I want to see you, but at the same time, I don’t.
I want to meet you, but I don’t have the courage to face you.
I’d be happy to be together, but maybe I don’t deserve that privilege.
I might not even deserve to breathe in front of him.
For me, you are someone who embodies such contradictions, and I haven’t forgotten about you for even a day.
(…Ah, this convenience store bento.)
For some reason, I hide the bento I’m holding behind my back.
I hate the thought of being seen as a hopeless woman who can’t even cook for herself.
But even if someone thinks that way, it shouldn’t matter.
First of all, there’s nothing wrong with eating convenience store bento… Besides, I’m single, and the fact is, I am busy.
However, I didn’t want to be seen as the kind of woman who settles for a convenience store meal every day.
I don’t want Ryosuke-kun to be disappointed in me anymore.
I keep my head down.
I always end up like this, running away, even from someone I mustn’t run away from.
This habit of running away that I’ve developed over time hinders me even in situations like this.
Even with my head down, I feel his gaze on me.
I realize that I’m sweating from my forehead, and my heart is racing… I can’t move even a step.
It’s the first time I’ve encountered him since he transferred.
The last time we spoke was in the infirmary… it was the day I got hurt by one of Kirishima-san’s friends who attacked me.
I have to apologize… but I can’t find my voice.
In high school, I thought it was the worst to apologize easily, so I took time and reflected a lot… I intended to apologize afterward.
But while I was doing that, he transferred, and I lost the chance to apologize altogether.
So, now, I have to say it out loud and apologize.
I couldn’t speak.
No matter how hard I try, I’m terrified of imagining the conversation that will follow.
I’ve always wanted to apologize, but I just can’t do it.
It’s impossible… I’ve reached my limit.
I’m not qualified to become a teacher like this.
What can I teach children in my current state?
During this teaching internship, I had the opportunity to interact with children.
There, I was confronted with the painful reality that I’m not cut out to be a teacher, despite aspiring to become one.
Even though I tried to be cheerful, I was perceived as a gloomy teacher.
I forced myself to smile and did my best, but somehow the children ended up with that impression of me.
If they think I’m doing my best, then I can’t afford to slack off even a little.
And… even if I became a teacher and took charge of a class somewhere, I’m sure the kids would still see me as an inadequate teacher.
I would ruin the precious one year of those adorable children.
(… I should quit… being a teacher.)
I had my own reasons for doing this.
So I tried my best, but I don’t think I can push myself any further. Maybe meeting Ryosuke-kun here was meant to be like this.
God must be angry at me, who ruined his life, for relentlessly pursuing my dreams.
The moment I saw his face, memories of my misdeeds from high school came rushing back vividly.
“… Student council… no, Himekawa-san.”
I thought he would ignore me.
It was unexpected, but what will he say?
… No matter what he says, I have to accept his words.
I kept my head down, listening to what he had to say.
“Uhm… would you like to go to the park? It’s just a short walk from here.”
He seems to want to talk in a more calm place, not at the convenience store entrance. As he suggested, I followed him and moved away from the convenience store.
(My palms have been sweaty since earlier… but…)
… Maybe it’s just my imagination?
His tone of voice felt kinder than I had expected.
The park was indeed very close by.
It was just behind the convenience store in a residential area.
I usually only take the main road, so I hadn’t noticed it before.
But how ignorant of me not to realize that I live so close…
“Please have a seat.”
I did as Ryosuke-kun asked and sat on a bench in the park.
His gaze shifted towards the convenience store bento that I was holding.
“That bento, it’s delicious, isn’t it?”
“Eh… Ah, y-yeah, I occasionally buy it.”
It was a bento with white fish fry as the main dish.
It’s cheap and something I often eat.
I didn’t want him to mention the convenience store bento, but surprisingly, he responded positively, which put me at ease.
“I used to eat it a lot… Well, I guess I won’t have the chance to eat convenience store bento anymore.”
And it dawned on me right here—the existence of the ring on his finger…
I was too nervous to notice it earlier, but as soon as I calmed down, I realized it immediately.
And I also figured out who the partner was…
“Correct. You figured it out well.”
“I could tell… Anyone who knows the two of you would be able to.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah… Congratulations on your marriage.”
I was able to offer my congratulations without hesitation.
And surprisingly, Ryosuke-kun accepted my words genuinely.
Although I thought it didn’t matter what I said and was aware that it was only natural, he still greeted me with a smile… Why is that?
“Just yesterday, I bought this ring.”
“That’s amazing… What a coincidence.”
As I talked with him, I started to feel more upbeat.
He’s cool and a genuinely kind man, just as I had realized.
… I’m still so hung up on him, even though he’s married to a wonderful woman.
“Actually, it’s just an engagement for now; we haven’t married yet.”
As he said that, he took out a card from his bag.
Then he extended it to me.
“──Would you like to attend the wedding, Himekawa-san?”
It was a genuinely unexpected proposition.
Not that it surprised me that they haven’t married yet, but I couldn’t believe he was extending an invitation to me.
Above all, I struggled the most to understand why he treated me with such kindness.
The last time we spoke in the infirmary, Ryosuke-kun should have held a grudge against me.
Without thinking, I accepted the card.
I feel so anxious about whether it’s okay for me to attend.
“Are you aiming to become a teacher?”
How does he know? Before I asked, I already found the answer myself. I had forgotten to take off my teacher trainee identification card, which was still hanging around my neck.
I hurriedly put the card away in my pocket.
“No need to be so flustered.”
“I… I didn’t realize.”
I felt really embarrassed.
He must have seen it the entire time we were shopping together.
I kept my head down and fell silent.
“No, don’t worry so much, it’s not a big mistake, right?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
I really started to feel that way.
If I had noticed it when I returned home and was alone, it would have been a massive blow, I think.
I’m glad I was with Ryosuke-kun…
“……Why? Why are you treating me so normally?”
I couldn’t help but ask.
“What do you mean?”
To my question, Ryosuke-kun tilted his head in confusion.
It was as if he had forgotten about all the wrongdoings I did to him, and I continued my words.
“Why do you give me a wedding invitation even though I hurt you more than anyone else?… You have every right to be angry at me, so why?”
How ugly of me… Why did I even bring this up?
I’m just making Ryosuke-kun uncomfortable.
I’m sure he must be exasperated after hearing our conversation.
“──Why, you ask… Because you helped Mai….. That’s more important to me than anything else.”