It was lunch time, and for some reason I was sitting on a chair in an empty classroom with my posture straight.
Anri’s cheeks were puffy and she was pouting.
What is it? Did I do something weird?
“…… Well, you’re cool, Makoto, so don’t smile at everyone, alright? …… You really should be aware of that already, okay?”
“N-no, I’m not that cool. ……”
“Eh, I-I don’t think you realize it yet ……, haa, it’s hard for a girl to smile like that!”
“I-Is that so?”
“That’s the way it is!”
For some reason, as I was being lectured, I was in a smiling mood.
Anri is angry, but not really angry.
Yeah, but it’s scary, so let’s reflect on it. I don’t really know what to reflect on, but I’ll do it……
Anri takes a seat and starts talking with her phone in her hand.
“Haa……It’s already test week. Will Chisa-chan be okay ……?”
She must be looking at her schedule. The test starts next week. After that, for some reason, there will be a ball game at such a hot time of the year, and then there will be no events until the summer vacation.
“I’m sure it will be fine. …… I was shown the question paper that the guy had made, and it was …… unusually easy to understand. I think you have to be really smart to be able to construct something like that. …… Maybe he could even solve college level problems?”
“Oh, that’s true. If you do that, you might be able to handle both basic academic skills and the final exam. ……”
It’s a bit of a shame, but I guess I’ll just let Dojima take care of the puggies’ studies. …… If the studies are stable, the writing will go well.
In fact, I’m more scared. I don’t know when I’ll get Saeko-san’s manuscript back. I’ve never done this before, so I’m nervous.
“Anri, you’ll be fine for the test, right? Ah, what are you doing for the ball game? I wasn’t interested, so I didn’t pay any attention…….”
“Um, I think it’s …….”
Anri checked her schedule on her phone. She is very diligent in these areas.
Anri was very cute as she tried her best to operate her phone. ……
” Ah, the freshman girls are playing volleyball and the boys are playing baseball! Ugh ……, I’m not very good at ball games because I’m not athletic. ……”
“B-Baseball. …… I’ve never played baseball before.”
During the baseball game, my position was that of a referee.
It’s the safest and least likely to cause a stir.
There was a time when baseball was popular in elementary school.
During recess, all the boys in the class, except for me, would head to the field.
I was alone in the classroom reading a book. Sometimes I went to the library.
I can still remember the cheers echoing from the ground. …… I guess I was lonely at that time.
The same as when I played soccer. I wished I could have played baseball.
I once threw a rock at a wall under a bridge on an empty riverbank.
At first, the stones flew in the wrong direction, but gradually, they started to go where I aimed.
But it didn’t fill the loneliness in my heart.
…… I remember feeling empty halfway through and quitting.
–The old me is still me. The past is all I have to feed off of and move forward with.
Normally, remembering the past would make me feel dark, but not now.
“Yeah, no problem. Baseball ……, let’s try it.”
Anri’s face brightened up.
“Yes! I’ll look forward to seeing you in action!”
“No, no, I’m inexperienced. I’m only a substitute batter at best.”
It was a peaceful moment. When I talked with Anri, I could really feel my heart being healed.
Besides, it was Anri’s encouragement that gave me the courage to do what I did this morning with Haruka.
I don’t know if it was the right thing to do or not. But I could feel the nostalgia radiating from Haruka.
We put away our lunches and headed out of the empty classroom.
When the two of us returned to our classroom, we found Miyazaki, Saito-san and Haruka in the hallway discussing something with serious expressions on their faces. The three of them seemed to be strangely close.
“W-wait, Haruka-san! What’s with this midterm grade ……, it’s not good, is it?”
“Well, yes, I was messy too, but I studied hard. I’m in the middle of the class.”
“Eh, so it’s bad? Ahaha……W-What should I do? I didn’t study for next week’s final exam! I spent last weekend playing with Nanako and Kisaragi!”
Haruka was standing there, her face pale.
The three of them hadn’t noticed me. It bothered me a little, but Anri and I went into the classroom to prepare for the next class.
There was nothing I could do about this. Haruka has very good athletic skills. In exchange, she was terribly stupid in the head. She has good intuition and is able to concentrate when cornered,……, but she is not able to concentrate on the end-of-term test,……. It’s a quintessential freshman semester. It’s not like she’s going to get a bad grade, but she probably get a red.
–that’s what I was thinking at the time.
“Heey, Makoto, I’m thinking of doing some running. …… Do you think I’ll get a little stronger if I start exercising now?”
As soon as we took our seats, Anri asked me.
This was a difficult point. It’s not a question of physical strength, though she was probably thinking of the volleyball game after the test.
“Besides, it’s a ball game. The girls in the class take turns playing, so it’s not so much about physical strength, but more about technical skills, to be honest.”
Anri groaned with a difficult look on her face.
“Hmm, I used to observe them in middle school. I’ve never played …… volleyball. Haa, I guess I’ll be observing again this year.”
“But I’m surprised. I thought Anri was athletic…”
“I-Idiot?! At school, calling me Anri is ………”
“Ah…..crap, Shinozuka it came out naturally…… N-no, I’m sorry.”
“Uuuuu, I-It’s okay. Just keep calling me Anri.””
“…… Pomeko, your tone is a little …… slurred.”
“Well, you’re being mean ……, and it’s okay, because you’re whispering, so no one can hear you …….”
Yes, we are whispering. I’m pretty sure she was the only one that can hear me.
I would be writhing in agony if someone overheard this conversation.
“A-Anri, do you want to practice volleyball with me?”
“Y-yes, b-but Makoto, you don’t know anything about volleyball, right?”
“Yeah, I don’t even know the rules.”
” ……You can’t! …… W-we still have time, we’ll figure it out.”
“Yeah, got it. …… You want to come write at my place again today?”
“Well, my mom and dad are calling me at home today, so I’ll see you tomorrow. …… I’ll be there tomorrow, I promise.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. ……”
By the way, I’ve been missing a lot of things in my book.
There are a lot of things that were left out because I was suddenly living alone.
Maybe I should go …… to my parents’ house ……. In any case, in the future, I’m going to have to talk to my stepmother about a lot of things–