“It’s been a really long time, Kana.”
“…I know, Mai-chan.”
The two exchanged such words as they took their seats. But Miyajima’s voice was clearly dark.
It’s probably just as well. After all, she was about to reveal her crime to her friend.
I had told her in advance that someone other than me would be coming, so she must have been prepared for it. But I wonder if she could have anticipated that it would be her former friend.
Assuming she could have, I think she certainly would have come to this meeting.
”—You know, Mai-chan.”
”…. Hmm, what’s wrong?”
From Miyajima’s demeanor, she must have sensed that a serious conversation was about to begin. She took a listening posture.
She began to speak. Her appearance was the same as that day, like a child who wants to be condemned.
That was all that was needed to convey her passion for the occasion.
”—-So that’s what this means.”
“Yes, that was it.”
Miyajima confided everything to her. Fukumura, who should have had nothing to do with her feelings about her feelings toward me, was the one to whom she told everything.
After a few moments of silence, Fukumura spoke up.
“To be honest, I don’t have….anything to say?”
Miyajima’s words brought a question mark to her mind.
She probably thought that Fukumura would blame her. But it didn’t turn out that way.
“I was angry and thought his actions were terrible. But whether he forgives me or not is up to Kitami, and he didn’t want me to do it in the first place, you know?”
“…. Yeah. This is just me thinking that you must do that. I just don’t think it matters if he forgives you or not…”
That may be true. Fukumura has no right to control Miyajima. What matters is the will of Miyajima and me.
And Miyajima did not want to be forgiven, huh? I think that’s actually a very impressive thing.
The reason she apologizes is to be forgiven. Without forgiveness, it is meaningless. At least, that’s what I thought.
She was asking me to ask for forgiveness. But she only said that because being forgiven would help her atone for her sins.
There are many ways to apologize, aren’t there?
And that is what Miyajima is doing. It must have taken a lot of courage.
”If Kitami says it’s okay, then of course it’s okay with me. And what can I say…? I could feel Kana’s remorse, and I don’t think it’s right to just deny it.”
”I’m sorry… Thank you, Mai-chan.”
Oh well, what the heck? I’m glad it turned out to be satisfactory for both of them.
I don’t want them to get on the wrong side of each other here, and to tell the truth, I was a little concerned about this.
I’ll get right to the point.
”So, Miyajima. What do you want to talk about?”
”Yes, I want you to take a look at this.”
Saying that, she held out her cell phone to me. On the screen was a text message.
Oh, what a déjà vu.
[☆Breaking News ☆ Kitami seems to be causing trouble for various people again! No sign of remorse!]
Once again, slander and defamation.
”I’ve been getting these e-mails again, and the sender is, well…”
She scrolls down the screen and shows me.
On the screen was written [Itakura@zmail.com].
”No way…Mizuki, why…”
Fukumura next to me was even more shocked than I was.
Well, so be it. Maybe there was some hope that she might understand, you know?
”There’s something else…”
”Not just this?”
Miyajima then showed me a couple of similar e-mails.
”I thought it would be a good idea to let you know,”
“Yeah, that’d be great. Thanks.”
After that, Miyajima left immediately. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I let her go.
I have a part-time job after this, and I don’t think she would have wanted to stay here without any other reason. But if I don’t encourage Miyajima to leave, it will be hard for her to go back home.
Fukumura left the store with Miyajima. I’m sure they’ll have a lot to talk about later.
” Senpai, have a good night.”
”Hmm? Yeah, thanks.”
There was still some time before I was to start my shift, so I relaxed a little, and then Sakakibara brought me some tea.
”The manager told me to take it easy since there are no customers here right now.”
“Oh, I’ll have to thank him later.”
Sakakibara put the tea for both of us on the desk and sat down next to me.
“It’s fine. No need to thank him. It is for that time.”
“Oh, you mean about the misunderstanding?”
That misunderstanding about me getting fired. Isn’t that too much of a stretch?
”It’s okay! Because Senpai wasn’t the only one who was shocked.”
”… Eh? Not just me?”
Does that mean Sakakibara was shocked, too?
“Well, if you don’t drink soon, it’ll get cold. Or maybe you don’t need to be warm in this temperature.”
I feel like I’ve been somewhat left out of the conversation, but that’s okay.
The reason why I’m feeling more and more relaxed now is probably due in part to the fact that it’s getting warmer and warmer.
” It’s warm, isn’t it?
”… Yes, it is.”
But I was well aware that that was probably not the only reason.
＜From Maika Fukumura’s point of view>
I was walking alone toward the station with my former friend, Kana, whom I had met again.
I heard that Kitami had a part-time job after this. We both came out of the restaurant because we didn’t want to stay too long.
My house is opposite the station, but it’s not that far away, and I wanted to talk to her more than anything.
”—I’m sorry it turned out to be such a reunion.”
Kana said to me with a mysterious look on her face.
It is true that the reunion was far from ideal.
”It’s okay, I don’t mind. I mean, you seem really remorseful.”
I could tell just by talking to her a little today.
She regrets. About her past deeds, about the sins she has committed.
She is acting on that regret. Even I can understand that this is not an easy thing to do.
Besides, Kitami is accepting Kana’s actions. It’s no use for me to complain about it.
”—He’s a mysterious person, isn’t he?”
”… Mysterious person?”
He, of course, means Kitami.
“Yes, he is. I thought he resented me more than I resented him. I thought he wouldn’t accept me at all, that he would reject me outright.”
Not true. I was going to say that.
But the words never came out. I swallowed the words.
”Yes, that may be true.”
No, that’s not it. I didn’t really think so.
He has changed. He’s just more relaxed than before.
It’s not that he’s immune to pain. He just looks away.
In fact, he said, “It was painful.”
The truth is, he’s hurting and grieving as much as anyone else.
Otherwise, he would not have been able to recognize the pain I was feeling.
He just doesn’t show it.
That’s what I thought.
I wonder if his concern for my situation is just an attempt to distract me from his own pain.
In other words, I think he wants to think that he is helping himself by helping me, who is in a similar situation (worsening my position due to rumors and misunderstandings).
Because helping others sometimes means helping yourself.
I, who talked to Kitami in the past, felt the same regret as for “that girl.”
In other words, I wonder if he is trying to put himself in her shoes.
This means, he is trying to help “someone in a similar situation to himself”.
I am not special, no.
There is a reason why I thought that.
Because the eyes he was looking at Kana were very kind.
To put it simply, I was jealous.
Kitami accepts and talks to her as if nothing is wrong. I was jealous of Kana receiving it.
That’s right. He is kind to everyone. Not just to me.
But I didn’t want to admit it.
”Kitami is a bit of a loose end.”
So I deceived her. I lied.
I should have said it was because he was really kind. I should have told her that he felt my pain and that I was sad, but I couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t. If I called him, Kitami, a kind person, my specialness would disappear.
And I am disgusted by my own thoughts, filled with such selfishness.
After parting with her at the station, I went straight home and immediately got ready for bed.
I wanted to fall asleep as soon as possible. I could not endure any more self-loathing.