to rub salt in the wound, as if to show off. It was infuriating.
If she had a boyfriend, she couldn’t be with me. She wouldn’t even want to be with me. I couldn’t think of anything to say to her with my blank mind.
That’s probably why. What spilled out of my mouth was an honest blessing. I was so happy to hear it, and it was a blessing to be able to express the ugly feelings I am carrying right now.
Words that cover up all the ugly feelings I’m having right now. Hinagi’s face turns angry for a moment.
“! Unlike you, senpai is dependable and good-looking, and I’m glad he confessed his feelings to me!”
The person Hinagi calls “senpai” is a third-year member of the soccer club who had confessed his feelings to her a week ago.
Unlike me, Hinagi is popular. She was often confessed to, but I believe she had never accepted the confession until now. Perhaps I was relieved to see Hinagi like that.
I was under the convenient illusion that she would never leave my side. However, there was no need to go to the trouble of exposing her by comparing her to me.
I wonder how long she has hated me so much. It’s true that I’m not good enough for Hinagi.
For her, I may have become an unwanted presence, just sitting in the position of childhood friend. Yes, I should have known. I was a distraction and an unnecessary presence.
I should have known that better than anyone else. Why, why did I get my hopes up? I lost the place for the feelings I was about to confess. The feelings I had been harboring grew and grew, and I was spending my days as if my feelings were fraying. When I realized that today was the end, I felt both a sense of release and loneliness.
Like an inflated balloon, the feelings I had been holding on to burst and fade away. This is my closure, and if I can’t reach my feelings, it might as well be the last one.
I was supposed to tell her how I really feel.
“Hinagi, I was going to confess my feelings to you on the day of this year’s summer festival.”
From that day last year, the answer was clear. I knew the truth from the day she rejected my hand.
The only thing that is important is that I have pretended to be unaware of it, turned away from it, misled myself, and taken advantage of the relationship as a childhood friend.
“I have always loved you. I only looked at you. I was proud of you as you became more and more beautiful. That’s why I wanted to take the first step this year. I don’t know if it was too late, or if you were never interested in me in the first place. “
“Is that…so? Then what I’m doing…..”
Hinagi is upset. Her eyes were shaking as if she was searching for the truth. She feels that it’s disgusting. I bet. Discomfort and disgust for being looked at in such a way by me.
“I thought the feelings you were directing at me were a kindness. There was no way that was possible.”
“Y-you got it wrong! I too—-.”
“Our feelings were different.”
I don’t know where we started taking different paths but now I don’t know anymore. There is no point in thinking about it now.
“Why —— am I like this!”
“I’m sorry. Forgive me if this is a bother for you, but I just wanted to express my feelings one last time when this is all over. “
“L-Last time… What ……? Stop it….. what are you trying to say?”
Hinagi’s face had gone pale. She lost her blood.
“Goodbye, Hinagi. Let’s end our childhood friendship today. I wish you and senpai all the best. “
The playground equipment was stained yellow. That park where we used to play together will be a different place.
I find it ironic that the park where we used to play together is now a different place. We built castles together in the sandbox. We ran around until the sun went down. I felt a strong bond with her.
But our relationship is as fragile as such a tower of the sandcastle, and it crumbles easily. But that’s okay. Once I tell her how I feel, it will be impossible for us to remain childhood friends and continue to act as we have in the past. Even so, I had planned to confess my feelings to her with that resolve. But there is no longer any need to do so. I didn’t want to be here anymore.
I just wanted to disappear. Just like that day. From everyone’s sight. I run toward home.
“W-Wait! Yukito, please wait and talk—“
Human emotions are difficult. Why am I so stupid? If the feelings Hiangi was showing me were not “Kindness,” then I’ll never be able to experience “Kindness” again.
I may never be able to understand what it means.
Thus, the boy was broken again.