They say it was bullying, that a kid in class 3 died.
It was the spring of my eighth grade year.
One student committed suicide because of bullying at the junior high school she attended.
She was a girl in the next class, a girl whom I had attended the same junior high school for about two years but had never spoken to. I knew her name, but could not match her face.
This time it was reported on the news. I recognized the student’s face on TV.
She looked familiar. Sometimes when I went to school early for day duty or other duties, she was already at school and watering the flowerbeds.
I remember she smiled at me when her eyes met mine.
That was all. That was the only memory I had of her, but her death left a huge void in my heart.
I knew that if I had noticed it, I could have done something about it.
Of course, I knew. I knew it was no use talking about such things.
Still, her smile kept flashing back to me over and over.
I learned later. She had already been bullied at that time.
If that was the case, I wonder what kind of feelings that smile was filled with.
Wasn’t she appealing for help?
Or was she just acting stubbornly?
It is all unfounded imagination.
I’m just making assumptions about her feelings after the fact.
Whatever the case, I couldn’t forgive those who bullied her.
I didn’t even know the girl’s name, but I didn’t have any particular reason, but I couldn’t stop being angry.
I almost lost myself that day when I saw my friend being hurt by the way he shook her hand away.
No, I had lost it. In fact, I took my anger out on him.
I thought he was a jerk for suddenly doing that.
But the way I looked at him changed immediately.
The decisive moment was when Mizuki denounced him.
That look in his eyes that resembled resignation, that attitude.
More than anything, the way he stood there all by himself overlapped with that girl in my brain.
Something is there. Something out of the ordinary, something that Emi and Kitami both have.
When I realized this, I could not help but act.
I didn’t want to repeat the past.
A flimsy sense of justice. Numerous acts of rudeness.
Selfishly pushing kindness.
Who did I think I was?
I mistakenly thought I was in a position to save them. And I got in his way.
This is the junction. But one side of the road is closed.
This is the absolute pullout point that I had prepared for him.
I bit my small teeth at my inability to do anything.
I was aware that even that act was an ego, and still I had no choice but to weigh my own diminutive size.