I, Ruri Fujibayashi, have three childhood friends who are good friends of mine. We met in preschool, and the four of us always hung out together. There were two boys and two girls, and at some point I began to develop not only friendship but also romantic feelings for Renya. The other girl seemed to like him as well, but even so, we remained close without getting into any kind of trouble. I thought that this friendship would last forever. Until that day.
Renya was caught molesting a child.
We didn’t believe that Renya had molested her. However, perhaps because he was taken to the police station, everyone around him believed it. Renya, the popular boy in the class, became an enemy in an instant. We tried to stay on his side, but it was difficult for the three of us, still in the second year of junior high school, to resist the peer pressure around us.
Even if we thought he was right, if we were constantly denied by many people, we would think that we were actually wrong. I thought that.
One day, I was waiting for the three of them in the classroom to go home with Renya when the teacher called us. That day, too, we were denied by those around us, and we were also overwhelmed. That’s why.
“…Actually, isn’t Renya a molester?”
“No, of course not.”
‘But everyone keeps saying that…”
“When you put it that way, it makes me think so…”
“Well, it hasn’t been decided yet.”
“That’s right, let’s believe him until he says he did it.”
“That’s right. If I could go back in time, I would have gone back to that time.”
If I could go back in time, I would punch the people we were back then. We can’t forgive the fact that we doubted Renya because we were mentally involved.
That day, even though I waited until it was time to leave school and the patrolling teacher asked me to go home, Renya did not show up.
The next day, I went to ask him why he had left before me yesterday.
“Renya, I waited for you all day yesterday, why did you leave?”
I will never forget the expression on Renya’s face as he turned to me in response to my question. It was a moment of anger and sadness at being betrayed by the one he had trusted, a moment of resignation, a deep breath, and then a blank expression as if he had let out all of his emotions. That day was the last time I saw Renya’s expression change.
He had a blank expression on his face, as if he had forgotten the friendliness he had been showing me.
“You don’t have to deal with me anymore. You guys think I molested her, don’t you? Then it’s better for both of us if you don’t get involved.”
When he said that, I stopped moving.
He’d heard us! He heard what we’d suspected too!
“You got it wrong! I don’t think you really did it!”
“I’m not mad at you, you don’t have to deny it. You have every right to be suspicious.”
I hurriedly denied it, but I couldn’t ignore what he said next, although I was baffled by Renya who said that it was natural to suspect him now after he had said so much that he hadn’t done it.
“I guess our relationship was only meant to fall apart over one thing.”
I was denied the relationship I’ve had for over a decade, and I just couldn’t help myself. And then, in anger.
“It’s your fault! You’re the one who molested her!”
In the quiet classroom, I regained my composure and looked at Renya, but there was no expression on his face. It is possible that the expression was one of resignation, but I was annoyed by the lack of any expression, and returned to my seat without apologizing.
The fact that Renya did not deny anything made people think that he had admitted to molesting her, and I was too awkward to apologize, and months passed by.
And as soon as I moved up to the third year, the girl who was supposedly molested by Renya was caught.