[Maika PoV whole chapter]
Behind that smile, I wonder what child was thinking.
With what intention did that child put on that smile?
Who knows. Was it something that came naturally?
Am I smiling right now?
It was Tuesday when Emi came to school.
Everyone seemed to be worried about Emi, but I could not honestly worry about her.
My distrust of Emi was that strong.
The possibility that Kitami was just a perpetrator was now completely ruled out in my mind.
I could not grasp the situation. Nevertheless, I could not believe that Emi was just a victim by the way she was acting.
Perhaps seeing such an attitude of mine, the change came abruptly.
“I don’t know what’s going on with Maika , but I heard she is being shunned right now.”
I heard it. She probably didn’t even notice I was there. I happened to hear the conversation.
It wasn’t that I was being shunned. I just didn’t talk to Emi, but I wasn’t being kept away from her.
However, this conversation must have spread to many places, and even my friends who I usually talk to in the classroom were distancing themselves from me.
I don’t think they were just waiting for it to spread.
In other words, it was intentional. Clearly, malicious intent.
Why? The answer had already occurred to me.
（It was probably Emi…)
It was the only thing I could think of. There was no other way to think of it.
It was more like “I knew it,” than “Why”
I knew there were things she didn’t want me to know, or so I thought.
But I wanted to know. I wanted to know what it was.
But he drew a line. A line between where I was now standing and where he was standing.
I stepped into that line. So here I am.
Perhaps he was afraid of this. I understand now after all of this.
I am sure he knew this would happen if I stepped in.
As I thought, he was being kind.
In the end, my heart was moved to know that he was not only thinking of his own reasons, but also of mine.
That made me feel sorry for him. I had easily fallen into the situation he had feared.
I had disrespected his kindness.
Is it regret that floats in this chest?
If so, I don’t want to admit it.
I don’t want to deny what I felt when I saw his smiling face.
Am I smiling now?
Even though I am alone, am I still able to laugh naturally?
I never left the classroom. I was afraid of the stares from others, so I plopped down on my desk.
The world did not find me like that. The world did not see me.
There is no salvation without doing something.
But it takes courage to act.
It is very difficult to face mistakes alone.
That’s why, I won’t give up on myself.
I will never give in to this kind of thing.
—–Is what I thought.
The next day, Wednesday morning.
The desks had been moved around a bit.
They had moved my seat so that it was a little further away from the seats around me.
I knew immediately that it was a prank, that someone was playing a trick on me, and that it was malicious.
That was all it was. That was all it took to break my heart.
It may seem like a tiny bit of malice, but it was that tiny bit that made my heart give in so easily.
I realized that I couldn’t take it anymore.
I left early that day.
I couldn’t even smile.