“You should go out with me.”
It must have been around July of my first year of junior high school, when a popular girl in my class confessed to me. I had no interest in love at the time, so I refused.
Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea, but from the next day on, my classmates started to blatantly avoid me. I think it was probably because of the girl who I had rejected. I remember being quite shocked, because I thought I was getting along with all my classmates.
After a while of being ignored by almost all my classmates, rumors started to circulate that I had cheated on tests, that I enjoyed hitting on girls, and that I had gotten into trouble for violence in elementary school. My test scores were good, because I studied hard, and there were two girls who confessed their love to me besides the popular girl in my class, but I thought I rejected them with sincerity. Regarding the violence in elementary school – I was the victim.
However, the rumors spread as if they were true, probably because my test scores were good, I had rejected girls, and the problem of violence in elementary school itself existed. I immediately reported it to my homeroom teacher, who warned everyone about it, and it soon died down.
Even so, I was completely out of place in the class, and was treated as an object. It was my childhood friend Sumika and my best friend Ryosuke Tachibana who supported me in such times. Ryosuke had been my best friend since the third grade, and we had always been close.
They didn’t seem to know about the bullying, because they were in different classes and the bullying was short-lived, but they often came to me to cheer me up when I had no one to talk to in class. Both of them were in the same badminton club as me, so I was never alone in the club activities.
After telling me this much, Yuki makes a comment.
“Eh, you and Hosokawa-san are childhood friends?”
“Yes. Our parents live across the street from each other.”
“Seriously, ……. Oh, but where did this rumor come from?”
“That’s part of what I’m going to talk about later.”
“…… Was Shota that popular?”
“Well, yeah. …… I had three confessions by summer in my first year of middle school.”
“Isn’t that amazing?”
I continued my story.
Even in the second year of junior high school, the rumors did not disappear completely, and I was still isolated from the rest of the class. However, it wasn’t too much of a bother since I was in the same class as my best friend Ryosuke when I changed classes in the second year of junior high school.
At that time, I was getting along well with Sumika and Ryosuke, but one day after the summer vacation, something big happened. Well, maybe it’s not that big, but rather common.
I remembered that I had left something in the classroom after club activities. As I approached the room, I heard voices. It was the familiar voice of Sumika and someone who seemed to be her friend.
“No, we’re not! Shota and I are childhood friends!”
“Huh? That’s why you’re on good terms?
“That’s right! I’m a childhood friend, so I can’t help it, I’m just getting along.”
Well, she just made fun of me for being her childhood friend, It’s true, but it was quite a painful event for me, as Sumika and Ryosuke were the only people I could talk to, outside of my family. After that, it became harder for me to talk to Sumika, and when we did see each other, it was just to greet each other.
“…… I guess it’s time to go.”
“Ah, yes, it is.”
“I have one more thing I want to talk about. …… What are your plans for today?”
“Can we talk after school? I don’t have club activities today.”
When I entered the classroom, I was naturally met with cold stares, but some of them looked surprised, why?
“You know, you cleaned the dirt off your uniform earlier, but there’s still a scar on your cheek.”
Oh, I see. I looked around the classroom and saw quite a few people giving me surprised and pitying looks. When I was in middle school, over 80 percent of the time I was spending my time in dumpsters – not like it was my choice, but in high school, it seems to be different. …… Why is Sumika on the surprised side of the reactions? You’re the one who made him do it.
“You don’t have to worry about it.”
“No, I’d really like to send you to the infirmary.. …… At least go wash your face.”
I don’t need to go to the infirmary for this. ……. Well, I’m just gonna go wash my face..
“I’ll be back in a few minutes.”