From then on, I devoted myself to my studies, told Haruka that I was going to a local university, and lived my high school life as if I looked like a slacker.
I spent as much time as possible deceiving others as before so that they would not see through my distrust of people, which had been intensified. I may have smiled a little too much.
I tolerated dates and skinship.
Endured all the events and the way they treated me in class.
I had no desire to kill Haruka or Hitoshi. I just went through the motions.
But my father saw right through me.
“Toki. I know I have been giving you a hard time because of my inadequacy. But lately you seem to be in a lot of pain. If you don’t mind, why don’t you talk to me about it?”
I cried. Was I still pushing myself too hard? I couldn’t cover it up anymore, so I tried to talk about what I had been doing and what I would do in the future as rationally as possible. I wondered if he would understand.
He hugged me without saying anything.
Ah, Dad’s feelings came through. Was this all I needed to do? Would it have made any difference if I had done the same for Haruka?
No, maybe it’s because we went through the exact same thing, and that’s why I can communicate with my father.
“I don’t care if the neighbors find out. You must have been worried about the neighborhood association, since I’m involved. Really, you’re an idiot. Really. There’s nothing more important than you. But I support your choice. So do what you want to do. Don’t worry about me.”
On the way home from the graduation ceremony of my senior year of high school.
I was going home with Haruka, arm in arm, alongside Hitoshi.
The three of us together again.
“If Toki and I go to college together, we’ve been together since preschool! Isn’t that great?”
“Yes, it is.”
“That would be awesome. That’s a beautiful love.”
“Right? Love, love~.”
Beautiful love, huh.
What are these two saying?
When I first witnessed the scene of the affair, I reconsidered that it might have been a one-time mistake, and tried to find out several times, but they were two pitch black people.
“What’s the matter? Laughing softly?”
“No, I just thought it was hilarious.”
“I don’t think this is love, you know”
“That’s… a terrible thing to say.”
I let out my true feelings at the ridiculous conversation between the two of them.
Both of them scowled and looked at me with doubtful faces.
Today is the graduation ceremony. Our graduation. My classmates and neighbors don’t know anything about it.
I gently untied my arms and moved away from them. I guess she sensed that something was not normal, and her body stiffened a little.
I looked at Haruka Narimiya, who is now just an acquaintance, and said
“Thank you for everything, Narimiya. We didn’t have the slightest heart-to-heart communication.”
“…Eh, W-why last name? Why did you say that… Toki-kun?”
“Why do you talk like that? Don’t you feel ….anything for Haruka-chan?”
I look at Hitoshi Kurosaki, who is now just a classmate, and answer.
“Kurosaki too. Take good care of Narimiya.”
“…Ue, eh? Wait wait….”
I don’t think anything of it when I see Narimiya upset. I’ve already spent a year settling the matter.
Narimiya says, once again entangling my arms, which I once shook free of.
“You misunderstand it, Toki-kun!”
“Yeah, misunderstanding, misunderstanding. I’m getting angry”
“It’s okay. I understand.”
They must have sensed that there was something out of the ordinary. I didn’t tell them there was anything to it, but they both avoided saying anything confirming and admonished me.
Is it hard to speak the truth?
“You don’t understand, you don’t understand at all!”
“I’m really starting to get angry. Why don’t you trust Haruka-chan!”
That’s the furthest thing from the two of them.
I was silent, and they were trying their best to explain themselves.
I should have kept my mouth shut.
I’m really not good at this.
“Let’s break up, Narimiya. Take care. Kurosaki too.”