I left Miyamoto-san at the entrance and before first period started, I was sitting in my seat, second from the back by the wall by the door, opening a book recommended by a senpai in the library.
“Good morning. Shota.”
“Oh, good morning.””
“‘…… unusual. You are reading a book at school. It’s a very thick book.”
Yuki arrives just before first period starts, puts down his bag, and pulls out a pencil case and other things from inside it.
“Oh, this is something that a second-year Senpai recommended to me in the library.”
“Do you know a sophomore Senpai……?”
“No, I don’t know Senpai.”
“What the hell?”
Well, it’s not every day that a complete stranger recommends such a thick book to me, and that’s the reaction I’d expect.
“So, is it interesting?”
” Hmmm………, well, I guess so.”
“What’s with the subtlety?
Well, it was interesting. I think it’s one of the top books I’ve read so far since I started high school.
……, Even if you ask me if it’s good enough to recommend to strangers, ……. No, I guess my expectations were too high. There was no doubt that it was interesting. But it was also a bit disappointing, that’s my honest impression.
So, as I flip through the book, I’m thinking about what I should say about it. I can never say to someone whose name I don’t even know, “It was a little disappointing,” and since the book was recommended to me, I might as well give a good impression.
“I was asked to tell her what I thought of the book, so I wondered what I should do.”
“Feedback? You don’t even know her? ….More and more I’m thinking, “What the heck is that? I mean, isn’t something fishy?”
“Hmm…..She didn’t seem suspicious, and she’s probably fine. I don’t know how to say this to a senior, but she had a quiet sort of vibe.”
“……Well, be careful, okay?”
“I’ll be fine.”
Since Yuki has arrived and first period is about to start soon, I put away the books I had taken out into my bag. I’ve also pretty much settled on what I’m going to say, so let’s go to the library after school today.
“…… quiet …… maybe that Senior girl?”
“Oh ……, I see”
While we were talking like that, the first period teacher comes in, even though the chime for the start of class has not yet rung. The teacher seems to be very tired and looks a little pale.
…… Aah, it’s because of the grading of the exams. The time period between the return of answers is shorter at the end of the semester than at the beginning of the semester, and the teacher must have been very busy. It’s tough being a teacher. ……
“Eh!? Ishikawa’s birthday has passed?!”
It’s lunchtime now. We are all gathered in the cafeteria having lunch. Miyamoto-san and I are eating our lunch boxes, Yuki is buying ramen noodles from the cafeteria, and Obata-san is eating a loaf of bread.
Miyamoto-san brought up the subject of my birthday, and Obata-san responded, and then Yuki responded to the volume of his voice.
“Besides, June 4 is …… a weekday! It was a normal school day!”
“But I forgot that it was my birthday that day.”
The three of them looked at me with a slightly disappointed expression when I said that with a little laugh.
The only reason I realized it was my birthday that day was because my mother had sent me a message. Well, I guess she sends them whenever there is an event like this, so I guess she sends them out of some sort of obligation.
“Eeh, ……. Do you usually forget your birthday ……? You remember my age, right? Are you okay?”
“No, I’m not that old, I wouldn’t forget my age.”
I remember my grandfather saying, “I wonder how old I am this year,” though he has passed away already.
“But I didn’t realize Shota’s birthday had past already. …… I mean, I don’t know the birthdays of all of you. What day?”
“I’m March 21!”
“Oh, I’m November 5th.”
“And I’m August 18th, and Shota’s June 4th.”
It seems that the order is as follows: June 4 for me, August 18 for Yuki, November 5 for Miyamoto-san, and March 21 for Obata-san.
“Huh, Abe’s birthday is during the summer vacation.”
“Ou, besides, I’m going to have a hell of a birthday during the summer vacation because I’m soaked in extracurricular activities.”
“That’s tough. Good luck.”
“Oh. ……It’s already so hot these days that I feel like I’m going to collapse.”
The badminton club is hell in the summer. …… It is hot and stinks because of the waterfall of sweat, and it is very difficult. I miss the days when I used to envy the athletic clubs outside …….
“Well, let’s go out for karaoke again next time! I mean, it’s Ishikawa’s birthday party.”
