Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
“So, y’know, my mom…”
I, Haruka Sakurai, listened to what my classmate had to say, but my mind was elsewhere. The events that took place today at school replayed in my mind constantly.
Today was the first time in a long time that I got to talk to Takkun…
Well, we talked, but it was only a little bit. To be honest it wasn’t even a real conversation. Still, passing by each other once in a while is a lot better than not talking at all.
… And you were looking at me, too.
I knew that because I was looking at him too. We even made eye contact a few times, though they were only brief moments… As I smiled at these little memories, one of my classmates noticed I wasn’t really there and approached me.
“Is something wrong, Sakurai-san?”
“Eh? No, no, it’s nothing.”
Ah, that was close, I got a bit carried away. I’ll be more careful.
While I was pulling myself together, one of them had an epiphany and looked at me. “… Which reminds me, what kind of relationship do you have with Aizawa-kun, Sakurai-san?”
“You said ‘Takkun’ as if you were close to him.”
“Ah… We’re childhood friends.” Though this feeling is one-sided on my part…
“Heeh… That’s nice, yeah.”
I could only smile amicably at them, but in all honesty, I just wanted to leave. From the very beginning, I wasn’t too excited about going on a get-together with my classmates all the way out to the shopping district… Well, it was because Takkun wasn’t here too.
However, I couldn’t just refuse their invitations, so I ended up following them to the second place. It was already 10 PM by this point.
… I really find this pushover part of me disgusting. It’s the reason why I hurt him in the first place.
No, it’s not my personality’s fault… It’s MY fault.
If only I was stronger on that fateful day, I would still be next to him now. My personality had nothing to do with it.
—It was during the second grade of junior high, and it was almost autumn. I was walking to school with him that day.
“Hey, what’s been going on with you recently?”
“You were thinking hard for a while…”
Exactly. Takkun often has something on his mind, and sometimes he even looks like he isn’t here. At first, I thought it was about his family since I heard he wasn’t getting along well with them, but that was a long time ago.
“… There’s a guy named Kakitani, right?” He suddenly asked me.
Kakitani-kun. I didn’t think that name would come up in this conversation… He’s a guy that repeatedly asked me to date him, but I’ve turned him down every single time… What’s up with him?
“That guy… How do I say this, umm, he repeatedly told me to stay away from you.”
So he did that to you…?
No matter what, I would never leave Takkun’s side. I promised I’d always be there for him. —I thought so while looking at the bracelet on my wrist. It was old, but it was my most precious treasure.
It was a symbol of our commitment to each other, our bond. And he wore it too, so he valued that promise as much as I did, I was sure of it.
“… What did you say then, Takkun?” I asked him.
“‘Never!’ is what I told him.”
“I see! That’s right!” Yeah, there’s no way we’re ever gonna be separated.
—Is what I thought back then.
“… What’s this?”
“Is something wrong? Eh—?!”
At the school, gates, when Takkun opened his shoe box, he raised that question. Curious, I looked over, and I saw—
“Tatsumi Aizawa is part of a gang. He’s a delinquent.”
A piece of paper had that written on it.
“Haah… Are you really going that far?”
“Takkun, this is going to the teacher, it says…”
“It’s okay. I don’t care.”
But I care. Despite what you tell me, I care.
“… Don’t even think about it.” He quickly picked on my thoughts.
“It’s about you. I thought you might plan to confront Kakitani…”
“It’s fine. If it’s only this much, I’ll be all right.”
“… Okay,” I answered, but I still wasn’t convinced.
—He told me he’d be alright, and I believed in his words. In hindsight, I should’ve tried to do something right then and there…
“… What is it?”
“You sure you’re part of a gang? You a good fighter?”
“… What are you—!”
And the boy who came up to Takkun smacked his face.
“Hahaha! What the hell, you’re small fry!”
“… Haah…” He sighed at his provocation.
“…‘Haah’? What are you sighing for? I’m so sick of you—!”
And that same boy hit him again with a louder smack, and Takkun fell down.
… This has been going on for a while. At first, it was just threatening letters, but from there, things just escalated. Postings online, group harassment, and finally it exploded into full-blown violence.
The boys were directly violent, while the girl just laughed insidiously at the whole thing. Everyone was just amused at his constant suffering.
I couldn’t keep watching. I wanted to stop them all right now, but I was afraid that if I did, I would end up in the same situation… That prospect made me quiver, and I was so scared I couldn’t even move my legs.
Kakitani entered that circle and looked down on Takkun, kneeling to his level.
“… How do you feel, Aizawa? If you just listened to me, none of this would’ve happened.”
He dug his shoe into Takkun’s face with a kick. He didn’t move an inch, and his face was downcast.
“Don’t f*ck with me… I wonder if you’ll keep up with your good-boy attitude.”
“Seriously, what a bummer! Don’t you think so too, Sakurai-san~!?”
“Eh?” He suddenly shouted at me.
Why are you asking me that sort of thing?
There’s no way I think that! —I wish I could’ve expressed my thoughts clearly back then. Takkun kept holding on against the bullying because he was just trying to keep the promise we made that day.
But even so, with all these feelings inside me—
“… Um, ah… That… Yes…”
I was afraid of the countless glares at me, and I felt I could be crushed by the sheer pressure of the classroom… That’s right, I answered “Yes.”
Glancing back at Takkun right then, I saw the shock painted on his face, and he looked like he gave up on something.
For the next few days, I spent my days alone. It was unusual to be away from him for that long… I really wanted to apologize right when it happened, but I was too afraid to even look into his eyes.
So, just a little longer… I’ll apologize once I’m ready to face him. Then, we’ll be together as we’ve always been.
I thought so with a heavy heart.
Thank you for reading! Feel free to comment your opinions below!
Also, if you enjoyed my translation and would like to feed my caffeine addiction, click on the button below and graciously give me my fix—I mean, a cup of coffee.