Chapter 40: Absolute
”Hey, wait a minute. Kitami-kun?”
After school, as I stepped out of the main gate and onto my bicycle, I was stopped.
The owner of that voice, which clearly contained anger, was Fukumura.
”You know what I want to say, don’t you?”
Fukumura smiles as she says this. Aah, she seems quite angry.
I knew what she meant, or rather, I knew she was going to be angry, so I gave up and went to the rope.
”So, do you have any explanation?”
Fukumura asked as she walked next to me.
Fukumura, who was walking next to me, must have known that I had not cleared up the misunderstanding that morning.
“To be honest, I don’t think it’s possible for me to recover my position anymore,”
”… that is.”
When I didn’t say “that’s not true” right there, they didn’t seem to be optimistic about that part of it.
“In the end, even if the misunderstanding is cleared up, it’s still treated like a boil. Then there’s no need to dwell on it.”
”But isn’t that… Isn’t it hard? If it were me, I wouldn’t be able to stand it.”
With a sad look on her face, she continued.
“You’ve been misunderstood for so long, and you’ve been treated so badly. Isn’t it so hard to have no one believe you? At least for me, I wouldn’t want to be left alone in that situation…”
“—It’s not that hard.”
I answered confidently to Fukumura’s words. It is not a lie nor is it a bluff.
Because it’s not for everyone. It’s thanks to you that I’m not bitter.
How embarrassing, I’m not going to say it.
”… That’s not true.”
Well, she might think so. So, to reassure her, I’ll give her a little hint.
“—It’s not like things have been that way the whole time.”
”I’m not going to let them tell me what to do. Well, I’ll do something about it. That’s why…”
—-Wait for me.
With that said, I’m forced to make several choices. By the way, I knew that the other person would be in trouble. Understanding that there is only one choice.
”Yeah, maybe it’s not fair.”
If I say so, she will have no choice but to wait. It’s such a cowardly suggestion.
But there really is a plan. It may not be the “best solution,” surely it’s not the right one.
But for now, there is a part of me that is okay with that.
So, this is a stepping stone for that.
“Listen, I was going to call you later, but it’s a good time to ask. Can you tell me Itakura’s contact information?”
She was not that surprised. Well, I guess she was expecting to be asked.
“Are you going to meet her?”
“Yes. I wanted to talk to her directly.”
At any rate, there are many inexplicable things about Itakura.
”Can I come, too?”
”Of course. I was going to ask you to come with me.”
I feel like we can’t have a conversation when it’s just the two of us. Because neither of us would be able to keep our cool. Mainly on her side.
”Okay. So, shall I set up a schedule for you?”
”That would be great. I didn’t really want to text her.”
If it was Fukumura’s words, I’m sure she wouldn’t ignore her. If it’s me, there’s a possibility she’ll ignore it.
”Okay, I’ll call her.”
”Haya. I’m happy you could help.”
She’s a woman of action, isn’t she? No, I’ve been saved by that kind of thing many times.
Fukumura is talking with Itakura at a little distance. After a while, she came up to me.
“Is today alright?”
”Is that fine? The earlier the better for me. At the end of my shift, is that okay?”
“Hmm. That should be fine.”
I didn’t expect that much, but it helped.
I had to check something as soon as possible.
“I’ll see you later.”
Fukumura hangs up the phone and starts walking in a different direction, toward the station.
I call out to Fukumura.
”—-Thanks a lot”
”Hmm, you’re welcome.”
She is beaming in the setting sun. For a moment, her expression seemed to have a shadow on it, or was it just my imagination?
When the clock struck eight, today’s business day came to an end. After cleaning up, I left the store.
The meeting place for the two of us was a nearby family restaurant. I couldn’t afford to be at the restaurant more than once, so I changed the location.
”Wait a minute, senpai!”
”Hmm, what’s wrong? Do you need something?”
Sakakibara grabbed my hand and stopped me. I had greeted her earlier, but what was wrong?
”Are you going to meet that person after this?”
”Eh How did you know that?”
I was taken aback by these unexpected words. I had not been hiding it from her, but I had not told her about my plans for the rest of the day.
“There was something strange about you. You seemed to be somewhat preoccupied or unfocused.”
”That may—- have been the case.”
I couldn’t deny it. I was probably preoccupied with what was going to happen next.
“Right. I need to talk to you.”
“…Is that so”
When I affirmed, Sakakibara made a somewhat sad expression on her face.
—-Ah, so that’s what you mean.
I was able to quickly arrive at the cause of the problem.
”Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t change the place because Sakakibara was there. I just couldn’t rent the store that many times.”
”Eh… Ah, that kind of thing… No, that’s right. It’s not just that, I mean, hmm. Is it dull or sharp…”
What a subtle reaction. She thought I had mistakenly avoided Sakakibara’s presence, no?
”I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to bother you! It’s just that, uhm, well…”
She managed to say, and then let loose the words that followed.
“—I-I’m sorry, can I come too?”
She said fearfully.
I was at a loss for a response. To be honest, I had no reason to take her with me, but when I tried to refuse, I couldn’t find the words to say anything.
It would probably hurt her kindness. It would be to deny the person I once was.
She is also one of those people who will step in to help me.
She, in particular, has absolutely nothing to do with this one thing. And yet she is concerned about me and cares about me.
I thought it was foolish of me to let her step in, but the fact that I allowed her to listen to me last time was a result of my taking advantage of her kindness.
Even if I decide to look forward, I still feel lost.
Do I accept this naivete or cut it out? My deep-seated weakness was still alive and well.
Silence flows. No, it flows. Of course, the cause was me, but it was Sakakibara who broke it.
“—I’m sorry, I didn’t mean what I said before.”
The worst thing I could do was to make her feel uncomfortable. Even if I refuse, it’s the worst possible pattern.
I looked for something to say to make things right, but unfortunately, my vocabulary was not rich enough to say something witty.
—-But then, I thought to myself.
“After all, I will definitely follow you. To be honest, I don’t think the three of you will get along well in a conversation. That is why I want to help you, okay?”
She was much stronger than I was.
Then again, I realized.
”—-Aah, that’s what I wanted to hear.
I think it’s not fair. Waiting for the other person to say the words I wanted.
I’m saying all kinds of things, but in the end, I want them to step in.
It proves to me that I can trust them.
To be honest, I’m still afraid to trust people.
I haven’t changed since the day I was betrayed.
I can’t trust people without hard evidence.
I think I’m sick of it.
I reject the trust that is placed in me by others without believing them, yet somewhere deep down inside I still want them to step into my life.
It is nothing short of arrogance to want people to believe in me when I don’t believe in them.
“—I guess you’re right. I will be in your care.”
Sakakibara looks relieved at my words.
I wonder how long I have been greedy. I thought I had given up on wanting anything, but now I want so many things.
So I must not make a mistake.
What can be thrown away? What should not be thrown away.
Once a choice has been made, that action comes with responsibility. So don’t do things halfway.
In order to repay their kindness, I will look forward to it.
I feel that I can easily overcome the difficulties that await me.
3 comments »
SAugust 8, 2022 at 1:53 am
Allies are nice. Thanks for the chapter.
EssaAugust 8, 2022 at 8:14 am
nice! thanks for the chapter!
Dufort yeagerJanuary 17, 2023 at 5:36 pm
When when when f**k