“Eeh……? My birthday was a month ago, and that’s about it. ……. Let’s just be normal if we’re going to go there.”
“Well, well. Let me buy you a drink at the bar.”
“Is that a thank you?”
When I looked at Yuki, he was nodding yes, and Miyamoto-san was looking down while mumbling something beside Obata-san.
…… what is she saying?
After finishing up until 6th period, Yuki headed to club activities.
Now ……, I’m a little nervous, but let’s head to the library. ……
After arriving at the library, I looked around.
………….. Not here, not here. Well, she said she’s always here after school, so I guess I’ll just wait a bit and she’ll come.
With that in mind, I sat down and opened the recommended book again.
While I was looking at the book, I saw someone sitting in front of me. I looked up and saw that it was my senpai sitting there.
“Ah, hello. Senpai.”
“Ah, I-I’m sorry for interrupting you. ……”
“Eh? No, I was waiting for you, Senpai, so it wasn’t a disturbance at all. ……”
If I hadn’t noticed and read it, I would have wasted an awful lot of time. …… Well, I don’t have anything to do today, so it’s not a problem at all.
“Eh, have you read it already?”
“Yeah, well ……. And what I think of it. ……”
“Oh, yes. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!”
I cannot tell if the senpai’s eyes are shining …… because I can’t see her eyes well, but I can tell from the tone of her voice that she is expecting a lot.
“——-and my impression is something like this”
When I finished saying what I thought of the psychological portrayal of that scene, how this development was, and many other things, Senpai looked surprised …… I wonder if this is a surprise expression. I can’t quite read her expression, but she was probably frozen with a look of surprise on her face.
“Y-yes! W-What is it?!”
“No, my impression is something like this……”
“T-thank you! I didn’t expect you to give me such solid thoughts, so I was surprised. ……”
“I-I see. …… Thank you for introducing me to such an interesting book. I’m going to go now. Excuse me.”
“Ah, ……, uhm! If you don’t mind, I’d like to recommend this book to you. ……”
I returned the book I had and was about to borrow another appropriate book to go home, when I was told the same thing as before.
Eh, you’re going to recommend me again ……? Well, the book I have now was interesting in its own way, and that’s fine, but it’s a hassle to think about my impressions every time I ……. I mean, why is she recommending me so many books? As Yuki said, is there some purpose to it?
“Oh, no, I’m sorry. I was annoying you, right …… I’m really sorry.”
Perhaps because of my less-than-enthusiastic reaction, Senpai is visibly depressed.
…… No, it’s not so much that it’s annoying, but …….
(“Be as kind as possible. Kindness will always come back to you.”)
…… Well, it’s not that I don’t like it, in fact, I feel like she the one being nice to me.
“I’m sorry. I’m just a little surprised. May I read that book?”
“Y-Yes, of course. G-Go ahead!”
At a glance, it seemed to be less text compared to the previous book. I think I can read it today and tomorrow.
….Come to think of it, I didn’t think I’d have to ask if it was the only time, but I guess I should.
“Yes, w-what is it?”
“Uhm,……, my name is Shota Ishikawa, and I’m a first-year student. And……”
“Ah ……, my name is Aya Tokisaki. ……. Tokisaki is written like Miyasaki. I have been living in Japan for two years. I’m looking forward to working with you. Ishikawa-kun.”
“Nice to meet you, too. Tokisaki-senpai.”
I am surprised that she even teaches me Kanji characters. …… Should I teach her kanji too? No, I don’t need it.
“I’ll be back later.”
“Y-yes. I’ll be waiting!”
……There was no particular reaction when I asked her my name, so I guess it’s safe to say that the rumors about me are only circulating within the school year. …… No, it’s a little rude, but Tokisaki-senpai doesn’t seem to have a very wide range of relationships, so I don’t know.
Well, alright. Sumika hasn’t gotten involved with me since the midterm exam last semester, and I don’t feel uncomfortable except for the way she looks around me when I’m with Miyamoto-san and the others. The “quiet and calm life” I had hoped for is passing me by. I can’t say that I’m not alert, but it’s not good to be more tense than necessary either.
I don’t think this peace and quiet will be disrupted by Tokisaki-senpai.
I returned the book I had borrowed, picked up the newly recommended book, and went home.