I, Shota Ishikawa, can’t trust people or rather, I’m afraid to trust them. The reason is, because I was betrayed by someone I trusted in Junior High School. Well, maybe I wasn’t betrayed at all? At any rate, the people I believed in didn’t believe in me at all. My classmates, childhood friends, best friends, and even my family treated me like I was a bad person. Naturally, I was shocked. I didn’t want to go through that again.
When I was in elementary school, I was a popular kid. I think the people around me thought that I had a pretty face, could study and play well, and was a kind kid with many friends. However, by the time I graduated from Junior High School, my reputation had changed to that of “a guy with a pretty face who takes advantage of his good looks to mess around with a lot of girls and then rejects them when they confess their feelings for him.” I could count on one hand the number of girls I rejected, and of those, only two were acquaintances, but once the rumor got out, there was no changing it.
I wondered what I had done wrong in Junior High School. Thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that being “good” was a mistake. My Junior High School life started to go wrong when a girl confessed her feelings to me. She was one of the most popular girls in my class, but I wasn’t interested in romance, so I turned her down. Then she started to bully me, probably because I hurt her. Well, the bullying was resolved in a few days, but from that day on, my youth was definitely crazy.
The “joyful and sparkling youth” that I had dreamed of in Junior High School could not be realized, because I was too bright. So I decided to hide the fact that I was brilliant in order to realize the “quiet and calm youth” that I wanted as a high school student today.
Today was the day of my high school entrance ceremony. I look in the mirror to check my appearance. My eyes are obscured by my long bangs and the thick-rimmed glasses underneath. Other than my bangs, I hadn’t done any work on my hair, and it was shaggy. Yeah. It looks quite plain. If my hair comes up because of the wind or something, people might see my face, so I think I’ll wear a mask in addition to this when I’m outside. But If I wear a mask all the time, I’ll look suspicious, so I’ll only wear it when I’m outside where my bangs are more likely to go up.
It was almost time to leave. I live alone in a small apartment, which is unusual for a high school student. There are number of reasons why I live alone, some of which are to practice for the future and some of which are because the school is a bit far away, but the main reason is that I didn’t want to stay at home. When I was in Junior High School, I lost the trust of my family, and I felt uncomfortable. Therefore, when I started high school, I asked my parents to let me live alone.
I put on a mask, left the house, locked the door, and walked to the train station.
After walking for about ten minutes, I arrived at school. Many students are gathered a little to the side of the school’s main entrance, probably because the class placement papers are posted there.
(What class am I in? ……. There it is, class A.)
I stopped thinking when I got to that point. It was because of the name that came into my eyes. Sumika Hosokawa. It’s a name I’ve seen a lot since before I started elementary school. It was the name of a girl whose parents lived across the street from me and whom I had known since before I entered elementary school. It was the name of a childhood friend who was the primary or secondary reason for my mental breakdown in Junior High School.
(Oh ……, my high school life might end early)
Too much bad luck. The first thing that surprised me was that we were in the same school. I didn’t know, because I hadn’t spoken a word to her since the summer vacation of my third year.
(Or maybe it’s the same name! Sumika Hosokawa is a very common name. I think I’ve seen at least five or six of them in my life. Yes, it must be the same name.)
With that in mind, I went to my classroom with a little hope. 1-A is the classroom at the end of the third floor. I open the door, trying to keep the rattling sound as low as possible.
(…… Good! She’s not here! It could be the same name!)
There was no sign of Sumika inside the classroom. At a quick glance, there seemed to be no one I knew. Probably no one in this classroom knows about the rumors about me in middle school. I was tempted to point out the students who knew about them, one by one, but that would make me stand out, so I checked my seat and took it. Since my name is Shota Ishikawa, I was always in the front of the hallway, but this time it didn’t seem to be the case. I was surprised when I saw that in this high school, students sit in order of their attendance numbers, starting from the back of the hallway. I wondered if it would be easier to see the class from the back when looking at the lectern. That’s why my seat was second from the back of the hallway side. In other words, my attendance number is number two. For the time being, I’ll just play with my cell phone.
After a while, the teacher, who was probably my homeroom teacher, came into the classroom. At the same time, the bell rang.
(…… Hmm, come to think of it, is Sumika Hosokawa a different person with the same name?)
With this in mind, I turned my gaze to the seat of Hosokawa-san that I had checked earlier. Sitting there was a beautiful girl with long beautiful black hair and well-defined eyes and nose. She was looking at me with a terrible expression that ruined such a beautiful appearance, though. It was completely my childhood friend, Sumika Hosokawa. Our eyes met, and I made a gesture of looking out the window, barely changing my gaze. At this point, if I immediately lowered my gaze, it would be obvious that I was watching her, so I just looked into the distance and tried to be vague about it.
After that, I listened to the homeroom teacher introducing herself and then headed for the entrance ceremony. The entrance ceremony was over before I knew it as I was thinking about Sumika.
Then, they came back to the class and the homeroom teacher introduced herself again. After that, it was finally time for the students to introduce themselves. The first one to introduce himself was Abe, who was seated behind me. After Abe’s self-introduction, it was my turn.
“I’m Shota Ishikawa. I was in the badminton club in Junior High School, and I look forward to working with you all year.”
Perfect. I finished my self-introduction with my name, my club activities in Junior High School, and my best regards for the year, and sat down. If I had just said my name and hello, it would have left a lasting impression, but with this, the only recognition would be “Oh, he was in the badminton club…”, which would be forgotten after hearing about three more self-introductions.
After that, I listened to the self-introductions one by one. Once you have a face and a name, you can hardly forget it, so you have to concentrate on listening to the self-introductions.
(Now, the next one is ……. Oh, I don’t need to listen to this one.)
“I’m Sumika Hosokawa. It’s nice to meet you.”
It was the type of self-introduction that left a lasting impression on me. I’m not sure what to make of it. I wondered if she was nervous. It was none of my business.
After introducing ourselves to the end and handing out the handouts, the first day was over.
“Hey, Ishikawa-kun, were you in the badminton club?”
“I was in the badminton club, too.”
“Oh, really? Do you play in high school too?”
“Yeah. How about you, Ishikawa?”
“No, I don’t think I’ll play in high school.”
“Oh, I see. …… too bad.”
The person who spoke to me was Yuki Abe, attendance number one. I’m sorry, but I’ve decided not to participate in any club activities in high school. It’s a good thing I didn’t tell them about all my club activities in junior high school. Well, it’s too late now.
After the conversation, I said, ” See you later.” As I was about to leave the classroom, Abe said, “Hey, can I walk with you till we have to split up?” And he followed me. After that, we started talking about the common topic of badminton, which we had just found, and then we talked about other things and parted ways.
I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make friends in high school, or rather that I wouldn’t be able to consider them as “friend”, but it seems that my fears were right on target. In Junior High School, I would have felt like I had made new friends, but now I didn’t feel the same way. I guess I’m more traumatized by the idea of having friends than I thought. Well, I guess it can’t be helped. I don’t mean to sound rude when I say that I’m rehabilitating Abe, but he doesn’t seem to be a bad person, and I’m going to do my best to make him feel like a friend.