I’m on my way home after watching the fireworks. The area around the summer festival site was full of people, but as I moved away from the site, the number of people gradually decreased. There were only a few people around now.
The summer festival was over in the blink of an eye. I was hoping to have some more fun.
“You’ve been eating all day besides the target shooting at the beginning. Don’t you have eaten enough already?”
I bought all kinds of food before the fireworks went off, but nearly half of it was eaten by Aikawa. The way he ate while ignoring the fireworks was more dango than flower. As expected of an athletic club, I suppose.
“I can barely eat anymore. Maybe I can eat a little more if it’s light.”
“You can still eat…”
I was amazed at Aikawa, who was watching Fujibayashi and Miyamoto walking ahead of him and muttering about how he might take some of the Wagashi they were eating. I don’t know if he’s going to gain weight and have to lose it.
[TL: Wagashi (和菓子, wa-gashi) are traditional Japanese confections that are often served with green tea, especially the types made of mochi, anko (azuki bean paste), and fruit. Wagashi are typically made from plant-based ingredients.]
We walked in silence for a while. From a little while ago, I could hear the voices of Fujibayashi and Miyamoto chatting over wagashi. I’m glad they’re having fun.
“…… Hey Renya, did you have fun today?”
“It was fun.”
Aikawa, who had been silent for a while, opened his mouth. It’s not a lie that I had fun. Although it’s not as good as when I was a kid. I didn’t say it out loud, though.
I know I sound like a wimp, but I can’t seem to get over the past. Even though I think I’m over it, I keep comparing myself to the past.
(It’s like a curse now…)
When I was wondering if I could break the curse, Aikawa exhaled as if he was relieved to hear me say that it was fun.
“I’m glad you enjoyed it. I was afraid you might not want to come.”
“What we’ve done is unforgivable. Renya said you forgave us, but I also understand that that doesn’t mean we can go back to that time. Fujibayashi and Miyamoto seem to want to go back to those days, as well.”
“But I don’t want us to drift apart like this either. So, Renya, it doesn’t matter if we can’t go back to the way things were. Why don’t we build a new relationship from scratch? I don’t care if it’s in a different way than back then, I want the four of us childhood friends to spend time together. Just like today.”
I didn’t think Aikawa was thinking about this. I thought you were thinking nothing of it.
“…… I can’t answer that right now.”
It’s okay to go out and have fun like today. As long as it’s a dry relationship. That is, if I feel like it. But the new relationship Aikawa is talking about must be a deep one. That makes me hesitant.
If I were to deepen the relationship and build trust again, I don’t know if I would be able to stay sane if that trust were to be broken. That’s why I’m hesitant.
“…… I see.”
That’s what Aikawa said when he heard my answer. I don’t know what kind of feelings were put into that one word.
“It’s good if the four of us can get together once in a while. Unlike Fujibayashi and Miyamoto, I’m happy with that.”
That’s a new relationship, right? Aikawa laughed. As if to say that this is the end of the conversation, I talk along with Aikawa, who talks about trivial things.
I don’t know what Aikawa is thinking inside, but I don’t have the right to ask him.
“Aah, my shoelaces are untied.”
A few minutes into our conversation, which had taken a turn from seriousness to insignificance. Aikawa noticed that his shoelaces were untied. I stopped at the same time. Fujibayashi and Miyamoto, who had carefully kept their distance while the conversation was going on, didn’t notice that we had stopped and continued walking.
While Aikawa was tying his shoelaces, I had nothing better to do, so I looked around and noticed a car approaching us. As I looked at the car, I wondered why it was wandering back and forth from side to side.
(Is there a drunk behind the wheel?).
This is an intersection with traffic lights, and Aikawa and I are stopped in front of the intersection, but Fujibayashi and Miyamoto are entering the intersection because the light is green. The cars coming from the right side of us must have seen the red light, but it didn’t seem to slow down.
(OI OI OI! Didn’t you see the red light?)
The car didn’t slow down even when it got to the point where I thought I would have to slow down to stop at an intersection.
I thought this was a bad situation and started running towards Fujibayashi and Miyamoto. Regretting my late decision, I looked ahead and saw Fujibayashi and Miyamoto with their eyes wide open as they noticed a car coming from the right. I could hear the sound of braking, but it didn’t seem like it could stop.
（What do I do? Should I push them? No, it’s not like it’s a manga or anything, so pushing him won’t get me very far. If it’s nothing like a manga then I have to pull them.)
I decided that, so I ran up to them and grabbed their arms, which were standing on the ground in surprise, and pulled them so that they were in my position. They moved back just far enough so that they wouldn’t be hit by the car, but I couldn’t do the same as I ran forward.
（It’s over for me. But he stepped on the brake, so there’s a chance? I don’t know, it’s too abrupt. Well, I guess that’s what traffic accidents are like. It’s happening every day somewhere and no one thinks they’re going to get into an accident. I’m sure everyone who has been in an accident was stunned by the sudden turn of events. After all, life is absurd, isn’t it? But earlier, I was wondering how to deal with childhood friendships in the future, and now I’m wasting my time.
I mean, I was thinking of stopping the relationship, but I never thought I’d be heroic enough to take a stand and defend myself. Did I really care about my childhood friends in my heart? I don’t know, even though it’s me. I think I’ve been thinking too long.
I guess it’s true that time slows down when you’re on the verge of death. What would I say to them anyway, like in a manga? It’s standard practice to leave something behind when you’re dying. I’ll leave the rest to you?
What the hell? It’s a common line, but to be honest, it’s cursing someone, isn’t it? The person who is left behind will be tied to those words forever, right? See you later? If I say that and die, they won’t be able to see me again, and they’ll be traumatized. I mean, no matter what I say, I will curse them, right? Is there any clever word that won’t curse them? Ah…uuu…)
“I can’t think of any.”
With such a sound, I felt a shock on my body. The impact was less than I expected, probably because he had stepped on the brake. But when I fell, I felt like I hit the back of my head.
（I wonder if Fujibayashi and Miyamoto are okay…)
I managed to turn my gaze towards Fujibayashi and the others. Before I lost consciousness, I saw Fujibayashi and Miyamoto sitting in a state of shock, and Aikawa running towards me with an expression I had never seen before.