Translated and Edited by: luccayn.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
In elementary school, I was subjected to a class trial.
During P.E., a girl’s recorder was stolen while I was the only one in the classroom at the time. She wasn’t just a girl though. Her name was Saori, and I liked her.
Even now, those voices so ineffably jarring still echo in the recesses of my mind. When it happened, I was made to stand right in the middle of class as all sorts of insults were thrown at me. And because I confided my first love to a guy I thought was my friend, everyone knew I liked her.
It was only fuel to the flames.
With suspicions only rising, I was made a scapegoat. Missing battle cards, someone’s toy being broken, and numerous things I had no idea even happened were all directed at me. To them, I was to blame for every little thing.
While I stood there, the homeroom teacher just stayed silent. Not a word coming out of his lips. So, unable to bear the constant defamation thrown at me, and seeing Saori crying sadly in a corner, I couldn’t help but hang my head and say—
“I did it.”
…It was miserable.
Even in a classroom where kids frolicked with foolish ideas like making a hundred friends, or whatever the case, I was the only wrong person. If 29 people could be happy, was it okay to abandon one? Even those bullied introverts coughed and threw their stones at me.
It was all because I liked her. All because I was just watching P.E. from a window. Those reasons alone were enough to make me an outcast from this societal structure called a school.
But I didn’t do jack! I knew I didn’t!
So, I gathered evidence by the next day, and another class trial was held. There was another person who stole that recorder, so I figured that if it hadn’t been found yet — and it hadn’t — then it must still be in their possession.
In the past, I shoplifted a candy from a store once without malice. The sheer guilt I felt from it afterward was gut-wrenching and unforgettable. It forever clung to the tail of my existence, and it’s still there to this day. I learned then that normal people can’t escape the guilt toward the innocent. That’s why religions exist, or so I thought at the time.
During that first trial, while I pitifully cried and bowed in the middle of class as the pariah I was made to be, I didn’t miss how he averted his eyes from me. Oh, he couldn’t bear to watch because he knew I wasn’t the culprit. With that, I was determined to clear my name from the false accusations.
Lo and behold, the culprit was our homeroom teacher, that son of a b*tch!
Late at night, he’d snuck into the staff room and stole Saori’s recorder from her very desk. He also rifled through the locker and stole a couple of girls’ gym uniforms. Evidence showed he was a perverted man who lusted after what he could not. So, I taught the world of his debauched hobby! I showed how much of a scumbag he was for shaming kids!
“You’re the culprit, b*stard! Damn you!” I spat vitriol, laying everything I’d gathered out in the open. Desolate, his legs gave out.
Later that same day, after school had ended, Saori came up to me and said, “I knew it! I knew it wasn’t you, Shin-chan!”
…Don’t mess with me.
“Hm?” She didn’t catch my mumbling.
“Don’t mess with me! Just yesterday, you just spat whatever came to your head and made me out to be the bad guy! Everyone, you included, gathered around and treated me like a lump of crap, acting like a league of righteous heroes!”
“If only I hadn’t fallen in love with you. If only you hadn’t shown me such a painful thing… Maybe I could’ve told you I was different.”
I couldn’t take it. Even as an elementary schooler, I understood that my emotions were so messed up, that I could probably cross the line of ethics from there on. Sadness, excitement, anger, it was all jumbled.
“It’s all your fault! I shouldn’t have liked you! You and everyone else are the same as that perverted b*stard!”
“You bunch of sin-crowding locusts! F*ck you! Rot away!”
Words spilled; I couldn’t stop myself. What remained afterward was guilt over my destroyed first love and the trashy school life I had to spend rotting away. I passed the rest of my middle school days in the remains of what once were, and there was no lingering thrill to get back at anyone, or a sense of righteous superiority. Just a messed up, twisted head.
…But, thanks to that, I learned something.
Love is the seed of a deathly, shameful, sh*tty, and murky thing called betrayal. And evidence is the only thing that can save me.
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