[Third person view]
“I’m not mad at you, but it’s wrong to steal from people. You know that, don’t you? So let’s apologize honestly. Okay?” (Himiyama)
She spoke softly as if to instruct him, and Sanjoji-sensei almost nodded her head “yes”. The seductive and sweet sound of her words made Sanjoji’s earholes tremble, but Yukito Kokonoe denied it without hesitation.
“It wasn’t me.” (Yuki)
“Then why was it in Kokonoe’s desk?” (Himiyama)
“I don’t know.” (Yuki)
Since he really didn’t know, he could only answer that way.
The education intern in front of Sanjoji has a puzzled look on her face.
It should have been over with a simple apology from the boy named Yukito Kokonoe. In fact, she wasn’t angry at all, she was just happy that he was paying attention to her. That’s why the education intern, Misaki Himiyama, was beginning to regret the way she had treated him in the classroom without consideration.
“Mou! Kokonoe-kun. Why don’t you tell us honestly? What you’ve done is theft, just like shoplifting. It’s a crime. When you grow up, the police will arrest you for it!” (Sanjoji)
“I see. But I’m not the one who did it.” (Yuki)
“Ryoka-Sensei, please calm down. I’m not angry, and I’m sure Kokonoe will understand if I tell him. Right?” (Himiyama)
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I didn’t do it.” (Yuki)
“Admit it honestly! I’ll call your parents!” (Sanjoji)
“Go ahead.” (Yuki)
The boy in front of them was completely calm, even though Ryoka Sanjoji raised her voice. He seemed to be completely unaware that he had done anything wrong. Children need to be taught to distinguish between right and wrong. A teacher is not just a person who teaches studies.
Ryoka Sanjoji believed that it was her duty as a teacher to help and guide the children to grow up and lead a better life and a brighter future. And the first step to that is in elementary school.
Elementary school teachers need to treat their students like family in a sense. Unlike in the upper grades, where students become more aware of living in a group and of hierarchical relationships, this tendency becomes stronger in the lower grades.
The personal belongings of Misaki Himiyama, who had come to this class as an intern, were found in Yukito Kokonoe’s desk. It was discovered when it fell out of Yukito Kokonoe’s desk while the students were carrying it during cleaning time. It wasn’t anything expensive and it wasn’t something she needed to be without. It was just a small compact with a mirror on it that could not even be called a makeup tool.
She guessed his motive was that he was curious about Misaki Himiyama, so he picked up her personal belongings. Teachers are special to boys and girls in the impressionable years of early elementary school, just as they sometimes call their teachers their mothers. It is not surprising that they have a faint liking for them.
That’s why, at first, both Ryoka Sanjoji and Misaki Himiyama had such a light perception of him. After class, she asked him in SH on his way home. He just had to say one word, “I’m sorry,” and she would laugh and pat him on the head, saying, “Don’t do it again.” That was the end of it. It wasn’t supposed to be a trivial incident, something to laugh about.
However, contrary to her plan, he denied it outright. He refused to admit that he was at fault at all. This was a different story. As an educator, she has to guide her students in the right direction. As long as Yukito Kokonoe doesn’t realize that stealing from others is wrong, he might repeat the same thing in the future.
If that happens, his life will become a dark and guilty one. As his homeroom teacher and educator, Ryoka Sanjoji had a sense of mission to not let that happen, and Misaki Himiyama felt the same way.
That’s what they keep telling him, but no matter how many times they say it, he never apologized. On the contrary, he refuses to admit his crime. Gradually, she became irritated and raised her voice, but Yukito Kokonoe took it in stride and kept his face expressionless.
“I’ll really contact them! Is that okay?” (Sanjoji)
“You’re so persistent.” (Yuki)
“Ryoka-sensei, you don’t have to go that far.……” (Himiyama)
“If we can’t make him listen to us, then we have to ask his parents to scold him. What Kokonoe-kun did is a crime. If he continues like this, he will surely have a hard time in the future.” (Sanjoji)
“Misaki-sensei, your kindness is a virtue, but it’s not enough to be a teacher. You want to be a good teacher, don’t you?” (Sanjoji)
“Yes……. I love children.” (Himiyama)
“Then you have to be very careful.” (Sanjoji)
“Yes, it’s……. I really didn’t want to make it this important, but……” (Himiyama)
They were still in the middle of SH. All of his classmates were still in the classroom. As the SH session dragged on, Hinagi was waiting outside the classroom with an anxious expression on her face.
“Did you finish your story? I want to go home as soon as possible because Hi-chan is waiting for me.” (Yuki)
“I’m not finished! Just admit it!” (Sanjoji)
“What do I have to admit?” (Yuki)
“Kokonoe-kun, you know. It’s wrong to steal people’s things. What you’ve done is stealing. It’s very wrong.” (Sanjoji)
“I’ve heard it before, and I didn’t do it, so I don’t know what to say.” (Yuki)
“Misaki-sensei, let’s contact his parents.” (Sanjoji)
“Ryoka-sensei……. Is that the only way……” (Himiyama)
“Can I go now? Hi-chan is waiting for me, so I’m going home.” (Yuki)
The SH, which was supposed to be over soon, took a turn for the worse and began to be filled with unrest. Some people, perhaps bored with the prolonged SH, began to shout “Thief, thief!” By now, Ryoka Sanjoji and Misaki Himiyama were beginning to completely regret talking about it here. A complete blunder.
Elementary school children are very sensitive. What was supposed to be a trivial event that ended right there and then, became deeply ingrained in the memories of their classmates because it took so long. If such a mindset of “Yukito Kokonoe is a thief” spreads in the class, there is a risk that it will lead to bullying.
They should have called him into the staff room or an empty classroom and dealt with him individually. It was impossible for him not to be hurt by being exposed in this way. He must be deeply hurt even if he feigns a blank expression. It was a mistake to ask him to admit it in front of his classmates. If they had asked him alone in another place, he might have admitted it honestly. Sanjoji thought he was just being stubborn. He was just embarrassed. She is painfully aware that it was our lack of response that made him do so.
Ryoka Sanjoji was still just an inexperienced teacher. There was no way she could have done everything right. She clucked her tongue inwardly at her own lack of understanding. She had no choice but to decide that it was not a good idea to continue pursuing the matter.
“Kokonoe-kun, go home and ask your parents what went wrong.” (Sanjoji)
It’s not that Sanjoji doesn’t like Yukito Kokonoe. He’s her precious, precious pupil. He is a boy with a future. In fact, she is doing this out of concern for him. Ryoka Sanjoji and Misaki Himiyama gazed at the back of Yukito Kokonoe as he walked out of the classroom, hoping that he would understand their feelings.
“I’m sorry, Hi-chan. I’m late.” (Yuki)
“No, it’s okay. It’s okay. But that’s terrible! Yu-chan would never do something like that!” (Hinagi)
He doesn’t know the whole story, but Hinagi was watching the whole thing from the hallway, and she was angrily buzzing her left hand up and down, the opposite of the right hand she was holding. She seemed to be expressing her anger.
“Do you believe me, Hi-chan?” (Yuki)
“Of course I do! We’ve known each other since childhood. I know that Yu-chan would never do such a bad thing.” (Hinagi)
“Thank you, Hi-chan.” (Yuki)
Yukito Kokonoe’s heart lightened at the expression on her face as she smiled.
“I don’t know why it was inside of my desk. ……” (Yuki)
“I don’t know. I wonder if the person who picked it up thought it was Yu-chan’s?” (Hinagi)
“Yes. But only girls have that kind of thing, right?” (Yuki)
“Mama has one, too!” (Hinagi)
It was always the two of them going to and from school. As they walked, talking about trivial things, they soon reached their destination. The usual routine. Even so, Yukito Kokonoe loved this time. He thought it was very important.
Suddenly, he felt something stuck in his mind and stopped walking.
“What’s wrong, Yu-chan?” (Hinagi)
“Misaki-sensei told me it disappeared after school yesterday.” (Yuki)
“Is that so?” (Hinagi)
“Yeah. But that’s strange. I went home with Hi-chan yesterday, just like this.” (Yuki)
“We played in the park together.” (Hinagi)
“Then I couldn’t have stolen it, right?” (Yuki)
If the compact was stolen yesterday after school, it is impossible for him to do that.
“That’s right! Yu-chan was with me.” (Yuki)
“When I was going home with Hi-chan, we passed by the usual store. We also met Yamamoto’s grandfather.” (Hinagi)
If he walked along a busy street, he would have met many different people. There are neighbors walking their dogs, shopkeepers, strangers, and acquaintances. If that’s the case, all the people he met yesterday would prove that he was not the culprit.
“I’ll make a record of my activities when I get back.” (Yuki)
“Did you come up with something else, Yu-chan?” (Hinagi)
“Yes. Hi-chan, I can’t play with you today, okay?” (Yuki)
“I’ll help you!” (Hinagi)
“Don’t worry, Hi-chan. It won’t take too long and it’s getting late, so let’s play some other time.” (Yuki)
“I see.……” (Hinagi)
Her twin-tails drooped down as if to show her emotion. Hinagi was a very easy girl to understand.
When he arrived home, the hands that had been clasped regretfully let go of each other.
A faint feeling of loneliness came over him. The warmth of her hands, which was slightly higher in body temperature, seemed to tell him that it was okay for him to be here and that he didn’t have to disappear. That’s why Yukito Kokonoe loved this time.
“Bye, Hi-chan. See you tomorrow.” (Yuki)
“Yeah. Yu-chan, bye!” (Hinagi)
All he could think was that he wished they could hold hands forever.
[Third person view]
It was after 8:00 p.m. when the phone rang.
Yukito Kokonoe knew what it was about. His mother, Ouka Kokonoe, was also home.
While receiving the phone call, Ouka Kokonoe’s expression gradually became confused. There was no doubt in his mind that the person on the other end of the line was her homeroom teacher, Ryoka Sanjoji.
His older sister, Yuri Kokonoe, was also watching the scene with a suspicious expression.
When the call ended, Ouka spoke up curiously. To begin with, they do not have many conversations at home. On the contrary, they rarely talked except for what was necessary.
And it was all because of Ouka Kokonoe, and she was aware of it. Perhaps that’s why she doesn’t know how to treat or talk to her beloved son, Yukito Kokonoe. She doesn’t know how to deal with this child.
That’s why she makes mistakes.
Even though she never meant it and that’s not what she wanted to say.
“Yukito, you know. It was the homeroom teacher on the phone. Did you steal something from the teacher who was there for training?” (Mother)
“Like what” (Yuri)
Yuri muttered, wrinkling her brow and making no attempt to hide her swashbuckling nature.
“I didn’t steal it.” (Yuki)
“But that’s what the teacher said. What happened today? Can you tell me? If there’s something you want, just let me know. I’ll buy you anything you want. Just don’t steal anything, okay?” (Mother)
“No, that’s–!” (Yuri)
As if in a panic, Yuri tried to stop something, but to no avail.
“I see. I knew you wouldn’t believe me.” (Yuki)
Yukito Kokonoe muttered to himself. It was just a matter of fact.
There was no inflection, no emotion, just the usual Yukito Kokonoe.
However, when Ouka and Yuri heard those words, they clearly understood that it was a mistake. They realized that they had made another mistake. It was obvious that the first step they needed to take was to use the right words.
“I’m sorry for the trouble I caused you. But I didn’t steal anything, and I don’t want anything. I’ll fix it right away.” (Yuki)
He sat up from the living room and went back to his room.
“W-wait! You’ve got it wrong. I just want to hear what you have to say, I didn’t mean to doubt you—!” (Mother)
“Yukito, I believe you! I know you wouldn’t do something like that.” (Yuri)
“You don’t have to force yourself to believe me.” (Yuki)
“I’m not forcing myself! I’ll always believe in you!” (Yuri)
“Is that so. Thank you very much.” (Yuki)
His attitude was contrary to his words. The back of his head rejected any more words as he walked away. Only emptiness remains in the place.
Without knowing what had happened, they could only be stunned.
Maybe if I had believed him from the beginning, he would have told me something. Maybe he would have asked for help. He said he didn’t steal anything. So what does that mean? Different opinions?
That is exactly what I should have asked my son, and it was my role as a parent to fill in the gaps. Nevertheless, I assumed that my son stole it. As a mother, I had to be on his side, but I betrayed him in this way again.
It was too late to regret it. “I knew you wouldn’t believe me.” he muttered. I wondered if he thought that I, his mother, would believe him from the beginning. And in fact, he did not believe me. I could only think cynically that my son knew me very well.
“Why do you always, always, always!” (Yuri)
Angry, Yuri also went to her room.
Yuri’s frustration is unmanageable. Yuri is also suffering from a serious injury.
The family relationship is broken.
I’m the one who created it, there’s no family reunion, I can’t even express my true feelings at any time, and I’m always spinning my wheels even though I love him so much.
“He will have it sorted out in no time.…… What am I going to do?” (Mother)
My son has always been a man of his word. I have no idea what’s going on and I’m sure he’s going to end up with it all by himself again. He doesn’t rely on me, which he doesn’t trust in anyway. If that’s the case, what am I here for? What can I do for him?
“What can I do for you if you can’t even trust me? ……” (Mother)
How helpless can a mother be?
When I mentioned the name of my sweet boy, there was no one here to answer.
I couldn’t help but make a weird pointing pose.
I made a record of yesterday’s activities by writing them down from memory on a spare piece of drawing paper. I wrote down in detail what I was doing, where I was, and who I was with at that time of the day, not just after school. This way I would know that I wasn’t the culprit, and if I asked the people I met from time to time, it would be clear that I couldn’t have stolen anything after school.
He didn’t know who had put it in his desk and for what purpose, but he knew it wasn’t him, and that was enough for him.
“I have Hi-chan to thank for this.” (Yuki)
The reason I decided to make something like this is because my childhood friend, Hinagi Suzurikawa, believed in me. She was the only one who believed in me. So I wanted to prove my innocence.
This world is always full of enemies.
Still, if there is just one person who believes in me, I can live.
A precious person is like a jewel that exists in only one grain in the desert. The warmth of the hand he held is the only reason why Yukito Kokonoe has not given up on living like this.
Yukito Kokonoe, who was about to fall asleep feeling good that he had solved the problem, did not know.
Malicious intent is always going on unnoticed, and it never escapes him.